Gradient
Index of Articles and Book Reviews.
     1) Book Review:  Sir Robert Anderson's "The Coming Prince". The rise of Anti-Christ. Daniel's 70th week. Anderson's calculation of the length of the 7-yr tribulation period. 
     2) Article: The three views of the Millennium. A-millennialism, Post-millennialism, Pre-millennialism. [page down to Article # 2]
      3) Article: The Seven Feasts of Israel and the Church. [page down to Article # 3]
      4) The New Religion of the Anti-Christ during the Tribulation Period.
      5) A complete eschatology [end-times]from the gospels (in process)
      6) A complete eschatology from the minor prophets (in process)

 

 

1.) The rise of Anti-Christ

     Sir Robert Anderson's THE COMING PRINCE stands as a classic among writers of Bible Prophecy. Anderson wrote over 100 years ago but his insight into prophecy is highly relevant today. Anderson saw correctly that for end time prophecy to have fulfillment, ushering in the reign of Christ on earth, that Israel must achieve nationhood. He searched his world in his day for signs that seemed at that time to be a political possibilities for events to be right to usher in the Millennial Kingdom. He found that in his day it would be impossible but what would he find were he to live in our day, with signs clearly pointing to the end of times? Anderson explains for us, the seventy-weeks prophecy of Daniel in detail and how it is the key to understanding Biblical prophecy, the coming Anti-Christ, and the coming King of Heaven and His kingdom.

     In THE COMING PRINCE Anderson looks at the end, when the evil Prince that comes, is born Anti-Christ. Anderson looks at the signs we must see before the evil Prince arrives, and the signs of the approaching Tribulation. (Anderson, Sir Robert. The Coming Prince. Kregal Classics, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 10th Edition, 1957.)

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 How did Anderson know that the Tribulation period had a specific seven year time period, was Jewish in origin but would also be a worldwide event? Anderson's analysis has stood the test of time in this detailed account of end time prophesy. Anderson's book is detailed and is not an easy read, but let's look at his analysis, and seek to make it understandable. 

     In Daniel chapter 9, Daniel begins to pray in earnest for the restoration of Israel, and confess his sins and the sins of his nation. In verse 20 we find that the angel Gabriel came to Daniel to deliver a message that encompassed the life, events of Israel's destruction as a nation, and finally to make an end of sins and bring in everlasting righteousness.

     We find as we look at the book of Daniel that seventy weeks are allowed for Israel yet, to fill up, it's prophetic life. Daniel 9: 24 "Seventy sevens are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy."  What does the phrase Seventy sevens mean? The sevens are translated in the KJV as "weeks". Each of these "weeks" or "sevens" we discover are periods of 7 years. Anderson explains that a prophetic year is composed of 360 days and not 365 as is our Julian calendar. Of these 70 weeks, the last week, which is a period of seven years  is the time of Tribulation. After this final week, Messiah comes. 

     Bible prophecy students have anticipated the coming end of Gentile reign on earth, the approach of the 70th week, and Christs' return because of the prophecy in Daniel nine. Are we approaching that 70th week? I suspect that we are.  

     Anderson's first task is to establish periods of time for the weeks, which angel Gabriel reports to Daniel. Anderson, from ancient writers, understood that the common understanding of the ancients, weeks were meant to be considered to be years in prophecy. Daniel's exile was described in Jeremiah 25:11 as lasting 70 years and of interest is, that for 490 years Israel violated the Sabbatic requirement to let the land be fallow every seven years, so for 70 times they violated this command, and for 70 years they were in exile. 490 divided by 7 = 70 years, adding proof to the idea that these weeks are each periods of 7 years.

     The angel Gabriel stated that 70 weeks [with each week being equal to 7 years] were determined for Israel from the issue of the decree to rebuild the CITY of Jerusalem. In other words, when Israel entered once again into nationhood from it's exile during Daniel's life, it would have 70 weeks of future existence nationally. Now, these weeks were not to be consecutive. Sixty-nine weeks were decreed from the issue of the decree to rebuild the city, until Messiah [Jesus] would be cut off [when Jesus would die on the cross]. After that period, a gap of undetermined length would occur between the 69th and 70th week and the final week would begin once Israel again found nationhood. 

     

     The proof of Anderson's scheme of weeks to be years, is proven as specific dates are established for the "decree" until the time of Messiah being "cut off". If those intervening years, prove to correspond to the "weeks" theory, then the week is seven years, and Anderson proves his point.

     Disregarding the three 'decrees' in Ezra as not part of this prophecy, Anderson finds that the decree in Nehemiah precisely fits the angels message. In Ezra, decrees were issued by pagan kings to rebuild the sanctuary and clear ruble, but in each of those, the people lack energy and divine earnestness and the job is not completed, even twenty-five years later. But the decree in Nehemiah produces specific results. Orders were issued to rebuild and within four months, the city was enclosed with ramparts and gates before the feast of Tabernacles.  "This was a revival of the national existence of Judah, and therefore it is fitly chosen as the epoch of the prophetic period of seventy weeks." (Anderson, pg. 63). 

     Anderson carefully recounts the date of reckoning for the issuing of the proclamation of Artaxerxes, in his 20th year as king. King Artaxerxes ascends the throne on July BC 465. The command to rebuild was given in the month of the 1st of Nissan BC 445. But when was Jesus 'cut off'? Christ's birth occurred not earlier than autumn of BC 4. Jesus began to minister on August 19th, AD 28 Anderson determines. His first Passover was in the month of Nissan, AD 29. Jesus entered Jerusalem on 10th Nissan, AD 32 or April 6th AD 32. The command to go forth occurred on 445 BC, March 14th. That is equal to 69 weeks, with a week equal to 7 years, and each year of 360 days, or 173,880 days, precisely from the decree until Jesus entered Jerusalem in AD 32.

