The Rapture Craze

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I had an interesting exchange with a youtuber recently who is busy defending rapture date setting, saying that there’s nothing wrong with it and he knew of no one who had fallen away from the faith because of incorrect rapture dates. I reminded him of William Miller’s “Great disappointment” but he only criticized Miller’s followers, saying there must have been something wrong with them. Considering that Jesus himself actually said no man knows the day or the hour, including himself, I find this interest in rapture date setting a colossal wasteful undertaking.

This led me to seriously question what is going on with all the rapture mania videos on youtube. Everyone and their brother has a video on there claiming that they know the date or the year it is going to happen. It seems to have really taken off with the false predictions made around the “blood moons” last year. Some nationally known “prophecy” teachers came out declaring that the rapture was going to take place because of the three blood moons. Guess they skipped over the verse before that which states the sun would fall out of the sky first. Nothing like taking a verse out of context, both historically and eschatologically. I suppose that Peter the apostle was wrong when he declared that chapter in Joel fulfilled on the day of Pentecost.

Recently there has been a rapture craze surrounding the astronomical alignment back in October of this year that had “prophecy” teachers stating was a fulfillment of Revelation 12. Huh?? Seriously? Now every Dick, Harry and Sally on youtube is talking about the rapture happening this Christmas. Some said it would happen on the 7th day of Hanukkah this year, 120 days after the alignment of the woman in the sky. Well, that date came and went and we’re still here. Then there are others declaring that it will happen by year’s end 2017. Many have had dreams, others visions, others God spoke to them telling them to get ready because the rapture is coming. I pondered this peculiar phenomenon with puzzlement, where so many people are having dreams and visions of something and they are all claiming different dates. That the rapture it is a theory that was invented by John Nelson Darby in the 1830’s, and therefore not a scriptural event, makes this even more bizarre. I finally came up with a name for it and started calling it “Mass Religious Delusional Hysteria”.

But even if the rapture were a real event, I still don’t get the fascination with it. Jesus taught us how to live, not how to get out of here. Anyone who is a student of history would know that the first century believers escaped the siege of Jerusalem and fled to Pella, fulfilling this verse in Matthew 24. This is the only “escape” talk that Jesus gave his followers.

15 So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ (The corresponding verse in Luke 21 says “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies) spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

We can easily see from the above verse that Jesus was specifically talking about Israel. “Let those in Judea” is about those living there. And where else in the world was the sabbath celebrated when everything closed down and you couldn’t ride your mule? This verse is not talking about a world wide event some time thousands of years in the the future. Jesus was giving a warning to people who were standing right in front of him, some of whom would live through this event in their lifetime. The siege against Jerusalem in 70 ad is the fulfillment of this prophecy and also was a fulfillment of the curses in Deut. 28 where people were eating their own babies to stay alive. (For the historical account look up Flavius Josephus and The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem)

What really gets me is that when you question these rapture date setters or their theory, they attack you with venomous anger. One recently told me that I was a tare and would burn in the fire. Seriously? Because we have a differing eschatology?? You don’t even know me. Guess no one told him that eschatological beliefs were not essentials of salvation. In my world we can agree to disagree. I just want to challenge people to look beyond Dispensationalism and read the bible in its proper context.

So, in light of that I will answer a questions here that I refused to deal with in defending my position in this recent exchange.

I have come to understand that the Bible is very narrowly focused. It is only about man, his fall, God’s people and his redemption through Messiah. It is not a book about the modern world. It is very narrowly focused and purposed. It was written thousands of years ago to people living at that time. We can not take Paul’s letters, for example, and impose them on our society. When Jesus spoke judgment he was focusing on the religious leaders of Israel in Matthew 23, not all of the future world. Even the book of Revelation is about events “near” and “at hand” and “soon to happen”, and calls Jerusalem “Sodom and Egypt where the Lord was crucified” (Rev 11:8) It is Israel centric and about events that would take place soon, to the people living in the first century. To push those prophecies into the future is to distort and pervert the text.

In that context let’s look at Matthew 24 and Luke 21. The question posed to me was why would the disciples ask Jesus when he was going to return while he was standing right in front of them? This was in relation to a discussion on a 1st century vs a future fulfillment. At first glance it appears that these two verses contradict each other, but upon examination they actually complete each other.

