Numbers 29:7 – 11
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, with the shout of an archangel, and with the blast of the trumpet of God. And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first.
Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord!
Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
Oh, how blind.
It was obvious… a long time in coming… yet we didn’t see it.
September 23, the end of the world — that’s how the press ran it. That was the headline—and a poor one, I might add. To be fair, even those of us who didn’t think it would be an ultimate end to this world, we at least thought it a fitting date for the rapture of the Church. Imagine it… on the evening finale of Yom Teruah, the Revelation 12 sign paints the sky of Jerusalem with the birth of the Body of Christ into heaven, and then, at the same time, at the last sounding of the shofar to end the new moon festival, the Lord Himself descends with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God… (1 Thess. 4:16) The rites, observances, sacraments, and symbols of the festival all seemed to be a perfect shadow of the rapture.
But here was the flaw: Yom Teruah never typified anything more than a warning of coming judgment, not the judgment itself. We know that judgment begins with the Church (1 Pet. 4:17); if anything, we should’ve considered the next festival, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the Jews’ holiest day of the year, a sombre day foreshadowing the ultimate judgment of souls. Yom Teruah is more of a wake-up call. It’s emphasis on the shofar—the only festival in which the shofar is to be blown—is supposed to stir people from their spiritual slumber, as with the awakening blast of the shofar—hence Yom Teruah, the Day of the Awakening Blast. It begins at the start of the month when the 10 Days of Awe begin, a time of critical repentance leading up to Yom Kippur. Yom Teruah and its distinguishing trumpet blasts act as the great shout of warning that your judgment day approaches, that is, in the sense of a rehearsal, foreshadowing what will one day take place during this exact time period in some future year. Each year, the drama is rehearsed by way of these festivals; one day, however, it will not be a rehearsal.
Jesus died on the Feast of Passover. He was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He was resurrected on the Feast of First Fruits. The Holy Spirit conceived in the Church on the Feast of Pentecost. 1, 2, 3, 4… The spring festivals were all fulfilled in order! And now, festival #5, Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets… It has to be! It has to be fulfilled! It makes so much sense! The next event is the rapture of the Church, and the next festival to be fulfilled in sequence is Yom Teruah! And the great sign of Revelation 12 was marking its final day with the Sun in Virgo, the Moon beneath her feet, the 9 stars of Leo joined by Mercury, Venus, and Mars, Jupiter birthed from between Virgo’s legs after retrograding for 9 months inside her womb… It’s too perfect.
It can’t be nothing. It just can’t.
As I write to you now on September 26, now that we no longer have to speculate about what would become of the ominous September 23, let’s scrutinize what did happen that day. No rapture, no unscheduled eclipse… No anything? Nothing at all?
Ah, but not so.
As I said, how very blind we were.
The purpose of Yom Teruah is to blow the trumpet of alarm, the awakening blast of the shofar that stirs us from our spiritual slumber. It’s a preparation, a warning. That’s the chief purpose of its institution. And what did we see on this festival? The grandest celestial sign illustrated in all the pages of Holy Writ, the enigma of all enigmas, the great prophetic dance of the sun, moon and stars that has confounded its students since John first wrote it in 96 AD. On Yom Teruah, we saw Revelation 12 fulfilled. We saw what Jesus prophesied when He said, “At that time shall appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man…” (Matt. 24:30)
We saw the great sign heralding the coming of Christ to gather His Church, and we saw it on a festival chiefly symbolizing a cry of awakening.
The 5th festival has just been fulfilled. After the first 4 were fulfilled in chronological order 2,000 years ago, the Feast of Trumpets, #5, has finally been fulfilled—and perfectly in sequence with the rest.
My God… I don’t even know what to say.
I walked with my dad along the sea after dark, watching the sharp crescent moon fall on the horizon as the Revelation 12 sign was finally, slowly drifting apart. I thought of that famous first verse of Revelation 12, “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” That great mystery of the ages… and there we were, watching the very moon envisioned by John when he wrote that verse. There have been many crescent moons like it, but this was the one, the very one, immortalized in Scripture. And then, it plunged into the silhouette baseboards of the horizon and vanished forever. It would never be seen again, seen only by the Apostle John in vision 2 millennia ago, and by those of us blessed enough to be alive and awake in the year 2017.
Something profound began to dawn. Yes, we all know the sun, moon, and stars were made “for signs and for seasons” (Gen. 1:14). So what was this telling us? This sign involved each the sun and the moon and the stars in a major prophetic fulfillment that would’ve had any sensible eschatologian dizzily reaching for a sofa to pass out on. The message is clear. Jesus is coming now. He’s coming to get His 5 wise virgins, His patiently, eagerly, beautifully waiting Bride. The rapture of the Church.
