Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How can we know when we are close to the end? Chapter three.

What do we know from other examples - in scripture or life - that substantiates a definitive time frame?

Allow me to point something out; a date slipped by us quietly and got ignored, September 13, 2015. It marked not only the end of the Shemittah year, but the beginning of the Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashana. Is it possible that Elul 29 on the Jewish calendar was also the beginning of the seven-year period that culminates the Fiftieth year, the year of Jubilee - the time of restoration of all things; that will happen when the Messiah returns to earth. Coincidentally, Jesus as the Messiah, will return physically to earth at the end of the “Tribulation” to do just that – put everything right. If this is a Jubilee week, then we are in that seven-year period as we speak. Because the end of time concludes with God's wrath being poured out, there is that possibility that we are already seeing that happen.

We have the two witnesses who stand in the streets of Jerusalem for 1260 days.

So when do the two witnesses show up? Scripture is not clear on that.
Do we have any clues? Certainly.
These two witnesses cause the rain to cease; call fire down from heaven, and cause the same plagues to come upon the earth that Moses brought upon Egypt.
Revelation 11:6 ESV They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire.
At the end of their time here, God allows them to be killed. The two witnesses will then lie dead in the street for three days, but will be raised again to life, just as Jesus was.
Revelation 11:7-9 ESV And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, (8) and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. (9) For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb,
The one thing that is definitive about this is the 1260 day time frame. Outside of that we have nothing that tells us when they show up except for the association with their being killed and that is related to the entrance of the false prophet.
It is the prophecies of Islam that shed a tremendous amount of light on this subject. Islam expects their own version of Jesus to show up and bring everything under the control of Sharia. To have everything under one religious leader is what Islam desires and is called a global caliphate. The resume of the false prophet begins with him being a Jew of the lineage of Aaron, and he will be a priest with access to the temple. This character/false prophet will pledge allegiance to the Mahdi (when he comes). This Mahdi seems to be the Antichrist we understand from scripture, and leader of the global Caliphate. It is rather obvious that many will be deceived, and aspects of this deception would be that he performs wonders, just as Jesus the Messiah did, and now the two witnesses have done. God's witnesses stopped the rain, now he will make it rain.
Islam calls this man, “Isa Ibn Maryam (Arabicعيسى بن مريمtranslit. ʿĪsā ibn Maryām; English: Jesus, son of Mary), orJesus in the New Testament, is considered to be a Messenger of God and al-Masih (theMessiah) in Islam,i the enforcer of Sharia.
Scripture tells us that this person – the false prophet, will cause all to worship the beast [this is probably the Mahdi, but since the beast is not clearly defined it could be the fallen angel/demon we call Allah.] Regardless, it will be the bloodiest time the earth has ever seen.
  • I already touched on this verse earlier, but it does hold a time frame within it.
Daniel 7:25-27 ESV He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (26) But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. (27) And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.'
1260 days is the equivalent of = time, times, and half a time, or 3½ years. BTW: Islam has but one goal, and that is to change times to match theirs.

“and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.”