Matthew 24: 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

Firstly, I would like to state that the KJV translators translated the word meaning “age” as “world”. Well, for the Jews it certainly was the end of their world when the Temple was destroyed. Reading the historical accounts of the siege and you can see why this would be called the GREAT tribulation. So sorry to disappoint the dispensationalist, but it will not be the end of our cosmic world in a future tribulation. The end of the “age” was the end of the Old Covenant age under the law of Moses and the ushering in of the eternal kingdom when that event happened in 70 ad. Both “worlds” existed side by side for 40 years, while the first fruits church underwent extreme persecution by both the Jewish leaders and Rome. The writer of the book of Hebrews when comparing the law to the “better things to come” stated “What is Old and perrishing will SOON pass away”. The bible is in complete harmony with the fact that there was an event coming SOON, not in the far distant future, that would change the world.

When you compare Matthew 24:3 with the corresponding verse in Luke 21:6 we get the full understanding of this statement:

Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

The sign of Jesus’ coming AND the end of the AGE (the restoration of the Kingdom) were BOTH TIED TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE! Not one stone would be left upon another. The sign of Jesus’ coming and the sign when all these things would take place was the destruction of the Temple. This is not talking about the modern state of Israel and a rebuilt temple there. It already happened, and was already fulfilled exactly as Jesus said it would be. Jesus came on the clouds in judgment on the religious leaders of his day who crucified their own Messiah and persecuted his followers by making a pact with Rome to kill all the Christians. The whore of Babylon, the woman who rides the beast was Israel and the Beast was the Roman system.

We should always strive to let scripture interpret itself! Reading the bible in its historical contex fulfills 2 Tim 2:15 Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

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Plug for BeFrugal

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I just wanted to make a plug for Befrugal.   I just got a $40 deposit from them because I go through their site when I shop online. If you sign up you can get a $10 referal bonus. Not hard and the more you shop online the more you can make in affiliate commissions. You also can get a % of anyone who signs up under you.   There is a link to their website in the side bar here also.  

Check it out here: https://www.befrugal.com/referral/?ref=ZFOYDZD

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The Responsibility of Hearing the Word of the Lord 

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by T. Austin-Sparks

“I will destine you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter; because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but ye did that which was evil in mine eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted not.” Isaiah 65:12.

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things that were heard, lest haply we drift away from them.” Hebrews 2:1.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me… He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches… He who testifieth these things saith, Yea: I come quickly. Amen: come, Lord Jesus.” Rev. 3:20,22; 22:20.

The Lord is constantly coming to His people. He comes to them every time that there is a living Word from Him. This familiar passage in Revelation 3 is impressive when you note that the knock, the voice, the ear and “the Spirit saith” are all one. “I knock”; and if you listen, it is not a tapping but a Voice, a Voice that could only be heard by the inner ear because it is the Voice of the Spirit and what the Spirit says is all one language. “My knock is My voice and My voice is what the Spirit says”, and that requires an inner ear giving heed to what the Spirit says, so that every time a living Word comes, the Lord has come, and coming in His Word by His Spirit, He comes expecting a response. 

There is a practical issue bound with every drawing near of the Lord in His Word and it is only as that issue is taken up definitely that the real meaning of the Lord’s drawing near is entered into and secured. The Lord may be there in His Word, the Spirit may be there speaking by that Word, the Word of the Lord bringing the Lord near may visit us, may be with us; and all that may be wonderfully true, as true as ever it was in those days of which it is written “The word of the Lord came by the mouth of” this one and that one, as true as ever it was true as a prophet said “Thus saith the Lord”. It may be just as true as that today, and yet at the same time result in nothing; that is, so far as the Lord’s purpose and intention is concerned. That is always the peril which lies alongside of a Word of the Lord coming, that it may, after all, result in nothing so far as that which the Lord intended is concerned.

