Galatians 1:2-5. To settle all claims against him and to designate where he obtained this information on grace on mercy.


In verse one of this letter to the Galatians, we have Paul introducing himself. In so doing he spells out with one word, that he was sent by, and is a messenger of Jesus Christ and God the Father. That one word was apostolos – Apostle to us Gentiles. In proclaiming this he is immediately trying to settle all claims against him and to designate where he obtained this information on grace on mercy. To the skeptic (this tends to be religious folk,) there is much to argue over, especially since you may not have any concept of how or why God talks to us. With Paul, we have the dramatic incident where he was knocked to the ground and made blind. Jesus spoke to him and this could be the place where all his instructions and definitions began.

Something we seem to overlook when considering who Paul was. He tells us when he went by the name Saul, that he was a rising star among the ranks of the Pharisees; he was well versed in the law and the prophets, and, he was so zealous for the religious tradition of the Jews, that he went around arresting, torturing, and having many followers of this new “religion” -believers in Jesus Christ, imprisoned or killed. [You can find this testimony in the 26th chapter of the book of Acts.] In Acts 7:58.59, Saul/Paul held the cloak of those who stoned Stephen to death.

You might wonder how someone so deeply invested in rules and tradition could find anything that looked like grace and mercy in the books of the law, and yet, these very books became the basis for our freedom.

In Matthew, we see Jesus, quite successfully standing his ground with the adversary, Satan by quoting portions of the Law back to Satan. If the law, this oppressive collection of writings we like to control people with, could bring peace, freedom, and a momentary respite from Satan’s onslaught, then couldn’t it do that for us? Perhaps this understanding will give you a greater insight into words like this: “Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”

With that let’s dive into Galatians again.

Galatians 1:2-5 NASB and all the brethren who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 3) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4) who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5) to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.

  • and all the brethren who are with me

    Acts 16:6 NASB They passed through the Phrygian and Galatian region, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia;

    It was on Paul’s second great missionary tour, about A.D. 51, that, he in company with Silas and Timothy, passed through from Lycaonia in Phrygia and Galatia, and planted the seeds of the Christian faith (Act_16:6). From The People’s New Testament (B. W. Johnson)

    This region then called Galatia is now modern-day Turkey

    A piece of evidence we have for who these brethren were comes from Acts 18 where we see Priscilla and Aquilla. Having spent some time in Ephesus he may have picked up some followers there, and there is always Dr. Luke to record everything.

    Acts 18:23 NASB And having spent some time there, he left and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.

  • “To the churches of Galatia”

    As we saw in our example from Acts 16, Paul was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia Minor, the region called Galatia.

  • “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,”

    Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible tells us to look at his comments on Romans 1:7 where Paul uses similar terminology.

    Romans 1:7 EMTV To all those who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Grace to you – χαρις υμιν; May you be partakers of the Divine favor, the source whence every blessing is derived.” “..the several acceptations of this word grace which occur in the sacred writings.”

    When I look up this word grace in the Word Study Dictionary I get a rather extensive definition. I only included 1-4, but I made the lettering of the things I thought applied most directly. I gave you the large paragraphs as there are things in there that can add to your understanding. [I apologize as it makes this post so long.]

1. The word χαριν signifies in general favor or benevolence, but especially that favor which is powerful and active and loads its objects with benefits. Luke_1:30: Fear not, Mary, thou hast found Favor, χαριν, with God. Luke_2:40: And the child grew – and the Grace of God, χαρις θεου, the favor of God was upon him. Luke_1:52: And Jesus increased in Favor, χαριτι Grace, with God and man. Act_2:47: Having Favor, χαριν, Grace, with all the people. Act_4:33: And great Grace, χαρις, Favor, was upon them all. The apostles were at that time in universal favor with the multitude. In this sense, the word occurs in a great variety of places, both in the Old and New Testaments.

2. Hence it is often used for the blessing which it dispenses; for, if God be favourably disposed towards a person, his beneficent acts, in that person’s behalf, will be a necessary consequence of such favor. John_1:14: Full of Grace and truth; accomplished in all spiritual blessings. John_1:16: And Grace upon Grace: he who is full of the most excellent blessings, confers them liberally on all believers. Act_11:23: When he had seen the Grace of God, i.e. had the fullest evidence that they were richly endowed with heavenly gifts. 1Co_1:4: For the Grace of God which is given you – the Divine blessings conferred upon you. 2Co_9:8: God is able to make all Grace abound toward you; i.e. to enrich you with every benediction. This is also a very common acceptation of the word; and in this sense the word grace or favor is now generally understood among religious people. The grace of God meaning with them some Divine or spiritual blessing communicated.

3. It is sometimes taken for the whole of the Christian religion, as being the grandest possible display of God’s favor to a lost, ruined world: and in this sense it appears to be used, John_1:17: For the Law was given by Moses; but Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ: where the term Grace is evidently opposed to Law; the latter meaning the Mosaic, the other the Christian, dispensation. Act_13:43: Barnabas persuaded them to continue in the Grace of God; i.e. to hold fast their profession of the religion of Christ. Rom_6:14: Ye are not under the Law, but under Grace – ye are no longer under obligation to fulfill the Mosaic precepts, but are under the Christian dispensation. See also Rom_6:15; and see 2Co_1:12; 2Co_6:1; Gal_1:6; Col_1:6; 2Ti_2:1, Titus_2:11: The Grace of God, that bringeth salvation unto all men, hath appeared. The Jewish religion was restricted in its benefits to a few; but the Christian religion proposes the salvation of all men; and the author of it has become a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Heb_12:15: Looking diligently lest any man fall from the Grace of God – lest any man apostatize from the Christian religion, and the blessings of pardon and holiness which he has received through it. 1Pe_5:12: This is the true Grace of God wherein ye stand – the Christian religion which ye have received is the genuine religion of God.

4. It signifies all the blessings and benefits which Christ has purchased, and which he gives to true believers, both in time and eternity. See Rom_5:15, Rom_5:17, where the grace of God is opposed to death; i.e. to all the wretchedness and misery brought into the world by Adam’s transgression. 1Co_16:23: The Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all – May every blessing purchased by Christ’s passion and death be the portion of you all. Gal_5:4: Ye are fallen from Grace – ye have lost the blessings of the Gospel by submitting to circumcision.

J. Vernon McGee tells us, This is Paul’s formal greeting that he used in most of his epistles. The word grace (charis) in this verse was the gentile form of greeting in that day, while peace (shalom) was the religious greeting of the Jews.

Many commentaries state something similar when they say; this was a standard greeting for Paul; evidence for the commonality of his greeting is demonstrated in his letters as he opened with this statement five times. While that is evidently true, this was anything but a typical statement to Paul. He had learned what grace was, and it was probably something he had little to no concept of before his conversion.

We sing songs with the phrases like, I once was lost, but now I am found, and, who saved a wretch like me. The comprehension of what you were before you accepted His grace can often be the driving force in the impact you now want to make on others.

  • Verse 4. “who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age,”

    The greeting, deemed so common, included the name, Jesus Christ. In this case, Paul includes a brief definition of what Jesus did for us.

    He gave Himself for our sins … that in itself sounds great but it is not compulsory to live here on this earth. Varying translations convey different implications and meaning; for example:

    The Amplified Classic version tells us – [That it is Jesus] Who gave (yielded) Himself up [to atone] for our sins [and to save and sanctify us], in order to rescue and deliver us from this present wicked age and world order, in accordance with the will and purpose and plan of our God and Father-

    The idea of “in order to,” leaves the door open to some choosing not to partake in this rescuing.

    The American Standard Version conveys the idea that He might. who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father:”

    This in no way means that deliverance is merely something at God’s whim. No, the effort has been for all and available to all. Clearly, not all choose to accept deliverance. This is the case with many of the Jewish people.

    The majority of translations use the word might. I understand that God desires to rescue. If it is within His capabilities to save us, why doesn’t He just do it? The answer is because He has never circumvented a human’s free will, and we have a choice.

    In speaking to Joshua, he said, choose you this day whom you will serve. You can find this in Joshua 24:15.

    If it helps I have an analogy that came to me one day. Imagine that the earth is a great big adoption agency. God comes down, looks around at all the people, and knows immediately that He must have them all. In order to do that He pays the ultimate price, which happens to be the blood of His only son, who gave His life voluntarily, knowing full well the implications and ramifications, but the Son, and the Father, knew that the end result would be so glorious, that Jesus paid with His own blood. Having signed the adoption papers He loudly calls for everyone to jump in the truck. (There was a time when we could fill the back of the truck full of people and go off to town.) Some come quickly, while others take their time deciding if this comfortable life at the adoption agency isn’t better. One young kid with purple hair, says okay, but I don’t take out the trash. He quickly learns that there are responsibilities and that this new found life and the grace associated with it, does not give us license to act irresponsibly. Unfortunately, because of deception, life’s hurts, misunderstandings forced upon them by others, or just their unwillingness to change, a few do not get into the truck. For us, the truck is an analogy of our trip we will someday make to heaven when He calls His church back home to Himself. The payment, of course, was the price for Adam’s transgression, blood. The adoption agency is this planet we live on. If you understand the story of Adam’s transgression, then you know that Adam, by his actions, signed the earth away to a fallen and mutinous angel named Lucifer.

    Our life here is not to try and win back a conquered earth, as it will be restored by fire. Our job is to tell people that this God who paid the price for us, has our best interests in mind. If you understood His character, and most of us don’t, then you would tell people that His goals are based in salvation, and since you have come to understand His love for you, then convey that.

    Odd, how salvation means something different to everyone. Oh sure, there are similarities in every life story, but in the end, our stories are all as individual as we are. Most of the time, we can easily just call these struggles life. For me, I would say that the damage I have sustained has shown its ugly head through a need to feel useful. Some have seen the gifts or capabilities I have but the door has never fully opened, as far as I can tell, and therefore I am not teaching. Others, see nothing but the damage my past has caused, and though our life and relationship with Christ are entrenched in a God who has paid the price for our damage (past, present, and future) some will never let you get beyond your mistakes. God has forgiven and forgotten your mistakes; try to center your thinking around that.

  • Verse 5 really needs no explanation and can stand on it own. to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.”

    One of the occasional topics at church is worship. In worship, I try to recognize that it is to God that all glory belongs. But, in worship, God, through the Holy Spirit, tries to show me that same glory, now resting in me. How do I know that? I know that because the Word of God has taught me that in accepting Jesus Christ, I have come to be “in Him.” If I am in Him, then wouldn’t His glory rest upon me as well? You would think so, and yet, it seems that is rarely the case. Perhaps, we just don’t realize it.

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A study on Galatians, chapter 1:1. Now the truth, I have to ask myself? Am I doing this for me, or for some vindictive pastor who can see no good in me?


At our Monday morning Bible Study, we have been going through the leader’s end times teachings and thoughts for the last three years. I conservatively tell people that it was a solid two year period, just to be on the safe side. Several of us formed a spin-off group and would meet on Wednesdays for coffee with the intent of discussing some of the fallacies we had encountered the previous Monday.

Because of the fallacies, I found myself buried in end-times teachings almost continuously. Now that is not a bad thing, and my local group deemed me the expert. Expert was hardly the case, but I would answer questions as best I could, and thanks to the Holy Spirit, they were usually correct answers. There is a distinct satisfaction when you see the impact as the Holy Spirit is the teacher (and yes, he uses people.) I suppose what I noticed the most was that I was missing my journeys through the letters of Paul, Peter, James, and John.

One of those topics became evident as I began to read through Paul’s letter to the believers in the region of Galatia (We call it the book of Galatians.)

Galatians 1:6-9 KJV I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7) Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8) But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9) As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

As you can see, there is an emphasis on a gospel message. Since the word gospel the Greek word for good news, then you have to ask, what was the good news to these people Paul preached to? If we were to trek through the book of Acts, we would find that for years, the first place Paul went when he came into a village, was the synagogue. It is easy to presume and correctly so, that Paul preached this good news to the Jews he found there. Since the Jews were the holders of the promises of God, you would think that they already had the good news, and they did, but they also had the law; a collection of laws that were enhanced by the addition of man-made laws designed to control the people.

To a people who may have realized they were entrapped by man’s laws, this message of grace and mercy was a Godsend. If you heard Paul’s words and allowed them to change you, how could you, or would you go back to the bondage that man and his hierarchy bring? Truth be known, you wouldn’t have, unless, you had been deceived in some way. And that seems to be the basis of this letter.

Galatians 1:1 NASB Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead),

“Paul an apostle – See the note at Rom_1:1. This is the usual form in which he commences his epistles, and it was of special importance to commence the Epistle in this manner because it was one design to vindicate his apostleship, or to show that he had received his commission directly from the Lord Jesus.” [Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible]

Romans 1:1 NASB Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

From John Gill’s commentary on Romans 1:1 – “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,…. The name of the author of this epistle is Paul, who formerly was called Saul. Some think his name was changed upon his own conversion; others, upon the conversion of the Roman deputy Sergius Paulus, Act_13:7; others, that he was so called from the littleness of his stature; but rather it should seem that he had two names, which was usual with the Jews; one by which they went among the Gentiles, and another by they were called in their own land; See Gill on Act_13:9. ” [I show you the Complete Jewish Bible translation.]

Acts 13:9 CJB Then Sha’ul, also known as Paul, filled with the Ruach HaKodesh, stared straight at him and said,

The Jewish translation took on a new meaning to me recently as I was trying to find some background information on Matthew 24:36 and I came across this website, http://www.hebroots.org/hebrootsarchive/9807/980715_c.html. In explaining about the New Moon at the beginning of the Jewish New Year, this comes up:
“In Y’shua’s day, the moon was so important that a Jewish festival was proclaimed at the beginning of every month (Talmud Tractate Chaggigah 17b;
Shavuot 10a; Arachin 10b). This was called the New Moon Festival and in the B’rit Chadashah, Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul) makes note of it (Colossians 2:16).”

