Friends of God

Friends of God
Vol: 168 Issue: 22 Tuesday, September 22, 2015

All human beings, according to Scripture, are born with an eternal destiny. In the grand scheme of things, the main purpose of our earthly lives is to choose what that eternal destiny will be.

The Apostle James asks and answers the question;

“For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14)

We can get some sense of perspective from our own human experience. We are created by God at conception, but spend nine months being prepared for life outside the womb.

We leave the comfort of the womb in terror; our first experience involves being grabbed by the head with a pair of salad spoons and yanked from our 98.6 degree environment into a sterile 68degree delivery room, where we are promptly assaulted.

Shortly thereafter, silver nitrate is dropped into our eyes, we get poked, prodded, stuck with needles and get dropped into a basket where we find ourselves alone for the very first time in our brief existence.

(And you don’t even want to think about what is coming in a few days if you are a boy.)

But, given all of that, who would want to trade this life for a life spent floating in darkness inside the womb?

The baby on the way out doesn’t know what wonders await him on the other side, (but the doctor wielding the salad spoons does.) Still, the doctor only introduces the potential — what the baby does with that potential occupies his next seventy or eighty years.

Then the process starts all over again. Out come the Divine Salad Spoons, and we are dragged, kicking and screaming into the third and final phase of our existence — eternity.

Assessment:

The Bible is the God’s Owner’s Manual for human beings. It contains all the information necessary regarding humanity’s origins, care and feeding, rules for safe operation and guidelines for proper maintenance. It also explains our ultimate purpose — to be friends of God.

“Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:14-15)

Note that being a friend of God is conditional; whereas salvation is unconditional. Of friendship, Jesus said, “Ye are My friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you.”

Regarding salvation, Jesus said,

“I am the door: by Me if ANY man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9)

But of His friends, Jesus said,

“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.” (John 15:16)

Jesus is not extending His Hand of friendship to farmers. The command to ‘bear fruit’ that ‘should remain’ is a reminder that this life is, as James said, ‘even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, then vanisheth away.’

Each of us has an eternal destiny and each of us has the opportunity to choose where and how we will spend it.

We will either spend it in joy unspeakable in the Presence of God, or we will spend it in darkness, alone, separated from God for eternity, with only our memories, in the place Jesus described three times as being;

“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:44,46,48)

My eternal destiny was sealed when I accepted the gift of Pardon Jesus offers and trusted Him for my salvation.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

But what of my ‘fruit’ that is to ‘remain’, should I hope to be God’s ‘friend’ instead of just another servant. Note also that ‘grace’ is the extension of an unmerited gift, mercy and salvation are the gifts being extended.

But ‘friendship’ is something different. It is often observed that “we are stuck with family, but we choose our friends.”

Each of us, to be saved, chooses Christ. We become part of God’s ‘forever family’ as Hal likes to put it.

But Jesus says of His friends, ‘I have chosen you’. Not only that, but ORDAINED them to ‘bear fruit’ that ‘should remain’ after their own ‘vapour’ has dissipated from this earth.

Among His servants, Jesus has chosen and ordained certain of them to bear fruit, saying that those who accept His calling will be numbered among His friends.

There can be no question but that we are in the final countdown to the end of this present Age. The final war between the Lamb and the Dragon is poised to spill out into this reality during the Tribulation.

There is little time remaining for those of us who have accepted the call to take up our positions on the line. Not everybody is called to take positions in the front ranks, however.

Any army has many layers; warriors, support troops, cooks, supply clerks, ‘office pinkies’ etc.

In the Marines, I was a supply clerk, then later changed Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) to become an ‘office pinkie’ working in a data processing unit. But, like all Marines, I was, first and foremost, a combat rifleman.

Each of us may find ourselves in combat from time to time, if we are faithful, but that doesn’t make all of us frontline warriors. Some of us are more valuable in a supporting role.

An army’s effectiveness depends as much on its lines of supply as it does the fierceness of its warriors. (A Marine with an empty rifle would be a fierce warrior armed with an expensive, poorly designed club)

There are many ways the friends of God can lend support to those on the front lines of battle. Pray for us at the Omega Letter.

Seek the leading of the Holy Spirit. The time has come for those who would be friends of God to stand.

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20)

Originally Published: December 6, 2005

Why Christianity MUST Be True

Why Christianity MUST Be True
Vol: 168 Issue: 21 Monday, September 21, 2015

Of all the various religious belief systems embraced around the world, Christianity stands apart because Christianity cannot be mythologized. Everything about Christianity is grounded in solid history.

For example, Christianity could not exist apart from the Roman occupation of Judea. Without Jewish rejection of the Messiah, Christianity would have become a Jewish religion.

Without the Roman occupation, there could be no Pontius Pilate. Without Pilate to wash his hands of responsibility for the Crucifixion, Jesus could not have been put to death ‘for the sins of His people’, as required by Messianic prophecy.

And of course, without the public Crucifixion, there could not have been a Resurrection and the core beliefs of Christianity could not exist. Christianity’s core beliefs rely 100% on the accuracy of the historical context in which it was introduced to the world.

One gets a sense of the importance of historical context when one compares other major world religions to Christianity. Islam, for example, exists independent of historical truth.

Historically, Allah was a pagan god — one of about 360 gods worshipped by the pre-Islamic Arab world. Mohammed’s biographers simply promoted a pagan god to preeminence by declaring Allah to be the one true god.

