Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jesus Gives Further Warnings about False Christs

Jesus talked about deceptive people who claim to be the Christ in verses 4-5 of Matthew 24. Then he talked about many other topics which ended up circling around to talk about "false Christs" again in verses 23-28:

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many…" 
"At that time if anyone say to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. 
"So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather" (Matthew 24:4-5 and 23-28, NIV 1985).

Again, Jesus warns us that many people will claim to be him or will claim to speak for him but they are not and do not. (Tweet that!

If you hear someone say "Here he is!" or "There he is!" you don't need to believe them or even wonder if they might be right because when Jesus comes, when you see him, there will be no doubt it is him! You will recognize him immediately! (Tweet that!

When Jesus ascended into heaven, the disciples were watching. They saw him go! And his last spoken words were about the "End Times" we are talking about right here and of his second coming. Here is what he said:

Then they gathered around him and asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." 
After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 
They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:6-11).

"In the same way you saw him go!" He went up in a cloud where all could see him. He will come again in the same way. (Tweet that!

Matthew recorded that Jesus' return would be visible like lightning in the east is visible in the west. Matthew said it would be like vultures circling overhead – you simply know that's where a carcass lies because that's what vultures do.

So if you hear anyone saying Jesus has arrived and is in the desert, don't go out there to look for him. It's not him. And if someone tells you he is hiding in an inner room somewhere, don't believe it. That's a lie. When Jesus comes, he won't hide. He will want everyone to see him and know him.

But you don't have to wait to know him. You can know him now. And then you won't be deceived by people claiming to see him or know where he is because you will recognize him when he comes.

Jesus also said these false Christs and false prophets would perform "great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible."

In our current age of movies with special effects that can make it look like anything can happen, and of machines like airplanes, space shuttles, computers, cells phones, and tablet computers that can seemingly do just about anything, I wonder what these "great signs and miracles" will look like. What will these people do that will so wow us that many will be deceived? It's hard to know at this point, but it is enough to know about it. Then we'll recognize it when we see it.

And one more point: in verse 25 of Matthew 24 Jesus says, "See, I have told you ahead of time." Jesus foretells what will happen – this is prophecy – so that when it happens we can know God is behind it, this is not a surprise to Him, and He has everything under control. (Tweet that!

For more on why God gives us prophecies see the related articles below.

When we know Jesus, we can trust him, whatever comes our way, and so we do not need to be afraid.

Related Articles:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jesus' First Warning: Don't be Deceived by False Christs

When the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, "When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?," his first comment was this:

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5, NIV 1985).

The very first thing Jesus warned us about is deception. He said many people would be deceived.  (Tweet that!) He didn't say it was possible that many would be deceived. He said many will be deceived.

I have to wonder, what would those doing the deceiving look like? This Scripture verse says many will come in Jesus' name "claiming, 'I am the Christ.'"

So I wonder, does someone have to actually say "I am the Christ" to fulfill this prophecy or do more subtle expressions meet that requirement? And will someone or several … or "many" … actually say "I am the Christ"? Well it appears to me Jesus was saying yes, that would happen. I also think the more subtle deceptions will be going on.

So we would be wise to ask who today is saying "I am the Christ"? Anyone?

The word "Christ" is the Greek translation of the same word that in Hebrew is "Messiah." The literal translation means "anointed one" and refers to the person God promised to send. (You can read more about that in the April 26, 2014, post.)

So according to Jesus' prophecy, in the "End Times" many will be claiming they are the Anointed One that God promised to send. Do you see anyone like that today?

We know in the future the Antichrist will claim to be the Christ, but that, of course, will be a lie. But the real question is, who will recognize that lie? If you don't know the truth and who the true Christ is, wouldn't it be easy to be deceived?

In the more subtler realm, I think those who preach, teach, and believe the message that "all paths lead to heaven" or all religions are the same and all lead to salvation are claiming they know the way. (Tweet that!) But Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through me."

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me..." (John 14:6).

Here's another helpful Bible verse:

Don't you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, NLT).

What does “come in my name” mean, and are we seeing that now? I believe those Christian (or perhaps not-so-Christian anymore) denominations and churches that are preaching something other than what the Bible says are fulfilling this prophecy. (Tweet that!) This includes those that are teaching that homosexuality, adultery, premarital sex, abortion, and a list of other sins are not a sin.

