Saturday, December 21 2019
I AM GOD’S SON...While God's Word doesn't say Baby Jesus was born at Christmas, it does tell us what the Man Jesus was doing then. While everyone else was celebrating a holiday, Jesus continued doing the same thing He had done for the past 3 years. He appealed to religious folks to believe that He was the Son of God, the prophesied Messiah who would save them from their sins.
“Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple courts walking in Solomon’s Colonnade.” John 10:22-23
This ancient Festival of Dedication, Hanukkah, begins Kislev 25 and continues 8 days. On our 2019 Gregorian calendar, it starts December 22 and continues through December 30. We Christians, just as the ancient Jews, can become so focused on the traditions of our holiday (a contraction of "holy" and "day") that we don’t even acknowledge the Holy Son of God, right in our midst!
Jesus was in Jerusalem strolling in Solomon’s grand Temple Colonnade, a porch supported with row after row of ornate stone columns. It was known in Solomon’s day as the Hall of Judgment, because this was where he pronounced judgment in matters of law. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote this about the Colonnade: "Its fineness, to such as had not seen it, was incredible; and to such as had seen it was greatly amazing."
There He was, the Only Begotten Son of God, walking in the very midst of mankind here on Planet Earth, in one of the most venerated buildings in the entire world. But religious folks were so busy celebrating their traditional holidays, they didn't even notice the man Jesus, the Son of God Himself, right there in their midst!
Back then, when religious folks finally noticed, they surrounded Him and demanded answers to their questions, carefully worded to label Him a heretic. “The Jews gathered around Him saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” John 10:24.
When Jesus answered their question very clearly, He said a whole lot more than they really wanted to hear. Listen as He speaks in John 10:25-30: “…I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Notice that Jesus does not say the sheep are not part of His flock because they don't believe. He says those who don’t believe He is Messiah, and listen to His voice and follow Him, really aren't the sheep of His pasture after all.
Earlier in John 10:1-6, Jesus had given folks a lesson about the special relationship between sheep and their shepherd. “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.’ Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.”
We don't understand, either. And In many ways, our response today is no different than 2000 years ago. “The Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them, 'I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?’ 'We are not stoning you for any of these, replied the Jews, 'But for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.'" John 10:31-32
Just how is it that we stone Jesus today? This comment posted to this lesson several years ago says it all. “Imagine if we put as much effort into proclaiming His death and resurrection as we do His birth!"
Indeed, most folks absolutely adore Baby Jesus. He brings us all together because He is so innocent, so sweet and mild, so non-threatening, so non-speaking. But the grown-up Son of God, voicing His Word in our midst, right this very minute, provokes us, causing deep division and internal disharmony.
And when He boldly asserts that He did not come to bring peace, but to turn a man against his father and a daughter against her mother, and that we will find our enemies in our own household, His words are as cutting as a double-edged sword. When He tells us that if we love our mother, father, son or daughter more than Him, then we are not worthy of Him, we withdraw in shock and dismay. When He admonishes us in no uncertain terms to turn the other cheek, pray for our enemies, and to remove the log from our own eye before judging others, we stoically pretend not to hear.
Even when Jesus shares Himself in a parable, saying, "When you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me", we betray that intimacy by choosing to disregard His Word, replacing it with our own religious agenda of prejudice and pride.
Perhaps we should be reminded of what else He said in Matthew 25: "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. ... Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me."
Indeed, without even realizing it, we Christians opt for the path of least resistance. We clamor to stand front and center at Christmas, leading the world to believe that this season truly is the “most wonderful time of the year”. The innocent, smiling, gurgling, god-babe image has made us feel all "gushy" inside, content with the physical realm we have melded into our religious status.
As we align our mindset with the world, we rationalize that we are actually defending Jesus Himself by guarding and perpetuating all the traditions and man-made sacraments that adorn the Christ-child at Christmastime. Right now, we bristle in disdain when confronted with the truth that God's Word appoints specific dates for the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, yet makes no mention of the date of His birth.
The fact is Baby Jesus didn't save us from God's judgment. When the Father convicted us guilty of sin, and rendered the sentence of death, the God-man, Jesus Christ, stepped forward in our place. He became our Passover Lamb, forever delivering us from the death-angel's grip. When His body met its appointment with the death verdict, Jesus Christ was raised from the tomb as the anointed Firstfruit of all mankind, the first to be raised from the dead and never die again. When He arose, He not only guaranteed our own resurrection, He also made possible our eternal restoration with our Father in Heaven!
Yes, there are many questions about what really happened during this season long ago. But there are some things we do know for sure. We know it was winter. And we know that Jesus was in the Temple during the 8-day Festival of Dedication, known today as Hanukkah.
And we also know He was doing the same thing then that He is doing right now. He is shattering the boundary between Heaven and Earth forever with His final Words during the holiday season.
“I AM GOD'S SON..."
Wednesday, December 11 2019
YOU HAVE BEEN UNFAITHFUL...In stark contrast to festive strains of "O Come All Ye Faithful", God voices the exact opposite of what we want to hear this holiday season. It's a powerful lesson of another nation who turned from dependence on God for deliverance and began to rely on their own independent spirit to accomplish the task.
“…And on the twentieth day of the ninth month, all the people were sitting in the square before the house of God, greatly distressed by the occasion…You have been unfaithful.” Ezra 10:9-10.
December 17 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar is the 20th day of God’s 9th month. So we know for sure this is certainly “holy interruption” appointed by the Almighty for just such a season as this. In the midst of our appointed “holidays”, which is really just a contraction of “holy” and “days”, we are called to repentance.
The first scripture of this Bible lesson points to the fact that distress appears to be a prerequisite for repentance. Why were they distressed? The Prophet Ezra spoke these words to the chosen people of God in verse 10: “You have been unfaithful…”
Ezra said this in verses 1-2: “…the leaders came to me and said, ‘The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices like those of the Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites, Ammonites, Moabites, Egyptians and Amorites. They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them. And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness.’”
It wasn’t just that the wives they had married had an idolatrous mindset. All these man-made deities and the celebrations their mates brought with them became entrenched in the entire family’s personal, social, and religious life. Worst of all, their religious leaders cemented the idolatry deeply into the nation's mindset by participating themselves, and not speaking out against it. "The people of Israel, including the priests and the Levites, have not kept themselves separate from the neighboring peoples with their detestable practices..."
This lesson is not something that will be popular at all during our “holidays.” But if God has given it as a Bible lesson for this week, we have 2 choices. We can ignore it, like the people of Judah did for a long time. (They eventually fell as a nation) Or we can embrace God’s Word as the truth. As we can see from this lesson, sooner or later, we’re going to recognize that doing things our own way, even while calling on the name of the Lord, only leads to heartache and despair “…all the people were sitting in the square before the house of God, greatly distressed by the occasion.”
Ezra expressed his anguish with the people of God in prayer in verses 5-6: “At the evening sacrifice I arose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my robe, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to the Lord my God. And I said: “O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.”
Ezra had not taken part in the idolatry of intermarriage, but we can see from his tense of writing that he has definitely taken on the role of intercessory warrior. There are many of us Christians in America today that feel the same way, especially during this season of Christmas. God Almighty appointed seven holy days, or holidays, over 3500 years ago, and placed them on specific dates on His calendar for mankind to celebrate. Every single one of them is about the appointed times of the ministry of Jesus. Christmas isn’t one of them.
Being divided over the issue of celebrating Christmas is nothing new. "The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston by the early Pilgrims. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident...After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution. Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870...The North and South were divided on the issue of Christmas, as well as on the question of slavery. Many Northerners saw sin in the celebration of Christmas; to these people the celebration of Thanksgiving was more appropriate. But in the South, Christmas was an important part of the social season...Since that time, materialism, media, advertising, and mass marketing has made Christmas what it is today. The traditions that we enjoy at Christmas today were invented by blending together customs from many different countries into what is considered by many to be our national holiday." http://wjmi.blogspot.com/…/the-history-of-christmas-in-americ.htm
Delve a little further into the Christmas mindset, and consider the history of Santa Claus. He (or “it”) was introduced to most of America through the well-known poem, “Twas The Night Before Christmas”, written in 1822. At that time he was an elf with a miniature sleigh and miniature reindeer. In 1931, Coca Cola began putting up billboards of a human sized Santa with a beard and ruddy complexion, wearing the coke colors of red and white. Of course, they sold lots of Coke that year, and have ever since.