It’s easy to see once you identify the “male child” in Revelation 12 with the Body of Christ, not just Christ alone, seeing all the characters in the sign as corporate entities; all you need to do is examine the male child’s role “to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Rev. 12:6) and compare that with Jesus’ promise to His Church: “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” (Rev. 2:27) Now, seeing the male child as the Church, we find the Revelation 12 sign depicting its rapture into heaven — “…her child was caught up to God and to his throne…” (Rev. 12:5) — and that’s prior to the dragon’s pursuit of the woman, proving the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church. That child that’s “caught up to God and to his throne” is the same group described in Revelation 7, the fully redeemed Church — “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:9-10) Remember, that’s prior to the 7th seal, the 7 trumpet judgments, and the 7 bowls of wrath—and definitely not after the final Battle of Armageddon.
It circulated the world. It made headlines. Everyone knows about it. The rumours reached the ears of every church, addressed by almost every pastor I know of. The sign became the subject of a documentary for DIRECTV called The Sign. God made sure the alarm was heard by all. Loud and clear. On Yom Teruah, the great shout of warning signified by its emblematic shofars was an official heavenly announcement of the coming rapture. It was like a loud message: “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”
… Ring a bell?
The midnight cry.
MATTHEW 25:1-12 — “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
I believe this prophecy is taking place right now, and is about to be fulfilled.
“…at midnight there was a cry…” — The Greek word for “cry” used in this parable is “kraugé“, meaning a shout.
Yom Teruah—the Hebrew word teruah literally means a loud shout, or cry. It is the Day of Shouting, the Day of the Cry, referring to the awakening blast of the shofar stirring its hearers to repentance in light of coming judgment.
And is this not exactly what the midnight cry in the parable is for, to awaken the 10 slumberous virgins to the bridegroom’s imminent arrival — “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”
The Revelation 12 sign illustrating the rapture of the Church and the subsequent great tribulation of the Jews appeared precisely on Yom Teruah, the Day of the Awakening Blast, a blaring call to repentance in the form of an ancient festival. That was the midnight cry. The shout in that parable was meant for us, now, at this exact point in time and history. This is for us: “Here is the bridegroom! Go out to meet him!”
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.
It was no mere astronomical sign. September 23 was not just a festival. It was an encrypted message intended only for those who perceive by the Spirit. The true words silently shouted through this celestial wonder were those written in the parable of the 10 virgins. That means that the lamps of those 5 foolish virgins who didn’t bring oil are about to go out. We’re going to see a divide amongst professing Christians, some continuing to burn bright in faith and godliness, and some dimming in doubt and scoffing. Those destined to fall away will fall away — “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.”
Could we really be receiving advance warning from God that the rapture is soon to take place, our glorious transfiguration, our grand assembly with Christ in the air, our entrance into the wedding banquet from amidst this dark night on earth?
It isn’t inconceivable that God would give us some forewarning. In fact, God has a pattern of giving His people advance warning shortly before an event takes place. “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matt. 24:37) God will deal with us the same way He dealt with Noah. And how did God deal with Noah?
GENESIS 7:1, 4, 10 — “Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and all your household… For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights…’ And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.”
God gave Noah 7 days of advance notice.
I don’t mean to be spooky, but Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is exactly 7 days after the Revelation 12 sign—September 23 – 30.
I wonder—and I’m only speculating—if God is repeating the Noahic pattern. Jesus told us that the days of His revealing would be just like the time of Noah. If the midnight cry went out on Yom Teruah (September 23), it’s very likely that the Church—those who hear the midnight cry—is being given the same 7-day warning before a Yom Kippur rapture.
Oddly enough, this theory begins to make more and more sense.
According to Leviticus 25, if it’s a jubilee year (every 50th year), the “religious year” is supposed to begin on the 10thday of the 7th month, instead of the 1st day.
LEVITICUS 25:8-10 — “You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan.”
That means that the jubilee year would begin on Yom Kippur; and whereas a shofar is only blown on Yom Teruah, in the case of a jubilee year, a shofar will also be blown on Yom Kippur. This would mean that the “last trumpet” of the year is not blown on the Feast of Trumpets, but on the Day of Atonement — “Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.” (1 Cor. 15:52)
This might finally make sense of that riddle of the “last trumpet”. This is a rare occasion. This only happens every 50th year. The question is: are we about to begin a jubilee year?
The exact jubilee count has been long lost over the last 2,000 years. However, there are certain historical events surrounding Israel that seem to indicate that God has been preserving the jubilee cycle, even if the Jews stopped keeping track. Imagine that this is a jubilee year, 2017. 50 years ago, in 1967, the Jews regained Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, God’s chosen race back in their Holy City after its destruction in 70 AD. 50 years before that, is 1917, when the British government after World War I announced their support for a Jewish national home in Palestine with the Balfour Declaration, the statement that led to the restitution of national Israel 30 years later, the Jews back in their God-given land after being exiled for nearly 2 millennia.