     In the book of Revelation the number of days for the Tribulation is given as two periods of 1260 days (Revelation 11:3) or 7 years.  During that period of time the Prince, the evil one, comes. He will reign on earth, and subject the whole earth to the rule of Satan. This will occur during the Tribulation period, which is the final, and 70th week of Daniel. This week, like all the previous 69 weeks, has as it's focus, the nation of Israel. 

     The final week, the 70th week, is composed of two periods of 3 1/2 years each from Revelation 12: 6 & 14 with each half composed of 1260 days, or 42 months, or 3 1/2 years. Anderson believes that Revelation teaches that when the Anti Christ betrays Israel, when the Prince puts an abomination in their new temple, that this occurs half way through the seven year tribulation week, and from that point on, persecution of the Jews is intense. 

     Anderson deals with the seeming confusion in Scripture that asserts that God's people are "caught up" , removed from the earth, and at the same time in Matthew 13:40-43 it appears the wicked are removed from the earth and the righteous are left "to shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father".... Anderson concludes that their is only one solution to this apparent dilemma, a conclusion not well accepted today. He states that what we term "the advent" of Christ is not a single event, but includes several distinct manifestations.  

     One event will be to take up from the earth the righteous dead and the living saints (The Rapture)- and once this occurs the days of Israel begin again. The Church will be removed with Him to Heaven and God will once again include Israel in His prophetic plan as the last seven years begins, the 70th week of Daniel. Anderson believes an interval exists between the Rapture and the beginning of the 70th week.  

     The Jews as a nation, Anderson concludes, are without excuse as to being cast off for a time. In Mathew 10, the disciples were finally commissioned, before Israel was to know it's Messiah, to preach the gospel, to heal the sick, to cast out demons, cleanse lepers and raise the dead. In this tiny land, these disciples spread a powerful testimony that was undeniable. Yet despite this, Israel's leaders met to plot Jesus death. At this point, Anderson shows, Jesus ministry continued, but the message of the gospel of the Kingdom ceased. He told everyone he healed to not make Him known, and He taught in parables. His ministry had entered a new phase, with His people excluded, and the gospel coming to the Gentiles as they would become the Bride, while Israel was cast off for awhile until the 70th week of Daniel should begin.

     In Mathew 13, no longer is Jesus sharing the Kingdom but the 'mysteries' of the Kingdom. Jesus became a sower of seeds rather than a King but a day would come when all should be fulfilled. After Jesus taught his disciples of this new plan in Mathew 24:3 his disciples asked "What shall be the sign of Thy coming and the end of the age?" 

     Jesus, according to Anderson, then gave them a prophetic utterance in the 15th verse, that fixes a point that connects the teaching of Jesus in the post Kingdom mystery teaching, the vision of John in Revelation, and the prophecies of Daniel. Daniel's vision of the defilement of the Holy place is the signal for the great trial, the fiercest persecution, the greatest fight against God's people, Israel, ever known - the Great Tribulation. 

Anderson, writing in the late 19th century, determines that Israel must be restored in Palestine as a nation for Mathew 24 to have fulfillment.

     He could say based on that observation, that the end, was not yet, and not in his time period. We, today, are unable to say that same thing because Israel is a nation, as of 1948. If we, my friends, are to take a Bible generation to be from 70 to 80 years according to Psalm 90:3, then the generation time period, specified in Mathew 24:34, will end in 2028. If the word generation, means "nation" and not "generation", which is possible, then we cannot fix a date. 

     Anderson wrote, "...when that nation comes again upon the scene, the element of miraculous interpositions will mark once more the course of events on earth."  

     Anderson describes the present church age "the present dispensation"  - the age of the Church - the mystery hidden from all eyes - known of God - but not the "stated" goal of God. The goal of God was to Israel and to make His kingdom in their midst. God has not cast away His people, and the prophecy of Daniel's 70th week will resume shortly. 

     Anderson's writing includes more detail of the events moving through the Book of Revelation, and the Seal judgments, which I invite the reader to peruse. 

     Anderson sets a different course than many popular theorists today believing that Anti-Christ is defeated outright and quickly. He notes that his quick defeat was a popular notion in his day, but we know only that his defeat occurs during the anti-Christ's lifetime. 

     Anderson, unlike most today,  believes their is an interval after the 70th week concludes and Christ's return.

THE COMING PRINCE. 

     This coming Prince, this Anti-Christ, will come when society will have reached full transgression against God, when Apostasy will be paramount, and Apostasy will increase further during Anti-Christ's reign. The coming prince, will be characterized as one who sets his face against all others, he will magnify himself with pride, shall do according to his will, shall magnify himself against every god, and understand dark statues, he shall not regard the God of his fathers, nor have desire for women, and he will honor the god of forces, or paganism. 

     The coming Prince's actions are also listed: his acts and his power will not come from men, he is able to destroy and astound at the same time, he shall get stronger and stronger through his actions, he shall be inventive and all new craft will come from him, he destroys peace, he will speak against the Most High, he decorates his new god with silver, gold, and jewels [reminiscent of the description of Satan in Ezekiel 28:13], he will make war and flow over his enemies and conquer many countries. 

     In the last days, wrote Anderson, serpent worship will become prevalent "...as all the world wondered after the Beast, and they worshipped the Dragon [serpent] which gave power unto the Beast, and they worshiped the Beast."  ( Revelation 13:3,4) 

     But ultimately, Anti-Christ, indeed Satan himself, shall be defeated, and confined for 1,000 years.

     "The beast will command the homage of a world that has rejected grace." (Anderson, pg 219). But then the beast will be confined to hell.

     Anderson notes that a special blessing is reserved for those who study the prophecies (Revelation 1:3) and that they give light to "...warn, guide, and cheer His saints in evil days." May we blessed as we look to Him in these last days. 

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  • Anderson, Sir Robert. The Coming Prince. Kregal Classics, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 10th Edition, 1957. 

2.) The three Millennial positions.

- A-millennial

     - Post-millennial

          - Pre-millennial

      From- John Walvood, The Millennial Kingdom.

