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A Hezekiah/Manasseh Co-regency?

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King Manasseh of Judah


If you have a copy of Mr. Camping’s little book called The Perfect Harmony of the Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, or his Biblical Calendar of History, or his book Time Has An End, you’ll find that he gives the following dates for the reigns of Hezekiah and Manasseh:


Hezekiah:                715 BC – 686 BC


Manasseh:               697 BC – 642 BC


Manasseh was Hezekiah’s son, and succeeded him as king of Judah. Notice that there is an overlap in their reigns according to the above dates. Mr. Camping believed that from 697 BC until Hezekiah died in 686 BC, Manasseh was a co-regent with Hezekiah. However, when we search the Bible we don’t find any mention of co-regency.


It’s important that we understand this subject because Mr. Camping developed a continuous timeline from Creation to 391 BC, and used that timeline to determine the great tribulation’s three dates – with May 21, 2011 being the final date that the Bible reveals. If there are extra years or not enough years in the timeline between Biblically dated events, then his dates for the great tribulation could be wrong.



The Biblical Evidence


Here is what we do find in the Bible. In 2 Kings 20:21, we read:


And Hezekiah slept with his fathers: and Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.


And in the next verse, 2 Kings 21:1, we read:


Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Hephzibah.


The information from 2 Kings is confirmed by 2 Chronicles 32:33:


And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead.


And by the verse that comes right after it – 2 Chronicles 33:1:


Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem:


There’s a lot more in the Bible about these two kings; but there doesn’t appear to be anything else about the timing of Manasseh’s reign, and there don’t seem to be any clues as to whether or not he was ever co-regent with his father. As a result, some people have questioned not only Mr. Camping’s dates for Manasseh but also the validity of his entire Biblical timeline.


An Important Consideration: Archaeology


One of the specific objections concerning Mr. Camping’s calendar work is his use of a book by Edwin Thiele. Mr. Camping lists that book (The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings) among the credits at the end of his own book about the Hebrew Kings. Mr. Camping also used a book called Handbook of Biblical Chronology by a man named Jack Finegan. Did Mr. Camping violate his own rule by using sources outside the Bible – sources dealing with archaeology? No, he didn’t.


The fact is, it’s impossible to synchronize the Biblical calendar with our modern calendar unless we go to archaeology. The Biblical calendar tells us the number of years that elapsed from Creation until the Biblical year when a given event occurred. So we get numbers such as 6,023 as the date for Noah’s flood, and 9,566 as the date for the Exodus, and 10,416 as the date for Zedekiah’s first year as king of Judah. But how can we relate those dates to our calendar?


It’s simply not possible to know when those events happened according to our own calendar unless we can find at least one event that archaeology has accurately dated according to our calendar. And that’s a problem: how can we know that an event has been accurately dated? The problem is solved when we find two or more artifacts assigning secular dates for Biblical events, and having secular dates such that the time interval between them matches the time interval or intervals between those events as dated according to the Biblical calendar.


So for example archaeology tells us – based on artifacts that have been discovered and dated – that Ahab’s last year was 853 BC and that Zedekiah’s first year was 597 BC. There is an interval of 256 years between these two dates. This is the same time interval we find between these two events when they are dated according to the Biblical calendar (10,416 for Zedekiah’s first year and 10,160 for Ahab’s last year). Therefore, we have confidence that archaeology has correctly dated those two events, and we can now use either one of those secular dates to determine the secular date for any Biblically dated event. It’s simply a matter of adding or subtracting the required number of years to go back or forward in time.


Notice especially that the earlier of the two archaeologically determined dates (Ahab’s last year) occurred before Hezekiah’s reign, and that the later one (for Zedekiah) occurred after Manasseh’s reign. This means that all the years for the reigns of the various kings between them – including those of Hezekiah and Manasseh – have been added together correctly.


Reasoning from the Bible’s Numbers


There can be places in the Bible where God may guide us to a conclusion, but leave it up to us to figure it out or to fill in some details. For example, we know that Israel was in Egypt for 430 years. God gives us numbers we need to prove it, but He leaves one number out: the number of years Levi lived there. From the Bible, we know that Kohath spent his entire life of 133 years there; Amram spent his entire 137 years there; and that Moses was born there and was 80 years old just before the Exodus. Those numbers add up to 350 years.


We also know that Levi lived to be 137 years old. But how old was he when he entered Egypt? The Bible doesn’t tell us, but it’s clear that he must have spent 80 years there in order for the total number of Israel’s years in Egypt to be 430. Therefore he was 57 years old when he entered Egypt.


In a similar manner, we can be justified in assuming co-regency in order to attain the total number of years to which the Bible guides us. Also, in the case of Hezekiah and Manasseh there is a very good reason to assume co-regency. Here is the reason. Isaiah 38:1 reveals that Hezekiah suffered a serious illness:


In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order: for thou shalt die, and not live.


However, the Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayer and sent Isaiah back to tell him that he would be healed. Isaiah 38:5 tells us:


Go, and say to Hezekiah, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years.


Notice that in verse 1 Hezekiah is told to set his house in order. From then on, he must have been thinking of his son who would succeed him. It’s very reasonable to assume that he later made Manasseh co-regent to prepare him for the day when he would rule alone.



Ezekiel’s Days Lying on His Sides


Another objection has to do with a number we find in Ezekiel 4. God commanded Ezekiel to lie on his left side for an incredibly long time: 390 days. We read about that in Ezekiel 4:4-5:


Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.


It has been claimed that the 390 days, which represented 390 years, revealed the true length of time from the date Israel was divided into two kingdoms until the date Judah was conquered. This was apparently taught by some theologians hundreds of years ago. But is this a correct understanding of Ezekiel 4?


The Bible tells us that in the latter days, God’s elect will have an understanding of time that earlier believers did not have (Daniel 12:8-10). It also reveals that the local congregations would lose truth as time went on (see Revelation 6:5-6). So while it is true that we can get closer to a 390 year total by assuming there are no co-regencies, there is no reason to think that 390 is the correct number. In fact, the Bible indicates that it isn’t.


We must also consider the time Ezekiel spent on his right side. This was also part of the sign God provided through Ezekiel. We read about that in Ezekiel 4:6:


And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.


When we add the number of days Ezekiel spent on his left side to the number he spent on his right side, we get 430 days – representing 430 years. Now that is an important number! It’s the same number of years that Israel was in Egypt.


The 390 days/years are also significant when we consider the factors involved: 3 x 13 x 10. We know from Mr. Camping’s work that the number three often identifies God’s purpose, and the number ten has to do with the completeness of whatever is in view. What about the number thirteen? Mr. Camping identified it as a reference to the last days, beginning 13,000 years after Creation. So the number 390 should direct our attention to the last days and make us think of Israel’s time in Egypt as a picture of the total length in God’s salvation plan. Of course, the number 40 – the number of days Ezekiel spent on his right side – also has spiritual significance. We often find it used in the Bible to signify a period of testing.


There’s something else we can learn from Ezekiel 4. First, read Ezekiel 4:9:


Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.


Notice that God’s recipe has six grains. Next, notice how much water Ezekiel is told to drink according to Ezekiel 4:11:


Thou shalt drink also water by measure, the sixth part of an hin: from time to time shalt thou drink.


Here again we see the number six featured. God is calling our attention to that number. If we multiply the 430 years by six, we get 2,580 years. Next, we should know the year in which Ezekiel was lying on his sides. We find that in Ezekiel 1:2-3:


In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.


According to Mr. Camping’s Biblical Calender of History, Jehoiachin’s last year as king was 597 BC. The Babylonians then took him away and put Zedekiah on the throne. If Jehoiachin’s first year of captivity was during 597 BC, then his fifth year was in 593 BC. If we advance the calendar by 2,580 years from that date, what do we get?


-593 + 2,580 + 1 = 1988 (we add a “1” because there is no year “0”)


Mr. Camping identified the year 1988 as the start of the great tribulation. He also identified 11,013 BC as the date for Creation. When we add 13,000 years to it (recall the “13” featured in the year 390) we come to 1988. And so we see the year 1988 confirmed in a most amazing way.




Although we cannot prove that Mr. Camping’s Biblical calendar correctly states the exact dates for every reign of every king of both Israel and Judah, we can be confident in its key dates. For example, the year 587 BC has long been accepted as the year the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem. This is the date we arrive at as we proceed through the Biblical calendar. However, we also arrive at it when we apply Daniel’s 1,290 days (understanding that they represent 1,290 years) to the date when Jacob (Israel) entered Egypt.


They entered 430 years before 1447 BC, so that would be 1877 BC. When we start at 1877 BC and advance the calendar by 1,290 years, we arrive at 587 BC! And when we double the 1,290 years, we arrive at another familiar date. (Incidentally, God gives us a precedent for this kind of doubling in 1 Kings 6:1. When we double the 480 years mentioned there and count from 967 BC, we come to 7 BC – the year when the Lord Jesus was born.) Doubling the 1,290 years gives us 2,580 years. When we start at 587 BC (the pivotal year in Israel’s 70 years of “desolation”) and advance the calendar by that number, we come to the year 1994 – which was the pivotal year in the great tribulation of our day. And so we see how God has given us ways to confirm that we have correctly understood His incredible calendar and to know the final dates of His salvation plan.

Riding The Timeline Through Jacob’s Amazing Prophecies

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Near the end of the book of Genesis, there are some amazing prophecies involving Jacob’s sons.  We will see that these prophecies actually reveal a great deal of information about God’s salvation plan; but before examining the prophecies, it helps to review some information that Genesis provides about the 12 men whose descendants became the 12 tribes of Israel.



Jacob’s Sons



1. Reuben:


Reuben’s mother was Leah and he was Jacob’s firstborn son, as we read in Genesis 29:32:


And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.


The name Reuben means “behold a son.”  Leah was Jacob’s first wife.  Jacob really loved Rachel and was supposed to marry her instead, but his uncle Laban deceived him into taking Leah while in a tent where it was too dark to see.  Apparently, the Lord didn’t like the fact that Jacob had once deceived his father Isaac by taking advantage of his father’s inability to see (Genesis 27:1-37), because Jacob was deceived in a similar way.


A key verse about Reuben is Genesis 35:22:


And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard it.  


We will see that this sin of immorality is very relevant to the prophecy about Reuben.



2 -3.  Simeon and Levi:


And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon. 34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi.  ( Genesis 29:33-34)


In Jacob’s prophecy, Simeon and Levi are mentioned together – almost as if they were twins.  However, they were not twins.  Simeon was Jacob’s second son, and his name means “heard.”  The name of Levi, the third son, means “joined to.”


There are many verses about each of these two men individually.  But there is one incident in which they acted together.  It was to avenge their sister, Dinah.  Genesis 34:1-2 explains:


And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land. 2 And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.  


After this happened, Shechem wanted to marry Dinah.  Jacob’s sons agreed to allow the marriage if all the men in that place were circumcised (Genesis 34:13-17).  However, Jacob’s sons spoke “deceitfully” when they made this agreement.


As a result, Shechem and his father met with the men of their city and made the case that they should all be circumcised, as we read in Genesis 34:23:


Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.


The men of the city were convinced by this argument and agreed to be circumcised (verse 24).  Genesis 34:25-26 tells us what happened next:


And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. 26 And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out.    


We will see that these verses help us understand Jacob’s prophecy about Simeon and Levi.



4.  Judah:


And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.  (Genesis 29:35)


After Levi was born, Leah had another son: Judah.  According to the concordance, the word Judah means “praised.”  We will see that Jacob’s prophecy about Judah is very different than those for all the other sons.


Up to Judah, Jacob’s prophecies about his sons follow the order in which they were born: Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah.  After Judah, the next son to be born was Dan; however, the next son listed in Judah’s prophecies is Zebulun.



5.  Zebulun:


He was Leah’s sixth son, as we read in Genesis 30:20:


And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun.


Zebulun was Jacob’s tenth son and Leah’s last.  His name means “exalted.”  In Jacob’s prophecies, Zebulun is the fifth son to be named.



6.  Issachar:


The sixth son named in Jacob’s prophecies is Issachar.  We first read about him in Genesis 30:17-18:


And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. 18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.


Issachar was Jacob’s ninth son.  There is some ambiguity about the meaning of the name Issachar, but it’s related to Leah’s statement about being given her hire, referring to Genesis 30:14-16.  The concordance indicates his name could mean either “he is wages” or “he brings wages.”  When we get to the prophecies, we will see that both meanings fit.



7.  Dan:


And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. 6 And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.  (Genesis 30:5-6)


The next son named in Jacob’s prophecies is Dan.  According to the concordance, the name Dan means “a judge.”  Rachel was so desperate to have children that she gave her maid Bilhah to Jacob (Genesis 30:1-4).  Dan was Jacob’s fifth son and Bilhah’s first.



8.  Gad:


When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 10 And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.  (Genesis 30:9-11)


Gad was the eighth son to be named in Jacob’s prophecies; but in order of birth, Gad was Jacob’s seventh son.  His name means “a troop.”



9.  Asher:


And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.  (Genesis 30:12-13)


The name Asher means “happy.”   He was Zilpah’s second son, and Jacob’s eighth son.



10.  Naphtali:


And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. 8 And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali.  (Genesis 30:7-8)


Jacob’s sixth son was Naphtali.  In Jacob’s prophecies about his sons, Naphtali was tenth in order.  His name means “wrestling.”



11.  Joseph:


After many years, God gave Rachel a son, as we read in Genesis 30:22-24:


And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son.


Joseph’s name means “Jehovah has added.”  He was Jacob’s eleventh son.



12.  Benjamin:


We read about Benjamin’s birth in Genesis 35:16-18:


And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. 17 And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.

The name Benjamin means “son of the right hand.”  He was Rachel’s second and last son, and Jacob’s twelfth and last son.



The Prophecies


Just before dying, Jacob asked to see his 12 sons, as we read in Genesis 49:1-2:


1 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. 2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father.


Jacob then went on to say something about each son.  Those statements have been understood as prophecies about the tribes that descended from his sons.  Past theologians have looked at Biblical accounts of individual tribes in the wilderness and Canaan as they tried to understand the prophecies.  Others believe the prophecies have been fulfilled by certain modern nations.  For example, the name “Denmark” may point to Dan’s descendants; and Britain may also trace its roots to one or more tribes of Israel (the word “British” apparently comes from two Hebrew words: the word for covenant –  “beriyth,” Strong’s number H1285; and the word for man – “iysh,” Strong’s number H376).  However, theologians have been looking in the wrong places in the Bible; and more importantly, they have been looking at the prophecies in the wrong way.


Even if Denmark or Great Britain or some other nation did originate with people from one of Israel’s tribes, prophecy has to do with God’s salvation plan.  That’s how we will see it fulfilled.  To understand what Jacob told his sons, we need to realize that God can use an individual to represent a group of people.  The group doesn’t have to be related to that individual by birth or nationality.  In fact, we know that God has saved people from every nationality, from all over the world.  This group whom God has saved – the elect – is the most important group in God’s salvation plan.


We can say that God’s salvation plan is what we know about His work through the ages to accomplish His purpose of saving a people for Himself.  God has revealed a great many details about this plan, and we can construct a timeline presenting some of that information as dates and events.  The timeline is the means by which we can understand Jacob’s prophecies.  Here is the timeline we need:


This timeline is a revision of the one Mr. Camping used.  Many people are familiar with it, because some of its dates were discussed very often over Family Radio for a couple of years before May 2011. The revisions to Mr. Camping’s timeline reflect what we have learned since 2011 (the feast of tabernacles has been deleted, because God shows us that this feast will be fulfilled in eternity; also, the timeline ends in a question mark because we do not know the last date and will not know it until it arrives).


Anyone who is familiar with the timeline should be thinking about it as soon as he or she reads Genesis 49:1.  Notice what Jacob told his sons: that he would tell them what “shall befall you in the last days.”  Our timeline includes the last three dates revealed by the Bible.  They are certainly important in any discussion of “the last days.”


This timeline begins in 1860 B.C. (see Time Has An End, p. 103 and Genesis 47:28 to determine this date) because that was the year of Jacob’s prophecies.  Thanks to Mr. Camping, we have a calendar of history going all the way back to Creation (in 11,013 B.C.); so our timeline could go back that far if needed.  However, to understand Genesis 49 our timeline starts in the year Jacob died – and that was when he spoke his amazing prophecies.



1.  Reuben


Here is what he said about Reuben (Genesis 49:3-4):


Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: 4 Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it : he went up to my couch.


We know that Jacob is here referring to Reuben’s sin of sexual immorality (Genesis 35:22).  However, this is also a prophecy: “Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel.”  What can this possibly mean?


From Genesis 49:1, we know that Jacob’s prophecies are in some way concerned with the last days; but that doesn’t mean the prophecy for each son must be about the last days.  In fact, if we compare Jacob’s prophecy about Reuben with the timeline’s end-time events, we don’t see any way they match.  However, instead of looking near the end of the timeline, suppose we look at the period after the Exodus.


More than 400 years after Jacob died, the children of Israel escaped from slavery in Egypt.  They soon forgot about the Lord’s commandments and began to worship a molten calf, as we read in Exodus 32:7-8:


And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves: 8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.   


Sadly, this was not a one-time mistake.  It turned out to be the kind of sin they committed over and over, century after century.  If you read the book of Judges, you’ll learn that there were many times when the children of Israel worshipped false gods.  Then, perhaps worst of all, after Israel had become a kingdom and was at the height of its power under king Solomon, we read this in 1 Kings 11:5-8:


For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.


Because of this sin, the Lord told Solomon that He would tear the kingdom from him (1 Kings 11:9-13).  In order to see how this relates to the prophecy about Reuben, we need to keep two other ideas in mind.  First, God sometimes compares His relationship with His people as a marriage.  The worship of false gods is compared to a wife’s immoral behavior.  Hosea 2:13 is a verse where we see this idea expressed:


And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.    


The second thing to keep in mind is that God has also used the idea of a son to represent His people.  We see this in Hosea 11:1-2:


When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. 2 As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.


God is here referring to the children of Israel (at the time they came out of Egypt) as His son.  Notice that they soon “went from them;” that is, the children of Israel soon went from God to worship Baalim and graven images.  However, God associates the worship of false gods with sexual immorality.  So we can conclude that, in the prophecy, Reuben’s sexual immorality is a picture of Israel’s sin of worshipping false gods; and Reuben is a picture of the children of Israel from the time they left Egypt until the time of Solomon’s death.  They definitely did not excel.



2 -3.  Simeon and Levi:


The next prophecy concerns Simeon and Levi.  What Jacob said about them is found in Genesis 49:5-7:


Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. 6 O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. 7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

When Jacob said this, he was undoubtedly thinking about the incident involving his daughter Dinah, when Simeon and Levi killed all the males in a nearby city.  However, part of this statement is a prophecy.  At the end of verse 7, we read “I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.”  Of course, this is the Lord telling us about something He would do in the future.  We can know what this prophecy means if we make 931 B.C. our next stop on the timeline.


That was the year Solomon died and his son Rehoboam began to rule (1 Kings 11:43).  Recall that God had told Solomon He would take the kingdom from his son (1 Kings 11:12-13).  The stage was all set for this to happen when Rehoboam became king.  You can read all about it in 1 Kings 12.


The kingdom was divided.  Most of the people followed a man named Jeroboam.  This new kingdom of Israel consisted of all the tribes except for Judah and Benjamin (1 Kings 12:21).  Rehoboam continued as their king, but he now ruled over a much smaller territory and number of people.  His kingdom was now known as Judah.


Under Jeroboam, the kingdom of Israel got off to a very bad start.  Jeroboam was afraid he would lose his kingdom when people went back to Jerusalem to worship during the annual feasts, so he had two golden calves made and established his own false religion (1 Kings 12:26-33).  In that way, he tried to keep his people in the territory he controlled.


When we look at the histories of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah from the time of the division until they were conquered, we don’t find many good kings.  There were eventually a few good kings in Judah (based on what the Bible tells us about them, e.g. Hezekiah), but most were bad; and it doesn’t appear that there were any good kings in Israel.  As usual, the problem in each kingdom was the worship of false gods.  Eventually, God brought Assyria against the kingdom of Israel, and in 709 B.C. it was conquered.  Then in 587 B.C., Jerusalem was destroyed; and so the kingdom of Judah also came to an end.  As each kingdom fell centuries after the monarchy was divided, its people (the ten tribes of Israel and then the two tribes of Judah) were scattered throughout the region in accordance with Jacob’s prophecy.



4.  Judah:


The prophecy about Judah is very different than all the others.  We will see that each of the other brothers is a picture of God’s people at some time during God’s salvation plan, from the time of the Exodus until the end of the world.  However, Judah is a picture of the Lord Jesus.  (We will also see that the prophecy about Joseph is very special.)  Here is Jacob’s prophecy about Judah.  It’s found in Genesis 49:8-12:


Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. 9 Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. 11 Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: 12 His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.


This prophecy takes us to the year 7 B.C. on the timeline.  That was the year the Lord Jesus was born.  Notice that verse 9 refers to Judah as a “whelp.”  You might also see it translated as the word “cub” if you’re using a version other than the KJV.  A whelp or a cub is a young animal, and that’s a picture of the Lord Jesus as a young boy.  That same verse mentions an old lion.  Indeed, the Lord Jesus was a man of about 38 years old when He was crucified.  In a vision years later, the apostle John heard the Lord Jesus called the Lion of the tribe of Judah, as we read in Revelation 5:5:


And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.


Continuing with the prophecy, Genesis 49:10 tells us about the Lord’s power as king and lawgiver.  The words “gathering of the people” may be a reference to the last day, when all true believers will join in the Rapture and Resurrection to meet the Lord in the air.  They will be gathered to Him (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and John 11:52).


The first part of verse 11 mentions a foal with a vine, and then an ass’s colt with a “choice vine.”  These two pairings may refer to the Lord’s relationship with both the Jewish nation of His day (most of whom were unsaved) and also with the true believers.


Next, we find references to wine and milk in verses 11 and 12.  Some New Testament verses help us understand what they represent.  In 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, we read about milk being fed to the believers at Corinth.  There, milk represents basic truths from the Bible; these are things that are easier to understand or accept than other Biblical truths we eventually learn.  Of course, the Lord Jesus was exposed to those teachings because He grew up in a Jewish household.


