As in The Days of Noah Were Msg II

 

As In The Days of Noah Were

Our Lord Jesus told us that the conditions on this earth are going to be just as bad as they were before He destroyed the earth with a Flood many years ago:

The Great Day of His Wrath 1851-3 by John Martin 1789-1854

The Great Day of His Wrath 1851-3 by John Martin 1789-1854

Matthew 24: 37

37But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (KJV)

In the first instance, God destroyed the earth by a flood. When Christ returns, the destructive means will be a fire, with nuclear weapons contributing to it. In both instances, the sin on the earth had degraded to the point where violence was rampant, and all flesh was corrupted. The earth will continue to degenerate to the point that the Lord will rapture the true believers off the face of the earth to be with Him, leaving only the unsaved and massively sinful population. The Great Tribulation will follow the event of the Rapture. Adam wrote parts of Genesis in which we find his prediction of both the flood, and the fiery destructions of the earth. Josephus affirmed Adam’s writing (circa A.D.68):

“Adam’s prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water, they made two pillars; the one of brick, the other of stone: they inscribed their discoveries on them both, (71) that in case the pillar or brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Siriad to this day.” (Josephus and Whiston, 1987, Book 1, Chapter 2 ¶71)

The sinfulness characteristics of humankind, which caused the Lord God to bring a Flood upon the earth, are listed here:

Characteristics of the Earth Before Divine Judgment

  • Preoccupation with physical appetites (Luke 17: 27)
  • Rapid advances in technology (Genesis 4: 22)
  • Grossly materialistic attitudes and interests (Luke17: 28)
  • Uniformitarian philosophies (Hebrews 11: 7)
  • Inordinate devotion to pleasure and comfort (Genesis 4: 21)
  • No concern for God in thought or deed (II Peter 2: 5; Jude 15)
  • Disregard for the sanctity of marriage (Matthew 24: 38)
  • Rejection of God’s Word (I Peter 3: 19)
  • Population explosion (Genesis 6: 1, 11)
  • Widespread violence (Genesis 6: 11, 13)
  • Corruption throughout society (Genesis 6: 12)
  • Preoccupation with illicit sexual activity (Genesis 4: 19; 6: 2)
  • Widespread words and thoughts of blasphemy (Jude 15)
  • Organized Satanic activity (Genesis 6: 1-4)
  • Promulgation of abnormal depravity (Genesis 6: 5, 12) (Morris, 2009, 174-175).

Each one of these items listed above came about because of the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. Ever since then, man has been trying to mitigate the effects of these behaviors.

Preoccupation with physical appetites

The Eve of the Deluge by William Bell Scott Cir 1865

The Eve of the Deluge by William Bell Scott Cir 1865

Luke 17:27-28

27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (KJV)

As the Lord is explaining the circumstances of the period just before the Great Tribulation, and His return to the earth, He describes several activities that could easily be viewed as normal day-to-day living. He further refers to two periods of human history when these activities were taking place just prior to a cataclysm of huge proportions. One was the Flood, and the other was the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. People are dining, drinking, getting married, conducting business activities, constructing buildings, and farming. On the face of it these activities seem innocent enough and do not appear sufficiently evil to warrant a worldwide Flood, or the destruction of two cities in divine retribution. What the Lord is saying here is that they are preoccupied with these activities, and were “falling away” from Him. This behavior is described in both Testaments, and here are a few examples:

  • You will turn from the way (Deut. 31:29)
  • You will all fall away this night (Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27)
  • Many will fall away (Matthew 24:10)
  • When persecution comes he falls away (Matthew 13:21; Mark 4:17)
  • They believe for a while and in time of temptation they fall away (Luke 8:13)
  • The day of the Lord will be preceded by apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
  • In the last days some will fall away from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1)

“Fall away” is a good description for the behavior that results when other desires take priority over reverence to God. “Falling away” is easy to do, and hard to resist.

Rapid advances in technology

Iron & Coal by William Bell Scott Cir. 1855-60

Iron & Coal by William Bell Scott Cir. 1855-60

The rapid advances made by the first pre-flood civilizations were significant. Cain, the banished son of Adam who had murdered his brother Abel, founded the first civilization. The Cainitic civilization took on his character such as:

  • Urban and nomadic life was preferred over “tilling the ground”.
  • Nomadic life was preferred over settled, dwelling places for agricultural pursuits.
  • Cattle raising began.
  • Metal working tools were developed to ease the burden of the hard work, and to create weapons.
  • Musical instruments were developed to provide musical and mitigate their sorrow.
  • Polygamy began.
  • Boasting through written poetry developed.

This civilization included urbanization, agriculture, animal domestication and metallurgy. Adam’s descendants did them all quickly. Every element of a materialistic civilization is mentioned in Genesis 4 verses 16–22:

Genesis 4:16-22 

16And Cain went out from the presence of Jehovah, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. 17And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. 18And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methushael; and Methushael begat Lamech. 19And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. 20And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents and have cattle. 21And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and pipe. 22And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.” (KJV)

The Orgy by William Hogarth Cir 1733

The Orgy by William Hogarth Cir 1733

These verses describe city and pastoral life, the development of the arts and the beginning of manufacturing. Jubal produced musical instruments (the harp and flute). Tubal-Cain, his brother, made tools out of bronze and iron. Ezekiel 27:13 also refers to Tubal-Cain, and the trading of bronze vessels. The Biblical narrative recognizes the use of metals to advance the progress of civilization, and the development of more efficient tools and weapons. This man was the first to make weapons of war. The order in which the principal metals are mentioned in the Torah—gold, copper, and iron—correctly reflects the history of metallurgy. Copper in Hebrew is neḥoshet, and actually means “bronze,” which is an alloy of copper and tin. This metal was used as early as the third millennium B.C. extensively in southern Mesopotamia and in Sinai. This Hebrew word is also from the same root as the word for “serpent”. Archaeological discoveries have attested to the high degree of technology that allowed them to attempt to thwart the effects of the curse on the earth. The Cainitic civilization may have been as splendid as that of Greece or Rome, but Divine Judgment is based on the moral state of man, not the material state of man (Genesis 6:5–7).

Modern Technology

Modern technology advances can in our country be traced to time after the Civil War:

Thomas Edison's ambition to listen to the dead. From surreal paintings.com Artist unknown

Thomas Edison’s ambition to listen to the dead. From surreal paintings.com Artist unknown

 

  • In the years between 1867 and 1880, such devices as the telephone, sound recordings, typewriters, chemically stable paper pulp, and reinforced concrete were invented. This latter innovation allowed for the building boom that created larger cities in the United States during the Civil War Reconstruction period.
  • The 1880’s, a huge period of scientific advances, brought incandescent electric lights, electric motors, trains, the gramophone, a spread of photography (a technology initially developed decades earlier), internal combustion engines, aluminum production, and more.
  • The 1890’s saw the introduction of diesel engines, x-rays, movies, wireless telegraphy, the discovery of radioactivity and the synthesis of aspirin.
  • And the period from the turn of the century through 1914 saw the sudden upsurge of mass-production, especially of automobiles, which changed the United States from a horse-drawn society to a motorized one. It also was the period when the first airplanes and tractors were developed, and vacuum diodes and triodes were perfected allowing for the miniaturization of electronic equipment.
  • Air conditioning, stainless steel and neon lights became elements of the modern world. Other inventions were the radio, TV and computer. Motorized transportation went from automobiles to inter continental air travel, to space exploration.
  • Warfare technology went from simple single shot rifles, and some multiple shotguns and canons, to deadly computerized inter-continental missiles, and nuclear armaments.
  • Another major area of advancement was in communication, and information sharing and development. The telephone, advances in printing presses and typesetting, the typewriter, improvements in paper manufacture, movies, photography, the gramophone, the radio were developed or refined during this crucial period.
  • The development of the Internet in the last half of the 20th The Internet has radically changed nearly every level of human experience in an incredibly short amount of time. Two decades ago, you would have had to write a letter to communicate with others far away; now you can interact in real time with people all over the earth.

Technology’s Effects on Society

All these individual innovations combined to change the way information was spread, and the effect of this was probably more disruptive than the information revolution of the late 20th century.

The impact of technology on our social, mental, physical and environmental health can be devastating. Here is a list of them:

Alone with out phones from Linked In.  Artist unknown

Alone with out phones from Linked In. Artist unknown

  • Isolation: Isolation is characterized by a lack of face-to-face contact with other people in normal daily living, such as the workplace, with friends and in social activities. The use of online social media sites cause us to meet face-to-face with real people much less frequently, resulting in a lack of social skill development. We lose the ability to “read” body language and interpret social “cues” from other people.
  • Lack of Social Bonds: Creating a lasting bond with other people requires face-to-face interaction. Recent developments in technology, such as the Internet, have led to a decline in “normal” social behaviors. In ages past, you would see people and actually get to know them. People talked to each and shared their ideas and thoughts daily. The more we allow technology to isolate ourselves, the fewer bonds we will form. People can now work from home, which takes away time they would be spending with their families. Younger people prefer communicating “online” instead of face-to-face. When people are in the same room, and communicating by text or instant messaging instead of speaking to each other, there is a problem.
  • Lack of Privacy: No longer is an having unlisted telephone number, or staying “offline” keeping your information safe from prying eyes. With a few clicks on a keyboard, the average person can locate anyone’s address and contact information. Additionally, people no longer are protective of privacy. They do not think twice about tweeting every move they make, freely giving out their location on Google Map, or putting their entire life story, or racy picture on Facebook.
  • Violating Social Boundaries: Much in the same way that people over share on social media sites, there is an increasing tendency to cross social boundaries. Cyber stalking someone, or sending unsolicited nude photos are examples of violating social boundaries.
  • Depression: Technology creates the perfect recipe for depression with the lack of human contact, lack of exercise and overeating.
  • Poor Sleep Habits: Online activities that keep us up too late, and the constant stream of information can make it difficult to turn off our brains. The ambient glow from screens can affect the release of melatonin, the sleep chemical.
  • Higher Level of Deceit: Another concern is use of the Internet to deceive others by creating a false profiles, people can “pretend” to be whomever they want.
  • Lack of Emotional Empathy and Sexual Boundaries: The constant stream of violent and sexual scenes in video games, TV, movies, and YouTube causes people to become desensitized to destruction of any kind. The “normalizing” of bad things happening, and the culture of narcissism created by social media, creates a society of people who lack empathy. Protecting our children has become much more difficult.
  • Constant Distraction: When we are focused on a device instead of what is going on around us, we miss a great deal and lose concentration on completing the tasks before us.
  • Shortened Attention Span: The use of social media has shortened our attention span from 12 minutes to 5 minutes. Constant news feeds, getting information in 140 characters or less, and videos that are 10 minutes or less has literally rewired our brains.
  • Increased Bullying: The use of technology has caused an increase in bullying and escalated the severity of it. Kids are no longer able to escape their tormentors once they reach the safety of their own homes. Bullies infiltrate the security of their victim’s homes through online avenues. It is also easier to get more kids involved in bullying because people are more likely to say things online that they would not say in person. The increase in cyber-bullying has also led to an increase in teen suicides.
  • More Violence: After people lose empathy and are accustomed to violence, it becomes the social norm. Recording of violent beatings, school shootings, are attacks on homeless, elderly or disabled people are a few examples of violent behavior promoted by this type of media.
  • Developmental Issues in Children: Children are using more technology now than they have ever used in the past. All of the negative effects that social media and television is having on adults are far greater when it comes to the developing minds of children. There is no way to know what long term effect technology will have on our children because this is the first generation to have unlimited access.
Mall Culture Artist Unknown

Mall Culture Artist Unknown

Grossly Materialistic Attitudes and Interests

The nearest a person can come to describing the cataclysm that will happen when Christ returns is to look at the way Noah’s generation perished in the Flood (Genesis 6–9). As Noah prepared the ark for the Flood, the people continued in their normal daily routine, and there is nothing wrong with these activities. The problem is their civilization was obsessed with the material things of the world, and not spiritual responsibilities. They denied the existence of God and only cared about “getting more”. On the day Noah entered the ark, the rains came, and everyone perished without warning except Noah and his family. In the same way, the materialistic, indifferent people of Sodom were not prepared for God’s judgment (Genesis 19). They were living in sin, and oblivious to God. Therefore, they were destroyed without any warning either. Jesus reminded His followers that at the time of the coming of the Kingdom, people should not be attached to their material things for they, like Lot’s wife, will be judged accordingly. God’s judgment caught them totally by surprise, because they lived as though it would never happen:

Jasher 5:22-25

22 In that time, the Lord said to Noah and Methuselah, Stand forth and proclaim to the sons of men all the words that I spoke to you in those days, peradventure they may turn from their evil ways, and I will then repent of the evil and will not bring it. 23 And Noah and Methuselah stood forth, and said in the ears of the sons of men, all that God had spoken concerning them. 24 But the sons of men would not hearken, neither would they incline their ears to all their declarations. 25 And it was after this that the Lord said to Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me, on account of their evil deeds, and behold I will destroy the earth.”