     What do these terms mean and how should we understand them? The difference between the A-millennial, Post-Millennial, and Pre-Millennial views can be confusing. In an effort to help the reader understand the differences when they are mentioned, I am overviewing a portion of John Walvoord's excellent scholarly work, in which he devotes about 2/3rds of his book, The Millennial Kingdom, to the differences in these positions. I am reviewing just the first 137 pages to provide a concise summary for the readers use. 

     The book of Revelation [chapter 20] mentions a period of time of one-thousand years, six times. From that chapter we get the term millennium - a term all are agreed, describes a kingdom. From that point, agreement breaks down among Bible scholars and users/readers of Scripture. Some view that kingdom as occurring now, some in the future, some literal, and some allegorical, even fanciful. Walvood describes for us broad views of this term and time period. The prevailing ideas of today have been developing since the 3rd century and are : 1) A-millennialism, that we are now living in the millennial period, in increasing peace and prosperity, and have been in that kingdom since Christ's first advent, 2) Post-Millennialism, that Christ will come back after the millennial period is complete, to receive His kingdom from our hand, as our gift to Him, as we reform society as it were, following our renewed, and enlightened preaching and good work on earth, 3) Pre-Millennialism which states that society will decline first, in Apostasy, "a falling away comes first" (2 Thessalonians 2:3) leading to Tribulation, at which point Christ will return, to rescue mankind from destruction and He will set up His millennial kingdom on earth. 

     Pre-Millennialism [taking them in reverse order] is a literal view, in that the prophecy related to the Millennial Kingdom can be viewed literally in most instances, and symbolic, in places where symbol was clearly intended. It does not take a positive view of society, or of the ability of the gospel to ultimately change society to millennial standards, but sin will reign, apostasy "in later times some shall depart from the faith" (1 Timothy 4:1) will appear and increase, until it is defeated by Christ. Pre-millennialism or Chilism [the Greek word for one-thousand] appears to have been the view during the Apostolic age, (Walvoord, pgs. 119-122) as history records that the Apostolic church with one voice condemned all those who opposed pre-millennialism. It was not until Augustine, in the 3rd century, that A-millennialism had a reputable adherent. A rising tide of opposition to pre-millennialism began in the 3rd century, with the rise of the Catholic Church in influence, and suddenly the adherents of A-millennialism gave a vigorous defense. As Roman Catholicism grew the pre-millennial view lost it's hold on much of the Church. In general, Pre-millennials view Israel as a separate entity from the Church. Jews during the present Church age [defined as a distinct period or dispensation, from Pentecost until the Church is raptured] may become Christians, but Christians are neither Jew nor Gentile but a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Pre-millennialism sees old and new testament prophecy concerning Christ's second coming and His kingdom reign on earth for 1,000 years as being fulfilled literally in the future. In the pre-millennial scheme, the next prophetic event on the calendar is the Rapture of the Church, (1 Thessalonians 4:15) which happens just prior to the seven year Tribulation period. The Church is transformed into the Bride of Christ in Heaven, while the earth undergoes Devine punishment, and Israel is persecuted (Mark 13:9). Before all flesh is lost (Mathew 24:22) Christ will return. Pre-millennialism has exalted the study of prophetic truth, takes a literal view of Scripture, and is based on the thesis of the infallibility of Scripture. It is the only view that takes a literal view of Scripture for life and practice now, and our future as God revealed His will through prophetic writings, which account for about one-third of the Bible.

     Post-Millennialism, which began in the writings of Daniel Whitby (1638-1726) hold that the millennial promises will be fulfilled by preaching the gospel, improving the lives of earths citizens, morally, which will impact justice and fair treatment. Man will establish the millennium. Christ will return after the millennium in this view. Eventually, in this view, the whole world will be Christianized and brought to submission to the gospel message, before Christ returns. In general, Post-millennials take a literal view of Scripture for OT prophecy, with one of it's leading proponents being theologian Charles Hodge. They are full of optimism for the work of the gospel and it's impact on society. They hold that the Church's ministries will literally bring fulfillment to prophecy concerning His coming and Kingdom. Some hold that Augustine was a post-millennial proponent because he held that Christ would return after the millennium, but his views are so spiritualized as to deny the millennial kingdom and so he is more closely allied with A-millennialism. Post-millennialism declined after WWII, after two brutal wars dampened the optimism of a view that holds that a progressive view of personal renewal, science and education will flow from preaching to improve the world. As a sense of peace declined, and the tension associated with a potential 3rd World War loomed during the nuclear age, the Post-millennial view also declined as hope for millennial levels of peace and security evaporated. Any new periods of prosperity and optimism seem to regenerate and re-invigorate this view. During the nuclear age, liberal theologians began ascribing the millennial period to Heaven only, further swelling the ranks of the A-millennials who began to deny a millennium on earth. Walvoord contends that theologians who had been Post-millennial, could not conscience, that Pre-millennials were correct, who had for years predicted a moral decline in society rather than an advance, and so sought refuge in conservative Reformation thinking which ignored the millennium completely and instead focused on "...the real issue ... faith in the Bible and in the person and work of Christ." (Walvoord, page 10). This gave rise to the so-called "pan-millennial", almost tongue in cheek, view that "it will all pan out in the end". Today numbers of churches ignore completely discussion of the millennium, Tribulation, or Rapture, rising from an antithesis toward Pre-millennialism. Essentially, this ignores the prophetic Scriptures concerning the millennial period, much like liberal theological thinking. Many of these churches who ignore this discussion had church history imbedded in the Post-millennial view.