Daniel 9:27 ESV And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator."
  • "He" is the Antichrist.
  • Strong or firm
    it does not matter.
  • "he will make a firm covenant with the many"
    great number, abundance
  • “ for one week”
    A numeral. It is what it is.
Daniel 9:27 LITV ...And in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease. …
This literally means, in the midst of two parts. Jump back to Daniel 7: 25-27 and you get what appears to be a detailed description of the second half - time, times, and half a time, or 3½ years.
Daniel 7:24-25 ESV As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. (25) He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.
If you were to use Daniel 7:24-25 as the limits for establishing a time frame, you still have a problem because you cannot prove who the “he” is, nor when he comes on the scene. Since we Americans have a Muslim President, which has turned his back on Israel and taken the side of those attacking Christians, it is much easier to believe that we are already in the seven-year period.
I cannot change what God has decreed, and if it is to be a precise 7 years, then so be it, but there are so many things that I read in scripture for which we do not have a definitive answer for, therefore it is possible that we are in the seven-year period we love to call the tribulation. This period is clearly laid out as the time of God's wrath, and that has a defined distinction from tribulation, which Jesus told us is an integral aspect of the Christian life.
We, as followers of Christ are reprieved from God's wrath because Jesus took the punishment we deserved upon himself. In addition, since we, the church, are in Him and he is no longer subject to punishment, then “we are not destined for wrath” either.
Jesus told the disciples, numbering in the thousands at this point, that he will come again and receive them to himself, minus the wrath part. This is the rapture/Harpazo that we long for.
How then could we be in the seven-year period, a time of wrath, expecting Him to rescue us, while all this other stuff is going on? Part of the answer lies in Jesus response to the disciples, and we find that in Matthew 24. The question asked was really very specific: When will the temple be destroyed and when will you come back as the Messiah we have looked for.
Because Jesus arrival as the Messiah comes at the end of the time of wrath, then it is proper to respond to his disciples in a way that describes the events surrounding his return. With that in mind, what did he say, because we will use his responses as potential markers indicating that we are either in that period or closer than we thought.
  • Matthew 24:4,5 ESV And Jesus answered them, "See that no one leads you astray. (AMP) For many will come in (on the strength of) My name [appropriating the name which belongs to Me], saying, I am the Christ (the Messiah), and they will lead many astray.
    The implications are that Jesus takes this very serious, and therefore we should as well. Are people being deceived today? Absolutely. Is there the potential that the deception could be greater? Absolutely. Because it says that the elect will deceived we are talking about Jews.Most versions say, “For many will come in my name”. We tend to interpret this to mean that people will be passing themselves off as Jesus. Fortunately we have translations like the Amplified which tells us that they will come in the strength of the Messiah's name, Jesus. I have told you that Islam is looking for a Jesus as well. This will not be his name, they call him Isa bin Mariam (Jesus the son of Mary – they can handle that but not god, for god to them is Allah and Allah would never have touched a woman). This person may try to represent himself in this way, but the most convincing aspect will be the signs he performs. Jesus of the bible performed his fair share of miracles, and many of the crowds that gathered around him came only because of the miracles. It will not be any different in the last days.
  • Matthew 24:6 ESV And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
    Fighting in the streets of Paris.
    Fighting in the streets of Paris.
    Constant warfare in the Muslim impacted nations, rioting in the streets, police being assassinated, oh, and don't forget the mass murders and terrorist acts that seem to be a daily event on the news.
  • Matthew 24:7 ESV For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
    All these things are happening as you read this. Oklahoma, a state which though very familiar with tornadoes, had rarely experienced an earthquake, but is now the leader in earthquakes for the nation.
Since these are a description of times associated with Jesus return as the Messiah, is it possible that we are within that period? I believe the answer is yes. Most will argue from the terminology of tribulation that we are not and cannot be, simply because God is supposed to save us tribulation. I told you that tribulation is the hallmark of our relationship with Christ, however, wrath, coming from God, is not, so you have to make a distinction.
As you try to define the oddities you find in the Revelation and other apocalyptic books, what do you use as the basis for your answers? I ask because it does not seem as though anyone seems to know. Oh sure, plenty of people have answers, but when you read their answer it does not make sense.
Surely you have heard that, scripture interprets scripture; so then, it is possible that the answers are right there in the Word of God.
Good, and free resources are out there. If you have a computer you can download a program called E-sword. It comes with enough information to do what any college graduate can do – research. Lacking a computer, but having a bible and nothing else, then you are going to have to do what Daniel did and read. Read Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Isaiah. You should be getting the picture because they are all interrelated. The Apostle John wrote to Jewish Christians – believers that understood the importance and symbolism he spoke of. Whether you have a computer of not, you are going to need do word searches (at least pay attention to trigger words such beast and day of the Lord), and don't be afraid to look up even the simplest of words in the Strong's concordance. Why? Because the simplest of words can have the deepest of meanings in the Hebrew or Greek (something we, in the western world miss). It will alarm you to find that the translators severely weakened an act or statement by choosing one phrase over the other.
Have you ever sat in church and heard the speaker say, this word in Hebrew means precisely this. Well I have, and I have a problem with that, because when you look the word up for yourself, you find out that the word has variability to it. Does that make God look bad? Not at all. It merely shows that God has the ability to deliver life changing freedom to us, even if it is garbage. It also shows that God has the ability to adjust to the circumstances; evidence of that is found in the story of Jonah and his calling to Nineveh. Truth be known, Jonah hated the Assyrians – I wonder why, and desperately wanted God to obliterate them. However they repented at Jonah's message. (It is quite possible that his appearance played a big role in their reactions.) So God's choice to be variable allowed him to relent. Note that word relent. It is not repent, as though God made a bad decision, nor does it mean that they are off the hook. It merely meant that because they backed away from their violent ways for the time, that God backed away from his choice to destroy them. In time they went back to their old habits and God brought judgment against them. Remnants of Nineveh were found in the mounds outside of Mosul Iraq not that long ago. So God did bring the judgment declared.
So what is my bottom line on this seven-year period? It may well be exactly as we presume, but God is running the clock and all creation will come into compliance with that. I do know that a time of punishment from God is coming upon this earth, and it will exceed the evil that men will continue to do. However, Jesus taught us that we have a hope, and that hope is that followers of Christ will rule and reign in eternity with him. There is a day coming when all this grief and pain will end, and I can that assurance now by making Him/Jesus the Lord of my life.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How can we know when we are close to the end? Chapter two.