“Herein is My Father glorified that ye bear much fruit…” not that ye know much truth, that ye hear many expositions of the Word, that the Word of the Lord indeed has come to you, but “Herein… much fruit”. And that can only be as we recognise the issue bound up with the Word and definitely lay hold of it. The response which the Lord expects when He comes in His Word is the response of Life, not merely of assent, agreement or pleasure. We have from Him the parable of the sower, a fourfold response from the Lord being present with His Word, for He is the sower, and the seed is the Word. The Lord is present with His Word, and He is sowing in expectation, and His expectation is disappointed very largely, whenever there is any kind of response to Him other than the response of real fruit, and that is taking hold of the issue into the heart. That is the very core of the parable, it is taking it into the heart; I think I can say: taking it to heart. There may be some kind of reaction that is not the response the Lord is seeking. He wants a heart response, not in emotion, but in fruit: that which becomes the embodiment of the Life that is in the Word which He brings so that the Word, having the Life, being planted in our hearts, means that that Word expresses itself in a living way in us. Such is the response which the Lord is seeking every time He comes to us in His Word. 

The apostle said to Timothy, “Give thyself wholly unto them that thy progress may be manifest to all”; “the things thou hast heard and received of me, give thyself wholly unto them”. As you give yourself wholly to them, the fruit, the progress, shall be seen of all. That is the only way to spiritual progress and it is the only response which satisfies the Lord. That is the response which He is seeking. Therefore it means utterness as well as immediacy.

Another peril is always present when the Lord comes with His Word. It is somehow indefinitely in the mind to postpone the issue. If it is not a deliberate postponement – for very few perhaps do that – it is a postponement all the same, for every failure to take hold and follow up is a postponement.

I do feel that there is much room with the Lord’s people as a whole for immediate transaction on the basis of every word which comes to us which we have any reason to believe is the Lord’s. This is the way of fruitfulness, this is the way of progress, this is the way of enlargement. I am sure you are concerned very much about the matter of spiritual growth, advancement, progress. I am sure you, in your own life with the Lord, often ask Him for spiritual increase in you, progress, that you might go on, that you might come to maturity. I am sure there is much in your prayer in that direction. Now, may I suggest to you a way in which you may co-operate with the Lord in answering such prayer? It is that you make a practice, whenever the Word of the Lord has come, of going immediately and dealing with the Lord on that matter, with the practical issue bound up with that Word. If you wait until tomorrow you will get into that vicious course that there will be another message presented and the last one has simply gone past, and so you go on. 

Each message is intended to have an issue, but it becomes an accumulation of messages, of words, with the weeks and months and years, and the great responsibility being piled up inasmuch as we are going to be judged by the Word. “The word that I have spoken unto you, it shall judge you” (John 12:48). The piling up of a great responsibility, because for some reason or other – not deliberately, not intentionally – we never square immediately to the practical issue bound up with the Word. If you will at once give yourself wholly for an application to the Word as well as of the Word, your progress will be seen of all. Here is a man or a woman who deals with God at once upon any issue raised by His Word. God takes that one on wonderfully; it is honest thoroughgoing dealing with the Lord immediately. The Lord is a Lord who requires prompt response. If you like to go through the Word, you will see what is bound up with a prompt response to the Lord. The blessing of the Lord is there. You will see the trouble that is bound up with the postponement, the increased difficulty, and you will see the loss that eventually comes when the thing is passed: “Because I called and ye did not answer”. “Behold… I knock, if any man will hear My voice” – what the Spirit says. That is speaking to the Church, as you know, not to the unsaved; it may be true there, but this word was a word to the Church.

It is only my purpose to help towards the end which I am always trying to keep in view for myself and for you: how can we come to that maturity, to that growth, to that enlargement? The Lord puts His finger upon this point and just hedges it about and says, “Now I want immediate and definite response in action, a transaction with Me on the issue that is raised by this word”. If we would do that every time instead of letting it go, and would beware of all those things which are ever waiting to dissipate God’s Word when He has drawn near in His Word, we should grow. You need not move out of your seat before someone will talk to you about something of tomorrow or the past, something which has nothing whatever to do with what the Lord has just been saying. You have only to get to the door and find yourself in general conversation. That kind of fellowship may be good and I am not in any way against the real fellowship of the Lord’s people, for it is a great help to be able to meet and talk; but beware because no sooner is the Word spoken than it is snatched away and for all practical purposes it might be as though it had never been spoken. That could never be if we immediately got down before the Lord and said, “Now Lord, there is a practical issue bound up with this and that issue has got to be possessed!” That is the way of growth. Bear the Word. As I say, it is only to help towards the end which we have in view. 