     A-millennialism, the largest held belief concerning the millennium, finds it's roots in the 3rd century work of Augustine and Origen, and it's proponents include the many adherents to the Roman Catholic Church. It denies the literal reign of Christ on earth. They read prophecy and believe that Satan is currently bound now, since the 1st coming of Christ. They hold that all of the years between His 1st coming and 2nd coming are the millennial period. Some of this view hold with Augustine that the millennium is on this earth now, and some hold with Kliefoth that the millennium is occurring in heaven. They believe that Christ will return, after however long this current millennial period is, and immediately the Eternal State will begin. Their are large divisions of belief in this view, some holding that His second coming is not literal, but should be spiritualized, in that the works of the saints today, are in fact His second coming. Others see a literal 2nd coming occurring at some distant point, and one's view determines the interpretation of large swaths of Scripture. Romans Catholics are A-millennial and generally hold that the coming kingdom is fulfilled in the good works of the Church. A third influence, contends Walvoord, for the advance of A-millennialism comes from the liberal theologians, the skeptics of Scripture, who have united against a literal view of the earthly reign of Christ. Liberals who denounced Pre-millennialism found that they could robe themselves, and disguise their true intentions, by becoming "defenders" of the Reformed faith, and so seem to be advocating with disappointed Post-millennialists, that the true focus should be "...faith in the Bible and the person and work of Christ" even though they deny the authority of Scripture secretly. 

     My purpose in this brief presentation, and simplified version of Walvoord's writing is to be able to overview the three views of the millennial period to help the reader understand the basic distinctions between them. Their are strong proponents of each view today, teaching in various churches, and schools, but the minority view, that of Pre-millennialism, is as usual, the least popular, albeit the correct one, in my opinion. In future posts I will be covering these views in greater detail.

     Within the minority Pre-millennial group, their is a difference of opinion as to when the Rapture of the Church will take place. Some hold that it comes at the beginning of the Tribulation, and so the Church avoids the wrath of God (Pre-Tribulation Rapture theory). And some hold that the Rapture occurs Mid way through the Tribulation period, at the start of the Great Tribulation, or final 3 1/2 years of tribulation (Mid-Tribulation Rapture theory). While some (Post-Tribulation Rapture theory), hold that the Rapture takes place 10 days before the end of the Tribulation, and Christ and His Bride will descend to end the Tribulation period and begin the Millennial Kingdom. 

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  • Augustine, A. City of God. Translated by Marcus Dods. Vol 11 of The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church. New York: The Christian Literature Co., 1887.

  • Walvoord, John F. (1959). The Millennial Kingdom. The Dunham Publishing Company. The Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

3.The Jewish Feast Days.   

From- Notes, various websites and Scripture, and from a short book, by Dr. Richard Booker. 

     Why look at the Jewish feast days? What has this to do with the Christian? Do the Jewish feast days tell us anything about the events of the Christian calendar? In fact, it appears that they do, and if you are like me, you get excited as you watch the events on the Christian calendar move closer and closer. The Next big event for the Church is the Rapture of the Church and for the world, The Tribulation period. Opinions are divided on the issue of shared experience for believers with God's wrath upon the Earth during the Tribulation period. In other words will the Church experience any portion of those terrible years, the seven year period identified above by Sir Robert Anderson, or will the Church be Raptured off the earth in advance of those calamities? The Jewish Feasts shed light on this issue, and when viewed from a variety of passages in the New Testament, may help us predict when these events will occur. In addition, the Jewish Feasts, help us to recognize the overall plan of God in human history, and appreciate more our central focus, the Lord Jesus Christ.

     Let us now look at the seven main Jewish feasts in order as they relate to the Christian. 

  • Feast of Passover - Leviticus 23:4-4. [Pesach]. 15th Nissan. March-April in the Gentile calendar. 

  • Unleavened Bread - Leviticus 23: 6-8 [Hag HaMatzah). This feast starts right after Passover for three days. 

  • Feast of First Fruits - Leviticus 23:9-14 [Bikkurim]. This occurs three days after Passover. 

  • Feast of Pentecost - Leviticus 23:15-22 [Shavuot]. This occurs 50 days after First Fruits. 

  • Feast of Trumpets - Leviticus 23:23-25 [Rosh HaShana]. 7 Tishri. The Jewish New Year. It occurs in September or October on the Gentile calendar depending on the timing of the New Moon.

  • Feast of Atonement - Leviticus 23:26-32 [Yom Kippur]. This occurs on tenth day of the seventh month [Tishrei] after Trumpets. Seven days of 'awe' (Intense repentance) precede this feast. 

  • Feast of Tabernacles - Leviticus 23:33-34. [Sukkot]. Occurs after Yom Kippur. God Tabernacles with His people for 1,000 years. 

      Passover was the feast to celebrate and remember Israel's deliverance from Egypt in a most unusual way, by the death of an innocent lamb that would provide the blood necessary when applied to the doorposts of each home and hovel so that people would be protected from destruction. When God's death angel judged with death, the blood would cause the angel to pass by the home marked by blood. By this event, Israel was released from bondage as Egypt reacted to the death of each of it's first born. This unusual way of deliverance signaled a much deeper plan in the mind of God, that God would deal with sin, by the death of His own Son, whom John the Baptist called, "The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29). Jesus fulfilled this type perfectly, giving deliverance by the death of one without sin. ​In each Passover feast, the male lamb that was to be sacrificed was set apart and examined from the 10th of Nissan to the 14th, or four days prior to sacrifice, just as Jesus was examined publically by the Jewish rulers from the day He entered Jerusalem. On the 14th, Pilot declared "I find no fault in Him." (John 19:4). At 9 AM on the 14th of Nissan, Jesus was nailed to the cross, the same time of day, the Passover Lamb was prepared all over Israel. The Passover Lamb was killed at 3 PM, the exact time of Jesus death. The Passover Lamb was to be eaten in haste and by 6 PM, when Passover began, Jesus was laid in the tomb. From the time He entered Jerusalem He became the examined lamb, set apart for sacrifice, and was sacrificed in accordance with the law for a Passover lamb. The Passover was to be killed at three and the observance held in haste and Jesus was killed and prepared, while Israel observed. It was to be in the place God put His name {Deuteronomy 16:2,6) in Jerusalem, and that is where He died. Not a bone was to be broken on the lamb (Exodus 12:43-46) and His were not (John 19:33). The lamb was to be killed outside the gates of the city, as was He (John 19:16-19). God instituted the feast of Passover on a specific day and in a specific way, and on that exact same day, His Son was sacrificed, as our Passover, in accordance with the law.

