February 2014 Yavoh

The Passover and Sukkot of this year will be met with lunar eclipses, also known as “blood moons.” The light from the Moon will have a reddish color during the eclipse. As the earth blocks the light of the sun on the moon, light filtered by the edge of the earth’s atmosphere will paint the moon in a reddish color, thus the term “blood moon.” This astronomical event will be repeated in 2015 again on Passover and Sukkot. Many people believe that these heavenly signs of the moon are part of the prophetic scenario and forebode harm to Israel. Historically, lunar events are interpreted as signs for Israel, while solar events are seen as signs for the nations.

Given the present situation with the United States attempting to force a final agreement upon Israel and the Palestinians, there are plenty of reasons to see this next April as ominous. If that agreement is successful in splitting the land of Israel, then the words of the Prophet Joel will become a reality in our day.

I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land. Joel 3:2

These events, coupled with Passover and Sukkot, cannot be dismissed as coincidence either. Passover has a very powerful prophetic element in what the Jewish people call the “Final Redemption” and what many Messianics called the “Greater Exodus.” A future Passover is prophesied to be the start for a future escape for the saints in the days of the Great Tribulation (the final 3½ years leading to the Lord’s return). Commemorating Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) also teaches prophetically how the Tribulation saints will leave their homes to escape, survive, and endure, dwelling in temporary dwellings, just as the ancients did journeying from Egypt to the Promised Land. Therefore, seeing “blood moons” causes us to remember these prophetic warnings in the context of these years. Is this just more “preparing our hearts” or could these be tied to the actual fulfillment that is expected?

The Scriptures have spoken of heavenly events as general signs appearing in the last days. Yeshua offered this explanation of events leading to the end.

Then He continued by saying to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21:10-11

Four lunar eclipses coinciding on Passover and Sukkot two years in a row cannot be dismissed as “normal.” Despite having happened before, it stands as a great sign in the heavens for us today.

From a Biblical chronology standpoint, we are very close to the Biblical year 6000. Depending on your chronological theory, the expected year has ranged from 1994 to the future 2017. Based upon the Psalmist and its repeated reference by the Apostle Peter, the end of the ages comes after 6,000 years (6 days) and the last day (the seventh millennium) is the beginning of the Lord’s kingdom here on Earth.

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  2 Peter 3:8

The idea that the Messiah comes in the Biblical year 6001 is based on the creation account of six days then a Sabbath, coupled with the Lord’s explanation given to the prophet Isaiah.

"Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure;’” Isaiah 46:8-10

It turns out that the creation pattern of six days does match the Biblical history of the 1,000 year segments of known history. The “last day,” as the prophets say, is a reference to the “Sabbath of Millennia,” the prophetic seventh day. This is probably one the strongest signs pointing to this generation as being the last generation. We are living in the years of the final count.

Speaking of the last generation, we also live in the days when the distinct characteristics of our generation match the prophesied characteristics of the last generation. As is written in the book of Daniel, we live in a world (unlike other generations) where our population exceeds all previous generations combined (nearly 7 billion people), our technology has outstripped the most forward-thinking prognosticators of other generations, and we travel freely about the Earth as no other people has previously. Truly, we can say that we are many, knowledge has increased, and we travel to and fro. Just as the Lord said to Daniel…

“But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." Daniel 12:4

In this generation of “Baby Boomers” (those born from 1946-1964), the nation of Israel has been established. There is no argument here. The prophetic significance of modern Israel today cannot be overstated. The vast majority of the end-time prophecies require there to be a land of Israel with Israelites living there. Given the worldwide dispersion of Israel, the re-establishment of Israel is part of the dry bones prophecy of Ezekiel 37:1-14. In 1967, Jerusalem came into the hands of Israel, which is of paramount importance to the end-time scenario.

There are a host of other end-time prophetic signs and events that could be listed in a review of the days we are living in, but I will focus on the most critical signs we are still anticipating.