As you can see, we Christians definitely need to question why we’re doing what we’re doing, and NOT doing what we should be doing. Our Christmas spending and celebration is a good place to start. The National Retail Federation predicts during this winter holiday season of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, Americans will spend a mind-boggling 730 BILLION dollars! Using Christianity Today’s statistics that 79% of Americans identify as Christian, that’s 576.7 BILLION DOLLARS we Christians will spend this year during the Christmas season! Folks, we could divide that further among 40 million or so people in this country living in poverty and give EACH ONE $14,417.50. Or we could divide it among the 70.8 million refugees in the world and give EACH ONE $8145,48.
So, where does all this leave us? Perhaps we will begin to question why we spend unfathomable amounts on Santas, trees, gifts and decorations and celebrations-- and church plays and productions, all considered “normal”. Look up the word “normal”. It means “conforming to the standard”. Could it be that another god has slowly been insinuating himself into our “normal” Christian lives every single year, and now we just can’t live without him?
Most of us Christians rationalize that we are celebrating the birth of Jesus and that is important and makes everything okay. If it is so important to the Good Lord that we do so, why didn’t he appoint a holiday in His Word for the birth of Jesus? He appointed the holiday of Passover for the death of Jesus, Unleavened Bread for His burial, and Firstfruits for His resurrection, and Trumpets and Tabernacles for Jesus' 2nd coming.
On the first day of the 10th month, December 28 on our 2019 calendar, and continuing for 2 months, the leaders of Judah dug into the heart of the matter, and how far reaching their sin actually was. Bottom line was the Israelite men had gone outside of God’s Word, and not only entered adulterous personal relationships, but every area of their life had been tainted by it.
In the end, there was only one solution and it was an extremely hard one to face and required drastic action. They needed to confess their sin, repent and depart from it and everything that it had bred, including some of their own sons and daughters. One of the Israelite men put it like this: “...We have been unfaithful to God by marrying foreign women from the peoples around us. Despite this, there is still hope for Israel. Now let us make a covenant before our God to send away all these women and their children in accordance with the counsel of my Lord…” Ezra 10:2-3.
What God wants from His people will never change. He desires a Bride who is faithful to her Bridegroom. And whether we’ve committed adultery with the Spirit of Christmas or Santa himself, adultery is adultery.
But God has always been a God of mercy, love and grace. He has definitely shown that through His gift of His son, Jesus. So, while it’s true that we don’t know for sure when Christ was really born, it’s also true that it could have been December 25. But before that fact can even be considered in the eyes of the Almighty, there must be genuine distress and repentance in the heart of the believer in Jesus Christ.
Ezra’s closing words in Chapter 9 should be our words today. “Lord, the God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence.”
YOU HAVE BEEN UNFAITHFUL...
Monday, December 02 2019
THIS IS WHAT THE LORD ALMIGHTY SAYS: "Administer true justice: show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other." Zechariah 7:9-10. Given God's definition of justice, when we Christians are measured on God's scales, will we be found lacking?
Perfectly appointed by the Almighty 2500 years ago on the 4th day of God’s 9th month, December 1 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar, God's Word transcends the partitions of time, wielding a double-edged sword with precision accuracy as the Almighty cuts deeply into the hearts of the very souls called by His Name.
"In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev. The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?” Zechariah 7:1-3
For 70 years, Judah had memorialized the attack on their capital and their nation by adding a national day of fasting to God's appointed Holy Days. Without realizing it, their appointment had taken on a life of its own, binding them to a meaningless worship of their own making.
God's reply was succinct, and called out their religious, hypocritical motives. He pointed out that they really hadn't been worshiping Him in the first place. They had just been going through the motions to appease themselves. "Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’” Zechariah 7:5-7
“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’ Zechariah 7:9-10
Living in today’s world fraught with injustice, one of the hardest battles we’ll ever fight is staying grounded and focused on the Word of God Almighty. Right this very moment, many of us are already preparing our "Godly" defense with a multitude of excuses and arguments, determined that we have the “right” as Americans and the duty as Christians to choose how to administer our brand of justice, and to personally execute right and wrong.
Does a Christian really want to claim that right? Jesus Himself said that if we want to become his disciple, we must turn away from ourselves, and our perceived rights. His command is repeated in Matthew, Mark and Luke. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"
"Right" this very moment, God's Word is reminding every Christian in America that the humble stance that DISREGARDS perceived rights is exactly the mindset of Christ Himself. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:3-8.
Only when we submit our lives to the Word of God for review, will we be humbled, giving us the capacity to administer true justice in the world around us, just as Jesus teaches in Matthew 7:1-5: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
When we move forward in this world in the humble Spirit of Jesus, we understand that true justice cannot be legislated through national laws or handed down by a Supreme Court Justice. Indeed, the very Constitution of the United States CANNOT deliver it or guarantee it. True justice emanates from the heart of God Himself and is completed through the heart and life of every true Christian. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8.
God's Word is mightier than any government or weapon forged on this earth. Any fears that we may be left vulnerable by following His direction are alleviated in a single Psalm, which announces that justice is GUARANTEED by our Father in Heaven. “Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.” Psalm 37:27-29.
In fact, the Christian administering true justice can change the entire world. “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” Proverbs 21:15. If we really want to terrorize the terrorists, we just found out how.
However, the one who truly knows the Lord does not bask in the victories of this world. Our one and only boast is that we know Him, and that He is working through us to change the world by His love, justice and righteousness. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.’” Jeremiah 9:23-24.
The true Christian also understands that we simply can't come up with our own brand of justice, and label it "God's Will". That mindset just reveals who we are, and who we aren't. “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.” Proverbs 28:5.
Now we can see the importance of the scripture at the beginning of today's lesson. True justice can only come from the heart aligned with God’s Word through the gift of His Son, Jesus, and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. The paramount importance of caring for the widow, the fatherless, the foreigner and the poor will unequivocally be acknowledged by the heart regenerated by the Holy Spirit. And in that same heart, the desire for retaliation and plotting evil against others, DOES NOT EXIST.
God's appointed Word for today is the sad lesson of another nation who claimed to call on the Name of the Lord, yet willfully refused to acknowledge His call for true justice. “But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.” Zechariah 7:11-12.
As bad as things are, we can always make them a lot worse by not bowing to God's Word. Indeed, scripture teaches that our brand of justice is GUARANTEED to deliver HIS vengeance.
Do we really want to anger God Almighty? Are we really prepared for His indignant and fiery response? “‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land they left behind them was so desolate that no one traveled through it. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.’” Zechariah 7:13-14.
We close today's lesson by repeating the important question posed at the beginning and adding another that could make the difference between life and death. Given God's definition of justice, when we Christians are measured on God's scales of justice, will we be found lacking? Could it be that today, through the power of His appointed Word, God is extending a second chance for "Christian America" to be humbled and broken of their haughty and prideful spirit?
"This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice: show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’” Zechariah 7:9-10
Sunday, November 24 2019
HE WHO OFFERS A SACRIFICE OF THANKSGIVING HONORS ME...
Now consider this, you who forget God,
Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.
He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.
In this Psalm written over 3000 years ago, God is livid because although His people were going through the motions of pleasing Him through ritual sacrifices, what they really wanted was to please themselves.
To be fair, the Old Testament does seem to list more required sacrifices than one can count. It seems those ancient folks were constantly commanded to give something back to God in a specific manner that pleased Him. And they did want to please God and worship Him. But they just wanted to be free to do it when they felt like it, and in the manner that moved them.
And it wasn’t like God discouraged that mindset, either. One of those sacrifices, called the Peace Offering, was also known as the Thanksgiving Offering and could be offered at any time. But there was an important stipulation attached to this sacrifice: “And when you will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the Lord, offer it at your own will.” Leviticus 22:29.
Thank about it. If God COMMANDED His people to give thanks, who would ever know if it was genuine or sincere- except God Himself. The admonition was that it must be offered out of individual freewill, from a willing and grateful heart. But that still that does not mean that it can be offered OUTSIDE of God’s will.
Indeed, fallen mankind has tripped over this truth for many a millennium. Our lesson today unfolds from the annals of the history of the ancient nation of Israel, who stumbled majorly on this one.