     Unleavened Bread . This was a feast lasting seven days. It began on the first day after Passover at 6 PM on the 14th. Jesus was in the tomb on the 15th of Nissan. The ceremony is quaint in that almost a game is made of removing all leaven from the home. The mother removes all leaven and cleans her house, but then hides ten pieces of leaven in the home for the father and children to find. In the feast no leaven was permitted in ones home in Israel during the feast of Unleavened Bread. Leaven symbolizes sin. When the father and children search and find the leaven the father is to dust the leaven into a wooden spoon and then wrap it in a cloth and cast it from the home. The next day, the cloth was to be taken to the temple for burning. The wooden spoon represents, to believers, the wooden cross of Christ, upon which leaven is placed removed from the house, wrapped in a linen, representing Christ who was wrapped in linen and laid in a tomb. In that way it symbolizes sin being placed upon Him, as He paid for our sins with His sacrifice. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21, www.feastsofthelord.com). Although the ceremony itself seems quaint and playful, the doctrinal importance cannot be overstated, because of His sinless perfection, His sacrifice, as sin was laid upon Him, became acceptable to God, who then could forgive our sins. He was the sin bearer. On the Passover, a bag containing three pieces of bread are used. The 2nd one, the middle, is removed from the bag, wrapped in a linen, and hidden away until later in the ceremony, thereby symbolizing Christ between two thieves, wrapped in a linen, hidden in the tomb, until later. He is the bread of life (John 6:33). By His life of sinless perfection, He is our High Priest, "...holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, who has become higher than the heavens." (Hebrews 7:26). His holiness contributes the the 'better covenant' we enjoy, i.e. that His laws are written on hour hearts, of which He is the mediator (Hebrews 8:7-13). Without His sinless offering of His own blood, our salvation would not be eternal (Hebrews 9:15), nor could He have entered the place of holiness in Heaven as our offering (9:24).  

     First Fruits.  The feast of First Fruits is a seven day feast which began after the High Sabbath at Passover. Their were two Sabbaths the week of Passover. On the Feast of Passover, every year, a special or High Sabbath was observed, as well as the Sabbath at the end of the week. After the Passover Sabbath, the seven day feast of First Fruits began. To quote some messianic friends,

"Since Yeshua was slain on the tree on the day of Passover (Pesach), the fourteenth of Nisan, and He arose from the grave three days and nights after He was slain, Yeshua arose from the grave on the seventeenth of Nisan, the day of the festival of First Fruits. In fact, Yeshua is called the first fruits of those who rise from the dead." (www.feastsofthelord.com)

Jesus arose from the grave on the Feast of First Fruits. In fact this feast was designed by God to honor and picture for the Hebrews the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. The Jewish feast and the Christian calendar intersect again. Jesus is called in the New Testament, the first fruits of many brethren, the first begotten of the dead, "Christ the first fruits" (1 Corinthians 15:23, cf Hebrews 1:6, Colossians 1:15, Revelation 1:5, Romans 8:29). In the Feast, the first sheaf of the harvest, is taken to the priest and waved in the temple before any of the harvest is consumed. It was special, and segregated. Christ was the first fruits from the dead, having defeated death, and become the first of many who will see resurrection. He is the hope of the ages for everyone who follows Him. Because He was resurrected we shall be resurrected as well. "But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming" (1 Corinthians 15:23). His resurrection opens the door for each of us, those who are raised from the dead at the time of the Rapture, (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) those alive who receive new bodies at the Rapture, the two witnesses whose bodies lay on the streets during the Tribulation (Revelation 11:1), and the resurrection of the Tribulation saints (Revelation 20:4). Each of these are raised in their own order, but Jesus is the first fruits of this wonderous event. Richard Booker believes that is why Jesus asked Mary not to cling to Him until he was fully offered to the Father (John 20:17) as the first fruits offered to God, as He fulfilled the reason for the God inaugurating the feast. Booker erroneously relates this feast to the rapture of the Church which we will discuss later. 

     Pentecost.  Pentecost was the joyful celebration of the wheat harvest. The main activity of the feast was the 'wave' offering in an attitude of thanksgiving (Booker, page 93). The thanksgiving offering consisted of two loaves baked with leaven and fine flour, expressing dependence on God for the harvest and for their lives. Israel have dances to celebrate the harvest expressing gratitude and worship.

     Two strikingly similar events occurred in history on Pentecost. Both were monumental but very different. In the first Jewish scholars place the giving of the Law from Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19:1-11) at Pentecost when with a great and terrifying display, the law was written on stones. In the 2nd, the Holy Spirit descended and appeared as a dove, with the display of sound of a mighty wind as recorded in Acts 2:1-12. In the 1st, at Mt. Sinai they were so awestruck that they insisted Moses alone speak to them, but not that voice, they pleaded. Exodus 20:19 "Then they said to Moses, 'You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die." God wrote His laws, in tablets of stone the first time, but the 2nd time He wrote in the hearts of believers according to the 2nd covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:7-13). This was a new covenant, promised to Israel, which will be fulfilled in Israel at a later time, but appropriated for the Church by God in His grace. The coming of the Holy Spirit to earth, inaugurated the Church, the selection of the Bride of Christ, that amazing mystery, which now loves and witnesses for Christ on earth. In Acts 2:1-12 the disciples are gathered together in one accord, when the Holy Spirit descends in bodily form, hovering over each one of them. The disciples were emboldened, and spoke the law of God as it moved within their hearts with holy fire as the Holy Spirit did His work, and taught each of them personally (1 John 2:27). No longer was the law simply a mental process to be read and understood with the mind, but it was a dynamic process, as His laws attached themselves to men and women, internally, through their spirit. Booker believes that the flashes of lightening, and thunder at Mt. Sinai was actually the voice of God alone, and that His voice could be seen. Words were visible to the eye as lightening and flames, and  heard as thunder. Psalm 29:7 says "The voice of the Lord divides the flame of fire." At Pentecost in the 1st century more fire came as, "...divided tongues, as of fire, sat on each one of them." (Acts 2:3). And by that second display, the world has been changed, lit on fire, and touched by God, though men still resist, and evil persists. 