Almost Instantly I gained an understanding of Paul’s impact on the Messianic Jewish community.

Gill’s comments on Acts 13:9 – Then Saul (who also is called Paul),… He was called by both these names; as he was a Jew by birth, his parents called him Saul, that was his Jewish name, and by which he went among the Jews; and as he was a citizen of a Roman city, Tarsus in Cilicia, he went among the Romans, or Gentiles, by the name of Paul, a Roman name; and it was usual with the Jews to be called after this manner, that is, to have one name among themselves, and another among the Gentiles: it is a rule with them (n), that “the Israelites out of the land, their names are as the names of the Gentiles;” yea, their names differed in Judea and Galilee; a woman went by one name in Judea, and another in Galilee (o): and it is observable, that Luke calls the apostle by his Jewish name Saul, whilst he was among the Jews, and only preached among them; but now he is got among the Gentiles, and was about to appear openly to be their apostle, he all along hereafter calls him by his Gentile name Paul: though some think his name was changed upon his conversion, as it was usual with Jewish penitents to do; when a man repented of his sin, he changed his name (says Maimonides) (p),”

Although we do not see the phrase, a servant of Jesus Christ, here in the first verse, the idea is there cloaked in the expression, “but through Jesus Christ and God the Father.”
More from Gill, “A servant of Jesus Christ”; not a servant of sin, nor of Satan, nor of man, nor of Moses and his law, nor of the traditions of the elders, but of Jesus Christ; and not by creation only, but by redemption, and by powerful efficacious grace in conversion; which is no ways contrary to true liberty; nor a disgraceful, but a most honourable character; and which chiefly regards him as a minister of the Gospel:

Being a servant of Jesus Christ is the simplest aspect of this introduction, but Paul added another characteristic when noted that he was “an apostle, sent by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead.”

Gill explains, “called to be an apostle”: an apostle was one that was immediately sent by Christ, and had his authority and doctrine directly from him, and had a power of working miracles from him, in confirmation of the truth of his mission, authority, and doctrine; all which were to be found in the author of this epistle, who did not thrust himself into this office, or take this honour to himself, of which he always judged himself unworthy, but was “called” to it according to the will, and by the grace of God:”

In my naivete, wrote: All this introduction seems like an unusual and unnecessary proclamation, but, having spoken before a large audiences, you realize it carries much weight when they have an idea of who you are and what your credentials are.

Credentials, by the way, often come through the acceptance of someone trusted who bears witness to why you should be standing before this group.

At the church I attend, we had a man come and give his testimony. The unnerving aspect of this was that he had formerly produced pornography, and not that long ago. Fortunately for him, someone vouched for him and pastor trusted that he would be alright.

Give some thought to how Jesus was received when He said things not so dissimilar to Paul’s introduction. The pharisees were willing to stone Paul and did one occasion. Jesus got come backs like, “we know who are father is!” [John 8:39-41 KJV]. The implications of this heinous statement were quickly understood, as this all fell back to Mary, His mother. With a backbone of steel, she stood her ground and insisted that God was His Father. How much easier it would have been to say, Joseph was the father, but he wasn’t and she and Joseph both knew that. The result of her holding her ground was a hellish amount of opposition, and this caustic comeback was proof of that.

While there are few, if any, Apostles today, in spite of fact that many like to be called by that title, there are an uncountable number of people who have been sent on small, seemingly insignificant personal assignments. Without the fame and acclaim that comes with a title, we ignore them, and, in some cases ridicule them.

apostolos; from G649; a messenger, one sent on a mission, an apostle: – apostle (19), apostles (52), apostles’ (5), messenger (1), messengers (1), is sent (1).

Paul, in Romans 1, described himself as a servant. Since a servant can also be a messenger, or, one sent, then apostolos fits.

Having spent most of my life in religion I can tell that I have seen it all. At one church I attended, popular prophetic evangelists came to the church and made a big deal about our pastor, pronouncing that he was an Apostle. Apparently because he planted a church and it happened to grow. I just thought he was a pretty cool guy that would ride motorcycles with us. Without all the accolades we too have been sent; some, too large audiences and some to individuals. It makes no difference the size of the crowd, as long as you did your job.

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My notes as I prepared to teach on the Discipline of Fasting by Richard Foster.


I had been asked by my pastor to teach a couple of sessions out of one of the books from which he was yet to pick. When he named off the potential authors, I cringed internally as my pastor can turn anything into legalism. He settled on The Discipline of Fasting by Richard Foster.

Considering my understanding of discipline and the belt my father used to administer that obedience, my stomach was turning. Add to that a verbal image portrayed by the pastor, in which he told us that the shepherd would snap the leg of the sheep which kept running astray. I can’t remember anything about that story that would help to give it a redeeming quality. However, in relating this story to a friend recently, I pointed out how it was the shepherd’s purpose and intent to sale unblemished lambs to the surrounding Jewish community, a necessity for sacrifices. Having broken the lamb’s leg, it was now a cripple and unable to survive on its own. The shepherd was now responsible for this offending little one and would have to carry it to water, food, and set it down to do its normal business as all lambs do. In the process of holding and caring for this lamb, the shepherd and the lamb build a tight bond, one in which the lamb becomes fondly and permanently attached to the shepherd. I image that the shepherd could develop a strong attachment for that particular sheep. You should not have to dig that deep to figure out that the shepherd is Jesus in the larger picture, and, the pastor in the smaller picture. We are the “offending” sheep. I can remember thinking that this is not the God that I have come to know, and, I did not want this pastor to ever get that close to me, and yet he has. Most recently, he asked me to lead this book study.

Under the pretense of discussing the lesson that I was to teach, the pastor asked me a question that he did not want an answer to. The question was: Why do you teach on Eschatology so much, and where do you get your conclusions. (I suppose it is important to note that pastor has never heard me speak, nor does he know what I teach, therefore these questions were really based upon things I shared with him personally in a previous meeting.)

Considering that he never gave me the chance to refute his assertions I will defend my actions now. I teach on end times and eschatology because (1.) I have always wanted to understand. (2.) Having sat under a false teacher for about three years, during which time, he would focus on one thing for as much as six months. I would make notes and then go home and research his assertions to find out if they are in scripture; I could rarely find anything he claimed to be the truth. (3.) Having spent the majority of my life in churches, I became thoroughly disgusted with religion. The solution was to take my bible and read it for myself. I started doing this with a strong determination in 2007 when I started working for a building materials store. I cannot remember a day when I did not spend at least 30 to 45 minutes each day reading and writing. In writing I would make notes; challenge what I read, and ask God questions. Not surprisingly, God began to speak to me. In addition to reading my bible, I ran across an author named Joel Richardson. He had written a book called the Islamic Antichrist. After reading that book the bible just started to come alive; there was not a book of the Bible that gave me trouble after that. My friends, perhaps sarcastically, began to call me the expert on end times things. I don’t buy into that, but I am not afraid to answer questions, although some questions require a little research.

As to the concept of only teaching on Eschatology, my pastor, was himself in a semi-retirement, as I taught for almost a year on the book of John at another church.

So, with that introduction, I was supposed to lead the group discussion on Chapter 4, The Discipline of Fasting this last Wednesday. When I walked into the room pastor is the only one there. He had taken the seat at the center of the table, and I could not help but notice that he had notes on the same topic. An aspect I failed to mention, I gave him a copy of my notes, to which he blurted out, you can’t teach this, it’s too much. Again, he had no interest in asking my intent. He repeatedly said he was worried about what I was going to say and would I offend everyone. Apparently, he took actions into his own hands and pushed me out; blindsided, I said nothing. 

Here is what I believe I would have taught.

On the subject of Fasting, can I speak from experience?

Yes, but for only three days.

In the second paragraph of chapter 4, Richard Foster tells us one of the reasons why there is a disregard of fasting.

With the decline of the inward reality of the Christian faith, an increasing tendency to stress the only thing left, the outward form, developed.” Foster goes on to say, “And whenever there is a form devoid of spiritual power, the law will take over because law always carries with it a sense of security and manipulative power. Hence, fasting was subjected to the most rigid regulations and practiced with extreme self-mortification and flagellation.”

There is another aspect of this world that has distracted us from fasting, and that is HedonismHedonism, according to the dictionary, is the pursuit of pleasure – sensual self-indulgence. It is the ethical theory that pleasure (in the sense of the satisfaction of desires) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.

Food falls into this category.

It almost sounds like I am advocating the law. However, operating under the law or laws is not what we are trying to convey.

Jesus, speaking to men under the law, said in Matthew 6:16-18

“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17) “But you when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18) so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. [NASB]

As Richard Foster explains, “these words of Jesus do not constitute a command. Jesus was giving instruction on the proper exercise of a common practice of his day.”

When we start to emphasize a discipline, a common argument heard within the church might be, we are not under the law and therefore have no clear mandate to fast. And yet, Richard Foster makes a good point when he says, “Our freedom in the gospel, however, does not mean license; it means opportunity. Since there are no laws to bind us, we are then free to fast on any day.”

Then what Biblical direction and encouragement do we have?

Jonah – The prophet eventually delivers a prophetic word to a hated people, hoping that they will be destroyed by God. God, however, had other plans.

Jonah 3:4-10 NASB Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5) Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. 6) When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. 7) He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. 8) “But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. 9) “Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.” 10) When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

Richard Foster told us of Britain in 1756. The King of Britain called for a day of solemn prayer and fasting because of a threatened invasion by the French. John Wesley tells us “that every church in the city was more than full, and a solemn seriousness sat on every face.” That invasion wrote Wesley in one of his footnotes, was averted.

Look up the word fasting in the New Testament, and you will find instances such as this:

Matthew 17:21 Where Jesus said, “..this kind (of demon) does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Whether the act of fasting makes you fearless, gives you power, or perhaps an insight into what is going on in peoples lives, or merely the knowledge that God has your back, I don’t know.

What gave the disciples the skills or abilities to cast out demons; perhaps Jesus had been schooling them in prayer and fasting. The evidence for this comes from Mark’s gospel, chapter 6, where we see Jesus sending out the disciples with the instructions that they had power over unclean spirits. What we don’t see is the fasting. However, we can safely assume that those who went out were equipped by example, for upon their return, they reported that the demons responded to their commands.

Mark 6:13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.

Luke 10:17 KJV And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

Acts 13:2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

While fasting may have been a standard within the Jewish community from which they came, it still played a part in the clarity of decision, and prophetic word, that caused Barnabas and Saul to be sent out.

I want to point out 1 Corinthians 7:5 independently because translations have become part of the problem as we try to understand and perhaps integrate fasting back into our lives. The context of the verse is an admonition for marriages. In this case, the separation, perhaps under the guise of fasting (a Jewish tradition,) has been used to deprive the other of some relational aspect of the marriage. Paul, who knew too well that this takes place, instructed that in doing such, with the intent of punishing the other, opens the door to Satan because of their lack of self-control. Self-control? Yes, as this would push you to overflow your own rivers banks into areas that you should not go. The problem is that you do not get the word fasting when you use most newer translations.

1 Corinthians 7:5 NASB “Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

The King James version, as well as several literal translations, used the word fasting.

From the Word Study Dictionary – The Greek word is nēsteía; to fast. A fasting, fast, abstinence from eating, generally for want of food (2Co_6:5; 2Co_11:27). In a religious sense of the private fastings of the Jews (Mat_17:21; Mar_9:29 [TR]; Luk_2:37) to which great merit was attributed, the Pharisees practiced often, sometimes twice a week (cf. Luk_18:12; Sept.: Isa_58:3 ff.; Dan_9:3). In their longer fastings, they abstained only from better kinds of food. The Jews used to call such a fast “The great annual public fast of the great Day of Atonement” which occurred in the month Tisri, corresponding to the new moon of October.

Now, look at the KJV which did include the word fasting.

1 Corinthians 7:5 KJV Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

The point is that we do have an example of fasting in the New Testament, although with a negative spin.

Richard Foster, under the heading of “The Purpose of Fasting” states, “It is sobering to realize that the very first statement Jesus made about fasting dealt with the question of motive.” We are given Matthew 6:16-18

“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17) “But you when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face 18) so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. NASB

Foster goes on to say,

Fasting must forever center on God.

  • It must be God initiated, and God ordained.
  • Every other purpose must be subservient to God.

“Our avoidance of fasting has much to do with the condition of the heart; the heart, therefore, needs to be firmly fixed before you go there.” There are secondary purposes in fasting, and fasting, according to Foster, reveals the things that control us. We are very good at covering up what is inside of us. We do it with food and other “good” things, but in fasting these things surface. If pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately.”

Things you might expect to find:

  • Anger
  • bitterness
  • jealousy
  • strife
  • fear

If they are within, they will surface during fasting. Foster explains, “At first we will rationalize that our anger is due to our hunger; then we will realize that are angry because the spirit of anger is within us. We can rejoice even with this knowledge as we know that healing is available through the power of Christ.”

Concerning direction and instruction, few passages speak more clearly than Isaiah 58:1-14

Yes, I get it, the generalized idea is that the Old Testament represents the law, and some act as though it should be avoided, but do not forget that our freedom sets us free to fast. It is not, therefore, a law to us, but an addition to our lives which are increasingly beset with troubles. I might also add that fasting is a tool and a weapon, as we are that thing that restrains in the last days, and if fasting assists in that battle, then so be it (Amen.)

2 Thessalonians 2:7 AMPC For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way.

I am convinced that this is the faith-filled church, standing against the enemies onslaughts. You do not have to look far to see how this is playing out around you. On a daily basis, our freedoms are progressively being stripped away, even to the point where your thoughts, expressed on social media, can and will be used against you. All someone has to do is say, that offends me, and you can find yourself in handcuffs for hate speech. Can you see why we need every arrow in our quivers; fasting is one of those arrows, and, as you will see from Isaiah, it is a powerful one.