Does God have a seven-year period, or is this just man's idea?

God has given us a multitude of examples that prove that He is deeply invested in the number seven. Creation happened within six yoms of time, and then God rested on the seventh, why God would be exhausted, especially if He was merely speaking things into existence, but none-the-less, he rested.
The word rested is shabath. We also find it spelled shabbath, and sabbath. It also carries the meanings to cease and desist. Therefore we could just as easily say, that on the seventh day, God ceased from creating. I suppose it is much like an artist, who at some point looks at what they have painted and says, it is good, and therefore stops the creative process.
I inserted the Hebrew word Yom instead of days, because the word that we choose to define as a day can actually mean: a space of time defined by an associated term, it is often used adverbially as age. Oh sure, there were other words used prompting our choice to limit God to a twenty-four hour period of time, like heat, cold, and lights to govern the day and night, but this idea of God only working because it is daylight, tends to fall apart if you are holding to a precise chronology in the creation of earth. You see, the Sun is not made, nor placed in the sky until the fourth day, after these conversations about lights to govern the day, and heat and cold.
This idea of time is one of those where you scratch your head as you: try to date the earth; attempt to figure out how the dinosaurs fit into creation, or wonder how long Adam walked this earth alone. And though it is not directly time related, there are those who bravely ask, where did Cain get his wife. Obviously, there are things in scripture that can keep you up at night.
I cannot find a single decree in the New Testament where God has stated that there would be seven years of wrath coming upon the earth.
Oh, don't get me wrong wrath is coming, but I cannot say it holds to a definite time frame.
Do a word search for wrath, and you will find that a time frame is not specified, however, if you do a search for the word seven you will find 326 verses in the Old Testament alone. The number seven is significant because we, by association, can find allusions to end time eschatology in stories such as the one in which Joseph interprets the dream for Pharaoh, where he saw the fat and skinny cows.
Genesis 41:30 ESV “but after them there will arise seven years of famine, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt. The famine will consume the land,”
The symbology in this could easily parallel what we see in end times eschatology. While I will not exclude famine from God's scenario, the unequaled death and destruction might be analogous to the famine that consumes the land in a seven-year period.
We do have something rather definitive in terminology, when we come to this person we see in Daniel 9, as “he makes a strong covenant with many for one week.” With some help from scripture and commentaries, we find out that “one week” represents a seven-year period.
Daniel 9:27 ESV And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator."
The covenant or treaty, is made by this person, and it is broken by him. We are making a huge assumption if we think that God has to honor the time period described in Daniel 9:27. While the time period, and the person setting it up, play well into God's scheme of things, it seems to come out of the man's mouth.
Proverbs 16:9 ESV The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 GNB You may make your plans, but God directs your actions.

Who is this “he”?

