Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Rapture in the Old Testament: Psalm 27 and the Fall Holy Days

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. 
Psalm 27:4-5

Israel had two distinct sets of Holy Days as prescribed in the Books of Moses.  The first group happened in Spring and revolved around the Exodus from Egypt.  They also overwhelmingly foreshadowed the first advent of Mashiyach Yeshua, the promised redeemer of humanity.  Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) was the Paschal Lamb slain before the world began according to the plan of the Father.  The resurrection of Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, took place on the Feast of First Fruits and with Him he took many souls held captive in Paradise Sheol to the Father according to scripture.  1 Corinthians 15:20 states, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept."  Furthermore, the third (yes! third) rapture found in scripture took place at the time of Jesus' resurrection.  The translation of Enoch was the first.  The rising of Elijah was the second, and the captive Old Testament saints rising was the third.  This is what Paul was referring to when he said that Jesus led captivity captive in Ephesians 4:8.

We are currently awaiting the 4th rapture.  Four is the number for the world and the fourth is the general resurrection or translation of all believers worldwide.  The first three serve as models for the fourth.   Therefore, denying the rapture is laying claim to absolute Bible illiteracy since three have already taken place.  Consider Matthew 27:51-53, "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."   The final spring Holy Day was Pentecost which foreshadowed the birth of the Church.  Christ fulfilled these three spring Holy Days in His passion, resurrection, and ascension. 

The months in between the holidays testify to the long time period between the two advents of Jesus.  If the first observances were fulfilled in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, than the fall dates will be fulfilled with His second coming.  The spring holidays represented the time when Messiah sowed the seeds of the Gospel.  The season for the fall High Holy Days begins at the 1st day of the Hebrew month, Elul.  These are the fall harvest feasts and remind us that the ripened fruit of the Gospel is about to be finally reaped.  The first of Elul is also referred to as Rosh Chodesh Elul, or the head of the month of Elul.  On the Gregorian calendar this day usually takes place somewhere in August or September.  It is also important to note that Elul is the last month on the Hebrew civil calendar and the 6th month of the ceremonial calendar.  

Beginning on Rosh Chodesh Elul Jews worldwide begin to  practice a time of repentance in preparation for those High Holy Days that follow.  Also beginning on that first day of Elul it is customary to blow a trumpet every day in the morning until the day before Rosh Hashanah, the feast of trumpets.  The trumpet blasts are to awaken the soul to repentance in preparation for those upcoming holidays. More importantly to our study, PSALM 27 is read every morning and every evening for the entire holiday season (nearly two months) beginning on Rosh Chodesh Elul until Hoshanah Rabbah of Sukkot or the last day of the feast of Tabernacles!  It is also quite customary to visit the graves of those who have inspired one to greater faith during during the month Elul.

Psalm 27 is tied directly to the resurrection by traditional Jewish observances and clear scriptural reference.  There will come a day when men will cry out daily to be allowed to dwell forever in God's tabernacle (pavilion) probably because they were left behind.  The daily trumpet blast will remind them of an event that recently took place.  There will be a universal cry of repentance as the days of Tribulation are finally here.  Many will visit the graves of those saints who left this world and they will gain the strength they need for the trouble, Jacob's Trouble, that lies ahead.  For the many that trusted Christ before that resurrection trumpet sounded, they will be treasured (hidden) in God's presence.  Each precious jewel will behold the beauty of the LORD and enquire personally in His Holy Temple on High.  They have been lifted far above their enemies and brought to the very presence of God in preparation for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.   What a day that will be, and like Jesus, it is Soon2Come. 

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Friday, January 13, 2012

The Rapture in the Old Testament: Psalm 27 and Christ's Treasure

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
Psalm 27:4-5

The first post in this series dealt with the rapture  from Isaiah 26.  Isaiah instructed believers to "hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast (Isaiah 26:b).  God was coming out of His heavenly place to punish those who were in willful rebellion to His universal rule.  The Bible identifies that  time when Christ comes to judge the earth personally as the Day of the LORD.  Remember, the Day of the LORD begins with the abject darkness of the 7 year tribulation and continues through the reign of Jesus Messiah on the earth for 1000 years.  The wretched darkness of sin will be overwhelmingly contrasted to the light of Christ's pure and holy reign.

Furthermore, Isaiah 26:20 is a command, also called an imperative sentence.  The subjects of imperative sentences are often left out unlike other sentence types.  Looking carefully, we see that the implied subject is "you", or more specifically, those willfully choosing the salvation of God in Christ purchased with the blood of the cross. You come and You hide is what God wishes for us to obey from Isaiah 26:20.  The verb "hide" is not the same verb as the word for hide used in Zephaniah 2:3.  The last post reviewed that verse from Zephaniah.  The Hebrew word in Isaiah is chabah which means to withdraw ones self or to hide.  Again, God is asking for a choice to be made.  