Isaiah 58:5, in the NASB, begins with:

“Is it a fast like this which I choose,

a day for a man to humble himself?

Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed?

Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? 6)

“Is this not the fast which I choose,

To loosen the bonds of wickedness,

To undo the bands of the yoke,

And to let the oppressed go free

And break every yoke?

Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry

And bring the homeless poor into the house;

When you see the naked, to cover him;

And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

The word flesh means just that in the Hebrew but can also mean blood relations. Albert Barnes commentary explains, To hide oneself from them may denote either, first, to be ashamed of them on account of their poverty or humble rank in life; or, secondly, to withhold from them the just supply of their needs.

Values and benefits of Fasting (from Foster’s book.)

Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. “How easily we begin to allow non-essentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things, we do not need until we are enslaved by them.” Paul wrote, “All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything” 1 Cor. 6:12.

Foster again, “Our human cravings and desires are like rivers that tend to overflow their banks; fasting helps keep them in their proper channels.” Others, according to Foster, have written that fasting gives us an increased effectiveness in intercessory prayer.

  • Guidance in decisions
  • Increased concentration
  • Physical well being

Let’s camp here for a minute. What do we ingest in our bodies? A few ingredients from an instant macaroni and cheese product: Glyceral monostearate; Calcium carbonate; Sodium triphosphate; Sodium phosphate, and medium chain triglycerides. Perhaps the occasional purging of some of these cryptic products would be a benefit to us.

  • RevelationIn this case, Revelation is primarily referring to Godly insights, but it could mean other things as well.

The Practice of Fasting

We are admonished by Foster to walk before we run. With that said, I cannot imagine trying to take on a water or juice fast for seven days, while continuing to work as a high voltage electrical worker. Having fasted for three days, I know how those three days felt. On day two, I can assure you that no one needed to be around me; and on day three, I was so weak I felt like all I could do was lie in bed and rest; everything exhausted me. In no way was I in any condition to deal with the outside world, let alone my wife.

Could I accomplish much if I merely fasted a meal? With purpose, of course, I could. I do it frequently with television and now the cell phone. You have to keep in mind that the body is, as Foster puts it, like a spoiled child, and a spoiled child does not need indulgence. So, perhaps then, you can understand Paul a little better when he says, “I pommel my body and subdue it. 1 Cor. 9:27.

Foster states, “If family obligations permit it, devote the time you would normally use eating to meditation and prayer.”

Let me end with some wisdom from Richard Foster.

Although the physical aspects of fasting intrigue us, we must never forget that the major work of scriptural fasting is in the realm of the spirit. What goes on spiritually is much more important than what is happening bodily. You will be engaging in spiritual warfare that will necessitate using all the weapons of Ephesians 6.” Foster goes on to say, “I do not want to leave the impression that all fasting is a heavy spiritual struggle.”

Fasting can bring breakthroughs in the spiritual realm that will never happen in any other way.”

We all seem to understand that Jesus would get alone, in the garden, apparently for the purposes of finding the nature, and character of the Father; and to, commune with Him. In so doing he could come to know the Father’s heart. Some would argue that Jesus, whose relationship with the Father has always been, would have known the Father’s heart already, and merely drawn from that knowledge. The problem with that is that we forget that Jesus set aside the glory he had with the Father to become a man. Another way of putting this, Jesus willingly stripped himself of heaven’s advantages and continued to remain in that state, as a man. That would mean He had to sort this out, just as we have to. He had one small advantage that we don’t have, no Monday night football to distract him.

While changing the world around us is a good thing, I need to seek to learn His voice. You see, in Proverbs, we are told that wisdom cries aloud in the streets. The impression I get from that is, the Holy Spirit/the Father is talking all the time. If I am not hearing Him, then I need to get in tune.

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An essay from Hebroots.com entitled: No Man knows the Day or the Hour.


This is taken, in its entirety, from Hebrew Roots.com. The direct web address is: http://www.hebroots.org/hebrootsarchive/9807/980715_c.html

I happened to find this information mere hours before Rosh Hashana began on Wednesday, 9/20/2017 and it took my breath away for several reasons.

  1. I have been trying to convey to believers that Jesus, the Jew, said things that a Jewish audience understood without hesitation. We, on the other hand, really have no clue at all, and part of the reason for that is this false idea that God has replaced Israel with us broken Gentiles.

  2. Knowing that Rosh Hashana, the highest of holy days in the Jewish community, was about to take place, and, knowing that it is also called the Feast of Trumpets, I immediately made the correlation with the coming of Jesus in the clouds to gather His church. The time frame closed at sunset on Friday 922/2017.

To be honest I was greatly disappointed to wake up on earth Saturday morning. Does the fact that I am still here mean that the information included here is invalid? Not at all. It might mean we have another year, or it might mean that the creator of the timing and the controller of the clock, has other plans. None the less, we are there, in the ballpark, playing out the last inning. Keep in mind that the seventieth week of years – the time of God’s wrath has been on hold for over two thousand years. No worries, no matter what comes, because God is in control.

Ozzie


From: Tony Galli
To: heb_roots_chr@geocities.com
Subject: No One Knows The Day Or Hour

NO ONE KNOWS THE DAY OR THE HOUR?

At the Time of the End, the wise shall understand. Dan 12:10

Understanding the expression “No man knows the day or hour” is not possible
by simply taking the English translation literally, because in the book of
Daniel and the Book of Revelation, we are given EXACT descriptions of
timing, relative to KEY events – such as the shutting down of the altar
sacrifices in Jerusalem at the MID-POINT of the 70th week. Dan 9:27

Jesus was asked, “When shall these things be?” Matt 24:3

His answer ties us into a very specific event (The Abomination of
Desolation) which can be measured on our calendars: “When you therefore
shall see the Abomination Of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet,
stand in the holy place, (whoever reads, let him understand:)…” Matt 24:15.

[My comment: This takes place 1260 days into the seven years of God’s wrath.
That has not initiated yet.]

It is now clear that “no man knows the day or hour” does NOT mean “no man
knows the day or hour” as we read it from a modern-day English perspective.

From his book “Signs In the Heavens” by Avi Ben Mordechai, he devotes a
chapter to explaining what “no man knows the day or hour” truly means from
a rabbinical Hebraic perspective. It is a figure of speech.

The following chapter contains edited excerpts from Avi Ben Mordechai’s
commentaries and builds on them aiming to explain that the Holy Bible does
in fact, reveal the “day and hour” or “exact timing” of our Lord’s Return.

No One Knows the Day or the Hour?

Christians over the centuries have separated themselves from their Hebraic
roots causing the misunderstanding of key Jewish biblical idioms. An idiom
is also a figure of speech. When Y’shua (Jesus) uttered His famous words
concerning the Messianic Era in Mattityahu (Matthew) 24:26, “No one knows
about that day or hour, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but
only the Father”, He used a common Jewish figure of speech referring to a
specific Jewish Festival
.
In essence, He was saying, “I am coming for My
Bride on such and such a day! Be watching!”
What day could the Jewish idiom
be referring to? Keep reading!

HEBRAIC ROOTS

Y’shua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) was Jewish and lived a
Torah-observant Jewish life. Evidence suggests that He communicated to His
audience in the Hebrew language, in Hebraic ways. What does it mean to
communicate in Hebraic ways? It means to think and talk like a Jew. In
Y’shua’s day it meant to speak in the language and idioms of the day. Those
who heard the Lord speak knew what He was saying and usually what He was
alluding to unless He was speaking in parables, which had their own
analogies.
Of course, today’s generation of believers struggles to
understand His words and concepts. Speaking, thinking and acting like the
Jewish Rabbi He was helped His mission in bringing the gospel message to
“the lost sheep of the house of Israel”
(Matt 15:24).

Y’shua was quoted in Mattityahu (Matthew) 8:11 as saying: “I say to you
that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places
at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven”
. Since we are talking about Jewish idioms, have you ever considered the meaning of these words? Specifically, our Lord used and confirmed common Jewish ideas about the Day of the Lord – the millennium – and its relation to the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) in Z’kharyah 14. In speaking, Y’shua referred to the Festival and its traditional guests of honour, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’acov, called the ushpizin (uoosh-piz-zin) or seven shepherds (exalted
guests), invited into every succah (tabernacle) at the Feast of Sukkot in
the fall of the year. The seven shepherds in descending order are
1. Avraham (Abraham), 2. Yitzchak (Isaac), 3. Ya’acov (Jacob), 4. Mosheh
(Moses), 5. Aaron, 6. Yosef (Joseph) and 7. HaMelech David (King David).
By mentioning the feast and three of the seven shepherds, His audience
immediately understood the allusion to the Messianic age – “Millennium” or
“Day” of the Lord.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).
Again, in this simplistic phrase Y’shua, the Son of Miriyam and Yosef,
spoke of two things: His Deity (by calling Himself the subject of the
prophet Dani’el’s vision) and His mission (by calling Himself the One God
Who spoke to Mosheh on Mount Sinai) as it is written in Dani’el and
Yechezk’el (Ezekiel):

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was One like a Son of
Man, coming with the clouds of Heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days
and was led into His presence (Dani’el 7:13-14).

For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I Myself will search for My sheep
and look after them (Yechezk’el-Ezekiel 34:11ff).

In the Gospel narrative of Luke 23:31, Y’shua said: “For if men do these
things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?” In this
verse Y’shua points His audience, who had portions of the writings of the
Prophets memorized, to the verses in Yechezk’el (Ezekiel) 20:45 to 21:7.
Without question, Y’shua’s hearers knew He referred to Chevlei HaMashiach
or Ya’acov’s Trouble in the Great Tribulation and warned His audience that
what they do to Him in hardness of heart now, God will do to the nation in
judgment later.

Y’shua’s encounter with Natan’el (Nathanael) is recorded in Yochanan (John)
1:47-48: When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, He said of him, “Here is a
true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false”. “How do You know me?”
Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the
fig tree before Philip called you”.

Again, our Lord used a strong figure of speech pointing to a widely taught
Jewish expectation concerning the resurrection and the millennium. In
brief, He told Natan’el that he will be alive on the Last Day to inherit
the land promised to Avraham (Bereshith-Genesis 17:8). From Y’shua’s words,
Natan’el understood he would participate in the resurrection since “that
Day” was yet future. This is understood in the first-century Jewish figure
of speech, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree”, which
refers to life and study of Torah in the millennium (Midrash Rabbah
Genesis, Rabbah Song of Songs). Y’shua also told Natan’el that he is like
righteous Avraham who received his reward for trusting God. This is
understood because of the phrase, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there
is nothing false”. The millennial concept of the fig tree is found
throughout the Tanach including Z’kharyah 3:10: “In that day each of you
will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree”, declares the
LORD Almighty. For this reason, Natan’el responded emphatically to Y’shua
and His words, saying: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; You are the King of
Israel!”

God through HaMashiach Y’shua spoke to the Jews in many portions and in
many ways (Hebrews 1:1-2) relying upon known figures of speech, common
expectations and direct thoughts from Talmudic and Pharisaic teachings. The
concepts I addressed only scratch the surface, so-to-speak. Every phrase
and word from the mouth of the Lord meant something to His audience. He
spoke with precision. With that as a basis, let us go on to one of the most
interesting Jewish figures of speech misunderstood by the Church over the
years. It concerns Y’shua’s phrase, “No one knows about that day or hour,
not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father”. In
context, He refers to the home-taking of His bride, the beginning of the
Messianic era and His millennial reign as King of kings over all the earth.
To understand this concept, we begin by examining its foundation.

ROSH HASHANAH

Chapter Five described the annual Jewish Festival of Trumpets or Rosh
HaShanah – the first day of the seventh month. A few themes linked to this
Jewish festival is resurrection, repentance, kingship, coronation and a
marriage feast. This chapter shows another theme and convincing proof that
Rosh HaShanah is not only the start of “The Day of the Lord” (Millennium,)
but is also the day of the resurrection! It has to do with the moon and its
29-day cycle of renewal.

In this period of slightly less than 30 days, the moon goes from darkness
to light and back to darkness again. This is not a haphazard occurrence
attributed to evolution or science. God planned it for many reasons, one
being as a picture of resurrection and renewal. With each cycle of nearly
30 days the ancient rabbis understood that the moon was being reborn or
“born again” (Sefard siddur, Mussaf for Shabbat and Shabbat Rosh Chodesh,
p. 509 and 646-648).

NEW MOON

In Y’shua’s day, the moon was so important that a Jewish festival was
proclaimed at the beginning of every month (Talmud Tractate Chaggigah 17b;
Shavuot 10a; Arachin 10b). This was called the New Moon Festival and in the
B’rit Chadashah, Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul) makes note of it (Colossians 2:16).
Even in the Tanach, King David provoked King Sha’ul (Saul) over it (1
Shmu’el-Samuel 20:5). In the coming millennium, the gate of the inner court
of the Temple facing east shall be opened on the new moon
(Yechezk’el-Ezekiel 46:1). And finally, in the millennium all nations will
celebrate the New Moon festival every month (Yeshayahu-Isaiah 66:23)
. It is
obvious from the Hebrew Scriptures that in the millennium God has no plans
to do away with His system.

Since it is so important, exactly what is a new moon? It is the opposite of
a full moon. Every month the moon goes through a complete cycle of renewal
called Rosh Chodesh, the head or beginning of the renewed month. Twelve
times a year on Rosh Chodesh, the moon always starts off with its disk
being very dark to the naked eye. Over the course of 15 days, it gets
brighter and brighter until it finally reaches a full white-faced disk or
full moon. Over the next 15 days, it becomes darker and darker and finally
becomes invisible to the naked eye again.