In 1 Kings 11-12, we read about a King who was given the blessing of God to lead part of the nation of Israel, split into 2 kingdoms following King Solomon’s death. Jeroboam was the newly appointed king of the northern kingdom of Israel. Because it’s new capital had been moved from Jerusalem to Shechem, he was fearful that the people wouldn’t return after attending special times of worship in Jerusalem as God had commanded. Jeroboam still wanted to honor God’s commandments and appointments. He just amended them a little to suit the needs of his nation, changing the venue and times. He set up his own version of worship unto God in the cities of Dan and Bethel. He used the same time of the month that God had given to celebrate His Holy Day of Tabernacles, but moved it to a month later.
Maybe Jeroboam figured it would be okay with God if he followed the order of religion, but gave it his own political and national twist. He also added a personal spin by recreating worship from the Exodus days of Aaron and the Israelites by setting up a version of the golden calves, altars of sacrifice, and priesthood. Of course, Jeroboam stood at the altar as high priest.
This so-called religious system of worship was followed by all the seceding Kings of northern Israel. Because of this, Jeroboam is referred to in scripture as "The man who made Israel to sin." Notice the phrasing. He didn’t do it alone. Israel sinned. The people were only too eager to worship a religion that promoted convenience and prosperity. The shrines “built on high places” were “new and improved” and “grand and glorious”! It was a great time to be called an Israelite! Sound familiar?
It didn’t last long. The priests of the high places were killed on the very altar in which Jeroboam had once stood as THE high priest. 2 Kings 23:15-20. “the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.” 2 Kings 17:21-23)
This first festival appointed by King Jeroboam to replace one of God’s appointed Holy Days, also known as Feast Days, was indeed the first “holiday” (a contraction of holy and day) conceived by mankind. Timely for this Thanksgiving season, Jeroboam appointed the holiday on the 15th day of God’s 8th month, November 12 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar.
On the surface, it doesn’t seem like such a terrible thing to add our own feast day into the worship of the Almighty, as our traditions have appointed. After all, the date IS recognized nationally as a time to give thanks. But today's lesson would have us learn from another nation who did the same thing, and remember they were judged mightily for their transgression.
And rightly so.These 3500 year-old Holy Days were appointed to be fulfilled by the Almighty's Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. God's anointed spring Holy Days include PASSOVER, when Jesus went to the Cross; UNLEAVENED BREAD, when Jesus' sinless body was placed in the tomb; and FIRSTFRUITS, when Jesus rose from the dead, the first of mankind to do so, guaranteeing our bodily resurrection. On God's summer Holy Day, PENTECOST, Jesus sent back the Holy Spirit as He promised. During God's appointed Fall Holy Days, the trumpet will sound on the DAY OF TRUMPETS to announce His second coming; Jesus will stand on the DAY OF ATONEMENT as Messiah; and during TABERNACLES Jesus will again tabernacle with mankind, climaxing in one great and glorious LAST DAY that will never end!
Now consider this, you who forget God,
Or I will tear you in pieces, and there will be none to deliver.
He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.
Sunday, November 17 2019
THE TEMPLE WAS... For over 400 years, the Shekinah Glory of Almighty God was physically the center and spiritual foundation of Israel's national life. The people brought daily offerings to Him in Solomon’s Temple and gathered as a nation to worship Him during the 3 High Holy Days of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. But over the years, the faithful worshipers became prideful of their image as God's people, placing their faith in their abilities as a nation. All that remains of the magnificent temple is part of the physical foundation, known today as the "Wailing Wall".
Our lesson timeline in God's appointed 8th month, starting October 29 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar, begins with an historical accounting of the completion of Solomon's Temple on Mount Moriah. “In the eleventh year, in the month of Bul, the eighth month, the temple was finished in all its details according to its specifications. He (King Solomon) had spent seven years building it.” 1 Kings 6:38.
Yet, nothing remains today of this glorious temple. What happened? God Himself withdrew His presence, and Solomon’s Temple fell. Back in Deuteronomy 31:17-18 when God’s presence inhabited the Ark of the Covenant, God had warned of that very day. "Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, 'Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?'"
Not only had God protected and preserved Israel, Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple over and over, but He had been the foundation for its very existence. When the nation moved from their humble stance under the watch care of the Lord to the humanistic, proud notion that they could deliver themselves from their enemies on their own, they effectively separated themselves from their very foundation.
They were already literally teetering as a nation when Israel stood in national pride and arrogance following an attack from their enemy and vowed before the Almighty they world rebuild and replace what God had founded them upon with idols of their own making. Isaiah 9:8-10 delivers the context of Israel’s defiant stance and God's resounding judgment 2750 years ago. "The Lord sent a word against Jacob, and it has fallen on Israel. All the people will know—Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria—who say in pride and arrogance of heart: ‘The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will replace them with cedars’”
In response, God’s presence and nurture left them, and the whole nation fell to their enemies, not once, but twice. Following the second siege in 70 AD, the Roman army literally plowed Jerusalem with salt to make the ground sterile and fallow, directly fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 3:11-12. "Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say, Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us.' Therefore because of you, Zion will be plowed like a field, Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble, the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.”
You’d think us folks who claim to base our lives on God’s Word would have learned our Bible lessons by now. God sends plenty of them every month, perfectly appointed on His calendar to remind us year after year. Last week, He told us that any leader He handpicks, must “walk in my ways and do what is right”, otherwise the leader’s reign will be cut short, and he, and those who followed in his footsteps, will be remembered in the most negative way possible. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2559287490818091
The lesson before that, beginning God's 8th month, announced in no uncertain terms that if we want Him to return to us, we must return to Him. Simple enough, but completely overlooked when we’re constantly pointing the blame at someone else instead of removing the log out of our own eye. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2519786238101550
But it seems we are always looking for the intrinsic “Wow” factor. Legend/history has the secret society of the Knight Templar springing up mere centuries after the Temple's destruction, claiming to have "found" vast spiritual "secrets" there, which literally launched a "holy" war. The truth is, even in his legendary wisdom, Solomon was humbled by the absurdity that God would even consider dwelling on earth. “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” 1 Kings 8:27
"But will God really dwell on earth?" We can answer Solomon today with a resounding "Yes, indeed He will." But not in the way any mere mortal could ever totally understand or possibly predict. "...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..." John 1:14. It was in the rebuilt Second Temple, that this Word of God, Jesus the Christ, was dedicated as a babe by his parents in Luke 2:22-38. And in the same earthly Temple, during Passover, Jesus amazed the sages at the young age of 12 with his teachings, saying “I must be about my Father’s business…” Luke 2:49.
Many years later at the beginning of his three-year ministry, Jesus again caught the attention of the Jews near another Passover feast when He drove the money changers with their sacrifices from the Temple, in John 2:12-25. He announced to one and all, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it up again in three days.”
Clearly, Jesus is announcing across the chasm of time to anyone who will listen the true identity of the Temple of the Almighty. But we Christians today would probably reply just like the religious folks in Jesus' day. “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”
We should keep reading in verse 21 for the eternal punchline. "But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken."
Several years later, Jesus expressed His great love and profound grief for His people. He also predicted the demise of the very Temple and city they all stood in and clearly stated the reason it would all happen “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ Matthew 23:37-39.
When we pause now and take into account the fact that in response to the 9-11 attack on our nation, our leaders stood, not once, but numerous times and repeated, word for word, Israel's vow of defiance and pride as recorded in Isaiah 9:8-10, we begin to see the undeniable similarities between the mindset of America and the historic nation of Israel. We may be further convinced by the admonition of the prophet Micah: "Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say, 'Is not the Lord among us? No disaster will come upon us.'"
Is it possible that just like Israel, we in America have become focused on the things of this world to identify our "Christianity"? Have we become convinced that God wants us to build a grand and glorious national "temple" here on this earth, instead of receiving the wisdom of the Holy Spirit that all this will soon pass away, and WE as Christians are the only REAL temple that is destined to survive?
The Apostle Paul sums it all up perfectly. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” 1 Corinthians 3:16.
THE TEMPLE WAS...
Saturday, November 09 2019
“WALK IN MY WAYS AND DO WHAT IS RIGHT…” Fear and the desire to be delivered from laws they didn’t like, prompted a nation who had worshiped God for almost 1000 years to mistakenly pledge their allegiance to a king who didn’t take God seriously. Unwittingly, they allowed him to bring other gods into their midst, leading them to break the very first commandment God had given them.