There is a great value in immediacy, and that response of course will call for utterness for the Lord. Such a response will test our utterness. If anybody really does have the Word of the Lord, seriously and immediately we must get before the Lord about it, meaning business; not just attending meetings and listening to addresses, but out for the Lord, bringing up this question: “What is it that the Lord has said? How does that apply to me? What is the Lord after in me concerning that? I may see it or I may not, but that is not the point. The point is, Lord is there something there that I do not see? Is there something You are trying to say to me and I am not yet alive to it?” How often, sometimes afterwards, we have seen that the Lord said something at a certain time and really it touched upon something in our lives, but at the time we did not see it. Now we see how that was fitted for our case. If we had gone to the Lord, might we not have seen it? That is utterness for the Lord in our response to His Word. There must be a taking hold and a keeping hold until the thing is settled, until it is established, because it is possible even to have exercise over a Word, to follow the point of the Word, to feel the weight of it and feel it getting into us and touching us and then for it to fade. We felt it and we always look back and say, “Yes that was a word that came to us; we felt something in that word; it moved us!” But we have to say that it fell short of the actual issue. What we have to do is to take hold and to keep hold. Has the Lord said something to us? Are we holding on to that until the matter is secured and established and the Lord has got that in us?

Note that word in Hebrews 2: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we heard, lest haply we drift away from them.” I have often pointed out that that word has behind it the picture of a man in the boat taking up his moorings. There is a current running and he comes up on his moorings, reaches out with his boat hook, takes his moorings on his boat hook, but he does it carelessly; he does it without all his attention bent upon it. The tide is running fast, the current is strong, and he has not given the more earnest heed and before he knows what has happened, he has slipped his moorings inadvertently and is drifting away. He had them, he came into touch with them, they were on his hook, and he lost them. It is so often like that. The Word of the Lord comes; we make contact, we even would say we have got it, but where is it after a bit? After a while, what about it? “Therefore… give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest haply we drift away from them.” That is the kind of response that the Lord is seeking all the time.

Now, it would never be right to leave things there without another word. Such a response to the Lord which He is seeking will always be costly. The Lord will see to that. The things of the Lord are not had cheaply; God’s purpose is a costly purpose and any fresh movement in relation thereto will be costly. You know that Hebrews 13:13 is the summary of the practical issues of going on. The exhortation throughout the letter is “Go on”. The summary is this: “Let us therefore go to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” That is what we are going to get for going on. Down here that is just what you are going to get if you go on. It all looks so glorious to go on, all that we are going on to is wonderful. We can romance about the eternal purpose and reigning and having dominion. Yes, but the present side of that is outside the camp bearing His reproach. There is a cost attached to going on with the Lord. There will be a cost bound up with every step. It will make demands; it will only be men of faith who will go on. That is what drives it in. It is that which makes it ours and makes it a part of us.

The Lord comes looking for response; the Word demands it and everything hangs upon it. There is nothing so established that it cannot be set aside by God if it ceases to respond to His purpose. “I… will remove thy lampstand out of its place, except…” (Rev. 2:5). God planted those churches in Asia, those lampstands; He blessed them, He used them; they were vessels of testimony; and then there came the crisis in which God said, “That which I have planted, that which I have blessed, that which was the work of My Spirit, and had My Spirit in it, I will move it out of its place”. There is a sense in which we are always on trial for our life and the nature of the trial is this: immediate response to every visitation of the Lord in His Word. “If any man will hear…”.

Edited and supplied by the Golden Candlestick Trust.

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120 Trumpeters

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by Joanne Panettieri              Photo credit 1 

The Glory Of The Lord Falls

The apostle Paul tells us that what happened to Israel in the past happened as examples for us. 1 Cor 10: 11Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition,”  and we can say with certainty that there are repetitive patterns in Scripture. One such pattern that I would like to explore here, is when the Glory of the Lord filled the temple. This story is given to us in 2 Chronicles chapter 5.

1 “Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished…. 2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. 3 Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month. 4 And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. 5 And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up…….

God’s Glory Fills the Temple

V:11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course: 12 Also the Levites which were the singers, …. being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets: 13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; 14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.”

The Assembly:

The Glory of the Lord filling the temple is a picture of the future Glory of God, the Holy Spirit, filling the New Testament temple, the believers in Jesus, the Messiah.