 Jasher 6:12-28

12 And still the sons of men would not return from their evil ways, and they increased the anger of the Lord at that time, and did not even direct their hearts to all this. 13 And at the end of seven days, in the six hundredth year of the life of Noah, the waters of the flood were upon the earth. 14 And all the fountains of the deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.15 And Noah and his household, and all the living creatures that were with him, came into the ark on account of the waters of the flood, and the Lord shut him in. 16 And all the sons of men that were left upon the earth, became exhausted through evil on account of the rain, for the waters were coming more violently upon the earth, and the animals and beasts were still surrounding the ark. 17 And the sons of men assembled together, about seven hundred thousand men and women, and they came unto Noah to the ark. 18 And they called to Noah, saying, Open for us that we may come to thee in the ark–and wherefore shall we die? 19 And Noah, with a loud voice, answered them from the ark, saying, Have you not all rebelled against the Lord, and said that he does not exist? and therefore the Lord brought upon you this evil, to destroy and cut you off from the face of the earth. 20 Is not this the thing that I spoke to you of one hundred and twenty years back, and you would not hearken to the voice of the Lord, and now do you desire to live upon earth? 21 And they said to Noah, We are ready to return to the Lord; only open for us that we may live and not die. 22 And Noah answered them, saying, Behold now that you see the trouble of your souls, you wish to return to the Lord; why did you not return during these hundred and twenty years, which the Lord granted you as the determined period? 23 But now you come and tell me this on account of the troubles of your souls, now also the Lord will not listen to you, neither will he give ear to you on this day, so that you will not now succeed in your wishes. 24 And the sons of men approached in order to break into the ark, to come in on account of the rain, for they could not bear the rain upon them. 25 And the Lord sent all the beasts and animals that stood round the ark. And the beasts overpowered them and drove them from that place, and every man went his way and they again scattered themselves upon the face of the earth. 26 And the rain was still descending upon the earth, and it descended forty days and forty nights, and the waters prevailed greatly upon the earth; and all flesh that was upon the earth or in the waters died, whether men, animals, beasts, creeping things or birds of the air, and there only remained Noah and those that were with him in the ark. 27 And the waters prevailed and they greatly increased upon the earth, and they lifted up the ark and it was raised from the earth. 28 And the ark floated upon the face of the waters, and it was tossed upon the waters so that all the living creatures within were turned about like pottage in a cauldron.”

 

Noah's Flood Artist Unknown

Noah’s Flood Artist Unknown

Materialism Today

The concept of materialism can be defined as, “the importance a consumer attaches to worldly possessions”. At the highest levels of materialism, possessions assume a central place in a person’s life, and are believed to provide the greatest sources of satisfaction, or dissatisfaction. Therefore, when the materialistic things take on a high level of importance in the human’s life, the spiritual is subordinated to those things. Materialism has several meanings:

It is the simple preoccupation with the material world, as opposed to intellectual or spiritual concepts.

It is a theory that assumes that physical matter is all that exists. This theory is far more than a simple focus on material possessions. It states that everything in the universe is matter, without any true spiritual or intellectual existence.

It can also refer to the belief that material success and progress are the highest values in life. This belief appears to be prevalent in western society today.

It is a philosophy that maintains that existence is solely the universe as a huge device being held together by pieces of matter functioning in subjection to naturalistic laws. Since materialism denies all concepts of Special Creation, it relies on the Theory of Evolution to explain itself, thus making beliefs in materialism and evolution interdependent. The attitude can be summed up as “there is only what I can see and what I cannot see is not important or does not exist”.

It has also been characterized as acquisition oriented, pre-occupied with status, competitive, and having a need for superiority. The saying “he who dies with the most toys wins” typifies this attitude.

Effects of Materialism

Materialism promotes negative feelings such as lust, selfishness, jealousy, envy, and eventually, a sense of hopelessness. People forsake spirituality that then leads to the lack of moral values, and the failure to understand the distinction between right and wrong choices. The only thing that matters is a good quality of life and false comforts. They think that everything around them is dictated by need of humans, and is being provided by the environment. All their beliefs are based on scientific inference only. They have lost faith in God as they refuse to believe in anything that we cannot see, hear, or touch. As a result, they remain unrepentant after committing sin. Thus, materialism has adversely affected the entire framework of our society.

Uniformitarian Philosophies

Hebrews 11: 7

7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (KJV)

Uniformitarianism is the belief that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now have always operated in the universe in the past, and apply everywhere in the universe. It includes the gradualist concept that “the present is the key to the past”. In other words, the way things are now is the way they have always been. This philosophy refutes special creation and a host of catastrophes God brought correction upon this earth and described in the Bible.

The Flood by Jan Brueghel il Vecchio Cir 1600

The Flood by Jan Brueghel il Vecchio Cir 1600

Catastrophism is the secular belief that the earth has been affected in the past by sudden, short-lived, and violent worldwide events. The earth has suffered natural catastrophes on a global scale, both before, and during humankind’s recorded history. There is evidence for these catastrophes described in the Bible, in the geological, and archeological records. The extinction of many species had occurred catastrophically, not by gradual Darwinian means. For instance, the memory of a flood is recorded in the Hebrew Bible. Some have call the intentional denial of Biblical catastrophes “Cultural Amnesia” where the Biblical is regarded as mere myth and legends. Events were recorded in the Bible are caused by God, as judgment on the earth for the sins of mankind. Yet, people will look for any reason to avoid dependency on the God of the universe, and His Christ our Lord Jesus.

As sin increases, soon there will be another catastrophic judgment on the earth. This time it will be by fire as Josephus recorded Adams words:

“Adam’s prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water, they made two pillars; the one of brick, the other of stone: they inscribed their discoveries on them both, (71that in case the pillar or brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Siriad to this day. [1]

[1] Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged. Antiquities of the Jews Book 1 Chapter 2 Para 71, Peabody: Hendrickson.

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Jesus’ Path From Hades to Heaven

FROM HADES TO HEAVEN

By Tom McCall, Th.D.

What happened to the saints of the Old Testament when they died? What happened when Christ died and “descended in to Hades”? What happened between the time the risen Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene and the time He appeared to the disciples later that Sunday evening? What does the Scripture mean that Christ led “captivity captive?” Where do believers go today when they die? The purpose of this article is to find the answer to these questions in the Word of God.

When Christ died, His body was in the tomb, but His soul went to Sheol (Hades); He then rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven

The Lamentation by Ciotto de Bondone Cir 1304-06

The Lamentation by Ciotto de Bondone Cir 1304-06

 

Psalm 16:8-11

8 I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely. 10 For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol; Neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay. 11 Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever (NASB).

David prophesied that his descendant, the Messiah, would die and his body would lie in a tomb but it would not decay. This means that the body would have to be raised from the dead within a few days. Furthermore, the Messiah’s soul would go to Sheol (Hades), but would not remain there. Sheol was the netherworld place of the dead both good and bad went after death in the Old Testament. This is called Hades in the New Testament. Instead He would be shown eternal life. Thus, His soul would be reunited with His body and be resurrected from the dead. Read more

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Jesus The Messiah in the Passover

Jesus The Messiah in the Passover

 

The resurrected Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene by Alexander Ivanov 1806-1858

The resurrected Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene by Alexander Ivanov 1806-1858

Introduction

Abraham, the first Hebrew named in the Bible, received a covenant from the Lord God in approximately 2040 B.C. One of the components of that covenant was that at some time in the future his progeny would be enslaved by another nation.

Genesis 15:13-14

13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance (KJV)

Abraham’s grandson Jacob, whose name was changed by God to Israel, went from the land of Canaan to live in Egypt due to the famine in Canaan (Genesis 32:28). He and his family totaling seventy souls went to Egypt in approximately 1844 B.C. They would stay in Egypt for four hundred years. By the time God was ready to have them leave and start the journey back to Canaan, they had grown to a population numbering more than two million people (Exodus 12:37; Numbers 1: 46; 26: 51). Moses, their leader, petitioned Pharaoh to let them go and he refused. The Lord God sent ten plagues in succession into Egypt to force Pharaoh to release them. The first nine had no effect upon Pharaoh but the tenth finally caused him to release the Hebrews.  They fled the country along with many riches given by the Egyptians to send them off (Exodus 12:35-36). The prophecy that God gave Abraham was unfolding exactly as it was given. It is the last plague “The Death of the Firstborn” that begins our discussion of the Passover.

The Passover

Exodus 11:4-7

4 And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. 6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. 7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel (KJV)

God promised Moses that He would not harm any of the Israelites, but in order for them to be protected they had to follow a very specific process during the tenth plague in which all the first-born of animals and people would be put to death. If the Jews followed the Lord’s instruction explicitly they would delivered from the death that all the first-born would experience:

Exodus 12:21-28

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. 22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? 27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. 28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they (KJV)

The story continues explaining that the Children of Israel were “saved” from the death of the destroyer when he would “pass over” their homes. They were told to “observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.” Further they were told “when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.”

This ritual is rich with meaning for Christians, and shows that the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, is the central figure in this ancient Jewish feast. Christianity is actually a continuation and fulfillment of God’s plan for mankind. 
He elected the Nation Israel to would bring forth the Messiah. When Christ appeared and started His ministry the Jewish population flocked to Him. All the early Church believers were Jewish. Most of the Jewish leaders rejected Him not wanting to accept who He because they feared losing the benefits of the profitable charade that they imposed on the people. They persuaded most of the people not to follow Him claiming their superiority as official leaders of the Jewish community (Acts 4:2). So for approximately 1980 years the non-Christian Jews have been trying to follow the Mosaic Law because they did not believe that Jesus is their Messiah. Even though Jesus is clearly the central figure in the Passover, most Jews follow the ritual without ever realizing this. God told them that this was to be a perpetual celebration and that they were to carefully explain to their children.

Stained Glass of Jesus as the Paschal Lamb-Artist Unknown

Stained Glass of Jesus as the Paschal Lamb-Artist Unknown

 

The Passover became the first of the seven festivals of the nation Israel (see a brief description of the seven festivals and how they relate to Christ at the end of this article). The Passover occurs during the month of Nisan. The 10th day of Nisan is when they single out the lambs and the 14th is the Passover. Their day started at sunset. This festival also begins their religious calendar in the spring.

The Passover is a key event in the history of Israel and becomes an underlying current throughout the entire Old Testament. It is interesting that by tradition, in the orthodox Hebrew culture, almost every major event in Israel’s history is regarded as having occurred in Passover or seems to surface at historically significant Passover dates. These include:

  • The Covenant with Abraham is regarded as occurring on Passover in Genesis 15.
  • Abraham is regarded has having entertained his heavenly guests by the oaks of Mamre on Passover.
  • Sodom is regarded as being destroyed following Passover.
  • Jericho is regarded to have fallen on Passover.
  • The handwriting on the wall in Daniel 5 is regarded to have been on Passover.

The first place in Scripture this event occurs, which is a type of the Passover, is Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve clothe themselves with handmade fig leaves. God then covers them with a coat of skins. This is the first shedding of innocent blood by God as a covering after their sins. The Levitical system can actually be traced to Genesis 3. This gives us more insight into story of Cain and Abel because the sacrifices were instituted in the Garden of Eden and prophetically point to the Redeemer. Abel, by faith, observed the system and presented a blood sacrifice to God. Cain did not observe the system and presented what he wanted to offer, the fruits of his own hands, a non-blood sacrifice in contrast to Abel’s offering.

Perhaps the most dramatic prophecy of a type of the Passover was when Abraham was instructed by God to offer up Isaac (Genesis 22). They traveled three days and they went up the hill known as Mount Moriah. When Isaac asks where is the lamb for offering, Abraham says the “God will provide Himself, a Lamb (underlined added). And He did there and 2,000 years later on the wooden cross at Calvary He provided Himself as a sacrifice to redeem us by His blood. Throughout these chapters the word “Lamb” never appears in the plural, it is always singular which makes it very personal. This feast is not a Levitical feast; it is very different than the other feasts. It is much more than that. The High Priest slaughtered the lambs for the rabbinical feasts. In contrast, the lamb for this festival is slaughtered for every household by the head of the household. It is also partaken of and eaten personally by the entire family.

“The Blood of The Lamb”

Exodus 12:3-5

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth [day] of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of [their] fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take [it] according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take [it] out from the sheep, or from the goats (underlining added, KJV).

Note the sequence of steps from “a lamb” to “the lamb” to “your lamb”. It is very personal. Each person’s redemption is only achieved by his own belief, not by a minister or priest or family member. It has to be done by each person in relationship with Christ.

Every detail in the Scriptures about The Passover points to Jesus Christ.  “Your lamb shall be without blemish” (Leviticus 22:18-20; 1 Peter 1:19). Psalm 34:20 “He keepeth all his bones: Not one of them is broken” and Exodus 12:46neither shall ye break a bone thereof” both speak of not breaking a bone of the Passover Lamb. Jesus’ bones were not broken while the other two crucified with Him had their broken to hasten their death as described in John 19:31-37:

31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced (KJV).