These events all seem to indicate a 50-year cycle which may, in fact, be the jubilee cycle, upheld by God’s divine providence. Strangely, the dates all seem to fall on 7’s, God’s sacred number of divine completion—1917, 1967, and perhaps 2017.
Here’s another 7…
1217 is the year a man died, Judah ben Samuel of Regensburg, a rabbi and mystic of the Chassidei Ashkenaz with a fervour for the Messiah’s coming. He claimed that something had been revealed to him by the Prophet Elijah. On the same year of his death, he made a curious prophecy:
“When the Ottomans conquer Jerusalem they will rule over Jerusalem for eight jubilees. Afterwards Jerusalem will become no-man’s land for one jubilee, and then in the ninth jubilee it will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which would signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”
300 years (exactly 6 jubilees) after Rabbi ben Samuel’s death, the Turks conquered Jerusalem and ruled over Jerusalem for precisely 8 jubilees. The Ottoman conquest began in 1517, and the Land was divided into four districts and attached administratively to the province of Damascus and ruled from Istanbul. 400 years later (8 jubilees), in 1917, the British conquered the Turks and the League of Nations took the Mandate for the Holy Land to the British, making Jerusalem a “no-man’s land” under international law until 1967, 50 years later. When Israel took back Jerusalem in 1967, ben Samuel’s prophecy seems to have reached a fulfillment. According to his prophecy, the “Messianic end time” begins in that final jubilee period (1967-2017)—perhaps indicating that the Messiah would appear at the end of that cycle, 2017.
It’s compelling, but not definitely trustworthy. I do, however, find all the 7’s fitting nicely with these supposed jubilee years—ben Samuel’s prophecy and death in 1217, the Ottoman conquest and supposed start of jubilee cycle in 1517, the Ottoman rule in Jerusalem overthrown and the Balfour Declaration established in 1917, the Six-Day War recapturing of Jerusalem in 1967. Those are all apparently jubilee years, and it makes perfect sense in accord with what we know to be true historical events ushering in the rebirth of the nation of Israel, and thus the end times. 2017 would therefore also be a jubilee year.
Consider the year 1517: although this is the year the Turks began their conquest on Jerusalem, it was also the year that Luther exhibited his Ninety-Five Theses in Wittenberg on October 31 and began the Protestant Reformation, a sort of jubilee liberation of the Christian world enslaved by Roman darkness — “You shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.” (Lev. 25:11) It seems that God has been considering Christians in the preservation of His jubilee cycle after all; in fact, the Church looks to be the main focus of it.
Assuming there is actually something to all of these numerical, historical patterns, and speculating that God may still be preserving the jubilee count, Leviticus 25 tells us that the jubilee year should begin on the Day of Atonement this year—Tishri 10 instead of Tishri 1—and that a shofar is to be blown on that day. Just to reiterate, that means that, in this special instance, the “last trumpet” of the year is not going to be blown on Yom Teruah, but Yom Kippur. It also happens that Yom Kippur falls on a Sabbath this year, which is not always the case. Yom Kippur itself is known as the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”, and this year, it’s on a Sabbath—and so was Yom Teruah.
HEBREWS 4:1-11 — “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, ‘So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘On the seventh day God rested from all his works.’ And again in the passage above he says, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today.’ This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”
Sabbath, the day of rest. Only Christians, through a saving faith in the finished works of Jesus Christ, rest from the law of justification by works. It would be fitting, then, for the rapture of the Church to occur on a Sabbath, especially if it’s also Yom Kippur, the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”…
… And what would make the Jews more jealous for their God than to actually witness on their holiest Holy Day the gentiles obtaining salvation? The Apostle Paul makes clear that stirring the Jews to jealousy is exactly God’s plan to bring about their final awakening to Yeshua HaMashiach, their true Messiah, Jesus Christ.
ROMANS 11:11-15 — “So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?”
Envision this: 7 days after the midnight cry is heard with the Revelation 12 sign fulfilling the Feast of Trumpets, a rapture of the Church takes place on the Day of Atonement—just as Noah was given 7 days advance warning before the Flood… Is that how it’s going to happen? It’s hard to be certain about anything, but there’s a lot of signs pointing to it. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, certainly would make a perfect memorial for the Church considering that the whole identity of the Church is in the atonement Christ made for it by the sacrificial shedding of His own blood.
Whether or not Yom Kippur this year brings the ultimate consummation of the Church, I think that the coming days are going to be very exciting—if we faithfully continue watching, staying alert, and do not recede into worldliness. Many, I fear, will fulfill this prophecy:
LUKE 12:45-46 — “But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of THAT servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful.”
I believe the midnight cry has gone out on September 23, Revelation 12 fulfilled, the sign of the Son of Man in heaven.