The temple mount is the “granddaddy” of all prophetic subjects for the end of the ages. Yeshua focused on the prophecy of the “Abomination of Desolation” spoken of by Daniel. The Abomination of Desolation is a temple mount prophecy. Yeshua explained to His disciples that there would be many general signs raising awareness of the end, but that they should pay particular attention to the specific prophecy given by Daniel. His counsel is also applicable to us today.

What exactly did Yeshua say that we should pay the closest attention to? Answer: the setting up of the altar on the temple mount and the activity of the daily sacrifice (see Matthew 24:15-16). According to the prophecy, the sign of the start of the Great Tribulation is the cessation (stopping) of the daily sacrifice. At the moment, there is no altar and no daily sacrifice being performed on the temple mount. Therefore, the Great Tribulation cannot begin until such an altar is established and performing the daily sacrifice (morning and evening lambs), because prophecy says there will be such an altar and service, just as it said Israel and Jerusalem must exist. There is also a second component to the Abomination of Desolation prophecy. It involves the antimessiah and false prophet. The antimessiah (called the beast in Revelation) is a future world leader imitating the Messiah but serving the Satan.  The false prophet is future religious leader who promotes the following of the false messiah. An image (a statue of the beast) will be set up on the temple mount by the false prophet. This will herald the antimessiah and his involvement with the world in the days of the Great Tribulation.

As we review the beginning of 2014, we can see the following: there is a strong and growing movement within Israel to rebuild the temple with an operational full altar. The materials for the construction of the altar are in Jerusalem awaiting shipment to the temple mount. The vessels and furnishings for the temple are being constructed. Some are even on display in Jerusalem for visitors to see.

The Palestinian authorities on the temple mount certainly believe that the Jews are about to build the temple and the altar, and they complain about it almost weekly. In the Knesset (the Israeli government), bills are making their way through the legislative process to grant Jews the right to pray and do other religious activities, including the slaying of Passover lambs, on the temple mount. There is very hostile opposition coming from Israeli Arab members. As the prophecy says, once the daily sacrifice occurs there will be great opposition to its operation. The altar service will be shut down. This is the specific prophesied event—the cessation of the daily sacrifice—that initiates the Great tribulation.

From the standpoint of the antimessiah, we have had a man living with us this entire generation who fits many of the prophecies of the antimessiah, including the symbolic beast of Revelation (the feet of the bear, body of the leopard, and head of the lion), the number of the name 666, and the status of a "Prince on whom the honor of Kingship has not be conferred." As an interesting note, a South American city has proposed constructing a full-size statue of him to be the “Savior of the World” according to international reports. Whether you like the idea of Prince Charles of Wales being the future antimessiah or not, he does match many of the signs we are expecting. Does he match them all? No. Many of the prophetic markers are yet to be completed, just as the altar still needs to be built.

We also know the timing of the altar shutdown and the statue being set up must occur in the winter months of a future year. The Great Tribulation concludes with the Day of the Lord and the Lord’s return. This is prophetically pictured in the fall holidays of Trumpets, Atonement, and Sukkot. With the Great Tribulation prophesied to last 3½ years long, then it must begin in late winter/early spring to then end with the late summer/early fall timeframe.

If 2014 is to be the start of the Great Tribulation, then there must be an operating altar with the daily sacrifice right now (the February/March timeframe). But there is none. So, we can safely conclude that this winter is NOT the year the Great Tribulation begins.

But what about next year? Could the winter of 2015 be the start? We would have to see the altar erected in 2014 or very early 2015. If that happens, then the stage is set to watch the winter of 2015. But until the altar is shut down and the image is set up, it is not the days of the Great Tribulation and we must wait for the sign Yeshua told us to watch for.

For many of us, we have been watching and waiting for these events for many years. Along the way, there have been many moments of exhilaration and anticipation only to watch events slow to a crawl. The Middle East peace negations are an excellent example. The portion of the temple mount needed to build an altar is not yet in Israeli hands. We are still waiting for Israel to hold the ground in question. To gain that territory, an agreement must be made or a war must occur to secure it. In the meantime, we have watched the anxiety of the end times increase worldwide. The Middle East has seen great turmoil and many military conflicts. Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza, the West Bank, Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia are all players in this struggle.