Passover represents the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world for us. We essentially become “covered by the blood” once we accept the Lord into our lives. It is our decision just as it was the ancient Israelite’s decision to mark the doorposts and the lentil with the blood of the lamb. Once we choose this we are “Justified.” God provides several actions, which occur at the moment of belief. We call this being “born again”. It is easy to understand Nicodemus’ inability to comprehend this, since he was not yet born again at the time of his conversation with Jesus in John chapter 3. Here is the sequence of actions that happens to a believer as he is covered by the “blood of the Lamb”, and born again:

  • We are justified, and we make peace with God.
  • We receive the peace of God.
  • We are sanctified and begin to grow more Christ –like which lasts our whole lives.
  • We receive the Holy Spirit as an earnest deposit to be redeemed by God at either the rapture or the moment of our death, whichever happens first.
  • We are endowed with Spiritual Gifts.

If the ancient Israelites chose not to accept God’s atonement provision the destroyer would kill them.  God did not do the destroying. It is important to note this as He provided the salvation. If we choose not to accept Christ, upon death we go straight to hell. There is no redemption after that for the unbeliever.

Romans 15:4

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope (KJV)

Amos 3:7

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets (KJV).

 Exodus 12:14

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever (KJV).

Note that the Lord instituted this for all times. It was not to end. The Jews still keep the Passover. The Messianic Jews do not slay the Lamb (Jesus) since the Lamb was slain once for all. Most of them still keep the feast and they call it the Haggadah or the Seder.

THE MODERN PASSOVER SEDER (Order of Service)

The Instituted Passover that God ordained as a memorial relationship and a prophetic relationship for His children is the modern Passover is held in homes, and is presided over by the head of the house, the grandfather or father. The ceremony is performed on the 14th and 15th of Nisan, with the 14th being optional and the 15th being mandatory.

The woman of the house also has an important part. The first preparation is a thorough house cleaning by the hostess, and a ceremonial search (the Bedikat Chametz) for leaven by the host. He uses a lighted candle, a wooden spoon, a feather and a napkin. When he finds the last bits of leavened bread, he wraps it in the napkin and says the Kal Hamira – “Now I have rid my house of leaven.” The napkin and its crumbs are burned. This service is a type of the Last Supper of Jesus.

The normal dishes are all packed away, and a special set that’s used only once a year is brought out. The hostess cooks a festive meal, but doesn’t set it on the table until later in the service. The hostess begins the actual Seder by lighting the candles and chanting a blessing. The table is set with several prescribed items, as follows:

The Seder Plate, a blue-enameled brass dish that has six compartments for the following foods:

  • The zeroah, or shank bone of a lamb (no meat). For the first 1500 years, they actually sacrificed a lamb, and then ate its meat in the Passover meal. But in A.D. 70 when the Roman, Titus, destroyed the Jerusalem Temple proper sacrifices became impossible. Thus, the bone is now placed on the plate as a memorial.
  • The bytzah or haggigah, a hard-boiled egg roasted brown. The egg was not there originally; it is a Babylonian symbol of fertility and may have started during their Babylonian captivity during the 6th century B.C.
  • Three kinds of “bitter herbs” are the chazereth (whole horseradish root), the maror (freshly ground horseradish), and the karpas (lettuce, parsley or celery). 
The bitter herbs were to remind them of the misery their ancestors suffered.
  • The charoseth, a sweet mixture of chopped apples, nuts, raisins, cinnamon and wine. The charoseth represents the mortar they used in making bricks in Egypt.
  • A bowl of salt water. The salt water is a reminder of the water of the Red Sea and also of their tears.
  • There are also three matzohs (unleavened cracker-like wafers of bread, pierced and striped during baking). These are in a matzo tash, a square white silk bag having three sections.
  • The host has four wine goblets. Sometimes the other celebrants also have four, or sometimes, instead their goblets are refilled several times. The four goblets represent the four verbs in Exodus 6:6-7, “I will bring you out; … I will deliver you; … I will redeem you; … I will take you to be my people.”
  • There is also an ornate book, the Haggadah, describing the service and containing the prayers. This was compiled in the 13th century A.D., from much earlier fragments.
  • Each chair has a pillow, and guests recline or sit comfortably (to show that they’re not slaves).
  • The host wears a kitel, a long white robe-like outer garment, and symbol of purity. On his head is the miter, a white silk crown-shaped headress. He chants the prayer of sanctification, or Kiddush, “Blessed are thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine.”
  • Everyone drinks from the first wine-goblet, the “cup of sanctification.”

The hostess brings in a small towel and bowl of water used several times in the service for ceremonial hand washing.  (Jesus washed the feet of His disciples at the Last Supper.)

The leader passes out bits of karpas to each person. They all chant, “Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the universe, who created the fruit of the earth.”
  • Everyone dips the karpas into salt water and eats it.
  • Now the leader takes the matzoh tash with its unity (the three matzohs). He removes the middle matzoh, breaks it in half, and hides or buries one half by wrapping it in a white napkin and placing it under a pillow, or under the table. The other half is replaced in the matzoh tash. The buried wafer is called the aphikomen. He doesn’t explain why he does this.  (There’s a great deal of significance in this “burial,” and its later “resurrection,” especially for Christians. Its meaning can be understood as “that which is coming”, for example dessert, yet it can be seen as “He who is coming.” According to Jewish tradition, Messiah will come at Passover to bring redemption like the redemption brought through Moses. This is why a place is left at the table for Elijah, the forerunner of Messiah as stated in Malachi 4:5.)

Now it’s time for the traditional questions, chanted by the youngest child. Basically these ask:

  1. Why is this night different from all others?
  2. Why do we eat matzohs?
  3. Why must we have bitter herbs?
  4. Why do we dip greens into salt water?
  5. Why do we recline on pillows?

The leader then recites the history of the Hebrew nation, from Abraham to Moses. He tells about the slavery in Egypt, and God’s deliverance. When he lists the ten plagues, everyone spills a drop of wine into a cup — one for each plague. When the description is over, they all sing and clap a happy song, praising God. They recite Psalms 113 and 114 (the Hallel). Then they drink from the second wine-goblet (the cup of praise). 

There’s more ceremonial washing and eating matzoh, bitter herbs and sweet charoseth. Now the hostess clears the table of the ceremonial items (but leaves the wine-goblets), and brings out the main dinner. When the meal is finished, the hostess clears the dishes. Now it’s time for the search for the aphikomen (the buried half- matzoh). The children, who make it a game, do this. Adults call out clues, “You’re getting close,” and so on (of course, they all saw the host hide it, so the contest is only ritual). The youngest is usually allowed to find it, and receives a gift. The host breaks off olive-size pieces of matzoh from the aphikomen and distributes them to all. They each eat it, in a reverent manner. Sometimes there is a blessing, “In memory of the Passover sacrifice, eaten after one is sated.” 

(This is the point during the Last Supper at which Jesus broke the bread and passed bits to His disciples; however, Jesus added the significant words given in Luke 22:19, 

“This is my body which is given for you.”)

The host now takes the third cup of wine, “the cup of redemption,” or “the cup of blessing,” and offers the main table grace blessing. (In Jewish tradition, the main blessing comes after the meal.) Then they all drink from the third cup. 

At the Last Supper, this is the place referred to in Luke 22:20, 
”Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you’.”

There is a fourth wine-goblet at the table, that hasn’t been used until now. This is called “the cup of Elijah.” There is also an empty chair, waiting for Elijah to come. This is done because of the promise contained at the end of the Old Testament:

Malachi 4:5-6

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (KJV)

Messianic expectations run very high among the Jewish people and especially at Passover time. The children of the house then make a ritual of going and looking closely at the cup, to see if Elijah has come and sipped some. One of the children goes to the door, opens it, and looks for Elijah. Everyone says, “Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the LORD!”

The host then leads in the recitation of the second part of the Hallel — Psalms 115-118, then the Great Hallel, Psalm 136. Everyone drinks from the fourth cup of wine. After one more prayer of blessing (that contains the phrase “Next year in Jerusalem”) the Passover celebration is finished.

The seven festivals of Israel

The seven festivals are:

Spring Festivals                   Mid Year Festival     Fall Festivals

Passover                                  Pentecost                                Trumpets
Unleavened Bread                                                                   Day of Atonement

First Fruits                                                                              Tabernacle

Three of the seven feasts of Israel occur in the month of Nisan. The first three deal with Christ’s first coming, and Passover became the first of the seven festivals. The feast of Unleavened Bread, which lasts for seven days, starts on the 14th of Nisan, the end of The Passover:

Exodus 12:15

15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel (KJV).

In 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 leaven is shown to be in Bible typology an example of sin.

The First Fruits represents The Resurrection and it is the day following the Sabbath of the Passover. Jesus died on Passover, Unleavened Bread starts on Saturday and First Fruits (Resurrection) is on the first day of the week or the day after the Sabbath.

The middle one, Pentecost, is fifty (50) days after First Fruits and represents the Church age since the Church was born on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

The three main fall festivals are: Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles. They represent Christ’s second coming.

Here is a chart and the events of Christ’s death and resurrection:

 

Last Week of Jesus's Lift Chronology by Daniel Woodhead

Last Week of Jesus’s Lift Chronology by Daniel Woodhead

 

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

 

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The Star of Christmas – A Special Sign in Heaven

 

The Star

 

 

God spoke to the Magi through the prophet Daniel to let them know 600 years earlier that His Messiah would be coming. Daniel was the prime minister of Babylon during two successive administrations; the Babylonians and Media-Persia. God wants us to know Him and enjoy His glory. The intent of the physical universe is to declare and display the majesty and glory of its Creator. This discussion will reveal a portion of His will in this regard.

Matthew 2:1–12 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise-men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we saw his star in the east, and are come to worship him. And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written through the prophet,  

(From Micah 5:2)“And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah: For out of thee shall come forth a governor, Who shall be shepherd of my people Israel. “  

Then Herod privily called the Wise-men, and learned of them exactly what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search out exactly concerning the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word, that I also may come and worship him. And they, having heard the king, went their way; and lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And they came into the house and saw the young child with Mary his mother; and they fell down and worshipped him; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

The star they saw guided them to Jerusalem (east to west) and then on to Bethlehem (north to south). This was a special star identified as “His Star.”  This star appeared to them while they were in the east and they knew that it signified the Christ or Messiah had arrived. God uses the stars in the heavens to bring messages to the world about Himself. In this study we will explore how God uses the stars to communicate to us and then we will conclude with a discussion of the special star of Bethlehem. We must always remember that Satan has corrupted God’s message to us and the message in the stars is typical of that corruption. Nevertheless Christ told us to search the Scriptures (John 5: 39). This we must do to understand what God wants us to know.

 On the fourth day of creation God made the stars in the heavens.

Genesis 1: 14-18 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.  

One of the reasons for making the stars in the heavens was for a sign. A sign signifies or represents something. One dictionary defines a sign as: An object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the presence or occurrence of something else.  Signs therefore, are meant to lead one to something else. The sign itself is not the end meaning. It is the method employed to direct our attention to something else. In the stars God is the direct object the signs point to. We should realize that His entire creation which theologians call “general revelation,” speak to Him and coming from Him. In fact God charges all mankind to know Him through the ‘signs” He has provided.

Romans 1: 20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse:

God is trying to tell us things about Himself through the stars in the heavens. The heavens declare His creative output.

Psalm 19: 1-6
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world. In them he has made a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run it’s race. It’s rising is from one end of heaven, and it’s circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from it’s heat thereof.

This psalm of David announces that the heavens declare the glory (splendor) of God’s handiwork. Verse one is a summary statement: the majestic Creation is evidence of the even more majestic Creator-God. The heavens continually (every day and every night) display the fact that there is a Creator.

Even though Creation does not speak audibly as humans do, its message goes out for all the earth to witness. The message from nature about the glory of God reaches all nations, and is equally intelligible to them all. It is a universal language.

The stars in the heavens move around a circular path. The band of stars on both sides of this path (circuit), which is known today as the Zodiac, is called the Mazzaroth in Hebrew. The names of these stars, Virgo, Pisces, Capricorn, Leo etc., are familiar to us today, because astronomers and navigators designate various areas of the sky with them. Satan has corrupted them for occultic purposes, which are very far from the original truth. The 12 signs have NOTHING to say about man, however they do have a great deal to say about God’s plan of redemption for mankind – from the virgin birth (Virgo) to the triumph of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Leo). The stories He is trying to tell us about are directed straight at Himself. He wants us to know and acknowledge Him through these “signs.”

Isaiah 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and for that he is strong in power, not one is lacking.

God wants us to see Him through these stars. He is not in the stars, as some would believe. He created them. He wants us to realize just how powerful He is. God, who cannot be compared to anyone or anything knows everything about His Creation and sustains it. In His strength He created and also controls and sustains millions upon millions of stars, each one of which He, amazingly, has named.

In Isaiah chapters 40-66, God is revealed as the Creator and Maker. He does not want us to worship the stars, as in astrology (Isaiah 47: 13-14; Deut. 4: 19; 17: 2-5; Isaiah 47: 13-14). He wants us to worship Him.

Amos 5:8  [Seek him] that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD [is] his name:

The psalmist also tells us that God has provided names for the stars as well as knowing exactly how many there are. He is clearly demonstrating His sovereign control over His creation.