The great irony is King Jeroboam actually came to the throne with the promise of God's blessing. "...I will take you, (Jeroboam) and you will rule over all that your heart desires; you will be king over Israel. If you do whatever I command you and walk in my ways and do what is right in my eyes by keeping my statutes and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you.” 1 King 11:37-38.
Near the end of King Solomon’s life, a prophet came to Jeroboam, who was then one of the king’s officials. 1 Kings 11 tells us the prophet tore his robe into 12 pieces, and told Jeroboam to take 10 pieces for himself, explaining that one day soon God was going to give him 10 of the 12 Tribes of Israel. Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam to keep it from happening, but he fled to Egypt where he stayed until the king died.
After King Solomon’s death, the scene was set for the struggle between Jeroboam and Solomon’s first born, Rehoboam, who stood first in line to inherit the throne of Israel. As usual, they used politics to sway public opinion. Rehoboam was asked by the people to “lighten the harsh labor and the heavy yoke he put on us, and we will serve you." 1 Kings 12:4.
When Rehoboam refused, and instead promised heavier taxation, the frustrated people chose Jeroboam to be their leader because he appeared to be God’s choice. Which brings us to the scripture appointment of today's lesson: the 15th date of the 8th month, the 12th of November on our 2019 Gregorian calendar.
“Jeroboam thought to himself, 'The kingdom will now likely revert to the house of David. If these people go up to offer sacrifices at the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem, they will again give their allegiance to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah. They will kill me and return to King Rehoboam'… Jeroboam built shrines on high places and appointed priests from all sorts of people, even though they were not Levites. He instituted a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival held in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. This he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves he had made. And at Bethel he also installed priests at the high places he had made. On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, a month of his own choosing, he offered sacrifices on the altar he had built at Bethel. So he instituted the festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to make offerings." 1 Kings 12:26-27, 31-33
Instead of desiring God to unite His original chosen kingdom of Israel through national worship on His divinely appointed Holy Days in Jerusalem, King Jeroboam wanted to maintain the division he had accomplished when He became the now succeeded Israel’s leader. Realizing that the worship of the Almighty was an absolute necessity to maintain his status with the people, he set up his own version of worship in the cities of Dan and Bethel. He brought about his own Aaronic revival reminiscent of the Exodus days by setting up altars of sacrifice, priesthood and special days of worship, while he stood at the altar as High Priest.
Incredibly, the Holy Day that King Jeroboam blasphemed by appointing it to showcase himself as King is the Festival of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Ingathering, the very day King Jesus will reveal Himself and gather His chosen people together to live with Him. This counterfeit religious system of worshiping God was followed for over 200 years by all the Kings of northern Israel. Because of this, Jeroboam is referred to in scripture as "the man who made Israel to sin." Notice the phrasing. He didn’t sin alone.
When a man known only as "the man of God from Judah" came to the King and predicted Jeroboam's demise along his kingdom, Jeroboam stretched out his hand, pointed his finger and said "Seize him." He would regret that, as his finger instantly shriveled. Then he called on the man from Judah to pray to God to restore his hand, which the prophet did.
Thus began a relationship between the man of God from Judah and the prideful, swaggering King Jeroboam. The man of God was soon worn down by Jeroboam's manipulations, and left the instruction of the Lord's Word, to befriend the King who seemed to need him so much. Though the man of God from Judah delivered the Lord's Word chastising Jeroboam, he allowed himself to be greatly influenced by him, ending with the prophet's untimely death.
As for King Jeroboam, this accounting in 1 Kings 14:7-11 says it all. "...the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I raised you up from among the people and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I tore the kingdom away from the house of David and gave it to you, but you have not been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes. You have done more evil than all who lived before you. You have made for yourself other gods, idols made of metal; you have aroused my anger and turned your back on me. Because of this, I am going to bring disaster on the house of Jeroboam. I will cut off from Jeroboam every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will burn up the house of Jeroboam as one burns dung, until it is all gone. Dogs will eat those belonging to Jeroboam who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country. The Lord has spoken!’"
As for Israel, who walked in King Jeroboam’s ways, "For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them, until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.” (2 Kings 17:21-23)
Today, archaeologists have uncovered Jeroboam’s high place of idol worship at Tel Dan. Nothing remains except a few of the 3000 year-old-stones and artifacts, and the lesson to be learned about the futility and danger of adding to or manipulating God’s Word. It also points to the judgment of God on any leader and nation that would attempt to do so.
WALK IN MY WAYS AND DO WHAT IS RIGHT…
Wednesday, November 06 2019
Saturday, November 02 2019
RETURN TO ME AND I WILL RETURN TO YOU... In the 6th century BC, Zechariah proclaimed God's Word to the religious folks of his day. 2700 years later, the same Word is being declared to 21st century Christians. We still don’t want to hear it any more than the people of ancient Judah did. But thank God, here it is, still just as applicable as ever... still the word of the Lord for His people!
Zechariah 1:1: “In the eighth month of the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah.”
On our 2019 Gregorian calendar, today is the 6th day of the 8th month on God's Calendar. Ancient Rabbis believed this was the month appointed for Messiah to come and begin rebuilding His temple on earth. However, 1 Corinthians 3:16 gives us an accurate picture of the spiritual temple building already in progress. “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you?” Perhaps this is the month anointed by the Holy Spirit to come in with a wrecking ball into our spiritual lives, leveling our religious pride and hypocrisy through the power of His Living Word.
Zechariah 1: 2-6: “The Lord was very angry with your ancestors. Therefore tell the people: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’ says the LORD Almighty. Do not be like your ancestors, to whom the earlier prophets proclaimed: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ But they would not listen or pay attention to me, declares the LORD. Where are your ancestors now? And the prophets, do they live forever? But did not my words and my decrees, which I commanded my servants the prophets, overtake your ancestors?”
The introduction in verse 2 commands our attention: “The LORD was very angry with your ancestors.”
Around 2000 BC, God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham to bless all the nations of the earth through him, and to give him the land of Canaan forever. (Gen 12-15) Abraham’s descendants were later sealed with the national namesake of “Israel”, the God-given name for Jacob, grandson of Abraham.
After spending generations in Egyptian bondage, the Israelites were freed by God Almighty through the Passover Lamb, whose sacrificial blood guaranteed their deliverance and survival. The twelve tribes of the nation of Israel, with the namesakes of the sons of Jacob, traversed the desert regions for 40 years in search of the Promised Land designated by God for His chosen people.
Led by God’s appointed judges for 350 years, the nation began its decline by placing their faith in the mindset of the world for leadership. "Make us a king to judge us like all the nations." 1 Samuel 8:5. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2519553821458125
By 920 BC, Israel had split into 2 kingdoms: the North and the South. (Sound familiar?) The 10 northern tribes, continuing with the namesake Israel, set up their own worship in Samaria. A remnant from the 10 northern tribes joined the 2 southern tribes, and they become known as Judah, worshipping the Lord from Jerusalem.
Soon both kingdoms were “doing their own thing”, even as they claimed to worship God. Around 720 BC, the 10 northern tribes were taken into captivity by Assyria, and scattered across the isles, never mentioned again as a nation. 150 years later, the southern kingdom of Judah was taken into captivity by the Babylonians.
Eventually, Judah was allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the destroyed city and Solomon’s Temple. Today, descendants of Israel bear the name “Jew”, because they descend from the southern tribe of Judah. Amazingly, Israel is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, has the same name, speaks the same language, and worships one God just as it did 3,000 years ago.
It was during the time of the exiles return to Jerusalem that Zechariah arrived on the scene. Zechariah, whose name means “God has remembered”, was not just a prophet for the people of Israel in the Old Testament. Zechariah’s prophecies are repeated in the New Testament 41 times. Indeed, Zechariah even foretells Christ’s coming with great accuracy. He speaks of Jesus coming in lowliness (6:12); the humanity of Christ (6:12, 13:7); His betrayal for 30 pieces of silver (11:12-13); the crucifixion of Jesus (by the "sword" of the Lord) (13:7); His priesthood (6:13) and kingship (6:13, 9:9, 14:9,16); the future return of Jesus Christ (14:4); His building the Lord's temple (6:12-13); the reign of King Jesus (9:10) the establishment of enduring peace and prosperity by Jesus Christ (3:10, 9:9-10).
When we read “The LORD was very angry with your ancestors” it should be received as warning to all Christians across all centuries. God has sent prophets down through millennia to warn His people that He will deal harshly with those who call on His name, but also bow to the ways of the world.