     One day, marked two monumental and significant similar events in the Jewish and Christian calendar, just as the previous three feasts had. God set these feasts to commemorate, and mark His works. It should not surprise us that the final three feasts of the seven feasts, have the same function as the initial four feasts, in that they predict the most significant events of the end of the age, His 2nd coming, and judgment, and His reign and life with us. Let us look at those important feasts next which occur in the final fall season.

     Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets, (Rosh HaShana) begins the Jewish New Year and is the first of the three fall feasts. As yet these three feasts have not fulfilled a messianic prophecy as the four previous feasts have done. We have three feasts remaining which could fulfill three messianic events -  The Rapture, The Tribulation, and The beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.

     Jewish scholars tell us that the world was created on this day, because according to them, Bereishit "In the beginning" [from Genesis] can be altered to read Aleph b' Tishrei, or "on the first of Tishri" (www.thefeastsofthelord.com). Tishri is the name of the day Rosh HaShana occurs. Thirty days prior to this feast, a call to repentance is issued, and each day, a horn was blown to remind people to repent in a season of the year called Teshuvan, which means "to return" or "to repent". Rosh HaShana begins a final ten day period of repentance called the 'days of awe'. Rosh Hashana is a time to reflect and repent, ten days before Yom Kippur, when tradition has it, God will decide who lives and who dies this coming year, and what shall be their fate. People are given a time to do good works to repent of bad works the past year. Before the feast starts on Tishri 1, trumpets are blown all day. This feast begins at twilight, we are told by some, when a priest from the Jewish court in Jerusalem is able to discern two heavenly bodies in the sky at dusk (Kull, David, Rapture 2021?). All of the trumpets cease late in the day awaiting the last trumpet, announcing Rosh HaShana. In this silence, the priests wait to see two heavenly bodies appear to the eye in the evening sky, and when they can be seen, the last great trumpet of the day is blown and the feast begins (Kull). Because it is difficult to know just when the new moon [no moon visible] begins, two days have been established for the beginning of Rosh HaShana (feasts). Of course God knows when the new moon occurs, and for Him, the day begins at twilight on the correct day. 

     Why is that timing important for the Christian? Because as we shall see, this feast, if we follow the pattern of the four previous feasts, corresponds to the Rapture of the Church. It is conceivable that when the Rapture of the Church occurs, {when the Church is removed from the earth and the dead in Christ rise from their graves and then we who alive are caught up in the clouds} that the Hebrews on the earth will know to believe in the coming Messiah as they face the coming Tribulation, as the Christian New Testament describes in the book of Revelation.

     (The Rapture is described for us thus: "Behold I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)).

Could it be that as the last trumpet of the day is blown in Israel, at the start of Rosh HaShana, the Rapture will occur this year? We believe that the Rapture of the Church will occur on Rosh Hashana, but when? 

     

     The feast of trumpets is called traditionally, 'The day of the awakening blast.' It is also the beginning of the Days of Awe, and is a dramatic call to repentance for the Hebrews before Yom Kippur. It is interesting that the Hebrews are required by the regulations surrounding the feast, that on this day, they each must hear a shofar [rams horn] sound (www.feasts...). And in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, when the Rapture occurs, a shout from the Lord Himself (to call for His Bride?), a voice of an Arch Angel, and a trumpet of God, will occur. At some point Christians will hear this trumpet call, hear the Lord's voice, and be raptured. 

     Many Christians hold a belief that the Holy Spirit indwelling all believers, will be removed from the earth with the Church, and will no longer restrain the evil of the earth, ("...He who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way" (2 Thessalonians 2:5)) as He currently is thought to do. Psalms reminds us to expect such a trumpet sound, "God has ascended with a shout, with the sound of the trumpet" (Psalm 47:5, NAS). If  then God, the Holy Spirit, ascends with the Church, then evil will be unleashed, and the Holy Spirit will be active on the Earth [since He is everywhere present], but in a different role than as the restrainer. In fact, the book of Revelation reveals that evil is allowed no restraints, to increase the punitive effects of the Tribulation of the earth.

     The three trumpets. The trumpet blown at the beginning of Rosh HaShana, is significant and is called the Last Trump in Jewish tradition (www.feasts...). The first trump was blown at Pentecost. The Great Trumpet is blown at Yom Kippur during judgement. But the Last Trumpet, is the trumpet on the evening Rosh HaShana begins, [a Jewish day begins at evening] at the close of one day, to usher in the new day, a day identified with the Rapture, "...in a moment, in the twinkling ... at the Last Trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1 Thessalonians 5:52).  The first trump [blown at Pentecost when the Church began] and the last trump [blown at Rosh Hashana at the exit of the Church] are the twin horns of the ram, defining 1) the institution of the Church and 2) it's removal from earth at the Rapture.

     It is interesting that Jewish tradition [www.feasts...] believes that on Rosh HaShana, God will hold court for all who have ever lived, or who are alive in that day, and in that court, He will pronounce some wholly righteous who will be sealed with eternal life and reward, some wholly wicked, who are sealed for perdition, who can never be forgiven to be reserved for final placement in hell, and some {intermediates] whose works will decide during the Tribulation their eternal destiny. The intermediaries, who will live on the earth during the Tribulation, have until Yom Kippur at the end of the seven year Tribulation period, to decide their fate, to believe or not believe. Tradition also says, those who live on the earth, who are deemed righteous will be protected from wrath and Tribulation. Those living deemed wicked, will live in the Tribulation, to face wrath, death, and ultimate judgement  (www.feastsofthelord.com).