The ancient rabbis saw a great lesson in this. Just as the moon has no
light of its own but receives its light from the sun, so we too have no
light of our own and must receive it from God. As the moon goes through a
near 30-day cycle of dark to light to dark, so we need constant spiritual
renewal and repentance. Like the moon, we too must be reborn or “born
again” into HaMashiach and constantly renewed through repentance. This is
why God called it a faithful witness in the sky (Mizmor-Psalm 89:37).

If the moon is so important to God, why do we pay so little attention to
it? We have lost touch with God’s faithful witness in the sky. But Y’shua
and the people of His day never lost touch with it. And as I previously
noted, not only was the new moon necessary for the Jewish calendar, it was
also a monthly festival celebrated with a feast fit for a king! So, when
Y’shua said His famous words in Mattityahu-Matthew 24:36, it had
far-reaching implications. Here are the words of Y’shua in a few different
translations:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of
heaven, but my Father only. (KJV)

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the
Son, but only the Father. (NIV) But of that day and hour knoweth no one,
not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only. (ASV)
About the exact time, however, and the hour, none knows – not even the
messengers of Heaven; but My Father alone. (Fenton Modern English
Translation)

Failing to think like Y’shua and taking phrases out of Jewish context can
lead one to misunderstand His words.
For example, in many places of the
B’rit Chadashah Y’shua knew the future and talked about it openly. In one
instance He warned His talmidim (disciples) about their future saying,
“See, I have told you ahead of time” (Mattityahu-Matthew 24:25). His
context concerned the tribulation, the destruction of the Temple, the rise
and fall of false messiahs (antichrists), etc. If He knew the future in
Mattityahu 24:25, and the context concerns the Day of Trouble, why would He
suddenly speak as though He did not know the future in the same context
just 11 verses later in Mattityahu 24:36? Was He confused? Or was He making
perfect sense in light of the customs of the Jews?

Since the subject of our discussion is the new moon and figures of speech,
realize the phrase, “Of that day and hour no man knows” refers to the
sanctification or setting apart of the new moon. Without this
Sanctification, the Jews had no way of determining God’s “appointed times”
or moedim.

Twelve times a year a new Jewish month (Rosh Chodesh) was announced to the
people.
We have no system like it today. We look at a calendar to determine
the first of the month; the Jews, however, looked at the moon.
This system
of chronology was given to the Jews to know precisely when the Holy
festivals (moedim) would fall (there are still eight of them; seven
appointed times and Shabbat).
The moon was the faithful Jewish calendar or
witness in the sky and 12 times a year was sanctified as the basis of the
Jewish stellar calendar.

GOD’S APPOINTED TIMES

Because the moon was so important for Jewish date – setting, the authorities
in charge of announcing the new moon in Y’rushalayim took great care to
ensure the first day of the month was announced on time. To correctly
announce the first day of the month, established by the new moon, was one
of the Sanhedrin’s greatest responsibilities. They had to ensure the people
knew when the first of the month began 12 times a year! Therefore God said
to the leaders of Israel:

These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you
shall proclaim at the times appointed for them (Vayikrah-Leviticus 23:4).

In other words, God gave the Sanhedrin authority to announce and sanctify
the new moon to the people. Its proclamation on earth was supported by God
in Heaven (c.f. Mattityahu 18:18-20 where the Jewish context supports a
believers’ Sanhedrin as seen in Acts 15). As soon as the new moon was
announced, the first day of the month began. Once the beginning of the new
month was established, the festivals and weekly Shabbats for the upcoming
month were sanctified for observance. In Hebrew, those observances have
always been called “appointed times” or moedim, literally “a sacred and
set time”. From God’s perspective, the appointed times belong to Him
(Midrash Rabbah Numbers, Vol 2.21.25, p. 852) and no one has the authority
to change the celebration of an appointed time. To do so was a serious
matter and great sin. Appointed times had to be kept because of their
Messianic implications.

Further, in Vayikrah (Leviticus) 23:4, notice the phrase, “holy
convocation“. The phrase in Hebrew is mikraw kodesh, better translated,
“holy convocation and rehearsal”
. In other words, God’s appointed times are
actually “holy rehearsals” set apart to reflect events in the Messianic
era. God said to the people, “Pay attention! On this day I am going to do
something! Wake-up! The Jews were to know and practice all of God’s mikraot
or holy convocations. This is the essence of Rav Sha’ul’s (Paul’s) words that the
Shabbat, new moons, and festivals, “are a shadow of things to come; the body
of Mashiach” (Colossians 2:17).

Twice a year, in the spring and fall, there were several appointed times
and specific days of holy convocation dedicated to the Lord. The new moon
was the key in being able to fulfill those set times, holy convocations and
rehearsals. For example, when the new moon was announced on the first day
of Nisan, also called Aviv, the people knew when to observe the holy
convocations and set times of the 10th (Shemot-Exodus 12:3), 14th and 15th
(Shemot-Exodus 12:6; Bamidbar-Numbers 33:3), 16th (Vayikrah-Leviticus
23:15), and finally the 21st. In the same way, when the new moon was
announced on the first day of Tishri also called Ethanim, the people knew
when to observe the Holy convocations of the 1st (Vayikrah-Leviticus
23:23), 10th (Vayikrah-Leviticus 23:26), 15th (Vayikrah-Leviticus 23:39),
and 22nd (Vayikrah-Leviticus 23:36). Thus from the announcement of the new
moon to the festival dates which followed, it was only a matter of counting
the right number of days. In a moment you will understand how this applies
to the phrase that Y’shua spoke concerning His coming again.

THE SANHEDRIN AND THE TWO WITNESSES

The Mishnah also referred to as the Oral Law, dealt with the legal
elements of daily Jewish religious life, in Hebrew called Halachah. In the
treasure of the first and second-century Halachah, we find many explanations
to help us understand the Torah, particularly in Y’shua’s day since it was
still oral then. In volume two called “moed” or festival, tractate Rosh
HaShanah teaches us about the Sanhedrin and its selection process of two
witnesses who would tell us when the new moon arrived. Once a month the
Sanhedrin discussed when to proclaim the new moon. They did this through
the agency of two witnesses, the element of all legal transactions in
Judaism.

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any
sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the
mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. Deut 19:15

The men were important because, by their witness, Israel celebrated God’s
appointed times. They had to be of good character and were always treated
with great honour. They had special privileges such as authorization to
ride into Y’rushalayim on horseback on the Shabbat to bring the good news
of the new moon festivities! The men had special status because they were
the confirmation that Y’hudah (Judaea)  depended on for the correct timing
of the new month and the festivals.

Rosh HaShanah Chapter 2, Mishnah 5 reads: There was a large court in
Jerusalem called Beth Ya’azek. There all the witnesses used to assemble and
the Beth Din used to examine them. They used to entertain them lavishly
there so that they should have an inducement to come. (The witnesses were
allowed to break the Shabbat travel restrictions for this one purpose lest
they might be reluctant to come and give the essential evidence of the
sighting of the new moon).

Continuing in Chapter 2, Mishnah 6: How do they test the witnesses? The
pair who arrive first are tested first. The senior of them is brought in
and they say to him, tell us how you saw the moon – in front of the sun or
behind the sun? To the north of it or the south? How big was it, and in
which direction was it inclined? And how broad was it? If he says (he saw
it) in front of the sun, his evidence is rejected. After that, they would
bring in the second and test him. If their accounts tallied, their evidence
was accepted, and the other pairs were only questioned briefly, not because
they were required at all, but so that they should not be disappointed,
(and) so that they should not be dissuaded from coming.

In qualifying the witnesses, the Sanhedrin used the following criteria:
They never arrived at the same time.
They were never questioned at the same time.
There were always two new witnesses each month.

In short, the two qualified witnesses usually stood before the Nassi or
President of the Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court) to give account of the
moon’s appearance prior to its becoming total dark (Moed Rosh HaShanah,
Chapter 3, Mishnah 1). Just before the moon’s disk enters total darkness,
there are tiny slivers of white on the edges of the waning disk. These were
called the “horns” of the moon. Correctly sighting the “horns” (on the
waning crescent) determined the beginning of the new month. Once the two
witnesses were qualified and questioned, if the President (who had
knowledge of astronomy) was convinced their observation was accurate, he
publicly sanctified the start of the new month.

After careful scrutiny to determine the official arrival of the new moon,
the Nassi or President of the Sanhedrin proclaimed Rosh Chodesh with the
words: “Sanctified”, and all the people repeat after him, “Sanctified,
sanctified”. After the proclamation, the Sanhedrin ordered watchmen on the
nearby hillsides to light fires and thus inform the Jews in all of Y’hudah
(Judaea), Shomron (Samaria), Egypt, Babylon and the galut (diaspora) that
the new month had begun. That started the festival of the New Moon and
counting of the next 29- days to the next new month proclamation.

Again, once the Sanhedrin set Rosh Chodesh, or the beginning of the new
month by sighting the new moon, the rest of the festivals were calculated.
However, the seventh month, Tishri, was particularly important because it
was the only month that had a holy convocation or appointed time on the
first day of the month. This posed a unique problem. The first day of
Tishri was the appointed time called Rosh HaShanah, the Feast of Trumpets
(Vayikrah-Leviticus 23:24). Yet no one could begin observing the festival
until they heard those famous words from the President of the Sanhedrin,
“Sanctified!”

No one in Israel could plan for the first day of the seventh month Tishri,
called Yom Teruah or the Feast of Trumpets (also called Rosh HaShanah).
When they knew how many days to count to a festival, that would be easy.
But:

HOW COULD THEY PLAN FOR A FESTIVAL THAT THEY DID NOT KNOW AT WHAT DAY OR HOUR IT WOULD PUBLICALLY BE ANNOUNCED AND THUS BEGIN?

This was unique to Rosh HaShanah and dependent upon the testimony of the
two witnesses. Prophetically, we are informed of two important witnesses
during the Great Tribulation:

And I will give power unto My Two Witnesses, and they will prophesy 1260
days, clothed in sackcloth. Rev 11:3

Of course, anyone could look up into the twilight or early morning sky and,
if they looked hard enough, see the new moon or at least its “horns”. And
certainly, an astute observer knew when about 29- days were completed since
the previous Rosh Chodesh. But recall, ONLY THE SANHEDRIN NASSI had the
authority to proclaim the first of Tishri, which was already established as
a technical procedure. Once proclaimed, the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh
HaShanah) commenced. Until that public announcement by the Nassi, everyone
had to wait before they could begin the observance of the festival. No one
could begin the festival beforehand! Thus, we can more clearly see the
analogy Jesus made with His words: “But of that day and hour knoweth no
man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” was in regards to
this important festival of Rosh HaShanah.

**********************************************************************

To educate, train and equip for study both the Jew and
Non-Jew in the Rich Hebraic Heritage of our Faith.

Please visit the Hebraic Roots Global Network
Web Site located at:

http://www.hebroots.org/

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

Posted in bible study, End times, false teaching, In Christ, Matthew's gospel, parables, Prophetic, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A response to a comment, three years late.


I wrote this in response to a comment. I am including it for your benefit as misconceptions and false teachings run rampant. I rarely talk to anyone who has a firm grasp on what happens after the seven years of wrath. I hope you find this beneficial, and yes, it is long.

Well, here it is three years since you wrote your comment and I am finally responding to it. I wish I could tell you why but I cannot remember now. Perhaps I can chalk it up to not having enough time at that point, but as I had only recently been fired from my last job back then, you might think I had nothing but time. Perhaps I did not have a clear answer and needed to develop a concrete response; or, maybe I just forgot. Regardless, another comment, just a few days ago – three years later, has brought your comment to my attention once again.

Let me add, that in the process of learning how to deal with my thoughts on “paper” and then subject myself to potential criticism, was quite challenging. I can tell you that I did not handle criticism well back then; I am not sure I manage it well now, but I certainly deal with it differently now. Having read another bloggers advice I have responded, deleted and blocked several caustic and religious “Christians.” However, I did not do that with yours as you were not hostile. I also felt that people who are reading my blog needed to see what the other questions are.

Your question/and interpretative challenges you put forth are not new to my world. Recently, as I sat among the men in Monday mornings “Bible study” the leader, unprovoked by me, proffered this very assumption, and he did so as though it was doctrine. As I have done with you I challenged his premise from the Word of God; however, he disregarded it. Considering how we are to make the Word of God the final authority on questions and challenges, our morning teacher chose to ignore what the word of God had to say and added, then I am stating my opinion, and that is all that matters. While opinions can often be important and valid, they are not all that matters, especially when you are alone with that idea. Fortunately, all these interpretative challenges will become clear someday as they are tested with fire before the Bema seat of Christ.

For now, let me offer a response.

You said, “Are we not told in Revelation, that when Jesus returns and throws the anti-Christ and false prophet into the lake of fire that He kills “the rest” with the sword from His mouth?”

While you are correct, it does say that, but the hypothesis is misleading because you ignored the context, which we find in Revelation 19:19.

Allow me to explain.

Revelation 19:15-19 NASB 15) From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16) And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” 17) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in mid-heaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18) so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” 19) And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

What do we see here?

  • Jesus, with a sword in his mouth.

    With that sword He will strike down the nations, AND, He will rule them with a rod of iron.

    Why would there be a need to rule them if it is only believers that go into the Millennial kingdom? Remember, we believers were changed in the twinkling of an eye.

    Yes, I noted your comment that apparently only believers enter the Millennial reign.

    I have covered this in more detail toward the end.

  • An angel invites the birds to come and eat the flesh of kings, commanders, and so on, at the great supper of God.

  • And finally verse 19, the most telling of all as it says, “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”

    So, who is fighting against Jesus at this point in time?