What about wine and “the blood of grapes?”  In each of the four Gospel accounts, we read something about the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, shortly before He was arrested.  There’s a reference to a cup in each account.  Here is the Luke 22:42 version:


Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.


When we search for verses to help us understand what this means, we find that God sometimes uses the idea of a cup to symbolize His judgment against the unsaved.  We see this in Revelation 14:10:


The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:


The Lord’s eyes are “red with wine,” according to Genesis 49:12, because He drank the cup of God’s wrath as the penalty for all those whom He saved.


In addition to seeing how the prophecy was fulfilled in the New Testament, it’s very interesting to notice how a couple of verses about events in the life of Jacob’s son Judah are apparently relevant to the prophecy.  One such verse is Genesis 43:9:


I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever:


Here, Judah is speaking to his father Jacob about Benjamin.  He is promising to return Benjamin to his father after they go to Egypt to buy food.  Judah and his brothers still did not know at that time that the man with whom they had spoken on their first trip to Egypt was actually their brother Joseph.  On that first trip, Joseph had insisted that the brothers bring Benjamin when they return; otherwise he would not see them.  Jacob was afraid to let Benjamin go, but he felt he had no choice because the family needed food.  Judah’s guarantee to save Benjamin is like the Lord’s guarantee to save His people (see John 17:12).


Another relevant verse appears to be Genesis 46:28:


And he sent Judah before him unto Joseph, to direct his face unto Goshen; and they came into the land of Goshen.


Here, we see that Jacob chose Judah to lead the move into Goshen.  In Genesis 47:6, Goshen is called the “best of the land.”  So God may be giving us a hint that Judah here represents the Lord Jesus leading His people to the Promised Land.  This too is consistent with Jacob’s prophecy about Judah, the son whose name means “praised.”


As we read about various people in the Bible, it’s important to realize that someone may be a picture of something spiritual in one verse or situation; but that picture may not apply in another verse about the same person.  This is certainly the case with Jacob’s son Judah.  Many verses about him have nothing to do with Jacob’s prophecy about him.  This is one of the ways God has made it so difficult to understand truth.



5.  Zebulun:


We’ve seen that Jacob’s prophecy about Judah is a picture of the Lord Jesus during His time on earth from 7 B.C. until the Crucifixion.  That happened April 1, 33 A.D., and that’s where we are as of Genesis 49:12.  In order to understand the prophecy about Zebulun, we only have to move a short distance on the timeline to the next stop, several weeks later.


On Pentecost, May 22, in 33 A.D., God poured out the Holy Spirit to begin the Church Age.  The prophecy about Zebulun is all about the Church Age.  Here is that prophecy, from Genesis 49:13:


Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon.     


You probably know that the apostle Paul recorded more of the New Testament than anyone else.  He sailed all over the Mediterranean and started many congregations (for a site with maps of Paul’s missionary journeys, see http://www.apostlepaulthefilm.com/paul/journeys.htm).  We have his epistles to Christians at Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, Thessalonica and Rome.  He may also have written to many other congregations – letters that were not included in the Bible (e.g., see Colossians 4:16).


Do you see how this relates to the prophecy?  Zebulun is a picture of God’s people sending out ships to spread the Gospel all over the world, and of people accepting the Gospel when the ships land.  This activity continued throughout the Church Age until 1988.  Until then, it was still possible to be saved – at least in some local congregations.  That all ended on May 21, 1988, and that’s where we are stopped on the timeline right now.



6.  Issachar:


Before Jacob made his prophetic statements about his sons, he spoke of his two grandsons, who were Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh.  He prophesied that the younger (Ephraim) would be greater than the older, but that each would become a great people (Genesis 48:19).  So we see there a picture of two great groups of people.  You may know that this prophecy matches something we find in God’s salvation plan as pictured in the annual feasts God commanded ancient Israel to observe (Leviticus 23).  Those feasts include the feast of firstfruits (Leviticus 23:10) and a second feast held later in the year (Leviticus 23:39), when the larger harvest had been gathered.


Now let’s think about the Church Age.  It lasted for 1,955 years.  The Bible reveals that when it ended no one was being saved anywhere.  This period without salvation lasted for a few years, from May 21, 1988 until September 7, 1994.  That’s when God began the latter rain.  This was the time when He began saving a great multitude all over the earth.  It was also a time of judgment against the churches, because they did not participate in this blessing of salvation.  God has given us a picture of this change in His salvation plan in the sign He gave Gideon (Judges 6:36-40).  Do you recall that?  First, there was dew only on the fleece; but then, the dew fell everywhere except on the fleece.


During the Church Age, the local congregations were like that fleece.  They had the dew, and that’s where people were saved.  Then, during the latter rain, it was possible to be saved anywhere the word of God was heard – except in a local congregation of a Christian church.  And so we again see two great groups represented: one of them saved during the Church Age, and the second, larger group saved during an end-time period.


That great period of salvation we call the latter rain ended just before May 21, 2011.  The second group of God’s elect had by that time been saved.  That was the great multitude the apostle John saw in a vision (Revelation 7:9).  This great multitude from all over earth was saved after a smaller group (represented by 144,000 in Revelation 7:4) had been saved throughout the Church Age.


Recall that the prophecy about Zebulun matches the perod from 33 A.D. until May 21, 1988.  That’s our present stop on the timeline; but we’re about to move again.  Keeping all of this background in mind, we can now read Jacob’s prophecy about Issachar, found in Genesis 49:14-15:


Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: 15 And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.


This mysterious prophecy is packed with meaning.  Each of Jacob’s prophecies about his sons is amazing, but this may be the most amazing prophecy of all.  What does it mean?


First of all, we need to recognize that verse 14 could have been better translated.  The word “burdens” is Strong’s number H4942, “mishpath.”  It’s only used in one other place in the Bible (Judges 5:16), and there it’s translated as “sheepfolds.”  A sheepfold is an enclosed area where a flock of sheep is kept.  So the picture we see in verse 14 is that of an animal like a donkey lying down near two sheepfolds.  Think of the verse as being translated like this:


“Issachar is a strong ass lying down between two sheepfolds.”


Notice how the prophecy matches what we know of God’s salvation plan.  It is telling of the time after the great multitude (Revelation 7:9) has been saved out of the great tribulation (Revelation 7:14).  It shows God’s people resting from their labor of bringing the Gospel to the world.  Here, Issachar is a picture of God’s people after the latter rain has ended.  So we move along the timeline from May 21, 1988 to May 21, 2011.


As of that date, the two big groups we read about in Revelation 7 have been saved and are in their sheepfolds.  The sheepfold gates are closed, and no more sheep can enter in at either sheepfold.  In other words, it’s a picture of the time when salvation has ended permanently.  In fact, Genesis 49:14 is a picture of God’s people today.


Genesis 49:15 provides additional details:


And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.


The verse tells us they “saw” the rest.  When we see how the word “rest” (H4496) is used in other verses, we can conclude that the verse appears to teach that God’s people understand the truth about salvation: that they cannot work for it.  However, the verse may also teach that God’s people understand that salvation has ended.  This is consistent with the prophecy’s first verse, because Issachar is lying down.


What about the next part of the verse?  It tells us they saw the land, that it was pleasant.  When we understand what God tells us about this world, we can rule out the possibility that God’s people should think of it as being pleasant; so the verse must be telling us that God’s people are thinking of the new heavens and earth.  They are anticipating the Lord’s return and looking forward to their lives with Him in His kingdom.


The verse continues in a way that, at first glance, appears to contradict the first part of the prophecy.  The second part of verse 15 tells us that Issachar “bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute.”  If Issachar is lying down and resting, then why is he working?


There’s a passage in Matthew 17 that helps us understand.  Matthew 17:24-25 states:


And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?  He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?


Here, the idea of paying tribute has to do with submitting to those who are in authority over us in this world.  In the above verses, it has to do with paying taxes.  Therefore, the prophecy about Issachar being a “servant unto tribute” appears to be showing us a picture of God’s people living as good citizens in whichever nations they are.  It implies that they’re living a normal life, trying to earn a living and be obedient to the laws of the land, always mindful that this is a wicked and God-rejecting world.


This picture of Issachar as God’s end-time elect continues until the last day.  There is no other timeline event after May 21, 2011 until the rapture/resurrection, and that’s exactly what the prophecy about Dan is all about.



7.  Dan:


Jacob’s prophecy about Dan comes right after his prophecy about Issachar.  It’s found in Genesis 49:16-18:


Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. 18 I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.


God gives us some clues that this prophecy concerns the last day.  First of all, we know that the Rapture and Resurrection will be a judgment (Dan is “a judge”) against all those who are following a false gospel.  Most people who today consider themselves as Christians follow a works-based gospel – what Mr. Camping used to call a do-it-yourself salvation plan.  They are certain they have been saved because of something they have done or continue to do (e.g., baptism in water, a public confession of faith, regular attendance at mass).  The Bible shows us that the Resurrection and Rapture will be a judgment against them because they will realize that they have been left behind on earth after the elect have been taken up to heaven.


Another clue about the meaning of this prophecy is its similarity to something found in Revelation 9.  There, we read about the sounding of the sixth trumpet (verses 13-21), and what the apostle John saw in a vision associated with that trumpet.  In the vision, John saw a great army of horsemen riding horses having tails like serpents (verse 19).  In other verses from Revelation, this event is described as a battle against a great earthly army gathered by Satan.  The horses with the serpent-like tails represent a heavenly army (all of those who have been saved) bringing God’s judgment against an earthly army, who represent the unsaved (see Revelation 16:13-16 and Revelation 19:17-21).  That’s the meaning of “biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.”


The first two verses of the Dan prophecy tell of the judgment aspect of the Rapture/Resurrection.  The third verse (Genesis 49:18) also points to the last day, but in a different way.  The words “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD” tell us about the completion of salvation.  This verse is not telling us that salvation continues after the Issachar prophecy.  To understand this, read Exodus 14:13:


And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.


The word salvation used in Genesis 49:18 is the same Hebrew word used for “salvation” here, telling us the children of Israel saw “the salvation of the LORD.”  However, from the book of Exodus we know this does not mean the children of Israel were saved.  On the contrary, only Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Caleb and maybe a few others were saved out of that whole multitude of people.


The children of Israel saw the Lord’s salvation that day because God saved them from the Egyptian army.  The situation on the last day will be similar for the elect because those who are still alive will be rescued from this world.  Also, all the elect will see their salvation completed as they inherit their immortal bodies.


The prophecies we have covered so far span God’s salvation plan from the Exodus until the last day.   With the prophecy about Dan, we have come to the end of the timeline; but there are still five prophecies to go.  What do we do with them?


There is really no problem here, once we realize that God has done something similar to what we see in the book of Revelation.  There, we find that visions corresponding to the seven seals and seven trumpets follow in chronological order.   However, the visions that come afterwards do not follow chronologically.  With Jacob’s prophecies, the situation is similar, but maybe not so difficult to understand.


Recall that the prophecy for Zebulun extends to the end of the Church Age, during which a large group of people was saved; but the prophecy for Issachar begins after the great multitude – the second large group of elect – has already been saved.  In other words, the entire period of the great tribulation was skipped.  In Jacob’s remaining prophecies, God goes back to that period to show us five different pictures of His people living during those days.



8.  Gad:


Jacob’s prophecy about Gad is found in Genesis 49:19:


Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.


Notice that Gad will be “overcome.”  Compare that with what we find in Revelation 11:7, where we read about the two witnesses.  They represent those who bring an end-time warning that God’s judgment is near:


And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.


There are several places in the Bible where God reveals that His people are overcome or silenced in some way in the last days.  The prophecy about Gad is one of them.


We now know how it happened.  As part of the warning that May 21, 2011 would be Judgment Day, the world was also told to expect an enormous global earthquake, followed by the Rapture and Resurrection.   Since there was no physical sign of any kind that day, those who brought the warnings have been discredited in the world’s eyes.  Many have suffered much more than loss of credibility, besides sorrow and disappointment.


In this way, “Gad” has been overcome; but the verse also tells us that Gad – that is, God’s people – shall overcome at the last.  This is clearly a reference to the Rapture and Resurrection on the last day.  In fact, the Hebrew word translated “at the last” is the same word found in the prophecy about Dan (Strong’s number H6119, “aqeb”), where it’s translated as “heels,” as in horse heels.   Therefore, Gad is also that “serpent by the way” bringing judgment on the last day when he is caught up to heaven.



9.  Asher:


Recall that the name Asher means “happy.”  Therefore, we should expect the prophecy about him to imply that God’s people will be happy about something in the last days.  This prophecy is another short one, and it’s found in Genesis 49:20:


Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties.


When we check the word translated here as “bread” in a concordance, we find that it’s the same word used to describe the manna with which God fed the children of Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 16:4).  Recall that the Lord Jesus compared Himself with that bread (John 6:41).  Also, the Lord is called the Word in the fourth Gospel (John 1:1).  Based on these verses, it appears that Asher’s bread represents the spiritual food we get from the Bible when God opens His word to our understanding.


The word “fat” is used in several verses in the Old Testament.  For example, in Ezekiel 34:14 we find the term “fat pasture.”  The idea is that there is a great abundance of something.  The prophecy, therefore, seems to be telling us that God will open His word to reveal truth abundantly – to reveal things that have never before been understood.


The second part of the verse tells us “he shall yield royal dainties.”  The word translated here as “yield” is also found in Psalm 85:12, where it’s used with the idea of land that yields a crop.  This part of the prophecy, therefore, appears to be telling us about the fruit of the Spirit developing in God’s people during the last days as they wait for the Lord to return.  In this way, Asher will yield “royal dainties.”  That’s a development that will be pleasing to God.



10.  Naphtali:


Here is the prophecy about Naphtali from Genesis 49:21:


Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words.


We might think it strange that Naphtali is called a “hind,” but we can understand why he is after we have read the Song of Solomon.  Here is the last verse of that book, Song of Solomon 8:14:


Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.


The beloved in this verse is the Lord Jesus, and the speaker is a maiden who is a picture of true believers waiting for the Lord’s return on the last day.  Notice that the Lord is compared to a hart, which is a male deer.  A hind, on the other hand, is a female deer.


In many places in the Bible, God pictures His relationship with the elect as a marriage.  The Church – being the entire body of believers – is pictured as a bride (e.g., see Revelation 21:9).  In the Song of Solomon and (by logical extension) in Jacob’s prophecy about Naphtali, we find that relationship represented by a hart and a hind.


The prophecy tells us that Naphtali is a hind “let loose.”  When we check a concordance to see how the corresponding Hebrew word is used, we find that most of the time it’s translated as “send” or “send away” or something close to that.  It is Strong’s number H7971, “shalach,” and it’s the word used in Exodus in verses where the Lord commands Pharaoh to let the people go (e.g., Exodus 9:13).


From the context of this prophecy, we know that Naphtali is in some way a picture of the elect during the great tribulation.  It appears that Naphtali represents those who were saved during the latter rain.  They heard the warning that Judgment Day was approaching, and they were saved.  They were released or let go from Satan’s kingdom after the “wrestling” or struggles of those who warned the world about Judgment Day and prayed that their efforts would be effectual.


The last part of the prophecy tells us Naphtali “giveth goodly words.”  This part of the verse appears to be well translated, and fits well with what we have learned so far.  The “goodly words” appear to be referring to prayers of those who had become saved.  We can see this from the way “words” is used in Psalm 19:14 and 54:2.  However, “goodly words” might also refer to the testimony of the end-time elect if they too preached the Gospel after they had been saved.  The latter rain lasted for several years, so some people who had been saved then could have joined in proclaiming the approach of Judgment Day.



11.  Joseph:


Even a quick look at the prophecy concerning Joseph shows that this one is very different than the others.  Here it is, from Genesis 49:22-26:


Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall: 23 The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him , and hated him: 24 But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:) 25 Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: 26 The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.


This is the longest of Jacob’s 12 prophecies, even a bit longer than the one about Judah.  Also, notice how Joseph is blessed.  The blessings pronounced on him are far beyond any blessings pronounced on the other sons.


There are actually two different ways to understand this prophecy; but we don’t have to choose one of them because God gives us enough evidence to know that both are valid.  To begin, let’s take a look at a couple of events in Joseph’s life.  In Genesis 37:9-10, we read a description of a dream Joseph had:


And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?  


Joseph told the dream to his father, and Jacob apparently wasn’t very happy when he heard it.  In many other Bible verses, we find that stars are used to represent the elect; but we also know that God’s people don’t bow down to another believer.  God has shown this to us in a couple of ways.  For instance, in Revelation 22:8-9 we read:


And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.


Therefore, the way to understand Joseph’s dream is to realize that God is using him there to represent the Lord Jesus.  Here’s another verse in which Joseph is a picture of the Lord – Genesis 45:7:


And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.


Here, Joseph is telling his brothers that their plot against him was actually part of God’s purpose to bring him to power in Egypt, where he would make preparations for the great famine.  In a general sense, this is something the Lord had already done, and on a far greater scale.  That’s because it was God’s purpose to save a people for Himself out of all humanity – a process begun before the foundation of the world.  That’s when the Lord Jesus paid for the sins of the elect and began “a great deliverance.”


When we think about the things mentioned in the Joseph prophecy, we can see how they fit into the Lord’s life.  First of all, look at the first verse.  It compares Joseph to a fruitful bough with branches.  Compare that with what the Lord Jesus is quoted as saying in John 15:5:


I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.


The next verse in the prophecy also fits as a description of the Lord.  It tells us “archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him.”  Recall the prophecy made in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve were about to be cast out.  It’s Genesis 3:15:


And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.


So in Jacob’s prophecy, the idea of Joseph being “sorely grieved” or hurt in some way obviously fits the Lord’s experience.   The prophecy then mentions Joseph’s bow.  Notice how the Lord is pictured as having a bow in Lamentations 2:4:


He hath bent his bow like an enemy: he stood with his right hand as an adversary, and slew all that were pleasant to the eye in the tabernacle of the daughter of Zion: he poured out his fury like fire.  


In the prophecy’s last verse, we see mention of a crown.  Here is a verse telling us that the Lord Jesus has a crown – Revelation 14:14:


And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.


Genesis 49:26 ends by referring to Joseph as “him that was separate from his brethren.”  Of course, it’s a well-known story about Joseph’s brothers planning to kill him and then selling him into slavery; but the Lord Jesus was also separated from His brothers.  We read about that in Acts 1:9-11, which took place immediately after He had spoken with His disciples for the last time:


And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 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.


Notice the words “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven.”  The day the Lord ascended into heaven, He left His disciples behind – looking up at a cloud in the sky where He disappeared.  Recall what the Lord said when someone told Him that His mother and brothers were waiting for Him.  In Matthew 12:48-49, we read:


But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!


Therefore, we can say that the Lord Jesus was “separate from his brethren” when He ascended into heaven, and so He also fulfilled that part of Jacob’s prophecy (Genesis 49:26).


There is no doubt that the prophecy about Joseph points to the Lord Jesus, and we’ve seen how He fulfilled it.  However, the prophecy also works as a picture of God’s people during the great tribulation and afterwards.  Let’s see how it does.


First of all, notice that Joseph is called “a fruitful bough” (Genesis 49:22).  Here is another verse in which the Hebrew word for “fruitful” (Strong’s number H6509, “parah”) is used – Genesis 48:4:


And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.


This verse quotes something the Lord said to Jacob.  We find the same word “parah” used in several other verses in the same way.  It’s associated with the idea that God will multiply the number of His people.  That happened to “Joseph” because God used the proclamation of the Gospel to save a great multitude of people during the latter rain.  Joseph is a picture of God’s people warning the world about the approaching end of salvation, with the result that a great many people were saved.


In the prophecy’s next verse, we read “The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him.”  This is another one of several verses showing that God’s people are in some way overcome or injured in the last days.  It matches Jacob’s prophecy about Gad (Genesis 49:19), and concerns the world’s reaction after May 21, 2011 to those who had warned the world about Judgment Day.


In Genesis 49:24, we read about Joseph’s bow.  There is something very interesting about a bow in 2 Samuel 1:17:


And David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son: 18 (Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jasher.)


Any commentary you read about these verses will probably tell you that “the bow” is the name of the lamentation recorded in verses 19 to 27.  However, we must not jump to this conclusion.  Elsewhere in the Bible, when we read the words someone spoke on a particular occasion, there is a particular word describing the quote (e.g., song or psalm).


In this case, verse 18 actually seems to be telling us that David wanted his soldiers to learn how to use a bow. That is of great significance if you realize that David is often a picture of the Lord Jesus.  It also makes sense for David to say such a thing.  After all, Israel had just suffered a great defeat.  David would naturally be concerned about improving the capabilities of his army.


Indeed, the elect are pictured as having a bow in some verses.  Jeremiah 50:14 is one of them:


Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD.  


The wicked are also pictured using a bow, as in Psalm 37:14.  (They are pictured with a sword too, as in Revelation 6:4, because they use the word of God for their own selfish purposes, with the frequent result that they persecute others.)  However, what’s important for our understanding is that the end-time elect meet all the requirements in Jacob’s prophecy about Joseph.


Continuing with Jacob’s prophecy, read again about the blessings pronounced on Joseph.  There are blessings of heaven, the deep, the breasts and the womb.  The blessings of heaven include God’s promise of the new heavens and the new earth, and that His people (who are spiritual descendants of Jacob) would be greatly increased in number.  The prophecy apparently also includes material blessings (as in Leviticus 25:21).  We might think it strange that God promises prosperity to any of His people, but it definitely makes sense in this case.  Remember, millions of dollars were spent in the effort to warn the world about the approach of Judgment Day.  This money was raised by many thousands of people all over the world who were able to donate it.


“Blessings of the breast” apparently refer to the “milk” of God’s word: those who brought the warnings about Judgment Day had access to the true Gospel.  These were people who were outside the local congregations of Christian churches, where a false gospel was preached.  “Blessings of the deep” and “the womb” also fit perfectly into this portrait of God’s people during the great tribulation.  Those blessings appear to tell us of the many people who were saved during that time.  They represent people being born again, or rescued from the condition of being under God’s judgment (the deep).