From a worldwide perspective, recent surveys reflect a growing number of people expecting great trauma to come to the world, including judgment from God. This is based on economics, earthquakes, tsunamis, climate change, and nuclear power plants melting down and spilling radiation into the oceans and the atmosphere. It also includes Muslims around the world attacking Western nations and slaughtering Christians in the Eastern nations. The average citizen is watching the cultural and social world in which they grew up change before their eyes with militant homosexuals forcing their way into the bedrock of civilization (marriage and family). Political correctness as a social standard is forcing God out of the public forum and people are losing their religious rights they have taken for granted.

History verifies the proverb that righteousness exalts a nation while debauchery destroys it. On this premise alone, there should be no doubt that this nation is approaching the days that other nations have seen before they are destroyed.

Not everyone has responded well to this. In fact, some brethren have walked away from fellowship and faith in Yeshua due to their own insecurities and fears in trying to deal with the circumstances in which they live. For those in the faith, they have enjoyed many blessings of peace and comfort over the years but are now facing the loss of those things.

Some have become preoccupied with their preparation for the end, believing that they are to prepare future ground and supplies to aid the escaping saints. If you just step back and take a deep breath, it is either the work of the “Noahs of our day” or self-delusion as to how they think they can save themselves.

Speaking of the entire end-time scenario, Yeshua said that a person trying to save his own life will lose it, but those willing to give their life will gain it. Many do not understand what He really meant when He said that. Some believe that there should be no preparation for the end-time scenario, that preparing is in fact an effort to save one’s self.  Others believe that basic wisdom calls for us to prepare for the obvious but full trust should be placed in God for salvation and deliverance.  Any reasonable person who is watching the end-time scenario and trying to maintain spiritual balance is in agreement that the world is shaking beneath them.  Yet they must admit that they have questions for the Lord, like “what are You waiting on, Lord?”

When Moses was dispatched by the Lord from the burning bush to go to Egypt and bring His people out, he had a lot of questions for the Lord as well. They included questions such as:

“Who shall I say has sent me? Why will the sons of Israel believe me? Why will Pharaoh even hear me (I have a speech impediment)?” God answered each question.

Then, Moses went to Egypt with great expectation. His brother Aaron spoke for him before Pharaoh. He showed to Pharaoh the signs that God had given him for the Israelites and for Pharaoh. The children of Israel didn’t believe him and Pharaoh said no. Even worse, Pharaoh demanded that the Israelites make their quota of bricks but without straw being provided to them. Moses was beside himself; he did everything the Lord had instructed him, and the Israelites were worse off for it. In fact, Moses was really wondering if all that he had experienced was really true or a personal misunderstanding with cruel repercussions. Listen to how Moses posed his questions.

Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all.” Exodus 5:22

If we step back for moment, I believe every sincere end-time believer could pose these very questions for our day. It is readily apparent that real harm is coming to many of our fellow believers and even in our own neighborhoods. Christians around the world are branded as “far right religious extremists” who believe in the second coming and the end-time scenario. The Lord surely knows that. Our government and its leaders are becoming godless, filled with corruption and unrighteousness. Our courts match the courts of Sodom and Gomorrah. The hearts of our fellow citizens prefer hate and hostility to love and kindness. Their hearts have grown cold and self-centered. Thievery is now rampant at the highest level of the business world. There are none righteous, and a “God-fearing man” is more rare than a nugget of gold in a California creek.

We are on the very brink of the key prophecies being fulfilled in a matter of weeks and months, and yet it seems as if we have been in this time of suspense for the last few years. So, “Where are You, Lord? When are You going to finish the last prophetic signs and get the Great Tribulation started leading to your return?”

I could step back at this point, walk away from the question and just say, “Wait on the Lord,” but, I wouldn’t be satisfied with that answer either. I have to admit that I personally identify with the frustration that Moses surely felt in his day.