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Psalm 27:1a

As mentioned, a different word for "hide" was used in Zephaniah 2:3.  It was cathar which means to be concealed from sight.  Is that not what the rapture of the church will do? Will it not hide the church from the world's sight?  As we make the choice to hide ourselves in Christ, chabah, God conceals, cathar, his people from the wicked one and the wrath that is being poured out during the tribulation.  Psalm 27:5, however, gives us even greater insight into why Jesus conceals his church from wrath at the rapture.  He treasures us as His very own.  The word used in this Psalm is tsaphan, the very word that is related to Zephaniah's name--the LORD has treasured.

The church is the bride of Christ and we know that in a perfect marriage men treasure their companion.  Does it make sense to punish your loved one if your house has been broken into?  No sane person beats their bride if a thief breaks in and robs them; consequently, we call that abuse.  God is not punishing the church for the intractable rebellion of others.  The church is greatly treasured by Jesus! Like his human forefather, Isaac, who ran through the field to meet his bride, Jesus is so excited about bringing His bride to the place He has prepared that He meets her in the air!  

What man is this that walketh in the field to meet us? Genesis 24:65

What man leaves those things that are precious to him in an unprotected place so that they can be stolen, lost, broken, misplaced, etc.?  You are precious to God.  Even if you are not yet saved, you are special to God.  You are so special that Christ took your punishment so that you might have the right to be called a child of God.  All of your failures, your sin, your shortcomings;  ALL were atoned for at the cross.  Since you are so precious God wants you to be with Him. He wants to take you from the world before His anger is revealed against those who refuse and rebel against His love.  Can you hear Him?  That is Him sweetly speaking to you.  It is Him who is once again drawing the whole world to the message of John 3:16.  Accept that love today.  Call on Jesus for salvation.  Do it quickly since Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!  

*We will have to come back to Psalm 27--there is much more to learn here!  

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:16-18

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Rapture in the Old Testament: Zephaniah

Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.
Zephaniah 2:1-3

Poor Hal Lindsey!  He often seems to be the proxy whipping boy for all pre-tribulation rapture believers in America.  He, as well as a few others, was specifically named in Major Brian Stuckert's inflammatory report for the US Army's School of Advanced Military Studies named Strategic Implications of American Millennialism written in 2008 (a document that blames all of America's ills on rapture believing crazies; it is well worth the time to read).  Rapture hater Dave McPherson has bashed him often on more than one occasion.  Jason Boyett trashed him in his work titled, Pocket Guide to the Apocalypse: The Official Field Manual for the End of the World.  The list of authors in the "hate Hal and all rapture believing Christians club" just keeps growing.  Their numbers will continue to swell until a few minutes after that loud trumpet blast and just before universal deception and disinformation campaigns set in.  There will not be any rapture believers left to hate then.  It is the attacks from Christian sources that irritates this writer the most.  Honestly, the quickest way to start a holy squabble at a "Christian" chat room is to state your opinion in the belief in and timing of the rapture.  Many feel it is not even a biblical doctrine.

Given the number of illiterate Christians who can't seem to understand Jesus' very direct teaching concerning the rapture's hidden nature, many false prognosticators have brought this on the body of Christ due to the fleshly pride involved with being the one who gets the timing right. Quit setting dates!  You are not going to get it right; furthermore, you will hurt those that you think you are trying to help. Do not disobey scripture, my friend, and set erroneous dates forewarning of an event God plainly sealed.  As was mentioned in the post Rapture--May 21st! ?,  "Very few godless people will take the time to separate those truly following scripture from those in error.  To them, they are all the same.  Furthermore, these false prophets are actually strengthening them in their unbelief."  "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come...Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh"   Matthew 24:42-44  "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."  Matthew 25:13  

However, the rapture of the church is a valid doctrine that is taught in both Old and New Testaments.  The last post looked at the amazing parallel between Isaiah 26:19-21 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.   The prophet Zephaniah also spoke clearly about the rapture in the verses above.  Even the prophet's name speaks to the unknowable and imminent nature of this work of God.  Zephaniah's name literally means, "YHWH has treasured" or "YHWH has hidden"  The Almighty treasures his children!  He, therefore, gave believers the Blessed Hope that Paul writes about in Titus 2:13--the coming of Christ.  He states that God has, "not appointed us to wrath (as in the Tribulation), but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9)."  The Hebrew idea represented in the name of Zephaniah is that of hiding a treasure from thieves--like the thief, Satan.