This also includes those who are promoting combining religions, such as "Chrislam." (Tweet that!) There's a lot of information out there about this movement. This article seems helpful and has a lot of links for additional information if you want to learn more about that: Rick Warren Addresses Chrislam Controversy

Jesus tells us "Watch out that no one deceives you." But that begs the question, how do we do that? (Tweet that!) The answer is to know the Truth. If you know the Truth and hold on to that, then no one can deceive you. How do we know the Truth? Look again at John 14:6 above. Jesus said, "I am … the truth." Jesus is the Truth personified. If you know him, you know the Truth. (Tweet that!) If you're not sure what the truth is in any given situation, you can ask him and he will answer you and help you to know the truth.

Borrowing from a popular bumper-sticker theology we could say:

Know Jesus, know Truth. No Jesus, no truth.

We'll talk about "false Christs" performing great signs and miracles in the next post.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Prophecy Buff's Favorite Chapter: Matthew 24

When you ask many people which book or chapter of the Bible they think of first when asked about prophecy, my guess is most would say the book of Revelation. But my answer would be Matthew 24. (Tweet that!)

I guess I'm not alone. The other day I read this statement in Mark Biltz' book Blood Moons, "Let's … look at prophecy buffs' favorite portion of Matthew…" (p. 32) and he quotes verse 3 in chapter 24.

Guess I'm not the only one who finds Matthew 24 a favorite chapter!

Here is what Matthew 24:3 says (Tweet that!):

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?" (Matthew 24:3, NIV 1985).

Mark 13 and Luke 21 are chapters that parallel Matthew 24. Each relates the same basic information from this conversation with Jesus, but each are from a different writer so their words or memories of all Jesus said are slightly different.

There is so much information in Matthew 24 it would take a long time to work through it all. But that is what I would like to do this summer: take one topic at a time and work our way through Matthew 24. (Tweet that!)  I hope you find that idea fun and fascinating! We'll also catch anything Mark and Luke mentioned that Matthew didn't include.

We may take some breaks if something comes up that warrants it. But for the summer, I'm looking forward to working our way through one of my favorite chapters in the Bible: Matthew 24. (Tweet that!) I hope you'll continue to join me…and invite a friend!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

About Solar Eclipses Part 3 - The Spiritual and Prophetic Significance of the Coming Solar Eclipse

Today is the summer solstice, the day with the longest amount of sunlight of the year in the northern hemisphere. We're making it an opportunity to talk about solar eclipses and the possible prophetic and therefore spiritual significance of the coming solar eclipse on March 20, 2015. (Tweet that!)

There is so much to talk about regarding solar eclipses in general, as well as that particular eclipse in relation to the tetrad of lunar eclipses, that we're only brushing the surface now. I'm sure we'll talk about these things more in the future as these events draw closer.

In April, before the last total lunar eclipse on April 15, 2014, we talked about what a tetrad is, that it is four lunar eclipses in a row. (Tweet that!) Here is a more precise definition from the new book Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs by Mark Biltz:

"…four consecutive total lunar eclipses in a row, without any partial or penumbral eclipses in between, are known as a tetrad" (p. 144).

Also in April we talked about how the tetrad we are in the midst of right now has the total lunar eclipses falling on the first and last of the seven Feasts of the LORD in both 2014 and 2015. (Tweet that!) If you missed that discussion and want to know more, please review the articles in April. (The post on April 15, 2014, has the list of related articles with links at the bottom.) 

There is also a total solar eclipse in the center of these lunar eclipses. That will occur on March 20, 2015, which on the Hebrew calendar is Nisan 1. (Tweet that!)

Here is the schedule of the four total lunar eclipses and the total solar eclipse in 2014 – 2015 (Tweet that!):

  • 1st lunar eclipse: Passover - April 15, 2014
  • 2nd lunar eclipse: Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) - October 8, 2014
  • Total solar eclipse: Nisan 1* - March 20, 2015
  • 3rd lunar eclipse: Passover - April 4, 2015
  • 4th lunar eclipse: Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) - September 28, 2015

*Nisan 1 is the first of the Jewish religious year.

You may remember when we discussed "How the Jewish Calendar Works," we learned that the Gregorian calendar that we here in America, and most countries in the west, use is based on the sun. The Muslim calendar is based on the moon. The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is based on both: the lunar cycle defines months and the solar cycle defines years.