2 Chronicles 5:3 “Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast”

During the dedication of the temple the people were assembled. The actual word that is translated “church” in the New Testament is  ekklesia which means “an assembly or congregation”, whereas the word “church” comes from the Scottish word “kirk” and refers to the building where the people meet. The believers in Messiah are actually the assembly of those who believe in Jesus Christ, the King of Kings.

The Work is Finished:

Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the LORD was finished”

Solomon’s name in Hebrew is from the root word Shalam, and means “amends”. In this story he is a type of Jesus, who finished the work of atonement.

Shalam: “make amends, make an end, finish, full, give again, make good” This is what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross and making amends between God and man. He has finished the work:  John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”

Because Jesus / Solomon had finished the work of building the temple, it could now be filled with the ark which held the presence of God. The temple that Solomon built was made of the materials of the earth, stone, wood, gold and silver. The Temple that Jesus has built is also made up of the things of the earth, because God created man out of the dust of the ground, but we are the living stones.

1 Cor 3:16 “ 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”

1 Peter 2: “4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him – 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The Temple is dedicated during the Feast of Tabernacles:

2 Chron 5: 3 “Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month.”

The appointed Feast in the 7th month is the Feast of Tabernacles. It begins with the Feast of the blowing of Trumpets, called Yom Teruah, then comes the Day of Atonement, called Yom Kippur and ends with the 8 day long celebration of Tabernacles or Sukkot, when everyone lived in booths for a week. This is significant because the Day of Atonement is the most holy day of the year in the Hebrew calendar. It was a day of deep repentance for the people. 2 Chronicles also tells us in verse 11 that all the priests were sanctified, or made holy. Because Jesus made atonement for us, we, as Kingdom priests, are also made holy.

Hebrews 2: 17 Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation (atonement) for the sins of the people.

Romans 5: 11 “And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”

The Tabernacle of David is Brought Up

Solomon brought up the tabernacle and all the pieces of furniture that were in it up to the new Temple in Jerusalem. He also established the singers in the Temple, which is a type of New Testament worship.

2 Chronicles 5: “And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. 5 ; And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up…… 12 Also the Levites which were the singers, …. being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps.”

When David brought the Ark back to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6) he did not put it in the Tabernacle of Moses, which was still standing on Mount Gibeon, but he built a new tent for it on Mount Zion. Here he established 24 hour worship with songs and instruments.

….but in the midst of the Tabernacle of David on Mount Zion; and further that there were no animal sacrifices there, only sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving; and no priests, but only Levites, whom David appointed “to minister before the ark of the Lord, and to record,” that is literally to make mention of, or bring to remembrance, or in other words to proclaim or preach the mercies and the marvelous acts of God, “and to thank and praise the Lord God of Israel” (1 Chr. 16:4). This was a very remarkable suspension of the system of worship of the Law, and an equally remarkable foreshadowing of that of the Gospel. And so it was during the greater part of King David’s reign, during all the years the ark of God dwelt in the Tabernacle of David.2

Isaiah 16:5 tells us the the Lamb will rule from the Tabernacle of David: “And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.”

The Bible promises in the book of Amos (Amos 9:11) that the Tabernacle of David would be restored at some future time. The Apostle James declared that this was fulfilled in the first century by the bringing in of the Gentiles to the assembly of believers:

Acts 15: 16 “After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.”

White Linen

The priests in Solomon’s temple were arrayed in white linen, which is symbolic of the righteousness of the saints when Jesus Christ washes away our sins.

Revelation 19: 7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”

120 Priests Sounding Trumpets

1 Chronicles 5: 12 …….“and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets ……. 13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD”

What occurred here at the dedication of Solomon’s temple is a prophetic symbol of the dedication of the early church when the Holy Spirit filled the believers on the day of Pentecost. The believers were all together in one accord (they were as one to make ONE sound)

Acts 2: 1 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place”

There were 120 waiting in the upper room, who were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, trumpeting the praises of God with their mouths!

Acts 1: 12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem …. 13And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, ….. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, … 15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)…… Acts 2: 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance…… 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, (they had gathered there for the Feast of Pentecost) devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, (They heard the believers speaking in tongues the trumpeters) the multitude came together, (and said in amazement)… we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.”

Just as the priests sang praises to God with the blowing of the trumpets on the day of the dedication of Solomon’s temple, so also, on the dedication day of the living temple of Jesus Christ, there were 120 trumpeter priests giving praise to God!