But consider this… The frustration of waiting for the Lord is also part of the end-time scenario. I believe the pattern of the Greater Exodus matches the pattern of the ancient exodus, right down to Moses being a little frustrated with God’s timing of the judgments and His deliverance of His people.

“So, are you saying that getting my heart ready for the Great Tribulation and preparing to escape with the Lord is what God wants us to do?”

Yes, absolutely, that is our faith at work—the faithful servants waiting at the door for the Master to return.

“But now you’re saying that when the Lord doesn’t come as we are expecting, and we find ourselves looking at each other and asking, “Where is the Lord?” that is part of what is supposed to happen too?”

Yes, that is what happened to Moses also.

“Well, what happened to Moses after that?”

God explained what He would then do. His plan is the very same plan for us at the end of the ages as well.

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do …” Exodus 6:1a

Before I share what the Lord said, I would ask you as the reader, my fellow end-time brethren, to empty your cup and let God Himself fill it with just His words and promises for you.

Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians [the world], and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians [the world]. And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.” Exodus 6:6-8
These were profound words in the day God spoke them to Moses for Israel, because that is exactly what God did. He encased His seven statements front and back with “I am the Lord.”

No one was able to say that the exodus from Egypt was because of Moses, the Israelites, the Egyptians, or Pharaoh for that matter. The record is clear. The Lord did these things despite anyone else’s agreement or disagreement. The Lord, and only the Lord, gets the credit and glory for the exodus story. Let’s review those seven declarations and recount how the Lord was responsible for each.

I will bring you out

God prophesied to Abraham that his descendants would be in a foreign land (Egypt) for awhile. He spoke of that time being approximately 400 years later and that four generations would be involved. He also said that when they left they would plunder that land. Moses recounted for us that they departed Egypt 430 years to the day after God made that promise. The record says there were four generations in the land of Egypt (from the sons of Jacob to Moses and Aaron.

I will deliver you

Pharaoh and Egypt were humbled. God made mockery of Pharaoh and destroyed the nation of Egypt. Israel did not have to lift a sword and fight the people. They were, in fact, urged to leave. In fact, Scripture recounts that Israel’s deliverance was so great that others joined with them and a mixed multitude left Egypt. Any person in Egypt who believed in the Lord joined the exodus. This included other slaves and descendants of other nationalities who were there.

I will redeem you

The judgments that fell upon Egypt were directed at those things Egypt revered as gods. God proved time after time that Egypt’s affections for those gods were in vain and only He was the One, True God. As Pharaoh hardened his heart against the Lord God of Israel, the Lord finally killed the “firstborn” of Egypt. This judgment was seen as taking the very strength of the nation and even reached into Pharaoh’s own house. The Passover lambs, however, had to pay a price (redemption) and Israel saw the Lord’s judgment “pass over them” and fall upon any who did not have the covering of the lamb’s blood. God, therefore, defined His redemption as involving a lamb and the transition from death to life. Men did not die for one another. God provided something that paid God’s price for redemption.

I will take you

The children of Israel became a great mobile camp led by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He lead them through the Red Sea, provided water to drink, manna for bread, and quail for meat. He also provided fuel for their camp fires, food for their livestock, and began to teach them how to live and think as free men (not as slaves).

I will be your God

God brought them to the base of Mount Sinai and made a covenant with them. He would be their God and they would be His people. God has likened this covenant to a marriage. As a husband vows to his wife that he will provide, protect, prefer, and be passionate for her, the Lord entered into the same agreement with Israel. Israel responded with “Whatsoever the Lord says we will do.” A permanent relationship was established in keeping with what God promised Abraham. He remembers and keeps His covenant, and His mercy endures forever.

I will bring you to the land

The journey to the land was filled with many problems and struggles. In reality, only two of those adults who left Egypt walked into the promised land. This was because the children of Israel were stubborn, stiff-necked, obstinate, haughty, afraid, and selfish. They may have been set free, but they still thought like slaves. When they rejected the promised land stating they feared for their children, it was the tenth time they had tested the Lord. The Lord then judged them with their own words: “It would be better for us to die in the wilderness than to go into the land.” God then used forty years to exact the judgment. After the forty years were complete, God took their children and brought them into the land.