Grace, peace, and blessings to all of you eager and vigilant believers. Let’s continue in faithfulness, maturity, hope, and use whatever time remains to continue feeding the flock. These last days are going to be a very divisive time within the Body, to separate light from darkness, wheat from weeds. Already, many false brothers are revealing themselves in gracelessness and immaturity, abandoning hope so easily. Encourage one another.
After September 23 came and went, after every prediction and hope of a rapture came to nothing, a sharp dividing sword came down amongst those waiting for the Bridegroom. That was almost more of a sign than the stars painting the night with Revelation 12 — “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Pet. 3:3-4)
It’s not the last days without 5 foolish virgins.
To all mockers, scoffers, don’t be so quick to speak in this auspicious time. Consider the role you’re playing in this retold story of Noah and Lot, and ask yourself who you would’ve been in their time, the faithful or the scoffer — “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” (Luke 17:26-27)
Love and patience be with the Bride. (Click to Site)
Beloved, I am now writing you this second letter. In [both of] them I have stirred up your unsullied (sincere) mind by way of remembrance,
That you should recall the predictions of the holy (consecrated, dedicated) prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior [given] through your apostles (His special messengers).
To begin with, you must know and understand this, that scoffers (mockers) will come in the last days with scoffing, [people who] walk after their own fleshly desires
And say, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the forefathers fell asleep, all things have continued exactly as they did from the beginning of creation.
For they willfully overlook and forget this [fact], that the heavens [came into] existence long ago by the word of God, and the earth also which was formed out of water and by means of water,
Through which the world that then [existed] was deluged with water and perished.
But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been stored up (reserved) for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly people.
Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape you, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.
The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will vanish (pass away) with a thunderous crash, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.
Since all these things are thus in the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought [each of] you to be [in the meanwhile] in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities,
While you wait and earnestly long for (expect and hasten) the coming of the day of God by reason of which the flaming heavens will be dissolved, and the [material] elements [of the universe] will flare and melt with fire?
But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to His promise, in which righteousness (uprightness, freedom from sin, and right standing with God) is to abide.
So, beloved, since you are expecting these things, be eager to be found by Him [at His coming] without spot or blemish and at peace [in serene confidence, free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].
And consider that the long-suffering of our Lord [His slowness in avenging wrongs and judging the world] is salvation (that which is conducive to the soul’s safety), even as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the spiritual insight given him,
Speaking of this as he does in all of his letters. There are some things in those [epistles of Paul] that are difficult to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist and misconstrue to their own utter destruction, just as [they distort and misinterpret] the rest of the Scriptures.
Let me warn you therefore, beloved, that knowing these things beforehand, you should be on your guard, lest you be carried away by the error of lawless and wicked [persons and] fall from your own [present] firm condition [your own steadfastness of mind].
But grow in grace (undeserved favor, spiritual strength) and recognition and knowledge and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (the Messiah). To Him [be] glory (honor, majesty, and splendor) both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (so be it)! (2 Peter 3:1-18 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation)
And a great sign (wonder)—[warning of future events of ominous significance] appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and with a crownlike garland (tiara) of twelve stars on her head.
She was pregnant and she cried out in her birth pangs, in the anguish of her delivery.
Then another ominous sign (wonder) was seen in heaven: Behold, a huge, fiery-red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven kingly crowns (diadems) upon his heads.
His tail swept [across the sky] and dragged down a third of the stars and flung them to the earth. And the dragon stationed himself in front of the woman who was about to be delivered, so that he might devour her child as soon as she brought it forth.
And she brought forth a male Child, One Who is destined to shepherd (rule) all the nations with an iron staff (scepter), and her Child was caught up to God and to His throne.
And the woman [herself] fled into the desert (wilderness), where she has a retreat prepared [for her] by God, in which she is to be fed and kept safe for 1,260 days (42 months; three and one-half years).
Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels went forth to battle with the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought.
But they were defeated, and there was no room found for them in heaven any longer.
And the huge dragon was cast down and out—that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over; he was forced out and down to the earth, and his angels were flung out along with him.
Then I heard a strong (loud) voice in heaven, saying, Now it has come—the salvation and the power and the kingdom (the dominion, the reign) of our God, and the power (the sovereignty, the authority) of His Christ (the Messiah); for the accuser of our brethren, he who keeps bringing before our God charges against them day and night, has been cast out!
And they have overcome (conquered) him by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony, for they did not love and cling to life even when faced with death [holding their lives cheap till they had to die for their witnessing].
Therefore be glad (exult), O heavens and you that dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in fierce anger (fury), because he knows that he has [only] a short time [left]!
And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he went in pursuit of the woman who had given birth to the male Child.
But the woman was supplied with the two wings of a giant eagle, so that she might fly from the presence of the serpent into the desert (wilderness), to the retreat where she is to be kept safe and fed for a time, and times, and half a time (three and one-half years, or 1,260 days).