Peter’s Message is Atonement:

After Peter talks to the assembled crowd on the day that the ekklēsia of Jesus Christ is born, he tells them that the only way into this new temple is through the atoning work of Jesus through repentance:

Acts 2:37 “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call

Even as the glory cloud filled the temple of Solomon, the promise of the Glory of God, through the Holy Spirit, fills the Kingdom Temple of Jesus Christ. And as Peter tells us “this promise is for AS MANY AS THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL CALL”

Hosea 14: 1 “Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall! 2 Take words with you and return (repentance) to the Lord. Say to him: Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.” (This is the Torah portion read every year in every Synagogue on the Sabbath between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur during the Feast of Tabernacles)

1 Corinthians 5:8 “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

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The Breaking of the Waters

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by Joanne Panettieri

For the past several days in prayer I have been hearing the Holy Spirit saying “Breakthrough, breakthrough, breakthrough”!

This brought to my remembrance the story of King David when he defeated the Philistines:

 2 Samuel 5: 17:   When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold.  18  Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim;  19 so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?”

The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.”

20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.

The term “Baal Perazim” literally means Baal “the owner or lord” of the perets, “breaking forth or breach” or literally the “Lord of the Breakthrough”. We use the term “breach” in English as a noun in referring to a “breach in the law”, a “breach of contract” or a “breaking of the law”. As a verb it means “to make a gap in and break through” as in “there is a breach in the wall”. David saying “as the waters break out” is a term referring to a child coming forth from the birth canal and is a reference to birthing and new life.

“During pregnancy, your baby is surrounded and cushioned by a fluid-filled membranous sac called the amniotic sac. Typically, at the beginning of or during labor your membranes will rupture — also known as your water breaking.” 1

This same term is used in Genesis 38 when we look at the story of Tamar and Judah.

Genesis 38: 27  When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 28  As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” 29  But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez.   30 Then his brother, who had the scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.

In the story of Tamar we find out that her husband, the son of Judah, dies. Judah then gives her his second son as a husband to have children in his brother’s name, as a kinsman redeemer. He refuses to impregnate her and the Lord also kills him. Tamar is then left to live as a widow, while she waits for Judah’s third son. When Tamar releases that Judah is not going to give her his third son to bring forth a child in her husband’s name, she seduces Judah and becomes pregnant with twins.

When the midwife says “So this is how you have broken out” she uses the same word “perets” that David used in referring to the Lord of the Breakthrough, because God was giving  him victory over his enemies.

Tamar, a barren woman, impregnates herself by Judah, whose name means “praise”. She then gives birth to twins, a double portion. The first one she names “Perez” or breakthrough. The second one Zerah, which means “to rise”, “come forth” or “to shine”.

This same word in verb form is zerach and is used in Isaiah 60: 1 referring to the glory of the Lord “rising” or “coming forth”.

Isaiah 60:

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,

and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.

2 See, darkness covers the earth

and thick darkness is over the peoples,

but the Lord rises upon you

and his glory appears over you.

As I write this today, it is the first day of the 3 part Feast of Tabernacles. The first part of that feast is called “Yom Teruah” or the “Day of Shouting” and the “Feast of Trumpets”. The blowing of the trumpets is a call to attention, to remind the people that the day of atonement, or repentance, is near. For the Christian, this is a reminder that we are to stay in a constant state of repentance before God. We can shout the victory because of the complete atonement that we have by the blood of Jesus.

During the Feast of Tabernacles there was also a breaking forth of water in the Temple. This was known as the “water libation ceremony” and it took place at on the 8th or “great day” of the feast. In Hebrew it was called Nissuch Ha-Mayim. During this ceremony the priests would bring a procession to the pool of Siloam (living water) and fill golden pitchers with water, which were then poured out on the altar in the temple as the priests and congregation recited the “Hallel”  or praise Psalms 113 – 118,  giving thanks and reminding God of his promises. It was at this juncture we read in John 7:

 37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

The “rivers of living water” are the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which breaks out through the believer as the water of life, and is an essential part of the new birth.

The Feasts of the Lord are holy convocations and were required to be attended by all the males in Israel. They are all connected through water. In Passover we pass though the waters of baptism, and go from death to life. In Pentecost we are filled with the water of the Spirit, as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman in John 4 “whoever drinks of this water will never thirst”. And in Tabernacles the water of the spirit breaks forth from out of us into the world to bring forth the harvest. Let us always strive to keep the eternal feasts of the Lord in our daily lives!