Allah’s pre-Islamic historical existence puts Islam out of historical context, since Islam claims Allah created the world and is the same God worshipped by Christians and Jews.

Historically, if Allah was one of 360 pagan gods worshipped by pre-Islamic Arabia, then he could not also be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Allah’s history is at odds with world history. If one is true, the other cannot be.

Buddha allegedly sat down under a Bodhi tree and meditated until he found enlightenment and produced the Four Noble Truths. But the principle focus of Buddhism is the Four Noble Truths.

The details of Buddha’s life are part myth, part history.Whether or not Buddha produced the Four Noble Truths under a Bodhi tree or an oak tree is irrelevant. But that doesn’t bother Buddhists.

There are no schools of thought specifically dedicated to disproving the details of Buddha’s life for the purpose of discrediting his historicity. The Four Noble Truths can exist independently of a literal Buddha.

Christianity has no such historical problems. Jesus was of the Line of David. He was raised a Jew, taught in synagogues and in the Jewish Temple, and the religion He founded was historically rooted in the Jewish Scriptures. And Christianity could not exist independently of an historically accurate Jesus.

One could not accept the tenets of Christianity if they were removed from the historical context in which they were given. The places where Jesus taught can be visited today. Genuine, legitimate historical records, both Christian and non-Christian, attest to the historical accuracy of the events recorded by the Gospels.

The Koran may or may not be the exact literal words of Allah. The Koran was produced after his death by scribes who wrote down what Mohammed taught. Dates, times and places are impossible to verify historically. Did Mohammed ascend to heaven on a winged horse from the ‘furthest mosque’ in Jerusalem?

The Koran provides no historical context, no eyewitness testimony, no concurrent historical theme in which it makes sense, but whether or not Mohammed actually rode Buraq up to heaven is irrelevant to the core tenets of Islam.

The life, death, crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus were all very public events. The historical political climate of the time was hostile to the claims of Christianity, but the eyewitness testimony was accepted as fact because there were too many living witnesses to the events described for it to be a hoax.

All the New Testament documents were written within one generation of the events they portray. Dr. Norman Geisler and Willaim Nix write “In brief, all twenty seven books [of the New Testament] were written, copied, and began to be disseminated among the churches before the end of the first century.”

No other religious belief structure in the history of the world has been as carefully documented as that of Christianity, and no other belief structure in the history of the world has been more closely scrutinized for historical inaccuracy.

If Mohammed didn’t ride Buraq to heaven, Islam could still exist as a viable religious system. If Buddha didn’t develop the Four Noble Truths under a bohdi tree, it would not have any real bearing on the validity of Buddhism to its adherents.

Unlike the other great religions of the world, Christianity MUST be historically accurate down to the tiniest detail in order to remain viable.

Assessment:

No other world religion has been as closely scrutinized down through the ages as Christianity. If it could be proved that Jesus did not come from Nazareth, had never been to Egypt, or was not born in Bethlehem, Christianity would immediately collapse.

The enemies of Christianity have tried for two thousand years to find evidence that conclusively disproves a single claim regarding the life and times of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Nobody saw Mohammed ride Buraq to heaven. But it is irrelevant to Islam’s viability.

Jesus ascended to heaven in full view of the Apostles, no one of whom ever recanted their testimony, even at the cost of their own lives.

Nobody knows whether or not Buddha attained enlightenment under a bodhi tree. Buddhists can pursue the Four Noble Truths regardless of how they came to be.

But if Jesus didn’t really curse the fig tree as recorded in Mark 11:21, then the Bible can’t be trusted and Christianity would collapse.

Mohammed can contradict himself throughout the Koran without presenting any significant challenge to the core tenets of Islam. The Koran identifies Christians and Jews as ‘People of the Book’ in one place, and later, commands followers of Islam to kill Christians and Jews someplace else.

If Jesus contradicted Himself even once, Christianity would fail. Yet Christianity has withstood two thousand years of skeptical scrutiny without a single, provable historical inaccuracy.

Mohammed was illiterate, as was most of the 6th century Arab world. The same can be said for Indian society 2550 years ago when Buddha achieved enlightenment.

But Jesus Christ lived, died and was resurrected in the midst of one of the most literate and carefully documented societies in the history of the ancient world. Even the Jewish leaders who ordered His death were unable to dispute the Gospel accounts of His life, although it was certainly in their interests to do so.

Why is it that Christianity MUST be true? As the Apostle Peter specifically noted;

“We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were EYEWITNESSES of His Majesty.” (2nd Peter 1:16)

For that reason, Peter notes,

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (2nd Peter 1:19)

Christianity has withstood all assaults down through the ages because it IS true. Every single word of it.

“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)

Originally Published: January 11, 2007

Featured Commentary: The Rapture and the Revelation ~ Pete Garcia

What’s So Great About Heaven?

What’s So Great About Heaven?
Vol: 168 Issue: 19 Saturday, September 19, 2015

It think it fair to say that most unbelievers are motivated to come to Christ more by the fear of going to hell than they are by the promise of heaven.  It was certainly true in my case.

I’d heard about heaven all my life.  An eternity of praise and worship and singing . . . ummm, an eternity?  (My enthusiasm starts to wane a bit.) 

But given the alternative. . . heaven sounds just great!

It is that comparison that motivated me to seek salvation.  By itself, Heaven sounded a lot like an eternal church service.  But truth to tell, I’m good for about an hour in church before I start squirming in my seat.