Then out of his mouth the serpent spouted forth water like a flood after the woman, that she might be carried off with the torrent.
But the earth came to the rescue of the woman, and the ground opened its mouth and swallowed up the stream of water which the dragon had spouted from his mouth.
So then the dragon was furious (enraged) at the woman, and he went away to wage war on the remainder of her descendants—[on those] who obey God’s commandments and who have the testimony of Jesus Christ[and adhere to it and bear witness to Him].
(Revelation 12:1-17 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation)
“Speak to B’nei Yisrael and say to them: These are My fixed times, the fixed times of Hashem, which you shall proclaim as sacred occasions.” Leviticus 23:2 (The Israel Bible™)
The growing phenomenon of Christians observing the Biblical holidays is bringing Jews and Christians closer while helping to eliminate anti-Jewish replacement theology. This phenomenon is creating a new Bible-based aspect within Christianity, and for some Jews, revealing a previously hidden aspect of the holidays.
Wednesday evening begins an intense period including three major Jewish holidays, starting off with Rosh Hashana (the New Year), continuing with Yom Kippur (Day of Repentance) ten days later, and ending with Sukkot. Until recently, this was a uniquely and exclusively Jewish experience. Now, many Christians are finding spiritual meaning in experiencing the feasts and holidays they previously only read about.
The source for the holidays in Judaism is, of course, the Bible, and many Christians are drawn to the holidays for their Biblical origins. Harriett Shipman Casas grew up in South Carolina listening to her father talk about the High Holy Days and keeping the Sabbath. His family origins were from Jerusalem, which perhaps gave him a different perspective than the other members of their Baptist Church.
“He said that we should go to church on Saturday, not Sunday,” Shipman told Breaking Israel News. “He also said that we shouldn’t eat any pork or unclean food.”
As she grew older, she felt that something spiritual was lacking in the church. Shipman searched the Bible for answers.
“I read my Bible, taking each chapter apart, sentence by sentence. I kept praying and asking God to show me, and show me He did,” Shipman said, explaining that her search led her to an in-depth study of the Jewish calendar and the Sabbath. The answers she found in the Bible led her on a search for a church that shared this belief, which she eventually found.
“I found out, that they kept not only the Sabbath, but the Holy Days and dietary laws also,” Shipman said.
In a similar story, Kim Kunkel, a 29-year-old from St. Augustine, Florida, learned about the Biblical holidays from her father. As a devout Christian, he read books about the Temple and “God’s feasts”, so her understanding of the holidays, though Biblically based, is uniquely Christian.
Eventually, the Biblical holidays became a practical part of their religious observance. The prayer group she attended in college held special services on the Friday night preceding the holiday.
“We would celebrate both Jewish and traditionally Christian holidays,” Kunkel told Breaking Israel News. This approach to the holidays continued after university, when Kunkel returned to live with her family. “My family loved the feasts, but they would never give up Christmas.”
The result of Christians connecting to the Biblical holidays is a phenomenon some may find troubling: Christians who incorporate Jewish holidays into their observance.
David Nekrutman, the executive director for the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (CJCUC), feels that Christian observance of the Jewish holidays is entirely Torah appropriate, especially for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year.
“Rosh Hashana is a universal holiday,” Nekrutman told Breaking Israel News. “It is the birthday of the world. All of creation is being judged as to whether they are accepting the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as King of the World.”
“The shofar has all the components of the creation of man, and it breathes,” Nekrutman explained. “It wakes us up to a universal call to action. It is an amazing opportunity to come together.”
For some Christians, rejecting replacement theology, a Christian doctrine which holds that Christians “replaced” Jews in the Biblical covenant with God, led them to search out the Jewish roots of their religion. This inevitably led to the festivals described explicitly in the Bible.
Myrjam, from the Netherlands, grew up attending a Roman Catholic Church and was raised in replacement theology. A little more than two years ago, she began to seriously consider prophecies about the end-of-days. This caused an “inner earthquake resulting in an deeper knowledge of God”.
“I really felt obliged to look into it,” Myrjam told Breaking Israel News. “This got me into a spiritual roller-coaster that completely consumed me and my husband. In the end, I had a deeper knowledge of the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. When you dive into end times, sooner or later you will run into Israel.”
This powerful epiphany led to a search for the Torah roots of her faith.
“My eyes were opened to a whole new beautiful world to explore,” she said. “That is Israel, the Jewish people, and God’s appointed times.”
Myrjam and her family began keeping Shabbat, which quickly led to observing the Biblical holidays.
“We keep God’s appointed days and times, though we started out keeping them clumsy at first, we do the best we can, learn, and ask God to show us the way.”