     Atonement. The Feast of Atonement [Yom Kippur] occurs ten days after the Feast of Trumpets, on the 10th day of the Month of Tishri (Jewish calendar). The 10 days leading up to this feast are called the days of awe or days of intense repentance. If someone had not repented by Rosh HaShana, or in those ten days before the day of judgment [Yom Kippur] they were eternally lost according to Jewish tradition. On this day only, once per year, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, with the blood of a goat, to make atonement for his sins, the priests of the tribe of Levi, and the sins of the entire nation. Once again, blood was necessary to atone for sins.

     To the Christian, this feast pictures for us, the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, a day of judgement (The Millennial Kingdom, Linscott, page 139). Once this judgment was past, those forgiven entered into a joyous kingdom, while others were removed to await the Great White Throne judgment after the Millennial period was past. The feast is about blood atoning for sins, and being set free from His wrath because of the blood sacrifice.

     On the day of the feast, a bull was offered to cleanse the priest and his household of sins. Then two goats were chosen. The blood of the one offering paid for the sins of the people, so while one was offered, the other was set free.

     For the Christian, the meaning is clear, in that Jesus suffered horribly and died on the cross, all the while knowing that his death, set us free. We are pictured in that goat that was spared, and He in the goat that was sacrificed. (Hebrews 10:1-10). The goats are only symbols of the real, and as symbols are only the shadows. On Passover, a lamb is sacrificed, again a symbol of Christ sacrifice. His real sacrifice in fact was horrible. Scripture says that he was marred so badly he no longer resembled a man. His beard was pulled out. His skull, pierced with many thorns, was bleeding. His flesh was torn with a whip that contained bits of bone, glass, and nail, to rip off the flesh and expose the organs. His arms, shoulders, legs, and hips were twisted so that all of them were out of joint. And He was nailed to a cross. (Isaiah 52, Psalm 22). 

     Our Jewish friends teach that the goats were chosen by lot by two golden lots, hidden in a bag. One lot read La Adonai [a name meaning "Lord, LORD"] and the other was called azazel [a name from the book of Enoch, representing Satan, but which means scapegoat]. It was considered good luck if the priest chose La Adonai first, by drawing with his right hand. Jewish tradition says, that normally, La Adonai was chosen first, but for 40 years, from AD 30 to AD70,  until the temple was destroyed, the left hand chose La Adonai (www.feastsofthelord.com). 

     The term "face-to-face" is an Idiom of Yom Kippur, when it said that the High Priest stands face-to-face with God. It is the day of the Great Trumpet. There are three major moments when the trumpet is blown in the seven feasts, the First Trumpet, associated with Pentecost, the Last Trumpet, associated with Rosh HaShana, and finally the Great Trumpet associated with judgment and the Millennial Kingdom. Matthew 24:31 says "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other". Of that day and hour no one knows except the Father (vs 36), but we know that this great judgment will occur, and the Millennial Kingdom will begin, all within one generation of nationhood being restored to Israel (Matthew 24: 32-35). Jesus will set His feet on the Mount of Olives, a great earthquake will occur, and the Millennial Kingdom will begin as they look on Him whom they pierced and they will mourn. (Zechariah 12) "Thus the Lord my God will come, and all the saints [the Church] with You." (Zechariah 14:5b, within brackets are my addition). Israel will be gathered into the wilderness, outside the land and there will be judged "face-to-face" (Ezekiel 20:34-35, The Millennial Kingdom, Linscott, page 168-169). 

     This feast of The Day of Atonement, as practiced, is the shadow of the real events which will come (Hebrews 10:1-4). These events will occur at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom following a seven year Tribulation period. Jews today, as they approach the Day of Atonement greet one another with "May your name be inscribed in the book of life." After this day, only believers will enter into His Kingdom.

     Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles [Sukkot] pictures for us, God living with His people, when He will tabernacle on earth, visibly, during the Millennial Kingdom. After somber judgements, the gates of the land are thrown open, as God blesses all who enter. This is a feast of rejoicing, a time to enjoy the fruits of the land, a time of lightness of heart following repentance. It was a feast that lasted for seven days. Leviticus 23:33-39 describes living in booths for seven days, to commemorate the time that Israel lived in booths in the desert before the promised land. The feast begins on the 15th day of the month of Tishri, or during September-October [depending on the lunar calendar]. Exodus 25:8 says "Let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them." This was a building that Israel carried with them in the desert, and was constructed so that God would be with His people which is a truth fraught with meaning for the Millennial Kingdom. In the Millennial Kingdom, God will tabernacle once again with His people, Israel, and with all believers who live on the earth in the kingdom. 

     The festival has various names associated with it. It is called, 'The Season of Joy' because all sins were forgiven, and union was established with God and men, and with those who reign with Him on earth, the Church (Revelation 5:10, 3:21, Daniel 7:27) and the Tribulation Saints (Revelation 20:4). Isaiah 51:11 describes joy and singing, and hearts full of gladness. "So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads, they shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing will flee away." (NKJV).

     This feast will be celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom by the whole world. "And it shall come to pass, that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles." (Zechariah 14:16). 

     It is called the festival of ingathering. Traditionally, it follows the final harvest, it is a time of plenty, when the produce from the fields, the orchards and vineyards all come together. The Millennial Kingdom will be a time of unsurpassed plenty. All of the grain bins will be full. It will be a place of unsurpassed beauty, with abundant rain, and continuous crop production. God promises healthy children for all which extends to the animal realm as well.  "You will be blessed more than any other people..." (Deuteronomy 7:13-14). "The land that was desolate has become like a garden of Eden." (Ezekiel 36:35) And the reason for such abundance is because the seasons will be so blessed that, "...the plowman will overtake the reaper." (Amos 9:13). It will be called a "delightful land" (Malachi 3:12). 