Yes, prophets like Zechariah have warned us. Even the disciples have appealed to us to “be holy as God is holy”. And most importantly, Jesus, the Son of God, gave this stern warning: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Mark 1:14 & Matthew 4:17.
The phrase “Lord Almighty” appears three times in this focal passage of Zechariah 1:1-6. If you look at other translations like the KJV “Lord of the hosts” and the NLT “Lord of Heavens’ Armies”, we get an idea that we are talking about a great and mighty Lord Warrior speaking here. In fact, “Lord Almighty” is used 50 more times in the book of Zechariah.
Zechariah definitely speaks of a great world war in the last day. He also prophesies many events on the earth bringing it to the brink of destruction. Many Christians today see prophetic descriptions of nuclear bombs detonating and Israel again being brought to her knees. In the end, the Lord Almighty says this. “Not by might, but by my power.” Zechariah 4:6.
Today, Zechariah's words are not received any better than they were 2700 years ago. Not only was he politically incorrect with the governing nation of Babylon, his words also had all of Judah up-in-arms. Some historical accounts say He stirred up so much trouble with the religious folks that they eventually killed him by bashing his head in with a rock. But it wasn’t too long before they were reminded that a true prophet had been sent by God to warn them.
“Then they repented and said, ‘The LORD Almighty has done to us what our ways and practices deserve, just as he determined to do.’” Zechariah 1:6.
RETURN TO ME...AND I WILL RETURN TO YOU.
Sunday, October 27 2019
PRAY FOR THE KURDS
Live feed from Washington, DC during "Pray for the Kurds", a prayer meeting, not a protest...Frontier Alliance International
Saturday, October 26 2019
Saturday, October 26 2019
"STAND UP AND PRAISE THE LORD YOUR GOD…YOU WERE RIGHT AND WE WERE WRONG..." Around 2500 years ago, a nation stood united in praise to the Lord with the sole intent of honoring Him through national repentance of their sins. The longest prayer of the entire Bible was offered as a worship unto God on the 24th day of God's 7th month, October 22 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar. This timeless prayer is right on target for us today as Christians in America.
“You were right, and we were wrong” is part of a national prayer offering to God shortly after the nation of Judah celebrated His Festival of Tabernacles, which we learned about in last week's lesson. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2496256277121213
Following the biggest celebration of the year, God's people spent 1/4 day reading His Word. They spent another 1/4 day confessing their sin and worshiping the Lord. Then they asked for mercy for their nation.
Israel's sins were numerous and seriously offensive to the Almighty. Led by God’s appointed judges for 350 years, the nation began its decline by placing their faith in the mindset of the world for leadership. "Make us a king to judge us like all the nations." 1 Samuel 8:5.
When the Lord gave them what they wanted, He also told them what would happen. "... you will cry out in that day because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 1 Samuel 8:18.
We would do well to read that ENTIRE chapter. Many of the phrases are all too familiar. "He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots...He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage.... He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants."
But because God's people prayed to Him and asked for a king and refused to back down from their worldly choice of leadership, He gave them what they wanted.
It would seem on the surface that the people were doing the right thing by asking God specifically for new leadership. After all, God Himself responded by appointing King Saul as their new leader. Indeed, at first, he seemed like exactly the deliverer they needed.
However, God tells us what was really going on in 1 Samuel 10:17-19. “I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you. But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”
God gave the nation what it had been praying for. It wasn't long before their new king began doing things which revealed his true bent and swagger. Saul became jealous of David and sought to take his life. He attempted to secure his throne by executing the High Priest and later ordering the Witch of Endor to conjure up the dead spirit of Samuel. In the end, King Saul took his own life following a battlefield defeat.
Long story short, just 2 kings later, the once mighty nation under God was split into two kingdoms. The northern kingdom of Israel, composed of 10 tribes, with its capital of Samaria, lasted around 200 years before being conquered and scattered around the world by the Assyrians. The surviving 2 tribes, called Judah, was ruled from Jerusalem for 350 years by kings from the Davidic line before being ransacked and burned. It's populace was led away to 70 years of exile in Babylon.
At the time of today's lesson, the conquered southern kingdom of Judah, now under Persian rule, had been allowed to return and rebuild the Walls of Jerusalem and resettle the Holy City and its surrounding lands. Still under Persian rule, the nation had come together to celebrate the completion of the city walls, and to celebrate The Festival of Tabernacles.
Now humbled after years of rule by their enemy, they had begun God's 7th month as a restored nation by hearing Ezra read from the Book of the Law of Moses as God commanded. As they listened attentively day after day, God's people were reminded of His goodness and mercy. The Word of the Lord was made clear and given new meaning so that the people could understand what was being read. Spiritual revival fell upon the land. Here is the longest prayer in the Bible, Nehemiah 9, voiced by a broken nation, pledging their allegiance to the Almighty, alone.
“Stand up and praise the Lord your God! God has always lived and will live forever. People should praise your glorious name. May your name be lifted above all blessing and praise. You are God. Lord, only you are God. You made the sky and the highest heavens and everything in them. You made the earth and everything on it. You made the seas and everything in them. You give life to everything. All the heavenly angels bow down and worship you."
“...You saw our ancestors suffering in Egypt and heard them call for help by the Red Sea. You showed the miracles to Pharaoh. You did amazing things to his officials and his people. You knew that the Egyptians thought they were better than our ancestors. But you proved how great you are, and they remember that even today.”
“You split the Red Sea in front of them, and they walked through on dry land. The Egyptian soldiers were chasing them, but you threw that enemy into the sea. And they sank like a rock into the sea. With the tall cloud, you led them by day, and at night you used the column of fire. That is the way you lit their path and showed them where to go.”
“Then you came down to Mount Sinai. You spoke to them from heaven. You gave them good laws… You told them about your special day of rest—the Sabbath…They were hungry, so you gave them food from heaven. They were thirsty, so you gave them water from a rock. You told them, ‘Come, take this land.’ You used your power, and took the land for them.”
“But our ancestors became proud and stubborn. They refused to obey your commands. They refused to listen. They forgot the amazing things you did with them. They became stubborn. They decided to return to Egypt and become slaves again.”
“But you are a forgiving God! You are kind and full of mercy. You are patient and full of love. So you didn’t leave them! You didn’t leave them even when they made golden calves and said, ‘These are the gods that led us out of Egypt.’ You are very kind, so you didn’t leave them in the desert. You didn’t take the tall cloud away from them by day. You continued to lead them. You didn’t take the column of fire away from them at night. You continued to light their path and to show them which way to go.”
“You gave them your good Spirit to make them wise. You gave them manna for food. You gave them water for their thirst. You took care of them for 40 years. They had all they needed in the desert. Their clothes didn’t wear out, and their feet didn’t swell and hurt. You gave them kingdoms and nations, and you gave them faraway places where few people live... You made their descendants as many as the stars in the sky. You brought them to the land you promised to give their ancestors…You let them defeat those people.”
“...And then they turned against you. They threw away your teachings... So you let their enemies have them. The enemy caused them much trouble. When trouble came, our ancestors called to you for help. And in heaven, you heard them. You are very kind, so you sent people to save them. And they rescued them from their enemies."
"Then as soon as our ancestors were rested, they started doing terrible things again! So you let the enemy defeat them and punish them. They called to you for help, and in heaven you heard them and helped them. You are so kind. That happened so many times.”
“You warned them. You told them to come back, but they were too proud. They refused to listen to your commands. If people obey your laws, they will live. But our ancestors broke your laws. They were stubborn. They turned their backs on you. They refused to listen.”
“You were very patient with our ancestors. You let them mistreat you for many years. You warned them with your Spirit. You sent the prophets to warn them. But our ancestors didn’t listen. So you gave them to people in other countries. But you are so kind! You didn’t completely destroy them. You didn’t leave them. You are such a kind and merciful God!"
"Our God, you are the great God, the awesome, powerful soldier! You are kind and loyal. You keep your agreement. We have had many troubles, and our troubles are important to you. Bad things happened to all our people, and to our kings and leaders, and to our priests and prophets.”
“But God, you were right about everything that happened to us. You were right, and we were wrong. Our kings, leaders, priests, and fathers did not obey your law. They didn’t listen to your commands. They ignored your warnings. Our ancestors didn’t serve you even when they were living in their own kingdom. They didn’t stop doing evil. They enjoyed all the wonderful things you gave them. They enjoyed the rich land and had plenty of room, but they didn’t stop their evil ways.”