In the same manner as religious Jews, Myrjam has been working on repentance for the past month, the Hebrew month of Elul, in preparation for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. “We have been sounding the shofar every day, not drinking alcohol, reading Psalm 27 every day, and searching our souls, asking for forgiveness,” she told Breaking Israel News.
Myrjam plans on celebrating all the High Holidays this season.
“We will be attending the service at our church this Thursday and blowing the shofar,” she said. “Everyone will bring nice foods, probably with apples from our garden and make some loud noise, the kids will love that. It really is an adventure as we don’t know anything about these traditions and apart from the church, we don’t have anyone to teach us.”
Yom Kippur, the day of repentance, is more theologically challenging than Rosh Hashana for many Christians.
“I still think more like an Evangelical Christian,” Kunkel said. “We can feel guilty and unsure about sin at times and ask for forgiveness or repent at any time in the year. We don’t really have the idea about doing it all on Yom Kippur and fasting, so that is still a new idea to me.”
Nekrutman explained that this difficulty is not uncommon since Judaism and Christianity have very different approaches to repentance.
“In Jewish tradition, repentance is universal and not individual,” Nekrutman explained. He emphasized that even the language used in Jewish prayer books is written in the first-person plural. “We sinned. On Yom Kippur, we turn to the king in national repentance.”
Nekrutman explained that as more Christians observe the holidays, a unique message for Jews is being revealed.
“On the holidays of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, Jews need to ask ourselves, are we relating to our Torah-mandated commission to the world? Have we uplifted the world? Have we been a light unto the nations?” Nekrutman asked. “If we make Rosh Hashana exclusive to one religion, we are closing the doors on our universal repentance.
The curious case of a previous date setter who found something interesting and botched it!
Back in 2015, a YouTuber named Renee M published a now debunked book, called the Rapture Puzzle. Like all foolish date setters, Renee built her platform around a theory that the Rapture would take place on Yom Kippur 2015. For months leading up to the September 23 date, she unearthed film clips and TV segments where 9/23 was featured on screen.
At the time, I was trying to ensure I wasn’t living in a prophetic “echo chamber”, so I approached the Yom Kippur Rapture theory with an open mind. In the end, there were WAY too many red flags, I didn’t think that she’d made a good argument, but I remember watching a few of the videos and thinking it was creepy how often 9/22 and 9/23 appeared.
|Clip From Fringe (link)|
She uncovered clips that went back to the early 1980’s; clocks turned to 9:23, newspapers laying on a desk with a Sept 23 date, license plates on cars 923, addresses 923 Church Street, flights that characters were taking 923. Random at first glance but then when dozens and dozens of examples are cobbled together, one begins to wonder. Then another pattern started to emerge, all sorts of “disaster” movies had 9/22 or 9/23 associated with them. As we drew closer to the date, her followers, specifically C. Ervana, started unearthing more and more instances in film and TV. In all, I think Renee M and C. Ervana produced about 30 videos for Renee M’s channel and garnered over 70,000 subscribers.
As the September 2015 Blood Moon and Shemitah High Watch Season came to a close, I forgot about Renee M and went back to business. Renee M, completely discredited, deleted all her videos and her website and apparently went back to her business, C. Ervana is still an active YouTuber.
A few months ago, it occurred to me that Yom Kippur 2015 and the Revelation 12 sign in 2017 were the same dates and then I recalled those videos. What if the mysterious YouTuber had discovered something but made the fatal error of assigning a date to something where no date was meant to be assigned?
We KNOW that 9/23 has significance because of the astronomical Revelation 12 sign in the sky! It seems that several others have picked up the banner and compiled similar footage. Granted, some of the footage is really stretching it but it is at least interesting to consider. Here’s a sample of what’s out there:
Rob Skiba, an interesting lecturer, states that he believes there is a universal law that since God has revealed what He is going to do in His Word, that Satan also must reveal what he is doing. That is where hidden symbols and secret codes begin to take on a deeper weight and seem less like a conspiracy theory and more like something sober-minded watchers should look for. This might be symbolism of the sort, or it might simply be a coincidence. Perhaps these numbers sound good on camera?
Incidentally, looking through YouTube it is depressing how many videos are still posted claiming that the rapture was going to happen on 09/23/2015… It makes you wonder who is actually producing and putting those videos up. What better way to confuse the Body of Christ, discourage people from studying prophecy, and cause the unbeliever to mock you? If any ministry sets a date – either in the past or in the future, please take a serious look at them. There are tons of sites on the internet that regularly set dates and then have to backtrack. Get your prophecy elsewhere! We are told to be hopeful and watchful but never presumptuous.