    Is it all the nations, with all their citizenry? NO, it is the beast; the kings of the earth, and their armies. Why do I know this, because the context tells us precisely who is involved and therefore killed.

For the sake of context let’s go ahead and use Revelation 19:20,21 as well.

Revelation 19:20, 21 NASB And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21) And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Based on what we see in Revelation19:19, we know that there is a large army amassed against Jesus and the saints with Him. It is evident from Revelation 19:20 that only two persons are thrown into the lake of fire at this point; the beast (known to us as the Antichrist,) and the false prophet who deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. And, they are thrown alive into the lake. Therefore the remainder: kings; commanders, and the army are those that are killed; no one else.

Assuming that we could not perceive the context, could we then build an argument on logical thought and patterns?

When you look at Revelation 19:21 NASB, it unquestionably states that the rest were killed, and that sounds compelling doesn’t it? And yet, the word rest/loipoi means remaining ones: – other, which remain, remnant, residue, rest.

The word rest, when we look at the Greek definition, is not so definitive because it allows for others remaining, which can easily include those from Israel if I don’t follow the context. But there is a context, and it specifically points to those armies collected to fight against Jesus Christ.

Some of that “logical” evidence and pattern shows up in Zechariah’s prophetic word, as God has gathered the nations against Jerusalem for punishment.

Zechariah tells us that at least one-third of Israel makes it through the onslaught. I, however, cannot comfortably say that these Jews are those that have gone into hiding, and the reason for that is verse nine as you can see by this statement, “I will bring the third through the fire, Refine them as silver.., and test them..” This refining is not an example, in my mind of people in hiding. Now if I compared the plight of these Jews with someone like Corie Ten Boom, a woman who helped many people avoid the wrath of the Nazis, many, not knowing the whole story, might think that she escaped and did not have to go through the “fire.” But, we are aware from her testimony that she was caught, tortured in the prison camp, and lost family members to the Nazis.

Zechariah 13:8-9 NASB “It will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. 9) “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”

Isaiah 66 tells us of what appears to be the same scene, and yet, it is not all but many.

Isaiah 66:15-16 NASB For behold, the LORD will come in fire And His chariots like the whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. 16) For the LORD will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh, And those slain by the LORD will be many.

Still trying to define who “the rest” would be, there is this:

Zechariah 14:1-4 NASB Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2) For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3) Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4) In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.

Since we know that this is an important and defining battle will every person including women and children come and join in the fight?

The obvious answer is NO. We already see examples of this when we look at the Islamic world. Children are taught from the age of understanding, to hate and kill the Jew and anyone who is not a Muslim. The news used to show us young boys about age seven learning to shoot AK 47s’, but it is not practical to place children on the front lines of battle. So, while there will be those with a violent hatred against anything that represents a god other than say, Allah; not all will come to battle and therefore not be included as a combatant, and not killed.

There is no struggle to understand this, and, I don’t have to go looking for other scriptures to prove my point any further because I stayed true to the context.

Consider, if you haven’t already, that death is separation from God, and is much more than the cessation of breathing, as the spirit ever lives on.

Before I move on to another aspect of your note to me I have to address this statement more fully,

You added a defining factor when you continued with: “That is, everyone who took the mark of the beast.”

You said this in conjunction with this statement: “Are we not told in Revelation, that when Jesus returns and throws the anti-Christ and false prophet into the lake of fire that He kills “the rest” with the sword from His mouth?“ This implies that only those with the mark are destined for separation from God, and it also implies that those receiving the mark desired to be in compliance with the beast, but that is not the case as most are merely trying to save a life, their own.

The passages from Revelation 19 that initiated this response, tell us in verse 20 that they were deceived. There is no reason to believe that the deceived are doing anything but weeping at the realization of their fate. You can see from the same verses you referenced that no one else is thrown into the lake of fire at this time, and, there is no denying that at some point those who received the mark and worshiped the image of the beast, are judged, but that is not done here in Revelation 19:21.

What if this is not a government, like the USA, and most people in America assume, that is imposing this mark upon people?

(By the way, taking the mark does not condemn you to hell’s flames; it must include the worshiping of the beast and the image of the beast.)

Islam does a modified version of this marking already, as they victimize conquered peoples.

They call it a Jizya tax, and you are made to wear an identifying band around your arm or head. Without paying this tax you cannot buy or sell under their regime, and it is intentionally made impossible. Allegedly, there is a way around this tax, and that is to convert to Islam. To do so, you must deny Christ, His deity, and proclaim that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammad is his messenger. Often they, at this point, treat you as an unworthy coward and kill you anyway.

So, let me ask you a question.

Do Muslims have to take this mark? In most cases, as with women, they are mandated to wear a burka out of compliance, but all of us can see that this is not standardized.

Therefore, I can safely assume that it is only those outside of Islam that must comply like this.

Perhaps I am being far too presumptuous in attributing this designation to Islam, but what other groups, outside of governments, have the capability and desire to globally mark a specific group of people?

I offer you the passage that shows that this taking the mark we speak of is a three-part equation.

Revelation 14:9-11 NASB 9) Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10) he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11) “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”

Even as I read Revelation 14:9-11 I can see that there is a point at which those who “ worship the beast and his image and receive a mark on his forehead or on his hand,” will drink the wine of God’s wrath, and they will be tormented with fire. I think it is safe to presume that this is the lake of fire seeing as it matches the description we have of the lake of fire and its purpose.

You added,

It would thus seem that the 1000 years is began with only believers.”

Since I already know that many Jews survive the wrath of God, can I also assume that they too are believers?

There several problems with the idea that the thousand years is begun with only believers and that Jews would be deemed Christians as they enter.

    1. I have to assume from the statement that the Jews are included as believers/Christians.

      However, we are never told that there are Christians, living among the nations, that go into eternity.

      What we do understand is that there are those who warm seats in church buildings that will not go up when Jesus comes for His church. Since John saw the beheaded around the throne in heaven twice, we understand from what he related that their number was uncountable. These people are given the title of saint. The saints only get that title as they are martyred for their testimony, but their numbers are not included among those going into the Millennial reign.

      A defining statement about the saints is made in Revelation 20:4,5, where the martyred saints are brought back to life; this is labeled the first resurrection.

      The Jews, on the other hand, will not accept the title of Christian as that is a Gentile creation. What they do accept is Yeshua as the Messiah and they would never, with a free choice, agree to be called a Christian. Should they choose not to receive Yeshua then I suppose they would be intermingled with the nations. However, since God lifts the veil from their eyes and all peoples, we can safely assume that most remaining Jews would come to accept the true Messiah.

    2. Another problem arises as you have these “believers” going into the Millennium and then living the despicable lives we see in Revelation 22:15.

      How is that possible that God would allow these fractured believers into the city where no despicable person can enter; only to later go out and do what Satan did – use his free will and choice to act in opposition to God? The logic doesn’t work unless it is the nations going into the Millennial reign along with their vile hatred for God, then Revelation 22:15 makes sense.

    3. The other problem, and it is common in the Western/Gentile church. We ignore or do not realize that there are only three people groups, at any given time, in the world. They are The Jews; the nations, and, the Church.

      Yes, some Jews can be considered among the Church, and time will prove that out, as they too will be caught up with the Church when Jesus comes in the clouds. Sadly, the Jews, right now, lean more toward the side of the nations as they too will be the targets for God’s wrath alongside the nations.

      The nations and the Gentiles are effectively the same things in God’s eyes. In the Western, “civilized” church, we see ourselves as set apart. However, the only thing that sets us apart is our acceptance of this adoption status we have been given. Simply because the “world” does not accept this adoption status, we presume that forgiveness does not and cannot cover their sins as well, but that is not true. The only thing anyone will be judged for is, what that person did with Jesus. That’s all.

      At some point, multitudes of these people (the nations) will come into relationship with God. This is all laid out in scriptures by prophets, like Ezekiel. The key here then is the leaves of the trees of life, for the healing of the nations. Healing is the Greek word therapeía; attendance (specifically medical, that is, cure); figuratively and collectively domestics: – healing,

Since we, the church, with our brokenness; twisted ideas; legalism; and prejudices, are not allowed to bring this junk/sin into eternity with God, then, we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and so will those who partake of the leaves that give eternal life.

Consider the process here. The nations, in general, do not have access to the trees of life as that would give them immortality without change. But the entire purpose here is to bring these people on the outside into relationship. However, God is not going to allow them to bring their garbage with them as they come into a relationship with Him during the Millennial reign.

There is coming a day when Jesus will return in the clouds to gather His bride back to himself. As you know we call that the rapture, therefore the “believers” should effectively be gone. You should also realize that not everyone that warms a pew will be caught up to be with the Lord. I know this because the Word tells us that he comes for those who are waiting for Him.

    1. I am assuming that you when you say believers are then referring to those who continue to come and accept Jesus as their hope and salvation during the time of wrath. Calling them believers might make sense but is inappropriate as Scripture never refers to them as believers; it does, however, call them saints.

This idea of saints can and does cause some confusion as it seems the church is also referred to as saints. However, the word is only used in the Revelation and is always used about those martyred for their testimony. After the rapture, grace is gone. What those who come to Jesus have to live with is something comparable to living under the law as Israel did in the wilderness.

Revelation 12:11 NASB “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

It seems like you asked many questions, however, as I looked at your note you have been making statements; statements that do not align with the Word of God, and I felt they needed to be addressed.

The final thing I want to address is what seems to be your question.

I am curious as to where you get the idea that mere compliance, or not getting the mark, will be enough to enter into the 1000 year reign of Christ.”

In response to this question how about, we start with Matthew 25:31-46. This is effectively the same story as Revelation 20 where we see the Great White Throne. The players are all the same but they have different names. The Judge is the same but Matthew conveys him as a gentle shepherd in contrast with the angry God of Revelation. Matthew’s gospel focuses on the outcome of the sheep, while Revelation 20 speaks to those not found in the books.

Matthew 25:31-46 NASB “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32) “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33) and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34) “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35) ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37) “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38) ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39) ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40) “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ 41) “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42) for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43) I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44) “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45) “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46) “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

In verse 34 he tells the crowd entitled the sheep “to come inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” They obtain this mercy because they acted like the nature and character of Jesus/God. The judge, which is only Jesus, explains:

‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’

If you have read this, did you ever notice how shocked they were?

When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40) “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

If these had been deemed as such before the rapture, making them “believers’, then why didn’t they go up with the church?

Another thing that gives me the freedom to talk about non-compliance as an entrance into the kingdom is the process of martyrdom itself. What are the things that define them as God’s possession?

Revelation 6:9 NASB When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;

The mere fact that these are found underneath the altar is indicative of God claiming them as His own.

Revelation 12:11 NASB “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.

Twice now we have seen the term testimony, but what does mean and what does that look like under extreme pressure?

The word testimony is the Greek word marturía meaning to witness. A witness, certification (Joh_1:7), testimony (Mar_14:55-56, Mar_14:59; Luk_22:71), that which someone witnesses or states concerning a person or thing (Act_22:18; 1Ti_3:7; Tit_1:13).

Paul, while still known as Saul, is told by God to go to Damascus where a devout man, a Jew named Ananias, was sent to Saul. After Ananias prayed for Saul, he received his sight. Shortly after this Saul has a dream/vision. In that vision he is told:

Acts 22:18 NASB and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’

What are the ramifications of this? Saul, in talking about the Messiah Jesus would be subject to death for several reasons: The Jew’s had been taught to reject Yeshua. Some proof of this happened when Herod is told the Magi are coming. Their numbers were large enough to cause some alarm, and so he demands that the Jewish leadership tell him what is going on. They said that the scripture called for the king of the Jews to be born in Bethlehem. While this information got Herod’s attention, the Jews made no effort at all to visit this king of Jews born in a manger. Herod, on the other hand, had all the boys in that region, two and below, killed.

Saul had other problems as well, as he had essentially been a hit man for the Jewish council. Now, this should not have scared the Jews who held to tradition, but converts could have to run for their lives. This Saul was now making converts himself, another reason to kill him.

So what does this idea of testimony look like, especially to a Coptic Christian living in the Middle East?

Let’s assume you are a Christian living in the once quiet little Syrian town of Aleppo. Perhaps our first question is, what is it about these people that tell others they are “Christians”?

Imagine ISIS overruns your quiet little burgh, and you cannot escape. They take you captive, and, after having some fun with you by torturing and raping your wife and children and then dismembering them slowly, they demand that you convert and give allegiance to Allah. After a morning of such wasteful frivolities, they have had enough and needed to move on. A sword is placed to your neck with the command, comply – worship Allah or die. You reply with a simple no. Seconds later your bruised and battered head rolls away from your body.

What just happened?

Did you, by your non-compliance, affirm that there is a God greater than an invented name called Allah? Or, did you, by denying the one accept the other? Is it possible that God is not the least bit interested in our church-related methods of mandated compliance, and does not care if your name is on a list of those who publicly made motions of acceptance in some religious service?

I have an ex-son-in-law who did all that, and yet lives a life of lies and deceit. I am not his judge, and I do not know his heart, but I can tell you that when his fruit falls off the tree, it is already rotten and immediately begins to stink up the yard and the lives of those with which he interacts.

What this tells me, is that God is looking at the heart and the motives, and that, which only He sees, is what matters. I decided long ago, after spending a tortured lifetime in the organized church, that if I must err then let it be on the side of mercy. Funny how that works, for I hear Him constantly telling me, good job and well done because you acted just like I would have.

Posted in antichrist, bible study, Deception, End times, false teaching, In Christ, Islam, judgment, Prophetic, Revelation, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lord will restore Israel. Ezekiel 39:25-29.