Notice that the word says to gather before the anger of the LORD is poured out worldwide.  He is imploring His children to be vigilant in their trust of Him as they see the warning signs.  Furthermore, He declares that believer's may be hidden from the LORD's fierce anger.  Earlier verses in chapter 1 of Zephaniah tie this directly to the concept of the Day of the LORD which begins with the Tribulation.  This text is a parallel to 1 Thessalonians 5:9.  He has not appointed His church to face the wrath He has in store for a world in rebellion that is purposefully rejecting His reign, God the Son, the church, and the wooing of the Holy Spirit.  He is punishing the Earth and its inhabitants for their willful disobedience, so why would a just God also punish the righteous with the wicked as Abraham asked before the destruction of Sodom?  God did not destroy the righteous with the wicked when He judged then, and the Day of the LORD is similar to the day of LOT.   Did he not save righteous Noah and his grandfather Enoch (by rapture) from the flood?  As in Noah's day there is a removal of believers.  Zephaniah gives us the hope of an escape before the time that Jacob's Trouble begins! Praise God!  Keep looking up saints!  Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!

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Collecting rainwater now illegal in many states as Big Government claims ownership over our water - Fight The Law  ****Water and food must be controlled by the false prophet of Revelation 13 for 666 to work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Rapture in the Old Testament

"Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain."
Isaiah 26:19-21

The internet, television, and other media forms are full of those who deny the rapture of the church as a biblically based doctrine.  Many see it as a recent edition to the list of Christian doctrines, and one peculiar to many evangelical denominations. Some even claim that it is a subversive doctrine that has influenced American politics to the point that the nation has been infested with weirdos who feel that the world is going to come to an end.  If the rapture is discussed, venomous hate seems to flow from both religious and secular sources.  They are all asking the question, "Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." 2 Peter 3:4?  

Can the rapture of the church be found in the Bible?  Is is just a recent doctrine?  Is it in the Old Testament?  Are all references to the rapture just types and shadows?  Is the more focused doctrine of an imminent pre-tribulational rapture found in scripture or is it just an over-imaginative girl's dream as some claim?  It is impossible to answer these all now so the focus here will be on the rapture in the Old Testament.  Specifically, this post will analyze one portion of text from Isaiah.  More will follow later.

Yes!  The Old Testament does allude specifically to the rapture in several places.  Some of the references are types and shadows, while others, like the text above, speak specifically to the timing of the event.  It is first important to see that there is no "end of the world".  Consider this verse from Matthew 24:3.  "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"  Doesn't it clearly say end of the world?  Not actually!  The Greek word used here is not the standard Greek word for the Earth, cosmos.  Also consider John 1:9, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."  Here, Jesus is the light that comes into the world--cosmos.  However the word in Matthew above is aiōn.  This is the word for an age or dispensation (which is another anger buzzword for many).  The world will always be but the age of Satan's free reign will end.  This is clear from scripture.  God will create a new heavens and a new earth, but there will clearly be a world here to live on even after the new is formed.  It is renovation and rejuvenation and not a destruction believers are looking for.  It is the age when Christ reigns and then the period of a new world that follows.  

Before this Millennial Reign of Jesus is the 7 year period where God allows man and the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:3-5) nearly unhindered destructive power (world here again being aiōn).  Satan, the god of this age will empower the Antichrist to wreak havoc and make one last bid to destroy the Israelites.  God, of course, is also busy bringing the entire Jewish people to the knowledge of Messiah Yeshua, their soon coming King.  Furthermore, He is pouring out his wrath as believers in this time will once again pray imprecatory prayers that will be accepted, something that the church was forbidden to do.  It will be a dark time and seem most like the famine that the patriarch, Israel, and his sons were trying to live through when the fathers of each tribe of Israel went to Egypt to buy grain from their hidden brother, Joseph.  Joseph was sold into slavery and left for dead by his brothers who did not realize that he had become the ruler of Egypt.  Jesus Christ is that hidden Egyptian with a gentile bride revealed to his brothers even as Zechariah would later reveal (Zechariah 12:10).  Oops!  I said I was not going to share types in this post--sorry!

God is going to war with a world that is in a desperate attempt to cast off His rule.  Before any war, national leaders always recall their ambassadors.  The members of Christ's body are God's ambassadors.  2 Corinthians 5:20 says that. "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."  The message of the church is reconciliation to God.  "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."  2 Corinthians 5:18-19  The rapture is the recall of the ambassadors before the battle, and this is the message of Isaiah 26:19-21 quoted above.

Notice that the timing here in Isaiah follows the classic rapture text of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.  First the dead in Christ rise as is stated in verse 16 of Paul's letter.  Compare this with verse 19 from Isaiah, "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.  Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."  Paul then states that the living saints will be drawn to God too.  Isaiah reveals the same thing in verse 20.  "Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers (bridal chambers?--look up the Hebrew definition of cheder), and shut thy doors about thee:"  The world will then be cast into the darkness of God's anger, Satan's wrath, and man's folly combining all at once as Isaiah 26:20b states, "hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast."  Finally, Christ comes out of His place, riding a white horse and returns just in time for the great battle of Armageddon.  "For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain."  At this battle, the blood will flow to the horses' bridle (Revelation 14:20)How much clearer does this parallel to Paul's revelation of the rapture need to be?  For those who still hate this idea of a rapture, I plead with you to just fall in love with Jesus.  No teaching is more important than that. There is still time for you but hurry.  Undoubtedly, Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!