It was fear of the alternative that drove me to my knees.  Perhaps that might be why the Bible has more to say about hell than it does about heaven. 

Here’s what we know about hell, and the Lake of Fire to come after that. 

Luke 16:19-31 reveals that in hell, one has no name.  Abraham is mentioned by name. So is Lazarus.  But the rich man is not named.  What good is a name when nobody will ever call it again?  In hell, while you have no identity, you know who you were.

The rich man remembered his father and five brothers.  His memories are intact.  In hell, one is tormented by flame.  The rich man begged for a drop of water to cool his burning tongue.

We addressed the three-fold nature of man in detail in Volume 123, Issue: 20 during our discussion of the death of Kim Jong il.

In life, the body is the sensory input station for the soul.  The soul also receives input from the spirit, after it has been regenerated at salvation, but the soul’s primary source of input is still physical; sight, smell, sound, taste and touch.

Absent the body, the spirit becomes the eyes and ears, so to speak of the soul.  The body’s sensory gates close, but the spirit’s sensory gates swing wide-open.  We (that is, the soul, the part that makes you ‘you’) remains aware of what is going on. 

So when you die, the spirit functions much as the body did, as the primary sensory gateway into the soul.   The soul of a person that dies unregenerate, like the rich man of Luke 16, has lost its physical sensory input.  His spirit is dark, dead, and incapable of getting any spiritual input.

He is conscious and aware, like the rich man, but he is buried in hell where the only input he gets is burning pain.  

That lost soul will have his physical sensory input restored to him just before being cast alive into the Lake of Fire.  There, he will be deprived of spiritual comfort, since his spirit is dead, but his resurrection body will be eternally alive.

Brrrr!  Considering the alternative, suddenly the idea of eternal church sounds, well, heavenly.  

Isn’t it interesting that heaven is practically impossible to imagine, while the image of hell is not only easy to grasp, it is almost impossible to erase from one’s mind?

Assessment:

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Heaven sounds boring because we can only imagine it through our own eyes and from our own, earthly perspective.  What can we learn about heaven that we can sink our teeth into, the way that the concept of hell tends to seek its teeth into us?

First, the Bible tells us that heaven is the spiritual realm in which God’s Presence is manifest.  It is the dwelling place of the angels of God and of all believers that have gone on before. (Hebrews 10:22-24)

Because it is the place where God dwells, heaven must consist of many more dimensions than just the three we can comprehend.  The Apostle Paul reports an out-of-body experience in which he describes heaven.

“How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Corinthians 12:4)

Since Paul said it occurred “fourteen years ago” he is referring to his own conversion experience on the road to Damascus, (as he admits in  v. 7). 

Whatever Paul saw, it made him long for more. 

Here and elsewhere, the Bible confirms the truth that there is no cessation of consciousness at death, no “soul sleep.”

We have the testimony of the Lord Himself, when He said to the thief on the Cross, Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

When our physical inputs shut down and our souls leave our bodies, they are immediately present with the Lord: 

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8)

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul re-confirms, from his own experience, that when we depart, we go to be with the Lord.

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. . .  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better.” (Philippians 1:21,23)

The Bible reveals that when we get to heaven, our spiritual nature changes.  The dual nature of man exists only until the carnal part dies.  What we have now is ‘imputed’ righteousness, whereas in heaven our hope of righteousness is realized.

The Apostle John says that when we see Jesus, we shall be like Him as we are transformed.  When we do, we will be purified from sin and eternally bonded to Him. 

We cannot imagine heaven, we can only compare it to earth and all its beauty and wonderment, remembering that the earth is the universe’s garbage dump.

It is the only place where sin can exist without throwing the entire universe out of balance, thanks to the fact it has an environment that contains it. 

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12)

Think of our beautiful planet.  Try to imagine what it must have been like when it was still pristine and pure, back when Adam walked with God in the Garden in the cool of the evening.  

When Satan and his crew were cast from heaven, they were cast to the earth, what the theologians call the ‘cosmos diabolicus’ or literally, a world of evil.

To Satan and the rebellious angels that actually have seen heaven, it was the worst place they could imagine — a place of involuntary and horrific exile.  The elect angels share that opinion: 

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10)

The angels know what that sinner has just escaped from. Jesus also describes what we become in eternity in Luke 20:36,

“Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.”

Paul tells us that we will receive new, immortal bodies at the Rapture:  

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-53)

But first, our loved ones who have gone on before get theirs.  Then we who are alive and remain get ours.  

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

Despite being changed, we will recognize one another. (1 Corinthians 15:49) Together with those we love, we will meet with the Lord in the air, and “so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 

“Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Originally published December 30, 2011

No Red Union Suits, Either

No Red Union Suits, Either
Vol: 168 Issue: 18 Friday, September 18, 2015

Heaven is a difficult concept to picture in our minds.  It is simply beyond our experiential capacity for us to step out of space and time and imagine eternity.  It is even more difficult to imagine eternity in a place where there is no sin, no conflict, no sickness, no death, not to mention a place of eternal joy that never grows old.

Eternity is a long time, but ‘eternity’ is ‘a long time’ the way a billion dollars is ‘a lot of money’.  It takes a carefully constructed word picture to bring it into focus.

I heard ‘eternity’ described this way, once, and it helped.  Suppose a seagull were to take a grain of sand from the East Coast and drop it off on the West Coast.  Every ten thousand years, our seagull would transport another grain of sand from the East Coast to the West Coast.