Psalm 147:4 He counteth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names.

Isaiah 40: 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and see who hath created these, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by name; by the greatness of his might, and for that he is strong in power, not one is lacking.

Since God has created the heavens and the stars as signs pointing to Him and His message for us it should not be surprising that Satan has corrupted it along with the rest of God’s creation. The specific signs that the stars told have been obscured with satanic corruption.

Mazzaroth or Constellations

The Jewish historian, Josephus, attributes the origin of astronomy to Seth, the third male offspring of Adam after Able and Cain. (Antiquities of the Jews, Chapter 2:3). Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old. He further refers to Seth as virtuous and of excellent character, and reports that his descendants invented the wisdom of the heavenly bodies (astronomy). The Hebrew word for the constellations is Mazzaroth. We see this word in the plain text of Scripture. The first appearance of the word is in Job chapter thirty-eight. God is having a discussion with Job. In order to demonstrate Job’s weakness as a man compared to the power of God He uses the constellations as an example.

Job 38: 31-33 Canst thou bind the cluster of the Pleiades, Or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season? Or canst thou guide the Bear with her train? Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens? Canst thou establish the dominion thereof in the earth?  

Job 9: 7-9 That commandeth the sun, and it riseth not, And sealeth up the stars; That alone stretcheth out the heavens, And treadeth upon the waves of the sea; That maketh the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south;

Job is the oldest book in the world. It was written during the period of the patriarchs who lived at the time of events of the book of Genesis. It clearly shows that God had named the constellations by that time. The Zodiac of astrology was originally the Mazzeroth of Job 38. It got corrupted like all things beginning with the fall. Then the worldwide communication disruption at the tower of Babel caused all human communication to become corrupt. Satan will use any circumstance to corrupt what God is doing. He had willful servants in Nimrod and his followers attempting to reach for heaven. The signs of the Mazzeroth are not figures in the sky. They are actually a set of stars with names that mean the figure that they describe. We are not to follow the Zodiac and its perverse soothsaying however, we are instructed to be neither afraid of the message of the stars.

Jeremiah 10: 1-6 Hear ye the word which Jehovah speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: thus saith Jehovah, Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are vanity; for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are like a palm-tree, of turned work, and speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good. There is none like unto thee, O Jehovah; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.  

The signs of the Mazzeroth are not figures in the sky. They are actually a set of stars with names that mean the figure that they describe. If you look at the pictures that astrology says the stars depict you will require a vivid imagination to see the pictures they allegedly describe. This is the corruption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is not the message that God created for a sign in the heaven with the Mazzaroth. There are twelve constellations in the Mazzaroth. Each of them has three sub-constellations called decans. There are a total of forty-eight sets of stars bringing forth God’s message to us. Each constellation has a message and so do each of the decans. It is the names of these stars and star groupings through which He communicates His message. The problem we have discerning the message is that it has been corrupt for so long that we don’t have accurate information regarding its nature.

Virgo Drawn Connecting The Stars

In Hebrew Virgo is Bethulah = Virgin who bears Names in the sign:

Hebrew Tsemech = Branch Hebrew Zavijaveh = Gloriously Beautiful

1st decan: Hebrew Coma = The Desired One

2nd decan: Hebrew Centaurus= The Despised

3rd decan: Hebrew Bootes = The Coming One

The corruption causes some of the Hebrew words to be unavailable to us.  The constellation in Virgo explains that this coming “Branch” will be a child, and that He should be the “Desire of all nations.” The ancient name of this constellation is Coma, the desired, or the longed for. We have the word used by God in in Haggai 2:7 “The Desire of all nations shall come.”

The ancient Zodiacs pictured this constellation as a woman with a child in her arms. Albumazar, an Arabian astronomer of the eighth century, says, “There arises in the first decan, as the Persians, Chaldeans, and Egyptians, and the two Hermes and Ascalius teach, a young woman whose Persian name denotes a pure virgin, sitting on a throne, nourishing an infant boy having a Hebrew name, by some nations called Ihesu, with the signification Ieza, which in Greek is called Christos.” Blessed One, “the Desire of all Nations.”

The ancient Egyptian name for this constellation was Shes-nu, the desired son!  Some view the constellation of Coma in which “the Star of Bethlehem” appeared. There was a traditional prophecy, well known in the East, carefully preserved and handed down, that a new star would appear in this sign when He whom it foretold should be born (Numbers 24:17).

The Star that Appeared to the Magi

 German astronomer, mathematician and writer, Johannes Kepler in 1607 believed he identified the Christmas star that guided the Magi or “Wise Men” to where Jesus was born, and with precise event and date. To Kepler the “Star of Bethlehem” was a planetary conjunction of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn in the evening sky, described to mean a close approach of planets in the sky. Many others have struggled to find natural explanations for the star. The fact that God controls all things in all times and all places leads us to look to Him for an explanation. Therefore it must be an appearance of the Shekinah Glory.

The Shechinah Glory is a visible manifestation of the presence of God in time and space. In the Old Testament most of these manifestations took the form of light, fire or a cloud including some combination of these. He appears in the Old Testament in the following manners:

  1. The Garden of Eden as fellowshipping with Adam and Eve
  2. Meeting with Abraham as a smoking furnace.
  3. To Moses as a burning bush.
  4. During the Exodus as a pillar of fire and a cloud.
  5. On Mount Sinai as a cloud, thunder and lightening as well as a trumpet.
  6. A kind of visible manifestation to Moses said to be His back.
  7. Dwelling within the Tabernacle and Temple and lighting the brazen altar in the Temple as fire coming down from Heaven.
  8. Departing from the Temple.

In the New Testament He appeared:

  1. To the shepherds and the Magi as the Christmas Star.
  2. He also came as flesh (John 1: 1-14) in the body of Jesus.
  3. At the Transfiguration as a white lit Jesus.
  4. Tongues of fire to the apostles.
  5. Bright light on the Damascus road to Saul.
  6. Smoke in the Tribulation Temple from Revelation 15:8.
  7. At the Second Coming as Matthew 24:30.
  8. In the Millennium as the Risen Jesus ruling the world (Ezekiel 43: 1-7a).
  9. In the Eternal Order as seen in revelation 21: 1-3; 10-11 and 23-24.

After the Shechinah Glory appeared to the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus the Messiah it next appeared to the Magi. The star led them to Israel. It appeared to them on at least two occasions. It led them from the east to the west and from the north to the south. It finally stood over the very house where the child Jesus was; and was unique to Jesus and no other. Coming in the form of special light this was a physical manifestation of the Shechinah Glory announcing the birth of the Messiah to a group of Gentiles from Babylonia.

SEE THE COROLLARY STORY OF THE MAGI

 

Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.

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The Seventy Five Day Interval

The Seventy-Five Day Interval

The Millennium (also called the Theocratic Kingdom, or the Messianic Kingdom) does not start right away at the close of the Great Tribulation. Scripture tells us that the duration of the first half of the Great Tribulation is 1,260 days (3 ½ years). This is the length of the time between two significant events. They are the signing of the covenant with Israel by the Antichrist, initiating the Great Tribulation, and the Abomination of Desolation being set up in the Temple, which is the mid point event. Scripture also tells us that the last half of the Tribulation will be 1,260 days counting from the Abomination of Desolation to the demise of the Antichrist. These two sets of 3 ½ years each equal a total of seven years. When comparing several Scripture passages, that reference the Great Tribulation’s duration, another specific time interval is noted. This is a seventy-five day interval at the end of the Great Tribulation and prior to the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. The interval is described in Daniel, and the differences in numbers are intentional, they are not scribal error:

Daniel 12:11-12

11And from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days [1290]. 12Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days [1335].” (KJV, brackets added)

The Daniel passage gives us two additional figures. The first is 1,290 days, or an additional thirty days, during which time the Abomination of Desolation will remain in the Temple before it is removed. The second figure is 1,335 days, which is another 45 days beyond the 1,290 and 75 days beyond the 1,260 days. A special blessing is pronounced upon those who survive to the 1,335th day. The blessing is, for those who survive, to be able to enter into the Messianic Kingdom. Many will not make it that far, even though they made it to the end of the Tribulation. The events and the time intervals are illustrated on the following chart:

75 Day Interval Chart by Daniel Woodhead

75 Day Interval Chart by Daniel Woodhead

There are nine events that occur during this 75-day period are:

  • The removal of the Abomination of Desolation from the Temple.
  • The final destination of the Antichrist.
  • The final destination of the False Prophet.
  • The binding of Satan.
  • The judgment of the Gentiles.
  • The resurrection of the Old Testament Saints.
  • The resurrection of the Tribulation Saints.
  • The Marriage Feast of the Lamb (this is the formal start of the Millennium)

1. The Removal of the Abomination of Desolation

The pivotal event, which signals the mid-point of the Great Tribulation, is the Antichrist’s takeover of the Jewish Temple. He breaks his covenant with the Jews, and declares himself “The Almighty God” (II Thessalonians 2:4). He also begins a serious persecution of the Jews, which will last for 1,260 days. The False Prophet sets up an inanimate image of the Antichrist in the Temple and Satan, through the False Prophet, causes it to become alive. The Antichrist is in control of the world for those 1,260 days and then he will be killed. The image stays in the Temple for additional thirty days.

Daniel 12:11

11And from the time that the continual burnt-offering shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand and two hundred and ninety days.” (KJV)

The desecration of the Jewish Temple continues an additional thirty days beyond the end of the Great Tribulation. It will then be destroyed, which brings the Abomination of Desolation to an end. It is not clear why God allows the Abomination of Desolation to remain in the Temple for 30 days after the Great Tribulation ends.

2. The Judgment of the Gentiles

The Olivet Discourse of Jesus to His inner circle of Peter, James, John, and Andrew comes to an end with the Judgment of the Gentiles. Even though a significant number of Gentiles will be killed during the Great Tribulation (and their armies will be slaughtered in the Campaign of Armageddon) some will make it through alive. They will be gathered together for the purpose of a special judgment.

There are two passages of Scripture that give the insight into the Judgment of the Gentiles:

Matthew 25:31-46   

31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations:33and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (KJV)

 This passage confirms the timing of the judgment, which will be after the Second Coming of the Messiah, when the Throne of David will be set up as described in verse 31 above.

The place of the judgment is not given in this passage, but the prophet Joel does discuss it:

Joel 3:1-3

1For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring back the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, 2I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will execute judgment upon them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations: 3and they have parted my land, and have cast lots for my people, and have given a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they may drink.” (KJV, underlining added)

This judgment that will take place just outside the City of Jerusalem, in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, which lies between the city and the Mount of Olives.

Ancient City of Jerusalem and Valley of Jehosaphat.

Ancient City of Jerusalem and Valley of Jehosaphat.

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ancient_Jerusalem_Modern_Jerusalem.jpg

Joel also confirms that this judgment is to occur near the time of the restoration of the Nation Israel, which is at the end of the Great Tribulation. All the Gentiles surviving after the war will be gathered into the Valley of Jehoshaphat for the judgment. This is the same place on the east of the Temple Mount next to the Mount of Olives where the final battle took place. The term “Gentiles” is the same as “all nations”. This judgment will be for the purpose of determining their individual final destination of eternal life or eternal hell. Therefore, it is a very serious event. The basis for the judgment will be how they treated the Jews during the Tribulation. The sins cited by Joel include: scattering the Jews in the middle of the Great Tribulation, parting the land during the Campaign of Armageddon, and selling the Jews into slavery (Zechariah 14:1-2).

Each Gentile will be judged on the basis his or her participation in, or refusal to participate in, these actions. The Lord Jesus gave us the results of the judgment during the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 25:31-46). He identifies the judge, the judgment, and those who are judged in Matthew’s gospel:

Matthew 25:31-33

31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: 33and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth [his] sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” (KJV)

The Judge

Jesus (Son of man”) is the judge who will sit on a throne in the all His glory in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

The Judged

The subjects of the judgment are individuals, and not a judgment of nations (verses 32-33). The Greek word for “nations” is ethnos, which is Strong’s #1484, and it means “all those who are not Jews”. In other words it means the Gentiles. The word “nations” is the common term for Gentiles used in the Bible. All the Gentiles who survive the Tribulation, and the Campaign of Armageddon, will be gathered into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, and will then be separated by the Messiah. There are three specific groups mentioned in this passage: the “sheep” Gentiles, the “goat” Gentiles, and the “brethren”. Some Gentiles are brought to His right-hand side and are called “sheep”, and those Gentiles brought to His left-hand side are called “goats”. Note the positional aspect of the decision, being put to the right or left side of Jesus the Judge. The pro-Jewish Gentiles are known as the “sheep” camp and the anti-Jewish Gentiles are known as the “goat” camp. Matthew also discusses the pro-Jewish sheep camp:

Matthew 25:34-40

“34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed [thee]? or thirsty, and gave [thee] drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took [thee] in? or naked, and clothed [thee]? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me.” (KJV)

“The Sheep” – Gentiles Helping The Jews

Jesus describes those who helped His “brethren”, the Jews, during the Great Tribulation as “sheep”. Remember, the church had not yet been formed when Christ’s Olivet Discourse was given. Therefore, His usage of the term “brethren” in this context refers to the Jews. These Gentiles will be putting themselves in mortal danger, just as it was during World War II when the Nazis were hunting the Jews and killing those non-Jews who hid or aided them. The Jews will flee into the wilderness without provisions. The pro-Jewish “sheep” will provide them with food, clothing and shelter. They will visit them in prison, and in general show kindness toward them. The result of their judgment is being given permission to enter into the Messianic Kingdom. It is the “sheep” Gentiles who will be involved in the destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 13:1-5). They will be the “resistance fighters” who are instrumental in overthrowing the one-world government that will be headquartered at Babylon.