Genesis 49:26 tells of a crown for Joseph.  Several verses mention a crown for the elect.  Revelation 3:11 is one such verse:


Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.        


So the promise of a crown applies to God’s people during the great tribulation (and of course during earlier periods too).  Finally, the prophecy refers to Joseph as “him that was separate from his brethren.”  Can you see how this also perfectly fits this picture of God’s people during the great tribulation?  Those who left the local congregations left their “brethren” behind.  The decision to leave was undoubtedly a difficult one in many cases; but as more people realized that the churches were teaching a false gospel, they made that decision and left.  Some of those who left eventually shared their knowledge and the warnings about Judgment Day with many others.



12.  Benjamin:


Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

There’s not much to this prophecy– just one verse, Genesis 49:27.  However, in the context of Jacob’s other prophecies, it’s enough for us to understand much of what God is telling us about Benjamin.  In several places in the Bible, God uses nighttime as His setting to illustrate the Lord’s return on the last day.  We also know that the elect will inherit the new heavens and earth on the last day.  These two pieces of information allow us to understand the second part of the verse: Benjamin is a picture of God’s people on the last day.  That’s when they will “divide the spoil” and receive their inheritance.


Notice that the verse also contrasts night with morning by telling us “in the morning he shall devour the prey.”   We’ve learned that night is used to indicate a time when salvation has ended; so morning in this verse must refer to the time when salvation was still possible.  That was during the latter rain – the period that lasted almost 17 years until May in 2011.  God is apparently showing us that Benjamin participated in bringing the message about Judgment Day.  The words “devour the prey” suggests judgment on the unsaved as they hear and reject the message.  There’s much more we can say about Benjamin as a picture of God’s people during the great tribulation; but first we need to look at some events in his life and in the life of his older brother.



A Closer Look at Joseph and Benjamin


We’ve seen how Jacob’s prophecies about his sons reveal God’s end-time salvation plan and show us pictures of His people at various times.  In a few of those prophecies, there are obvious references to events in the lives of Jacob’s sons.  We saw that Jacob’s prophecies about Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Joseph (as pictures of God’s people) all refer to actual events in their lives.  Now we need to take a closer look at some verses concerning Joseph and Benjamin.


At the very end of Genesis, we read about Joseph’s death.  In Genesis 50:24, we read:


And Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.


We know that this statement was also a prophecy, because over three hundred years after Joseph made it God did visit His people: He picked Moses to lead them out of Egypt and eventually into the Promised Land.  Notice how God emphasizes this idea in the next verse, Genesis 50:25:


And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.


Here for a second time we see the words “God will surely visit you.”  A repetition like that should get our attention.  In fact, when we think about it we see that Joseph’s statement fits perfectly into Jacob’s prophecy about him as a picture of the elect during the great tribulation.


In the prophecies, Issachar and all the sons mentioned after Dan represent God’s people after salvation has ended; but Joseph’s last words reveal that God is showing us something special about him.  It is this: Joseph is a picture of those who die while waiting for the Lord’s return. The prophecy shows that the Lord does not return quickly after salvation ends.  In this picture, years go by and “Joseph” dies, with his last words as a reminder of God’s promise to those who remain.  It’s as if he tells them “God will return, and when He does you will carry me up with you to meet Him in the air.”


Joseph is a picture of those who don’t live long enough to see the last day, and Benjamin is a picture of those who do.  Certain events in his life support this understanding.  First of all, recall that Benjamin’s mother died as soon as he was born (see Genesis 35:17-18).  This event matches his position in the sequence of Jacob’s prophecies – he is last.  It shows that Benjamin represents the last group to be saved.  After him, there are no longer any “blessings of the womb.”  Salvation ends right after “Benjamin” is saved.


We also need to remember that Benjamin was Joseph’s younger brother.  We find a similar relationship in the Song of Solomon.  There, we read about a maiden, who represents end-time believers (see Song of Solomon 5:5-7).  The maiden’s little sister (Song of Solomon 8:8-9) also represents the last group to be saved.  Notice what we read about the little sister in Song of Solomon 8:8: there will be no “milk” for any one else, and so there will be no more true believers.  And the Bible gives us another picture of the last believers to remain on earth: that’s Lazarus.  We see that in John 21:20-24.  Yes, that disciple was Lazarus – not the apostle John.


Next, notice how Benjamin is treated in Genesis 43:34 and Genesis 45:22.  God is showing us that Benjamin is blessed more than the other ten brothers who have come to Joseph.  This is also consistent with what we have learned about Benjamin as a picture of the end-time elect.  He is blessed above the other brothers because he never dies.  He is a picture of the believers who are taken up in the Rapture.  All the other believers will be resurrected, because they will have died before the last day; but “Benjamin” will live to see the Lord return.


Besides all this, there are two interesting facts about the tribe descended from Benjamin, and they appear to fit very well with our understanding of the Benjamin prophecy as a picture of the last believers.  First, look at what we find in 1 Chronicles 12:2:


They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saul’s brethren of Benjamin.


This verse is describing a group of elite warriors from the tribe of Benjamin.  They came to help David when Saul was hunting him.  Now consider this.  We’ve learned that God has a reason for everything He put in the Bible; so why would He tell us about these men?  The answer could be God is telling us that, among the last believers to remain on earth, there will be some who have a great understanding and ability to use God’s word.


Many people know that a sword is used to represent the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).  Well, a stone hurled from a sling, or an arrow shot from a bow can also represent the word of God.  This way of understanding 1 Chronicles 12:2 is consistent with what we have already learned.  Recall that in Jacob’s prophecy about Asher, God shows that He will open His word to reveal wonderful new truths to end-time believers.  By the time the last day finally arrives, God will have opened the Bible to its maximum extent.  The last believers alive should have a better understanding of God’s word than those at any other time in history.  Therefore, they should be able to destroy any false teaching by accurately using God’s word.


There’s another fact about the tribe of Benjamin, but this one is not good news.  In 1 Samuel 9:21, we read:


And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?


Here, God is telling us that Benjamin is the smallest tribe.  The book of Judges explains why that is.  The tribe was almost wiped out in a war with Israel’s other tribes, because they refused to hand over men who were responsible for a horrible crime.  The tribe survived, but its numbers were greatly reduced (Judges 21:17).


This piece of information about the tribe of Benjamin also fits the prophecy.  It shows us that many years will pass before the Lord returns.  “Benjamin” will be small because many of those believers who brought the warning about Judgment Day in 2011 will no longer be alive on the last day.


With that last piece of information about Benjamin, we can now see how Jacob’s last two prophecies fit together.   First, we have Joseph as a picture of those end-time believers who brought the warning about Judgment Day, but will not live long enough to see the Lord’s return.  Next, we have Joseph again – this time as a picture of the Lord Jesus.  That prophecy will be fulfilled when the Lord Jesus returns on the last day.  Finally, we have Benjamin as a picture of end-time believers who live to see the Lord’s return.  That’s the group we read about in 1 Thessalonians 4:17:


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.


These are the “Benjamites” who “divide the spoil” at night.



Related Blessings by Moses


Before dying, Moses blessed the children of Israel (Deuteronomy 33:1-25).  When we compare these blessings with Jacob’s prophecies, we find some interesting similarities; but there are some differences too.



Reuben, Judah, Levi, Benjamin and Joseph


Moses first blessed the tribe of Reuben, and we find that blessing in Deuteronomy 33:6:


Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few.


Look closely at that verse.  The word “not” is in italics because the translators added it.  They probably couldn’t believe that Moses would “bless” Reuben with “let his men be few.”  But that’s what Moses said.  Remember that in Jacob’s prophecy about Reuben, he said Reuben would “not excel.”


In that prophecy, Reuben is a picture of the children of Israel when the Lord brought them out of Egypt, continuing until the kingdom was eventually divided.  Based on Moses’ statement, we can conclude that relatively few people were saved during that whole period of time.


It’s interesting that we see confirmation of this in the book of Revelation.   There we read about the two large groups of people whom God has saved.  One group was saved during the entire church age, and the other was saved during the great tribulation.  We might wonder about those who were saved before the church age began, going all the way back to creation.  God apparently answers that question by telling us about the elders who are with Him in heaven.  We read about them in Revelation 5:8:


And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.


Notice there are 24 elders, and that number can be broken down into two little groups of 12 each.  By giving us that number, God appears to be showing us that He had saved two small groups before the church age began.  We know from Revelation that the two large groups were saved after the church age began: one group came out of the church age and the other out of the great tribulation.  The 24 elders match these two groups and apparently show us that there was also a division made before Jacob’s time.  Perhaps the number shows that a small group was saved from creation until the flood, and another from Noah’s day until around the time the church age began.  However, compared to the two large groups, their numbers were indeed few.


After blessing Reuben, Moses next blessed the tribe of Judah.  Deuteronomy 33:7 states:


And this is the blessing of Judah: and he said, Hear, LORD, the voice of Judah, and bring him unto his people: let his hands be sufficient for him; and be thou an help to him from his enemies.


We know that Jacob’s prophecy about Judah concerns the Lord Jesus.  What Moses said about Judah also fits this picture.  Notice the words “bring him unto his people.”  That happened when the Lord was born in 7 B.C.  The verse is also a blessing for help in the ordeal that the Lord would face in 33 A.D.


The fact that Judah comes second indicates that, in these blessings, Reuben may be a picture of the children of Israel from the Exodus all the way up to the time when the Lord Jesus was born.


Next, Moses spoke of Levi.  This is a fairly long blessing (Deuteronomy 33:8-11), and it’s definitely different than Jacob’s prophecy about Levi and Simeon together.  First of all, there is no mention of Simeon here.  In fact, that tribe is just not mentioned anywhere in these blessings; so it’s clear that God is using Levi in a different way here.


First, notice that in Deuteronomy 33:8 we find a reference to the time when the children of Israel were in the wilderness at Meribah (Exodus 17:7).  That was one of several incidents when they sinned.  It’s a picture of unsaved people.  However, the blessing on Levi also clearly refers to the elect (as in verses 10 and 11: e.g., “they shall put incense before thee,” and “Bless, LORD, his substance”).  We know that even during Israel’s time in the wilderness, at least a few people there were saved.  Then throughout the church age and latter rain, salvation continued.  So “Levi” appears to be a picture of God’s people through the ages, from the time of the Exodus until salvation ended after the latter rain.


The blessing for Benjamin is found in Deuteronomy 33:12.  There doesn’t appear to be anything about it pointing to a particular period of time.  However, this blessing is consistent with Jacob’s prophecy about Benjamin, and with the preceding blessing for Levi as a picture of the elect right up to end-times, and also with the blessing on Joseph that follows.


When we read what Moses said about Joseph in Deuteronomy 33:13-17, we must conclude that here again we are seeing a picture of the Lord Jesus.  Once more, many blessings are pronounced on him.  Verse 17 mentions his glory and also horns – a symbol of power.  We read that he shall “push the people together to the ends of the earth.”  This blessing about “Joseph” doesn’t work as a picture of the elect in this case.  It can only be a picture of the Lord.


Up to this point in the sequence of Moses’ blessings, we’ve gone from a picture of Israel (Reuben) in the wilderness and continuing until the Lord Jesus came (Judah).  Then we have Levi and his children.  They fit as a picture of the external representation of the kingdom of God from the time of the Exodus until the very end of salvation.  Then comes Benjamin; he still fits as a picture of the last group of true believers, because he is right before Joseph – who represents the Lord Jesus. Joseph’s position in the list indicates that he is a picture of the Lord returning on the last day.  These blessings account for five of Jacob’s sons.  The remaining blessings concern six of Jacob’s sons: Zebulun, Issachar, Gad, Dan, Naphtali and Asher.



Zebulun, Issachar, Gad, Dan, Naphtali and Asher


Verses 18 and 19 cover the blessings on Zebulun and Issachar.  However, before reading that blessing, notice something about the blessing for Joseph.  In Deuteronomy 33:17, we read: “…he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”


We’ve seen that Ephraim and Manasseh represent the two great groups of people whom God planned to save throughout the church age and the great tribulation, respectively.  Manasseh corresponds to those saved during the church age, and Ephraim to those saved during the great tribulation.  Recall also that Jacob’s prophecy about Zebulun told of people who “dwell at the haven of the sea” and are “a haven of ships.”  It was a picture of God’s people going out in ships to spread the Gospel, with the result that many people were saved.  Notice how Moses’ blessing of Zebulun confirms this understanding, because Zebulun is told to rejoice “in thy going out.”  In Deuteronomy 33:18-19 we read:


And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. 19 They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand.   


The blessing also tells us that “Zebulun” would call the people “unto the mountain.”  This happened when the elect who spread the Gospel during the church age called men to repentance and to God.  The result was that many were saved – they were rescued out of the “seas” and the “sand.”  And it’s very important to notice that the blessing is for Zebulun to rejoice “in thy going out.”  That certainly agrees with Jacob’s prophecy about Zebulun and the idea of ships sailing out to spread the Gospel.


Moses’ blessing about Issachar also matches Jacob’s prophecy, but it actually shows us pictures of God’s people at two different times.  In Jacob’s prophecy, we see “Issachar” at rest between the two sheepfolds of Manasseh and Ephraim.  Moses’ blessing of Issachar certainly matches the prophecy, for it tells Issachar to rejoice “in thy tents.”  It confirms the end of salvation, because “Issachar” is now staying in his “tents.”  But Moses’ blessing of Issachar also tells of calling the people “unto the mountain.”


There is no contradiction here, because that is what “Issachar” did before “lying down.”  Jacob’s prophecy about Issachar is a picture of God’s people after the two big groups have been saved.  Moses’ blessing of Issachar refers to that time too (post May 2011) in Deuteronomy 33:18; but it also refers to the final period of salvation (from September 1994 until May 2011), when God’s people were actively bringing the Gospel by announcing the approach of Judgment Day.  Of course, the result of that effort was that a “great multitude” (Revelation 7:9, 14) was saved, and in that way “Issachar” also called the people “unto the mountain.”


The remaining blessings are mysterious, but they are compatible with the corresponding prophecies that Jacob spoke about his sons.  In Deuteronomy 33:20-21, we find Moses’ blessing of Gad:


And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. 21 And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.


This blessing tells of Gad being enlarged.  That happened during the great tribulation before “Gad” was overcome (Genesis 49:19).  Gad is a picture of God’s people being “enlarged” because more people became saved during the latter rain.  The blessing also tells us that Gad “provided the first part for himself.”  Other translations render this idea as Gad choosing the best of the land or the best land.  This clearly refers to the inheritance that God’s people will receive.


Also, notice that Gad was with “the heads of the people” and “executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.”  This part of the blessing supports our understanding that the end-time warnings before May of 2011 were in accordance with the Lord’s will, and that they reached the top levels of government and organized religion all over the world.


Deuteronomy 33:22 is the blessing for Dan:


And of Dan he said, Dan is a lion’s whelp: he shall leap from Bashan.


We saw that Jacob’s prophecy about Dan was a picture of all the elect during the Rapture and Resurrection.  Moses’ blessing of Dan appears to show him as a picture of the elect who remain until the last day.  They shall “leap from Bashan” when they are taken up in the Rapture.  Notice also that Dan is compared to a young lion.  That may be a reference to the change that God’s people will undergo on the last day.  A verse that relates to this idea is 1 John 3:2:


Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.


After blessing Dan, Moses blessed Naphtali.  That blessing is found in Deuteronomy 33:23:


And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.


This is another short blessing but, based on its context, we can be certain that Naphtali is a picture of the elect after salvation has ended, just as he is in Jacob’s prophecy (Genesis 49:21).   The words “possess thou the west and the south” refer to the inheritance.  However, it seems to be more a promise of the inheritance rather than its fulfillment.


Other translations of this verse refer to the south and the lake, or the sea.  Of course, in Israel the sea is to the west.  There’s a possible reason that the blessing includes only the west and south, or the sea and south.  It is this: some verses tell of judgment coming out of the north or east.  For instance, in Genesis 41:6 we read:


And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them.


This was part of pharaoh’s dream, in which God warned him about the coming drought and famine – a picture of God’s judgment.  And we find another one in Jeremiah 1:14, where we read:


Then the LORD said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.


There is a verse in which it appears that judgment comes out of the south: Job 37:9.  However, if you check the original language (Strong’s number H2315: “cheder”) you’ll see that every other time that word is used (37 times besides its use in Job 37:9) the word is translated differently.  It’s usually translated as “chamber” or “inner” or something similar.  So it makes sense Naphtali should possess the west and south, and that north and east are excluded from the blessing on Naphtali, since the time setting is before the last day.


Moses last blessing on the tribes of Israel is found in Deuteronomy 33:24-25:


And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. 25 Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.


Here again, the context tells us that Asher is a picture of God’s people after salvation is over.  Asher is blessed with children because many people were saved during the great tribulation, and Asher represents those who brought the Judgment Day warnings during that time.  The oil mentioned in verse 24 tells us of salvation.  That applies to “Asher” and his children.


Next, we come to something difficult to understand.  The first part of verse 25 states “Thy shoes shall be iron and brass.”  The word “shoes” is based on a word not found anywhere else in the Bible – that’s Strong’s number H4515 (“man’ al”); and that word appears to come from H5274 (“na’ al”), which is a word used eight times in various verses.  In verses where that word is used, it is mostly translated as “lock,” or “bolt,” or with the idea that something is enclosed.  For this reason, it appears that the KJV translation here is misleading.  The Revised Standard Version seems to give us a more accurate translation of this verse.  Here is the RSV translation of Deuteronomy 33:25:


Your bars shall be iron and bronze; and as your days, so shall your strength be.


The idea of iron and bronze bars fits with our understanding that salvation has ended and that “the door” to salvation is shut.  No one else can get in.  This picture matches what we see about Issachar in Jacob’s prophecy.  He is lying down between two sheepfolds.  The sheep are enclosed because salvation is over.  After sheep are brought into a sheepfold, the gate is closed.


It’s important to realize that these last blessings on the tribes are actually different pictures of the same group of people.  That was true of the last five sons mentioned in Jacob’s prophecies (Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, and Benjamin), and it’s true of the last five tribes mentioned in Moses’ blessings (Issachar, Gad, Dan, Naphtali, and Asher).  In each case, God is telling us something about His people during the last days.


There’s only one more piece to the blessing on Asher: “and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.”  Once again, God is telling us in a very indirect way that there will be a long time between the end of salvation and the last day.  Asher is blessed with strength to last as long as his days, because his days will be long.  It’s a blessing for a long life, but that means “Asher” will have a long wait until the Lord returns.  In Moses’ blessings, Asher is the last son to be mentioned.  He corresponds with Benjamin in Jacob’s prophecies, and they represent the true believers who remain alive to be raptured on the last day.


Moses spoke his blessings shortly before dying (Deuteronomy 34:5-7). The children of Israel crossed the Jordan soon after that, apparently only a matter of several weeks later.  We can therefore date the year of Moses’ blessings as 1407 B.C. – that was 453 years after Jacob spoke his prophecies.



Some Important Lessons from the Prophecies


One lesson of Jacob’s prophecies is that God spoke through women as well as men.  We know that God inspired men to record the Bible exactly as He wanted it written down in the original languages.  In 2 Peter 1:21, we find proof of that:


For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Jacob’s prophecies show us that the names of his sons are related to the prophecies about them; but it was each boy’s mother who named her child.  Rachel even gave Benjamin the name Benoni, meaning “son of my sorrow” (Genesis 35:18) right before she died, then Jacob gave him the name that stuck (the name Benjamin means “son of the right hand”).  Obviously, God wanted us to know the name Rachel gave her son because there is sorrow in knowing what Benjamin represents – that he is a picture of the last group to be saved.


The second lesson we see in the prophecies is that the time of bringing the Gospel to the unsaved world is now ended. Think about this: God’s word shows that salvation ends before the last day.  Even if we did not have a timeline pointing to the year 2011, we still see in God’s word His plan to end salvation before the last day.  Would God allow us to understand this truth before salvation ended?  If He did, someone might stop too soon in his efforts to send forth the Gospel.  It therefore stands to reason that only now is He allowing us to understand this truth, since there is no longer hope that anyone hearing the Gospel for the first time might be saved.


Sadly, this means babies and very young children cannot be saved.


This is an especially difficult truth to accept if they are among our loved ones.  They should certainly be brought up hearing God’s word, because knowledge of God’s word brings many blessings; but if they ask anything about salvation, it is probably best to only tell them that, before the world even began, God chose whom He would save and that no one knows who those people are.


It’s important to realize that an understanding of this truth (that salvation has ended) does not mean we should hand out tracts to tell the world they are living under God’s judgment and that there is no longer any hope for them.  What good does that do?  It does no good at all and it even creates fear.  If someone really wants to help the unsaved world, he or she can work to reform our educational system, which has shut God out of the classroom.  Knowledge of God’s creation will result in better and happier students.  They will be more likely to continue their studies and then go on to be better citizens.  They are also more likely to become scientists and engineers.  People can also share – with anyone who has shown an interest in the Judgment Day teachings – new truths they have learned out of God’s word.  Of course everyone should be praying, not only for those who have shown evidence of salvation (although especially for them), but also for the unsaved world, that God may be merciful to them in every way other than salvation.


The third lesson from the prophecies is perhaps the most important and amazing one: it is that God is in complete control of everything.  He is the reason this universe exists and we are here.  Jacob’s prophecies prove God’s existence.


Think about the ways God has fulfilled these prophecies.  Hundreds of years before the Exodus, God showed us that the children of Israel would not be faithful to Him after He called them out of Egypt.  Even many more hundreds of years before it happened, God told us that He would divide their kingdom and then eventually scatter the people from both of the divided kingdoms.


It was about 1,800 years from the time of Jacob’s prophecies to the birth of the Lord Jesus, but God told us it would happen by giving us Jacob’s prophecy about Judah.  In the same prophecy, He gave us hints about the Crucifixion.


The church age began soon after that, and in the prophecy about Zebulun God showed us He would send the Gospel all over the earth.  About 3,800 years before ending the church age, God showed us that He would end it after He had saved a large group of people.  He also revealed that a second, much larger group would be saved before the end of salvation.