“And now, we are slaves. We are slaves in this land, the land you gave our ancestors so they could enjoy its fruit and all the good things that grow here. The harvest is big in this land. But we sinned, so that harvest goes to the kings you put over us. They control us and our cattle. They do anything they want. We are in a lot of trouble.”
This very day, we 21st century Americans are receiving a full-blown warning straight from another nation, who also owed its national existence to the Almighty. Once called by God “the apple of His eye”, they had been ripped apart by their enemies. The remaining remnant was now totally dependent on the Lord God for their national survival. Finally, they admitted they had been wrong to place their trust in a government of their own choosing.
God's Word tells us plainly that this is what happens when we as His people become arrogant and petulant, vowing in hardened hearts that we can and should control our own destiny, and be like the rest of the world. Faith in the monarchy of the Lord Jesus Christ as King then becomes secondary to the appointment of a "king" and savior of our own choosing.
"STAND UP AND PRAISE THE LORD YOUR GOD…YOU WERE RIGHT AND WE WERE WRONG..."
Sunday, October 20 2019
“MY TIME IS NOT YET HERE” These are the Words of Jesus as He spoke to His disciples at exactly this same time of the year over 2000 years ago. Timing IS everything when it comes to the revelation of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God’s timing and calendar began, is centered, and will be revealed in the Holy Land, in the land of today’s Middle East.
There is wisdom imparted from the Lord’s calendar and God’s attention to crucial anniversary events, remembering all the while that HE IS IN CONTROL OF TIME ITSELF. 100 years ago, marked in 2017, the Muslim world lost Jerusalem to Christianity with the defeat of the German-Turkish armies in the Judean Hills and the Negev by British Expeditionary Forces. This defeat not only returned Jerusalem to Christianity following Muslim rule for 400 years, it ushered in the defeat of the last Great Caliphate: The Turkish Ottoman Empire. 50 years ago, marked in 2017, the Muslim world lost Jerusalem to the Jews when fledgling Israel, against all odds, regained control of all of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and surrounding lands in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Since 2017, Turkey has placed a 7-year plan on track in an attempt to mark another milestone anniversary on God’s calendar by regaining control of Jerusalem and other regions once under Ottoman Muslim rule by the close of 2023, the 100th anniversary date for the foundation of the modern Turkish state. This was confirmed in 2018 when a Turkish regional governor declared, while wielding a sword over his head, that Turkey’s forces would soon march into Jerusalem and other cities in the Middle East. “We will also go to Mosul, and we will go to Jerusalem!...God is Greatest!”
We witnessed that plan in motion when Turkey launched their attack on the Kurds on the very morning of the anniversary date of God's appointed Day of Atonement, October 8 on our Gregorian calendar, the 10th day of the 7th month on God's calendar. On this most holy day of the year for the Jewish nation, the Almighty appropriated a blood sacrifice to cover the sins of His chosen people. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2486978141382360 Indeed, many Christians are convinced this day's fulfillment will include the salvation of the Jewish nation as they come face-to-face in repentance before their Warrior Messiah when He comes in triumph to deliver them from imminent annihilation by their enemies.
What will God’s response be to such an ill-conceived plan being launched on one of His anointed Holy anniversaries? It’s being revealed before our very eyes. Make no mistake: God is in control, yet He is carefully watching and gauging the response of His people during this time. WE NEED TO PRAY.
We also need to be watching and receiving His direction. From October 14-21, right on target to the very week, He has gifted us with another incredible anniversary lesson from Jesus Himself, imparting Holy wisdom on the timing of His return to rule and reign as King of the World!
The setting for our lesson is in the fall around the yearly harvest called “The In-gathering”, pointing both backward to the time when God gathered Israel out of bondage in Egypt and forward to the time when all nations will be gathered unto the Lord. “The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites: On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the Lord’s Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days...On the eighth day hold a sacred assembly...This is to be a lasting ordinance for generations to come……I am the Lord Your God.” Leviticus 23: 33-34, 36, 43. “The Lord will be King over the whole earth…Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zechariah 14:9,16. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2496256277121213
The celebration of the Festival of Tabernacles in Jesus’s last year on earth occurred 7 months before His crucifixion on Passover, but Jesus already knew the Jews in Judea were looking to take His life. “After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.” John 7:1.
Religious folks, upset with Jesus because He just wasn’t acting like a King, and ruling when they needed Him to, began telling Jesus what they wanted Him to do. “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” John 7:3-4.
Jesus’ reply was sharp and straight to the point. “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.” John 7:6-10.
“Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him... Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” John 7:14-18, 24
For the next two days, the people discussed among themselves whether Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Jesus appeared again in the temple, teaching the Word of God, so the Pharisees sent the temple guards to arrest Him. Jesus said in verse 33-34: “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
In their self-righteous pride and ignorance, the learned religious people of the day said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”
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. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 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. On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet,” Others said, “He is the Messiah.” John 7:37-40
He is the Messiah. That is the whole point of today’s lesson. He IS the Deliverer of His People at God’s appointed time, in God’s appointed place. In Jerusalem, on the very first of His appointed Holy Days, Passover, the Son of God would become “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. He would be laid in his grave on the 2nd appointed Holy Day, Unleavened Bread, as the Perfect, Sinless, Son of God. He would be raised from the dead on the 3rd appointed Holy Day of Firstfruits, as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-21.
“MY TIME IS NOT YET HERE” The right time for Him to come again is yet to come. But He IS coming VERY soon, and it is quite possible that we are witnessing the build-up to His 2nd coming right this very minute. He IS coming to deliver His people and claim His throne in Jerusalem and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and to celebrate that victory with the whole world at The Feast of Tabernacles!
COME, LORD JESUS!
Friday, October 18 2019
WE NEED TO PRAY...We need to pray for mercy. And we need to pray for clarity. We need to pray for clear paths to be made forward. We need to pray for God to protect the Christian community and the Kurdish community in Northern Syria, that tonight is wondering if this is the end of their existence on the soil that they once called home.
Lord, we just pray and we agree all over the world together right now, as we're tuning in this amazing thing of technology, this gift of technology, that we get to agree together in prayer and I just want to invite you, everyone who's listening to this, to agree in prayer.
Lord we pray for the protection of the families, the children, the mothers, the vulnerable, the weak tonight, who are right now literally in holes in the ground, hiding; the people who are on the move who just left their homes that are sleeping out in fields tonight; we pray for those who are at this moment, bleeding out, who can't get out of the places where they're trapped; Lord for the children that are screaming in agony. Right now, just thinking about these places that are under bombardment, hearing the screams of the children, we're asking you for mercy and protection upon these communities, whether they're Muslims, whether they're Christians, whether they're socialists and atheists, Lord. We're asking for the vulnerable and the weak. Lord, we're asking You to protect them and keep them safe.
And Father, we're asking for the wicked, for those who spilled the blood of the innocent, Lord that You would execute judgment upon their heads. We ask You for righteousness to flow, Lord, like a river and a mighty flowing stream. Lord, we ask You for justice.
Lord we ask You as well for mercy on them, even the enemies and the persecutors, Lord, that You would enlighten their eyes, Lord, and there would be the quickening of conscience in those who are on the ground right now carrying out this dark and evil deed.
Lord, we're asking you for the collision of mercy and justice on the ground in Syria. Lord, we're asking You to stay the hand of the Turkish regime, Lord, in conducting more violence and more bloodshed and more genocide, Lord, on this land that has known so much genocide. Lord, we're asking You to break this cycle. We know that wars will continue until He comes, but Lord we're asking You for this part of the world, to have mercy on Rojava, Lord, this pocket in Northern Syria that as of a few weeks ago was one of the quietest and most peaceful areas in the area.
And Lord, we're asking you tonight for United States President, for Vice President Pence, for Pompeo, we're asking for the whole administration, God, that you would shine light and clarity.
And, Lord, where there is confusion and division, Lord, where the plans of the evil one, Lord, are prevailing right now for the destruction of life, Lord, we're asking You that you would break these purposes. And Father we're asking that You would intervene in these scenarios, that You would break in, Lord, with light and clarity and truth and hope, God.