Some have tried to interpret the term “brethren” as referring to saints in general, but this makes  the passage meaningless. If the “brethren” are saints in general, then who are the “sheep” since they too have eternal life? It would be very confusing to make both the “sheep” and the “brethren” as saints of the same order. From this context alone, it should be very evident that the “brethren” must refer to Jewish people because the saints are the “sheep” and the unsaved are the “goats”. Furthermore, the parallel passage of Joel 3:1-3 makes it certain that these “brethren” are the Jewish people of the Great Tribulation. The term “brethren” here is used in the sense of “brethren in the flesh.” The fact that only Matthew records this segment of the Olivet Discourse also teaches the same truth. Matthew’s gospel was directed at a Jewish audience, and since his is the most “Jewish” of the Gospels, his primary concern has been how the Messiah’s coming will affect the Jewish people.

The “sheep”, which are pro-Jewish, are clearly stated to be the “righteous” ones. Will they be saved because they are pro-Jewish? This cannot be true because that would make their salvation be based on their works, and not the work of God. This passage is an example of James 2:14-26, that distinguishes between perfecting one’s faith through our works, as compared to one who is basing their salvation only on faith without any works. Because these Gentiles are already believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, they will refuse to do the commands of the Antichrist to destroy the Jews. So, while Jews will undergo a great persecution, these believing Gentiles will do what they can to help the Jews under these conditions. A believer will follow Christ’s commandments, and will not follow the Antichrist. Their works toward the Messiah’s “brethren” will prove their faith. They will be allowed to enter into the Messianic Kingdom because they are saved Gentiles, and they will be the ones to populate the Gentile nations during the Messianic Kingdom (vv.34-40).

The “Goats” – Gentiles Who Harmed The Jews

On the other hand, the “goats” will be the anti-Jewish Gentiles who, because of their unbelief in Jesus, will join the ranks of the persecutors under the Antichrist’s authority. They will show their lack of faith by their works. They are the ones who will not be “watching”, “ready” or “laboring”, in violation of the five parables. For this reason they will be left out of the Messianic Kingdom:

Matthew 25:41-45

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me.” (KJV)

They will be killed and sent directly to Hell. This judgment is not judging them on works, but whether or not they believed in the Messiah, and sends those who harmed the Jews to Hell.

3. The Antichrist’s Final destination

 

Revelation 19:20 makes is quite clear the Antichrist will meet his final demise:

Revelation 19:20

20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (KJV)

The text states that the Antichrist will be “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire. The Antichrist is killed at the end of the Great Tribulation and while his body will not be buried, his soul will be in Hell (Habakkuk 3:13b; II Thessalonians 2:8; Isaiah14:3-11; 16-21). As armed forces of the Antichrist flee Christ’s slaughter, his body will be trampled under their feet (Isaiah 14:19-21). So if the text states that he will be “cast alive into a lake of fire”, he must come back to life in order for that to occur. There is the Second Resurrection and it only applies to the resurrection of the damned (those who did not accept Christ when they had the opportunity), which like the First Resurrection also comes in stages. Jesus, the second person of the Holy Trinity, is the “first fruits” of the First Resurrection. Interestingly, the Antichrist will be the “first fruits” of the Second Resurrection. The result of his resurrection will end with his eternal destiny in the Lake of Fire.

3a. The Lake of Fire

The “lake of fire burning with brimstone” is that which Christ referred as Gehenna, and is also called the Lake of Fire (Matthew 5:22, 29-30, 10:28, 18:9, 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5). The Greek work for the Lake of Fire is Gehenna, and is named for the Valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem. It was at this site that the Jews offered their children to god Molech (II Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31; 19:2-6). In later times it served as a continually burning garbage dump, and therefore provided the imagery that the Bible uses to describe the place of everlasting punishment. The Lake of Fire is where all those who do not believe in Christ will reside forever. The Lake of Fire is where the contents of Hell will be deposited. Hell is a place of a spiritual punishment. The Lake of Fire will be a place of punishment for the resurrected bodies of the unbelievers and their spirits. Being thrown into the Lake of Fire is the Second Death, and is the final destination of the wicked.

3b. The False Prophet

According to Revelation 19:20 the False Prophet will have a counterfeit gift of performing miracles for the sole purpose of deceiving the world so that they worship the Antichrist (beast) and take his mark of 666.

Revelation 19:20

20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (KJV)

He will be “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire along with the Antichrist. These two members of the “unholy trinity” (the Antichrist masquerading as the counterfeit “son”, and the false prophet masquerading as the counterfeit “holy spirit”) will the only occupants for the first 1,000 years that the Lake of Fire will be operational. What a appropriate destiny for the two men who instituted Hell on earth for seven years!

4a. Satan’s Binding

Satan, who masquerades as the counterfeit father in the “unholy trinity”, will be cast into the abyss.

Revelation 20:1-3

1And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” (KJV)

Here we see the binding of Satan, who was cherub and of the highest order of celestial beings in Heaven. The one who does the binding is a common angel, who is the lowest order of celestial beings in Heaven. How fitting for Satan who was the highest of the highest rank of celestial beings to be bound by one from the lowest rank! Satan will be bound for 1,000 years, which is the duration of the Millennial Kingdom on earth. He will no longer be free to be the great deceiver of mankind. He will reside in the Abyss. The binding is done with the promise that Satan will be released for a short time to again test mankind at least one more time.

4b. The Abyss

The New Testament tells us that this is the temporary dwelling place of the imprisoned demons (Revelation 9:1-21). In classical Greek it is the adjective abussos. It refers to an “unfathomable or boundlessly deep place”. Many of the demons that Jesus expelled from the earth were committed to the abyss. They dreaded going there before their appointed time (Luke 8:31). Millions of them will be let loosed during the Great Tribulation in two separate invasions to wreck havoc on the earth. At this time they begin to appear so the human population can see them. Up until this time, when the fifth and sixth trumpets are sounded, the demonic world is unseen to the human eye (Revelation 9).

5. The First Resurrection

The first resurrection involves only believers and it is found in Revelation 20:

“Revelation 20:5-6

 5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (KJV)

According to verse five, the resurrection of the Great Tribulation saints completes the First Resurrection. It is separated from the Second Resurrection by one thousand years. The whole point of verse six states that the First Resurrection involves only believers, and that is why it is a “blessed” event for those who participate in it.

It is important for us to realize that the First Resurrection is not a general resurrection of all the dead at one time. The Bible teaches in 1 Corinthians 15: 20-23 that it is an orderly sequence and occurs in the five stages:

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (KJV)

This shows that all of the Christians shall live again, or be resurrected, and that there is an orderly progression to the stages of this resurrection. After declaring that a resurrection of the righteous will occur in verse 23, Paul states that the righteous will be resurrected each “in his own order”. The word “order” is a military term used to describe the orderly procession of troops marching to battle (in Greek it is tagma). It always refers to an orderly procession such as the movement of troops, or an orderly procession of the priests in the Old Testament. The central point of this passage is that there is an orderly, and sequential process, to the first resurrection, and includes these five stages:

The First Resurrection Stages

The First Resurrection Stages

 

6. The Resurrection of Old Testament Saints

We must keep in mind that the Rapture only includes the Church, that is, those who have accepted Jesus of Nazareth and confessed His name before other men on this earth:

Romans 10:9

 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (KJV)

 This verse, along with many others, further refines and gives explicit instruction in how to actualize our faith. We must tell others what has taken place in our hearts. It is similar to being obedient, and carrying out the commandment to be baptized. Both are outward signs attesting to the transformation that the Lord has brought about within us. So those, who have done this prior to the Great Tribulation, will have already gone up to Heaven to meet the Lord in the air at the time of the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The following two passages speak about believers from the Old Testament times who loved God, and who were waiting for His coming in the flesh. However, they died prior to Christ appearing on the planet. This is not to say they kept the Law, it means that they believed God and took Him at His Word. The Old Testament saints were the righteous ones waiting for the Lord’s appearing, like Simeon was in Luke 2:25. They will be rewarded for their belief:

Isaiah 26:19

19Thy dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast forth the dead.” (KJV)

This passage states that the Old Testament saints were guaranteed a resurrection, but it does not say when. Other verses bring the concept into clearer focus for us:

Daniel 12:2

 2And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.” (KJV)

This passage draws a very clear distinction between the righteous and the unrighteous. Within the context of the twelfth chapter of Daniel, this verse is speaking of a particular time at the “end.” It is addressed to the Jews who are identified as “your people” (Daniel 12:1). Only the righteous will be resurrected at this time to partake in the blessing of the Millennial Kingdom. These are also known as “the friends of the bridegroom” spoken of by John the Baptist (John 3:29). Since the context of Daniel chapter twelve is speaking of the events after the Great Tribulation, it is at that time that the Old Testament saints will be resurrected.

7. The Resurrection of Tribulation Saints

There will also be a resurrection of those saints who became believers and were killed during the Great Tribulation. Revelation 20:4 tells us the facts surrounding this event:

Revelation 20:4

 4And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and [I saw] the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received [his] mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (KJV)

Here the apostle John sees two groups of people co-reigning with the Lord Jesus. The first group is those who already had received their judgment for their works from Christ. The judgment, called the Bema Seat Judgment, is referenced in Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10. This will be the Church age saints who are resurrected at the Rapture of the Church. They receive the judgment of their works, and their rewards, right after they enter Heaven from Christ (1 Corinthians 3).

The second group is identified as those souls who have been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus. They were beheaded because they would not worship the Antichrist, nor would they consent to receive the mark of the Beast (666). These are the Tribulation saints. They go into the Millennial Kingdom with Christ.

8.  The Marriage Feast of the Lamb

In the ancient Jewish wedding, the wedding feast was the last of four stages. The four stages of the ancient Jewish wedding are reflected in the events planned long ago by God the Father:

  • The Father of the Groom made the arrangement for the Bride and paid the bride price. In this case the price was the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 5:25-29).
  • The fetching of the Bride is when she is ready and waiting to be escorted by her Bridegroom to the home of his father. This is comparable to the Rapture of the Church (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).
  • The marriage ceremony of the Bride to the Groom, or when the Church weds the Messiah happens immediately after arriving at his father’s house (Church age saints are now in Heaven with Christ) (Revelation 19:6-8).
  • The wedding, or marriage feast, is the last event of the sequence and lasts for seven days. The Marriage Feast of the Lamb is the event that begins the Messianic Kingdom.

The Church is the bride and is married to Christ in Heaven after the Rapture. The First Resurrection brings the Old Testament saints, who are the friends of the bridegroom, and the Great Tribulation saints, who are also invitees, to complete the invited “guest list” to the wedding, and now the wedding feast can take place. The invitation has already been issued:

Revelation 19:9 

9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (KJV)

 The result of this invitation is the First Resurrection to be followed by the wedding feast, which will last for seven days. Christ spoke of this during the Last Supper as He raised His glass of wine with His apostles:

Matthew 26:27

 27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (KJV)

This event concludes the seventy-five day interval and inaugurates the Millennium. The wedding feast parable told by The Messiah is connected with the Kingdom:

Matthew 22:1-14

1And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, 2The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. 7But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. 9Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”(KJV)

The main point of this parable is that those who were originally invited to the wedding feast, the Pharisees and the Jewish generation of Jesus’ day, will not partake of the feast or enter into the Messianic Kingdom. This is because they committed the unpardonable sin of attributing the works of God to Satan (“made light of it”). This is also known as “blaspheming the Holy Spirit” (Mark 3:29) The Jews of the Tribulation period will be at the supper and enter into the Kingdom. All unbelievers will be cast “into outer darkness” and will be excluded from entering the Messianic Kingdom:

Matthew 25:1-13

1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”(KJV)

The contrast that Christ speaks of here is not between two types of believers, but between believers and unbelievers. The “wise” virgins are the believers and they have oil, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, while the “foolish” virgins have no oil at all. They had not been prepared through belief. Some think there is plenty of time before they have to commit their lives to Christ, or they just do not want to believe that there is a God. We never know the day or the hour when He will come. The “foolish” ones were excluded from the wedding feast and from ever going in to the Messianic Kingdom. That is why they are “foolish”:

Psalm 53:1a

1The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity…” (KJV)

Isaiah also connects a feast with the Kingdom and a resurrection of the dead:

Isaiah 25:6-8

6And in this mountain will Jehovah of hosts make unto all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. 7And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering that covereth all peoples, and the veil that is spread over all nations. 8He hath swallowed up death for ever; and the Lord Jehovah will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the reproach of his people will he take away from off all the earth: for Jehovah hath spoken it” (KJV)

So the Great Tribulation has ended, and the final events have been accomplished during the seventy-five day interval. This concludes with the Marriage feast of the Lamb Jesus who welcomes all believers into His Kingdom.