When every grain of sand on every beach on the entire East Coast has been transferred to the West Coast (one grain at a time, every thousand years), that would constitute the first ten seconds of eternity!

Mankind is created in God’s Image, according to Genesis 1:26, and after God’s likeness.  But it doesn’t necessarily follow that we look like God, or that God looks like us.

Jesus revealed,

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

God’s ‘image’ and His ‘likeness’ refer to His eternal nature, not His cosmetic appearance.

Monkeys look as much like men as any of the other lower order of animals.  They look enough like men to argue that, if man is in God’s image, then so are some species of monkeys.

Connecting the dots, then, Jesus tells us that God is a Spirit, and Genesis tells us that we were created in God’s Image and in His Likeness.

Scripture teaches that man was created with an eternal spiritual component.

A Spirit, in His Image, that is eternal in nature, in His Likeness.

That which is eternal is that which, by definition, cannot die, and cannot be killed.  But it can be destroyed.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

Note the subtle shift in Our Lord’s Words when He moves from the temporal to the eternal.  The body can die, the soul cannot be killed, but both can be ‘destroyed’ in hell.

There are those who teach that this means that hell isn’t a place of eternal torment, but rather a place where the condemned soul is annihilated.

The Bible speaks as much of hell as it does of Heaven; indeed, in His ministry, the Lord spoke MORE of hell than he did of heaven.  Scripture divides ‘hell’ — as we understand it — into two phases.

There is hell, and then, later on, the Lake of Fire.

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14)

It is the ‘Lake of Fire’ that some teach is the place of annihilation.  The Scriptures teach otherwise.

We are created with an eternal element, as we’ve already established.  That which is eternal cannot be killed, but it can be ‘destroyed’.  But ‘destruction’ means eternal separation from God, not annihilation.

Jesus explained in the story of Lazarus and the rich man;

“There WAS a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. . . .”

Both of them died, the Lord explains, and each went to his place, Lazarus to Paradise, and the rich man to hell.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:19-20-23)

At the time of the story, Jesus had not yet redeemed humanity, and the righteous dead went to Paradise, which, the Lord taught, was separated from hell by a great gulf or chasm;

“And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” (Luke 16:26)

At His Death, Jesus ‘descended into hell’ [which also included at that time, Paradise] in order to liberate the righteous dead and take them to heaven;

“Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:8-10)

Once the righteous dead were taken to heaven, hell was expanded to make room. Those in hell will be ‘cast into the Lake of Fire’ at the second death, the Scriptures say.

There are those who will point out that the word ‘hell’ (sheol) has two meanings; it means both ‘the grave’ and the place where departed spirits go.  So they argue that hell is not really a literal Bible teaching.

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Note the phrase ‘everlasting destruction’ and reconcile that, if you can, with the idea of ‘annihilation’.  It takes some real imaginative interpretation to get there from here.

‘Everlasting destruction’ isn’t the same as ‘annihilation’ — which is instantaneous and permanent.  And things that are different are NOT the same.

Hell is a place of punishment that the Lord described THREE times, using exactly the same words;

“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:44,46,48)

When the Lord chooses to repeat Himself, it is because He wants to make sure we get it right.

Jesus said the rich man was ‘in torments’, desiring that Lazarus,

“dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:24)

So, from our Lord’s Lips to our ears, we know it is a place of torment, involving ‘flames’ where ‘their worm dieth not’.  Jude 13 reveals it is a place of eternal darkness.

While those in heaven will meet and recognize their loved ones, those in hell will spend eternity like the unidentified rich man, nameless, alone and in utter darkness.

The story of the rich man reveals hell to be a place of consciousness, a place of eternal remorse, a place without hope, a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a place of eternal flame.

Jesus says of the hellbound sinner that it would be;

“better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

Jesus said of Judas that;

“woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)

Hell is worse than violent death and worse than having ever been born at all.  Jesus’ words make no sense if Judas were facing ‘annihilation’ in hell.  How could NOT existing (annihilation) be worse than never existing?

On the other hand, eternal torment would be MUCH worse than never having existed at all.  The difference is obvious without having to conduct any special Scriptural gymnastics to prove it.

And if the plain sense of Scripture makes perfect sense on its face, why seek a different sense?

Hell is given over to the Lake of Fire at the second death at the conclusion of the thousand year Millennial Kingdom Age.  The beast and the false prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire, where, Revelation 20:10 says that “they shall be “tormented day and night for ever and ever’ — not annihilated.

Eternal life and eternal death are two sides of the same coin in that they are BOTH eternal, since we are created in God’s Image, which is eternal Spirit.

It is often argued that, ‘a loving God wouldn’t send people to hell’ — and that argument sounds logical because it is true.  A loving God wouldn’t send people to hell — and He doesn’t.

A loving God would provide an escape from eternal condemnation, which is different than expecting Him to change the nature of the punishment.

Hell was created as a prison and place of punishment for the rebellious angels.  When man joined in the rebellion, he condemned himself to share their prison.

But,

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Heaven doesn’t require cream cheese to make it heaven, and there are no red union suits in hell.  Both are real and both are eternal because we are eternal and, as eternal beings, we have to continue our existence somewhere.

God prepared a place for those who love Him and who want to spend eternity with Him.  And He created a place for those who reject Him and rebel against His rule.

And He gave us a free choice to decide which we would prefer.

We are the watchmen on the wall.  For those of us that know the truth, that is an awesome thing to contemplate.  It rekindles a sense of urgency for the lost.