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Monday, January 9, 2012

What Will You Eat?

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Revelation 13:16-18

"We know that you are hungry", says the bureaucrat.  He adds, "Just allow us to insert this implant and you can eat tonight. Don't you care about the needs of your family?  Surely, you  love your husband?" He continues asking, "How else will you care for them? Look, your husband has already sworn allegiance and worship to our great leader, won't you?"  Finally, he adds a measure of doubt and blasphemy united, "Apparently, your God has abandoned you, so how else will you survive?"  

This scene will soon play out worldwide as many will seek to fulfill temporary need with a decision of eternal consequence.  What will you do should you be here then?   What will you eat?  Where will you live?  What employment will you find?  All options will be totally controlled by the reigning new world order. Thankfully, there is another table spread with a heavenly dinner awaiting those wise enough to escape the nightmare to come.  You have an invitation today to choose that banquet, the marriage supper of the Lamb, rather than starve while risking eternal damnation.  

As the first 3.5 years of the Tribulation begin, apocalyptic devastation will be unsealed.  The Earth's supply of food and water will vanish,  animals everywhere will die, crops will fail, rains will cease as droughts prevail, lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams will dry up, and it will become nearly impossible to live without making the fateful choice.  The horses of the Apocalypse bring war, starvation, disease, and death following close behind.   Can't you hear their approach now? Men and women will either sell their soul for a mess of pottage, or willingly decide to trust Christ yet face near certain martyrdom.  

Some believe that they will survive by living off of the land; however, it is obvious that this will be an impossibility.  Many of the judgments destroy flora and fauna and nothing wild will be found to eat.  Joel, Hosea, and Zephaniah all describe the death of most of the animal kingdom, so what will you eat?  The choice to survive physically will come down to swearing loyalty to Christ or the Antichrist.  The Antichrist brings physical survival but destroys the chance for eternal survival.  Accepting Christ may make physical survival nearly impossible, but will guarantee eternal survival. There is another option available now.  It also involves a decision but more on that later.

For this system of total control over all purchasing power to work, there would need to be several key events to happen.  First and foremost, there would need to be a centralized global government to control all merchandise and all transactions.  There would need to be advanced surveillance technology in place to monitor the world's population.  All food production and water sources would need to be government controlled.  There must not be any way for one to adequately live off of the land.  It seems like a science fiction scenario were it not a present reality.

There are many indicators that all of this is now and has been in the making for quite a while.  Currently, one mega-conglomerate owns all seed production in the world.  Over 95% of the world's food production capabilities are owned by that one organization.  Furthermore, the seeds have all been genetically modified so that they will not produce enough food for consumption in just a matter of 2 or 3 years.  The un-modified seeds are being gathered up and held in storage facilities worldwide like the infamous Svalbard global seed vault.  Future farmers will be required to buy their seed from a one world source. Furthermore, the world is dealing with a lack of fresh water that will be compounded by the drought of the Tribulation and pollution.  

Add to this the death of animals worldwide and we have the complete recipe for the Mark of the Beast.  For those country folks in Canada and the US who think that you can just kill a few deer, what about the thousands that are dying currently?  Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease is currently killing large numbers of deer in many places.  In other places, bad management practices combined with an ever increasing predator population are clearing the forests of game.  Fish have been washing up dead on beaches worldwide for a few years with no apparent explanation.  Also, birds are dying in masses in many places.  These are but a foretaste of what is to come.  When you add the devastation of the Wrath of the Lamb, there will be no food in water or on land to eat.  Here are just a couple examples. 

These are but a few of the many indicators that the Mark of the Beast is nearing.  It will take place during that last 3.5 years of the Tribulation.  We have the capability to mark all people.  Surveillance technology is able to monitor people everywhere.  Satellites can read the date on a dime from space already.  The animal population is seeing huge die-offs worldwide.  Plants and trees are being hit with disease and death at unbelievable rates.  The time of the end that is a beginning is drawing near.  

While the world is reeling in chaos and men and women who have rejected the gospel are making fateful decisions, those who have previously trusted Christ before the Tribulation will be enjoying His presence after the rapture and at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  You already have an invitation is that beloved verse, John 3;16.   "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."  If you want to escape that decision at the hands of the False Prophet's minions, accept Jesus today.  Do it quickly.  He is Soon2Come!

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