If lunar eclipses are messages to the Jewish people (and the rest of us who are watching), do you think a solar eclipse in the center of them could be a message from God to the rest of the people on Earth? (Tweet that!) Is God getting your attention?

Related articles:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

About Solar Eclipses Part 2 - The Four Types of Solar Eclipses

We left off the last post talking about the "happy accident of nature" that calls a solar eclipse. While people of faith in God do not believe in "accidents" but in the purposeful planning of God, let's look at more of what the article said and see how God delicately planned our universe to create this "happy accident" (Tweet that!):

These are a happy accident of nature. The sun's 864,000-mile diameter is fully 400 times greater than that of our puny moon, which measures just 2,160 miles. But the moon also happens to be about 400 times closer to the sun than the Earth (the ratio varies as both orbits are elliptical), and as a result, when the orbital planes intersect and the distances align favorably, the new moon can appear to completely blot out the disk of the sun.

Fascinating, isn't it?

The article explains that the moon casts two types of shadows:

  • the umbra: "that part of the shadow where all sunlight is completely blocked out and takes the shape of a dark, slender cone." (Tweet that!)
  • the penumbra: surrounds the umbra and is "a lighter, funnel-shaped shadow from which sunlight is partially obscured." (Tweet that!)

Here are the four types of solar eclipses. These explanations and quotations come from the article, "Solar Eclipse: What is a Total Solar Eclipse & When is the Next One?" by Joe Rao, Skywatching Columnist.

Total solar eclipses

"During a total solar eclipse, the moon casts its umbra upon Earth's surface; that shadow can sweep a third of the way around the Earth in just a few hours.  Those who are fortunate enough to be positioned in the direct path of the umbra will see the sun's disk diminish into a crescent as the moon's dark shadow rushes toward them across the landscape.

"During the brief period of totality, when the sun is completely covered, the beautiful corona – the tenuous outer atmosphere of the sun – is revealed. Totality may last as long as 7 minutes 31 seconds, though most total eclipses are usually much shorter.  On the average a total eclipse occurs somewhere on Earth about every 18 months."

Partial solar eclipse

Occurs when only the penumbra passes by you. Part of the sun always remains in view. (Tweet that!) How much of the sun is obscured depends on how close you are to the path of a total eclipse.

Annular solar eclipse

Similar to a total eclipse, the moon appears to pass across the sun but it is too small to cover the disk of the sun, like a penny over a nickel. (Tweet that!) This is because the moon's orbit is elliptical and so sometimes it is closer and at other times it is farther away. In his article, Joe Rao tells us, "The sky will darken . . . somewhat; a sort of weird 'counterfeit twilight' since so much of the Sun still shows." (Tweet that!)

Hybrid solar eclipses

Also called annular-total, or "A-T" eclipses, hybrids account for only about 5% of all solar eclipses. They occur when the cone-shaped umbra shadow falls just short of reaching the Earth. (Tweet that!) Most hybrid solar eclipses start as annual, then become total as the earth rotates and its roundness "reaches upwards" to meet the tip of the cone – the umbra – near the middle of the eclipse, and then retreats again into an annular eclipse.

There is a lot of additional interesting information in the article if you'd like to learn more.

My next post is scheduled for Saturday, which is the "longest day of the year" (with the most daylight), the summer solstice. We'll talk about the prophetic and spiritual significance of the coming total solar eclipse on March 20th of next year.

Related article:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

About Solar Eclipses Part 1 - When Do Solar Eclipses Occur?

In the April 28, 2014, post I wrote:'s important that we take note of solar eclipses because there is a coming solar eclipse that I do believe is spiritually and prophetically important. 
That one will occur next year on March 20, 2015. I plan to post more about the prophetic significance of this and other solar eclipses that occur centered within the tetrad (four) of lunar eclipses occurring on major Feasts of the LORD. We'll probably get to that discussion sometime this summer.

Since the summer solstice is approaching on June 21, it seems a good time to learn about solar eclipses. (Tweet that!) The summer solstice is when the sun is farthest from the equator to the north and is the official "first day of summer." This also means this is the "longest day of the year." Not really; it's still 24 hours long, but it is the day that has the most daylight. From the summer solstice forward the amount of daylight (or the "days") will start getting shorter. The summer solstice usually occurs on June 21 or 22.

While interesting, none of that has anything to do with solar eclipses!

Let's learn some basics about solar eclipses.

First, why are we learning about solar eclipses?