(Author’s Note – as I was researching this post, I found a couple mirrored copies of Renee M’s videos or at least some clips from them, watching it with the full knowledge of history that she was SO wrong gives you a feel for what a false prophecy video looks like and what you should be on the lookout for, check it out here and here) (Click to Site)
During the “Season of Repentance” from the first of Elul until Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement, there are forty days to reflect on where one stands in his or her relationship with the Messiah of Israel. For the past twenty-two years, since our family embarked on a Messianic lifestyle, this has always been a time devoted to personal introspection and self analysis, as the Deuteronomy Torah portions come to a close. In addition, the Sages and Rabbis long ago developed a series of Haftarah selections that are known as the seven portions of consolation, from the prophecies of Isaiah: Isaiah 40:1-26; 49:14-51:3; 54:11-55:5; 51:12-52:12; 54:1-10; 60:1-22; 61:10-63:9. If you take the time to read and meditate upon these passages, you will discover that they are comforting to the soul, as the Day of Atonement approaches.
In recollection, I can also remember the first time that the commandments of Leviticus 23 had an impact on our walk with the Messiah, and in particular, the meanings of the Hebrew moedim (appointed times) and miqra (holy convocation). Upon the realization that as non-Jewish Believers in the Messiah of Israel, we had been grafted into the olive tree of Israel (Romans 11:17), the blessing of participating in the appointed times had special meaning. All of a sudden, it made sense to willfully choose to meet with the Almighty when He commanded His people to meet with Him. It was almost like discovering the “day timer” of our Creator, and finding out when He chooses to meet with His followers. It was not just the weekly Sabbath, but special set-apart dates throughout the year, which followed the Hebrew calendar, that bore importance. Upon reading that the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement were perpetual, it became a privilege to not only be invited, but to participate:
“Speak to Bnei-Yisrael, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you are to have a Shabbat rest, a memorial of blowing (shofarot), a holy convocation. You are to do no regular work, and you are to present an offering made by fire to ADONAI.’ ADONAI spoke to Moses, saying: ‘However, the tenth day of this seventh month is Yom Kippur, a holy convocation to you, so you are to afflict yourselves. You are to bring an offering made by fire to ADONAI. You are not to do any kind of work on that set day, for it is Yom Kippur, to make atonement for you before ADONAI your God. For anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people. Anyone who does any kind of work on that day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You should do no kind of work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It is to be a Shabbat of solemn rest for you, and you are to humble your souls. On the ninth day of the month in the evening—from evening until evening—you are to keep your Shabbat’” (Leviticus 23:24-32, TLV).
It is my strong recommendation that during this season of reflection and return to the Holy One of Israel, that all of us as Believers in the Messiah of Israel take advantage of the opportunity to participate in this time of focusing our attention upon Him, upon one another, and what we will be doing in the next year. After all, according to the author of Hebrews, there are rewards for those who seek the Almighty One by faith: “Now without faith it is impossible to please God. For the one who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6, TLV).
This month, J.K. McKee has written an article which deals specifically with the subject of “The Messianic Mission.” Being a part of today’s Messianic movement is a big responsibility and one that we do not take lightly! I pray that you will be challenged to truly be a part of this end-time move of God!
In addition, we are praising the Lord for all of the Internet traffic being generated on the Messianic Apologetics website and mobile app! New audio and video podcasts are being posted every day, as information gets restored after our recent server upgrade. We are very encouraged at the feedback we are receiving, and the new exposure we have had. Outreach Israel and Messianic Apologetics want to be sure that we are a voice of reason and stability, providing fair resolution and consensus, as pressures continue to mount against people of faith from the world, as anti-Semitism and growing anti-Israel sentiments are on the rise. We want to especially thank those of you who have faithfully supported our efforts over the years. We continue to need your financial support in order to dedicate the time and energy required to continue in the work that the Lord has assigned us. We especially need many of you to sign up for a regular monthly contribution via PayPal at www.outreachisrael.net.
Finally, I would be remiss to not mention the natural disaster that has ravaged South Texas as a result of the flooding from Hurricane Harvey, and Florida from Hurricane Irma. We know from our experience of having lived in Central Florida (2000-2012) and having endured a number of hurricanes, that lives are being impacted in a variety of ways. It is our prayer that God will use all of these circumstances to draw people unto Himself, and that other approaching weather events will turn people to the Messiah for salvation, hope, and restoration.
“ADONAI bless you and keep you! ADONAI make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you! ADONAI turn His face toward you and grant you shalom!” (Numbers 6:24-26, TLV). (Click to Site)
In a few days, we will be celebrating the Feast of Trumpets and Jews along with a growing number of Christians will gathered together to observe this Biblical Holy Day. There will be special services and time devoted to repentance and introspection, but the focal point of the day will be when the shofar is sounded. This simple trumpet made from an animal’s horn produces a sound that connects eternity to eternity. The traditional blasting of the shofar one hundred times is both exciting and empowering to the hearer. This powerful sound, which is of such great importance that it was commanded by G-D to be heard by the Children of Israel, has an even greater importance. It is one that is often missed by those who have consistently gathered year after year to hear the sound so as to fulfill the commandment.