He” has many names.
    • The son of perdition”. (2 Thessalonians 2:3, John 17:12)
      This phrase is only used twice in scripture. Once when Jesus was speaking of Judas Iscariot, and the other was when Paul describes the man of sin that is to be revealed.
    • the prince that is to come” as the King James bible calls him. (Daniel 9:26)
      The Hebrew word for prince is nâgid. It is the same word used to describe Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem. In this case Jesus was called the Messiah nâgid. The word nâgid means commander, leader, or noble. A ruling authority.
Robertson's Word Pictures helps to define what we see in Matthew 21:9, and tells us that in declaring: “Hosanna to the Son of David (Hosanna tōi huiōi Daueid). “They were now proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah and he let them do it.
    • the little horn” as seen in Daniel 8:9-12.
      You see this again in Daniel 7:8. Daniel goes on to describe in chapter 7 verses 20,21: “the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them,” 
      Daniel 7:25 gives us tremendous insight if we will look outside the box of religion, for Islam has the intent of changing the times and the laws of the land to suite their needs. One of those would be the mandatory times of prayer.
      (ESV) “He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.”

      1260 days = time, times, and half a time = 3½ years.
      • the beast” - Revelation 13:5 tells us that “the beast” was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.”
        Because of this, we also call him the beast, however that may not be appropriate. Note the forty-two months. That equals 1260 days, or three and one half years.
      • the king that does what he wills” Daniel 11:36
      • the lawless one” 2Thessalonians 2:3.
        This sounds very much like our American president. He too is a Muslim.
      • The bloody and deceitful man”Psalm 5:6.
      • desolator” which is how the ESV bible translates it. Daniel 9:27.
    he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week,”
    We make the assumption that this treaty is made with Israel, however this says nothing about Israel. It does say many. While it would be nice if Israel was included, there is nothing here that implies that.
    Do we have a guarantee that this period of time is purely chronological? Not necessarily.
    God certainly has a time frame, but He is the one that is keeping the clock. We find an example of this in Daniel 9:24. It seems that all of time has been put on hold, and now we are stuck between the 69th and 70th week, for over 2000 years.
    Daniel 9:24 ESV "Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.
    What many of us do not comprehend it that this book we read, the Bible, is a Jewish book. It was written with a Middle Eastern mindset, therefore the phrase seventy weeks would have an immediate recognition to the Jewish readers. It carries the significance of the shemitah, a seven-year period which finishes with a time of releasing Jewish debtors from their debts. It is quite possible that we are in what is known as the Jubilee year; the period of time which is considered the grandest of them all, when all things are made right, and their land is restored to them again. Seventy weeks then, is really 70x7, or 490 years.
    490 years have come and gone, and yet the most telling aspects of this prophecy over Jerusalem are the aspects about anointing a most holy place, and the destruction of the city and the temple. If the holy place is the rebuilt third temple in Jerusalem, has that happened yet?
    [Many would argue that the prophecy about the temple was fulfilled when, as most will say, Titus Vespasian destroyed the temple in 70 A.D. Since he was the Roman emperor over Jerusalem, then the troops who destroyed the temple would be Roman troops, or as some presume, Italians. This presumption has caused us to look to Europe to bring forth not only the Antichrist, but the people who will destroy the last temple and Jerusalem. The problem with that thinking is that we ignore recorded history, for both Josephus and Tacitus recorded that the greater percentage of troops, fighting under the Roman banner, were conscripts from nearby conquered nations, in this case Assyrian. The Assyrians had an aggressive hatred of the Jews, and openly expressed their desire to destroy Israel and it's people. It was then the Assyrians who sacked the temple, ignoring direct orders from Titus to cease. Having this information, it is much easier to see that the people of the prince will be Assyrian, or Middle Eastern, and an event that is yet to come.]

    I will present you the evidence available and let you decide for yourselves.