All of these things show the fulfillment of prophecy.  It’s true that some of the events can’t be seen.  We don’t see physical proof that two large groups were saved and that salvation is now over, although we know that these things are true because the Bible reveals that information.


However, the other events are well known historical facts.  There is no denying that there was a kingdom of Israel that became divided and was eventually destroyed, and that the Lord Jesus was born over two thousand years ago, and that Christianity spread all over the world.  Only God could have foretold those events hundreds and even thousands of years before they happened.


Here is the fourth important lesson from Jacob’s prophecies: God shows us pictures of His people during the last days.  These people aren’t just any believers at any time: they are specifically believers living in the end times. The parable of the ten virgins is such an example.


Although this parable held lessons for true believers throughout history, it can only be fully understood by those living in the last days, after God had more fully opened His word.  So in the parable of the ten virgins, when we read the Lord’s words in Matthew 25:13 …


Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.


…we know that they apply especially to those living in the last days.    The ten virgins clearly represent end-time Christians, both saved and unsaved, who brought the message of Judgment Day before May 21, 2011.  Even though they were mistaken in their belief that it would be the date for the Lord’s return, the parable shows they live long enough to actually see that day.  The parable’s lesson is stated in Matthew 25:13 and illustrates that, even with the additional truths they are given, the end-time elect still cannot know the date for the Lord’s return.


We can be certain of this because the parable is a picture of those who went forth to meet the Lord based on new information they had received.  That was information about time – information God revealed during the lifetime of people who live to see the last day.  The parable warns end-time believers to live in such a way (to watch) that they will be happy to see the Lord whenever He comes.


Here is a fifth lesson from Jacob’s prophecies.  We find it in the prophecy about Joseph, with Joseph as a picture of the elect living in the last days.  The prophecy shows that there will be a long time after salvation ends (as compared with a lifespan) until the Lord returns.  Joseph is a picture of true believers who left the local congregations and then, during the latter rain, warned of God’s coming judgment.  However, they do not live long enough to see the Lord return.  This understanding is confirmed in Luke 18:8b, where we read:


Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?


This verse contradicts the idea of an ever-increasing number of saved people and actually implies that only a small number of the elect will remain until the last day.  When we compare “Joseph” with the ten virgins, we see that Joseph is a picture of true believers who do not live long enough to see the last day, whereas the ten virgins do.





We’ve seen that Jacob’s prophecies are actually an outline of God’s salvation plan from the time Israel was in Egypt until the end of the world.  Each son is a picture of God’s people in some way:


Reuben represents the children of Israel from the time of the Exodus until the death of Solomon.


Simeon and Levi together represent the divided kingdoms, continuing until each kingdom was eventually destroyed.


Judah represents the Lord Jesus, coming to earth in 7 B.C. and remaining until shortly after the Crucifixion.


Zebulun is a picture of God’s people during the Church Age, going out to the world with the Gospel.


Issachar represents God’s people after the great tribulation has ended and the “great multitude” has been saved.


Dan is a picture of all those who will be either resurrected or caught up in the rapture.


Gad is a picture of those who brought the warnings that Judgment Day would arrive on May 21, 2011 and suffered in some way as a result.


Asher is a picture of God’s people learning new truth out of God’s word during the end-times, and developing the fruits of the Spirit while waiting for the Lord’s return.


Naphtali is definitely a picture of the elect and appears to represent those saved during the latter rain – the great multitude.  Their prayers are pleasing to God.


Joseph is first a picture of believers who left their local congregations (Joseph “was separate from his brethren”) and brought the warnings about Judgment Day.  However, they do not live long enough to see the Lord return.


As a second picture, Joseph also represents the Lord Jesus returning on the last day.  He also “was separate from his brethren” when He returned to heaven in 33 A.D.  All the other blessings on Joseph as a picture of God’s people also apply to the Lord Jesus.


Benjamin is a picture of those true believers who live to see the Lord return.  They brought the Judgment Day warnings too, just as “Joseph” did, but “Benjamin” outlives “Joseph” and is the group that will be caught up in the Rapture.


When we see the way Moses blessed the tribes of Israel in Deuteronomy 33, we can have even more confidence that we have correctly understood Jacob’s prophecies.  Although there are differences, Moses’ blessings support our understanding of Jacob’s prophecies and expand on it.


With an understanding of Jacob’s prophecies, we may now be able to understand some verses that were never before correctly understood.

For example, one of the strangest incidents in the Bible begins with Numbers 22:21:


And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.


As we read the story, which continues up to verse 34, we find that Balaam struck the animal when it went off the path and “into the field” because it saw “the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand” (verse 23).  Recall that a field represented the world in a parable the Lord Jesus taught about the spreading of the Gospel.  Then, “the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side” (verse 24).  This time, “she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again.”  The animal squeezed against the wall to get by the Lord, crushing Balaam’s foot in the process.  But then, “… the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.”


We’ve learned from Jacob’s prophecy about Issachar that God pictures His people as “a stong ass” lying down between two sheepfolds.  We also know that in Old Testament times, God sent many prophets to warn Israel of approaching judgment.  This matches what God shows us in this incident with the ass.


She was hit three times.  The first time represents the persecution that Old Testament prophets suffered.  The ass then went into the field, which can be a picture of the elect laboring to bring the Gospel during the Church Age.  The second time the animal was hit represents persecution that true believers experienced during the Church Age. When God ended it, the local congregations were no longer qualified to bring the true Gospel – that’s why Balaam’s foot was crushed (see Isaiah 52:7).  The third time the animal was struck represents the persecution God’s people suffered as a result of bringing the Judgment Day warnings before 2011.  After the ass “fell down under Balaam,” he struck the ass the final time.  That matches Jacob’s prophecy about Issachar.


You might recall that there are two ways to understand the name “Issachar:” either as “he is wages” or “he brings wages.”  Both names fit, because God paid by His own work or “wages” to save “Issachar;” but “Issachar” also served the Lord by sending out the Gospel during the three periods when salvation was possible after Jacob’s prophecy.


It’s important to realize how Revelation supports this understanding.  In Revelation 10:11, we read:


And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.


The word “again” is very important.  During the New Testament, there were only two periods when salvation was possible.  One was very long, and one lasted only a few years.  The first one was the Church Age, and we see a picture of its beginning in Revelation 6:2, which is a picture of the elect going out to spread the Gospel all over the world.  That’s the rider on a white horse – a picture of a true believer (that’s not a picture of the Lord Jesus).  The second New Testament period of salvation was also the last time when anyone could be saved.  That was during the latter rain, and that’s why the apostle John is told in a vision that he must “prophesy again.”  He was a picture of the elect during the Church Age, and he is about to be a picture of the elect during the latter rain.


Notice that immediately after Revelation 10:11, we read about the two witnesses.   That’s because Revelation 10:11 refers to them.  It is they who represent the elect bringing the end-time message of approaching judgment.  When they are silenced (Revelation 11:7), that’s the end of salvation.  It was also the moment when “Issachar” lay down!


After a period of time, the two witnesses are taken up to heaven; and that’s a picture of the Rapture and Resurrection.  By having Balaam’s ass speak (Numbers 22:28-30) after she was hit the third time, God may be hinting at that event.  That’s because the Rapture and Resurrection will be a judgment against all those in the local congregations.  At that time, the elect will in a sense speak against them in judgment.


Something else that is strange is found in Judges 5.  In Judges 5:14 we read the words:


… and out of Zebulun they that handle the pen of the writer.


Jacob’s prophecies provide an explanation for this mysterious verse.  We’ve seen that Zebulun is a picture of the elect sending out the Gospel during the Church Age.  Even though the Church Age lasted for 1,955 years, the New Testament books of the Bible were all recorded during the last part of the first century.  Compare that with the time required for the Old Testament to be completed.


The 39 books of the Old Testament were recorded over a period of 1,100 years and maybe even much longer than that.  We know that the first five books of the Bible were recorded within 40 years of the Exodus (1447 B.C.); but the book of Job is believed to be older (possibly much older) than that.  The last book of the Old Testament was recorded approximately 391 B.C., based on everything we know about it.  Interestingly, it appears in our Bible just before the oldest book – Job.


In comparison with the long time it took for the Old Testament to be completed (over 1,100 years), we know that all 27 books of the New Testament were recorded in about 65 years.   So “Zebulun” really did handle the “pen of the writer,” and Judges 5:14 is another prophecy that has been fulfilled.  It dates from a period many centuries before the Church Age, so we once again see “the finger of God” at work.


Most people in this world believe that men wrote the Bible.  They have never understood any of the amazing truths God has revealed out of His word.  For those of us who have understood some of those truths, praise should come naturally; but when we see how God fulfilled the prophecies Jacob spoke right before his death, how can we not praise and thank Him?  We should, just as we find written in Psalm 106:1:


Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.


The Mysterious Period Described in Ecclesiastes 12

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In Ecclesiastes 12, God describes a very mysterious period of time.  The chapter begins with the following verse, Ecclesiastes 12:1:


Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;


In this verse, God tells us to remember Him “in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not.”  The next few verses describe those days.  What are the evil days?   When do they come?


The Evil Days (Verses 2 and 3)


In verse 2, God gives us the first clues about them.  Verse 2 states:


While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:


In other words, God is telling us to remember our Creator – and of course He is our Creator – before the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars are darkened.   So this mysterious period of time comes when these things happen: it is characterized by the darkening of the sun, moon and stars, when something happens to light.


This verse may remind you of something the Lord Jesus once said.   In Matthew 24:29, we read:


Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:


Here, the Lord told His disciples about something that would happen before the end of the world but “after the tribulation.”  Notice how similar the two verses are in the ways they mention the sun, moon and stars.


Many people have understood Matthew 24:29 to mean that something would happen physically to the sun, moon and stars – that there would be tremendous signs in the sky for everyone to see.  However, we now know that the Lord was speaking about a spiritual event that cannot be detected by our senses.  We have to remember that the Lord spoke in parables (Matthew 13:34).  The darkening of the sun and the other bodies refers to a change in the Lord’s salvation plan.


Let’s continue with Ecclesiastes 12:3:


In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,    


This verse tells us about a day of fear.  On that day, the “keepers of the house” tremble; and there are other references to people here.   The verse mentions strong men, grinders and those that look out of the windows.  Who are these people?


First, we need to remember something.  We know that the Bible was written exactly as the Lord dictated it in the original languages.  However, the translations are another matter.   Not every translation is reliable.  Even today, a wealthy person such as Bill Gates could bring together a group of scholars to write a new translation of the Bible; and in a few years we might have the “Gates” Bible.  It probably wouldn’t be a very good translation, but who knows?


Today, many people rely on the King James Version.  Although it is generally a very good translation, sometimes a verse cannot be correctly understood as we find it in our Bibles.  Sometimes we must carefully examine a verse with a concordance to find its original-language words, and then compare that verse with others where those same original words are used.  The use of a concordance is of great help as we try to understand Ecclesiastes 12.


With a concordance, we find that many of the words used in Ecclesiastes 12:3 are also used in verses about the elect.  For example, the word “house” is Strong’s number H1004: bayith.  This is the same word used for “house” in Psalm 23:6:


Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.


Therefore, the “keepers of the house” can be the elect.  Next, the word “strong” is used many times in the Bible – though not always in connection with the elect.  However, God definitely emphasizes the need for His people to be strong as they wait for Him, as in 1 Corinthians 16:13:


Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.  


Even though the languages of the New Testament and Old Testament are different, we can still compare similar ideas found in both – like the idea of strength in the phrase “the strong men shall bow themselves.” Continuing with Ecclesiastes 12:3, we find a reference to the “grinders.”  The verse tells us in that day “the grinders cease because they are few.”  What could that possibly mean?


The word used for grinders in Ecclesiastes 12:3 is Strong’s number H2912, “tachan.”  It’s used eight times in the Bible.  Even though it’s translated only once as “grinders” – and that’s in Ecclesiastes 12:3 – it’s always translated as something to do with grinding.  For example, in Numbers 11:8 we read what the children of Israel did to prepare the manna that the Lord gave them: they “ground it in mills.”


So it appears we can safely accept the word “grinders” in Ecclesiastes 12:3 as a good translation.  Next, recall that the Lord attached spiritual meanings to the acts of sowing seeds and gathering a harvest.  We should expect that grinding may also have spiritual importance; and in Matthew 24:41, it appears that the “grinders” are trying to serve the Lord:


Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.


As we see here, not everyone trying to serve the Lord is a child of God.  Only the elect are taken on the last day.  Everyone else is left behind to “pass away” (1 John 2:17) with the earth when it is spoken out of existence immediately after the Rapture.  However, the focus of Ecclesiastes 12:3 seems to be on the elect.


Continuing with that verse, we read that the grinders “cease.”  The word translated as “cease” is Strong’s number H988, “batel.”  It’s used only once in the whole Bible, so we can’t compare it with words in other verses.  It has the idea of being free from work.  We will see that the KJV translation for this word seems to fit the rest of the verse.


The next words in this phrase about the grinders tell us that they are few – they cease “because they are few.”  Why would they cease when they are few?  Of course, certain jobs require a minimum number of people to accomplish, but God’s work isn’t like that.  He can work with only one person.


Strong’s number H4591, “ma’at,” is the word used in the phrase “they are few.”  The word can mean that a group is reduced in number, but it can also mean that the group is diminished or made small in another way.  For example, it’s the word found in Jeremiah 10:24:


O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.


The word translated “nothing” is the same word used in Ecclesiastes 12:3: Strong’s number H4591.  So we see that a group or a person can be diminished or made small in strength, ability or some other way.


Continuing in the verse, we read about the next group of people: “those that look out of the windows.”   Again, we need to consider these words in the original language.  The word translated “look out” is Strong’s number H7200: “ra’ah.”  It’s used over 1,300 times in the Bible, and more than 800 of those times it’s translated as “see.”  For example, we find it in Proverbs 20:12:


The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.


Many times, the ability to see is associated with true believers.  Next, consider the word “windows.”  It occurs 30 times in the Bible, and there are six different Hebrew words translated “windows” (the plural word doesn’t occur in the New Testament, but the singular occurs twice: in Acts 20:9 and 2 Corinthians 11:33).  In Ecclesiastes 12:3, it’s Strong’s number H699 (“arubbah”) that is used for “windows.”  This Hebrew word is used nine times, and most of the time it’s associated with the windows of heaven.  It’s also found in Isaiah 60:8:


Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?


This verse certainly suggests a beautiful picture of the last day and the Rapture.  So we see that the word “windows” in Ecclesiastes 12:3 also points to the elect.  Also, notice how the elect are compared to birds (as in Psalm 124:7).


However, Ecclesiastes 12:3 tells us that they (“those that look out of the windows”) are “darkened.”  The word used here is H2821 (“chashak”) – the same word found in Ecclesiastes 12:2:


While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:


Elsewhere in the Bible, the children of Israel (who represent the elect) are compared to stars (as in Nehemiah 9:23).  So we see that the darkening of “those that look out of the windows” is consistent with the darkening of the stars in verse 2.



The Evil Days Continue (Verse 4)


This brings us to the next verse, Ecclesiastes 12:4:


And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;


The verse tells us “the doors shall be shut in the streets.”  This happens when “the sound of the grinding is low.”  The word for “sound” is Strong’s number H6963, “qowl.”  Of all the times it’s used, it is translated as “voice” most of the time – and of course a person’s voice has always been the most important way for anyone to share God’s word.


We discover something else too when we use a concordance to check this verse.  The word “low” in the phrase “sound of the grinding is low” is different than the word for “low” used in the phrase “all the daughters of musick shall be brought low.”  When applied to the sound of the grinding, the word used is Strong’s number H8217, “shaphal.”  From its other uses, we find that it can mean low in height (as in Leviticus 14:37).  Therefore it could mean that a sound (as in sound of the grinding) is low in volume.  But it can also mean low in the sense of being humble.  That’s how it’s used in Psalm 16:19, where it is used once (“an humble spirit…”).


When the word “low” is applied to the “daughters of musick,” the original language word is Strong’s number H7817, “shachach.”  It’s only translated as “low” in this one verse.  Every other time it’s translated differently and conveys the idea that someone is bowing down, cast down, humbled, weakened or despairing.   So we can think of this verse as telling us that “all the daughters of musick” are brought low in the sense that they are weakened or humbled or despairing.


The other words in this verse appear to be well translated, so it seems we have a good translation of Ecclesiastes 12:4 in the KJV.   However, we have to admit it is a very strange verse.  What does it mean?


So far, we’ve seen evidence that the various people mentioned in these verses are the elect.  That is certainly the case with “daughters of musick.”  The word translated as “musick” is most often translated as “song.”  That’s how it’s used in Psalm 40:3:


And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.  


Clearly, this verse is telling us about someone who is a child of God, and the “daughters of musick” are certainly the elect.  (See also Zephaniah 3:14, where we find the word “daughter,” which is the same word – Strong’s number 1323, “bath” – found in Ecclesiastes 12:4).


What about the phrase “he shall rise up at the voice of the bird?”   At first, we might think these words are describing someone who is so fearful that he is startled even by a bird sound.  However, there is another possible explanation.  Think about the picture we get from Ecclesiastes 10:20.  It’s the idea of a bird or fowl (a different Strong’s number than the bird of Ecclesiastes 12:4) bringing a message.  So how are we to understand what God is telling us in the words “he shall rise up at the voice of the bird?”


The Lord Jesus told a parable that appears to explain what this means, and we find it in Luke 11:5-13.  It’s a parable about someone who goes to his friend at midnight, asking for three loaves of bread.  The man does get the loaves from his friend, yet the Lord tells us what the answer could be based on the time setting in this parable.  The answer could be  “Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.”


In several places, the Bible tells us that there would come a time when salvation has ended.  We now know that this time precedes the end of the world, when the Lord returns on the last day.   Now think about the time setting for this Luke 11 parable.  We know that it is set at midnight, that the man’s friend is in his house, that the door is shut and that his children are with him in bed.  When we consider all these things together, we see that the parable is set during this time when salvation has ended.


Nevertheless, what do we read?  Luke 11:8 tells us:


I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.


When we examine the context for this parable, we find that the Lord is telling us about God answering the prayers of His children (see Luke 11:2-4, 9-13).  This parable seems to show us how to understand Ecclesiastes 12:4.  It shows us that even after salvation has ended, the Lord will “rise up at the voice of the bird” to answer prayers of those whom He has already saved.



The Evil Days Continue (Verse 5)


The next verse, Ecclesiastes 12:5, also tells us about a time of fear:


Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:  


At the start of the verse we read that “they” shall be afraid of something.   We’ve already seen that the preceding two verses deal with the elect, and this verse also concerns them.  What is it they fear?  They are afraid of that which is “high.”  The word translated “high” is Strong’s number H1364 (gaboahh).  It is mostly used to describe the world’s evils, as in Isaiah 5:15 where it is translated as “lofty” (“the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled”).  However, it is also used in Ecclesiastes 5:8, where it clearly refers to the Lord (“higher than the highest”).  Based on this, we can say that the verse (“they shall be afraid of that which is high”) is telling us about the elect being afraid of the Lord.


Next, the verse states “fears shall be in the way.”  The word translated “fears” is used only this one time in the Bible, but appears to be a good translation because we know the word from which it comes and can see how that word is translated.  The word for “way” is Strong’s number H1870 (“derek”), and it’s translated as “way” hundreds of times.  It can refer to a path or a road (see Ecclesiastes 10:3) or to a way of living (see Ecclesiastes 11:9).  The context, based on the preceding part of the verse, indicates that the elect’s fear of God will be seen in the way they live.


The verse continues by telling us that the “almond tree shall flourish.”  You may have learned that the fig tree represents national Israel in the Bible.  What about the almond tree?


The word translated as “almond tree” is Strong’s number H8247, “shaqed.”  It’s used one time in Ecclesiastes and in only three other places: Genesis 43:11, Numbers 17:8 and Jeremiah 1:11.  (However, this H8247 word is very similar to H8246 – which is also translated as “almonds” and is used to describe the design for the bowl of the candlesticks; e.g., see Exodus 37:20).


In Numbers 17:8, “shaqed” is translated as almonds.  In that verse, it refers to almonds on Aaron’s rod: a dead piece of wood that produced flower buds, blossoms and almonds.  This was an amazing miracle God performed to show that He had chosen Aaron as priest, and not anyone else (see Numbers 16:41-42, and 17:1-4).


In Jeremiah 1:11, the word is translated as “almond tree.”  There, we read about the rod of an almond tree.  This refers to Jeremiah himself (see Jeremiah 1:10 and 1:12).   God was going to “root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant” and to use a rod of the almond tree – Jeremiah – to do it.


Even in Genesis 43:11, where “shaqed” is translated “almonds” and appears to be nothing more than that, its meaning and use are consistent with the other verses.  Notice that Jacob tells his sons to bring of the “best fruits in the land in your vessels” when they return to Egypt.  Almonds are included in the list, and from many other verses we know that a vessel can refer to a person’s body; so even in this verse almonds can represent the elect.  Clearly, this is what God is referring to in Ecclesiastes 12:5 when He tells us “the almond tree shall flourish.”


After the phrase about the almond tree comes “the grasshopper shall be a burden.”  We should expect that “the grasshopper” refers to God’s elect, just like the other references we found so far in verses 3 and 4.  In fact, there is evidence that this is the case.  The word for grasshopper is Strong’s number H2284, “chagab.”  It’s used a total of five times, but none of its verses appear to have anything to do with the elect.  However, H2284 is identical to H2285.  That Strong’s number word, also “chagab,” is used in Ezra 2:46.  There, it’s the name of a head of a family (“Hagab”) who returned from captivity in Babylon.   This is certainly a reference to one of God’s people.


Continuing in Ecclesiastes 12:5, the verse states that the grasshopper “shall be a burden.”  What could that mean?  The word used here for “burden” is Stong’s number H5445, “cabal.”  When we read that phrase, we get the idea that the grasshopper itself is the burden.  However, when we see how “cabal” is used in other verses, we find that its translation in Ecclesiastes 12:5 is questionable.  For example, in Lamentations 5:7 we read:


Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities.