Because there is coming a solar eclipse that is within a "tetrad" of lunar eclipses. A tetrad is four total lunar eclipses in a row (without any partial eclipses in between). And these four lunar eclipses are occurring on major Feast days of the LORD, which seems to be very significant prophetically and spiritually. (See the previous discussion of the lunar eclipse on April 15th and related articles.)

While the solar eclipse on March 20, 2015, is still months away, I wanted to learn about solar eclipses and share what I learned with you so we can both understanding some about them and enjoy the science in anticipation of this event. (Tweet that!) Having a foundation will make the event more meaningful and fun, and we'll be able to understand more of what we hear others saying about it as it approaches.

When can solar eclipses occur?

You may remember from our discussion on lunar eclipses (in the article "How the Jewish Calendar Works") that, scientifically, there can only be a total lunar eclipse on a full moon. Well, scientifically, there can only be a solar eclipse at a new moon (when no moon is visible). (Tweet that!)

I found a lot of interesting information in this article, "Solar Eclipse: What is a Total Solar Eclipse & When is the Next One?" by Joe Rao, Skywatching Columnist. Here's a bit of it:

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon gets between Earth and the sun, and the moon casts a shadow over Earth. A solar eclipse can only take place at the phase of new moon, when the moon passes directly between the sun and Earth and its shadows fall upon Earth's surface. 

Remember that the first of the month on the Jewish/Hebrew calendar always occurs on a new moon. (See "How the Jewish Calendar Works.")

Are solar eclipses a "happy accident of nature?"

I found these quotations in the article very interesting:

The fact that an eclipse can occur at all is a fluke of celestial mechanics and time. Since the moon formed about 4.5 billion years ago, it has been gradually moving away from the Earth (by about 1.6 inches, or 4 centimeters per year). Right now the moon is at the perfect distance to appear in our sky exactly the same size as the sun, and therefore block it out. But this is not always true…

Later, in the article the author said:

Total solar eclipses: These are a happy accident of nature.

Some scientists may think solar eclipses are “happy accidents of nature,” but people of faith who know the One True Creator God know that they are in no way accidents but are instead the purposeful planning of God. (Tweet that!)

There are four types of solar eclipses. We’ll learn about each in the next post.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Where did they get that? - The Antichrist

In the book of Revelation there are three main characters who take center stage. They are:

- the Dragon,
- the Beast,
- and the False Prophet.
These three are a mockery of the Holy Trinity, which is the full expression of the one true God, revealed and existing in the:

- Father
- Son (Jesus)
- and Holy Spirit.
Satan cannot create anything on his own. He is not the creator. The best he can do is copy and corrupt what God has created. (Tweet that!

There is a lot of discussion about the book of Revelation, a lot of opinions of how to interpret it, and many different interpretations. Interestingly, we are not called to understand it. We are instructed to read it and we are told we will be "blessed" if we do and if we take it to heart. (Tweet that!) At the beginning of the book, read what John, the personal friend of Jesus Christ, wrote:
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. (Revelation 1:3, NIV)
Nevertheless, it is good for us to interpret and understand as much of this book as we can. And I firmly believe we will understand more, and more will be divinely revealed by God, as the fulfillment of these prophecies comes closer. (Tweet that!

Here are the identities of the three main players in Revelation:

  • The Dragon:
The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:9) 

  • The Beast:
The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. (Revelation 13:1)
Compare this description to Daniel's vision in Daniel 7:2-7.

It seems most people believe The Beast is the Antichrist, a human (or evil entity in the form of a human) who will rule the entire earth during the End Times.

According to Revelation 13:3 (also verses 12 and 14) this Beast receives a fatal wound but it does not die, which really "wows" many of the inhabitants of the earth causing them to follow and worship him. Here is the verse:
One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. (Revelation 13:3)

  • The False Prophet:
He shows up in Revelation 16:13:
Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
 And he meets his end in Revelation 19:20.
But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.
Notice only those whose names are not written in the Lamb's Book of Life get the Mark of the Beast, according to Revelation 13:8:
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
Those written in this Lamb's Book of Life are Christians - only those who believe Jesus is the Christ. The "Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world" of course is Jesus (see John 1:35-36).

All the other people living at this future time receive the Mark of the Beast.