“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:6)

The Omega Letter’s mission is to prepare the saved for the work of the ministry by comparing the Scriptures to the signs of the times and providing evidence of the lateness of the hour and the soon coming of the Lord.

Our secondary mission is to examine the deeper truths of Scripture so that we are better prepared to answer the skeptic’s questions and make clear the choices that are set before him.

It is incumbent upon us to be prepared,

“and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15)

May God continue to sustain and provide for us as we continue in our mission.

Until He comes.

Originally Published: April 24, 2005

The Judgements and the Crowns

The Judgements and the Crowns
Vol: 168 Issue: 17 Thursday, September 17, 2015

Judgment is a central theme throughout Scripture; the Old Testament is filled with accounts of judgment.

The judgment on Adam and Eve, the Flood judgment, the judgment against the Unfaithful Generation during the Exodus, Sodom and Gomorrah, the various judgments against Israel, the Ultimate Judgment at Calvary, just to name a few.

Some in this generation will face the 21 judgments outlined in the Book of Revelation during the Tribulation Period.

The writer of Hebrews tells us, “. . .it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

There are five individual judgments identified in Scripture, that differ in five general aspects; the subjects, the time, the place, the basis and the result.

There are two judgments for believers.  The subjects of the first judgment are sinners.  The time of this judgment was roughly AD 33.  The place was Calvary.

The basis for the judgment was the finished Work of Christ.  And the result was justification for the believer.

This first judgment is in three parts; as a sinner, as a son, and as a servant.

The ‘sin’ question is settled at the Cross.  The ‘son’ question is an ongoing series of personal judgments that the Bible calls ‘chastisement’.

When a believer steps outside God’s permissive will, it brings about judgments designed to bring that believer back into line.

“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:7-8)

Then there is our judgment as servants, which leads us to the Judgment Seat of Christ, or the Bema Seat.

The subjects are believers.  The time is after the Rapture.  The place is the Bema Seat.  The basis for judgment is works.  The result is reward — or loss of reward.

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2nd Corinthians 5:10)

Those who stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ are not there to be judged worthy of entry into heaven. That question was settled at the Cross.

This judgment will be for our works as servants. At the Bema Seat;

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” (1st Corinthians 3:13)

Think about that for a moment!  Everything you ever did will be analyzed and scrutinized openly by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Every good thing. . . and every bad thing.  We’ll be called on to give account of every word, every deed, every thought.

For most believers, the Judgment Seat of Christ will be an excruciating experience. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . .” Paul wrote.

But, the result of the Bema Seat judgment isn’t to determine if you will enter heaven — that is already assured.  The result is reward.  That is where a believer’s works come into play.  Rewards.  Or loss of them.

“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1st Corinthians 3:14-15)

There are five possible rewards, or “crowns” that believers can earn for their works at the Bema Seat.

The Crown of Life.  This is the Martyr’s Crown.  You get this one the hard way; “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)

The Crown of Glory.  This the the ‘Pastor’s Crown’ given by the Chief Shepherd when He shall appear to those who serve;

“Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” (1st Peter 5:2-3)

I readily admit that I am working to earn this crown.  Salvation is a gift of grace through faith, and that not of yourselves — crowns you have to work for.

“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1st Peter 5:4)

The Crown of Rejoicing.  This is the Soul-winners crown.  Those brought to Jesus by us will be our “crown of rejoicing” at His Coming.

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?” (1st Thessalonians 2:19)

The Crown of Righteousness.  This is the crown earned by the Watchmen on the Wall who give the warning of His soon appearing.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 4:8)

The Incorruptible Crown.  This is a tough one to earn.  This is the “Victor’s” Crown, which is set aside for those who master temperance in this lifetime.

Those who don’t yield to the lusts of the flesh, saturate themselves with alcohol and drugs, and keep themselves separate from the world can expect to be rewarded with the Incorruptible Crown.

The Judgment Seat of Christ takes place concurrently with the Third Judgment identified by Scripture taking place on earth.

In this third judgment, the primary subjects are the Jews.  The place is Jerusalem.  The time is called the ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble’ or, the Tribulation Period. 

“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”  (Jeremiah 30:7)

The basis for this judgment is Israel’s continued rejection of the Messiah, and the end result is the national redemption of Israel.

The fourth judgment identified in Scripture also takes place during the Tribulation.  The subjects are the Gentile nations.  The place is the Valley of Jehoshaphat.  The basis for this judgment will be their treatment of the Jews.

“And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats.” (Matthew 25:32)

The nations will be divided into the “Sheep nations” and the “Goat nations”.  The result is the Sheep nations will be permitted to enter into the Millennial Kingdom.  The “Goat nations” will be destroyed.

This judgment takes place at the conclusion of the Tribulation Period.

The fifth and final judgment identified in Scripture is the Great White Throne Judgment.  It will take place at the close of the Millennium a 1000 years after the judgment of the Nations, and before the “Great White Throne.”

All the righteous (saved) dead arose at the First Resurrection, or the Rapture.

Those who are saved and die between the First Resurrection and the Second Resurrection, (like the Tribulation and Millennial Kingdom saints), must rise with the wicked at the Second Resurrection.

The words; “Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life” imply there will be some saved who will be present at the Great White Throne.  So possibly there will be some whose names will be found in the Book of Life, but they are post-Church Age believers.