Here, the word used for “borne” is “cabal;” so in the second part of this verse the subject (“we”) is bearing the burden and not being a burden to someone else.    Also, if we check some other versions of the Bible we find that their translators had a similar understanding concerning the phrase about the grasshopper of Ecclesiastes 12:5.  For example, the Revised Standard Version translates it as “the grasshopper drags itself along.”  The picture here is that of a grasshopper moving laboriously, as though it is carrying a heavy burden.


In view of this, we can say that the KJV translators did not do their best work on the phrase about the grasshopper.   Rather than being a burden to someone, God appears to be telling us that the grasshopper itself is burdened.  We will see that this way of understanding the verse is consistent with the preceding verses.


Next comes the phrase “and desire shall fail.”  The word translated “desire” is Strong’s number H35 and is used only this one time in the whole Bible.   It is thought to come from H14, which has to do with a person’s will or what a person would do.


“Shall fail” is from Strong’s number H6565, “parar.”  In most of its uses, it’s translated as “break.”  It seems to be used in the sense that something breaks or comes to nothing.


The next part of Ecclesiastes 12:5 tells us “man goeth to his long home.”  With a concordance, we find that the word translated here as “long” is usually translated as “ever” or “everlasting.”  We also find that the word translated as “home” is usually translated as “house” or “household.”  Therefore, a better translation should be “man goeth to his eternal house.”  From many verses in the Bible, we learn that only the elect have an eternal house or home.  The unsaved are destroyed and have no further existence once they die.  On the last day, any of their remains will simply vanish.  It will be as though they had never lived.


The final phrase of Ecclesiastes 12:5 is “and the mourners go about the streets.”  The word for “mourners” here is Strong’s number H5594: “caphad.”  From many verses, we know that mourning is associated with people whom God has saved.  We also see this idea in Zechariah 12:10, where “caphad” is the word used for “mourneth:”


And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.   


The original language word for “streets” in Ecclesiastes 12:5 is always translated as “street” or “streets.”  However, there is something interesting about the word used for “go about.”  That word is Strong’s number H5437: “cahab.”  It’s used about 150 times in the Bible, and it often carries the meaning of “turning about” or “turning back” or “returning.”  In other words, God may be showing us that the mourners return from the streets.



Verse 6: A Big Transition


A great deal can be written about the next verse, Ecclesiastes 12:6:


Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.


God creates four different pictures here to show us something.  If you search for a commentary about this difficult verse, you will find that it has been understood in different ways.  Possibly, God’s intention was that we could understand it in more than one way.  For our purpose, we actually don’t have to understand the different pictures God uses because He tells us what the verse means.  In verse 7, He declares:


Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.  


Clearly, because of verse 7 we know that verse 6 is concerned with physical death.  Therefore, in each of the four pictures God is telling us something about physical death.


Verse 6 is a transition from verses 3, 4 and 5; but in those three verses, God tells us about the elect living in the period after salvation has ended.  In order to better understand this, we should review the timeline developed by Mr. Harold Camping.



Another Look at the Timeline


For about three years before May 21, 2011, Mr. Camping wrote and taught extensively concerning specific dates in God’s end-time salvation plan.  After many years of Bible study, Mr. Camping determined the following dates, shown in a timeline format:


May 22, 33 A.D.          May 21, 1988                 May 21, 2011


September 7, 1994                 October 21, 2011

The timeline’s first date marked the beginning of the church age on Pentecost Day shortly after the Lord Jesus returned to heaven.  The next date marked the end of the church age in 1988, and the beginning of a period when God stopped saving people.  That date was followed in 1994 by the beginning of a period in which God saved a great multitude of people all over the world.  The Bible’s term for that end-time period when many people were saved is the latter rain.


Before May 21, 2011, Mr. Camping’s understanding of the timeline was that the latter rain would end with the Rapture and a global earthquake of enormous devastation.   Then, exactly five months later on October 21, 2011, the world would end.  Because of his misunderstanding about the last two dates, many people now dismiss everything Mr. Camping taught concerning the timeline.  They have made a big mistake in doing this.


When we reevaluate what the Bible reveals about time, we find that his timeline is mostly correct and that the Bible shows us how to revise it.  First of all, the Bible shows us in several places that God’s people remain on earth after salvation has ended (see the article discussing where we are now in God’s salvation plan, entitled “You Are Here”).


One way in which God reveals this is the account of the two witnesses of Revelation 11.  They represent end-time believers (see Revelation 10:11) who bring the true Gospel all over the world in preparation for God to save a great multitude (see Revelation 7:9 and 14).  The two witnesses are overcome and killed after they have “finished their testimony” (Revelation 11:7).  The account then tells us that their dead bodies remain in the street for three and a half days because people will not allow their bodies to be put in graves.   This indicates their shame in the world’s eyes during a period of time when they remain on earth.  Notice that the Rapture follows that period (see verses 11 and 12).


Someone may argue that the message of judgment day and May 21, 2011 did not reach the whole world, and therefore Matthew 24:14 has still not been fulfilled.  Here is Matthew 24:14:


And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.


There is a big problem with that argument.  First of all, evidence indicates the May 21 / Judgment Day message did reach all over the world.  No one can point to any particular part of the world and say with certainty that none of the people there heard it.  Second, while it is true that improving technology will make it easier to reach people in the future, we must ask ourselves what kind of gospel people are now hearing and what will they hear in the future.  They will not hear the true Gospel of salvation by grace alone.   Instead, they will hear what local congregations of Christian churches are now teaching: the false gospel of self-empowerment that anyone can decide to save himself.


In the verses concerning the two witnesses and in several other places in the Bible, God not only shows us that His people remain here after salvation has ended, He also shows us that they have been overcome in some way or even silenced.  Again notice this extremely important verse about the two witnesses, Revelation 11:7:


And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.  


Here we read that the two witnesses finished their testimony.  And what was their testimony?  It was the true Gospel and its message of God’s judgment  – sent out all over the world.  This picture of God’s people being overcome in some way is also found in Revelation 20:9:


And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 


The “they” in this verse refers to Satan and his army and tells us they “compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city.”  It’s a picture of the enemy surrounding God’s people.  In other words, during the time before the end of the world, God’s people are in some way restrained; they are silenced or overcome in some way.  They are not freely sharing the Gospel.  This picture is consistent with other Bible passages that show us a silencing of the elect when salvation has ended.  Therefore it was incorrect to teach that the Rapture would occur immediately after salvation had ended.


Let’s see what other corrections must be made to the original timeline.  You may know about the annual feasts that God commanded ancient Israel to observe.  They are found in Leviticus 23.  Mr. Camping discovered something amazing about these feasts.  He learned that they picture events in God’s salvation plan.  We know this because events pictured by the feasts occurred during the exact days when the feasts were being observed.


God told Moses about these feasts in 1447 BC (Leviticus 23:1), and there is strong Biblical evidence that about 1,440 years later one of them was fulfilled.  That happened in 7 B.C. when the Lord Jesus was born on the Feast of Atonement.  Then about 35 years later – again, according to Biblical evidence giving us time clues – the Lord Jesus began His ministry in 29 A.D. on the Feast of Trumpets.


It’s not so difficult to see fulfillment of the next annual feasts.  We know that the Lord Jesus was killed on Passover in 33 A.D. after a ministry of about three and a half years (see John 18:39).  Passover was fulfilled then, but it’s also a picture of the Lord’s death before the foundation of the world.  After Passover we have the Days of Unleavened Bread.  These are linked with the Passover and come right after it (see Leviticus 23).  They point to the Lord’s resurrection and time with His disciples before returning to heaven.


We can also see fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost.  That’s found in Acts 2:1-2.  We read there about an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that marked the start of the church age.  It happened on May 22 in 33 A.D. (our timeline’s first date) and was also the fulfillment of John 16:7:


Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.


Soon after the Holy Spirit was poured out, the disciples began to spread the Gospel far beyond Jerusalem.  The Lord Jesus had told His disciples that He would send them out as witnesses.  In Acts 1:8, we read:


But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.


In Revelation 6:2, the rider on a white horse going forth “conquering, and to conquer” is a picture of true believers going out to the world at the start of the church age, in fulfillment of the Lord’s words.  And so we see that Pentecost also points to the Lord Jesus, just as the Feast of Atonement, the Feast of Trumpets, and Passover with the Days of Unleavened Bread point to Him.


When we read about all the annual feasts in Leviticus 23, we find that there is still no event to fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles.  Mr. Camping and many others assumed – very logically – that this feast would be fulfilled in 2011.  One reason for this was the mention of five months in Revelation 9:5.


Mr. Camping realized Revelation 9 reveals that this five-month period begins when salvation ends.  However, he understood it to be a literal period of five months, according to the calendar.   We now know that the numbers and time periods given in the book of Revelation are not to be taken literally.  (This was not known before May 21, 2011 because the book of Daniel, which is similar to Revelation in its end-time visions, does have numbers fitting literally into the timeline of earlier events.)


However, this still does not resolve the question about the Feast of Tabernacles.  Should we be searching the Bible to determine the date when this feast can be fulfilled according to our calendar?  In the book of Zechariah, God helps us understand how the feast will be fulfilled.  In Zechariah 14:12, God tells us about the destruction of all the unsaved at the end of the world.  He then goes on to tell us that the Feast of Tabernacles is kept after that time.  For example, in verse 19, we read:


This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.


The setting of this verse is the new heavens and earth, after the end of this world (see Zechariah 14:16-17).  In other words, the Feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled in the new heavens and new earth.   We will not see it fulfilled in this world according to a predictable date on our calendar.


This brings us to another correction in Mr. Camping’s teaching about the timeline.  Mr. Camping thought the Bible revealed that God’s people would know the date for the end of the world (although he did change his thinking about this matter after October 21, 2011).  What does the Bible really teach concerning that date?



What We Cannot Know


The book of Revelation concerns end-time events, and it has a verse of major importance concerning this subject of whether or not we can know the date when the world will end and the Lord will return.  There, we read that the apostle John was about to write something he had heard.  In Revelation 10:4, we read:


And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.  


The thunders represent the voice of God (John 12:29).  In this verse, God is telling us there are some things He will not reveal.  They were not written down and so they are just not in the Bible.  Therefore, we immediately have to admit the possibility that the day of His return may be one of them.


In fact, right after this verse we read about an angel announcing the end of time (Revelation 10:5-6).  Clearly then, God is showing us that the missing information concerns the end of time.  Remember, there has always been one question asked more than any other about the last day.  Of course, that question is “when will it be?”  Revelation 10:4 is strong evidence that we cannot know.


There are also parables we should keep in mind when we think about this matter of knowing or not knowing the date.  One is a parable (called the parable of the ten virgins) showing the elect (five of the virgins) expecting the Lord’s return on a certain day and going forth to meet Him.  As we read in Matthew 25:1-5, the bridegroom tarried and did not arrive when the virgins expected Him.  Notice the similarity between their situation and that of those who expected the Lord’s return on May 21, 2011!


As we continue with the parable, we find that the virgins did not watch.  When we search the Bible to understand what that means, we find that watching has to do with the way we live, and our relationship with the Lord.  The parable’s point is stated in Matthew 25:13:


Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.   


We cannot insist that the restriction given in this verse – that you know “neither the day nor hour” – applies only to those who were believers in earlier times.  Clearly, this parable applies to end-time believers.  The parable of the ten virgins is all about end-time believers and everything about it applies to them.  It shows us that we cannot know the date of the Lord’s return.


While it is true that the Lord promised He wouldn’t do anything without revealing it to His servants (Amos 3:7) – who are the elect – we must not claim that this verse means we will know the date for the Lord’s return.  God has already revealed in His word that He will destroy this universe and create a new heavens and earth.  Not everyone knows this.   We also know that we are in a time without salvation since 2011; and we know that God’s elect will live with Him for eternity, while the unsaved will not suffer anything after death.  These are all amazing and precious truths we have learned without knowing when the Lord will return.  God has indeed revealed to His servants the things He has done and will do.


If you’re still not convinced about this, think about the multiple times the Lord tells us we will not know when He will return (e.g., Matthew 24:36, 24:44, 25:13).  Here is Matthew 24:44-46:


Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.


Notice the words “when he cometh shall find so doing” in the last verse. The “faithful and wise servant” wasn’t expecting the Lord.  This servant didn’t know it was the last day, but he was doing the Lord’s will by providing “meat in due season” to his household.  (Notice that the man is not sowing seed, which is a picture of spreading the Gospel.  Rather, he is feeding his household.  This is another picture of feeding the Lord’s sheep.)  The wording in verse 46, telling us that the lord “finds” the servant providing for his household, is consistent with a surprise and sudden return.



The Corrected Timeline and the Mysterious Period


When we re-examine some of the verses concerning the Feast of Tabernacles and the question of whether or not we can know the date for the Lord’s return, we see how we have misunderstood the last part of the original timeline.  The Feast of Tabernacles never belonged in the timeline, and the date at the timeline’s end – which will be earth’s last day – can never be known.  Therefore, we now have a new, corrected timeline:


May 22, 33 A.D.          May 21, 1988                                 May 21, 2011


September 7, 1994


Notice that this new timeline is very similar to Mr. Camping’s, except at the end.  Let’s compare it with the description of that mysterious period of time described in Ecclesiastes 12.  For reference, here is Ecclesiastes 12:1-5:


Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2 While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3 In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4 And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 5 Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:


These verses perfectly match the new timeline.  The darkening of the sun, moon and stars (verse 2) speaks of the day marking the end of salvation.  This event was a major turning point in God’s salvation plan.


The return of the clouds (also in verse 2) tells us that there is a period of time without the possibility of salvation, continuing until the last day.  This period follows the darkening of the sun, moon and stars.  On the timeline, it matches the period that began on May 21, 2011.


Notice that verse 2 also implies that there was an earlier period of time without salvation, because it tells us that “the clouds return.”   The timeline shows us that this previous period of time began on May 21, 1988 and lasted until September 7, 1994.  That period of time also had “clouds.”


The timeline shows us that after the “clouds” return they continue (that is, there is no salvation) until the end of time.  This might remind you of something in the first chapter of the book of Acts.  Notice that in Acts 1:9, we read about a cloud in connection with the departure of the Lord Jesus:


And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.


And in Acts 1:11 we read that the Lord will “come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”  Therefore, a cloud is also associated with the Lord’s return; so this verse agrees with our understanding of Ecclesiastes 1:2 and the timeline.  It shows that on the last day there will be “clouds,” indicating that salvation had ended.


Next, notice the words “after the rain” in verse 2.  The period from September 7, 1994 until May 21, 2011 has been identified as the latter rain.  It was a time when God saved a great many people all over the world.  The “rain” in Ecclesiastes 12:2 matches the latter rain indicated on the timeline.


Ecclesiastes 12:3 tells us about a time of fear.  This is consistent with our understanding that God saved a great multitude during the period of the latter rain.   You might remember reading that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (see Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10).  A fear of the Lord is a characteristic of God’s people.


This fear is certainly true of new believers and would apply to the great multitude saved all over the world after the time the Gospel was sent all over the world.  In Revelation 7:9, we read:


After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;  


The apostle John had a vision of this great multitude and was told in Revelation 7:14 that they came out of “the great tribulation” (Revelation 7:14 includes the article “the” in the original Greek).  And so Ecclesiastes 12:3 is consistent with and confirms our understanding of the timeline in this way.


In the next verses of Ecclesiastes, God gives us a picture of His people living and dying.  Notice the words “and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets.” Ecclesiastes 12 is further evidence that any dates predicted for the Lord’s return in 2014 or 2015 are incorrect.  In fact, based on Ecclesiastes 12:5 it appears that the Lord’s return is many years away.


Verses 4 and 5 show us a picture of God’s people living in sorrow and then dying.  In fact, after reading Ecclesiastes 12 we might ask if any true believers will be left when the Lord returns.  We can answer that question with a definite “yes.”  However, it is possible that many believers who were alive on May 21, 2011 will have passed away when the Lord finally does return.  Based on verse 5, it appears that the older ones will no longer be here by then.  This is consistent with something we find in John 21:22:


Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.   


This was the Lord’s reply after Peter had asked what would happen to “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 21:20-21).  We know that this disciple was actually Lazarus (not John, as is almost universally believed; see the article entitled “The Adventures of Lazarus” for more information).   In John 21, God is using Lazarus to represent the true believers who will still be alive when the Lord returns (another representation of the last group of believers is the “little sister” in Song of Solomon 8:8.  These examples are consistent with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).   Therefore, we know that at least some true believers will still be here on the last day.



A Most Amazing Verse


While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:


Ecclesiastes 12:2 might be the most amazing verse in the whole Bible, at least as far as our study of the timeline is concerned.  It compresses over 19 years (and still counting) into two short clauses of only several words each.   Here is a brief review of how this works.  Begin with the second part of the verse.  It warns us that the clouds return, so it’s referring to an earlier period of clouds.  That was a time without salvation, and it ended in September of 1994 when the latter rain began.  The latter rain continued until May of 2011.  That’s when salvation ended – as pictured in the first part of the verse by the darkening of the sun, light, moon and stars.  Then the clouds returned after the rain.  The end of salvation and the time afterwards are “the evil days” we read about in verse 1.


The New Timeline


May 22, 33 A.D.          May 21, 1988                                 May 21, 2011


September 7, 1994


Ecclesiastes 12:2 and the related verses of Ecclesiastes 12 confirm that the new timeline is correct.  Notice also that God is telling us to remember Him before our time runs out in one of two ways.   First, because there will be an end to salvation (verse 1); and secondly, because of death (verses 6-7).  There is no reference to the end of the world.  Yet many people still insist that God will reveal that date.  Think about this.  Why should God reveal that date?  What purpose would it serve?  But the date for the end of salvation: Yes!  God wanted us to know it and to warn the world about it.


There are many more reasons for us to have confidence in this timeline.   When we read Genesis from chapter 1 to the end, we go from Creation to the time of Joseph’s death in Egypt.  The Bible makes it clear that all of this history took place over the course of several thousands of years – not billions.


In developing the original timeline, Mr. Camping discovered that the Creation occurred in 11,013 B.C.  Although our educational system overwhelmingly rejects the idea that earth could be only about 13,000 years old, science – when properly understood – actually supports it.


Modern estimates for the age of the earth (supposedly about five billion years old) and the universe (supposedly about 14 billion years old) are all based on certain assumptions.  Undoubtedly you can use certain equations, plug in some numbers and come out with large numbers like those.  But if your assumptions about initial conditions are wrong, then any answers you get will also be wrong.  It’s a case of garbage in, garbage out!


Those who are vehement in their rejection of the idea that earth is only thousands of years old should remember Alfred Wegener, the scientist who presented the theory of continental drift in 1912.   Most scientists of his day rejected the idea.  He suffered a great deal of hostility and was not even allowed to teach in his native Germany.  Such attacks continued in 1926, when he presented his ideas at a symposium in New York City.  In fact, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that other scientists started to realize that he was correct: there really had been a super-large land mass that broke apart to form the continents we have today.


And what does this have to do with the Bible?  Genesis 10:25 records the name of a man called Peleg.  It tells us that in his days the earth was divided.  That happened about 2,000 years after Noah’s flood.   It’s too bad the scientists of Alfred Wegener’s day didn’t believe the Bible, because God revealed that interesting piece of earth history to mankind over 3,400 years ago.



Three Dates In A Tribulation


Besides the dates for Creation and the flood, Mr. Camping discovered many other key dates for Biblical events.  All of them can be listed on a long timeline covering about 13,000 years – the complete history of the earth and of mankind.  During early church history, other writers also realized that the earth is only several thousand years old.  But their timelines were much too short to be realistic.  Mr. Camping’s timeline, however, satisfies the historical record and answers scientific questions as well.


A major feature of Mr. Camping’s timeline (and our new timeline) is the great tribulation.  The Bible makes it clear that there is an end-time great tribulation, and Revelation 7:14 tells us that a great multitude is saved out of it.  In order to learn about the timing for this tribulation, Mr. Camping examined two earlier periods of great trouble for God’s people.


In Genesis, we read about a great famine that occurred when Joseph was a ruler in Egypt.  The famine was seven years long, and it had already been going on for two years when Joseph’s father Jacob left his home and went to Egypt because there was food there. The second period Mr. Camping examined began before and ended after Jerusalem was captured by Babylon in 587 B.C.  That was a 70-year period of time.  It began in 609 B.C. when Judah’s king Josiah was killed, and it ended in 539 B.C. when Babylon was conquered.


Therefore, we have three significant dates for both periods.  For the famine of Jacob’s day, we have the year the famine began and the year it ended.  In between we have the year that Jacob left his homeland.  And for the end of Judah (all that was left of Solomon’s once great kingdom of Israel) we have the year of Josiah’s death in battle – which was a disastrous blow to the kingdom of Judah – and the year when Babylon was conquered, thereby allowing some Jews to return home.  In between those two dates we have the date when Babylon captured Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, marking the end of Judah.


As Mr. Camping studied those two periods of time and all the related dates, he noticed that there were many patterns connecting them (see chapter 11 of his book Time Has An End.  For example, the famine of Jacob’s day lasted for 84 months; and Judah’s decline, destruction and captivity lasted 840 months: facts that helped him realize that the great tribulation of our day was 8,400 days long).  Those patterns allowed him to know the dates for the end-time tribulation.  We have those dates on our timeline: May 21, 1988; September 7, 1994; and May 21, 2011.


Like the two ancient tribulations recorded in the Bible, the end-time tribulation has only three dates.  This is additional proof that we cannot know the date for the end of the world: the timeline doesn’t allow it.  And that’s why the feast of tabernacles can’t fit into the timeline.  There is no room for it or any other date because the end-time tribulation is completely described by only three dates.



Ecclesiastes 12 Agrees With Revelation


Just as Ecclesiastes 12 confirms the timeline, so does the book of Revelation in its account of the opening of the seven seals of a book that had been sealed.  We know that the four horsemen (which are visions the apostle John saw when the first four seals were unsealed – see Revelation 6:1 and following) are pictures of the church age.  The church age began with the true Gospel being sent out to the world by the elect (on a white horse).  However, almost immediately men began to misuse God’s word (pictured by the rider on a red horse – notice the sword).  In time, truth in church doctrine was so scarce that God compares the situation to a famine (the rider on a black horse, with a set of scales for measuring out small amounts of the truth).  Then comes the last rider.  He’s on a pale horse and brings death to anyone snared by his teaching.


