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!
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.’”