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

Bibliography:

Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G. The Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. San Antonio, TX: Ariel Ministries. 2004.

Pentecost, J. Dwight. Things to Come. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House. 1958.

Gabelein Arno C. Gabelein’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible. Neptune, NJ: Loizeauz Brothers. 1970.

Peters, George H. H. The Theocratic Kingdom in Three Volumes. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publication. 1952.

Unger, Merrill F. Great Neglected Bible Prophecies. Chicago, IL: Scripture Press Book Division. 1955.

Walvoord, John F. Daniel The Key to Prophetic Revelation. Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute. 1971.

 

 

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Someday All Israel Will be Saved

All Israel will Be Saved

Romans 11:25-26

25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob (KJV): 

Their Salvation Will Come After The Great Tribulation

All Nations Will Come Against Jerusalem

 

Zechariah 12:1-8 actually describes a battle that is the fifth of eight stages that comprise the Campaign of Armageddon. This takes place in the future and begins with the sixth bowl judgment during the middle of The Great Tribulation (Revelation 16:12-16).

Jerusalem Will be a Cup of Reeling

Zechariah 12:1-3

1 The burden of the word of Jehovah concerning Israel. Thus saith Jehovah, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him: 2behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem. 3And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it (ASV, 1901).

 

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts Cir 1850

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts Cir 1850

God begins this oracle by stating that this particular message that is about to be delivered is heavy, or a “burden” (in Hebrew massa). That is, it is important and burdensome to be given, and to be heard. It is not pleasant but must be heeded in the same seriousness in which it was given. This is the second such massa in this book. The first encompassed chapter 9:1 through chapter 11:17. The first one graphically depicted Israel’s rejection of her Messiah and the rise of the worthless shepherd, which will be the Antichrist. His rise to power must precede Israel’s deliverance. God will use him to plunge the Nation Israel into its most severe time of testing foreseen by the prophet Jeremiah as the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” (Jeremiah 30:5-7). The prophet Daniel was given a revelation regarding this time as well; he recorded, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1). Daniel finished this verse by stating that the Jews will be delivered.

God then goes on to describe the attitude of Jerusalem’s enemies. Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel and will be the future capital of the world in Christ’s Millennial reign. The characterization of Jerusalem as the Nation Israel seems to align with the grammatical technique of “merism”, where one name stands for all of a particular subject. In this case it is the capital city representing all of Israel. In Zechariah 11:2 God says Jerusalem will become “a cup of reeling.” (It is called a “cup of trembling” in the King James translation.)A cup of reeling” means a cup filled with an intoxicating drink that will cause anyone who drinks it to reel or stagger. This particular siege takes place in the future when all nations come against Jerusalem in battle. Further He uses the term “burdensome stone” in His description of Jerusalem to give the reader the sense of lifting a very heavy stone. It will cause grievous injuries to those who try and lift it. The divine penalty for the nations that try and lift this stone (Jerusalem) is that they will suffer sprains or dislocation and tear themselves to pieces.

 God Confounds The Invaders

Belshazzar's Feast  by Rembrandt cir. 1635

Belshazzar’s Feast by Rembrandt cir. 1635

 

Zechariah 12:4

4In that day, saith Jehovah, I will smite every horse with terror, and his rider with madness; and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the peoples with blindness (ASV, 1901).

All this will happen as the text says “in that day” (Hebrew bayyom hahu). “In that day” refers to the particular time period called the “latter days” or “end of days”. This is the same as the “Day of the Lord” or the “Great Tribulation”. It is important to note that the text says, “and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it.” Bearing in mind this prophecy was given in 485 B.C., it was inconceivable that there could be a conflict that engaged the entire world. 135 countries took part in World War I, and more than 15,000,000 people died in the war.[1] World War II, which began shortly after on September 1, 1939, was the second time a large number of nations gathered to battle and this time more that 80,000,000 perished or about 2.5 % of the world’s population.[2] Now that these massive conflicts have occurred it is no longer difficult to accept God’s Word stating that, “and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it.”

During the invasion of Jerusalem God will cause the all the military forces coming against Jerusalem to be filled with terror and blindness. His love for the Jewish people is evident as He says, “and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah.” Their enemies will be rendered useless for achieving their goal, which is the destruction of Israel and particularly Jerusalem. The normally brave enemies will suffer chaotic frenzy and they will not be able to see out of their vehicles.

The Jewish Leaders and The People React

Zechariah 12:5-7

5And the chieftains of Judah shall say in their heart, The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in Jehovah of hosts their God. 6In that day will I make the chieftains of Judah like a pan of fire among wood, and like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour all the peoples round about, on the right hand and on the left; and they of Jerusalem shall yet again dwell in their own place, even in Jerusalem. 7Jehovah also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem be not magnified above Judah (ASV, 1901).

This verse verifies the change of heart the Jewish leaders will have toward God as the battle rages against Jerusalem. For once they will see what He has done to the invaders for them and they begin to turn to Him. The true strength of the inhabitants of Jerusalem is the Lord of the armies, their God. In verse 6 the unique imagery of a strong fire is used by God when He says, the “chieftains of Judah like a pan of fire among wood, and like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour all the peoples round about”. God will now use them to defeat their foes because of their faith. Finally God says that He will save the Jews who live outside the walls of Jerusalem. He separates them out for special protection first when He says, “Jehovah also shall save the tents of Judah first,” Then He will protect those inside the walls so that two segments of the population will receive equal protection and blessing.

Inhabitants of Jerusalem Receive Supernatural Strength

 Zechariah 12:8

8In that day shall Jehovah defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of Jehovah before them (ASV, 1901).

God now describes the level of protection He will give to the Jews living in Jerusalem during this battle. He is the defender of Jerusalem to be sure but the strength He will impart to the Jews is supernatural. The Jews will have a marvelous strength to fight the invaders. The weakest of the population will become as strong as their warrior King David. The strong ones, designated as “the house of David” or the household or family of David, are to be like God meaning they will be superhuman beings. They will be like the angel of Jehovah who goes before Israel. The point in making this comparison is that all of Israel will receive supernatural strength from the weakest members to the strongest of the population.

 Destruction of All Nations That Come Against Israel

Zechariah 12:9

9And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem (ASV, 1901).

The national regeneration of the Nation Israel is tied to the destruction of Babylon, which will be the world headquarters of the Antichrist (Jeremiah 50:43). Every Jew will become strengthened to fight the enemy as the Lord is incapacitating the foes with blindness and mental panic, and the Nation Israel will prevail.

 The National Mourning Begins

Zechariah 12:10

10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born (ASV, 1901).

Then the Lord pours out His “spirit of grace and of supplication” which causes the Jews to realize that it was them who persecuted Jesus and had Him nailed to the cross at Calvary. The Lord in the first person (“me”) begins to describe the mourning process the Jews will go through when they finally realize that it was God Himself who died for them as Jesus the Messiah. He uses the analogy of losing a child to express the degree of mourning that will be felt. This degree of mourning is unparalleled in the lives of humans because the loss of a child is one of the greatest pains one can experience. He says not only is it the loss of a child, but it is as if it is the parent’s only male child and further defines the situation as losing a son who is their first-born child. Our first-born children are the ones with whom we learn parenting and spend the most time and effort attending to their care. We usually invest more of ourselves into the first-born child than any other child. A loss of this child will give us an immense amount of pain that will never leave us while we are still on this earth. This is the extent of pain the Nation Israel will experience when they finally realize what they have done to their Messiah Jesus.

 Example of Previous Mourning

 

Nazi Yellow Star Pined on Jews

Nazi Yellow Star Pined on Jews

 

 Zechariah 12:11

11In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon (ASV, 1901).

The extent of the mourning that the Jews will have over their treatment of Jesus is likened to the mourning the nation had when Josiah died. “Hadadrimmon” was a city near Jezreel. It was in the plains of Megiddon where Pharaoh Necho II fatally wounded the good king Josiah, one of the few kings of the Southern Kingdom (Judah) that honored God. He started to reign when he was only eight years old and reigned for thirty-one years in Jerusalem. At the age of sixteen he began to pray earnestly seeking the Lord God. As a result of his relationship with God he began to remove the occultist’s symbols from Jerusalem and forbade their sexual sins. At the age of twenty-six he sent several of his advisors and confidants to repair the Temple. During the repair work, the books of Moses (first five books of the Bible) were found, and taken to the king. When Josiah read them he expressed deep sorrow and realized how angry God was with the Nation Israel for not keeping His Word. He then started worship services again in the Temple. Josiah removed all the abominations in the kingdom and caused all the children to turn to their God. His death and the national mourning are recorded in II Chronicles:

 II Chronicles 35:20-25

20After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight against Carchemish by the Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him. 21But he sent ambassadors to him, saying, What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war; and God hath commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. 22Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Neco from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 23And the archers shot at king Josiah; and the king said to his servants, Have me away; for I am sore wounded. 24So his servants took him out of the chariot, and put him in the second chariot that he had, and brought him to Jerusalem; and he died, and was buried in the sepulchres of his fathers. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. 25And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah: and all the singing men and singing women spake of Josiah in their lamentations unto this day; and they made them an ordinance in Israel: and, behold, they are written in the lamentations (ASV 1901, emphasis added).

 Israel Mourns for Jesus

Zechariah 12:12-14

12And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13the family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of the Shimeites apart, and their wives apart; 14all the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart (ASV, 1901).

These verses describe the extent of the mourning in every family from the leaders of the government and the Temple down to the general population. All will mourn in national repentance for the way they rejected the Lord Jesus when He came the first time.

 The Cleansing of Sin from Israel

Zechariah 13:1-6

1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness (ASV, 1901).

In that day” means this is a revelation from the God about the events during Israel’s future salvation as a nation. Israel had been guilty of the rejection of their Savior and had been suffering a substantial amount of guilt over this. Their hardness of heart was keeping them from national belief in the truth of Jesus. Earlier in the text of chapter twelve Israel, as an entire nation from the highest elected officials and the Temple guardians down to the common citizens, realized that their ancestors had caused the death of their Messiah Jesus. They are also guilty of perpetuating this lie. All at once, in one day, those whom the Lord has chosen will be “born again” together. As the text says, “there shall be a fountain opened.” The Hebrew word used here for “fountain” is maqor. Here it is referring to a substantial amount of blessing, which God Himself will pour out on “the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem”. His blessing will essentially gush forth to all Israel (Romans 11:26). We see the same usage of “fountain” used in Psalm 36:9: “For with Thee is the fountain of life”; and in Jeremiah 2:13 and 17:13 it is used as the figure of Jehovah Himself, “the Fountain of living waters.”

It is clearly used here to illustrate the abundance of God’s blessings pouring out to remove sin and impurity from the nation Israel. Not only will the purification cover bodily defilement from abominable practices (such as drug and sexual abuse) but moral and the spiritual defilement of idolatry as well. The blessed fountain is none other that our Lord the Jewish Messiah Jesus. On

the day that our Lord was crucified, God’s fountain was opened for all to see and receive it’s blessing. At the Second Coming of Christ the Nation Israel will finally partake in that fountain and finally all Israel’s spiritual regeneration will occur (Jeremiah 31:31–37; Ezekiel 36:25–32; Romans 11:26–27).

Removing Idolatry and False Prophets from Israel

 

Idolatry Artist Unknown

Adoration of the Golden Calf by Nicholas Poussin Cir.1594-1665

Zechariah 13:2

2And it shall come to pass in that day, saith Jehovah of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered; and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land (ASV, 1901).

When God pours out His Spirit upon the Israelites they will immediately realize that the false prophets and their idols are an anathema and God will cause them to be removed from Israel. False prophets lie, and typically promised peace when there was no peace to be had (Jeremiah 6:13-14; 8:11; 14:3; 23:17; 27:14 28:2, 11; Ezekiel 13:10; Zechariah 13:3; Micah 3:5). They deceive the people with their dreams and their visions were drawn out of their own demonically fed hearts (Jeremiah 14:14; 23:16; 29:8; Ezekiel 13:2-3 ; 22:28 ). They prophesy by the alleged authority of pagan gods such as Baal, and threaten the lives of the true prophets (Jeremiah 2:8; 23:13; 26:7). The false prophets gave the people what they wanted to hear and “whitewashed” over every situation, no matter how perverse it appeared (Ezekiel 13:10-12,14-15; 22:28).

The Foundation for False Prophecy

 

Some false prophets used magic others appeared to use divination, soothsaying, witchcraft, necromancy, and sorcery, which were all forbidden arts and practices in the Mosaic Law (Ezekiel 13:17-23). Deuteronomy says:

Deuteronomy 13:1-5

1 If there arise in the midst of thee a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and he give thee a sign or a wonder, 2and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or unto that dreamer of dreams: for Jehovah your God proveth (is testing) you, to know whether ye love Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4Ye shall walk after Jehovah your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him (ASV, 1901).