The time setting for these visions of the four horsemen correspond to May 21 of 33 A.D. on the timeline.  Next comes the opening of the fifth seal, which corresponds to the period before God’s judgment on the churches.  The opening of the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12) is a vision illustrating God’s anger when He ended salvation in May of 1988.  It is focused on the local congregations, but also includes national Israel (note the 40 years time interval from 1948, the year of Israel’s rebirth).  It marks the end of the church age.


The opening of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1) records a half hour of silence in heaven.  From our current perspective, it corresponds with an earlier time when no one was being saved – a condition that continued until the latter rain began.  The latter rain is described in Revelation 8:3-4 as the prayers of the saints ascending before God.  However, that is also the time when the first four trumpets sound (Revelation 8:7-12).  These visions are pictures of God’s anger against the churches.   Even when He was saving people all over the world, He still withheld blessing from the local congregations.  The churches would never again be used as an earthly representation of God’s kingdom.


Next comes the sounding of the fifth trumpet.  This marks the end of the latter rain and corresponds with May 21, 2011 on the timeline.  It’s a picture of judgment brought by God’s word when there is no longer any possibility of salvation.  Notice Revelation 9:4 – only those who have already been sealed (that is, saved) are spared.  The strange locusts of this vision are those who continue to bring the Gospel after salvation has ended.


The sixth trumpet vision is a picture of the Rapture and resurrection.  It’s also a judgment against the local congregations, because the people there are confident that they have been saved.  Their anguish will be much greater than that of other unsaved persons when they realize that they have not been saved.  And of course the sounding of the seventh trumpet marks the end of the world.  Therefore, Ecclesiastes 12 is consistent with the visions described in Revelation, from the opening of the sixth seal up to and including the sounding of the fifth trumpet.  So we see that both Ecclesiastes 12 and the visions associated with the opening of the seven seals confirm the timeline, although in different ways.


Undoubtedly there will still be people who insist that salvation continues until the last day; but if they’re going to be honest with themselves, they must answer some difficult questions.  For example, what could God possibly be telling us in Revelation 9:6, if it’s not about the end of salvation?


And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.


Clearly, God is telling us about a time when men continue to seek the atoning death of the Lord Jesus (see Romans 6:3-7), but it is no longer available.  And why would God tell us about a time when a man, who represents God Himself, could say what we read in Luke 11:7:


And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.


This language tells us that salvation has ended.  Also, note the time setting for the parable from which this verse is taken – it’s midnight (Luke 11:5), indicating that the darkening of the sun, moon and stars has already taken place.


Also, if salvation continues to the last day, why is it that in the account of the two witnesses God tells us that their “testimony” was “finished” three and a half days before the Rapture (Revelation 11:7, 11:11-12)?  God is showing us here that the time of preaching the Gospel to the unsaved ends at some time before the last day.  This contradicts the idea that salvation continues right up to the last day.  If it did, then the two witnesses should have continued their testimony right up to the time of the Lord’s return.


Finally, if salvation continues to the end, why is it that God tells us to seek Him while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6)?   And why does Ecclesiastes 12 emphasize that the deadline to remember our Creator is the darkening of the sun, etc. (Ecclesiastes 12:1-2), unless a person were to die before that event occurred (Ecclesiastes 12:6)?  These questions cannot be answered unless we recognize that salvation ends before the last day.



Logical Thinking Leads To This Conclusion


Logic also compels us to admit that salvation has ended once we recognize that the church age is over.  In Matthew 24:15-16, the Lord Jesus told His disciples about a situation that would exist at some time before the end of the world.  In those two verses, the Lord says:


When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:


Many people have recognized that these verses speak of a time when people must get out of their local congregation.  It is the time when Satan sits “in the temple of God,” as we read in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.  Those verses were definitely written after the church age had begun.  In other epistles, Paul mentions some churches of his day and recorded rules to govern believers in their local congregations (e.g., see Philemon 1:2, 1 Timothy 3:2, and 1 Corinthians 14:34).  But in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul is already warning of the day when Satan would rule in the local congregations of Christian churches.  For Paul, it was something in the distant future (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).


There are those who now believe that the church age has indeed ended, but that salvation continues.  Let’s think about this.  How can anyone know for sure that the church age is over right now?  Yes, we do see great wickedness in many well-known churches, especially in recent years as they have changed their policies.  But in at least some of those cases, a number of congregations broke away from the main group when the church’s governing body made decisions not in accordance with the Bible.  Isn’t it possible that we might find a faithful congregation among one of those that broke away?  Or perhaps someone who has good understanding of the Bible could start a new congregation of his own today.  Isn’t that also a possibility?  Why shouldn’t someone start a new church?


The answer is we really do know that the church age is over.  We shouldn’t spend time looking for a faithful church, and we shouldn’t try to start a new one.  But there is only one way to know that God has finished with the local congregations, and that is from the timeline.  The timeline reveals that the church age ended in 1988.  That’s how we know that the Lord’s command to “flee into the mountains” is in effect today.  Now ask yourself, how can anyone accept the timeline date for the end of the church age, yet reject the other two end-time dates the timeline has given us?   They can’t, because the three dates are locked together.  The date for the end of the church age comes from Mr. Camping’s discovery of dates for the great tribulation, and the great tribulation has three dates.  Therefore, if you think the church age is over, logic compels you to admit that salvation has also ended.





Our new timeline is now complete and accurate, and Ecclesiastes 12:1-6 verifies it.  It shows us that there was a period without salvation (clouds), followed by a time of salvation (rain), followed by the darkening of the sun, light, moon and stars – which marked the final end of salvation and return of the clouds (Ecclesiastes 12:2).


This is exactly what we see in the timeline.  God brought His judgment on the churches and on Israel, ending salvation for a period of time beginning in 1988.  Then, in 1994 He again began saving people and continued until a great multitude was saved.  That all ended in May of 2011.  That marked the end of the great tribulation and beginning of this present period without salvation that continues until the last day.


Ecclesiastes 12 also provides additional insight into the new timeline.  It is clear that we cannot know the date for the Lord’s return; but Ecclesiastes 12 shows us that it will most likely be a long time from now.  Notice the words in verse 1: “nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.”  God is describing the “evil days” as years.


They begin with the darkening of the sun, etc. – just as we read in Matthew 24:29.  But according to Matthew’s account, it seems as if the end of the world comes immediately after the darkening of the sun.  Notice the words “And then” in Matthew 24:30.  This verse can easily lead you to believe that the Lord returns as soon as the sun darkens, even though it doesn’t say that.  However, Ecclesiastes 12 shows us that there is a period of “years” after the darkening of the sun, and that some – and possibly many of God’s elect – will die before the day He returns.  We see this in the words “man goeth to his long home” (Ecclesiastes 12:5).


Luke 18 has another example of a verse implying a long wait for the Lord.  Here it is, Luke 18:8:


I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?


This verse implies that there may not be too many of the elect alive when the Lord returns.  It also implies that salvation has ended long before then.  After all, if God were saving people right up to the very end of the world, why would the Lord ask if He shall find faith on earth when He comes?


Although this realization will be a great disappointment to everyone who was hoping to see the Lord in 2011 and still expects His return next year, we can take comfort in knowing that He will “rise up at the voice of the bird” (Ecclesiastes 12:4) to answer our prayers during these evil days – for however many years we remain here.


Nibiru – The Countdown

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The planet Nibiru, four times the size of Earth on a 3,600 year orbit of the Sun will imminently enter the inner solar system and destroy our planet on December 21 of this year, coinciding with the end of the Mayan Calendar.  This news, if you believe it, is being shielded from the general public to prevent hysteria and, just perhaps, allow a small group of scientists, world leaders, and wealthy, influential individuals to complete their secret preparations to flee this planet as in the 1951 sci-fi classic film When Worlds Collide.


The origin of this story begins in the mid-20th Century when Azerbaijani-born American scholar Zecharia Sitchin, while studying Mesopotamian iconography and symbology, discovers startling information about a 12th planet beyond Neptune.  The planet, named Nibiru, follows a long, elliptical orbit through the inner solar system to the outer reaches of the Sun’s gravitational pull.  According to Sitchin in his book The 12th Planet, Nibiru collided with another planet located between Mars and Jupiter and associated with the goddess Tiamat in the Babylonian creation story.  The planet split in two.  On the next pass of Nibiru, it struck the one half of the debris forming the solar system’s asteroid belt and one of its moons hit and deflected the other half into a new orbit, creating the planet, Earth.


During other of the planet’s passes of Earth, according to Sitchin, its inhabitants have interacted with humans, influencing social and cultural development.  He has identified these interplanetary visitors as the Annunaki of ancient Sumerian myth, among our planet’s first gods.  Sitchin, who died in 2010, projected that Nibiru’s next pass of the Earth would occur in approximately 2900 AD, but speculated that the Annunaki might return earlier via spacecraft between the years 2090 and 2370 AD.


To learn Nibiru’s connection to the Mayan Calendar, one has to fast forward to the mid-90’s when Nancy Lieder, a Wisconsin woman, launches the website ZetaTalk.  Claiming to have been contacted by gray extraterrestrials called Zetas who implanted a communications device in her brain when she was a child, Lieder indicated that she had information from the Zetas that a planet that she originally referred to as Planet X that was four times Earth’s size would pass very close on May 27, 2003 causing the Earth’s rotation to cease for exactly 5.9 terrestrial days, the destabilization and physical shift of the planet’s poles, and the disruption of the magnetic core and displacement of the Earth’s crust; thereby, ending civilization as we know it.


When May 27, 2003 passed without incident, Lieder indicated that her original claim was a “white lie” to fool those in power and ameliorate the possibility of any potential imposition of martial law in advance of the cataclysm.  Conspiracy theorists and doomsday prognosticators both online and off, however, have since associated Lieder’s Planet X with Nibiru and speculate that Nibiru’s appearance will coincide with the end of the current cycle in the long count in the Mayan Calendar, signaling the end of time.


Will Nibiru make an appearance on December 21 of this year, or ever?  Will the world end on December 21, 2012?  Stay tuned…



The Feast of Eternity

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If you read the book of Zechariah, you’ll find that it mentions only one of the annual feasts God commanded ancientIsraelto observe: that’s the feast of tabernacles.  Why should there be an emphasis on that particular feast?


In Leviticus 23, we find the names of the annual feasts and times when they were to be observed.  The feasts are called “holy convocations” or meetings (Leviticus 23:4).  In that chapter, you’ll see that the people were commanded to observe all the feasts.  No one feast is more important than any other.  That’s why it’s curious to find only the feast of tabernacles mentioned in the book of Zechariah. 



The Annual Feasts and God’s Salvation Plan


You may know that God used the annual feasts to illustrate truths associated with His salvation plan.  It was back in 1447 BC, whenIsraelcame out of slavery inEgypt, that God instituted the annual feasts.  The first feast thatIsraelobserved was the Passover (Leviticus 23:5) with the days of unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6).   The Israelites were commanded to kill a lamb on the Passover (Exodus 12:5-6).  The killing of a lamb pictured the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus, and it was during Passover in 33 AD that He was crucified. 


There’s another annual feast that was clearly fulfilled during the New Testament, and that’s Pentecost.  That feast is also known as the feast of firstfruits (Leviticus 23:10).  It was celebrated around the time when the first harvest was brought in from the fields.  In the New Testament, it was on Pentecost in 33 AD that God began the church age (Acts 2:1).  The Biblical timeline discovered by Mr. Harold Camping shows us that the church age lasted until 1988.  For 1,955 years, God used local congregations of Christian churches to represent His eternal kingdom, just as He once used thekingdomofIsraelto represent it in ancient times.  The people whom God saved during the church age are pictured as “firstfruits.”  In this way, the feast of Pentecost has been fulfilled.


The next annual feast we find in Leviticus 23 is called the feast of trumpets (Leviticus 23:24).  There is great evidence that this annual feast was also fulfilled during the New Testament, but it took some detective work to understand how it was.  By carefully piecing together time clues found in the Gospels, it has been determined that John the Baptist announced the Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God on the feast of trumpets in 29 AD (John 1:29).  That was the beginning of the Lord’s public ministry, which ended about three and a half years later at the cross.  The feast of trumpets was also fulfilled a second time.  That happened more recently when the Lord began the “latter rain” in 1994.  During that period, which lasted until 2011, God saved a great multitude of people all over the world.


There is one more annual feast that was fulfilled during the New Testament era, based on Biblical evidence.  In Leviticus 23:27, we read about that feast.  It’s called the Day of Atonement.  Although the Bible doesn’t give the date when the Lord Jesus was born, by piecing together clues found in the Gospel accounts we can say with a high degree of certainty that the Lord Jesus was born in the year 7 BC on the Day of Atonement.


As you continue reading Leviticus 23, you will find that there is only one other time of the year when God required an annual feast to be observed.   In Leviticus 23:34, we read:


Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.


Until the feast of tabernacles passed uneventfully last year, it was widely expected that we would see it fulfilled with the rapture and the end of the world occurring then.  The timeline revealed that all the other feasts had been fulfilled.  God was clearly showing us that He would complete the Biblical timeline during the feast of tabernacles, wasn’t He?  That was a logical and completely reasonable conclusion at the time.  However, we must now reevaluate it.



The Feast of Tabernacles in the Book of Zechariah


It’s very curious the way the feast of tabernacles appears in the book of Zechariah.  For one thing, it’s the only feast mentioned in that book.  Also, it’s really emphasized there in a strange way.


The book of Nehemiah also emphasizes the feast of tabernacles (Nehemiah 8:14-18); but there, it’s an actual historical account.  The people inJerusalemat that time had returned from captivity.  The younger people among them would have been the first generation born there after the return.  The book of Nehemiah tells us the people learned that God’s law required observance of the feast of tabernacles, and kept it for the first time in many years.  In Nehemiah 8:17, we read about this:


And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.


But in the book of Zechariah, it’s a different situation altogether.  There, we find the feast of tabernacles mentioned three times.  All three occurrences are in chapter 14 (verses 16, 18 and 19), and all three are set in the context of eternity.  Zechariah 14:12 helps us understand the time setting:


And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth.


This verse and verses 13-15 tell us about the last day and judgment against the unsaved.   Although the end of the unsaved is described here in a terrifying way, the verse is actually consistent with an understanding that God will simply speak the universe out of existence, mercifully dissolving everything in an instant.  The verses that follow verse 15 tell us about the new heavens and the new earth.   Now, notice how verse 16 mentions the feast of tabernacles, and what verse 17 states:


And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.  And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.


When we read verse 17, we can easily get the impression that there will be alive at that time some people who will not keep the feast of tabernacles.   They won’t go up toJerusalemwhen the feast is to be observed, and so the Lord won’t give them any rain.  Is that the meaning of this verse?


Let’s look at the next verse mentioning the feast of tabernacles.  In Zechariah 14:18, we read:


And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.


Here we see that same idea: those who will not keep the feast of tabernacles will have no rain and will suffer a plague.  Finally, in verse 19 we read:


This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.


Here again, the feast of tabernacles is mentioned; and here again, we find the idea of punishment for those who won’t observe the feast.  To help us understand the way God has written these verses, let’s consider some other interesting verses. 



Not What You Might Think


In John 6, we read about an occasion when people who heard the Lord Jesus preach followed Him to the other side of theSea of Galilee.  When they found Him, He told the people not to labor “for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you… “(John 6:27).  The people then asked Him what they should do, as we read in John 6:28:


Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?


 In the following verse, the Lord answered them:


Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.


When we read the Lord’s answer, we can easily get the impression that a person can be saved by believing in the Lord Jesus, because then he or she will be doing the work that God wants a person to do.  However, look closely at the Lord’s statement: “This is the work of God.”  When a person believes, it is the work of God – it’s work God has done. 


The original Greek words also support this understanding.  Two different words for “work” are used in these verses: “ergazomai”  (G2038) and “ergon” (G2041).  The first word is used for work that a person can do, as in the words “that we might work.”  The second is used for work that God has done, as in “the works of God.”  Therefore, these verses are actually consistent with a truth we find throughout the Bible.  Namely, that God must do all the work to save someone.  Even a person’s belief – if it’s the saving kind of faith a person needs – comes from God.


Another situation that can easily be misunderstood is found in Luke 17.  Toward the end of that chapter, we find the Lord Jesus telling His disciples about the last day.  Then, in Luke 17:36-37, we read:


Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.  And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.


Notice the question that was asked, and the way the Lord answered it.  The Lord had been telling His disciples how one person would be taken and the other left.  The disciples wanted to know where the one taken would go.  As an answer, the Lord told them about eagles gathering where the body is. 


Based on the Lord’s answer, you might think that those taken away on the last day will die.  It seems that there will be dead bodies wherever they are taken.  However, from other verses in the Bible we know that the ones taken are actually those who have been saved: they will be taken up in the rapture.  It is those who are left behind that die when they are annihilated with everything else.  This truth actually helps us understand the references to the feast of tabernacles in Zechariah 14.  Verse 19 is the last of the three references:


This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.


This verse reveals that the unsaved aren’t keeping the feast of tabernacles after the last day.  However, it’s not because they are rebelling against the Lord.  It’s because they aren’t there!



This Picture Completes Our Understanding


When we consider how the feast of tabernacles is pictured in the book of Zechariah, we can gain new insight into the Biblical timeline.  Since May 21, 2011, many people have questioned the timeline and begun to doubt its accuracy.    The reason for this is not only because May 21, 2011 passed uneventfully.  It’s also because October 21, 2011 passed uneventfully.  That was believed to be the last day of the feast of tabernacles, and it was believed to be the very end of the timeline.


Many numerical patterns, generated from time intervals between key dates in the timeline, pointed to 2011 as the year of supreme importance in God’s salvation plan.  Consequently, it was widely believed that the Bible pointed to the Lord’s return in that year.  However, when we reconsider some of the verses leading to that conclusion, we find that the Bible does not give us time information about the date of the Lord’s return.  In fact, in many verses (such as Matthew 25:13) the Lord Jesus clearly told His disciples that they would not know the date. 


We also see this truth supported in Revelation 10:4:


And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.


There, the Lord tells us that something concerning end-times will not be revealed.  It is something that the Seven Thunders uttered, and it concerns the end of time (see Revelation 10:5-6).  Throughout the Christian era, no question has been of more importance than that concerning the date of the Lord’s return.  In view of Revelation 10:4, no one should continue insisting that we will know that date.


Yet the Bible really did point to 2011.  The reason of course is that God ended any possibility of salvation last year.  If you still doubt this, consider the verses that tell about the sun being darkened.  We read about that in Joel 3:15, Isaiah 13:10, Mark 13:24 and other verses. 


Why would the Lord emphasize the end of salvation if it continued until the last minute?  Obviously, He won’t be saving anyone when He is about to command the resurrection to start; but the Bible tells us to seek the Lord while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6).  In this and in other ways, God shows us that salvation has already ended before the last day – the day on which the Lord returns.


Perhaps the best known verse concerning the end of salvation is Matthew 24:29:


Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:  


This verse tells us that salvation ends right after the great tribulation.  Now read the next verse, Matthew 24:30:


And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.


Because of the words “And then,” many expected the Lord’s return to follow immediately after salvation had ended; so there was great certainty among many that the Lord would return on May 21, 2011.  However, we need to be careful when we see the word “then” in the Bible. 


Sometimes, it can refer to the time that was previously mentioned.  That’s how it was understood last year; and so it was believed that Matthew 24:30 was teaching that the Lord’s return would follow as soon as salvation had ended.  However, the word “then” can also indicate the passage of time, so that there is a period after the time that was previously mentioned.  This period continues until the next event.  For example, in Matthew 26:14-15, we read:


Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,  And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.   


Notice the word “then” in verse 14.  These verses are telling us what Judas did after the Lord was anointed with “very precious ointment” (Matthew 26:6-13).  We don’t have any reason to believe that Judas went out the door as soon as that happened, and ran to the chief priests.  Rather, it’s clear that he went to them sometime afterwards; but we don’t know how much time passed until he went.   


The Greek word translated as “then” in Matthew 26:14 is “tote” (Strong’s number G5119), the same word used for “then” in Matthew 24:30.  So we have good support for our understanding that the Lord’s return doesn’t occur immediately after salvation has ended.  Rather than dismiss the timeline, we can now see where we misunderstood it.  The appearance of the feast of tabernacles in the book of Zechariah greatly helps to clarify the situation for us. 





God revealed a great deal of new information over the last few years.   Much of it concerns time.  We now know, for example, that the six days of creation took place in the year 11,013 BC.  This is precious knowledge.  Sadly, so many people in Christian churches today have rejected it.  They believe that the earth is billions of years old – although they see the hand of God guiding evolution.  These dear people might not be quite so deceived as atheists or agnostics.  Nevertheless, they are deceived. 


We also know that God indicated He would reveal new information near the end of time, so that “the wise” (Daniel 12:9-10) would understand.  In fulfillment of this, God allowed us to know the date by which He would end salvation.  This was necessary in order for His people to warn the world about it. 


We should not insist that more information about God’s timing must be revealed.  God has already given us what was needed, just as He indicated He would.   The Bible showed that there would be new information coming about end-times, but it does not tell us that we will know the date of the Lord’s return.  In fact, it indicates the opposite – that we will not know it.


Related to this misunderstanding of the timeline is the belief that we will see the feast of tabernacles fulfilled by the Lord’s return on a date that God will reveal to us, because it is the only annual feast that has not yet been fulfilled.   We have seen that all the other annual feasts have been fulfilled on dates that we know; and so this thinking carries over to the feast of tabernacles.   


The annual feasts do show us a picture of God’s salvation plan; but there is no reason to insist that the last of the annual feasts, the feast of tabernacles, must be fulfilled here on earth.  The book of Zechariah helps us to understand the situation.  So we can now return to the original question: why does this book of the Bible emphasize the feast of tabernacles?  God’s reason appears to be that the book of Zechariah shows us how the feast of tabernacles will be fulfilled.  It will complete the salvation plan, but it won’t be fulfilled according to the calendar in a predictable way.  It will be fulfilled in eternity.



Date of Judgment Day – Confirmed!