I want you to notice something.  This entire outline only works if the Rapture takes place before the Tribulation.  If the Church is on the earth during the Tribulation Period, the entire outline falls apart.

BUT — and this is the important part — this is the only outline there is!  There is only one Bible from which to work, and it doesn’t give an alternative scenario.  

It is the key to understanding the outline of Bible prophecy as it unfolds before this generation.

The Bible identifies five judgments and five crowns.  The judgments are as I’ve outlined them, by those who are subject to them, when, where, why, and how.

I’ve supplied chapter and verse.  Go back and review it all.  It’s the only outline there is.  And for it to work, the Church must be Raptured before the Tribulation begins.

If not, we have the Church on the earth during the judgment of Israel, and not in the air for the Believer’s Judgment, and, in some views, on the earth during the division of the Sheep and Goat nations.

Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom at the close of the Tribulation Period.  Before that comes four of the five judgments, all of which He presides over as the Righteous Judge.

When the judgments of the Tribulation are over, all that remain are the sheep nations and the Jews.  Who is there left to Rapture?

The Rapture is the First Resurrection that predicates the Judgment Seat of Christ.  As the Church is judged at the Bema Seat, the twenty-one Tribulation judgments are executed on the world.

They are different judgments, as to subject, basis, place and result, but within the same general frame of time called the Day of the Lord or the Day of Christ.

It is all interconnected — and indivisible from the Big Picture.

The outline of Bible prophecy is deep and complex, and each part is interdependent on all the others in order to complete the Big Picture.

It isn’t about being right. It’s about understanding the times in which we live, so that we can fulfill the commission given us.

“. . .sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1st Peter 3:15)

Originally Published: August 24, 2007

Featured Commentary: Karma or God’s Discipline? ~ J.L. Robb

Predicting the Unpredictable

Predicting the Unpredictable
Vol: 168 Issue: 16 Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Every year, somebody sends me an email predicting that the Rapture will occur this year at the conclusion of the Jewish Feast of Trumpets.

To be sure, each year’s new crop of predictions are based on a new criteria. In 2004, it was based on the fact that for each of the Jewish feast days, there was a corresponding major event in the life of the Church — with the exception of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement which follows the Feast of the Trumpets (Rosh Hashana).

Every prediction has good and solid-sounding arguments behind it. In 1988, Edgar Whisenant found eighty-eight reasons why the Rapture would occur in 1988. Each of his arguments were compelling in their own way — and there were, as I noted, eighty-eight of them!

Whisenant was so confident that he wrote, “If there were a king in this country and I could gamble with my life, I would stake my life on Rosh Hashana 1988.” Whisenant sold over 4.5 million copies of his book, but when the time came and went, he began damage control.

When nothing happened by the end of September 13, Whisenant revised his prediction, suggesting the rapture would come at 10:55 AM on September 15. When that failed, he revised it to October 3.” After that he admitted he made a “miscalculation” of one year and insisted the rapture would occur in 1989. He even wrote another book to “prove” it. (The second book didn’t do so well. His credibility was compromised)

Harold Camping wrote an entire book arguing for a specific date for the Rapture in 1994. (I still have a copy of it somewhere). The book was full of numerology that added up to 1994 as the date of Christ’s return. Once the date came and went, Camping also acknowledged an ‘error’ in his calculations, and came up with 1995 and one last time in 2012. After THAT date came and went, Camping got out of the Rapture prediction business upon his death in 2013.

William Miller predicted the date of the Rapture in 1844. Charles Taze Russell boldly went where no man had gone before, with his group offering predictions for the Rapture in 1914, 1918, 1925 and 1975.

Russell himself stopped predicting the Rapture in 1914 and insisted that we had moved right into the Millennial Kingdom, but didn’t realize it yet. (Charles Taze Russell was the founder of what are today known as the “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”)

Other predictions included those based on the calculations of Bishop Ussher, whose chronologies placed the date of Creation at October 23, 4004 BC.

Using those calculations, some argued that October 23, 1997 would be the date of the Rapture, because it was exactly 6000 years from Creation to that date (when one subtracts the non-existent Year One).

(While I personally find Bishop Ussher’s work to be credible, painstaking, and useful, I draw the line at calling it infallible.)

On April 26, 1989, Doug Clark announced on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s show Praise the Lord that World War III would begin within 3 years.

Christian author Dorothy A. Miller in her book, “Watch & Be Ready! 1992 Millions Disappear?” predicted the “last trumpet” would sound on Rosh Hashanah, heralding the Second Coming.

Mary Stewart Relfe, claiming that God communicated with her in her dreams, predicted the Second Coming in 1997, right after the battle of Armageddon. “America will burn” and be totally destroyed in 1993 or 1994, she claimed.

M.J. Agee predicted the Rapture would occur on May 28, 2001 and the conclusion of the ‘end of this age’ on September 12, 2007. (For those keeping score, Marilyn’s earlier dates were 5/31/98, 6/6/98, 6/7/98, 6/14/98, and 6/21/98).

TBN’s Brother Kenneth Hagin predicted the Rapture would occur in October, 1997 (also based on calcuations about the Jewish Feast of the Trumpets and Yom Kippur.

Peter Hader determined the date of the Rapture as May 31, 1998, basing his calculations on the ‘Bible Codes’ as his source of information.

The number of people who predicted January 1, 2000 as the date of the Rapture are too numerous to mention. They were all quietly wrong.