Deuteronomy 18:15-22

15Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16according to all that thou desiredst of Jehovah thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Jehovah my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17And Jehovah said unto me, They have well said that which they have spoken. 18I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. 20But the prophet, that shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. 21And if thou say in thy heart, How shall we know the word which Jehovah hath not spoken? 22when a prophet speaketh in the name of Jehovah, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Jehovah hath not spoken: the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously, thou shalt not be afraid of him (ASV, 1901).

These two sections from Deuteronomy contain at least seven commands regarding prophets:

  • Israelites must leave a prophet quickly if he does a sign or a wonder that actually occurs, and at the same time he encourages a belief in other gods.
  • Israelites must realize God tests us as to whether we love Him or act according to false prophets.
  • Israelites must serve the true God (called here “Jehovah”).
  • Israelites must believe that there was a succession of God’s prophets after Moses, then Lord God will rise up a prophet in the midst of Israel that will be as He is, and this will be Jesus the Messiah.
  • Israelites must believe the prophets of God will be speaking God’s Word.
  • Israelites are not to be afraid of a false prophet if he rose in the midst of the Israelites.
  • Israelites must put false prophets to death.

In the Church Age we do not have the legal ability to rid ourselves of false prophets through death. This is because Christianity is not a nation as Israel is; Christians live in every nation on earth. However, we can test what they say by comparing it to Scripture. If what they tell us to do is not Scriptural, we must not listen to them. We are to call them out as false prophets, and do not fear them. If they are the leaders in a particular fellowship we are in, then we must leave it. It is a test of obedience to God. We have the example of the Bereans of Acts 17:11 to provide us with guidance, which says to always test what a prophet, pastor, or teacher says against Scripture. Make sure they live their life in accordance with their teaching (Matthew 7:15-16). Some examples of modern day false prophets are those who:

  • Engage in legalism, which is making non-biblical rules binding for salvation and or sanctification.
  • Set dates for Christ’s return.
  • Encourage immoral behavior, including abortion and sexual deviancy.
  • Encourage fellowship with religious groups that do not hold to the inerrancy of Scripture.
  • Follow after the occult and occultic groups.
  • Deny the deity of Christ.
  • Deny the Second Coming.
  • Deny the virgin birth.
  • Deny the authority of the Bible.
  • Deny the substitionary atonement.

We must not be unequally yoked together with them and we must separate from them (II Corinthians 6:14). Separation is not an optional part of Christianity; it is a commandment (Romans 16:17-18; II Cor. 6:14-17; I Timothy 6:5; II Timothy 2:16-18; 3:5; Titus 3:10; 2 John 7-11; Revelation 18:4). Separation is not mean or unloving; it is obedience to God. Look at the verbs used in these passages:

 

  • “Mark them . . . avoid them” (Romans 16:17, KJV)
  • “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…” (II

Corinthians 6:14, KJV)

  • “Come out from among” (II Corinthians 6:17, KJV)
  • “Have no fellowship with” (Ephesians 5:11, KJV)
  • “Withdraw yourself from every brother that walketh disorderly” (II Thessalonians 3:6, KJV)
  • “Withdraw thyself” (I Timothy 6:5, KJV)
  • “Shun” (II Timothy 2:16, KJV)
  • “Purge himself from” (II Timothy 2:21, KJV)
  • “From such turn away” (II Timothy 3:5, KJV)
  • “Reject” (Titus 3:10, KJV)
  • “Receive them not into your house neither bid them God speed” (II John 1:10 KJV)

Separation provides a wall of protection against spiritual danger. Failure to separate as commanded leaves one open to the influence of error (I Corinthians 15:33). The reason a shepherd separates the sheep from wolves is to protect them. Likewise, a faithful and godly Bible teacher will seek to separate his flock from spiritual dangers that are even more destructive than wolves.

 God Deals With the False Prophets of Israel

Zechariah 13:3-4

3And it shall come to pass that, when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of Jehovah; and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. 4And it shall come to pass in that day that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he prophesieth; neither shall they wear a hairy mantle to deceive: (ASV, 1901).

During the Great Tribulation, and even leading up to it, there will be a seven-fold increase in false prophets due to the intense demonic prevalence of this era (Matthew 12:43-45). The greatest evidence will be the world’s worship of the Antichrist and the False Prophet culminating with Israel’s treaty with him (Daniel 9:27). At the time of Israel’s national salvation, which rejects any connection to the Antichrist, God will be starting the Millennial Kingdom, which is a Theocracy, and will have His will enacted into Law (see Appendix 4). One of these will be the elimination of false prophets by death. In this verse it is quite clear that even parents who find a false prophet among their children will kill him with a spear-like object at the point. Therefore they, “shall no more be remembered” as stated in verse 2 of this chapter and their parents will not mourn these demonically controlled children.

As a result of this divine pouring out of God’s Spirit many false prophets will feign righteousness, claiming to be ashamed for “every one of his vision”. They will even take off the attire of a righteous prophet, which they wore and described as the “hairy mantle to deceive.” Elijah wore such a mantle of rough sheep or goatskin called an addereth meaning to be “wide or great”. Elijah cast his off and gave it to his successor Elisha (II Kings 19:13, 19). The false prophets of future Israel will act ashamed that they put on the genuine prophet’s clothes as part of their deception, and they will be exposed as the wolf under the sheep’s clothing!

 False Prophets Avoid Detection

Zechariah 13:5-6

5 but he shall say, I am no prophet, I am a tiller of the ground; for I have been made a bondman from my youth. 6And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds between thine arms? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends (ASV, 1901)

When the false prophet is confronted with his deception he will claim to be a “tiller of the ground”, or a farmer. He will even claim to have been bound to another as a servant since he was a boy (“made a bondman from my youth”). Because of the laws of the Theocracy that will be set up in Israel, they will do anything to avoid execution. Execution will be the only way to deal with them to end their pollution. The Mosaic Law of the Old Testament described how false teaching is to be dealt with, and only death will eliminate it. The only difference between the Mosaic Law and the Theocracy’s dealing with a false prophet is the manner of execution. The Mosaic Law called for a false prophet to be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 13:5-11). The Theocracy will have them thrust through with a spear.

Those confronting the false prophet will view the scars on his arms and chest as evidence that he is indeed a false prophet (“What are these wounds between thine arms?”). He will only be able to put forth a feeble lie saying he got them from his friends (“Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends”). Incisions on the body were characteristic of pagan cultures in ancient Canaan. In response to this sign of paganism, God warned the priest, prophets and people of Israel to not do such things in the interests of maintaining pure faith (Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1). The purpose of these self-lacerations associated with pagan rituals was to induce certain actions by their gods. Consider the contest between Elijah and the Baal prophets at Carmel described in 1 Kings chapter 18. After those false prophets had prayed and pleaded for Baal to ignite their sacrifices, with no success, they became frenzied and began to cut themselves until the blood poured from their veins and arteries (I Kings 18:28). In the latter days of the Church Age, and with the rise of neo paganism, we see an abundance of body markings including the cutting and scaring of skin to make symbols. This is additional evidence of drawing closer to the practices of the pagan cultures that are removed from God.

 

Daniel E Woodhead

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/casualties.htm accessed November 16, 2013

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties accessed on November 16, 2013

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Jesus Claims to be The Messiah

Jesus Reveals His True Nature and Mission to an Inferior Samaritan Woman

The Samaritan Woman at the Well by Annibale Carracci Cir 1560-1609

The Samaritan Woman at the Well by Annibale Carracci Cir 1560-1609

Some of the Bible’s and the Lord Jesus’ detractors say that He never claimed to be the Christ. Well He did and revealed himself to a lowly Samaritan woman not to the arrogant religious authorities of His day.

John 4:1-4

1 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 he left Judea, and departed again into Galilee. 4 And he must needs go through Samaria (KJV).

The Lord Jesus needed to go through Samaria on His way back to Galilee. He had previously told His disciples not to go the way of the Gentiles or to enter into any city of the Samaritans. (Matthew 10:5) His first mission on earth was to present Himself to National Israel. (Matthew 10:6; 15:24) He wanted Israel to have the first chance at the gospel and He did not want the disciples time diluted with trying to reach the Gentiles along with the Jews. Even now the gospel is to go to the Jews first then the Gentiles. (Romans 1:16; 2:10) The Lord did not create foreign missions and domestic missions. He simply said “go to the Jew first and then the Gentiles.”

When the Israelites divided into two kingdoms, because of the civil war after the death of King Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel was established in the northern section of the Promised Land, in accordance with the lands allotted to the ten tribes in that area.

Shechem was the original capital, until Jeroboam moved it to Tirzah. Later, in approximately 880 B.C., Omri, the sixth king of Israel, established the capital at Samaria, a new town built on a hilltop about 7 miles (11 kilometers) northwest of Shechem.

“Samaria” came to be used interchangeably for both the city, and the region. After the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom in 722 B.C., the region then known as Samaria was reduced in size. The Assyrians in their conquest raped women and repopulated the area with other people groups causing the next generation to become half-breeds. This group of Samaritans worshipped Jehovah the same as the Jews and followed the Torah. Because of their arrogance the Jews would not talk or deal with the Samaritans in any way except to sell to them.

By the time of Jesus Christ, Samaria was bounded by Galilee to the north, The Mediterranean Sea to the west, Judea to the south (in which Jerusalem was located), and the Jordan River to the east. Today, it is in the so-called “West Bank” area.

Map of Samaria from Daily Bible study. http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/samaria.htm

Map of Samaria from Daily Bible study. http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/samaria.htm

John 4:5-6

5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour (KJV).

Picture the Lord in His humanity resting by this special and providential well. He makes an opportunity to begin to reach the Samaritans with His message about who He actually is. He waited for a fallen poor woman whose story He knew well. This is one example of His divine grace reaching out to sinners with compassion. The greater the sin in our lives the greater then is the value of the forgiveness, which He offers. Only God can truly forgive sins. (Luke 5:21) For it is to Him that all sin is directed, whether we realize it or not. (II Samuel 2:13)

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Jacob van Oost cir 1668

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Jacob van Oost cir 1668

Samaritan woman

John 4:7-9

7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans (KJV).

She realized that He was Jewish and astonished at the same time that He would have anything to do with her. He simply asks her for some water. It was just she and He alone. He realizes that she is ignorant and exhibits much patience with her in His desire to reach her with the truth of who He is. This is a much different way He treats her than He does with the Jewish religious rulers. For them, he had little patience and heaped upon them much condemnation. (Matthew 23) They should have known better. She was an innocent bystander so to speak on religious matters.

John 4:10-13

10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again (KJV).

Now she is perplexed. Jesus begins to bring up water that she is not aware of, for she is thinking of actual water. But Jesus is speaking of a much greater water that that. He is speaking of the Holy Spirit, which is known as the water. (John 7:37-38) Jesus is always answering a different question than what was asked. In this instance Jesus is telling the woman that the water He brings will not quench thirst but would provide eternal satisfaction.

John 4:14-15

14 but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw (KJV). 

She was probably still thinking of actual water and not realizing the spiritual lesson He is teaching her. Never thirsting is a description of the fulfillment that saving grace knowledge of Christ brings to a human being. It provides purpose to our lives and gives us certainty of life eternal and allows us to endure the hopelessness that many on this earth are saddled with. This Christ satisfies the inner longing that each person on this earth has for significance and inner peace. Many try to find it through money, sex, intoxicants, work etc. But until we accept Christ and are filled with His Spirit we are continually longing for something that we can’t quite define.

John 4:16-19

16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 for thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet (KJV).

 Jesus now enters a phase of the conversation where He is going to uncover her sin. This is a self-realization that one must make. We are sinners by our very nature. When the Jews came to the Tabernacle and the Temple the very first step in that ancient worship process was the brazen altar. This was where the sacrifice took place. They were required to offer sacrifice to God so as to admit their sin and receive the temporary atonement. The same is true today. We must admit our sins in front of God to Him alone so we can draw close to Him.

John 4:20

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship (KJV).

The new worship is going to be introduced in the next verse. She was thinking He was going to tell her that the Temple in Jerusalem was where she should worship. The Samaritans worshipped on Mt Gerizim. She was pointing to that mountain as the place where their fathers had worshipped. This was the mountain where Sanballat had built a temple that was eventually destroyed by John Hyrcanus in 129 B.C. Sanballat was one of the chief opponents of Nehemiah when he was building the walls of Jerusalem and carrying out his reforms among the Jews. “Sanballat,” is connected with the Assyrian “Sinballidh,” and means, “Sin has vivified.” He was called also “the Horonite,” and was associated with Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arabian (Nehemiah 2:19, 4: 7). But his home was at Samaria. When the Jews threw off the yoke of the Greeks under John Hyrcanus that temple was destroyed.

John 4:21-24

21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (KJV).

Jesus now begins to tell her of the dawning of the Christian era. Now we have no need for a Temple. Our bodies are now the holy Temple. This is where the Spirit takes up residence after a person accepts Christ and becomes “saved.” He is telling her that she will not have to worship the Father on any mountain or in Jerusalem. This only pertains to “true” worshippers. That is, those that love God and have accepted His salvation that He offers through Christ alone (John 14:6) Since God is spirit we worship Him in spirit too. We don’t have to go to some particular location to worship God. Anywhere will do so to speak.