If you have been taught, or have come to believe, that nothing is black and white, true or false, right or wrong - we're talking "relativism" - notice that there are only two ways to go here. Is your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life? (Tweet that!) If not, here's how to get your name recorded there:

Accept the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins. Your sins deserved death. Jesus took your death for you and is willing to give you eternal life in its place if you take this exceedingly incredible gift from him.

If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12)

Scripture verses in this post are from the New International Version.

Related Articles:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Where did they get that? - The Mark of the Beast and the Number 666

You've seen it in movies and books and artwork: the number 666. Maybe you've heard it called the "Mark of the Beast." You might even know it's associated with Satan. But where did they get that? (Tweet that!

If you read the previous post, "Where did they get that? - Why Christians are Concerned about Privacy," you know this number comes out of Revelation 13:18. For convenience let's repeat Revelation 13:16-18 here:

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.
This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.
This Bible verse tells us, no one could buy or sell unless they had the mark.

Think about what this means in practical terms. If you refuse to get this mark, you won't be able to buy or sell anything. You can't sell your goods to make money. You can't buy food for your family. (Tweet that!)  What else can't you buy? Electrical power? Gasoline for your car? Health care?

The pressure to accept the Mark will be great.

This is why Christians react strongly and negatively to certain news reports about our privacy and ways to track us, our purchases, our health care, and everything we do. (Tweet that!

Let's think through some of the implications of not being able to "buy or sell" without this required Mark. What do you think of these?

  • When the United States' required health care system is fully implemented, will anyone in the U.S. be able to "buy or sell" health care without the government-required documents? Will this eventually be a world-wide system, as must take place to fulfill the prophecy?

  • As our world increasingly moves toward a cashless society, will we be required to have a credit card or other form of card, number, or identification to purchase food?

  • If you refuse a government-issued card or number, how will you buy utilities to heat or cool your home? Or water to drink and for sanitation?

If you refuse to get this Mark of the Beast, how will you survive? If you are still alive on the earth when these things take place, the answer is – and always is – to trust the Lord Jesus Christ to provide for you everything you need to survive as long as He determines He wants you on this earth. This is faith. (Tweet that!We each need to be practicing our faith and strengthening our faith now. Today. So we will know how to live relying on Him when that time comes.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Where did they get that? - Why Christians are Concerned about Privacy

I hope you enjoyed the series on the fourth of the seven Feasts of the LORD, Pentecost, which was just celebrated this past Sunday on June 8th. In the prophetic calendar of the Feasts of the LORD, there is now a break in time until the three fall Feasts. So through the rest of spring, let's take a look at a few End Times Prophecies. (Tweet that!

On May 31, 2014, news outlets reported that the NSA has been collecting millions of faces from images in emails, text messages, social media, video conferences and other sources to use in sophisticated facial recognition technology that could revolutionize the way they find intelligence targets around the world. Here's one article from The New York Times: "N.S.A. Collecting Millions of Faces From Web Images." 

Often there is a reaction to reports like this by Christians who find it disturbing. I'm thinking we Christians may look weird to some folks because they don't know what makes us so uneasy about a lack of privacy or losing our privacy. Many people may ask, Why do Christians react strongly with concerns about privacy issues?  (Tweet that!) As I promised in my post on May 20, 2014, "What is Prophecy? Two Definitions," I would like to answer the question, "Where do they get that?" 

We react because we see it as either a tool for evil forces to fulfill End Times prophecy or at least it is leading up to the fulfillment of prophecy.

Where do we get that?

Our reaction comes from the prophecy which might well be the most famous End Times prophecy of all – the prophecy of the Mark of the Beast and the number 666. (Tweet that!

This prophecy is found in Revelation 13:16-18. According to this prophecy, which has yet to be fulfilled, no one will be able to buy or sell unless he has the "mark."

The "It" that begins the first sentence refers to "The Beast" which the writer is seeing in his vision. Some versions translate it as "He."
It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. 
This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666. (Revelation 13:16-18, NIV)

People have been trying to figure out what this number means or who it represents since John, the close personal friend of Jesus, wrote this in exile in about 95 AD, about 65 years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. (Tweet that!

So that's where we got that.

We'll talk more about this number in the next post when we talk about what having or refusing this Mark of the Beast might mean in practical terms of living today. Then, in Saturday's post, we'll talk about the Beast and the two other evil characters who, together, make up the counterfeit trinity in the book of Revelation. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sunday June 8 is Pentecost, the fourth of the seven Feasts of the LORD 
Tomorrow is Pentecost Sunday in the Christian church. But Pentecost has been around a lot longer than Christianity (Tweet that!), as we've been learning over these past two weeks on this blog.