Leviticus 23: 41 And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

1 Cor 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of
malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

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What is Meant by Wholly Following the Lord

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Now, on the other hand, the words which Joshua and Caleb uttered seem to me to indicate another kind of history altogether. When they came back from the land, you remember the majority of the spies brought up their evil report, but Joshua and Caleb said, “If the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into this land” (Num. 14:8). You know that in the letter to the Hebrews, the whole question of the Sabbath rest that remains for the people of God is brought up in connection with Joshua bringing the people over into the land. The land was intended to be a type of the rest that remains for the people of God, and when Joshua said that, he was already in the rest of the land. He was in rest. His attitude was this, his state of heart was this: “If the Lord wants us to have this, it is all right, we need not worry, strain, strive, fight, or be concerned about it; if the Lord wants it, it is all right, we will come in and possess. If the Lord delight in us, we do not need to worry about anything – giants, difficulties, walled cities; if the Lord wants it, we will have it; all we have to do is to go on wholly with the Lord, trust Him, and it is all right!” Joshua was in the rest of the land in his heart already because he had no personal thing to which he was clinging which complicated his relationship with the Lord, but his heart was on what the Lord wanted and he was in this position – “If the Lord wants us to have that, if the Lord wants me to have that or wants to bring me into that, I trust Him, it will be all right. I need not scheme, devise or worry, I need not be anxious, I will just go on with the Lord and He will bring it to pass. If the Lord does not want it, then I do not want it!” Joshua was in that position and was at heart rest. It was not just passivity, it was the rest of faith, and you have no rest of faith until the self-element is put out. It is that which complicates our spiritual heart rest all the time. That is simply wholly following the Lord and that discriminated Joshua and Caleb and all the rest. It was the nature of things.  

T. Austin Sparks

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How To Read The Bible: Introduction

How to Read the Bible: Introduction

by Herman Newtics

Today I would like to talk about how to read the Bible. I was prompted to write this article because of a post on facebook, where a friend of a friend stated that the recent defacement of monuments was a sure sign of the imminent return of Christ. When I challenged him on where this was in scripture he got insulting, which is what many people do when they can not answer your questions. Go figure.

How we read and interpret the scriptures makes all the difference in how we understand them. The science of the theory and method of interpretation is called “hermeneutics”.

Hermeneutics is derived from the Greek word ἑρμηνεύω (hermeneuō, “translate, interpret” and can sometimes be used interchangeably with exegesis, which literally means “to lead out”. In using EXEGESIS as our method of interpretation we TAKE OUT of the text what it is saying. We let the text interpret itself. By using the exegetical method of interpretation you are finding out what the author was actually saying, when it was said, and to whom was the author speaking. This is the correct way to read the Bible.

The opposite method of interpreting the Scriptures is called eisegesis. Eisegesis means “to LEAD INTO”. In this method you start from a basis of a per-conceived idea or notion and then try to make it fit into scripture. Exegesis and Eisegesis are conflicting methods of interpretation. In exegesis you take out of the text what it is saying about itself. In eisegesis you read thoughts and ideas INTO the text. For example, the letters to the churches in the book of Revelation were actually written to real churches that existed in the first century. They are not meant to be taken as allegory, but in fact this is how most preachers teach them. Unfortunately, most false doctrine today is based on the eisegetical method of interpretation.

In 2 Timothy 2: 15 the writer tells us to use the exegetical methods: “Present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” We must strive to be an exegete, allowing the text to speak for itself.

Eisegesis can easily lead to error, as the reader attempts to align the text with his own preconceived notions. Exegesis allows us to agree with the Bible; eisegesis seeks to force the Bible to agree with us.

When using the exegetical method we must ask ourselves the following questions:

What does the passage actually say?

To whom was it said?

When was it said and what is the timing of the text?

What does the passage mean?

How does the passage relate to the rest of the Bible?

How should this passage affect my life?

Eisegesis, on the other hand starts with a pre-conceived idea, such as a future fulfillment of prophecy, and then tries to fit the text into your idea.

A good question to ask yourself is, do you read FROM the Bible, or do you read INTO the Bible, and do you know the difference.

Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

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