Most anytime someone asks a question; they already have an answer in their head. What they are trying to do is validate the understanding they have; challenge the information they are holding on to, or to make you look foolish when they ask you the answer to their theoretical question. This last aspect comes into play as some Bible study leader asks you a vague question, which could have multiple answers depending on the scenario and context. You, as I have, stare back at the person asking, for what seems like an eternity but in reality is only about three to five seconds, while you debate with yourself about the validity of the first thought that ran through your head. The only legitimate reason you have for such internal debate is that the answer came so quickly. There are other reasons that you did not give your answer, such as, internal doubts and not wanting to be wrong.

[I started this on a recent Sunday morning before we went to church. That was a mistake as  I dug up some painful memories of rejection. To be honest sharing this information with you just about ruined my entire day. I hope you gain something from it. Oz]

I have some added baggage that I have to sort through when analyzing a potential answer that I like to call the voices in my head. As an example, one of them sounds like my father, who dismissed anything I said. In one drastic incident, we were at a church picnic with family friends. My dad’s friend had a son my age, and we were playing hide-and-seek in a rather well-manicured storm drain. Some girl wanted to play, and we ignored her, so she decided to ruin the game by telling the one seeking where you were hiding. We called it quits and went to the park bathroom to wash up for lunch. At this point that girls big brother (he might as well have been six foot tall because all I remember was looking up at him,) came into the bathroom, said you punched my sister and then he hit me in the face. For this injustice against me, I was put in the hot car for a time frame I cannot remember, merely for being the victim, although that is not what Dad said as he was sure I had initiated this evil and probably deserved a punch in the face. I am not sure what motivated my father’s actions that day, except that I learned that this was the way his father did things. Years later when I challenged him over this behavior, his response was, get over it. While the hatred is gone because I forgave him, aspects of this moment in time, along with others, still haunt me over fifty years later.

You noticed that I mentioned the voices in my head. Give me a break, you all have them too, and one of them sounds like your mother. But the obvious factor to me is that these voices cause you mistrust yourself. Sadly, once you come to realize the depth of the Holy Spirit in your life, you find yourself doubting God’s voice as well.

What does that have to do with Ezekiel? The NASB entitles this section;

The Lord Will Restore Israel.

Do I doubt that? No, but if I tried to understand what God is going to do immediately after the wrath of God ends, based on what Bible teachers have shoved down my throat, I would not have a clue.

Some of the lies and beliefs have included:

  • That Israel has been replaced. This is in total opposition to Ezekiel 39:25-29. The idea of God restoring Israel is embedded throughout the Bible.

  • That only Christian’s will enter the thousand-year reign. Again, this is false teaching, as there will be survivors of God’s/man’s wrath. Why would there be the need for God to make a statement like this, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15) Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.” Revelation 22:14-15 NASB

  • All who come to the Great White Throne are sent to hell. I realize this point is a little off topic but it conveys a lack of understanding about the nature of the God we serve.

I hate to say it this way, but much of what we hear under the guise of teaching is garbage. To be able to sort out the garbage from the truth will require you, the reader, to have a personal knowledge of what the truth is; the Word of God.

If you are trying to understand things that seem vague or unclear, then begin to look at other passages that convey a similar message. As a follower of Christ you have the Holy Spirit to guide you, but take it to the next level and ask the Holy Spirit to dwell within you. It’s better that way.

Ezekiel 39:25-29 NASB Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name. 26) “They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid. 27) “When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. 28) “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. 29) “I will not hide My face from them any longer, for I will have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,” declares the Lord GOD.

In trying to understand what God is saying through Ezekiel, the first thing I want to decipher as I read this is what is the timing that surrounds the word NOW.

It is obvious, in the scheme of things, that something has changed. Considering the death and destruction Ezekiel has been describing you might think it would be the end of all war. However, this war with Gog is only one of many wars, no matter how large they are. Is there anything in scripture that logically answers the question about the timing? Yes, and a number of them have to do with Jesus coming back as the Messiah that Israel was hoping for.

If you are like me, asking questions because you want to understand, you are not alone for the disciples asked the same question, and we find it here:

Matthew 24:3 NASB As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

They asked three questions, two of them apply to the timing involved when God said, “Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name.” Let’s focus on two of them:

  • What will be the sign of your coming?

    Revelation 19:11-16 NASB 11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12) His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13) He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14) And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15) From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16) And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

    Revelation 1:7 NASB BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

  • And, what will be the end of the age?

    This one is a bit more gray, especially when you consider that the Millennial reign will be our migration into eternity. What is the difference between the Millennial reign and eternity? The thousand-year reign will still have broken people like this walking around outside the city.

    Revelation 9:20-21 NASB 20) The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons, and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21) and they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts.

     

    While those of us, living in the city (I assume), will still have an evangelistic and life giving mission. Truth be told, I despise the idea of trying to win the lost. Having had this shoved down my throat as a shy kid, I found it to be one of the most painful and discouraging experiences of my life, and I swore I would never do that again. All these years later, I have conversations with people about the God I have come to understand, and I have them boldly and moderately loud. I do this in opposition to those who look around and make sure no one can hear them before attempting to share some story about Jesus. Typically done in this manner, you will be getting a good dose of religion and I am done with religion.

    On the plus side of things, during the millennial reign we will be free from the fear of death, the one thing that inhibits me more than anything. Can you imagine a life free from fear?

If I have not conveyed it yet, let me do so now; Jesus will return in this victorious manner at the end of the seven-year period in which God’s wrath and judgment have been poured upon the nations and Israel. If I have not conveyed it yet, let me do so now; Jesus will return in this manner at the end of the seven-year period in which God’s wrath and judgment will be poured upon the nations and Israel.

Do other people; decent people suffer during this time? Considering that people will continue to come to recognize the lordship of Jesus during this time, then yes. Will God’s wrath be dished out by evil people as well? Yes, and they will lop off the heads of converts during this time.

With ugliness happening during this seven year period, such as having your head lopped off, do we see anything that looks like: “I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel.” The answer is no, as this will not happen until Jesus comes back and restores order. Now that may be entirely taken care of by the judges we see enthroned; these judges by-the-way are the previously martyred during the time of wrath.

They will forget their disgrace and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land with no one to make them afraid.”

They” is the Jews. As I noted before those of us who apparently live within the new Jerusalem, will have our lives changed from perishable to eternal. As an eternal being, the fear of death and pain will no longer be an issue. This immortality will apply to the Jew as well.

To live securely, with no fear of being driven out of your land, is something beyond comprehension, but note how the security comes with a mental freedom from the disgrace and treachery they perpetrated against God. (If you wanted to know how God feels about our turning our backs on Him, there it is.)

When I bring them back from the peoples and gather them from the lands of their enemies, then I shall be sanctified through them in the sight of the many nations. 28) “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God because I made them go into exile among the nations, and then gathered them again to their own land; and I will leave none of them there any longer. Ezekiel 39:27-28 NASB

Israel is a nation today because people came back, and yet, this is something more. How He does it is not spelled out, but they will come this time, forever.

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And I will set my glory among the nations. Ezekiel 39: 21-24.


Having slaughtered Gog and his armies on the mountains of Israel. Okay, maybe that was a little harsh, besides that, my pastor says I am a little edgy and slaughtered is an edgy type of word. And yet, that is how things seem.

Does God wipe out the Islamic armies of the world with this battle? Not by any stretch of the imagination; and yet, that is the garbage that many of our so-called Bible teachers teach. Why? Because in reality, these prophecies/stories, are much like fractals, which, when you look closely they make no sense, but step back and take it all in, and then you can see the overall picture. All of God’s word is like this. Some aspects of the fractal are beautiful in themselves and carry deep meaning, and yet make up the larger, more complex picture.

In the last post, I covered Ezekiel 39:17-20. It too is a fractal but without a doubt a bloody and deadly one. It has all the components of most horror movies. Blood, fireballs from heaven, lightning strikes upon the enemy, and hail, most likely in the hundred pound range, falling upon the enemy. God speaks here, much as he does in Revelation 19 where he calls forth the flesh-eating birds to feast upon the dead. Apparently, God’s word is a little edgy.

In the midst of all this horror and chaos we have this:

Ezekiel 39:21 NASB “And I will set My glory among the nations; and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.

As I speak, the nations are spread across multiple continents, speaking a variety of languages. Since God passed out those languages when he separated man at the tower of Babel, then I suppose this is not an issue for Him.

The words in the sentence give me nothing that explains or conveys what this glory will be or look like; so, let’s pursue it a bit deeper. The Complete Jewish Bible translates this verse in this way:

Thus will I display my glory among the nations, so that all the nations will see my judgment when I execute it and my hand when I lay it on them.”

The Word Study Dictionary tells us:

This Hebrew word also means to put, to place, or something literally placed: the luminaries in the sky (Gen_1:17); God’s bow in the clouds (Gen_9:13); the ark on a cart (1Sa_6:8); the abomination in the temple. It could also be something figuratively placed: an obstacle (Eze_3:20); God’s Spirit (Isa_42:1).”

The verse itself tells us that God will set His glory among the nations. This display among the nations is not the first time He has done something like this, for He set His glory among Israel as they moved through the wilderness. We see that in Scripture as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Is this what He will do among the nations, perhaps not since the cloud and the fire was a benefit to Israel, and we are talking about the time of wrath and judgment.

When I look up the word glory I get this:

kabod (458c); from H3513; abundance, honor, glory:

The problem with these words is that they are intangible; only demonstrated through a relationship of trust. But God is not looking, at least during this period, the time of wrath, to show people that He can be trusted. He has already established that aspect of His character. (And yet, because He guaranteed that the wrath would come, isn’t He, once again, establishing that He is trustworthy, in a negative way?)

The word see is rō’eh: A verb meaning to see. It’s basic denotation is to see with the eyes (Gen_27:1).

As we have explored the meanings of words we can see that the judgments are the things to be seen.

and all the nations will see My judgment which I have executed and My hand which I have laid on them.”

What, in brief, are the judgments against Israel and the Nations?

  • Revelation 6:12 AMPC .. there was a great earthquake; and the sun grew black as sackcloth of hair, [the full disc of] the moon became like blood.

  • Joel 2:30-31 NASB “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire, and columns of smoke. 31) “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

  • Revelation 6:13 is taken from Isaiah 34:4 “.. And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree.”

  • Revelation 6:16 AMPC And they called to the mountains and the rocks, Fall on (before) us and hide us from the face of Him Who sits on the throne and from the deep-seated indignation and wrath of the Lamb. [Isa_2:19-21; Hos_10:8]

  • Revelation 7:1 AMPC … no wind should blow on the earth or sea or upon any tree. [Zec 6:5]

  • Rev_7:14 AMPC .. the great tribulation (persecution), and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. [Gen_49:11; Dan_12:1]

  • Daniel 12:1 CJB “.. there will be a time of distress unparalleled between the time they became a nation and that moment. ..

  • Revelation 8:7 CJB .. there came hail and fire mingled with blood, and it was thrown down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

  • Revelation 8:8-9 CJB .. looked like an enormous blazing mountain was hurled into the sea. A third of the sea turned to blood, 9) a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

  • Revelation 8:10-11 CJB .. a third of the water became bitter, and many people died from the water that had been turned bitter.

  • Revelation 9:1-5 CJB .. came locusts, and they were given power like the power scorpions have on earth. 4) They were instructed not to harm the grass on the earth, any green plant or any tree, but only the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5) The locusts were not allowed to kill them, only to inflict pain on them for five months; and the pain they caused was like the pain of a scorpion sting.

  • Revelation 9:14-15 CJB saying to the sixth angel, the one with the shofar, “Release the four angels that are bound at the great river Euphrates!” 15) And they were released. These four angels had been kept ready for this moment, for this day and month and year, to kill a third of mankind;

While there is more, can you see a visible aspect to what is being poured out upon the earth?

Ezekiel 39:22 NASB “And the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God from that day onward.

Again, there is a horrid variety of explanations on this, most foolishly cut Israel out of the picture prior to this moment in time, as they espouse their replacement theology. God is not done with Israel and this is a perfect example.

The verse tells us, “from that day forward,” the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord. The question is, from what day? The short answer is, from the beginning of the seven years of wrath and judgment that includes Israel.

Isaiah 25:7 NASB And on this mountain He will swallow up the covering which is over all peoples, Even the veil which is stretched over all nations.

Isaiah 29:18 NASB On that day the deaf will hear words of a book, And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.

I suppose at this point the question that I have asked, just as most others have asked, is why?

Ezekiel 39:23-24 NASB “The nations will know that the house of Israel went into exile for their iniquity because they acted treacherously against Me, and I hid My face from them; so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and all of them fell by the sword. 24) “According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I dealt with them, and I hid My face from them.”‘”

The explanation is self-explanatory, but there an aspect that I have trouble with, “and all of them fell by the sword.” Now, is it true that all of Israel falls by the sword? The answer is NO, and we know that one-third of Israel escapes being killed during the seven years.

It seems that the translators lead us astray as well when the phrase “and all” can mean a variety of things depending upon the preceding noun or a definite article.

The Word Study Dictionary states:

kōl: A particle meaning each, every, all, everything, the whole, entire. It has an inclusive meaning of all or every one of something. Its exact meaning must be discerned from its usage in its context. Some representative samplings will help: With the definite article, it means the whole or everything of something (Ecc_11:5); used before a definite noun, it expresses the whole of that noun, the whole earth (Gen_9:19); whole people (Gen_41:40). Used after a noun, it can refer to the whole or entirety of the preceding noun (2Sa_2:9); before a plural noun, it usually means all, all the nations (Isa_2:2); before a collective noun, it means all or every, all people (Gen_7:21). Before a singular noun, it means every (Est_3:8). Other nuances of its use can be discerned from studying its context closely.

While not killing them all God indeed turned His face and forsook them.

Deuteronomy 31:17 AMPC Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them. And they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?