Fundamentalist cult leader William Branham predicted that the Rapture would take place no later than 1977. Just before this, Los Angeles was to fall into the sea after an earthquake, the Vatican would achieve dictatorial powers over the world, and all of Christianity would become unified.

According to Michael Rood, the Rapture would take place on April 5, 2000. This day “starts out with bloodshed, plagues, and all manner of pestilence”. Ooops.

Jim Bramlett was on record at his website in the fall of 2001 predicting the Rapture, with the 2nd Coming of Christ occurring sometime beween 2004-2007.

Assessment:

As I’ve noted, every year somebody comes up with a new prediction for the exact day of the Rapture, and, as one can see, most of those dates fall sometime around the conclusion of the Jewish Feast of Rosh Hashana or coincided with that year’s Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement).

Every year around this time, I find myself explaining why I don’t believe there is any way for a believer to determine the exact date for the Rapture, together with the reasons that I believe such predictions are dangerous.

First, for those who accept it, it turns ‘faith’ to ‘sight’. If the Rapture is going to be October 4, 2005, there is little incentive for believers to get right with the Lord until October 3rd. On October 5, what had been, to them, a ‘blessed hope’ becomes a bitter disappointment.

It holds up God’s Word to ridicule by unbelievers. Unbelievers look forward to the latest effort at date-setting so that they can use the failed prediction to ‘prove’ the Bible isn’t true or that God wasn’t listening.

And it distracts believers away from the work of the Gospel, which is to introduce the world to the Savior; God come in the flesh, “Who cannot lie,” which is their assurance of His promise of salvation.

Believers are instructed to await the return of the Lord for His Church, but our emphasis is supposed to be on Who is coming, not when. If the predicted date of the Rapture takes place on schedule, the timing is irrelevant, since the Church Age is over.

If it doesn’t take place on schedule, the predicted date is only relevant in that it provides the skeptics with more ammunition to discredit both the Message and the messenger.

In many cases, when the date comes and goes without incident, it just means readjusting the Rapture from pre-Trib to pre-Wrath to make it relevant again.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 admonishes us; . . . “to wait for his Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” We are to be waiting for the Deliverer from wrath, not the wrath itself.

To the lost the Lord will come unexpectedly like a thief. But to believers who are expecting Him and do not sleep, Christ will not come “as a thief.”

This does NOT mean that we are prepared because we KNOW the date of His return, rather, we are not surprised because we are EXPECTING an IMMINENT rapture.

It is the job of the Church to prepare the world for the coming of Christ, not to warn the world of His exact itinerary.

Titus 2:13 tells us that we are to be; “Looking for that blessed hope, AND the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Our Blessed Hope is the imminent return of Christ in the rapture. We are to look for Christ Himself, not the date He is due to arrive.

If the Rapture had taken place on any of those dates, then the dead in Christ shall rise first, and we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds. There will be no dispute, no cause for division, no harm or foul, and those who are caught up will spend a joyful eternity with Christ, no matter when they think the Rapture was supposed to take place.

If it does not, then those who advanced their theories will be discredited and be less effective for God. In effect, date-setting become
s a case of a believer having so much faith in his own ability that he is willing to risk his credibility and compromise his effectiveness for the Gospel in order to make an argument that, if correct, will be eternally meaningless (unless he plans to announce ‘I told you so’ when he arrives in heaven.)

But if the date comes and goes, that believer who put his faith in his own, (or someone else’s) ability to rightly divide the Word, will have that faith shattered and will have subjected both the Word of God and Bible prophecy to ridicule by the world.

Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) If somebody guesses right, then bully for them.

If they guess wrong, there is no earthly way to calculate the spiritual damage done by using the Bible to advance what will then have been proved to be false doctrine to one’s witness for Christ.

If there is a Biblical precedent for someone calculating the date of the Rapture, I cannot find one. If there is a unambiguous Biblical precept that encourages the Church Age to peek behind the veil God has clearly drawn around ‘that date and hour’, I cannot find that, either.

The debate raging in the forums over the date of the Rapture has already driven at least a dozen members to demand refunds for their subscriptions and their names to be stricken from the OL membership rolls. From the tone of other emails, I expect to receive more subscription cancellation requests in the near future.

It doesn’t seem that complicated to me. Jesus said, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” The anger, recriminations and disharmony resulting from these pointless debates don’t seem all that Godly or uplifting to me.

Maybe I am missing something, but if we are all still here on the predicted “date”, what will all the anger and recrimination evident so far have accomplished? (Apart from having caused some to break fellowship and the rest to be grieved in their spirit by it.)

And if we are all Raptured on schedule, what difference will having guessed right have made? It won’t mean more decisions for Christ — that time will have passed. If one doesn’t believe in Jesus, why would anybody think that person would be convinced by a proposed date for a Rapture?

If you don’t know Who is coming, what difference does WHEN make? And if you DO know Who is coming, the same question applies: What difference does knowing WHEN make? If one already has their faith in Jesus, what good is that information in the first place?

(If one puts their faith in the Rapture as a substitute, they aren’t seeking redemption, they are seeking fire insurance.)

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think NOT the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:44)

Scripture is clear: The Lord will come for His Church when He is ready.

Not when WE are. Even if we get mad about it.

Originally Published: August 2, 2005

Israel’s Feasts: Foreshadows of Redemption

Israel’s Feasts: Foreshadows of Redemption
Vol: 168 Issue: 15 Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It is easy to see why secularists — and even many Christians — have a hard time getting their heads around the idea of what is called the Rapture of the Church.  When you take a step back and look at it, it does sound a little, er, weird.