    And yes, I have looked up the occurrences of the words: wrath; week, and weeks; 1260; combinations of 42 months; seven, and tribulation, and I find nothing in the New Testament that shows me God specifying that He will pour out his wrath for this period of time.
    • Revelation 11:3 ISV I will give my two witnesses who wear sackcloth the authority to prophesy for 1,260 days."
      It is what you do not know that hinders your understanding. You do not know when then these two show up. There are some extremely logical clues, and my opinion is that they show up almost immediately after the rapture, partly to serve as an example to those who come to knowledge of Jesus Christ.
    • Revelation 12:5-6 ESV She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, (6) and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
      She is Israel, and the male child is Jesus Christ. He did not come initially as the ruler of the nations, but he will. He was caught up to God and to his throne. Obviously a portion of this verse has been fulfilled. Here we have Israel fleeing into the wilderness; when will that happen? Several clues come out of Ezekiel's prophecies. Look at chapters 38, 39, where it describes of a multi-fronted attack against Israel. It also sounds as though there are nuclear weapons involved.
    • Revelation 12:14 ESV But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.
      Can you legitimately tell me that there is a definitive starting point for any of these time frames?
    • Revelation 13:5 ESV And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
      42 months = 31/2 years = 1260 days = time, and times, and half a time.
      Again we are lacking information, but as before, we have good clues. Daniel chapter 9 tells us that “he” makes a treaty with many for 7 years. However he breaks that treaty after 31/2 years. Question; when does one make treaties? Typically during or right after warfare.
    • Revelation 11:2 ISV But don't measure the courtyard outside the Temple. Leave that out, because it is given to the nations, and they will trample the Holy City for 42 months.
      The intriguing aspect of Revelation 11:2 is that there is now no temple. This means the temple would have to be rebuilt. Ask yourself, where is the courtyard given to the nations? It is the majority of the area deemed to be the temple mount, and for the most part it is given to the Muslims (the nations).
      A computer representation of the third temple.
      A computer representation of the third temple.
      In this representation,almost everything left of the Temple would be considered the court of the Gentiles. What a coincidence.
      I used to think of this period of 42 months as happening after “he” breaks the treaty, and the false prophet defiles the temple once again. It seems logical that this is when this would happen, especially if there is no protection left in Israel.
    Chronologically this is what we have:
     There is one other possibility we need to entertain.
    We are told by the writer of Hebrews that Jesus, as a high priest, entered the holy place in heaven, the pattern for things down here on earth, and splashed his blood – the blood of a sacrificial lamb on the heavenly altar and utensils, anointing them. You can see this in Hebrews 9:11-24.
    Ephesians 1:7 ISV In union with him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our offenses, according to the riches of God's grace
    This alone should have been the end of transgression, however, every human on the earth does things outside of God's will, continually. It almost seems as though the sin is built into us.
    As you read Daniel 9:24 you see transgression finished, an end of sin. Look around you; has that happened? Not in the physical world. Violence is increasing, as is the coldness of men's hearts. So he is either telling us about a spiritual event, or a future event.
    The passage goes on to speak about an everlasting righteousness. I could argue that everlasting righteousness came through the cross, that was spelled out by the writer of Hebrews, therefore I, and you, have been made righteous by the blood of the sacrifice of Christ. Again, this tends to be more spiritual, and does guarantee you a life with the Father; that comes through your acceptance, but it does impact how God looks at us. We will not be judged for sin, by Him, but we will be judged based upon what we did with His Son.

    Ask yourselves, if an everlasting righteousness came through the cross, then why is it not automatic?

    How God looks at us is much like the artist that decides the work is done, however there is that idea that no one comes to the Father but through the Son. So here we have a forgiveness of our inherent sin that exude constantly to the surface, and yet still must accept the Son, Jesus, as the door into the kingdom. Strangely, I see this pattern throughout the time of judgment upon the earth. Salvation is still available by acknowledging the Son and not some other, even if shoved down your throat at the edge of a sword.
    Perhaps I over simplify when I say things like: the earth is one big adoption agency and we are all in it, but the concept works for me.
    At some point God, in the form of the Son, comes to earth, pays the fee to adopt us all, signs the paperwork, and then tells everyone to hop in truck. (The cool thing is that here in America, we used to be able to just hop in the bed of the truck.) Some come readily while others hesitate. The guy playing video games with the spiked, multi-colored hair finally decides to jump in the truck, but bellows out – I don't take out trash. God accepts him anyway, just as He accepted all of us with our quirks. Eventually we all come into line and do our part. Initially, all I have to do is accept Jesus into my life.

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