     It is called the feast of nations, a phrase that reaches back to the original promise to Abraham, that in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed. As mentioned all of the nations will be required to attend the feast of Tabernacles year by year, as represented by their kings. If they do not, then God will withhold rain on their lands (Zechariah 14:1-9, 16-18). Rulers are required to come for an audience with Jesus, and He will test their hearts (Psalm 48:4-6) and some seeing His holiness and righteousness will be rebuked, physically becoming ill. In Zechariah we read "Many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and they will become my people." (2:11). This is one of the feasts that will remain in the new economy of the Millennial Kingdom and nations will be required to send representatives to the feast year by year.  

     The Feasts Are A Special Focus For God.

     God has focused several important events on the days of various feasts including some important historical events. We can and should learn an important lesson from this, that our eyes need to be focused on what He has done, and is doing. "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are sons of light and sons of the day ... Therefor let us not sleep, as others, but let us watch and be sober." (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6) Some notable events took place on the feast days. 

  • On Passover - We have the birth of John the Baptist and the day Jesus is sacrificed. It is interesting that during the Passover celebration, one element involves, going to the door, and opening it see if Elijah has come. [John the Baptist was a type of Elijah].

  • On First Fruits - Noah's Ark came rest on Mount Ararat. Israel crossed the Red Sea. Israel ate its 1st fruits as they entered the promised land. Haman is defeated. Jesus rises from the dead.

  • On Pentecost - Both covenants begin. The giving of the Torah through Moses as laws are written on stone. The giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church with His laws written in the heart.

  • On Trumpets - These prophetic events will occur with the Rapture - The Gates of Heaven Opened, The beginning of the Time of Jacob's Trouble [Tribulation], The beginning of the wedding feast, The shout of the Groom to call His Bride 

  • Tabernacles - Christ was born in Bethlehem on Tishri 15 during Tabernacles [Sukkot] and it is called the season of our joy. It will be the time of the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, when God will tabernacle with man. Christ as born at the beginning of the feast, and He reigns as King on earth beginning at Tabernacles.

     God's focus on the feast days is instructive, and leads one to believe that God has marked the feast days for events in history, and events yet to play out, and so we should be attentive to the feasts and the days and events which they portend. 

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  • Dr. Richard Booker, Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts. Destiny Image Publishers, 2016.

  • Kull, David. (2021). Rapture 2021?. A case for a Rapture of the Church in 2021. Amazon Publishers.

  • website: www.feastsofthelord.com 

  • Steven Linscott, The Millennial Kingdom, Xulon Publishers, 2020.

4. The New Religion of the Anti-Christ. The Tribulation Period.

     The Tribulation Period has many shocking events contained within it's brief seven year span. Perhaps none is so shocking as the nature of the new religion that will occur on the earth. A new religion is coming and a close read and detailed study of the book of Revelation, and the book of Daniel, reveals it's Satanic and brutal elements.

     The new religion is:

          World wide

          Forced upon the population

          Focused on a false Christ

          Founded upon the anti-Christ rising from the dead

          Offers power over death.

          Is an imitation of the true Christ

          Offers the penalty of death for lack of submission.

     Chapter 13 of Revelation begins with a Beast rising up from the sea. If we skip to the last verse of the chapter, we find out that the beast is a man. He was described for us in the Book of Daniel, as the one who makes a covenant with Israel and many nations, and Israel begins to institute sacrifices again. The beast begins his work during the first half of the seven year Tribulation, but at the mid-point, Satan is cast from Heaven, and immediately, the enraged Devil, directs the Anti-Christ to persecute Israel. The 2nd Beast emerges, as a prophet, to support the new religion, which directs worship toward the first beast. The 1st Beast is killed, specifically when he is "mortally wounded" but "his deadly wound was healed." (Vs 3). This is an amazing thing, a miracle, which is highly promoted in this new religion. There is no doubt that the Beast dies, the greek reads 'eis thanatos' where 'eis' means 'to a fixed point' that is to 'thanatos', or death. Verse 3 says that "all the world marveled and followed the beast". Some are very perceptive and instead of worshipping the beast, they know that Satan is behind this miracle and they directly worship the Devil. The Devil finally has the worship he has longed hoped. 

     The Scripture reveals another amazing fact. That when the 1st beast dies, he is re-inhabited by another. Reading Revelation 17:7-11  "The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth...". Newell writes "a fearsome lost creature from "the abyss", re-entered, for Satan's fell purposes, into a body that by its very death-scar compels the world's worship as the victor over death!" (Newell, William R, The Book of Revelation, Kindle Version, page 2368). The new religion and it's message is: the Beast was mortally wounded - yet he returned from Hades. He conquered death, and death, by this time during the Tribulation has become common. Satan copies and imitates the true religion, with his own resurrected 'Christ'. In addition, to promoting this new Christ, the Devil is active, through the 2nd Beast, the false prophet, blaspheming God, the true Christ, Heaven and those who inhabit heaven. Newell believes that the re-inhabited Beast, is inhabited by one of seven emperor's of Rome, and their is a tradition from the 1st century, that Nero would one day rise from the dead. 

     The Devil's evil influence to make and promote this new religion, is "given to him", in fact this phrase is repeated seven times indicating that God after Satan was cast from heaven, gives him free reign to work his will upon mankind. The Beast will say "great things" (Vs 5) to mankind, The Beast, guided by Satan, through the re-habited body of the Beast, will say all the things to human kind, just out of perception, sourced from Hades, Theosophists, Spiritisms, Christian Science, and psychics. 

     Satan will hold mankind within his grip, an iron vice, offering death through starvation if they will not worship the Beast (Vs 16) causing all to accept a mark on their head or hand, who worship the Beast, to enable them to buy or sell. The resistance of humankind will shrink under this system as the Beast enters into an alliance with all the rulers of the world (Revelation 19:19). 

     

     

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