Describe it without using Bible terms and see how it sounds:  People will suddenly disappear without warning, and will be transported — alive — into the air, and from there, it’s off to heaven.

What people?  Only the ones that believe. . .  if you aren’t a believer, you will be left behind.  If you aren’t a believer, how does that sound to you?  A little nuts, right?

Some years ago, I appeared on a National Geographic program called, “Doomsday: The Book of Revelation” that pitted “believers” against “experts” over how literally one should take doctrines like the Rapture, the Tribulation and Bible prophecy in general.

“Fundamentalists who believe in the apocalypse call it the Rapture,” the narrator intoned.  Nat Geo played the whole thing strictly for laughs, I thought, taking the Rapture about as seriously as it does Nostradamus.

Is the Rapture doctrine something made up by believers?  Or is it a legitimate part of the whole endtimes’ scenario?  How far back can we trace it?  Is there evidence that God had it planned from the start?

Or is it, as the skeptics say, a recently-invented doctrine from the early 19th century?

Assessment:

In the Book of Leviticus, God issued instructions to His chosen people, the children of Israel, concerning how they were to worship Him.  Leviticus gives instructions regarding the priesthood, the Law and the system of sacrifices.  God also issued instructions for seven designated feasts that Israel was to celebrate each year.

Each of the feasts is significant both to Israel and to the Church in that both highlight God’s provision for His people.  Both His provision for the needs of His Chosen People and His provision for mankind by the coming of the Messiah and His redemptive Work on the Cross.

The seven Levitical feasts played significant roles in the Lord’s earthly ministry and are symbolic of the whole redemptive story, from His death as the Passover Lamb to His Second coming when He will “tabernacle” (or dwell) with His people forever.

The first three feasts take place almost back-to-back, just as do the events that they symbolize.  Passover recalls the day the Lord visited judgment on all those that rejected Him, passing over those whose homes were sprinkled with the blood of a lamb.

Jesus was God’s Passover Lamb offered as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus died on the Cross and His Body was placed in the grave.  

The Feast of Passover is followed the very next day by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts one week, and it recalls Israel’s hasty escape from Egypt, (symbolic of the world) during which time there was no time to let bread rise. They ate it without yeast.

The Feast of the Unleavened bread symbolizes when Christ descended into Paradise (with the thief), where He led the righteous dead out of their captivity in Abraham’s bosom and into the presence of God.

The second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the Feast of Firstfruits.  Jesus is the first-fruits of the Redemption Who conquered death and Hell and rose from the grave on the third Day after Passover.

Fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits is the Feast of Pentecost.  The Feast of Pentecost celebrated the end of the grain harvest.  Pentecost was also the day that Jesus ascended into Heaven, ending His earthly ministry, but not before promising to send another Helper, the Holy Spirit.

The arrival of the Holy Spirit is a reminder that the promise of salvation and future resurrection is as sure as the harvest and His indwelling empowers believers for ministry to bring in the harvest until He returns.

The Book of Acts records Jesus’ ascension into heaven at Pentecost, saying He rose into the air and was received into the clouds.

“And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

Pentecost concludes the spring-time feasts for Israel just as it concluded the Lord’s earthly ministry for the Church.  After Pentecost, there is a period of time before the Fall Feasts begin.   This is symbolic of the Church Age — the Lord has fulfilled the first four feasts of Leviticus to the letter.

To recap, the first three Feasts symbolized His death, His time in the grave and His Resurrection. His sacrifice and Resurrection are past, we have received His Holy Spirit and now we await His Return.  

The first three symbolized the major redemptive events of His First Advent — the remaining four tell the story of His Second Coming.

The Feast of the Trumpets is next on the calendar and it celebrates the waning of the agricultural year.  The growing season is over and the harvest is in the barns.   The Feast of the Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, marks the start of ten days of repentance, or “Ten Days of Awe.”

There are many that believe Rosh Hashanah symbolizes the “Fullness of the Gentiles” and that the Rapture will occur at some time during this ten-day period. How important is that? 

If there is no pre-Trib Rapture,  then the Feast of the Trumpets has no symbolic counterpart and the whole dual fulfillment interpretation falls apart. 

Recall Jesus’ admonition was that “no man would know the day or the hour,” but we COULD know when it was “near, even at the doors.”

A ten-day window out of one generation, somewhere in time, does no violence to the traditional understanding of either of these relevant Scriptures.  

And it fits perfectly with Paul’s description of the event in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.

“For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

The Day of Atonement was the day the High Priest would make an offering for the sins of all Israel.  It symbolizes when God will turn His attention away from the Gentiles and back to Israel.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (Romans 11:25)

Finally, Sukkot, the seventh feast day on God’s calendar takes place five days after the Day of Atonement.  It is the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles and lasts for seven days. It recalls the time the Israelites lived in huts made from palm branches prior to entering the Land of Canaan.

It also foreshadows entry into the Millennial Kingdom where Christ will rule from Jerusalem and people from every kindred, tongue and nation will be able to “tabernacle” or dwell in His presence.

Israel is back in the Land of Promise.  The fullness of the Gentiles is almost complete.  The Lord is coming back to reap His Harvest and we can almost hear the trumpet.

What a time to be alive!  Maranatha!

Originally Published: April 28, 2012

Featured Commentary: The Devil’s Chapel ~ Wendy Wippel