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Undoubtedly many people remember that last year, around this time, they were hearing that God’s Judgment Day was about to come.   There were billboards throughout the world announcing it; and if you did any regular travelling in or near a city, you were most likely offered a tract about Judgment Day – possibly many times.  The date announced as Judgment Day was May 21, 2011.  As you know, May 21 came and went just as any other day.  There was nothing spectacular about it, and the world is still going on the same as ever.  Does this mean that the effort to warn the world about Judgment Day was all a big mistake?  There’s no doubt that there was a misunderstanding about the nature of that day, because there was no great earthquake or any other type of physical sign.  However, there is more to this than meets the eye. 

You may remember reading or hearing a Bible verse about the Genesis Flood given as proof that Judgment Day would begin on May 21 of 2011.  The verse has to do with the fact that last May 21 was the 17th day of the second month in the Hebrew calendar.  Jews the world over use that calendar, although it doesn’t follow exactly the same rules as the lunar calendar God instructed ancient Israel to use after they left Egypt (see Exodus 12:1-2).  Why is it important that last May 21 was identified with the 17th day of the second month in the modern Hebrew calendar?

When we read about the great Flood of Noah’s day in the book of Genesis, we find that it began on the 17th day of the second month according to the calendar in use at that time (in 4990 BC).  God calls our attention to that date, as we learn from Genesis 7:11:

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 

In the Flood, God destroyed all mankind with the exception of Noah and his family.  Only eight people out of the whole world survived.   Aside from the last day of the world, when God will destroy all the unsaved on earth as well as the earth itself, the Flood is the only other occasion when God brought physical judgment on the whole world. 

It’s important to realize that the verses about the Flood weren’t used to determine that last May 21 was a key date in the sequence of dates discovered by Family Radio’s Mr. Harold Camping.  Rather, the Flood’s connection to May 21 was discovered only after Mr. Camping had calculated that date.

When we read about the Flood, we are reading about an historical event; but that account can also be understood as a picture or parable of God’s Judgment.  We know from the Bible that God uses such pictures to instruct us about past and future events.  Therefore, the fact that the flood began on the 17th day of the second month was understood to be an important confirmation for May 21 as the beginning of Judgment Day.  

You might not know it, but the book of Esther is also an historical parable about the end of the world.  This was known several years before 2011; it was written about and discussed on many occasions by various Bible teachers heard over Family Radio.  Collectively, they have spent many hours looking into this book of the Bible during the last few years.  We may, therefore, think it’s amazing that we can still learn something new from Esther; but that is apparently what has happened.

Something New from the Book of Esther

If you’ve ever read the book of Esther, you might not have paid much attention to the dates recorded there.  Those dates, however, are very important.  The new information has everything to do with those dates.

God has shown us that we can understand His word, which is the Bible, only if and when He opens it up to our understanding; so we really shouldn’t be surprised when we learn something new from the Bible – even if it’s something that was right there in front of us all the time, like those dates from the book of Esther. 

What has been learned from Esther proves that we have correctly understood a major date in the discovered timeline of events in God’s salvation plan.  More proofs may yet be discovered as people continue searching the Bible; but this new confirmation is really special.  It is the sort of thing that should make us suspect that God has waited until now to reveal it so that He could encourage His people.

A Wicked Prince, an Evil Plot, and a Courageous Queen

In order to understand what has been learned, some background information about the book of Esther is needed.  The time setting for Esther is about two hundred years after the fall of Jerusalem, during the time of the Media-Persian kingdom.  Most of the events we read about in this book take place in and around the palace at Shushan.   

In the book, we read about a wicked prince named Haman.  The king has promoted Haman above all the other princes (Esther 3:1), and now Haman expects all the king’s servants to bow before him (Esther 3:2).  However, a man named Mordecai, who is a Jew, refuses to bow before Haman.  We read of Haman’s reaction to this in Esther 3:5:

And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath. 

Haman decides not only to punish Mordecai, but also to destroy all the Jews throughout the kingdom (Esther 3:6).  The date for their destruction is determined by casting a lot (Esther 3:7).  Haman then speaks to the king, making the case that the Jews ought not to be permitted to remain in the kingdom (Esther 3:8-9) and should be destroyed.   The king agrees to allow Haman to determine what should be done about the Jews (Esther 3:10-11).   Haman then has the king’s scribes write a decree for the destruction of the Jews, and has it sent throughout the kingdom (Esther 3:12-15).   Notice that this happens on the thirteenth day of the first month.

Mordecai learns about the decree, puts on sackcloth and publicly displays his grief throughout the city, even near the palace (Esther 4:1-2).  Esther, who is queen, learns what Mordecai is doing and is grieved exceedingly.   In fact, Esther is Mordecai’s younger cousin and was raised by Mordecai (Esther 2:7).  Her Jewish ancestry, however, is unknown at the court (Esther 2:20).  To Esther, Mordecai must have seemed more like a father than a good cousin.  

Esther sends “raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him” (Esther 4:4).  Mordecai doesn’t accept the clothing, and so she sends one of the king’s chamberlains to speak with Mordecai (Esther 4:5).  Mordecai tells the chamberlain about the decree and gives him a copy of it, saying that Esther should go to the king and make a supplication for her people (Esther 4:7-8).  

The king’s chamberlain tells Queen Esther what Mordecai has said.  She then sends another message to Mordecai, telling him that if she goes into the inner court to see the king without being called, she will lose her life unless the king holds out the golden scepter to her (Esther 4:9-11).  Her message includes the detail that she has not been called to come in unto the king “these thirty days.”

In Esther 4:13-14, you can read Mordecai’s response to this message.  He tells her not to think that she will escape, being in the king’s house; and that, if she doesn’t speak, help will come from another place.  He ends his message to her by saying “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

Esther sends her reply to Mordecai, asking him to gather all the Jews present in Shushan and to fast for her for three days.  She says “and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish (Esther 4:16).”

After the time of fasting, Esther goes to see the king and finds favor in his sight (Esther 5:1-3).  Her petition to the king is that he and Haman should come to a banquet she has had prepared for that day (Esther 5:4).  At the banquet, the king asks Esther what her petition is.  Curiously, Esther asks the king to come with Haman the following day to another banquet that she will prepare for them (Esther 5:6-8).

When Haman comes home after the first banquet (Esther 5:10), he tells his friends and his wife how he is being honored by Esther’s invitations (Esther 5:11-12).  Nevertheless, he is upset at the sight of Mordecai (Esther 5:13).  His friends and his wife advise him to have a great gallows prepared, and to speak to the king the following day so that Mordecai can be hanged on it (Esther 5:14).  Haman is pleased by this advice, and has the gallows built.

That night, the king cannot sleep.  He orders a certain book of records to be brought and read before him (Esther 6:1).  During the reading, the king hears the record of a plot that had been made against him.  It had been discovered and reported by Mordecai (Esther 6:2).  The king learns that nothing has been done to honor Mordecai for his service (Esther 6:3).

At that same time, Haman has come to the court to speak with the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows (Esther 6:4-5).  Before Haman has an opportunity, the king – intending to honor Mordecai for his past service – asks Haman what shall be done for a man whom the king takes delight in honoring (Esther 6:6). 

Haman advises the king to have the man dressed in the king’s royal apparel, and a crown set on his head, and led through the city on the king’s own horse by one of the king’s most noble princes as it is proclaimed before him “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighteth to honour” (Esther 6:7-9).   The king then commands Haman to do all those things to honor Mordecai, the Jew (Esther 6:10).

Haman manages to carry out the king’s command (Esther 6:11); but in Esther 6:12, we read about his state afterwards:

And Mordecai came again to the king’s gate. But Haman hasted to his house mourning, and having his head covered. 

Haman tells his wife and his friends what has happened, and while they are yet talking the king’s chamberlains arrive to quickly bring Haman to the banquet Esther had prepared (Esther 6:14).

At the banquet, the king again asks Esther what her petition is.  He tells her it will be granted to her, even to half of the kingdom (Esther 7:2).  Esther then tells the king that her petition is for her life and the lives of her people (Esther 7:3).   She tells the king “For we are sold, I and my people, to be destroyed, to be slain, and to perish” (Esther 7:4).

The king asks Esther “Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?”  In Esther 7:6, we read Esther’s answer:

And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen. 

The king, in anger, gets up and goes out into the palace garden (Esther 7:7).  Haman realizes that his life is in jeopardy and goes over to where Esther is reclining, even falling over her to ask for his life.  The king returns to see what he believes is Haman assaulting Queen Esther.  One of the king’s chamberlains points out to the king the great gallows that Haman had built for Mordecai’s execution, and the king orders Haman to be hanged on it (Esther 7:8-10).  

The New Proof

We are now ready to examine the new information by reviewing only a few verses.  Recall that the decree ordering the Jews to be destroyed was written by the king’s scribes on the 13th day of the first month (Esther 3:12).  The decree would have had a date on it.  Regardless of which calendar was used in the kingdom at that time, the date would have been the 13th day of the first month according to the Hebrew calendar of that day (the ancient Hebrew calendar differs from the modern one).

Next, we know that Esther told Mordecai she hadn’t been called to see the king “these thirty days” (Esther 4:11).   Esther knew about the decree (Esther 4:8) because Mordecai had given a copy of it to the messenger to be given to her; besides, Esther in all likelihood had heard about the decree even sooner than that because she was queen!  It is perfectly reasonable for us to understand her words “these thirty days” to mean that the date was now the same day of the month following the one on which the decree was issued.

The next thing we need to notice is in Esther 4:16.   Esther’s message to Mordecai, recorded in that verse, is that he and the other Jews of Shushan should fast for her for three days.  This was in the hope that the Lord would preserve her life and bless her effort to save the Jews when she appeared before the king.   After three days of fasting that began on the 14th day of the second month, the date would be day 16 in the second month. 

It was on that 16th day in the second month that Esther went to speak to the king (Esther 5:1-3).  She asks him to come with Haman to a banquet that day.  The king agrees to this (Esther 5:5).

At that banquet on the 16th day of the second month, the king asks Esther what her petition is.  She asks the king to come to another banquet – again with Haman – on the following day, and she tells the king she will make her request then. 

Early the next day, being the 17th day of the second month, the king orders Haman to honor Mordecai for a past service.  (Mordecai once learned of a plot against the king (Esther 2:21-23) and revealed it, possibly saving the king’s life.)  Ironically, Haman has just gone to the king to ask permission to have Mordecai hanged.  Haman never has an opportunity to ask the king about this, because the king orders Haman to take charge of honoring Mordecai.

It is at the second banquet, held later that day and still on the 17th day of the second month, that Esther accuses Haman and the king orders him to be executed.  Notice that the king’s chamberlain was able to see the gallows Haman had prepared some distance away, thus indicating that the sun had not yet gone down and that it was still the 17th day.  

Based on what we read in Esther 8, we can conclude that Haman was executed that same day: the 17th day of the second month.  Here is a summary of dated events leading up to and ending on that day.

Timeline Leading to the 17th Day of the Second Month


The decree to kill the Jews is written (Esther 3:12):


First month, day 13


Esther’s message to Mordecai that she hasn’t seen the king for 30 days since the decree (Esther 4:11); Esther asks Mordecai to fast with the Jews of Shushan for three days (Esther 4:16):


Second month, day 13


Esther goes to see the king (Esther 5:1) and asks him to come to her banquet with Haman that day (Esther 5:4).  At the banquet, she asks the king to come to her banquet the next day, again with Haman (Esther 5:8):


Second month, day 16


Mordecai is honored; Haman is executed (Esther 7:10): 


Second month, day 17


That’s the 17th day of the second month – the same date we find in Genesis 7:11! 

What Does It All Mean?

To fully appreciate this new information, we need to remember that Moses recorded the book of Genesis, with its account of Noah’s flood, long before the book of Esther was recorded.  We know from the book of Exodus and from Mr. Harold Camping’s work that the children of Israel left Egypt in 1447 BC.  Both books – Genesis and Exodus – are dated from that time. 

The final events in the book of Esther, on the other hand, have been dated to 391 BC.  Mordecai may have been the man who recorded that book somewhere around that time.  Over 1,000 years after telling Moses about the 17th day of the second month (as recorded in Genesis 7:11), God inspired the writer of Esther to record events just as it was done so that we would again find that date in God’s word. 

We must realize that the importance is much greater than just finding that date in the book of Esther.  When we read about Mordecai being honored on the 17th day of the second month, we are seeing a picture of something important: it’s a fulfillment of a stage in God’s salvation plan.  In Esther 6:7-11, we read how the king honored Mordecai.  Notice especially the crown in Esther 6:8:  

Let the royal apparel be brought which the king useth to wear, and the horse that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head: 

The Hebrew word translated as “crown” in this verse is “kether,” Strong’s number H3804.  Besides this verse, it’s only used in two other verses in the whole Bible: in Esther 1:11 and in Esther 2:17. 

The first time it appears in the book of Esther, it is the word used for the crown placed on Queen Vashti.  In Esther 1, we learn that Vashti was queen before Esther became queen.  However, Vashti refused to come when the king summoned her (Esther 1:12); and so the king decided to choose another queen (Esther 2:4).

In Esther 2:17, we read that Esther was made queen and that the king “set the royal crown upon her head.”  Here again we see that Hebrew word “kether;” this time it’s used for Esther’s royal crown.   The third and final time that word appears, it’s used for the crown set on Mordecai’s head.  What might God be showing us in these verses?

When we compare these verses with some others in Esther, we get a glimpse of God’s salvation plan.  First, notice that the king made Esther a “great feast” when she was crowned queen (Esther 2:18).  Although we don’t read about a feast to celebrate Vashti on the occasion when she became queen, there should have been a great feast for her too.  We then read about a conspiracy against the king by two of the king’s chamberlains who were his doorkeepers (Esther 2:21).  This conspiracy apparently developed about the time Esther became queen (notice the words “in those days” in Esther 2:21).

After the conspiracy is discovered, we read about Haman’s promotion (Esther 3:1), and then later we see Mordecai in sackcloth and ashes (Esther 4:1) when he discovers the plan to destroy the Jews.

All of these events fit our understanding of God’s salvation plan and give us a glimpse of it.  First, we know that God had chosen ancient Israel to be His people.  God saved some of them, and for a time they were the external representation of His kingdom.  Then, He moved to the next stage of His salvation plan – the Church Age.  Notice how Vashti and Esther fit into this picture.   Vashti represents ancient Israel and Esther represents the body of believers saved during the Church Age.  The Church Age began on Pentecost Day after the resurrection and ended in 1988, based on the same analysis that led to the discovery of last May 21 as a key date.

Soon after Esther wears the crown, we read about the conspiracy by the two doorkeepers.  This appears to correspond with the end of the Church Age.  We then read about Haman’s promotion.  You might remember hearing that God allowed Satan to begin ruling in the local congregations when the Church Age was over. 

When Haman’s decree is made known, we read about Mordecai crying in sackcloth and ashes.  This appears to be a picture of God’s people in mourning before May 21, when they saw the end of salvation approaching.  We know that only a short time later, Haman was humiliated when he was commanded to lead Mordecai through the streets.  Mordecai wore the royal apparel and the royal crown that day – the 17th day of the second month.

Just as Vashti appears to represent the body of believers saved out of ancient Israel until God ended that relationship, and Esther to represent those saved during the Church Age, Mordecai – as he is honored and as he wears the crown – appears to be a picture of the last group of believers to be saved.   

Elsewhere in the book of Esther, Mordecai appears to be a picture of the Lord Jesus or the Holy Spirit; but when Mordecai wears the same crown that Vashti and Esther wore, he appears to represent those people God saved outside of the local congregations from the time the Church Age ended until Judgment Day began.   This certainly agrees with our understanding that May 21 marked the end of salvation.

That date also marked the execution of a man who represents Satan.  The Bible shows us that God will judge Satan near the end of time, although Satan won’t be destroyed until the world ends.   In Daniel 7:11-12, we read about God’s judgment of Satan:

I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.  As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.  

The book of Esther confirms that there is a delay between the time God judges Satan and then destroys him, as indicated in the above verses.  It does so by telling us that Haman’s ten sons are executed several months after Haman’s execution (Esther 9:1 and 9:10).

Also notice that in Daniel 7:13-14, we find that God’s judgment of Satan happens at the end of the world.  This too agrees with our understanding that the book of Esther’s final chapter shows us a picture of God’s judgment against all the unsaved on the last day.

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. 

 The story of Esther is well known to Jews today.  It culminates with a great victory by the Jews over those who plotted to destroy them.  It is this book of the Bible that established the days of Purim (occurring this year around the end of the first week of March), celebrated every year by Jews all over the world.  We read about these days in Esther 9:28:

And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. 

The book of Esther is probably less well known among Christians than most Old Testament books.  Perhaps it’s because God’s name is not mentioned in it.  There is no mention of prayer or dependence upon God in the book, and Esther is never quoted or mentioned in the New Testament.  However, the book of Esther is the Word of God – just like the other 65 books of the Bible.   Therefore, it is worth reading with a prayerful request that God may reveal any other spiritual lessons it may contain.

The new information from the book of Esther should be a big encouragement to anyone who sacrificed or suffered persecution in order to warn the world about Judgment Day coming on May 21.  Some of these people are undoubtedly wondering if they made a mistake by being involved in that effort, despite the proofs about May 21 that were known back then.  This new information is another wonderful proof that God did indeed guide His people to that date and that He wanted them to warn the world about it.

Related Stories:


 Countdown to Judgment

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!

Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?

It is Finished: God’s Final Warning

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV

Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away

A Word of Warning

Signs of the Times

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds

The Great Anticipation

The Great Disappointment II


October 21, 2011: End of the World!!!

October 21, 2011 – The First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Not the Last!


Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?


The World Will End on December 28, 2011: The Proofs


December 28, 2011 – The End: New Revelations 


December 28, 2011 – The End: New Revelations

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When May 21, 2011 came and went just like any other day, those who had spent thousands of hours studying the Bible over the last number of years were in shock.  They had to reassess their understanding, thinking that the beginning of the Day of Judgment must have been only spiritual in nature.  Then the focus turned to October 21, and when that day also passed with no outward signs, there was complete consternation.  Since the timeline of history seemed perfect, and all of the proofs lined up wonderfully, these determined people concluded that there must be more to the story.

This study has followed the search for this missing piece at the very end of time.  For these dedicated people, it started to look like an awfully interesting coincidence that the Day of Judgment was exactly 5 months long, and Noah’s ark floated on the water for exactly 5 months as well.  Since Noah’s journey wasn’t complete, maybe if they could line up our calendar with his, they could follow along to see what was still in store for us.  Indeed, the calendars paralleled each other beautifully, and with an impressive list of proofs, they determined that the very last day had to be December 28, 2011, not October 21.

As a prosecuting attorney builds his case on as much evidence as he can find, so too we search the Bible for every piece of information that can support our argument for showing Truth.  Even so, that attorney will also search desperately for a motive, as that helps substantiate his position immensely.   The law of God is eternal, and so His principles continue as law into whatever worlds are in the Heavens.  For us, we can learn all that we need to know about those laws in the Bible.  There is only one set of rules, and the Bible teaches that God Himself must also follow these laws.  However, God is under no obligation to explain his actions to us.  If He is going to show us why He added 68 days to the end of earth’s calendar, it can only be because of His love and kindness toward the human race.

Before we can address the question of why the calendar was extended, we should tie up a few loose ends to solidify our adventure in Noah’s ark.  First, let’s take a look at the boat itself.  In Genesis 6:15, God is telling Noah exactly what the dimensions must be:  “…The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.“  A cubit is about 18 inches, so the ark was about one and a half football fields in length, and 45 feet high, the height of a 3 or 4 story building!  We know that the rain continued non-stop for forty days and nights.  At the end of that period, the water would be at its highest level throughout the earth before starting to recede, which was about 22 to 23 feet above the highest mountain tops:  “Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.” (Genesis 7:20).  In Chapter 8 verse 3, we read, “And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.“  God is telling us that after the forty day rain, the water level dropped over the last 110 days of Noah’s 5 months of floating on the water.  Continuing on:  “And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.“  (Genesis 8:5).  This adds another 74 days to the 110 days, or 184 total days that it took the water to drop about 22 feet from its highest point until the mountain tops were visible.  Assuming that the water receded at a fairly constant rate, the ark would have rested on the spot on Mount Ararat in about 8 to 9 feet of water.  Looking at Noah’s ark as a 45′ tall vessel, we would expect it to float over the land in 22 feet of water, but it would probably bottom out in only 8 or 9 feet of water.  This reasoning helps bolster our confidence that our findings concerning Noah’s schedule of events are accurate.

A definite point of confusion is how that we can know for sure that the 40 days that Noah waited before he opened the window followed immediately after the day the ark rested on the mountain.  In the Bible, the passage about the 40 days is positioned on the page after the mountain tops were visible, which was 74 days after the ark landed.  We can get some help on this by taking a closer look at the one window in Noah’s ark:  “A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof;…” (Genesis 7:16).  Noah had one small 18 inch square window, and we can clearly see that the door was on the side, but the window was in the roof.  The ultimate purposes of the window were for Noah to keep track of the day and night cycles to count days, and to allow the birds to check for land.  Since the roof had to be a solid waterproof component of the ark to keep out the pounding rain, Noah could not see what was going on outside at all.  Finally, as described in Genesis 8:13, Noah dismantled the roof and looked down at the ground for the first time.  This was 90 days after the mountains were above the water line, or 164 days after the ark rested.  Day 74 after the ark stopped moving, when the mountains appeared out of the water, was like any other day had been for Noah for some time.  There was nothing to signal him to immediately start counting off another 40 days of waiting.  We now know that day 74 was the day the dove landed, but Noah did not see that happen either, as he only knew that it did not return.

One final piece of old business is clarifying how we know that all of Noah’s months were 30 days each, as the Bible does not spell it out word for word.  One strong piece of evidence is that when we make that assumption, everything fits neatly into place.  We know that the 17th day of the 2nd month to the 17th day of the 7th month is stated as totaling 150 days, which at least averages out to be 30 day months.  Also, Genesis 8:14 declares, “And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.“  This was the last official day of the flood, which began on the 17th day of the second month in the previous year. Using 30 day months, we arrive at a total of 370 days, or (10×37).  Spiritually this represents complete (10) judgment (37), and so we have harmony with this supposition.  In addition, as with an algebra problem in school, there have to be some known constants to work with to solve for the unknowns.  God always seems to give just enough information so that eventually we can find Truth.