Having struggled to find for myself who God is, this is a little hard to accept. Is it an accurate statement? Yes, then it is true that, for a time, God turned His face and forsook Israel. I sit with judgmental men who make comments like this only they condemn far too many to hell, as they decide who God is turning His back on. What I see as a puzzlement is a God who tattoos the faces of His people – this includes you and me, on His hands and then tells us that our faces are ever before Him. The key to understanding this lies in Israel choosing to disobey. Since sin is an integrated aspect of this body I drag around, then my only hope is to lean heavily on the one who gave me His righteousness.

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Assemble and come together, from everyside to my sacrifice. Eze 39:17-20


As I talked previously about Ezekiel’s prophecy against Gog and his armies; and how they will be killed on the mountains of Israel; I explained how Israel gathers Gog’s weapons for use as firewood for the next seven years. The time frame involved seemed so obvious to me, as this all happens moments before the rapture of the church and the Antichrist persona steps onto the stage.

  • “On that day I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel… So they will bury Gog there with all his horde, (Ezekiel 39:11 NASB)

  • “For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them to cleanse the land .. (Ezekiel 39:12-13 NASB)

An obvious factor that we tend to ignore in our group Bible studies is that Israel will still be filled with a level of violence during these burials. Think about what goes on there in Israel on a daily basis: rock throwing, stabbings, car rammings, and, an occasional bomb, but this is almost daily.

And yet, at some crucial moment, when the world thinks they need peace, a man will step forward and say, I have everything in control; let us have peace, and he will enact a seven-year peace treaty with many.

Daniel 9:27 NASB “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

How could you have any of these things happen unless it fits into a little crack of time just moments before God pours out His wrath upon the earth?

As clear as the previous verses in Ezekiel seemed to me, Ezekiel 39:17-20 has clouded my mind once again. Let me show you why.

Ezekiel 39:17-20 NASB “As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Speak to every kind of bird and to every beast of the field, “Assemble and come, gather from every side to My sacrifice which I am going to sacrifice for you, as a great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood. 18) “You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, as though they were rams, lambs, goats and bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. 19) “So you will eat fat until you are glutted, and drink blood until you are drunk, from My sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. 20) “You will be glutted at My table with horses and charioteers, with mighty men and all the men of war,” declares the Lord GOD.

The entire passage speaks of flesh eating birds being gathered to God’s great sacrifice. He includes mighty men and the blood of princes, and, “you will be glutted at My table.” This is just a recap, but immediately my mind said, I know this scenario, or at least I think I do.

Let me point something out you may have missed.

So, while the citizens of Israel may be making note of where bodies are, seven months later, someone will make a search.

Ezekiel 39:14 NASB “They will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through, even those left on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months, they will make a search.

This time of burial, although affected by extenuating circumstances, is going on for quite some time.

What happens in the mean time? (We are notorious for assuming that everything gets put on hold while the scenario painted for us happens.) The scavengers come out. Birds like Condors; Vultures; Ravens; Sea Gulls, and the like. But aren’t they around somewhere, close by, even when you don’t want them?

Why does something like flesh eating birds create a point of confusion about the end times? Because what we see in Ezekiel 39:17-20 is remarkably similar to what many call the wedding supper of the Lamb. I am telling you this because I have sat under false teachers and their teachings that do no more than cloud your mind and make you hate prophecy and the prophetic books of Revelation, Ezekiel, and Daniel, to name a few. In my momentary confusion, I thought, I have advocated two distinct wars, at two distinct times, but then I see this aspect that sounds just like the “great supper of the lamb”, which made think I too have taught falsely. It was not until I looked the scenario in Revelation 19 that it all became clear again. These wars are completely different, at different times, and yet have many similar properties. Keep your heads clear. The answers are there in the scriptures themselves.

You find this “great supper of the Lamb” in Revelation 19.

Revelation 19:17-18 NASB 17) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18) so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men, and slaves, and small and great.”

You might think at first glance they are talking about the same thing. The man who leads the Monday morning Bible study has intertwined these two events on several occasions. It is not simply a mistake on his part since he has been shown, from the Word of God, how and why they are different events. (His lack of concern and unwillingness to adjust himself to align with the Word of God, make him a false teacher.)

Why then is Revelation 19 so different from Ezekiel 39?

  • In Ezekiel 39 it is Gog and his armies amassed against Israel specifically, and they are killed by brimstone, hail, lightning, and floods.

  • In Revelation 19 Jesus, at the end of the time of wrath, has come riding across the skies upon a white horse. (This, by the way, is the only passage in the book Revelation that Islam believes, and that is because they believe that this is their savior, not ours.)

    Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, He judges and wages war.

     

    Revelation 19:14, 15 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

     

    This time they are not amassed against Israel, they are gathered to fight against the King of Kings.

    Revelation 19:19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

     

    There is no Gog listed in this war, but there are the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies.

    Quick question. Who is this beast? He is the same person that proffered the peace treaty seven years before. We do not know his identity as yet, but I can guarantee you he is here.

    One more thing. When does the war of Revelation 19 take place? When Jesus comes back to earth as the Messiah; the King of Kings; after the seven years of wrath has come to an end.

So yes, there are multiple wars, both major and minor, with ongoing skirmishes constantly.

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All the people of the land will bury them. Ezekiel 39:11-16


I was hoping to get through Ezekiel 39 with this post, but that is not going to happen. Having finished, for the moment with what I apparently needed to say, I discovered I only made it through verse 16.

I find it difficult to merely throw something on paper and then just walk away; the reasons for this come out of a face to face understanding that it is a rarity to find someone who actually has a grasp on what this Bible, we hold so dear, actually says. And, when you do find someone who has knowledge in the Word, you typically walk away from them thinking they should be a prosecuting attorney, not a Bible teacher (I am saying this because I have had that experience, on multiple occasions.) I cannot simply let you walk away from a Bible study I am involved with, without understanding how and why a piece of information works or not.

All passages are from the NASB unless specified otherwise.

The last time I looked at Ezekiel 39, I ended on verse 10 where we find Israel gathering up weapons, which they use for firewood for the next seven years. This is hugely significant for two reasons.

  • While Gog is not declared to be Islamic we do know that he is considered to be an aspect of the Scythians. However, they are all descendants of Noah, out of Japheth, and Reuben’s family tribe which was left out of the inheritance. The family of Reuben dispersed to the North and South, and there were known familial relations between the Scythians and Egyptians. When trying to determine who we might be dealing with, such as an Islamic influence the most telling of all the clues come from the integration of Persians/Assyrians into the Scythians, but then, why not, for they were all kin in the long run. Gog/the Scythians have one determined purpose, and that is to wipe Israel and the descendants of Jacob off the map.

  • The second immense thing to note is the period, seven-years. Why is this important? Because there is an association with the seven-year period known as the time of God’s wrath. Now, you have to ask yourself when does this take place? Since we have no exact timing, we can intelligently speculate.

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” 2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB)

The “it” is the catching away of the church. The description shows us that almost immediately the “man of lawlessness” is revealed. Since he comes with a peace treaty that he signs with many (Israel is not specifically mentioned when these agreements are mentioned, and so it is inappropriate to think this treaty is for Israel’s benefit.), we know that the armies of Gog lost. We know this because Israel is gathering the enemies weapons, and, as we will see, taking six months to bury the dead. This war was an overwhelming defeat, but not because of any direct intervention by Israel; this was God’s war.

In the Revelation chapter 4 verse 1, the sentence begins with, “After these things.” The question I hear most, although unintelligently, is what things. The practical and intelligent answer is the close of the church age, this Gog/Magog war, the advent of the “man of lawlessness”, and the onset of the seven-years of God’s wrath.

Applying some practical and logical thought to the scenario would put the Gog/Magog war shortly before the man of lawlessness steps to the forefront and puts forth a peace treaty (peace treaties are rarely necessary with times of relative peace such as Israel has now.) This ugliness can all happen within days, before or after. A few days does not seem to matter in God’s timing, but one thing is sure, all stops will be pulled out, and God’s wrath will begin with the removal of the church.

All the people of the land will bury them.

Ezekiel 39:11 “On that day I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off those who would pass by. So they will bury Gog there with all his horde, and they will call it the Valley of Hamon-Gog.”

  • on that day.”

    There are several events associated with the phrase, “on that day.” Many carry a definite link to the wrath of God, and, there are associations with His coming for the church. But, the most dramatic is the day Jesus comes back as the messiah for which Israel has been looking. What is the logical link here? The answer that makes the most sense is when God begins to pour out His wrath upon the earth.

  • I will give Gog a burial ground there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea, and it will block off those who would pass by.”

    The land of Canaan. Megiddo sits about the center.

    Based upon information on a trade routes map, one of those routes ran from Damascus around Megiddo and South down the coast.

    East of the sea is unclear, but because the valley will obstruct travelers, a likely candidate is the area of southern Galilee that leads toward the Dead Sea (called the Valley of Jezreel in Joshua 17:16 Joshua 17:16). [Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary]

  • So they will bury Gog there with all his horde, and they will call it the Valley of Hamon-Gog.”

    I have 30 translations on my computer, and all of them say Gog will be buried there. However, a commentator says, this is no more Gog than it is Antiochus, but his commanders and generals. While that may be, Gog seems to be silenced.

    To say this is no more Gog than it is Antiochus falls on deaf ears unless you are familiar with the information given to Daniel in chapter 11 of that book. In chapter 10 of Daniel, we are introduced to an angel; we assume to be Gabriel. Gabriel gives Daniel such a precise history of future events that many believe it was written after the fact. One of those characters, Antiochus Epiphanes, becomes the forerunner of the Antichrist and presumably Gog, in this case. The point being, Antiochus is long since dead by the time these events come, so there is some sarcasm involved in the comment.

    Fascinating how at the end of the thousand-year reign, Gog is once again called upon to lead an uncountable number in a battle against the Holy City Jerusalem. Question: Entering into the millennial reign how long will people live? The answer is, until they die – barring the criminal actions of others. Old age, it seems, will be along the lines of 900 years once again. This should make your head hurt, as there will be those living on the earth that will never die. This Gog/Magog war happens at the beginning of the seven-year time of wrath, and, in that war, Gog is killed. Obviously, he is not one of those who lives through the 1000 year reign, and yet, once again, Gog and all those with him will be killed by flames.

  • “For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. “Even all the people of the land will bury them; and it will be to their renown on the day that I glorify Myself,” declares the Lord GOD. “They will set apart men who will constantly pass through the land, burying those who were passing through, even those left on the surface of the ground, in order to cleanse it. At the end of seven months, they will make a search. “As those who pass through the land pass through and anyone sees a man’s bone, then he will set up a marker by it until the buriers have buried it in the valley of Hamon-gog. “And even the name of the city will be Hamonah. So they will cleanse the land.”‘ Ezekiel 39:12-16 NASB)

    Listening to Chuck Missler, the founder of Koinonia House, teaching on this subject, he describes these dead as most likely irradiated from nuclear attack. That assessment seems odd when this is God’s war and according to scripture, He has a proven track record with non-nuclear methods. One of those methods is brimstone – burning, encapsulated, sulfur. Now, if God chose to use men and their nuclear armaments for His purposes – something He has done before, would the outcome be the same? Certainly, but most everything on the battlefield would be irradiated, reducing the probabilities that people would pick up weapons to burn.

    Let’s assume they are irradiated. What then are the procedures? Our government has them posted and here they are.

Field Morgue Procedures

    • Conduct radiation survey of each body coming into field morgue using a radiation survey meter and probe (see above) sweeping 1 inch away from the body surface
      • Decedents with measurable levels of contamination
        • <100 millirems/hour: may be processed in field morgue
          • Remove and safely store radioactive shrapnel ASAP
          • Conduct forensic examination and victim identification
          • Decontaminate decedent prior to release of body
        • >100 millirems/hour: move to a refrigeration unit
          • Storage of bodies reading >100 mrem/hr will help ensure safety of morgue staff
          • Refrigerator should be at least 30 feet away from work area
          • Radiation Safety Officer or health physicist will help determine how long to store the body based on rate of decay of fission products
      • Release decedents with internal contamination to funeral home
        • Label body with dose rate, distance of probe, date & time

I only added this to demonstrate that some cautions must be taken. Based on what we now know and that the Israelis have to mark the area where a dead body lies, and the fact that the area must be cleansed opens the door to possible nuclear contamination.

Aren’t we forgetting something; these are Jewish considerations and it requires some Jewish understanding on our part.

A website concerned with Jewish traditions tells us,

Jewish custom insists on prompt burial as a matter of respect for the dead, a consideration of particular relevance in hot climates. According to one Kabbalistic source, burial refreshes the soul of the deceased, and only after burial will it be admitted to God’s presence (Midrash ha-Ne’lam to Ruth; cf. Zohar, Ex. 151a).

Since there may be minimal concern about most of these dead ending up in God’s presence, promptness may not be the primary motivation. Civility, however, may be the overriding factor.

The following aspect is one that was presented to us as we encountered the death of Christ in scripture.

The precedents set by the prompt burials of Sarah (Gen. 23) and of Rachel (Gen. 35:19) are reinforced by the Torah’s express command that even the body of a man who had been hanged shall not remain upon the tree all night, but “thou shalt surely bury him the same day” (Deut. 21:23).

The next paragraph asserts that there is a high priest in place, and that is not the case at present; however one will be seated when the Temple gets rebuilt; and, the presence of a temple may play a role in this process.

The Talmud (BK 81a) states that speedy burial of a corpse found unattended (met mitzvah) was one of the ten enactments ordained by Joshua at the conquest of Canaan and is incumbent even on the high priest who was otherwise forbidden to become unclean through contact with the dead (Nazir 7:1). Josephus records that it is forbidden to let a corpse lie unburied (Apion, 2:211), and consideration for the dead is one of the central features of Tobit (2:8).