And we’re asking You tonight for the Kurds, we cry out for the Kurds tonight in the Middle East, Lord. And we're asking, God, bring beauty from these ashes. As we're hurting, we can hear the nails being driven into the gallows that Haman is building tonight. And Lord, we ask You, would this be one of those moments where you flip the script and do something unexpected and profound, Lord; and that you would do something in our day they would just blow our minds for the protection and the vindication of the weak, and the persecuted, and the trodden down, Lord. You are near them. You are with them and we know how history goes. History is full of calamity and injustice and atrocities, but you are near the brokenhearted. And tonight, Lord, we cry out and we ask You to be near the brokenhearted.
Lord, we ask you for forgiveness on the United States that just committed an act of great injustice on a people who've done a great deed for the nations of the earth and facing a great evil. And Lord, we're asking you to show mercy on America. Lord, we're asking you for the due judgment for these decisions that are going to steal the lives of so many. Lord, we’re asking You, we don't deserve it, but we're asking you for mercy.
We cry out to you. We cry out to you for, Lord, hope to spring up from the ground in Syria, this nation that has been so ravaged by war and the plans of the evil one.
Lord, we love you and we bless you. We ask You to lead us and guide us in all You would have us do, in all that's happening in the nations in these days. And give us, Lord, a prophetic Spirit to discern what You're saying and what You're doing as these things continue to unfold.
We love You, Lord.
In Jesus name.
(The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, often referred to as Rojava, is a de facto autonomous region in northeastern Syria. It consists of self-governing sub-regions in the areas of Afrin, Jazira, Euphrates, Raqqa, Tabqa, Manbij and Deir Ez-Zor.)
This is the prayer of Dalton Thomas of Christian Alliance International. The organization is being heavily censored by social media and the press.
Sunday, October 13 2019
GOD HIMSELF WILL BE WITH THEM… God’s Word tells us that is exactly what will happen in the end times! It is no coincidence that major Middle Eastern upheavals are taking place right now during the very days God has appointed for us to be watching for the return of Jesus Christ!
In Leviticus 23, we can see God’s plan of salvation beginning in the Spring season with the Exodus deliverance of the Israelites through the Blood of the Lamb, all the way through to Jesus’ Fall appointment to return and dwell in the midst of mankind as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
The first of God’s appointed Fall Holy Days began with the 1st day of God’s 7th month, which began on the evening of September 29 on our Gregorian calendar. Known as the Day of Trumpets, it is God's anointed holy convocation of the Blowing of Trumpets, appointed for times of heightened alert, such as imminent wars, king's coronations, and times of special worship. During ancient Hebraic wedding days, the trumpet would also announce the Bridegroom coming for His Bride!
JESUS TOLD US VERY PLAINLY WE SHOULD BE WATCHING AT GOD'S APPOINTED TIME EVERY SINGLE YEAR UNTIL HE COMES AGAIN. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back —whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If He comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: WATCH!” Mark 13:32-37. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2469683926445115
Yes, the trumpets have sounded for this season. The next heightened time of alert began the evening of October 8, the 10th day of God’s 7th month the anniversary of the very day the Almighty appropriated a blood sacrifice to cover the sins of His people. This ancient appointment was a veiled image of what was yet to come: Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God who would give His life as a sacrifice for our sins. "Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ's death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.” https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2486978141382360
We can't possibly overlook the timing of current world events today on God's appointed Day of Atonement, October 8. On the very same day, Turkey, who has the largest military in NATO second only to the U.S, launched a military incursion into Syria. History tells us that Istanbul, Turkey was once the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, an Islamic superpower that ruled over much of the world for over six hundred years. The Bible also says the descendants of Gomer, the eldest son of Japheth and His descendants formed the nations of Meshech, Tubal, Beth-togarmah, and Gomer, all found in what is now modern Turkey. All of these nations were listed by Ezekiel as being part of the Gog and Magog alliance against Israel in the endtimes (Ezekiel 38:2-6) Do you hear the trumpet alarms of this season sounding?
We stand today in the current timeframe of the Feast of Tabernacles, the seventh and final Holy Festival appointed by the Almighty. This special week of joy and thanks, appointed by God Almighty 3500 years ago on the 15th day of the 7th month in Leviticus 23:33, begins this evening, October 13 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar, and continues through October 21.
"Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your Feast…You shall hold a festival for the LORD your God seven days, in the place that the LORD will choose; for the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.” Deuteronomy 16:13-15
We need to treasure this appointment of the Almighty. When Solomon first brought the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle furnishings into the Temple at Jerusalem, it was on God's appointed Day of Tabernacles, placed on His calendar 500 years before. At that time, the grand Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem became the Tabernacle of the Lord.
1000 years later when Jesus came, this pronouncement was made in John 1:14. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” It is no coincidence that the phrase “made His dwelling” or “skenoo”, is derived from the word “tabernacle”, and could also be interpreted as “to have one’s tabernacle”. In fact, there are growing numbers of Christians who are convinced that Jesus was actually born and came to tabernacle with mankind, the first time, during the annual Tabernacles Festival!
Here is the beautiful ancient picture of the last day of the Tabernacles Festival. The priest would fill a water pitcher from the Pool of Siloam, also known as the well of salvation described in Isaiah 12:3: “Therefore with joy shall you draw water from the well of salvation.” Prophetically, the word for “salvation” used in this passage is “Yeshua”, the Hebrew name for Messiah. In Ancient Aramaic word pictures, salvation is recognized as “the power that changes what we are experiencing”.
Now we understand why there was such great joy when this water was carried back to the Temple, followed by a procession of people dancing, singing, playing instruments and chanting Psalms! The procession would circle the altar seven times then the priest would pour the water at the Temple altar.
What incredible prophetic imagery as Jesus stands on the last and greatest day of the Feast and announces His presence as "Yeshua" or "salvation"! “…If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” John 7:37-38.
Some things never change. The verses following Jesus’ statement describe the same thing we hear today. “On hearing his words, some of the people said, ‘Surely this man is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘He is the Christ.’ Still others asked, ‘How can the Christ come from Galilee?’
Yes, many of us today find the celebration of God’s festivals to be too “Jewish” and totally unnecessary. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth has a name, and His name is Jesus, Yeshua, Messiah, Savior and Coming King!!
In fact, because of God’s marvelous Hebraic appointments on His calendar, we can look forward to celebrating the future culmination of this magnificent Festival of Tabernacles! Zechariah 14:9,16 tells us that when Jesus establishes His kingdom on earth, ALL nations will celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. “The Lord will be King over the whole earth. On that day, there will be one Lord and His name the only name…Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.”
Finally, John, the Revelator, who saw bucket loads of signs in the heavens when it came to the end times, adds the crowning touch to this glorious Festival of Tabernacles in Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. GOD HIMSELF WILL BE WITH THEM AND BE THEIR GOD.’”
Thursday, October 10 2019
S A L V A T I O N… "Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ's death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.” Hebrews 9:27-28
God revealed the foundation for His plan of salvation in Leviticus 23:27, 32 when He said, “The Day of Atonement will be on the tenth day of the seventh month…This special day of rest continues from that evening until the next evening.” Leviticus 23:27, 32.
Appointed by God during the wilderness Exodus of the Israelites, this special day is called Yom Kippur. (“Yom” rhymes with home, “Kippur" pronounced “key poor”, accent on poor) “Yom” means day, from sunset to sunset, as marked by God in Leviticus 23:32. “Kippur” is from the Hebrew word “kaphar” (kah-farrrr') meaning “to cover”. The concept of our English equivalent, “atonement” is “covering”. Put the two words together: Day of Covering or Day of Atonement.
The covering or atonement was first appointed by God as the blood sacrifice of an innocent animal. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement (covering) for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11.
Hebrews 9:1-28 binds the “Old” together with the “New”, pointing us straight to Jesus as the Perfect Blood Sacrifice! He did away with the need for atonement for our sins. His precious blood blotted them out entirely!
(1-5) “That first plan contained directions for worship, and a specially designed place of worship. A large outer tent was set up. The lampstand, the table, and "the bread of presence" were placed in it. This was called "the Holy Place." Then a curtain was stretched, and behind it a smaller, inside tent set up. This was called "the Holy of Holies." In it were placed the gold incense altar and the gold-covered Ark of the Covenant containing the gold urn of manna, Aaron's rod that budded, the covenant tablets, and the angel-wing-shadowed mercy seat. But we don't have time to comment on these now."