Salvation comes through the Jews. It was given at the time of the Abrahamic Covenant. This is one of the unconditional covenants that God made with Israel. The Abrahamic Covenant promised a seed, land, and blessings. The three major promises of this covenant were personal promises to Abraham, national promises to Israel and universal promises to all the people of the earth. God promised that He would bless him and make him a blessing to others, to make his name great, to give him many descendants, to make him the father of a multitude of nations, to give him the land of Canaan for always and to bless them that blessed Abraham and to curse them that cursed him. (Genesis 12; 13; 15 & 17) God also made national promises concerning Israel. They are: to make a great nation of his descendants; to give land from the river of Egypt to the Euphrates to his descendants forever; and to give the Abrahamic covenant to his descendants for ever. Finally, God made universal covenants to Abraham that would affect everybody on the earth; it would affect all families of the earth who would be blessed. This promise is intended to be applicable to Israel regarding the blessing and cursing effects. Parts of the covenant have already been fulfilled. For example God did bless him with wealth. His name is great and Israel is a great nation. The blessings to all have been given to all through the oracles of God they received and they brought forth the Messiah. The promise of the land has not been completely fulfilled yet. His descendants are in the land but, in unbelief and do not have the boundaries set forth in Scripture as of yet.

Appearance of the Messiah by Alexandr Ivanov Cir.1806-1858

Appearance of the Messiah by Alexandr Ivanov Cir.1806-1858

John 4:25-26

25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he (KJV).

Jesus answers her about this Messiah that she knew was coming. The Jewish writings were rife with a God-Man that would appear on the planet some day and remove all of Israel’s problems. In Hebrew the word for this God-man is Mashiach which Anglicized is Messiah. It is the same as the Greek Christos or Christ.  Jesus tells her that He is the long awaited Jewish Messiah.

Some of the prophetic writings about Him are in the Old Testament, which is the Jewish Bible at the time of Christ. They have been fulfilled in Jesus just as He told this Samaritan woman.

Some OT Messianic Prophecies and their New Testament fulfillment:

  1. Born in Bethlehem:                 Micah 5:2 Fulfilled in Matthew 2:1
  2. The Son of God:                     Psalm 2:7 Fulfilled in John 3:16-17
  3. Of the tribe of Judah:              Genesis 49:10 Fulfilled in Hebrews 7:14
  4. Of a virgin:                              Isaiah 7:14 Fulfilled in Matthew 1:18-22
  5. A prophet like Moses:           Deuteronomy 18:15 Fulfilled in John 7:15-17
  6. The King of Israel:                  Zechariah 9:9 Fulfilled in John 12:12-15
  7. Rejected:                                 Isaiah 53:3 Fulfilled in John 1:11
  8. Beaten:                                    Micah 5:1 Fulfilled in Mark 15:19
  9. Silent:                                      Isaiah 53:7 Fulfilled in Matt 27:12-14
  10. Betrayed:                                Psalm 41:9 Fulfilled in Mark 14:17-20’
  11. Tried and condemned:             Isa 53:8 Fulfilled in Matthew 27:1-2
  12. Crucified:                                Psalm 22:16 Fulfilled in John 19:17-18
  13. His garments divided:             Psalm 22:18 Fulfilled in John 19:23-24
  14. Given vinegar and gall:            Psalm 69:21 Fulfilled in John 19:31-36
  15. His bones not broken:             Exodus 12:46 Fulfilled John 19:31-36
  16. He is our sacrifice:                  Isaiah 53:5-6 Fulfilled in 1 Peter 2:24-25
  17. And raised from death:           Psalm 16:10 Fulfilled in Luke 24:1-7, 47

 

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

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Judah, Tamar and Perez

Judah’s Sons,Tamar, and The Messianic Line

 

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder cir. 1681

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder cir. 1681

Genesis 38: 1-11

1And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. And he took her, and went in unto her. 3And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er. 4And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. 5And she yet again bare a son, and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him. 6And Judah took a wife for Er his first-born, and her name was Tamar. 7And Er, Judah’s first-born, was wicked in the sight of Jehovah. And Jehovah slew him. 8And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy brother. 9And Onan knew that the seed would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother. 10And the thing which he did was evil in the sight of Jehovah: and he slew him also. 11Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter-in-law, Remain a widow in thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brethren. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house (ASV 1901).

Judah, who was aligned with Reuben in steering the other sons of Jacob away from killing Joseph left them and travelled to Adullam. This was a town in the Judean lowlands southwest of Bethlehem. It later in the invasion under general Joshua was made a part of the tribal inheritance of Judah and it was also associated with the life of David (I Samuel 22: 1-2 etc.). Judah must have had a disagreement with his siblings regarding the disposition of Joseph because he chose not to stay with them. This account will span a time frame of approximately twenty-three years.

In Adullam Judah meets and befriends a man named Hirah. Through Hirah he is introduced to Shua who has a marriageable daughter. So he marries this unnamed Canaanite woman and ends up having three children with her. Interestingly, both Abraham and Isaac went to great lengths to prevent their children from marrying Canaanite women. Esau of course violated that and intermarried with the Canaanites and the Ishmaelites. Judah who was of the chosen family line began the intermarriages into the Canaanites. The text simply says that he took her, and went in unto her. He then had three sons by her: Er (עֵר), Onan, and Shelah. Judah named Er and his wife named Onan and Shelah since he was away in the nearby town of Chezib. Hebrew naming shows the parents wish to commemorate some meaningful event through the child’s name. Er means forsaken or lonely. Onan means sorrow and Shelah means deception. This seems to indicate that Judah was quite remorseful over the events that brought Joseph into slavery into Egypt.

When Er was grown he was married to a woman named Tamar. The text further tells us that he was wicked in the sight of Jehovah. The Hebrew word for wicked is ra רַע. It is a designation of a degree of wickedness that merits divine retribution. And in this case his death was the result of Jehovah God taking his life in some undisclosed manner. Jehovah who knows all things was keeping Tamar from this evil man. As a result of his death Judah instructs the second born son Onan to do his duty and “Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy brother.” This concept is called the law of levirate marriage. It was codified into the Mosaic Law and became a standard practice (Deuteronomy 25: 5-6, Ruth 4: 5-6; Matthew 22: 24). The idea was to keep the name of the individual who died through his son. This would also preserve an in family transfer of land and material wealth. The first-born son would be the heir and would also have an obligation along with the new husband to care for the widow. Widows in ancient Israel would be forced to beg without this law. So in this way the widow was protected from becoming destitute. Finally, the son would keep the family name alive even though the father was not alive to propagate. One clear example of this is the marriage of Ruth to Boaz

Summer (Boaz and Ruth) by Nicholas Poussin cir. 1660-64

Summer (Boaz and Ruth) by Nicholas Poussin cir. 1660-64

 Levirate Marriage

Deuteronomy 25: 5-6

5If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her. 6And it shall be, that the first-born that she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother that is dead, that his name be not blotted out of Israel (ASV 1901).

Onan seemed to have no qualms against marrying Tamar Er’s widow. He seemed to accept the easy part of having sexual intercourse with her and accepting his inheritance. Er was first born so he would have gotten Judah’s estate when he passed. Er realized this and complied with Judah’s instructions. However, Onan realized that the children would not be his per se but that of Er’s so during intercourse with Tamar he continually withdrew from her before he deposited his semen into her. Thus, she was not allowed to become pregnant. Some mistakenly teach through this example here that God prohibits contraception. The sin here was, Onan did not want to obey his father and honor his brother by taking up the responsibility that was given to him. Because his sin was in the same category of wickedness of his brother Er the Lord executed His divine will and caused him to die too. Tamar was now a widow again and Judah instructed her to “Remain a widow in thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brethren.” Judah was certainly considering Tamar to have some major issue that both her husbands received divine executions. So he told her that when his third son Shelah was of age she could have him in levirate because he feared that Jehovah would take him too. Judah had no intention of letting Tamar marry Shelah because of the curse he thought she had. She trusted Judah and went to her father’s home to live and wait for Shelah to come of age and marry her.

The Strange Case of Tamar and Judah

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder Cir 1667

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder Cir 1667

Genesis 38: 12-26

12And in process of time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheep-shearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father-in-law goeth up to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim, which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife. 15When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; for she had covered her face. 16And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Come, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee: for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? 17And he said, I will send thee a kid of the goats from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? 18And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand. And he gave them to her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. 19And she arose, and went away, and put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20And Judah sent the kid of the goats by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not. 21Then he asked the men of her place, saying, Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the wayside? And they said, There hath been no prostitute here. 22And he returned to Judah, and said, I have not found her; and also the men of the place said, There hath been no prostitute here. 23And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be put to shame: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her. 24And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter-in-law hath played the harlot; and moreover, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. 25When she was brought forth, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff. 26And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more. (ASV 1901)

So time passed and Judah was making no effort to arrange another levirate marriage between Shelah and Tamar who desired children and not wanting to make a career of widowhood. She was still a young woman. Judah’s wife died and he went through a period of ritual mourning as the text says that and Judah was comforted. Later he and his friend Hirah went up to the sheep-shearers. This was a festive time for them and Judah now done with mourning was going to join in the party atmosphere.

Tamar became aware of Judah’s travel to the party with the sheep shearers with Hirah and she devised a plan to force him into a role of a levir for her. In her contrivance she planned to entrap him. She changed out of her widow’s clothes and made herself appear as an adherent of Astarte, which was a sacred prostitute. She then put on a veil, which had several connotations of that day. Brides principally wore them on their wedding night and so did prostitutes wanting to appear as a wholesome bride. So a veiled woman in public gave off the message that she was a prostitute available for sexual intercourse. She had essentially dressed herself as a cult prostitute and waited for Judah to appear at the city gate of Enaim. Her actions while retaliatory for not getting Shelah put her into a doubly sinful situation. She was legally betrothed to Shelah regardless of what Judah was preventing and she was planning on an incestuous relationship with Judah.

When Judah saw her he was enticed by her. She played the role of seductress and lured him into a sexual union. It was Judah who suggested the sex when he said to her, ”Come, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee: for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law.” He was coming off a period of mourning and was exceptionally vulnerable to temptation of this sort and didn’t realize that this was his daughter-in-law in disguise. Tamar who played the role of a prostitute asked for payment for gratifying his sexual desires. This was a normal request from a prostitute. She says, “What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?” He promised her a kid of the goats of the flock at a later time for sexual favors now, but she did not trust him and wanted something of more significance as a promissory to pay. She was actually looking for something to provide as evidence proving him to be the father of the child who would come from the union. So Judah asks, “What pledge shall I give thee? She being very savvy says to him in response, “Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand.” These three items had identifying significance for her to later prove who the father’s child was. The signet was used to seal documents, the cord was a necklace that the ring was kept on, and the staff in his hand established his profession. So she received them and she had sex with him, after which she became pregnant. She then left, removed the veil and put back on the widow’s clothes.

Judah then tried to make good on the promise to give her a goat kid. He sent Hirah to her with the payment. He of course wanted his personal items back, which she was holding as a deposit. When Hirah was unable to find her he begins asking the men of her place, saying,” Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the wayside?” they just said, “There hath been no prostitute here.” Hirah tried to honor Judah’s commitment to pay her and when that failed he returned to Judah with the kid. Judah decided to forget the entire incident.

Now comes the revelation to Judah of what actually happened. After three months when Tamar is just entering her second trimester a report was given to Judah that Tamar had become a harlot and she is pregnant as a result of her prostitute activities. So Judah still not knowing that he impregnated her says in response to learning what she did, “Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.” He was the patriarch of the clan and had a right to do this since she was guilty of prostitution. During the trial she pleaded, “By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff.” Judah then had to confess when he was exposed and simply admitted his guilt by saying, “She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.”

 

Tamar Presents her proof Artist Unknown

Tamar Presents her proof Artist Unknown

Twins are Born to Judah and Tamar

Genesis 38: 27-30

28And it came to pass, when she travailed, that one put out a hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. 29And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself? Therefore his name was called Perez. 30And afterward came out his brother that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zerah. (ASV 1901)

This section of Scripture regarding the story of Judah and Tamar ends with the birth of twin sons. When they were about to be born one put his hand out of the womb and the midwife tied a scarlet thread on his hand to indicate he was the first born. However he drew his hand back in and returned into the womb. So the second one was born first. This caused the midwife to say, “Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself?” This is a Hebrew play on words, which means you breached a breach or you forged through. This is the meaning of the name Perez who was the first-born. He became a seed son of the Messianic line (Ruth 4: 12, 18-22; Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33). The second son then came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand and he was named Zerah meaning the shining one probably due to the scarlet thread. This account while seemingly out of place in the story of Joseph traces the Messianic line. It also shows that they were intermarrying into the Canaanites. This is one of the reasons God took Judah and the rest of the family into Egypt. Finally there is a strong contrast illustrated here between Judah and Joseph. One brother was resisting temptation and the other caving in to it.

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

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