On the Hebrew calendar tomorrow, Pentecost, is the 50th day of counting the omer (the sheaf). (Tweet that!

Shavuot Eve begins today. Tomorrow is the first day of Shavuot. Monday is the second day of Shavuot.

According to the teaching of Mark Biltz, who has taught me so much through his interviews and DVD set on the Feasts of the LORD, the forty-nine days counting from the Feast of Firstfruits (back near Easter) to the Feast of Weeks, which is Pentecost, in Israel is a time of spiritual introspection. (Tweet that!

I love that God gave us holidays. To stop. To remember what He has done. And to give us reason to look inward to consider the state of our souls.  (Tweet that!) We would each do well to regularly take such an observance.

I hope you have learned a lot about Pentecost through these posts. I also hope you will think about the spiritual significance of this fourth of the seven Feasts of the LORD tomorrow. (Tweet that!) Thank you for joining me. Enjoy your Pentecost.

Related Articles:

If you missed any of this series, here are the recent posts on Pentecost:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Feast of the LORD #4 - Pentecost - Reading Ruth
In Hebrew, Pentecost is called Shavuot. It is pronounced as three syllables, like shaw-voo-oat

The Hebrew word means "weeks" and this is why we sometimes call Pentecost "The Feast of Weeks." This comes from counting off seven weeks from the Feast of Firstfruits, which, of course, is forty-nine days, and the next day, the fiftieth, is Pentecost or Shavuot. (Tweet that!

In Israel, Shavuot is celebrated by reading Exodus 19 – 20, which is the account of God giving the Torah, or the Law. (See the May 27, 2014, post: 38 Omer – Feast of the Lord #4 – Pentecost Before the book of Acts. Link below.)

Also, in Israel it is traditional to read the book of Ruth to celebrate Shavuot. (Tweet that!) This is because we are counting up fifty days from the harvest of Firstfruits, which was the barley harvest, to the wheat harvest. (Tweet that!)  Sheaves of these grains were waved by the priests during the celebration at the Tabernacle or Temple.

If you're familiar with the story in Ruth, you know she was gleaning grain for her and her mother-in-law to eat from the fields of Boaz. Ruth was gleaning from the barley to the wheat harvest.

Also, if you remember our discussion about the Year of Jubilee Part 1, on May 31, 2014, we talked about God's instructions that if a person could not redeem his own land, a relative could redeem the land for him. This person would be the kinsman redeemer. This is what Boaz did for Naomi and for Ruth. He redeemed their land, and he married Ruth and took care of her.  (Tweet that!

Ruth then became the great-grandmother of King David, earthly ancestor of Jesus Christ, and is one of only three women listed in the genealogy of Jesus.  (Tweet that!

The Kinsman Redeemer is a picture of what Jesus has done for all who believe in him as Messiah: He buys us back. He redeems us. He takes us to be his bride. He has redeemed a "land" for us which is heaven and we will live there with him forever.  (Tweet that!)

Why not take the time to read the book of Ruth in the coming days with this new, or reviewed, information?

If you don't have your own Bible handy, read it on here: Ruth.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Feast of the LORD #4 - Pentecost - Counting 50 to the Year of Jubilee - Part 2 
Did you know the Year of Jubilee can only be proclaimed to begin on the Day of Atonement? (Tweet that!) In Hebrew the Day of Atonement is called Yom Kippur

God gave these instructions through Moses in Leviticus 25:8-10:
You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan.
The Day of Atonement is the 10th of Tishrei on the Hebrew calendar. This year in 2014, that is October 4th and we will talk more about the Day of Atonement as we approach that date. (Tweet that!)

The Day of Atonement is the sixth of the seven Feasts of the LORD. When this day is proclaimed, the trumpet is sounded in Israel. (Tweet that!)

According to the teaching of Mark Biltz, when Jesus stood up and read Isaiah 61:1-2, he was proclaiming the Year of Jubilee. (Tweet that!)
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,    because he has anointed me    to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives    and recovering of sight to the blind,    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:14-21, ESV).
Jesus stunned the people when he announced that he was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-2 right before their very eyes. (Tweet that!) For more on Jesus fulfilling this prophecy see chapter 10 in my newest book, Prophecies Fulfilled in the Life of Jesus. (Tweet that!)

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