I will give it to you

The land where Abraham had walked about and where Isaac and Jacob dwelt was to be given to the children of Israel.

When Moses spoke these declarations of the Lord to the Israelites, the people did not respond well.

So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage. Exodus 6:9

To reassure the children of Israel that it was indeed God who promised them the land, God fought for Israel in the conquering of the territory. No inhabitant was able to stand against them, beginning with the walls of Jericho. Joshua, the servant of Moses, led the people into all of the tribal areas, securing each tribe with homes, wells, orchards, fields for growing, and pastures for flocks. They discovered that the land was truly abundant, a land of milk and honey.

As I remind you of what the Lord said then in His promises and assurances to the children of Israel, and draw direct comparison to what God will be doing in our days with the Greater Exodus, can we expect a different result? In other words, knowing what happened then, can we learn the lesson of the past and move forward in full faith towards God? I truly hope so.

I do see the Lord bringing us out of the nations, with His plan given in Scripture announcing an even Greater Exodus (see Jeremiah 16:14-15). I see the same God who spoke the Ten Commandments from the mountain and the same Messiah who offered Himself as the Lamb of God accomplishing these things. It will not be by the deeds of men; it will be the very hand of God who accomplishes these things.

I see the Lord delivering us from the oppression of the world’s governments and the taskmasters they will have. I see the Lord providing the things we will need, while the governments seek to control the basics of life. I see the Lord physically taking us out of the cities of the world and physically leading us into the “wilderness of the peoples” with a cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, establishing camps of protected believers, so we will be dwelling in tents.

I see the Lord, specifically the Messiah, working the “final redemption” by gathering us all, joining with us, and proving that He will not leave us nor forsake us. This will include the presence of those sealed by God—the 144,000—as we take refuge in the name of the Lord. The judgments of the Lord will befall the world but will pass-over us.

I see the Lord taking us on a journey of 42 months’ duration, camping in a variety of locations, relocating us from danger to safety, and setting the stage with darkness that will overcome the world. It will be a time when the world knows it is dying, and yet we will still have light and draw many to the Lord.

I see the Lord changing us through this process, dealing with our doubts, our impatience, removing the dross from our souls, and fitting us for robes of righteousness. I can see the day when the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the heavens, when we will hear God speak again, as He did at the mountain, but this time from the heavens. I see a day in which every heart will know, every knee will bow, and every voice profess He is the Lord.

I see the Lord taking us all to Jerusalem to await the arrival of our King at the Mount of Olives (the Mountain of the Messiah) and enter the city.  I see us rejoicing with the Lord with great joy.

I see us dwelling in the land, the kingdom, with a new earth to explore, where only the redeemed are there.

I see what the Lord has said that He will do. It does not matter to me whether it begins next year or the year after that. I know He will fulfill His good word. And I am not concerned that others don’t want to believe as I do or listen to my teaching on the end-time plan. That too is part of the end-time scenario. The children didn’t listen to Moses either until the judgments began to fall.

I figure that most of my brethren will start to take note of this when the altar is built. Many will dispute the authenticity of the altar and the meaning of the daily sacrifice. When the altar is shut down, they will not be convinced; and when the image is set up and declarations made for the antimessiah, some will finally begin to ask how to prepare. We will eat the Passover and leave. Those who don’t keep the Passover will never know what happened.

For those of us in that first camp, I’m sure they will ask then, “Where’s the Lord? Is He with us? Will He save us?” That is what they did a long time ago in the ancient exodus. We are, after all, their sons and daughters, and we have doubting and fearful hearts – in effect hard hearts against the Lord. The Apostle Paul saw into the future, which is our present day, and said this.

For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, so that you will not be wise in your own estimation that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” “This is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins." Romans 11:25-27

It is now the winter of 2014. Where are we exactly in the end-time scenario?

We are exactly where God planned for us to be.