(6-10) "After this was set up, the priests went about their duties in the large tent. Only the high priest entered the smaller, inside tent, and then only once a year, offering a blood sacrifice for his own sins and the people's accumulated sins. This was the Holy Spirit's way of showing with a visible parable that as long as the large tent stands, people can't just walk in on God. Under this system, the gifts and sacrifices can't really get to the heart of the matter, can't assuage the conscience of the people, but are limited to matters of ritual and behavior. It's essentially a temporary arrangement until a complete overhaul could be made."
(11-15) "But when the Messiah arrived, high priest of the superior things of this new covenant, he bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven's "tent"—the true Holy Place—once and for all. He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood, instead using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all. If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God."
(16-17) "Like a will that takes effect when someone dies, the new covenant was put into action at Jesus' death. His death marked the transition from the old plan to the new one, canceling the old obligations and accompanying sins, and summoning the heirs to receive the eternal inheritance that was promised them. He brought together God and his people in this new way.
(18-22) "Even the first plan required a death to set it in motion. After Moses had read out all the terms of the plan of the law—God's "will"—he took the blood of sacrificed animals and, in a solemn ritual, sprinkled the document and the people who were its beneficiaries. And then he attested its validity with the words, "This is the blood of the covenant commanded by God." He did the same thing with the place of worship and its furniture. Moses said to the people, "This is the blood of the covenant God has established with you." Practically everything in a will hinges on a death. That's why blood, the evidence of death, is used so much in our tradition, especially regarding forgiveness of sins."
(23-26) "That accounts for the prominence of blood and death in all these secondary practices that point to the realities of heaven. It also accounts for why, when the real thing takes place, these animal sacrifices aren't needed anymore, having served their purpose. For Christ didn't enter the earthly version of the Holy Place; he entered the Place Itself, and offered himself to God as the sacrifice for our sins. He doesn't do this every year as the high priests did under the old plan with blood that was not their own; if that had been the case, he would have to sacrifice himself repeatedly throughout the course of history. But instead he sacrificed himself once and for all, summing up all the other sacrifices in this sacrifice of himself, the final solution of sin.
(27-28) "Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. Christ's death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation.”
We can see how this all comes together PERFECTLY if we look through the lens of God’s appointments on His calendar for all of mankind. Jesus fulfilled God's Holy Days, appointed in the Spring, with His death on Passover (Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. l Corinthians 5:7); his burial during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” John 6; 51); and His resurrection on the holy day of Firstfruits. (“But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:20); Fifty days ( seven weeks plus one day) after Jesus’ resurrection on the Feast of Firstfruits, when His promised Holy Spirit fell upon a gathering of the Disciples and others celebrating God’s appointed holy day of Pentecost, the church as we know it today was born. (Acts 2)
The Holy Days occurring on God’s fall calendar have yet to be entirely fulfilled by Jesus. These days will culminate in the end of days when Jesus comes to establish His throne. The first fall holy day is appointed on the 1st day of God’s 7th month, the evening of September 10th on our 2019 calendar. Known as the Day of Trumpets, or Day of Blowing, it is the day that Jesus refers to with the word “Watch”. This ancient day announces King Jesus’ imminent return with the heralding of 100 trumpets. https://www.facebook.com/fontanacommunitychurch/posts/2469683926445115
The evening of October 8 on our 2019 Gregorian calendar begins the 10th day of God’s 7th month, the anniversary of the very date the Almighty appropriated a blood sacrifice to cover the sins of His people: The Day of Atonement. More and more Christians are convinced this Day will be marked by the salvation of the Jewish nation as they come face-to-face in repentance before their Warrior Messiah when He comes in triumph to deliver them from imminent annihilation by their enemies.
The last holy day to be fulfilled by Jesus is appointed to begin on the 14th day of the same month on God’s calendar, October 13 on our 2019 calendar. That evening marks the beginning of God’s 7-day Feast of Tabernacles, culminating in the 8th Last Great Day. ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.’” Revelation 21:3. Jesus will rule on earth for a millennium as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
“And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely...
S A L V A T I O N.
Sunday, September 29 2019
WATCH! Not only is this a beautiful picture of the Almighty’s handiwork in the evening sky here in Fontana Dam, NC, it prophetically annoints the day God's trumpet will announce the return of Jesus Christ! It is the biblical epic appointment known as the Day of Trumpets, expected to begin at sunset September 29, on our 2019 Gregorian calendar, beginning the 1st day of God’s appointed 7th month.
God's trumpet has sounded on this earth only one other time on Mt Sinai when He announced His presence before giving the Ten Commandments audibly. Later, God said to Moses in Leviticus 23:23-24: "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.”
Since the Hebrew word for month, "chodesh", means "new moon", we know God's appointed months began with the sighting of the first light of the new moon. The Hebrew words for “holy convocation”, "mikra kodesh", mean "holy convocation and rehearsal” This ancient, God-appointed Holy Day of Trumpets, occurring at the very first light of the new month, has been “rehearsed” every year for over 3500 years! Its ancient Hebraic themes have always been repentance, a king's coronation and a marriage feast--all pointing straight to the coming return of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God!
JESUS TOLD US VERY PLAINLY WE SHOULD BE WATCHING AT GOD'S APPOINTED TIMES EVERY SINGLE YEAR UNTIL HE COMES AGAIN. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back —whether in the evening or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If He comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: WATCH!” Mark 13:32-37.
When Jesus spoke these words, He wasn’t speaking the language of the 21st century. He was speaking to His peers, in the Ancient Galilean Aramaic of the day, which would have included plenty of Aramaic idioms. An “idiom” is defined both as a phrase whose meaning cannot be understood from the dictionary definition of each separate word, and as a form of expression natural to a person, language or group. Just as we would never consider our 21st century idiom “It’s raining cats and dogs” to mean exactly what it says, so we should consider the idiom that Jesus used in the same light.
This ancient Day of Trumpets, appointed by the Almighty Himself, has been known for thousands of years by the Hebrew idiomatic expression “no man knows the day or the hour”. That's because it is the ONLY appointed Holy Day of the Lord that begins just as the first sliver as the new moon arises and only God knows for sure when that will occur. We can further understand the rest of the passage to say that we don’t know the specific day, or time of the day but we know the appointed season as The Day of Trumpets, because that’s exactly what the idiomatic phrase Jesus used points to.
1 THESSALONIANS 5:4-11 DRIVES HOME THIS INCREDIBLE TRUTH: “But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
Every Christian at the time of Jesus knew that the times and the seasons were “the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times." Leviticus 23:4. In fact, "holiday" is literally the contraction of “holy” and “day”. And God gave the month and the day for each "holiday". He just didn’t give the year. So, every year for 1500 years, God's people had "rehearsed" the coming days of God's anointed Messiah.
Yes, Jesus fulfilled God's Holy Days, appointed in the Spring, with His death on Passover (Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. (l Corinthians 5:7); his burial during the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.” John 6; 51); and His resurrection on the holy day of Firstfruits. (“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Corinthians 15:20)
GOD'S APPOINTED FALL HOLY DAYS HAVE YET TO BE FULFILLED BY JESUS!. The first of those is the anointed Day of Trumpets, signified by the rising of the new moon beginning God's seventh month, appointed in Leviticus 23. In ages past, as soon as the sliver of the new moon was observed by two witnesses, they blew the trumpet 100 times: 11 series of nine brief blasts followed by one long powerful blast, known as "the last trumpet.”
Could this be "the last trumpet” that Paul spoke about in 1 Corinthians 15: 51-54? “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
According to God’s Word in Genesis 1:5, His day begins at sunset. "And the evening and the morning were the first day." The young crescent moon will appear very low in the bright twilight of the western sky shortly after the sun sets. We will be watching from the observation deck on the North American continent at the top of Fontana Dam in western North Carolina from 7-8:00 pm, with sunset predicted at 7:22 pm.
Jerusalem is 7 hours ahead of us, with sunset occurring at 6:29 pm their time. So the new moon may be sighted in Israel on September 29 shortly after 11:29 am our time. This year, the Trumpets Moon will be easily visible to all the US, with first reports anticipated from Sri Lanka, followed by Israel, and spreading westward.
Remember: this is not just any new moon. This is God’s sign that Jesus is coming soon! Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert!.... If He comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone:”
Listen to the shofar trumpet sounds: https://hebrew4christians.com/…/Blessing…/01shofarblasts.mp3