Now, getting back to this matter of an explanation of why God would add 68 days after the 5 month Day of Judgment, we have the whole Bible at our disposal for our search.  Since we can justify the end time calendar of events through the period of the 5 month Day of Judgment, we must first look at these months to give us some reason to continue yet farther in time.  Besides Revelation Chapter 9 and Genesis Chapter 8, there is one more place in the Bible describing a curious period of 5 months.  Luke 1:24-25 says:  “And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.“.  The context here is centered around Elisabeth, the wife of Zacharias, who was an upstanding priest who had just completed his scheduled duties in the temple.  These verses describe how Elisabeth hid in shame from the world for being pregnant.  However, there was no reason why Elisabeth should feel ashamed at all, as this was a legitimate pregnancy, and she had every right to bear a child.  This discrepancy should cause us to take special note, and realize that these verses must be a parable of something else.

It turns out that Elisabeth’s baby would grow up to be John the Baptist, the man who announced and baptized the Lord Jesus.  When we jump down to verse 41, we find that something interesting happened to this baby while it was still inside Elisabeth’s womb:  “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:“.  This is a clear message that John the Baptist, as a fetus, was given a new eternal soul, and the promise of salvation that goes along with it.  We have correctly realized for centuries that this teaches us that human life begins at conception, and that salvation is possible for babies before birth.  But could this somehow also lead to the answer we are searching for?  The answer is a resounding YES!

To put this all in perspective, we need to go back to Noah’s window one more time.  The word window is used 14 times in the Old Testament, and 13 of those times, the original Hebrew word means just that, a window.  But in Genesis 6:16, as God is relaying his instructions regarding the construction of the ark, this Hebrew word for window is entirely different.  It focuses on the light the window gives, and the root of the word goes back to the meaning of producing light from oil, a figure of anointing.  This window is a symbol of salvation, and we had already assumed that, as the dove flew out of it to the Promised Land.  But now we can see that Noah’s window leads to even more incredible consequences for us today, as God has so craftily hid this surprise information in the Book of Luke.

Elisabeth is a picture, or portrait of all of the women of the world who have conceived or will conceive on or after May 21, 2011.  She conceived “after those days,” and hid herself for 5 months, to hide her reproach among the world.  When the Day of Judgment began, the salvation process as we had come to understand it was finished.  This is essentially true for all of those conceived before May 21, as you are either in the ark or outside of it in a hopeless condition.  For these pregnant women who started a life on or after May 21, the world is basically saying to them, “How dare you bring a baby into the world with no more hope of salvation, destined to die with no chance for eternal life!”  But as we read Luke 1:25 again, God in his mercy is taking away that shame, in the only way possible.  And that way must be by offering the hope of salvation to every bundle of human life conceived on or after May 21.  John the Baptist is a portrait of those babies out of that group who were chosen and not forgotten by God.  Most of us hadn’t thought much about this rather large group of human lives, but the Lord Jesus Christ had planned to save some of them too, and the world couldn’t end on October 21 until they were safe and secure as well.

…then he put forth his hand, and took her, and pulled her in unto him into the ark.” (Genesis 8:9).  As Noah reached out through that window to pull his dove into the ark, so too the Lord Jesus will be reaching out when the window is opened for us on November 24, pulling baby doves into the ark as a final 34-day celebration of the miracle of salvation.  How could we ask for a more wonderful Thanksgiving!  We now know that the raven was released when the window opened, so the world will continue along, business as usual, with no outward sign of God’s handiwork once again.  But this time we can be certain, that 3 days after we are reminded on Christmas of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, His purpose (3) will be fulfilled perfectly.

Related Stories:

Countdown to Judgment

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!

Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?

It is Finished: God’s Final Warning

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III

Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV

Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away

A Word of Warning

Signs of the Times

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds

The Great Anticipation

The Great Disappointment II

October 21, 2011: End of the World!!!

October 21, 2011 – The First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Not the Last!

Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?

The World Will End on December 28, 2011: The Proofs

The World Will End on December 28, 2011: The Proofs

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But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:37).  Little did we realize how important these words in scripture would be, in comparing Noah’s adventure with his ark 7000 years ago to our situation today.  In carefully piecing together this chronology in Genesis Chapters 7 and 8, every verse offers at least one tidbit of spiritual meaning or physical evidence to help put together our puzzle.  Finally, all the pieces appear to be in place. 


In Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?, we started to look at May 21 and October 21, 2011 in relation to Noah’s calendar in his day.  The idea was to align the two calendars precisely, so that we could use his calendar to forecast the events and dates into our future.  The Flood in his day began on the 17th day of the 2nd month, the Bible says.  Our Day of Judgment, after working through the timeline of history, also began on the 17th day of the 2nd month in the Hebrew calendar of our day, which translates to May 21, 2011.  The Flood began in 4990 BC, and 7000 years later (subtract one year, as there is no year zero), we reach 2011.  God warned Noah that the water was coming within 7 days, and II Peter 3:8 sternly warns us that one day is as a thousand years.  We have interpreted this to mean that Noah’s 7-day warning is a 7000 year warning for us as well.  In trying to align the two calendars, the start of both judgment periods is the same day, exactly what we need.  The problem is that the next significant day in each calendar does not appear to correspond with the other.  The ark rested on a mountain top on the 17th day of the 7th month.  In our Hebrew calendar, that is October 15, 2011.  However, our 5 month day of judgment ends on the 23rd day of the 7th month, or October 21, 6 days later.  Without resolving or explaining this discrepancy, our progress is at a standstill.

To find the solution, we have to look at the warning itself:  “For yet 7 days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights;…” (Genesis 7:4).  In checking the original definitions of the Hebrew word for “yet,” it would have been better translated “within”.  That would mean that the day of the warning was day 1, and Noah had 6 more days before the raining began.  This is called inclusive counting, meaning you are counting off 6 days, but adding one more, the first day, to the count total.  There are many other examples of this given by God in the Bible, and it gives Him more flexibility.  If the Flood began on the 17th day, the warning would have been given on the 11th day of the 2nd month.  The “one day is as a thousand years” applies to the warning, and begins on the warning day, not the day the Flood began 7 (inclusive) days later.  The 11th day of the 2nd month in our day is May 15, and 5 months later lands perfectly on October 15, the day the ark rested in Noah’s day.  Thus, we have a path of 7000 years + 5 months to October 15.  When God repeats the warning to us again on May 15, we also have 7 inclusive days before judgment day begins on May 21, and that second trail ends on October 21.  If you are counting it by each day, you must remember that one path uses Noah’s 5 months as 150 days, and the other path uses our 5 months as 153 days.  To summarize, our mistake had been to apply the beginning of the 7000 years to May 21, not May 15.

Since October 15 is the 17th day of the 7th month in both calendars, we can continue with our exploration for Truth.  Noah’s calendar proceeds from that day, not the end of the Day of Judgment on October 21, which we would normally assume to be the stepping off point.  God has inserted just enough little pieces of confusion here and there to have made it historically impossible to figure out.

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made:…” (Genesis 8:6).  We have already established that this was 40 days after the ark rested, on October 15 (in our day).  Counting 40 days, we come to November 24, which is the 27th day of the 8th month in our Hebrew calendar.  Using 30 days per month for Noah, going from the 17th day of the 7th month to the 27th day of the 8th month also is exactly 40 days.  The perfect alignment of the calendars is now extended to November 24.  For us, the window will open as well, even if it is only spiritual in nature.

The section in Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End? concerning Noah releasing the birds after the window was opened needs to have the timing corrected.  When Noah opened the window on November 24, he would have released the raven to check for land.  Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End? incorrectly states that the date was November 23, and that Noah waited 7 days before releasing the raven.  A week later, on December 1, he released the dove because the raven did not return.  The dove would return December 8 with nothing.  Would Noah release the dove again on December 8, or was it even the same dove?  In Verse 8, explaining the first release of the dove, it says “a dove.”  But in Verse 10, describing the second release, the Bible says “the dove,” telling us that it was the very same bird.  Noah would obviously not have sent it back out immediately after being in flight for the better part of a week.  (There must have been lots of floating material on the water for the bird to rest on from time to time.)  Recall that in Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?, we found out how we know that the time period between events was 7 days.  So Noah sent out the dove for the second time on December 15, a week or more after it returned.  This time it came back that evening, with the olive leaf in its beak, telling Noah that tree tops were now visible.  He would send forth the dove the third time on December 22 in our day, and it would not return.  The Bible does not give day and month numbers for all of this bird activity, so we can only count the spacing between events to move forward in the calendar.

As we spoke about in Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?, back in Verse 5 the Bible informs us that on the first day of the 10th month, the tops of the mountains were visible above the water line, giving the birds a place to land.  Counting days using 30-day months from the 17th day of the 7th month when the ark rested, we get a total of 74 days.  Counting out the days on our calendar from October 15, the mountains were visible on December 28, 2011.  The dove was released the third time on December 22, and would have come back on Dec 29 for this 7-day pattern to perpetuate.  It fits within reason that after 6 days, on December 28, the dove was able to land on a mountain top and not have to return to the ark.

The raven is an unclean animal in the Bible, meaning it could not be used for food or religious ceremonies.  Unclean animals are a picture of the unsaved people of the world.  When Noah released the raven, it tells us that once the flood was over, sin would again proliferate on the earth.  The dove is a clean animal, and it represents all of God’s children safe and secure with Jesus Christ in the ark. The mountains can be a metaphor in the Bible of the Kingdom of God, and on December 28 the dove does reach the mountain tops.

As the Bible teaches us to break down verses and sentences to discover Truth, we have found all through the Bible that some numbers and their factors regularly point to truth as well.  The number 2 can represent those bringing the Gospel, 3 can mean God’s purpose, 4 points to the farthest extent of whatever is in view, and 7 can show perfect fulfillment.  Also, 13 leads us to the end of the world, and 17 is a number signifying Heaven.  Finally, for this discussion, 37 and 43 often refer to God’s wrath or judgment.

As with the precise year intervals between events as posted in the Bible throughout history, the day intervals between events during these last days are also remarkable.  From between both May 15 to October 15, and May 21 to October 21, the duration is 153 days, or (3x3x17), signifying God’s purpose (3) is a promise of Heaven (17) for His people during the 5 months.  October 21 to December 28 is 68 days long, or (4×17), meaning the farthest extent of this time (4) ends in Heaven (17).  How fitting that these are the final 68 days that God has added onto the 5 month Day of Judgment!  October 21 to November 24 is 34 days, as is November 24 to December 28, each breaking down into (2×17), or those bringing the Gospel attaining Heaven.  October 15 to December 28 is 74 days (2×37), from when the ark landed until the very end.  Another very good piece of evidence is the time of May 21, 2011 to December 28, 2011, 221 days, or (17×13), Heaven at the end of the world.  There are even a few more, which are worth discussing.  There are 6,321 days from the start of the latter rain on September 7, 1994 to December 28, 2011.  This breaks down into (3x7x7x43), or God’s purpose is the perfect fulfillment of his Judgment.  December 15 to December 28 is 13 days, and it indeed leads to the end.  December 1 to December 22 and November 24 to December 15 both each total 21 days (3×7).  November 24 to December 22, when the dove would leave the ark for the last time, is 28 days, or (4×7), a metaphor for perfect fulfillment at the farthest extent of time.  The incredible number of 7’s, 13’s and 17’s must speak for themselves, as that could never all happen by chance.

As has been shown already, all of the numerical proofs, as well as Noah’s day count of 74 days, point to December 28 as the end of it all.  However, there is one piece that does not corroborate.  When you look up the 1st day of the 10th month in a Hebrew calendar, the corresponding Gregorian day is December 27, not December 28.  We must remember, however, that Noah’s calendar with 30-day months had only 360 days, so the two calendars cannot remain parallel indefinitely.  From May 15 to November 24, God has positioned all of the important days to line up precisely, which is quite remarkable.  Whether the mountains were visible on the 27th or the 28th of December, the dove landed before he would have returned by the 7th day on the 29th.  It is possible that the last day could encompass part of the 27th as things happen around the world, but the very end has to be the 28th, not the 29th.  One possibility is that, as the Bible states, no man knows the day or the hour, so that God has the absolute say in the matter whether it is actually sometime on the 27th.  

We should be in absolute awe of the infinite wisdom of Almighty God.  Mr. Camping was 100% accurate in all of the dates, but God’s plan was not quite finished. 

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Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV


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October 21, 2011 – The First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Not the Last!


Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?


Genesis Chapter 8: Could December 28, 2011 Be the End?

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The Bible teaches that the Feast of Tabernacles was to be observed from the 15th to the 22nd day of the 7th month every year.  This Feast period is a celebration of the Bible, and points to the completion of the Gospel and the end of the world.  In 2011, the 15th day of the 7th month in the Jewish calendar is October 13, and so the Feast this year runs to October 20.

Most of Genesis Chapter 8 is an account of the events of the flood while Noah was on board his huge ark.  The flood is also a parable of the final destruction of the world, as referenced in II Peter Chapter 3.  In those passages, God is comparing the flood of Noah’s day to the destruction by fire at the end of time.  In Verse 8 we read “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.“  This Verse is forcefully written in its repetition and unique use of the language.  In Genesis 7:4, God tells Noah that he has 7 days until the flood waters begin.  Many believe that that means that we had 7,000 years from the date of the flood until the Day of Judgment began.  Using information from the Bible, we can show that the flood began in 4990 BC, which would put the day of judgment in the year 2011 (subtract one year because there is no year zero).

Genesis 7:11 tells us that the flood waters began on the 17th day of the 2nd month.  In 2011, that would translate from the modern Jewish calendar to May 21, 2011.  Revelation 9:5 and 9:10, in focusing on the end times, speak about a 5 month period, thought to be the duration of the “Day of Judgment,” beginning on May 21, and ending right at the Feast of Tabernacles.

And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the 150 days the waters were abated.  And the ark rested in the 7th month, on the 17th day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8:3-4).  Since the flood started in the 2nd month on the 17th day, God is teaching us that the months in Noah’s day were 30 days long.  They would have had to add an extra month every 6 years or so.  The parallel here is the 5 months, and in the times since Israel became a nation in 1407 BC, the 17th day of the 7th month is the 3rd day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  In 2011, that would be October 15.

The world did not end during the feast after the 5 month period, but Noah’s adventure continued as well.  The ark was now grounded, but the judgment process apparently needed more time.  In Verse 5, we read “…in the 10th month, on the 1st day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.“  From the 17th day of the 7th month, when the ark rested, to the 1st day of the 10th month is 74 days, using Noah’s 30 day months.  Counting from October 15, we arrive at December 28, 2011.

Following in Verse 6, Noah opened the window at the end of 40 days.  The question is, 40 days after what event?  He sent out a raven and a dove, but as Verse 9 describes, “But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth:…“, there was no available land yet.  Verse 6 follows Verse 5 in the Bible, but the bird trial had to have occurred before the 1st day of the 10th month, not after, or the birds would have landed on the mountain tops.  In actuality, Noah opened the window 40 days after the ark grounded, including the day it stuck on the mountain.  Counting from October 15 inclusively, that day referenced to our calendar today would be November 23.

Verses 7-9 read:  “And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.  Also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark...”  It looks at first read like Noah opened the window and released the 2 birds November 23 (spiritually in our day).  However, Verse 10 gives us a clue otherwise.  “And he stayed yet other 7 days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark;“.  “Other 7 days”?  This is the first mention of 7 days.  Noah must have opened the window November 23 and waited 7 days for a sign or something, probably on his Sabbath, filled with prayer for guidance.  Finally on November 30 he would have released the raven, an animal he couldn’t use for sacrifices or food.  When the raven did not return by Dec 7, he would have let the dove go.

Normal expectation would be to assume that the dove came back without any evidence the same day.  However, Verse 11 explains things to the contrary when the dove came back the second time:  “And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off…“  The first time the dove came back it had been closer to a week, Dec 14, than a single day, so Noah waited 7 days and sent it out again.  When you think about it, if a bird flew for a week straight, wouldn’t you give it a week’s rest? 

The dove was sent out the second time on our parallel date of December 21, and came back the same day in the evening with the olive leaf.  Noah knew the waters were abating, because now the tree tops were above the water.  Of course Noah would give it another 7 days for the land at the base of the trees to be exposed.  This time the bird did not return.  Verse 5 told us that the mountain tops were above the water line on December 28, and the dove would be departing December 28, explaining why it did not return.  This harmonizes with the 74 days counting back to October 15.  When the dove had earlier departed on December 21, land was not visible yet.

Verse 13 declares: “…in the 1st month, the 1st day of the month, Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.“  So, although Noah opened the window and used the birds to test the flood level sometime before the first day of the 10th month, he did not really see the situation for at least another 90 days.  In Verse 5, the saying “…were the tops of the mountains seen” is simply referring to flood level data, or what the dove saw, not what Noah actually saw.  This was an enormous craft, and although it wasn’t moving, he apparently couldn’t see much through the window.  This Verse could be placed in the Bible to explain all of this without there being any special significance to the 1st day of the 1st month.  The rest of the chapter, starting with Verse 14, appears to be more historical in nature in regards to the people and animals, etc.

Assigning modern dates to the events in Genesis 8, we can summarize his adventure and look for spiritual truth for us.  The ark rested on a mountain top on October 15, coinciding with the future Feast of Tabernacles, and then the window was opened November 23.  On November 30, the raven was released, and never returned to the ark.  On December 7, the dove was released, and after a week returned with nothing.  On December 21, the dove was again released, and came back with an olive leaf that evening.  On December 28 the mountain tops appeared, and on that same day the dove reached dry land.  The 74-day breakdown is 40 days (inclusively), then 5 periods of 7 days.

This information was all carefully hidden in the Bible until our day.  Is God explaining the end time sequence to us?  The fact that Verse 5 is out of sequence, and that there are some additional hidden 7’s should wake us up to carefully study these passages.  Will the doves finally reach dry land on December 28, 2011?  There is so much circumstantial evidence in the Bible pointing to 2011, not 2012, that this might be our best hope for Truth.

Related Stories:


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May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!


Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?


It is Finished: God’s Final Warning


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV


Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away


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October 21, 2011 – The First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Not the Last!

October 21, 2011 – The First Day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Not the Last!

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It was always puzzling to me how the Israelites were to celebrate both the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Ingathering at the same time.  They were to make offerings by fire for 7 days, followed by the 8th day solemn assembly (Leviticus 23:34).  They were also to thank God for the final harvest of the year, followed by a Sabbath Day (Leviticus 23:39).  Additionally, they were to dwell in booths 7 days, as a reminder that God protected them when they came out of Egypt (Leviticus 23:43).  It always seemed like a tall order, doing several completely different things and not focusing on one at a time.  Both feast days were to start on the 15th day of the 7th month in the calendar of their day.  The Feast of Ingathering pointed to the Latter Rain, or the final harvest of souls, which began on the Memorial of the Jubilee in a Jubilee year, September 7, 1994.  The Feast of Tabernacles, or the Feast of the Bible, pointed to the very end of the world, the fulfillment of God’s salvation plan and final judgment.

The Dedication of Solomon’s Temple is a parable of the completion of God’s Temple at world’s end, made up of all those people saved during their lives on this earth.  The dedication ceremony took place during the Feast of Tabernacles, as we would expect, but the timing is not quite what we thought.  There are two similar accounts of the dedication, one in the Book I Kings, and the other in the Book II Chronicles.  In both I Kings 8:2 and II Chronicles 5:3 we read that all the men of Israel assembled at the feast in the 7th month, not mentioning which feast in particular.  I Kings 64-65 talks about King Solomon making burnt offerings and also holding a feast for all of Israel.  We would expect this to be for 7 days, but the Bible says “…seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.“  In II Chronicles it states “And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days,” again a total of 14 days, not 7 days.  God is linking the two feasts together, then saying that they are to start on the 15th day of the month, putting them consecutive, not concurrent.  This is a thought process we would not normally take without the example of the Temple Dedication.

Applying what we have learned to pinpoint the end of the world this very month, we know that the 7th month in the Jewish Biblical calendar started September 29, 2011, when the new moon was actually first sighted.  The 15th day of the 7th month, then, was the 13th of October.  For 7 days the altar would burn sacrifices, (spiritually), and the 8th solemn assembly day would be October 20, 2011, the 22nd day of the 7th month of their calendar.  II Chronicles 7:10 says “And on the 23rd day of the 7th month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and marry in heart…“  Up to now, we thought that the 23rd day of the 7th month (October 21) was the end of the world, and that they just went home at the end of the feast.  However, sending people into their tents is covering them, like putting them in booths, the first day of the second 7 day period!  God’s people remain protected from October 21 to October 27, which is the very last day.

In Genesis 2:4, God speaks of the 7 days of creation as a day.  And we also know, for another example, that the Day of Judgment is actually 153 days long.  John 7:37 calls the Feast of Tabernacles “…that great day of the feast…” – a 7-day “great day.”  October 21 is still the end day, Biblically speaking, but it is actually 7 days long, a final test to see who will finally be faithful all the way to the end.  In John 6:54 we read “…and I will raise him up at the last day.”  God’s elect will rise up to enter Heaven on October 27, not October 21. 


Acts Chapter 27 is an historical parable, an actual event that teaches spiritual lessons.  The chapter is about a ship and its crew struggling during stormy conditions.  This description is concerning the ending days of our creation, and the story mentions the 14th day.  “…This day is the 14th day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.  Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.“  “Meat” is spiritual truth from the Bible, urging us to keep studying for guidance, while waiting throughout the last 14 days.  The chapter ends with them all escaping safely to land, meaning the security of Jesus Christ.

Related Stories:


Countdown to Judgment


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!


Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?


It is Finished: God’s Final Warning


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part I


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part II


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part III


Assembling the Timeline of History – Part IV


Judgment Day: Less than One-Half Year Away


A Word of Warning


Signs of the Times 


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds


The Great Anticipation


The Great Disappointment II

October 21, 2011: End of the World!!!

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