While all this gives us possible explanations as to why Israel buries the dead for seven months. Neither possibility can be excluded, however, one theory takes precedence when you add this aspect of scripture into the mix.

and it will be to their renown on the day that I glorify Myself,” declares the Lord GOD.”

Why is this important? Because we seem to forget that God didn’t simply put everything on hold as Israel goes about burying dead enemies. This entire scenario has taken place either, mere days before the catching away of the church and the leader who personifies the Antichrist stepping forward proffers a peace treaty; or, it is moments or days after the rapture.

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

This line of demarcation – the rapture, reveals the man of lawlessness, and ushers in God’s wrath, an aspect of which is against Israel for their rejection.

Subject to God’s wrath, you might think there is no hope for Israel.

Here is where you have to set aside your religious hats and consider the God of mercy.

I tell people that the Great White Throne, the seat of final judgment, only shows up in two places in scripture: Revelation 20 and Matthew 25. Those that think they understand what they call the sheep and goat judgment we find in Matthew 25 will argue vehemently against this possibility. Both examples carry the same results with two exceptions:

  • Revelation 20 tells us that He calls forth the dead; while Matthew 25 says that the nations are called to Him.

  • Matthew showed us a separation of people, calling them sheep (followers) and the others are designated as goats (non-followers.) In the Revelation, we are merely told about those whose names are not written in the books (the book of life is included.) Matthew’s account did not exclude the books but focuses on those found in the book of life.

  • In both instances there is a final destination for those found lacking, but Matthew gives us one extra piece of information: Those now allowed into the kingdom, lacking all the whoop-la that religion demands have, according to the judge’s explanation, merely performed some act of kindness, such as giving someone a drink of water. Jesus tells them that they were giving that drink to Him.

Is it possible that the nation of Israel in burying the enemies dead, qualifies as an act of kindness; finds some redemption; and, thereby gains entrance into the kingdom? It would seem that God has already qualified it as such.

Posted in bible study, End times, Ezekiel, God's character, Gog, Islam, judgment, Prophetic, Revelation, Thoughts on scripture, wrath. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A quick study on False Teachers. 2 Peter 2:1-3


I have had an up close and personal relationship with a false teacher for some time now. As usual, the Holy Spirit prompts me to see that far too many of us have to deal with people like this.

Why would a false teacher be such a problem, especially since the influence asserted on us is minimal and annoying at best. For myself, I feel like I have wasted a portion of my day, and always have to do some quick research into the Word to debunk what I, and the others had to listen to. Others in the group ask outlandish questions, questions they would not ask if they spent anytime pursuing the Word of God.

Sadly, the false teachers waste our time with garbage instead of the Word.

Having recently started a commentary on 2Peter I would have come to this discussion eventually, but for several days now, I feel compelled to do a quick study on false teachers. It would seem we are surrounded by them.

If you do a phrase search in the NASB (my version of choice) there is only one reference to false teachers, and this is it:

2 Peter 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2) Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3) and in their greed, they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

Peter has projected this into the future, but if you know your Bible, then you know that false teachers came on the scene quickly.

You may not see it, but there is a list presented here that describes the false teacher:

  • secretly introduce destructive heresies.” Having a familiarity with someone who plays the role of false teacher, does he secretly introduce destructive heresies? First, let’s look at the word secretly.
  • Secretly is the Greek word pareisago – which means to introduce surreptitiously; privily bring in. This tells me that under the guise of organized church policy and beliefs, he is teaching or advocating outside the scope of scripture or church doctrines. The man I know told us that he was an ordained teacher in that particular religion. I knew they ordained Pastors, but teachers? The question is if they thought you were worthy of holding such a title many years ago, are you still adept enough to teach now?

    Since joining the group over two years ago I became aware of false teachings. I was asked the same question you might be asking; did you do or say anything about the teachings? Yes, on several occasions. At one point I left the group and was gone for about six months. A friend who still attended asked me to come back as I was one of the few who attempts to withstand the teacher. I assure you, I have not been called to aggressively confront deeply entrenched and admired Bible teachers; I also know my own personality and I have the propensity to be aggressive – a rather non-productive approach. Nothing changed, in fact, the teacher actually became more adamant in espousing his opinions. The problems were many, and I attempted to inform the then new Pastor that someone needed to at least monitor the group. It seems that new pastors clean house by firing dissenting staff members, and that is exactly what we saw at this church. However, our renowned teacher is not a paid staff member and apparently of no concern. Two years have come and gone, and even though there is an esteemed church member and former deacon in attendance, to keep the study on the straight and narrow way of truth, he does and says nothing to correct blatant and horrendous falsehoods.How then do we call it a secret and mutinous attempt if everyone keeps turning their backs and allowing the offender to go on teaching?

  • Destructive – Gk apōleia and means ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal): – damnable (-nation), destruction, die, perdition, X perish, pernicious ways, waste.The ruin, loss, destruction, and waste come in the form of misinformed participants who are either mislead or incapable of seeking out the truth. Why should they, as the false teacher has by intimidation implied that the information he gave was true and not to be challenged.

Heresies – Gk hairesis – meaning a choice, that is, (specifically) a party or (abstractly) disunion. The Word Study Dictionary says, a form of religious worship, discipline, or opinion.

One of the main things we hear from this teacher, especially after a Biblical refute of something he has espoused, is, that’s my opinion, and that is all that matters. Oh really. In those moments he is clearly in disunion from the Word of God and the doctrines of the church. (As I side note: I often find myself annoyed by church doctrines as they tend to be the rules of man as they attempt to establish a hierarchy.)

  • even denying the Master who bought them.” At first glance, this seems rather extreme, up to and including a denial of Jesus Christ. It’s not quite that direct and requires you looking up the “simple” words.

    Denying – Gk arneomai meaning to contradict, that is, disavow, reject, abnegate: – deny, refuse. The actions and reactions described here are a common occurrence with this individual I am describing, as he contradicts, rejects, and refuses to hear the truth. (By the way, if you were to respond correctly to anything, it should be the truth. Truth in this example is exclusively the Word of God.) It would seem that all you have to do is consider the words in question: “denying the Master who bought them.” Who brought us to this grand party? Jesus Christ, the Father God. So, in contradicting, disavowing, rejecting and refusal, you are doing just that, denying.

    DISAVOW is to deny; to disown; to deny to be true, as a fact or charge respecting one’s self; as, he was charged with embezzlement, but he disavows the fact. A man may disavow his name or signature; he may disavow a knowledge of a fact or his concern in a transaction. If I operate on the principle that God’s word is the truth, then to teach in opposition to that Word is to disavow.

  • Many will follow their sensuality,”
    Follow – Gk exakoloutheō meaning to follow, to imitate: Such a simple word, follow, but if we all emulated the practices, lifestyle, and teachings of the false teacher, then we become his imitators, as we live our stunted lives (A huge implication here is, that few of us have the ability to read the Bible and understand it.) How pathetically sad this idea of following someone like this. Jesus is the one I am aware of who advocated people following Him, although I am sure even Paul the Apostle wrote and told others to emulate him as well. To follow all aspects of the false teacher I speak of would leave me seriously stunted, judgmental, and legalistic.

Sensuality – Gk aselgeia meaning licentiousness or wantonness.

As I try to understand I am lead to this word licentiousness, and I can’t find it in my memory banks; that is why I look things up.

LICEN’TIOUSNESS, n. Excessive indulgence of liberty; contempt of the just restraints of law, morality, and decorum. The licentiousness of authors is justly condemned; the licentiousness of the press is punishable by law.

Anyone who has sat under this brother in Christ knows that he exhibits both of these things traits, every week.

  • and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned;”
    Maligned; what a pathetically simple way of saying blasphemed. The Gk word is blasphēmeō meaning to slander, hence to speak lightly or profanely of sacred things:

    Slander is defined as A false tale or report maliciously uttered and tending to injure the reputation of another by lessening him in the esteem of his fellow citizens, by exposing him to impeachment and punishment, or by impairing his means of living; Wow, in Christianity, and among false teachers, the idea of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and thereby committing the unpardonable sin, is tossed around with frequency. Jesus gave us the clearest and most defined example when He went after a group of Pharisees. The setting: He had just delivered a young man of a demon when the Pharisees began their verbal attacks, saying, He casts them out by the power of the Devil, the enemy. His response: Mark 3:22-30 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.” 23) And He called them to Himself and began speaking to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24) “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25) “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26) “If Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but he is finished! 27) “But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house. 28) “Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; 29) but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”– 30) because they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” Did you catch that? All this was said in response because “they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”” Typically, the word blasphemy is used as a method of control (Control, if you do your homework, is a form of witchcraft.) Just for the fun of it, let’s see what God has to say about witchcraft.

Deuteronomy 18:9-12 9) “When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10) “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11) or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12) “For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.

Let me ask you a simplistic, childlike question. What is truth? The answer to the question is, God’s Word is Truth; plain and simple. So, does God win over the opinion of any man? Without a doubt.

  • and in their greed, they will exploit you with false words;”
    Greed is the Greek word pleonexia and means advantage, covetousness. The word greed tends to force you to look for the money, but that is far from where we need to be thinking right now. I realize this can be a problem for television evangelists and some pastors, but this is just a small town “Bible Study” leader, and he does not get paid. Because the word advantage is an alternate understanding of the Gk word pleonexia, let’s see what the definition of advantage is.

    ADV’ANTAGE, n.1. Any state, condition, or circumstance, favorable to success, prosperity, interest, or reputation. Wait a minute; this man had a reputation; and, he certainly wants to be seen as a success, and, he wants the conditions to be favorable to achieving that goal. But keep in mind that the verse says, “they will exploit you with false words.

Allow me to give you a grand example of what we hear with consistency.

The generalized statement was made that, everyone that goes to the great white throne is sent to the hell they deserve. Is this a true statement? Absolutely not. How do I know that? Because I have read my Bible; I have a brain, and I choose to use it.

The Great White Throne judgment. Do you realize it only shows up in two locations; one of those is here:

Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12) And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14) Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15) And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

False teachers will dare to assume that no one’s name is found written in the book of life and therefore thrown into the lake of fire, but that is not conveyed in Revelation 20:11-15. It merely tells you what is to befall those He does not find listed in the books. It says that the dead, from all time apparently, are raised and brought before this throne. God then, opens the books, and there are several, and He scours those books looking for some act for which He can show mercy. Sadly, for some unfortunate few, He finds nothing, and they are sent to their permanent place of separation.

Now, I said there were two places we find this throne. The second is in Matthew 25. The NASB entitles this section, “The Final Judgment.” Wow, that should have a familiar ring to it, especially since I just gave you the paraphrased version of the final judgment.

Matthew 25:31-46 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32) “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33) and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34) “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35) ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37) “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38) ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39) ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40) “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ 41) “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42) for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43) I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44) “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45) “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46) “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

So how is this similar to what we saw in Revelation 20?

  • Matthew 25 states,“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.”
  • Revelation 20 tells us, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it,”

There is only one Him, and His name is Jesus. This is relatively easy to ascertain if you keep in mind that the Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ. So when we see God in the Revelation we are seeing Jesus.

  • In Matthew 25:32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him.”

Here they are not specifically designated as dead or formerly dead folk. I think this throws many off as they cannot extrapolate. Why should this concept of the dead be a problem anyway; especially since we are all eternal in our spirits – that thing made after the image of God.

  • In Revelation 20 we see this: “I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, .. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them.

These dead came from everywhere imaginable; the sea, and death and Hades gave up the dead which was in them. One of the problems people have when trying to make this comparison is the idea that only live people are brought to the throne in Matthew 25. Is it a critical error if God’s word fails to give you what you think is a scathing omission? Dead or alive, we are all alive eternally in our spirits; we were, by the way, made in the image of God and He is a spirit. So, in the long run, no one is really dead in the sense of answering for our transgression, are we.

Here is an excellent question and worthy of some thought, especially since it helps our understanding. Since this is the end of time who are the people, we are dealing with as we try to understand those before the throne?

Since the church age, there have only been three people groups. (Note: God does not care where you are from or what color you are. They are:)

  • The Jews/Israel;
  • The Church – the church is the living breathing organism made up of us, and we, are in Christ.
  • And, the nations – those outside of a relationship with Jesus Christ,

A piece of information you theoretically should know, unless of course your time was squandered by a false teacher who made you endure some derisory teaching about backsliding for two months, is that by this time the church will have been caught up to heaven, leaving those Jews that were not part of the church to endure the wrath that is coming. Sadly many who sit in churches will miss out on this catching away and have to endure the wrath as well. Those outside of the first two groups; and remain, are primarily called the nations. The nations are a diverse group that can include religious people, cannibals, brutal bullies, the poor, and the rich.

In terms of timing, the millennial reign has come to an end. Satan is released long enough to deceive the nations – once again, and they surround the 1500 square mile City of God along with its people, thinking that they can kill God. God sends a fire and destroys this uncountable number. It is at this time when the Great White Throne is set up. If I focus on Matthew’s account, there is a clear separation of acceptable folks from the bad, with the bad sent off to an eternal hell. Many are shown mercy simply on the basis of some kind act. Revelation 20 is where false teachers like to focus and will advocate that all go to hell, all the while ignoring that God is scouring through these books to find a reason to show mercy. If God, who knows all and sees all, knew who would be destined to hell why then even have books. In Matthew’s account, the crowd is separated and seemingly without the aid of these books. This kind of merciless logic conveys a God that merely mocks those destined for hell since He already knows their names and whether they are in the books or not. No, God is looking for a reason to show mercy.

Posted in Apostasy, bible study, Deception, false teaching, God's character, In Christ, The supremacy of Christ, Thoughts, Thoughts on scripture | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment