Tag Archive | "Rapture"

A Deathbed Prophecy and 200 Million Horsemen

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And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them.  Revelation 9:16

 

If you were a Family Radio listener in the months preceding May of 2011, you most likely heard Mr. Camping discuss the number found in Revelation 9:16: two hundred thousand thousand.  Of course, a thousand thousand is one million, so this number can be stated as 200 million.

 

Mr. Camping thought it very likely that this was the actual, total number of persons God had saved out of the entire human race.  Is it possible Mr. Camping was correct?

 

 

An Idea From the Old Testament

 

Notice something about the verse.  After the number, we find the words “and I heard the number of them.”  Why would God add those words to the verse?  Mr. Camping realized that God was calling our attention to the number, because there was something special about it.

 

When we read the verses describing the vision in which the number appears (Revelation 9:13-21) and compare those verses with others in the Bible, we see that the vision is all about the resurrection and rapture on the last day.   This event will be a judgment, especially against “the third part of men” (Revelation 9:18).  To a great extent, this third part will be members of local congregations of Christian churches all over the world.  The 200 million are those (God’s “army”) who bring this judgment.

 

Mr. Camping understood this and taught about it.  Based on his understanding, he concluded that 200 million was very likely the actual number of people God had saved.  He even used this number to estimate the likelihood that any individual might be one of the elect (one out of 70, assuming that half of the 200 million would be alive when the Lord returns, and based on an estimate of 7 billion people for earth’s population).  However, there is another explanation for the unusual words at the end of Revelation 9:16.

 

In many Psalms and in a couple of verses elsewhere in the Bible, we find the word “Selah.”  For example, we find the word in Psalm 87:3:

 

Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.

 

The concordance identifies “Selah” as Strong’s number H5542: “celah,” and states that it’s “a technical term, probably showing accumulation, pause, or interruption.”  If we accept the premise that God put every word in the Bible for a good reason, then we have to conclude that whenever He uses “Selah,” He is calling our attention to whatever precedes it.  He wants us to think about what we have just read.

 

That is how we should understand the words “and I heard the number of them.”  It is like God’s use of “Selah.”  He is calling our attention to the number because there is something special about it.  However, the fact that He is calling our attention to it does not mean it is a literal number.  It means that He wants us to think about it.

 

When we read the book of Revelation, we find that it consists almost completely of a series of visions the apostle John had when he was on the island of Patmos.  The book has a brief introduction up to verse 8, and in verses 9 and 10 we learn where John is and why he is there.  From then on, the book describes one vision after another.  Occasionally, we read the words “and I saw” or “and I heard,” or something similar.  Otherwise, the book is entirely about John’s visions.

 

For example, the vision in which John sees a rider on a white horse (in Revelation 6:2) is God’s way of telling us that He sent His people out from Jerusalem in 33 A.D. to go all over the world with the Gospel.  There was no literal white horse with a rider spreading the Gospel.

 

As another example, notice something about the visions described in Revelation 20.  Here we find the words “thousand years” in several verses, but this thousand isn’t always the same length of time.  In a couple of verses it refers to eternity, but in no case does it mean a literal one thousand years.

 

There are many other numbers in the book of Revelation; but, like the visions, the evidence is that none of the numbers can be taken literally.  For this reason, we must conclude that the “two hundred thousand thousand” cannot be the actual number of people God has saved.

 

 

A Misleading Translation

 

Part of the difficulty we have in understanding Revelation 9:16 results from the way the number has been translated.  When we check a concordance for the original language for “two hundred thousand thousand,” we find that the King James translators gave us a very misleading translation.

 

The original Greek is (phonetically) “dyo myrias myrias.”  The word “dyo” is Strong’s number G1417.  It’s used 135 times, and in every other case it’s translated as two, or both or twain.  In other words, it’s the number two.  The word “myrias” is Strong’s number G3461.  That word is translated as ten thousand, or innumerable multitude.  It’s the word that gives us our word “myriad,” going from Greek to Latin and then to English, according to the dictionary.

 

In fact, other translators have given us a better translation of this verse.  In the Revised Standard Version, we find Revelation 9:16 translated like this:  “The number of the troops of cavalry was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number.”  In other words, God is telling us that there are two big groups.

 

We also find the word “myrias” used in Revelation 5:11:

 

And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;

 

Here, the “ten thousand times ten thousand” is “myrias myrias.”  Verse 9 of Revelation 5 tells us that these “angels” were redeemed “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”  So it appears that, like the horsemen of Revelation 9:16, we have in Revelation 5:11 another picture of all the elect.  Notice also something very important about Revelation 5:11: it’s the word “and.”  In other words, God is showing us that there are two groups, but one is much bigger than the other.   One group is ten thousand times ten thousand, and the other is thousands of thousands.

 

Amazingly, we find another picture of these two groups in Revelation 7.   We read there that the number of those who are “sealed” is “an hundred and forty and four thousand” (Revelation 7:4). This number is broken down into twelve thousand from each of twelve tribes (Revelation 7:5-8).  Mr. Camping identified the significance of the number 12 as the fullness of whatever is in view, and the number ten (or one hundred, or one thousand) as the completeness of whatever is in view.  So the number 144,000 carries the meanings of completeness and fullness.  Now read Revelation 7:9:

 

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;

 

This is a second group.  Continuing on in the chapter, we learn that this second group – the great multitude – came out of a great tribulation (verses 13 and 14).  Clearly, the great multitude is pictured as being much larger than the 144,000.   And so we again see two groups, one greater than the other.  Does this remind you of anything?

 

 

 

Feast of First Fruits and the Big Harvest

 

You may have learned that the annual feasts God commanded ancient Israel to observe give us a picture of God’s salvation plan.  In Leviticus 23, we find that one of these feasts is called the feast of firstfruits (Leviticus 23:10-22).  (It’s also called the feast of Pentecost – a word that comes from Greek and means fiftieth day.)  This feast was observed when the first harvest was gathered.

 

A few months later, at the time of the second and larger harvest, another feast was observed (Leviticus 23:39).  From many verses in the Bible, we know that a harvest is associated with people whom God has saved.  The feast of firstfruits is a picture of the first and smaller group of people, and the second harvest feast represents a larger group.  In fact, God even confirms this way of understanding the feasts by what we read in Revelation 14:3-4.  There, the 144,000 are called “the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”

 

And so we have two Old Testament feasts picturing two groups of God’s children, just as we see in Revelation 5:11, Revelation 7 and Revelation 9:16.  Additionally, the feasts picture one group as being larger than the other; this also matches what we find in Revelation 5:11 and chapter 7.

 

 

A Prophecy about Ephraim and Manassah

 

Besides these two feasts, God gives us in the Old Testament yet another picture of two groups of people whom He has saved.   We find it in Jacob’s prophecy.   In Genesis 48:1-2, we read:

 

1 And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, thy father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, thy son Joseph cometh unto thee: and Israel strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.  

 

Jacob was dying.   His son Joseph learned about it and went to see him with his two sons.  In order that Jacob might bless them, Joseph presented his sons to his father in such a way that Jacob’s right hand could easily rest on the older boy’s head, and his left hand on the younger.  The older boy was Manasseh, and it was expected that he would receive a better blessing than his younger brother, Ephraim.   Genesis 48:14 tells us what happened:

 

And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.

 

Jacob surprised his son: he crossed his arms so that his right hand rested on Ephraim’s head and his left on Manasseh.  Joseph wanted to correct this situation, as we read in Genesis 48:17-18:

 

And when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him: and he held up his father’s hand, to remove it from Ephraim’s head unto Manasseh’s head. 18 And Joseph said unto his father, Not so, my father: for this is the firstborn; put thy right hand upon his head.

 

It’s important to understand that God was directing all of these events.  He made sure that Joseph would be there with his two sons before Jacob died, and he made sure that Jacob would bless Joseph’s sons just as he did.  This blessing is found in verses 19-20:

 

And his father refused, and said, I know it , my son, I know it : he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. 20 And he blessed them that day, saying, In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

 

Do you see what is going on here?  God is using Ephraim and Manasseh as pictures of the two groups we read about in Revelation.  Manasseh, the older brother, is a picture of the 144,000 or firstfruits harvest.  And Ephraim, the younger brother who matures at a later time, is a picture of the great multitude or big harvest of souls.

 

Before Jacob died, he also made prophecies about each of his sons.  We will see that one of these prophecies gives us additional insight into the significance of his grandsons – Manasseh and Ephraim.

 

 

A Curious Difference Between Two Lists

 

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.

Genesis 49:1

 

Jacob, whom God named Israel, had 12 sons.  In Genesis 49, we find a prophecy about each of them.  This may have happened on the same day as Jacob’s prophecy concerning Ephraim and Manasseh, or very soon afterwards.  It’s possible that Joseph made the arrangements to bring all of his brothers to his father’s bedside immediately after Jacob blessed the boys.  After all, Joseph was in a position to do that, and it may have been done very quickly.

 

When all the sons were there, Jacob mentioned each one and said something about that son – and it wasn’t something good in every case.  Here is a list of the sons about whom Jacob made a prophecy:

 

Reuben

Simeon and Levi (together)

Judah

Zebulun

Issachar

Dan

Gad

Asher

Naphtali

Joseph

Benjamin

 

The descendants of these men became the 12 tribes of Israel (see 1 Chronicles 2 and following chapters).  You may remember that Revelation 7 also has a list like this.  There, we read that 144,000 of the children of Israel are “sealed” before a time of God’s judgment (Revelation 7:3-4).   Then, we find a list of the tribes of Israel.  Here is the list of names we find there in verses 5 through 8:

 

Judah

Reuben

Gad

Aser

Nepthalim

Manasses

Simeon

Levi

Issachar

Zabulon

Joseph

Benjamin

 

If you compare the two lists, you will see that – aside from the fact that the names are in a different order – there is a difference in one name.  Jacob’s son Dan is missing in the list from Revelation, and he has been replaced by Manasses or Manassah.  Why would God do that?  Did someone make a mistake?

 

Of course the answer has to be something else.  First, we need to read Jacob’s prophecy about Dan.  We find it 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.  

 

This does not sound unfavorable to Dan in any way.  So we actually have two problems: why did God drop Dan from the list of Jacob’s sons, and why did He replace Dan with Manassah?

 

In addition to these questions, we need to know why Ephraim doesn’t appear in the list.  According to Jacob’s prophecy, Ephraim would be greater than Manassah.  Yet we don’t see his name in the list.  In fact, Ephraim’s name appears only once in the entire New Testament, and that’s in John 11:54.  There it’s the name of a city near the wilderness where the Lord Jesus went to be with His disciples and away from the religious authorities.

 

We already know part of the answer to these questions.  We’ve seen how God reveals that there are two big groups He has saved.  In Jacob’s prophecy, they are pictured as Ephraim and Manassah; and in Revelation they are called the 144,000 and the great multitude.  By including Manassah’s name in the Revelation 7 list of tribes, God is linking Manassah with the 144,000 and showing us that this group is the fulfillment of Jacob’s prophecy about Manassah.  In other words, Manassah is the 144,000.  Therefore, Ephraim is the great multitude.

 

There is still one question remaining: why did God pick Dan as the one to drop from the list of tribes in Revelation?  In order to answer that question, we need to go back to the book of Revelation.

 

 

  Pictures of the Rapture and Resurrection

 

In the book of Revelation, we find the resurrection/rapture pictured in a couple of different ways.  In the passage that includes our verse about the 200 million horsemen, we find it pictured as a great army of terrible creatures unleashed against mankind to kill “the third part of men.”  The horses are described as having tails that are “like unto serpents.”

 

In Revelation 16, we find another picture of the resurrection and rapture.  There, we see God’s series of judgments pictured as vials of wrath being poured out on the world.  The vision associated with the pouring out of the sixth vial is a picture of the resurrection and rapture.  Notice how God portrays this event as a great battle at a place called Armageddon.  It’s a battle with the “kings of the earth” (Revelation 16:14), who are gathered together by Satan (Revelation 16:13-14).

 

This “battle of Armageddon” is also pictured in Revelation 19, where we read about God’s armies (Revelation 19:14) coming to destroy the world’s armies.  The birds are called to gather so that they “may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of might men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great” (Revelation 19:18).

 

Besides these pictures of the resurrection/rapture in Revelation, we also find something interesting about it in Luke 11:31-32:

 

The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.  32 The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

 

Here, the Lord Jesus is talking about the last day.  Notice how these verses show that those who are resurrected are condemning the unsaved.  They reveal that the queen of Sheba (see 1 Kings 10:1-10) and at least some of the people of Nineveh (see Jonah 3:5) were saved.  When they rise up in the resurrection on the last day, they will “condemn” the unsaved.  That doesn’t mean that there will be any speeches!  Rather, it shows that God considers the resurrection to be a judgment against the unsaved.

 

In these passages from the Bible, we have seen that God associates several ideas with the resurrection and rapture.  First, it’s a judgment against the unsaved; and it’s a judgment especially against the “third part,” which represents the official, Christian organizations claiming to represent God’s kingdom today.

 

We have also seen that the elect on the last day are pictured as being in some way like a serpent.  They have a power to “do hurt” (Revelation 9:19).  And we have seen that all the elect together are pictured as an army that will destroy the world’s armies and their horses.

 

Keeping all these ideas in mind, once again read Jacob’s prophecy about 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.

 

Do you see how they match?  Notice also verse 18:  “I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD.”  By studying many other Bible verses, we know that the rapture and resurrection will occur immediately before the end of the world.  That will be the day when God’s elect inherit their new body, designed to last forever.  It will be the completion of their salvation.  And so we have the answer to our last question: the 200 million horsemen represent Dan.  That’s why God deleted him from the list of tribes in Revelation.  In Jacob’s prophecy, Dan is a picture of everyone God has saved, rising up on the last day in the resurrection and rapture.

 

 

Conclusion

 

We have seen that Revelation 9:16 reveals God’s plan to save two large groups of people.  In several places in the Bible, the first group is pictured as the firstfruits and as 144,000, the second as the larger harvest of ancient Israel’s two harvest feasts and as a “great multitude.”  In some other verses, God applies spiritual numbers to these groups, such as thousands of thousands, or ten thousands of ten thousands.

 

God tells us about the two groups in several ways, even as far back as the time when He gave us the book of Genesis.  In Genesis, we find Jacob’s deathbed prophecy, which he spoke hundreds of years before his descendants had multiplied into the 12 tribes of Israel.  Even there, we see the two groups pictured by Jacob’s grandsons.  Interestingly, in all of the ways the two groups are pictured, there doesn’t seem to be any reference to people saved before Jacob’s time.

 

We know that both Abel and Seth were saved.  And of course Noah (and his family), Abraham, Isaac, Joshua, Caleb and some others were saved, based on what we read in the Bible.  Undoubtedly, others were also saved before Jacob passed away.  However, we must conclude that the total number saved before Jacob’s time was relatively small in comparison to the number saved afterwards.

 

The number saved before Jacob’s time, plus the numbers in each of the two big groups God has saved, are represented in Revelation 9:16:  “twice ten thousand times ten thousand” (Revised Standard Version) and are pictured in Genesis by Jacob’s prophecy about Dan.  Back in 2011 and perhaps now, that number was understood to be the actual number of persons God had saved out of all humanity.  However, we have seen that this number must not be taken literally.  In Deuteronomy 29:29, God tells us:

 

The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

 

God reveals that  – like the date for His return and the end of the world – the exact number of people He has saved is one of His secrets.

 

 

You Are Here

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In many areas such as city neighborhoods, college campuses, parks and even in large buildings, you’ll see a diagram like a map posted to help people there understand exactly where they are in relation to their surroundings.  Usually, the diagram is marked with an arrow and the words “You Are Here” to indicate the exact spot where a person would be standing in order to read the information.  Amazingly, God has done something similar to help end-time believers understand where they are in time according to His plan for mankind.

 

 

The Two Witnesses

 

One way He has done this is by telling us about the two witnesses of Revelation 11.  We know that they represent a group of end-time believers, based on events described in that chapter of Revelation and on related information in the Bible.

 

Revelation 11:4-5 tells us something about them:

 

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.  And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

 

These witnesses proclaim a message of judgment to the world.  The message of God’s judgment is the fire that “proceedeth out of their mouth and devoureth their enemies.”  When we read about the two witnesses, we must realize that God isn’t telling us that there will be two real people who can blow fire out of their mouths to kill people.  He is telling us about a time when His message of judgment goes out to the world near the end of time.  Those who are enemies of this message are judged by God’s word and eventually destroyed, as required by God’s law.  Their destruction is by the fire that “devoureth their enemies.”

 

The two witnesses represent a group of believers near the end of time.  Their prophesying or preaching finishes at a specific time.  We know this from Revelation 11:7, which states “when they shall have finished their testimony.”  At that time, according to the same verse, “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.”

 

The beast, which is Satan, doesn’t literally kill the two witnesses.  Rather, he and the unsaved world – that is, people who are in his kingdom – silence the two witnesses, who are the elect.  Verses 8 and 9, which tell us that their bodies lie “in the street” because they aren’t buried, show us that the world wants to bring shame on them because the witnesses brought a message of God’s judgment.

 

Verse 10 indicates that their message reached around the world, for it states:

 

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.  

 

Notice what happens after the witnesses are “killed,” according to Revelation 11:11-12:

 

And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.  And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

 

These verses and the rest of Revelation 11 make it clear that this passage is telling us about the Rapture and the end of the world.  We have to realize that the number of days that elapses after the witnesses are killed – three and a half – is not to be taken literally.  It is like the number of witnesses, which represents the elect who bring the true Gospel (see Mark 6:7 and Luke 9:30-31).

 

However, there is something very important we can understand about the three and a half days: God is showing us that the elect remain here for a certain period of time after their warnings to the world are finished.

 

Notice how well Revelation 11 matches the situation of those who warned about May 21, 2011.  You may recall that, according to the timeline that was proclaimed with the message of judgment, there was a period of time (the first part of the great tribulation) when God was not saving anyone.  This period of time is identified in Revelation 11:2, where we read “the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.”

 

After this, God gives power to His two witnesses.  They prophesied and brought a message of God’s judgment (see Revelation 11:3) until they “finished their testimony” (Revelation 11:7).  At that time, they were “overcome” and “killed.”  This is what happened to those who were discredited in the world’s eyes on May 21, 2011 because the Rapture did not occur then.  In all of this, God is identifying the time in which we are now living as the three and a half days preceding the Rapture.

 

 

The Locusts of Revelation 9

 

Visions corresponding to the seven seals and seven trumpets are a series of pictures of end-time spiritual events presented in chronological order.  We know this because God gives us a clear starting point in Revelation 6:1-2 with the opening of the first seal, picturing the start of the church age; and He gives us a clear finishing point in Revelation 11:15: the sounding of the seventh trumpet, marking the end of the world.  God also gives us verses in-between those two points (Revelation 6:11, Revelation 8:1, Revelation 8:13, Revelation 9:12, Revelation 11:14) to show us that events are following each other in time.

 

With this in mind, we can see something in Revelation 9 that matches what we find in Revelation 11.  In order to see this we need to realize that, besides the seven seals and trumpets, God gives us an alternate and partial path of end-time events: that path is the three woes.  We also need to realize that the vision associated with the sixth trumpet sounding (Revelation 9:13) is a picture of the Rapture.

 

The Rapture will occur on the last day and be immediately followed by the end of the world.  However, in the first part of Revelation 9 (before the verses describing the Rapture), we read about a vision describing the period of time that comes just before the Rapture.  This vision involves strange creatures called locusts.

 

Revelation 9:5 tells us the period of the locusts lasts five months.  Their time begins with the trumpet sounding by the fifth angel (Revelation 9:1).  The darkening of the sun (verse 2) indicates God’s judgment has begun.  It is the final time the sun darkens.  This vision is set in a time when the Gospel no longer shines with power to save anyone.  However, the Gospel is still proclaimed around the world in this vision.

 

Here, the Gospel is a witness of judgment against the world.  The locusts proclaim God’s word, and that is their sting.  It is the sting of judgment from God’s law.   This is the meaning of Revelation 9:5, which states:

 

And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

Like the other numbers in Revelation, the five months is only a representation of something.  It’s a spiritual number.  Here, it represents the time between the last day of salvation (which is the start of the period without salvation anywhere ever again) and the last day of the world.

 

Notice that the period of the locusts is the same as the period when the two witnesses are dead “in the street” (Revelation 11:8).  However, in the verses about the two witnesses prophesying God is showing us a picture of the time when the Gospel saved a great number of people.  Their testimony ends when judgment day begins.

 

The locusts, on the other hand, bring their message during judgment day.  It is the time when the sun has been darkened (Revelation 9:2) and the Gospel isn’t saving anyone.  In that sense, it is a “torment” to unsaved people who hear it.  It is too late for them to be saved; but there is no “hurt” for the grass, or any tree, or any green thing according to Revelation 9:4:

 

And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.       

 

Here once again God is showing us that the elect remain on earth after judgment day begins.  The grass, green things and trees clearly identify them.  The smaller plants may represent people or children who were among the last to be saved near the end of the two witnesses’ time of prophesying, just before the period of the locusts.  That was during the latter rain – the last part of the great tribulation.

 

 

The Midst of the Seventieth Week

 

Historical Background:

 

In Daniel 9:24-27, we find an amazing prophecy.  This is information God gave the prophet Daniel after he had prayed for his people (Daniel 9:2-3).   In order to understand this prophecy, we must be aware that God has revealed in the Bible a great deal of information about time.

 

How can we understand and use this information?  When we add up lifespans for successive patriarchs going back to the time of Adam and Eve, we can create a Biblical calendar.  As we continue adding, we eventually come to a period of time (about 3,000 years ago) from which there are reliably dated archeological artifacts.  These artifacts are of course dated according to the calendar we all use – the modern secular calendar.  We know that dates assigned to some artifacts are reliable because they are confirmed by written records that have also survived.  Because of these artifacts, we can synchronize the Biblical calendar with the modern calendar.

 

When we do that, we discover that the creation occurred in the year 11,013 BC, the great flood of Noah’s day occurred in 4,990 BC, and the Lord Jesus died on the cross in 33 AD.  We also discover that Israel’s exodus from Egypt was in 1,447 BC.  After 40 years of surviving in the wilderness, the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan in 1,407 BC.

 

Eventually, Israel became a mighty kingdom. It was at its height when King Solomon ruled.  However, even before he died the kingdom began to decline.  It was broken into two kingdoms shortly after his death.  In 587 BC, the last of the two kingdoms was conquered when the Babylonians captured Jerusalem.  Israel no longer existed as a nation.  In about four centuries, Israel went from being a mighty power to a people without a country.

 

Some survivors – Daniel was one of them – were carried off to Babylon.  Less than 50 years later, Babylon itself was conquered (Daniel 9:1).   God moved the heart of the new king (Cyrus of Persia, who was also known as Darius the Mede) to allow some Israelites to return to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 36:22-23).  These Jews began the work of rebuilding the temple there, but opposition arose and the work required many years to complete.

 

A key event occurred during the reign of Artaxerxes 1, whose reign extended from 465 to 424 BC.  In this king’s seventh year (Ezra 7:7-8), a priest named Ezra returned to Jerusalem.  The king had made a decree allowing “all they of the people of Israel, and of his priests and Levites, in my realm, which are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem …” (Ezra 7:12-13).

 

In accordance with the decree, Ezra and hundreds of others (Ezra 8) went to Jerusalem.  Ezra 7:10 provides some insight into what Ezra hoped to do:

 

For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.

 

Based on this verse, we can say that Ezra went to re-establish the law of God in Jerusalem.  However, Ezra 9:9 compares Ezra’s mission to a building project:

 

For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.   

 

This was part of Ezra’s prayer some time after he had arrived in Jerusalem.  It was in the year 458 BC – the seventh year of Artaxerxes 1 (Ezra 7:7-8) – that Ezra went to Jerusalem.

 

 

The Prophecy:

 

With this background in mind, we can read the prophecy that begins with Daniel 9:24:

 

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

 

Notice that the prophecy involves a period of 70 weeks.  As we continue reading it, we see that God breaks up the 70 weeks in a very curious way.  Daniel 9:25 states:

 

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

 

Possibly, the first idea you have about this verse is that it concerns a commandment for the literal rebuilding of Jerusalem.  A great deal of work had already been done there before Ezra returned.  In fact, a new temple had already been finished (see Ezra 6:15).  A lot more work was done under Nehemiah several years after Ezra returned (e.g., see Nehemiah 6:1).  However, when we read about Ezra’s time in Jerusalem or in the decree that sent him there, we don’t find anything about construction activity.  Nevertheless, we will see that the decree sending Ezra to Jerusalem is the starting point for the prophecy of the 70 weeks.

 

The prophecy continues with Daniel 9:26:

 

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

 

This verse, when considered with the previous one, tells us “Messiah will be cut off” after 69 weeks.  This appears to be something that happens during the 70th week, and the following verse tells us more about that final week.  Daniel 9:27 – the prophecy’s final verse –  states:

 

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

 

What Does It Mean?

 

These four verses are an amazing prophecy that extends from Ezra’s time until the end of the world.  Notice the words “end of the war” in the third verse, and in the fourth verse the words “until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured out upon the desolate.”  The final words of the prophecy in the fourth verse point to God’s judgment on the last day.  That is “the consummation.”  And the words “end of the war” in the third verse remind us that God compares our experience in this world to a war (e.g., 2 Corinthians 10:4, 1 Timothy 1:18).  This war is a spiritual war that continues until the last day.

 

Therefore, the prophecy actually extends to the last day.  Only then is “the war” over.  However, we now have a big problem trying to understand this prophecy.  It clearly has to do with the Crucifixion, because of the words “Messiah shall be cut off” in the third verse.  Yet the prophecy also extends to the end of the world.  How can 70 prophetic weeks cover all of that time beginning from Ezra’s day?

 

The solution is to see that God breaks the 70 weeks into a period of 69 weeks plus one final week that is treated very differently than the others.  In fact, God is giving us two different pictures in this prophecy.  The first has to do with the Crucifixion, and the second with end-times.  Even though we may not understand every word of this prophecy as it applies to both situations, we can now understand a big part of it.

 

Going back to Daniel 9:24, the first verse of the prophecy, we see that there is a period of 70 weeks “to anoint the most Holy.”  Using the year-for-a-day principle (Numbers 14:34) with which the Lord decreed judgment against ancient Israel, we see that 70 weeks represents 490 years.  When we start at 458 BC and advance the calendar by 490 years, we come to the year 33 AD.  There is no year “0,” so we must add one additional year:

 

-458 + 490 + 1 = 33.

 

The calculation brings us to 33 AD, and we know that was the year of the Crucifixion.  Recall that the Lord was anointed a few days before He died (John 12:3) and then again shortly after He died (Mark 16:1).   And so we see the first verse of the prophecy fulfilled in 33 AD.

 

What about an end-time fulfillment for the first verse?  As a whole, the prophecy clearly deals with end-times.  Will the first verse also be fulfilled on the last day?  The last of the 70 weeks extends to the last day, so in some way the Lord must be anointed again on or near the last day to fulfill the first verse if it too is an end-time prophecy.  The solution may be something we find in 1 Kings.  When the time had come for Solomon to rule, David commanded that he be anointed as king.  In 1 Kings 1:39, we read:

 

And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save king Solomon.

 

Notice the next verse, 1 Kings 1:40:

 

And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.

 

In several places in the Bible, God uses Solomon to represent some aspect of His salvation plan.  Also, the Hebrew word for “rent” in this verse (Strong’s number H1234) is the same word we find in Genesis 7:11, where it’s translated as “broken up.”  That’s the verse telling what God did to the earth at the beginning of the flood!  It appears that God is using Solomon’s coronation and anointing as a picture of the Lord Jesus on the last day.  In this way, we can see how Daniel 9:24 will be fulfilled a second time when the Lord returns.  On that day, the Lord Jesus will begin His rule over the new heavens and earth.

 

In the second verse of the prophecy, we read:

 

Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

 

Here, we see how God is breaking up the 70 weeks and telling us something about the final week.  This verse describes the situation after 69 weeks (seven and threescore (60) and two) have passed.  That brings the prophecy up to week number 70.  In his booklet entitled  “The 70 Weeks of Daniel 9,” Mr. Harold Camping showed that the Daniel 9 prophecy allows for a second path to the Lord’s first coming.  This path goes from 458 BC up to the year 29 AD.  The year 29 AD is of major importance, because that was the year the Lord Jesus was baptized and began His ministry (John 1:35-39, Luke 3:1-3).

 

This second path begins at the first Jubilee year following the decree: 457 BC.   It then goes to the next Jubilee year: 407 BC.  That is the seven weeks or 49 years of the prophecy’s second verse.  (The Jubilee is a special year that God instituted after Israel crossed the Jordan River into Canaan in 1407 BC; it comes every 50 years.)  Then, counting 62 weeks of years from 407 BC (434 years), we arrive at 29 AD.

 

Notice that the second verse of the prophecy states “unto the Messiah the Prince.”  This verse isn’t telling us about His death; it’s telling us about His ministry.  During three and a half years, the Lord Jesus did what we might call “spiritual building.”  In that way, He fulfilled the prophecy that “the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.”

 

This activity also occurs during the final week, so we see that this way of viewing the final week differs from what we saw earlier.  From the prophecy’s first verse, we determined that the final week goes from the Lord’s anointing (33 AD) to the end of time.  But in the second verse, the final week goes from 29 AD to the end.  It includes the period of His ministry.

 

Now let’s again look at the prophecy’s third verse:

 

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

 

After the Lord’s ministry was over, He was crucified.  Even though the Lord didn’t bear our sins at that time, He was still “cut off” for the sake of His people.  The verse continues by telling us something about the “people of the prince that shall come.”  History tells us that the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD.  Based on this fact of history, someone might easily conclude that the “prince that shall come” was the Roman general who led his army against the Jews.  Undoubtedly, there have been other explanations as well.  However, once we understand that Daniel 9 is an end-time prophecy, we know this verse must have a different kind of meaning.

 

The prince that shall come is the Lord Jesus.  This is a reference to His second coming.  And it is His people who “destroy the city and the sanctuary.”  How can this be?

 

We know from the Biblical timeline that, years ago, God removed the Holy Spirit from all congregations of Christian churches.  They became “desolate,” because God was no longer there.  In other words, God abandoned them.  After a while, God began a great program to save many outside the local congregations.  This program has now ended.  However, the churches are still identified with the Lord Jesus Christ because the world calls them Christian churches.  In a sense, they are still His people; but the verse tells us that it is they who destroy “the city and the sanctuary.”

 

The city and the sanctuary identify the elect – those are true believers and they have become saved.  The third verse of the prophecy indicates that the “people of the prince” destroy the elect.  This agrees with the silencing of the elect, as pictured by the death of the two witnesses in Revelation 11.  The remainder of the verse compares God’s end-time judgment to a flood, and tells us that the condition of desolation continues to the very end.  It indicates the end of salvation.

 

The prophecy’s fourth and final verse is Daniel 9:27:

 

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

 

We know that when the Lord died, the great veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51).  (It is believed that this veil was about 50 feet high: Herod’s temple was a magnificent structure – much bigger than that of Ezra’s day).  The tearing of the temple veil signifies the end of sacrifice; and so we see that the Lord did indeed “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” in 33 AD, thereby fulfilling the prophecy at that time.  But this is also an end-time prophecy: events of the fourth verse are prophesied to happen in the 70th week, which goes to the end of time.  How do we understand this verse as an end-time prophecy?

 

The first part of the verse indicates God’s work of saving many people through the entire New Testament period.  However, the “sacrifice and the oblation” have now ended because God is no longer saving anyone anywhere.  This confirms what we have learned about God’s judgment on the churches at the end of the church age, and how this judgment eventually includes the whole world.

 

The Bible reveals that God has abandoned the local congregations of Christian churches, just as He abandoned the Jewish temples in the first century.  He was no longer there after 33 AD to save people, and He is no longer in Christian congregations now.

 

As an end-time prophecy, that is how we must understand the fourth verse.  Notice that the translators have added a word to this verse: the word “it” is in italics.  Without the “it,” we see that the desolation can apply to the whole world.  This desolation is “until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured out upon the desolate.”  These words agree with our understanding of the last day.

 

When we consider the prophecy as a whole, we can now see that it reveals some of the same truths we find elsewhere in the Bible.  The prophecy extends to earth’s last day and reveals that salvation ends at some date before then (as in Daniel 9:26, “unto the end of the war desolations are determined” and in Daniel 9:27, “desolate, even until the consumption, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”).  The amazing Daniel 9 prophecy not only revealed the year of the Crucifixion several centuries before it happened, it also reveals that God’s elect remain here after salvation has ended.

 

 

 

The Unexpected Guest

 

The Lord Jesus told a parable about a man who received a guest whom he did not expect to visit.  The man is not prepared for his guest, as we see in Luke 11:5-6:

 

And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;  For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

 

The man needs bread, so he goes to his friend for help.  To help us understand this parable, notice the verses preceding it.  In Luke 11:14, the Lord told His disciples about prayer.   Prayer includes our requests that God meet our needs (for example, for daily bread – as in verse 3).  Knowing this, we see that the friend who has the loaves is actually God.  The parable continues with verse 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.

 

From this verse, it looks like the man will be disappointed.  However, the next verse reveals that the man gets the loaves he requested.  Luke 11:8 states:

 

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.

 

Why would the Lord Jesus tell us about the negative answer in verse 7, when the man actually gets the loaves he has requested?   Take a look at that negative answer.  It tells the man “Trouble me not.”  In other words, “Don’t bother me.”  The answer continues: “the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.”  In telling us about this answer, the Lord Jesus is showing us what the answer could have been.  In other words, God could answer that way at a certain time.

 

And when is that?  The parable tells us that it is midnight.  We know that in the Bible midnight is a time of spiritual darkness.  It is the time when salvation has ended.  Also, “the door is now shut.”  This means it is too late to be saved.  The answer continues, “my children are with me in bed: I cannot rise and give thee.”  This is another way of telling us that, at the time setting in this parable, no one else can be saved: all of God’s children are safely with Him, and that is pictured by the bed.   Also, He “cannot rise and give thee.” God’s plan is revealed in His law, which is the Bible.  But God has bound Himself to follow His law, and that law sets a date when salvation ends.  Once that date has passed, God “cannot rise and give thee.”

 

However, as we have seen, the man does get the loaves he needs.  In order to understand what has happened, we need the rest of the parable.  It continues with verses 9 and 10:

 

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 

 

In these verses, God is encouraging us to continue in prayer in every situation, no matter what the need or when the need arises.  But there is a problem here.  Notice the words, “to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”  Does this mean God will open the door to save someone who has not been saved after the cutoff date has passed?  We can understand the parable after we read the remaining verses.  Luke 11:11-13 declares:

 

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

 

In these verses, God is comparing two kinds of relationships.  The first is the relationship an unsaved man has with his children.  Notice the words “ye then, being evil.”  Even unsaved people give “good gifts” to their children.  The second relationship is the relationship God has with His children.  This means the parable is concerned with prayers from God’s children.  God hears their prayers even after salvation has ended.  However, His answer to anyone who has not yet been saved is “Don’t bother me.”

 

God always hears His children and provides them with spiritual food from His word.  He provides as many “loaves” as they need.  And so we see what this parable reveals: God continues to take care of the elect while they remain here waiting for the last day, even after salvation has ended.

 

The Ten Virgins

 

The parable of the ten virgins is found in Matthew 25:1-13.  It’s a brief parable, but it may be the Bible’s clearest picture of our day.  It begins with an event that precedes the Lord’s return and ends when He does return.  Notice that the virgins “went forth to meet the bridegroom” (verse 1) at the start of the parable.  Then, “they all slumbered and slept” (verse 5).  Finally, when the Lord returns at the end of the parable, they are still alive; so the parable portrays events that happen within a lifetime of some people who witness the end of the world.

 

Let’s focus our attention for now on the five wise virgins.  These five were definitely children of God, as we find in verse 10:

 

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

 

They were “ready” and went in with the bridegroom to the marriage feast after he arrived.  That of course is a picture of the elect inheriting the new heaven and earth on the last day when the Lord returns.

 

It’s important to notice that the five wise virgins had already been saved when they went forth to meet the bridegroom in verses 1-2, and none of the others were saved afterwards.  Only the five wise virgins had the “oil” (verse 4).  Even so, they were mistaken to expect their Lord’s return when they went forth to meet Him.

 

Notice also that the Lord doesn’t reprimand the wise virgins for going to meet Him too early.  The parable doesn’t tell us they were false prophets, or that they had done anything wrong.  In fact, the parable’s lesson is stated in verse 13:

 

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

 

It’s almost as if the Lord is using this parable to tell us: “Look, you’re going to misunderstand something about the time information I have given you and think you know when I’m coming.  After you are disappointed, you’ll be sorrowful.  In spite of this, you must remain watchful about how you live in this sinful world.”

 

It’s very important to think about the word “watch” in verse 13.  The Greek word translated “watch” is Strong’s number G1127: “gregoreo.”  In order to understand what the Lord meant by using this word, we must compare its use here with other verses where it is used.  We can find several helpful verses.  For instance, in Revelation 3, the Lord Jesus gives a warning to the “angel of the church in Sardis.”  In verse 2, we find the word “gregoreo” used:

 

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

 

Here the word “watchful” is that word “gregoreo,” and it has to do with taking care to “strengthen the things which remain.”   In Colossians 4:2, we find it used again:

 

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;     

 

The word “watch” in this verse is associated with prayer and has nothing to do with the end of the world.  It has to do with the way we should live, regardless of whether or not we are living in end-times.  So we see that “watching” has nothing to do with an attempt to discover the date for the Lord’s return (also see 1 Thessalonians 5:6 and 1 Peter 5:8, where the word “vigilant” is another translation of “gregoreo.”).

 

In fact, God made it very clear in the parable of the ten virgins that this date is something we can never know.  God did this by showing that the lesson of the parable applies to the ten virgins, and that includes the five wise ones.  It’s very important to realize this point: the parable’s lesson applies even to the elect who live in the last days.  These are God’s children who live during end-times and who will be alive when the Lord does finally return.  The date is unknowable even for them.

 

A question now arises.  In view of the Lord’s teaching in Matthew 25:13, how could anyone ever think he or she could know that date?  Most people today have heard of Sir Isaac Newton and know that he was a great scientist.  Some even think he may have been the most brilliant scientist to ever live.  He was also very familiar with the Bible; so he definitely would have read the parable of the ten virgins and known the Lord’s clear teaching that we cannot know the date of His return.  Yet Sir Isaac also believed the Bible revealed that date.  In fact, he believed the year 2060 would be it.

 

From his study of secular history, Sir Isaac determined that the year 800 was a key year in the decline of the Christian church.  To that date he added a Biblical number of days – 1,260, based on the year-for-a-day principle.  And so he arrived at the year 2060.

 

We don’t have to do any checking to know that the Bible does not reveal 2060 to be the date.  God has made it very clear that even the last generation of true believers will not know the date of His return.  In fact, when the Lord told His hearers in Matthew 25:13 that they would not know the date, it was the fourth time in quick succession He had given that teaching (see Matthew 24:36, Matthew 24:42, and Matthew 24:44).

 

Considering the Lord’s clear statements that the date of His return cannot be known, we can reasonably ask why Sir Isaac Newton, or Mr. Harold Camping, or anyone else would ever predict such a date.  We can understand why they did.  God tells us He would reveal new information about time near the end of time.  This Biblical teaching was always understood as a promise that God would reveal the date of His return.  However, the Bible does not make that promise; in fact, it specifically excludes that piece of information from the promise.

 

God has in fact revealed a great deal of time information in recent years.  His promise was that the wise would understand time and judgment (Ecclesiastes 8:5).  The evidence is that God has given us that information by allowing us to understand the Biblical calendar and directing us to announce May 21, 2011 as the beginning of Judgment Day.

 

The parable of the ten virgins shows us a picture of people who misunderstood the promise, just as Sir Isaac Newton did.  The virgins in the parable were mistaken and disappointed when they expected the Lord’s return.  In that way, the parable matches the experience of those who warned that the date for the Rapture was approaching.

 

Notice that in the parable the cry comes at midnight (verse 6).  This cry is the shout we read about in 1 Thessalonians 4:16.  It announces that the Lord has returned!  This agrees with our understanding that when the Lord does finally return, it will be at a time (midnight) when salvation has ended.  The parable doesn’t tell us that the Lord will return at 12:00 AM; but it does reveal that it will be a time of spiritual darkness when the Gospel has stopped shining with power to save anyone.

 

Also notice that the wise virgins were brought into the marriage feast even though they too had “slumbered and slept.”  They weren’t “watching” as they should have been, but they were saved anyway.  This reveals that salvation is totally based on the Lord’s choice.  It was His decision at the “foundation of the world,” and has nothing to do with anything anyone can ever do.  In these ways, the parable is a picture of God’s people shortly before and then after May 21, 2011.  It shows that they remain here after Judgment Day, waiting for the Rapture and not knowing when it will be until it actually begins.

 

 

The Faithful Servant

 

Near the end of Matthew 24, God gives us examples of two different types of people living in the last days.  Taken together, they paint another picture of end-times and also help us understand the parable of the ten virgins.  In Matthew 24:45-47, we read:

 

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. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

 

Unlike the wise virgins who “slumbered and slept,” this servant continues to provide for the Lord’s household so that they have “meat in due season.”  This is not a picture of sowing seeds, which is spreading the Gospel.  It’s a picture of someone helping to make God’s word available to the elect (“his household”) after a time when the Lord was expected to return.

 

On the other hand, this parable also tells us about an “evil servant” in Matthew 24:48-49:

 

But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;  And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 

 

The evil servant is a picture of someone who misuses God’s word: he begins “to smite” fellowservants.  This indicates the evil servant is bringing a false gospel.  Notice that he too has misunderstood God’s word, because he expected the Lord to return at a certain time.  So we see in this parable too how God illustrates what He wants His children to do and to not do in a period after the day they expected Him to return, continuing until He finally does return.

 

 

 

 

The Maiden Waiting For Her Beloved

 

The Song of Solomon tells us about God’s love for the true believers.  In this book, a maiden represents them.   We learn something about her early in the first chapter in an interesting verse -Song of Solomon 1:5:

 

I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.

 

We might wonder about this and the next verse as well, for in verse 6 we read:

 

Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.

 

We know that the sun represents the Gospel’s power to save someone, so this verse actually explains why the maiden is black.  She tells us “the sun hath looked upon me.”  In other words, she has been saved.  God is using her skin color to show us that she is a picture of the elect.

 

We may not understand a great deal of this book; but there are some key verses that show us something amazing.  Much of the book consists of poetic dialog back and forth between the maiden and her beloved.  The dialog begins in verses 7 and 8 of the first chapter:

 

Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?   If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents.

 

The maiden asks where she can find her beloved’s flock.  She is told that, if she doesn’t know, she can follow the footsteps of the flock.  Recall that the Lord Jesus identified Himself as a shepherd in John 10:14:

 

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.  

 

We find the Lord Jesus identified as a shepherd in the Old Testament too, for in Psalm 23:1-2, we read:

 

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 

The maiden’s beloved is the Lord, and she is seeking His flock.  Throughout much of this book, she is seeking Him.  There are verses indicating that at certain times she is with her beloved; but in other verses, it is absolutely clear that her beloved is gone.  How are we to understand these things?

 

When we read the Bible, we see that God was physically present with mankind at certain times.  God’s physical presence was never required for Him to save anyone.  However, in the Song of Solomon God appears to be using the beloved’s absence to indicate a time when salvation has stopped or ended.  When he is present, there is salvation; and when he is gone there is no salvation.  When we use this rule, we will see that the Song of Solomon provides a picture of end-times.

 

In the second chapter, we read about the maiden’s joy to be with her beloved.  For example, Song of Solomon 2:3 reads:

 

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

 

But in the next chapter, we see the maiden searching for her beloved.  In Song of Solomon 3:1-2, we read:

 

By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.  I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.  

 

During the New Testament era until our day, God used the local congregations of Christian churches as an external representation of His kingdom.  We need to keep that in mind as we read the next two verses.  Song of Solomon 3:3-4 continues the passage about the maiden searching for her beloved:

 

The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?   It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.

 

The watchmen of the city are identified with the local congregations.  After the maiden went past them, she found her beloved.  We will see later how this incident fits into the Biblical timeline.

 

As we continue reading this book up to chapter 5, we find more dialog between the maiden and her beloved.  However, there are some very strange verses in the second half of chapter 3.  They begin with Song of Solomon 3:6:

 

Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?

 

This verse follows right after the maiden has found her beloved.  So it should indicate that God was present and that salvation was once again continuing.  The next two verses are very strange.  In Song of Solomon 3:7-8, we read:

 

Behold his bed, which is Solomon’s; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.  They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.

 

The number – threescore – is of course important.  We know that the number three represents God’s purpose, and a score equals 20 or 2 x 10.  The number two is used to represent those who bring the Gospel (e.g., the two witnesses) and the number ten represents completeness.  Also, notice that each man has a sword.  We know that the sword represents the word of God.  We will also see how this passage fits the Biblical timeline.

 

After dialog between the maiden and her beloved in chapter 4, we come to chapter 5.  In the first verse, which is very mysterious, we read:

 

I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

 

This verse seems to indicate completion.   It’s as if the beloved is telling the maiden that he has finished what he had been doing.  This idea is also consistent with the next two verses.  In Song of Solomon 5:2-3, we read:

 

I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.  I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?  

 

In the next verses, the focus shifts to the maiden again.  In Song of Solomon 5:4-5 we find the maiden expecting her beloved,

 

My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.  I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.

 

The maiden is certain her beloved is there; but, as we find in Song of Solomon 5:6, she is terribly disappointed:

 

I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

 

Notice what happens next.  In Song of Solomon 5:7-8, we read:

 

The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.  I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.

 

Here again we read about the watchmen: they are identified with the local congregations.  They smote and wounded the maiden as she searched for her beloved.   They also took away her veil.  This indicates an attempt to bring shame on the maiden.

 

The remainder of this book mostly consists of poetic dialog by the maiden, the beloved and the “daughters of Jerusalem” (e.g., see Song of Solomon 5:9, 6:1).   These appear to be other true believers.

 

It is clear from Song of Solomon 5:7-8 that the beloved has gone; and when we continue reading to the end of the book, we realize that the beloved has not returned.  There is a verse (Song of Solomon 8:5) in which it appears at first that he may have returned.  However, the final verse (Song of Solomon 8:14) shows us that he hasn’t:

 

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

 

The beloved is absent from the time the maiden expected him to be standing in the doorway, until the end of the book.  This identifies a time when salvation has ended.

 

When we compare events in the Song of Solomon against the Biblical timeline, we find something amazing.  Recall that the maiden went “about the city” looking for her beloved in chapter 3.  In Song of Solomon 3:4a, we read:

 

It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth:  

 

The timeline indicates that God stopped using the local congregations to save anyone in 1988.   There was a period of a few years (until 1994) when salvation stopped.  This period matches what we read in the above verse, for it was “but a little” after passing the watchmen that the maiden found her beloved.

 

For a while, she couldn’t find her beloved.  This was a period without salvation.  It matches the “silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” (Revelation 8:1) that came after the start of God’s judgment, which began at the local congregations (Revelation 6:12, a picture of the end of the church age).  Then, after “a little,” the maiden did find her beloved.  So God was once again saving people.

 

When God began saving people again, it was outside the local congregations.  This was the period of the “latter rain.”  During that time, God saved a great multitude.  He also caused a great warning to go out to the world to warn of His coming judgment on the whole world.   That judgment would be the final end of salvation.

 

This time of warning the world matches what we read in Song of Solomon 3:6-11.   Those who brought the warning are apparently identified as the threescore valiant men (Song of Solomon 3:7).  Notice that they all hold swords, as we read in verse 8:

 

They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.

 

In many verses, the Bible compares the word of God to a sword.  (Also notice the command in verse 11: “Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion….”).   Verses 6-11 certainly agree with our understanding of what happened during the latter rain, from 1994 until May of 2011.

 

We know that God began the church age in 33 AD.  For many years until then, he used the kingdom of Israel to represent His heavenly kingdom on earth.  In Song of Solomon, this long period of time appears to be the setting for everything that comes before chapter 3.  For example, in Song of Solomon 2:13, we find a reference to the fig tree’s fruit.  In the Bible, the fig tree is used to represent national Israel.  So the first two chapters appear to take place during Israel’s time as a kingdom and to continue through the entire New Testament era, right up to the end of the church age.

 

When the maiden finds her beloved in Song of Solomon 3:4, we know that salvation has resumed.  He continues to be present with her until chapter 5, verse 6:

 

I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.

 

This verse matches what many people experienced on May 21, 2011. There was great certainty that the Lord Jesus would return on that date, but it did not happen.  They “sought him,” but “could not find him;” they called, but there was no answer.  At that time, the Lord had finished His work of saving people (Song of Solomon 5:3).  Continuing to Song of Solomon 5:7, we see this verse also matches what many experienced after May 21, 2011:

 

The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

 

This verse paints a picture showing the ridicule that many experienced, largely from members of local congregations.  Some suffered much more than just ridicule, even suffering physically.  Despite this, God shows us in this book that He continues to love His people, as in Song of Solomon 6:9:

 

My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.

Just as the maiden misses the beloved (that is, as God’s people yearn to be with Him), God here shows us that He also wants to be with His people.  This condition of separation, however, must last until God’s pre-determined time has arrived – according to His plan.

 

We’ve seen how events in the Song of Solomon match God’s end-time salvation plan according to the Biblical timeline; but there is even more evidence that this book of the Bible is a picture of end-time events.  That evidence is found in a very strange verse near the end of the book.  In Song of Solomon 8:8, we read:

 

We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?

 

What could this verse possibly mean?  A verse that helps us understand this is 1 Corinthians 3:2:

 

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

 

In the Bible, milk often represents the truth of God’s word.  More than that, it represents the first truths that God gives a new believer out of His word.  With this in mind, we can understand the verse about the maiden’s little sister.  The little sister represents the last group of people to be saved.  She is a picture of the great multitude (Revelation 7:9) saved out of the end-time great tribulation (Revelation 7:14).  She will have no milk to feed any true believers who come after her because there won’t be any!

 

We can contrast the little sister with the maiden.  In Song of Solomon 8:10, we read:

 

I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.

 

This verse applies to the maiden.  Notice that it comes near the end of the book, so it is after the time when the maiden expected her beloved to be at the door.  The maiden will now have plenty of “milk” for those who are newly saved (also see Song of Solomon 4:5).  This agrees with what we have learned about God’s plan to open His word to our understanding: in the last days, there is more understanding of His word than ever before.  God’s word is open to reveal more truth than man has ever before understood.

 

So we see that this amazing book is actually about end-times.  It shows us pictures of the end of the church age, the pause in salvation, the latter rain, and the end of salvation.  It also shows us that God greatly opens up His word to our understanding in the end-times.  Most importantly, it shows that God’s people remain here after salvation has ended.

 

 

 Conclusion

 

In several different ways, God shows us that the world does not end until some time after salvation has ended.  Even before May 21, 2011, this was understood and taught correctly.  The mistake back then was to think the Rapture would happen when salvation ended.  It is now clear that there is a period of time – and we cannot know how long it will be – until the Rapture does take place.  That will be earth’s last day.  We can now understand this truth; but it is part of God’s mercy on the unsaved world that they do not.

 

God paints different pictures to show us that His children would mistakenly believe they had discovered the date for His return (the ten virgins, the faithful and unfaithful servants, the Song of Solomon).  He also shows that there would come a time when His people have been overcome or silenced and humiliated (the two witnesses, the 70th week of Daniel 9, the Song of Solomon).

 

There have been many occasions in church history when a group of believers became convinced that the Lord was just about to return.  However, we can be certain that the ten virgins, the faithful/unfaithful servants and the maiden in Song of Solomon do not portray believers from one of those early events.  When we read about them, we clearly see that God is telling us about end-times.

 

God also tells us something about how we should live during the time after salvation has ended.  He shows us that the true Gospel brings only judgment on the unsaved (the locusts of Revelation 9), so it is no longer necessary for God’s people to try to reach anyone who is clearly unsaved: the believers’ testimony is “finished” (the two witnesses).  He shows us that we need to “watch” (the ten virgins) how we live our lives, and to be concerned about fellow believers (the unexpected guest and the faithful servant).

 

Another place in the Bible where the Lord tells us how end-time believers ought to live is found in Luke 12:35-36:

 

Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

 

Notice here also that the Lord tells us He will be returning “from the wedding” when He comes.  The Greek word for wedding in this verse is actually plural.  In other words, the Lord will be returning from the “weddings.”  Here too, we see that God is teaching us that salvation has already ended by the time the Lord returns.  The “great multitude” has been saved: the “weddings” are over.  Until then, He wants His people to be prepared for His return at any time (“Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;”).

 

Also, until then we should continue searching God’s word and be prepared to learn anything new He may want to teach us.  This was the maiden’s prayer in Song of Solomon 8:13:

 

Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.

 

The final verse of this book is also the conclusion of the maiden’s prayer.  In Song of Solomon 8:14, we read:

 

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

 

May this and the apostle John’s prayer (Revelation 22:20) also be our prayer: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

 

 

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. 

 

 

Conclusion

 

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.

 

 

Ten Virgins, Two Shut Doors

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If you go to Matthew 25 in your Bible, you will find something amazing.  It’s a parable known as “The Ten Virgins,” and it should be amazing to all who believed last year’s warnings about May 21, 2011.  That’s because this parable so well describes the situation that day and afterwards.

 

People all around the world heard the Judgment Day, May 21 warnings.  Many believed there would be great physical signs that day.  Many Christians expected the Rapture and resurrection to occur then.  It was supposed to be the date for the Lord’s return – guaranteed by the Bible.

 

Since last year, several other dates have been proposed for the Lord’s return.  However, none of those other dates was publicized nearly so much or accepted by nearly so many people as last year’s May 21.  The warning about May 21, 2011 was a worldwide phenomenon.  It’s important to keep this in mind as you read the parable of The Ten Virgins.

 

 

The Parable

 

Here is the complete parable, from Matthew 25:1-13 (King James Version):

 

1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

 

 

The Time Setting

 

As we see in these verses, it’s a parable about ten virgins.  Immediately we should ask ourselves why the parable concerns virgins.  When we search the Bible, we find that the word “virgins” (Strong’s number G3933) can refer to those who have become saved (for example, see Revelation 14:4).  However, when we read this parable we soon learn that half the virgins were not saved; so as a group these ten virgins do not represent the elect.  Instead, they must represent people who are identified with God’s kingdom – regardless of whether or not they are actually saved.

 

All ten of the virgins took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  Who is the bridegroom?  The Lord Jesus compared Himself to a bridegroom in Mark 2:18-19:

 

And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?  And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.

 

Also, the Lord compared His return at the end of the world to the arrival of a bridegroom returning after his wedding, as in Luke 12:35-36:

 

Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.  

 

Therefore, we see that the parable of the ten virgins is actually showing us a picture of those identified as God’s people at some time near the end of the world.  They are expecting the return of the Lord Jesus.

 

 

They Went Forth to Meet the Bridegroom

 

Verse 1 tells us that the virgins went forth to meet the bridegroom.  Perhaps you’ve read this verse many times without thinking about it.  If you go to meet someone, it’s because you expect that person to arrive at a particular time.  In only a few words, the parable is telling us that the virgins were expecting the bridegroom’s immediate return – that’s why they went to meet him.

 

In verse 1, we also learn that they took their lamps with them when they went to meet the bridegroom.  Continuing with the parable, we read that five virgins were wise, and five were foolish.  The wise ones “took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”  The foolish ones, however, “took no oil with them.”  What is the significance of the oil?  The Greek word (G1637, “elaion”) translated as “oil” in Matthew 25:3 and 4 is the same word translated as “oil” in Mark 6:13:

 

And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. 

 

Mark 6:13 is actually a little parable in itself.  It’s telling us that the apostles (Mark 6:7) anointed the sick with oil and healed them.  This is a picture of people who have not yet been saved (that is, they are “sick”) hearing the word of God and being saved when God’s Holy Spirit (the “oil”) is present to save them.   So when we read that the wise virgins took oil with them, we know that they were saved.  The foolish virgins, however, took no oil with them; in other words, they were not saved.

 

All ten virgins had lamps: they appeared to be God’s people.  The world knows them as Christians.  However, only five of them were truly God’s children.

 

 

The Bridegroom Tarried

 

Verse 5 states:

 

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 

 

The virgins went to meet the bridegroom, but what happened?  He tarried, or delayed his coming.  The delay pictured in this parable is apparently not brief, for we read that the virgins “all slumbered and slept.”  They settled down to relax while they waited for the bridegroom, and then they fell asleep.

 

Beginning with verse 6, the parable deals with the arrival of the bridegroom.  However, before continuing with the parable we should consider some key verses about the Lord’s return.

 

 

Like Lightning

 

One of those verses is Matthew 24:27:

 

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

 

The Lord compared His return to lightning.  A powerful flash of lightning brightens the entire sky, and does it so quickly that it appears to be instantaneous.  It might be a matter of seconds until the sound of thunder reaches someone who is distant from the lightning, but the flash can be seen from one end of the sky to the other as soon as the lightning strikes.

 

The Bible also tells us that for the unsaved the Lord’s return means sudden destruction.  We read that in 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3:

 

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

 

The day of the Lord is the last day (see 2 Peter 3:10), and that’s the day the Lord will return.  Therefore, the above verse implies that there will be no physical signs preceding the Lord’s return.  The world – the unsaved as well as the elect – will be going about their business as usual; everyone will expect a tomorrow that brings more of the same.  Matthew 24:37-39 confirms this:

 

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

 

On the day of the Lord’s return, there will be no doubt about what is happening.  His return will happen without any warning, and it will be seen and heard all over the world at the same time.

 

 

The Bridegroom Cometh

 

Returning to the parable, verse 6 states:

 

And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

 

What is this cry?  It is the start of events that will happen on the last day.  It is proof –physical evidence – that the last day has arrived.  Compare that verse with 1 Thessalonians 4:16:

 

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 

 

The ten virgins are wide-awake; they have heard the “cry” or “shout.”  Notice that the time setting has changed.  Time has passed since the virgins went forth to meet the bridegroom; but we cannot know how much time.   Now the ten virgins are witnessing the resurrection or something else that will occur on the last day.  They know what is happening.  In verse 7, we read that they all arose and trimmed their lamps:

 

Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

 

It’s interesting to read that they “trimmed their lamps.”  Every other time the Greek word translated as “trimmed” (Strong’s number G2885) is used in the Bible, it’s translated as “adorn” or “garnish” (for example, as in 1 Timothy 2:9: “…that women adorn themselves in modest apparel…).   Perhaps this verse is telling us that the virgins are mentally preparing themselves to meet God.

 

Continuing with the parable, verses 8 and 9 tell us:

 

And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

 

The foolish virgins are worried they are not saved.  We know this because of the words telling us that their “lamps have gone out.”  They witnessed the resurrection and Rapture; they see no indication that they will be taken up with the others.  Their anguish is much greater than that of other unsaved people, such as those who follow other religions and those who are atheists.

 

As Christians, the foolish virgins knew that the Bible teaches about the Lord’s return; but they thought they were saved and ready to meet Him.  However, instead of the true Gospel they believed a false one.  They thought they could guarantee their own salvation.  These foolish virgins are the same people the Lord Jesus mentioned in Luke 12:47:

 

And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 

 

The foolish virgins now realize they have a false gospel.   They realize they need the “oil” of the Holy Spirit, and they need to be saved.  The wise virgins tell them “go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”  This is a reference to something we find in the book of Isaiah.  There, God compares the Gospel to something that is offered for sale by merchants.  Isaiah 55:1 states:

 

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. 

 

Despite the wise virgins’ advice, it’s too late for the foolish virgins to seek God’s mercy because the time for it has passed.  This is clear from verses 10-12:

 

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

 

 

The Door Was Shut

 

When we read that the door was shut, we are reminded of the ark’s door being shut in Genesis 7:16:

 

And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.

 

The great flood was God’s judgment on the world of Noah’s day.  Out of all the people living then, only Noah, Noah’s wife, their sons and their sons’ wives were spared.  Not even one young child came into the ark, which represented God’s salvation.  Once the ark’s door was shut, it was impossible for anyone outside to be saved.  They were condemned to die in the flood.

 

In the flood account, we see a picture of God’s end-time judgment; but we must be very careful in the way we apply its lessons to our own time. The consequences of God shutting the ark’s door are clear; but what about the door in our parable?  Should we conclude the shutting of the door in the parable of the ten virgins is teaching something similar?  Is the parable teaching salvation is possible right up to the moment the door to the marriage feast is shut on the last day?

 

We’ve seen that God often uses objects and people in the Bible to represent ideas associated with His salvation plan.  However, we must be aware that there is no guarantee an object or person will represent the same idea in every situation and whenever we find it in the Bible.  For example, Moses is frequently a picture of the Lord Jesus; but in the verses where we read about his disobedience (Numbers 20:11-12), we know that he is definitely not a picture of the Lord.

 

What about the shutting of the door in the parable of the ten virgins?  That cannot be the moment salvation ended – there is too much Biblical evidence that salvation had already ended before the foolish virgins were shut out of the marriage feast.  The very fact that the virgins went to meet the bridegroom on a particular day tells us that day is associated with God’s judgment.  Then how are we to understand the shutting of the door?  When we read “and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut,” we are reading about the end of the Rapture.  Luke 13:25-28 helps us to understand this:

 

When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:  Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.  But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.  There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

 

In our parable, when the door is shut so that the foolish virgins cannot enter, it’s the moment they realize there is absolutely no hope for them to be saved.  It is when they see “Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God,” and realize they are “thrust out.”

 

The parable’s final events  – from the time the virgins hear the cry (“Behold, the bridegroom cometh … “) until they hear the final words (“I know you not”)  – all happen quickly.  They portray the Rapture-resurrection, and anguish of unsaved Christians when they finally understand their fate.  They show us a picture of events on the last day of the world.

 

Watch!

 

The final verse is the command associated with this parable.  Matthew 25:13 declares:

 

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

 

This is the parable’s point.  It’s teaching us to always watch, because we won’t know when the Lord will return.

 

Before May 21 in 2011, it was commonly believed that the command to watch meant that God’s people are to search the Bible in order to learn the date of the Lord’s return.  However, all the evidence now indicates we will never know that date.  If you search to understand what is meant by the command to “watch,“ you will find that the Bible guides us to correct understanding.

 

When we check a concordance for the word “watch,” we find that there are several different Hebrew words and several different Greek words translated that way.  In our parable, the word used for watch (Matthew 25:13) is Strong’s number 1127 (gregoreo).  It’s used 23 times in the New Testament, and it’s always translated as “watch,” except for one verse where it’s translated as “be vigilant” and another one where it’s translated as “wake.”

 

The way it’s usually used, it means just what we think when anyone tells us to watch: we should keep our eyes open and notice what is going on around us.  But that doesn’t help us understand what the Lord meant when He told us to watch.  Obviously, He doesn’t expect us to spend our lives sitting around, watching the sky and waiting for His return.

 

There are some verses that can help us understand what it means to watch.  For example, read 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8:

 

Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

 

Notice that the first verse tells us to watch and be sober.  Then in the last verse we find an instruction to those who are “of the day.”  This is an instruction to the elect; and what are they told?  They are told to be sober, “putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”  What about watching?  Does this verse only explain what it means to be sober?

 

God didn’t just skip over the idea of watching here; He’s helping us understand what it means to “watch” by telling us to be sober, and telling us about the breastplate of faith and love, and the helmet of salvation.

 

Here’s another verse telling us to watch, using the same Greek word found in the parable.  In Colossians 4:2, we read:

 

Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;

Here we see the idea of watching associated with thanksgiving in prayer.  Finally, let’s look at Revelation 3.  In Revelation 3:2, we find the word “watchful;” and in Revelation 3:3, we find the word “watch.”  In both cases, the original Greek word is “gregoreo”  – the same word used in the parable.  In Revelation 3:2-3, we read:

 

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.  Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

 

These verses are part of a message from the Lord Jesus to the church in Sardis.  He is telling them to be watchful and to “strengthen the things which remain;” to remember what they have received and heard; and to repent.

 

Based on these examples from 1 Thessalonians, Colossians and Revelation, we can now understand the Lord’s command in Matthew 25:13 to “watch” (“Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”).  We can see that watching has nothing to do with searching the Bible to learn the date of the Lord’s return.

 

Instead, watching has to do with examining ourselves to make sure that we are living faithfully.  It has to do with strengthening ourselves through prayer, and taking the “whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:13-18).  We get the protection of that armor by reading the Bible and praying.  Watching has to do with spiritual growth as God works in our lives and as we pray, give thanks, read the Bible and meditate on God’s word.  God wants us to watch ourselves!

 

 

The Parable Fits the Timeline

 

The parable doesn’t give any clue telling us how long this time of watching will be; but it does help us to understand all that has happened since May last year.  It also shows that key teachings associated with the Judgment Day, May 21, 2011 warnings were correct.

 

Notice the following:

 

First, the ten virgins went forth to meet the bridegroom because they expected him to return at a specific time.  Based on the Biblical timeline about which Mr. Harold Camping and others wrote and taught, May 21, 2011 was to be the date for the Lord’s return.  People all over the world expected the Lord to return that very day.   Like the ten virgins, they “went forth” to meet Him.

 

Second, in the parable the bridegroom tarried: he didn’t arrive when the virgins expected him.  Like the ten virgins, people who expected the Lord’s return on May 21, 2011 have been forced to wait because the Lord is “tarrying.”

 

Third, the parable tells us that the foolish virgins took no oil in their lamps.  From the day they went forth to meet the bridegroom, they were unsaved.  This confirms the teaching that salvation was over by May 21, 2011 – the day people “went forth” to meet the Lord.  Also, notice that the bridegroom came at midnight.  Midnight identifies with spiritual night.  It’s a time when salvation has ended and the light of the Gospel is no longer shining with power to save anyone.

This parable should give tremendous comfort to those who believed the teachings about May 21, 2011, but have now begun to wonder if any of them were true.  It confirms our understanding that God provided end-time information, just as He indicated He would in His word (Daniel 12:10).  It also helps us understand why God’s people remain here, even though salvation has ended.

 

 

Watching and Waiting

 

What is God’s purpose in letting His people remain here if salvation has ended?  There are plenty of examples in the Bible showing that even after God has saved a person, he or she is far from perfect.  Earlier, we saw that watching has to do with spiritual growth; but that process takes time.  Depending on God’s specific purposes for each one of His children, a very short time may be enough.   On the other hand, it might take a lifetime.

 

Based on the Biblical timeline, we know that God saved a great multitude all over the world during the latter rain – the period when He poured out His Holy Spirit, starting in 1994 and continuing until the last day of salvation.  The Bible indicates that this group included people who had little or no exposure to God’s word until very recently (Revelation 7:9).  During this final part of God’s plan for mankind, these people can learn more about God’s word and God can work in their lives.  There are some verses that help us to understand this.

 

In 2 Peter 1:5-7, we read:

 

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

 

This verse shows us a picture of spiritual fruits developing in a person’s life over a period of time.  In Hebrews 12, we find another idea that helps us understand why the final group of God’s elect would remain in the world even after salvation has ended.

 

Sadly, human nature is such that God must either allow or cause suffering to come into the life of everyone of His elect.  Hebrews 12 tells us about chastening, and in Hebrews 12:6-7 we read:

 

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?    

 

These verses appear to indicate that chastening occurs after God has saved someone.  Chastening forces a person to rely on God and seek His help in prayer.  It is one way God may use to develop spiritual fruit in a person.  Even after salvation has ended, spiritual gifts are still available to God’s children.  In fact, there is a parable showing us that very thing.

 

 

Another Parable, Another Shut Door

 

In Luke 11, we find a very interesting parable.  It has to do with a man who goes to his friend at midnight to ask for three loaves.  In Luke 11:5-6, we read:

 

And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;  For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?

 

In order to understand this parable, we need to realize that it is telling us something about prayer.  We should suspect this right away because in Luke 11:1, we read that one of the Lord’s disciples asked Him to teach the disciples how to pray.  For His answer (Luke 11:2-4), the Lord Jesus spoke the words that have become among the best known in the Bible:

 

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.

 

Then, right after this the Lord told them the parable about the man and his friend.   The fact that this parable has to do with three loaves also indicates that it is teaching something about prayer.  (Remember the words “Give us day by day our daily bread” in the verses telling us how to pray).

 

In the parable, a man has gone to his friend’s home at midnight to ask for three loaves for another friend who has come to him “in his journey.”   But the friend who is at home doesn’t immediately provide the loaves.  In fact, at first it appears that the man won’t get the loaves because of the way his friend seems to answer.   In Luke 11:7 we read:

 

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 verse is telling us that salvation has ended!  Remember, the man went to his friend at midnight.  That means it’s a time of spiritual nighttime.  The sun has darkened so that the Gospel is no longer able to save anyone (Matthew 24:29).  Also, the friend says that his children are with him in bed and the door is shut.

 

In this case, the shut door does indeed mean that salvation is over.  This door is like the door to the ark in Genesis 7 after God has shut it.  And notice what we read about the man’s children.  Just as the fictional Lazarus was in Abraham’s bosom after death (Luke 16:23), the children of this man’s friend are with him in bed.  The parable is definitely telling us about the period of time after salvation ends.

 

The friend’s answer from within indicates that the man will not get the loaves he requested.  However, in the very next verse of the parable we find that the man will get what he wants.  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.

 

What is going on here with the loaves?  We can see that the loaves do not represent salvation.  Notice that the man asked for three loaves; but salvation cannot have a quantity associated with it.  It’s an amazing work of God in which He gives someone a new, resurrected soul.  No number can represent salvation, and you can’t say that if you get as many as need then you’ll have it.   Therefore, the loaves cannot represent salvation; but they can represent increasing fruits of the spirit and nourishment provided by God’s word.

 

In Luke 11:9-10, the Lord Jesus begins to explain the parable:

 

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

 

We must be careful not to misunderstand the words “every one.”  These verses cannot be teaching that just by asking God for salvation, anyone will receive it.   The “every one” here means God’s children.  We see that in Luke 11:11-13, which speak of a father’s relationship with his son:

 

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? 

 

The promise of the Holy Spirit in the last verse is not a promise of salvation; it is a promise that the Lord will give “good gifts” to His children – those whom He has already saved.  Some statements the Lord Jesus made to His disciples support this way of understanding the promise of the Holy Spirit.

 

For instance, recall that at the Passover supper the Lord washed the feet of His disciples.  In John 13:10-11, we read:

 

Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.   For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.

 

According to these verses, except for Judas all the disciples there that evening were clean; that is, they were saved (also, see John 15:3).  Yet they had to wait for the Holy Spirit, as we read in Acts 1:4-5:

 

And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.   For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

 

About a week and a half later, the disciples were baptized with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.  That was the beginning of the Church Age, and from that day the disciples were equipped to carry out their mission to spread the Gospel.

 

Summary

 

Once we realize that God has promised to give His Holy Spirit to the elect even after “the door” of salvation has been shut, we can understand how all of these ideas fit together.  The parable of the ten virgins is in agreement with the parable of the man asking for the loaves, although the two parables are teaching different things.

 

In the parable of the ten virgins, the shutting of the door signifies the moment when the unsaved Christians realize they will not be caught up to be with the Lord.  The point of that parable is that the elect should always be watching – and we saw that watching has to do with spiritual growth.

 

On the other hand, in the parable of the man asking for the loaves, the shut door shows us the parable’s time setting: it happens after salvation has ended.  Therefore, this parable is showing us that God’s elect remain here even after salvation has ended!

 

There’s another important lesson in the parable of the man and the loaves.  God is showing us that we can go to Him in prayer any time, right up to the last day.  God is the “friend” who is at home behind the shut door.  John 15:15 illustrates that:

 

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

 

God’s children can go to Him in prayer for themselves and for others too.  Remember, the man who was asking for the three loaves needed them to set before his own friend who had come “in his journey.”

 

Although the parable of the ten virgins only mentions one door, there are actually two doors in view there.  The first door, the one to salvation, was already shut when the virgins went forth to meet the bridegroom.  There was no possibility that the five foolish virgins could be saved after that time.  Neither was there any danger that the five wise virgins could lose their salvation, even though they weren’t watching when the Lord returned.

 

If God has saved you, then you will be allowed into the marriage feast (Matthew 25:10) whether or not you have been “watching.”  On the other hand – if God has truly saved you – then you will want to be watching.   We can do that by reading and meditating on God’s words, thanking Him for blessings, and remembering others in our prayers.

 

 

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. 


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?

  

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:

 

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!


May 21, 2011: Judgment Day Scenario Unfolds

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Today is Good Friday, the most solemn day on the Christian calendar, the day when Our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated his love for mankind by permitting himself to be crucified for our sins.  This year’s solemnity, however, is far different from that of other years, for if Harold Camping and Family Radio are correct, this will be the last Good Friday in the history of the world.


On May 21 of this year, Christ will return and commence a Day of Judgment that will encompass 153 calendar days and end with the final destruction of this world and universe on October 21, 2011.  In the last several weeks, Mr. Camping has begun broadcasting how it is likely that the events on May 21 will unfold.


To the casual observer, it would seem logical that, if Jesus is to return on May 21, it would have to be at that split second when the date is actually May 21st everywhere around the world.  Of course, the particular time of day would be different dependent upon your time zone.


Until recently, Mr. Camping has been uncertain and largely silent on the specific time of Jesus’ return – preferring only to indicate that it will occur sometime on May 21st.  Now, Mr. Camping has identified Biblical evidence that this event will be a “rolling event,” beginning at a particular time in that part of the world in which day begins and continuing around the world at the same time of day as it occurred when it started.


Since, as Mr. Camping has repeatedly stated, Jesus’ return and the Rapture of those God has elected from before the foundation of the world will be heralded by a cataclysmic earthquake the likes of which the world has never experienced, those of us in the United States will be cognizant of the beginning of this process long before the devastation actually reaches our shores.  As the massive earthquake and tidal waves propagate in the Fiji Islands and New Zealand and rumble through Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, and Western Europe, we will know for certain that Judgment Day has arrived.


One can only imagine the consternation of the talking heads on television (if broadcasting is possible) and panic of the leaders of all religious persuasions as it becomes apparent that they have horribly misjudged the Word of God and that their everlasting doom is a fait accompli.


Returning however to the time of day at which this will occur, Mr. Camping has recently found Biblical evidence that the massive earthquake and Rapture of God’s elect will occur in the evening, most likely at 6:00 PM.  Although not 100% certain, Mr. Camping has indicated that the time of 6:00 PM is a strong probability.  If this is true, those of us on the East Coast of the United States should have some inclination of what is happening some 12 to 15 hours before it strikes us.

 

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

  

Harold Camping: False Prophet or Herald of God?

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A number of months ago while scanning through the radio dial on a long ride home, I stumbled upon Family Radio and listened to an Open Forum program conducted by Harold Camping, the network’s President.  What caught my attention at that time was a dispute between Mr. Camping and a caller over Mr. Camping’s claims that the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011 and that churches the world over had been under the control of Satan since May 21, 1988.


No stranger to the subject of eschatology (i.e., end times study), I had long been fascinated by end times prophecy and had read about perhaps the most famous failed prediction regarding the world’s end by William Miller – Baptist preacher and founder of the Seventh Day Adventist Church – who determined through Biblical analysis that the world would end sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844.


Intrigued by Mr. Camping’s claims on his radio program, I sought out the Family Radio website and perused some of the literature establishing a timeline for history as well as the purported Biblical evidence supporting his broadcast declarations.  Far from a Biblical scholar myself, I found the analytical approach and arguments presented to be both reasonable and plausible.  The Bible is very complex and seemingly contradictory; and so, I found the concept of harmonizing its meaning by internal comparison (comparing scripture with scripture) to be fascinating.


Later, I penned and published the article “Countdown to Judgment,” the response to which was overwhelming.  Several months passed and I was contacted by Tom Holt who concurs with Harold Camping’s conclusions.  His email became the source of yet another article “May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!” published on our site.


As the calendar advances toward that date, controversy continues to swirl about this entire subject.  Yet, I believe that regardless of Mr. Camping’s accuracy in date-setting, his prediction has had the beneficial effect of raising public consciousness and spurring thought regarding God, the Bible, and our own mortality.  Indicative of this level of public awareness is the fact that a simple Google search for “May 21, 2011,” an otherwise nondescript Saturday in May, produces more than 86 million results.


As in any controversy, however, there are countervailing claims and a good deal of name-calling (note the last minute of the second video below), even among people claiming to be Christians.  While I understand the sources of the enmity, I encourage everyone to have an opinion mind.  Is it possible that Harold Camping is absolutely correct in all of his assertions?  Might he be correct in some of his assertions or only one?  Is his approach to Biblical investigation and interpretation valid?  Of course, as to his prediction that May 21, 2011 is the date of Jesus’ return, most of us living today will have all the proof we need on that day in either eventuality.


And so, as always, I let my readers decide for themselves.  The two videos below present different points of view.  The first video is Harold Camping on an Open Forum program answering questions from a caller (presumably Christian).  The video has been edited and captioned by someone who mocks Mr. Camping and his views.  Presumably, this individual is either an atheist or agnostic.  The second video presents the anti-Camping thoughts of another Christian.  A note about this second video:  it may be some type of orchestrated response from a Christian church or churches, as I have seen at least one other video using much of the same language – virtually verbatim.  This, however, has no bearing upon the validity of its content.

 

May 21, 2011: Judgment Day!

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Judgment Day will occur one year from this past Friday on Saturday May 21, 2011. Most people have been falsely told that no one can know when Christ returns…this is not true; the Bible clearly says that true Christians WILL know in advance the time when Christ returns


In I Thessalonians 5:1 we read “But of the times and seasons brethren, ye have no need that I write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the LORD so cometh as a Thief in the Night.  For when they shall say ‘Peace and safety;’ then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that Day should overtake you as a Thief.  Ye are all the children of the Light, and the children of the day; We are not of the night; not of the darkness…”


Further, in Revelation 3:3 the Bible says “…If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a Thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”  [see Revelation 16:15].   The Bible describes these who “WATCH” in 30 passages [a comprehensive listing is available upon request]. 


Some claim even Jesus doesn’t know the timing of Judgment Day – this is a very serious claim as ALL the Bible from its very first verse to the last is written to show that Jesus is God Almighty, Jesus said of the Scriptures “…these are they that testify of Me…” and He said clearly in John 3:13 that “He was in Heaven while on earth,” and Jesus said “he that hath seen Me hath seen the father…” and Jesus is called “the Everlasting father…” in Isaiah 9:6. There are literally hundreds of verses like this. Those who want to claim that Jesus is something less than God, are in deep, deep trouble. Much more can be said of this very dark claim; but please remember if you are resting in Mark 13:32, that several are called “son” in Scripture. In that verse “the son” refers to Satan, who is called the “son of wickedness” (Psalm 89:22) and the “son of perdition” (John 17:22, 2 Thessalonians 2:3).


There are several verses about knowing the timing of the End, just like these above, in Hebrews 10:25, Matthew 24:36 AND 37, Matthew 24:43ff, etc. Jesus gives examples of His return in Luke 17 of Noah and the Flood and of Lot at Sodom and Gomorrah. In both cases they had advance warning of those horrible judgments. In fact, in ALL, every single one, of God’s fierce Judgments in the Bible, God gave ADVANCE warning of the timing: Noah [120 years, then a 2nd warning at 7 days], Moses and Aaron [the 10 Plagues of the Exodus], Moses and the killing of the 14,950 Jewish Temple servants by fire and quake in Numbers 15 & 16, Joshua and Jericho [the 2 million Jews circled 13 times in 7 days], Jonah and Ninevah [40 days]….according to clear Scriptures.


How can you specifically know that the Day of Judgment will begin Saturday May 21, 2011 and end 5 months later on October 21, 2011?  The Bible, beginning in Genesis 5 and 11, and continued later, has a “calendar” of all 13,023 years of the existence of the Universe….precise, without gaps…showing that the resurrection of the Saints, the “Rapture,” will be on Saturday May 21, 2011, and the destruction of the Universe by fire follows shortly thereafter [details from the Bible available upon request].


Further, the Bible shows that the Flood was in 4990 BC [Genesis 5], and it will be 7,000 years ago, to the day, next May 21, 2011 [subtract one – there is no year “0”]…further, the Bible shows clearly that Jacob was born in 2007 BC [Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel”] and then 1,000 years later, in 1007 BC, David was crowned King of Israel [Jews, worldwide, celebrated this 3,000th anniversary in AD 1994 (a Jubilee year)].


My wife and I were invited to Jerusalem to also celebrate…how sad that Christians seemed unaware of something so obvious; the Bible shows that Jesus was born in 7 BC, just before wicked King Herod’s death (exactly 1,000 years after David’s Coronation).


Israel as a nation (Christ’s earthly, visible kingdom) lasted about 2,000 years, and the Church, Christ’s 2nd earthly kingdom, also lasted about 2,000 years – and, like the nation of Israel has been [spiritually] destroyed as promised [I Peter 4:17, Jeremiah 23:20, 30:24, Ezekiel  9, Matthew 24:16 ff, Mark 13:14 ff, Luke 21:20 ff]. 


The Bible shows that Creation to the Flood was 6,023 years [Genesis 5], and the Flood to Calvary was 5,023 years, according to a series of Scriptures, and Creation to Judgment Day on Saturday, May 21, 2011 is 13,023 years precisely. Those extra 23 years are the exact time of the “Great Tribulation,” and the number “23” is used throughout Scripture to denote “judgment” [Daniel 8:14, I Corinthians 10:8, etc.].


The 70 “weeks” of Daniel 9 point to May 21, 2011; and so do the 7-year (84 months) “Great Tribulation” of Jacob, the 70-year (840 months) “Great Tribulation” of Israel/Judah of Daniel 9:2 [etc.], and the 23-year (8,400 days) “Great Tribulation” of our day.  All these time references give precision to understanding the timing of the Day of Judgment on Saturday May 21st 2011.


These are just a few of dozens of Bible “time paths” to the Rapture of the elect on Saturday, May 21st 2011 – one year from last Friday. This date cannot be changed, held back, or wished away. It will be the day of Christ’s return in fiery judgment. All approximately 7 billion living on that Day, including me, will be held to account – even for every “idle word” we have spoken [Matthew 12:36] – a fearful thing. 


The Bible predicts that “scoffers” will arise, and they surely have, but they have no Biblical basis to disprove any of this which has been carefully obtained from Scripture [II Peter 3:3-15].  By God’s grace, people all over the world have become aware of Judgment Day next year. In Daniel 12, God says twice that it will be at the time of the End [now] that He will open up an understanding of the End.


There are many “signs of the times” that Jesus alluded to in Matthew 16:3 and other verses from this very time in history [upon request I will send you 50 that refer specifically to this time].


All of this is why some of the greatest, most faithful Bible teachers, especially of the last 500 years, taught that God’s people will know the timing of the End. Yes, kooks and cultists have set false dates for Christ’s Second Coming (generally by reasoning outside of the Bible), but many wise and godly men have realized that there is nothing in Scripture to preclude God’s people from knowing the time of the coming Judgment and that the Bible contains the date of the End.


If we fear this Judgment Day in just short of one year, what should we do?  I urge you to read the small Book of Jonah and see what the King and his kingdom did when told of the coming of Judgment Day…they “cried mightily to God,” and He heard.


The very saddest part of Judgment Day is that God has promised to send a “strong delusion” to professing Christians regarding that day [II Thessalonians 2:11], and Jesus warned that many will come to May 21, 2011 and be shocked to find they really weren’t real Christians after all.  They will go into eternal damnation along with the rest of the unsaved (see Matthew 7: 21-23, and Matthew 25:1-12).


May God choose to let His Mercy and Grace fall on you and your loved ones, and on me and mine.  You can discover all the Bible says about the End at familyradio.com, or at ebiblefellowship.com.

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