For the majority of those who will gather in synagogues to hear the shofar, the purpose of the sound is to mark the opening of the doors of repentance for the period of time between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. These ten days are known as the “Days of Awe.” But, there is an even greater meaning given for the shofar sounding, one that reminds us that repentance isn’t the end of the story for those who love G-D. While the shofar does remind us of the open door for repentance, its purpose is not only to lead us to our knees in repentance.
This greater purpose for the sounding of the shofar has been lost to some extent because the use of the shofar in Judaism has throughout the years become limited to the sounding on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (and in some places on Rosh Chodesh). However, the shofar was used to proclaim the coronation of a King, as well as its use in warfare to direct the army. It is these two uses that have been lost to most people, and as such, Rosh Hashanah has become a time only for sorrow and repentance, when its purpose was not singular in ancient times.
On Rosh HaShanah, a prayer called Avinu Malkeinu (Our Father Our King) is recited. Yet, His Kingship is relegated only to the His ability to forgive His people. He is much more than a forgiver; He is a redeemer and deliverer. He is strong in mighty and strong in battle. This shofar blast is not simply to call us to repentance. It is to remind us of why we are called to repentance. It is a reminder of what comes after repentance: victory.
To better understand the shofar blast, think back to those wonderful old westerns, the movies in which the hero has been surrounded by the enemy and all looks hopeless. Then, softly in the distance, you hear the sound of a bugle. As moments pass, the bugle gets louder and with it you hear the sound of many horses riding at full gallop. With each blast of the horn, the defeat is driven out of the heart of those surrounded and it is replaced with hope. Defeat is swallowed up by victory. This, in essence, is what the sound of the shofar should do for those hearing it. Each year we gather, realizing that by depending on our own power and abilities, we have been surrounded by the enemy of our soul. But then, the shofar sounds and we realize the King is coming with His army to bring total victory against our enemy. Every year when the shofar blasts on Rosh HaShanah, our hearts are reminded that with every year that passes, the King riding upon His white horse is getting closer and closer and one day soon we will hear the Great Shofar sound and the enemy will be vanquished. Rosh HaShanah is not intended to remind us of our defeats; it is intended to keep us watching for His deliverance as we are set free. (Click to Site)
When you go out
Isaiah 54:1-10 (or finish at 52:13)
“Love Thy Neighbor”
by Mark Huey
Ki-Teitzei is traditionally considered during the month of Elul, as one is preparing his or her heart for the Fall high holidays. It is during this forty-day season of repentance or teshuvah, which lasts from 01 Elul through the Ten Days of Awe (01-09 Tishri) preceding Yom Kippur(10 Tishri), that many of our Jewish brethren turn, or in some cases return, to the God of Israel, and review their personal relationship with Him. For a Messianic community which studies the Torah portions on a weekly basis, this is a good example to follow. In some respects, this forty-day period is almost like an annual inspection of one’s soul to determine where a person stands in his or her relationship not only with the Almighty, but with one’s fellow human beings.
The Book of Deuteronomy is an important review of the Torah—and a great tool for instruction—as hearts are being prepared for not only the Day of Atonement, but also the season of joy that envelops the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. While Believers in Yeshua do not necessarily approach the Fall high holidays in the same way as non-believing Jews, the fact remains that meditating upon God’s Word is of great personal benefit. The Psalms are replete with statements to this regard:
- “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
- “I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways” (Psalm 119:15).
- “And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on Your statutes” (Psalm 119:48).
Last week in Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9), the text dealt with the theme of justice in national civil matters, as instruction for judges, kings, priests, and prophets was described. This week, Ki-Teitzei deals primarily with matters that pertain to individuals, their families, and their neighbors on a more personal level.
As you read through these chapters of Deuteronomy in Ki-Teitzei (Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19), you are confronted with a wide array of instructions, including but not limited to: family laws, laws of kindness, laws about the holiness of the camp, how to handle fugitive slaves, laws prohibiting prostitution, interest on money lent, vows,gleaning in neighbors’ fields, divorce, pledges, treatment of workers, individual responsibility, avoiding injustice to the stranger, instructions relating to orphans and widows, judgments short of capital punishment, kindness to animals, the laws of levirate marriage (for a deceased brother), flagrant immodesty, honest weights and measures, and finally remembering Amalek.
This is a wide breadth of topics to consider. I would encourage you to take the time to read and consider these passages, because these commandments have helped to inform and guide many of the civil codes and social structures founded in the Judeo-Christian world. While there is a diversity of instructions witnessed in Ki-Teitzei, the overall theme we witness focuses on how one should handle affairs between people from all walks of life, namely, one’s family and neighbors. Where the emphasis appears on how to love God, these commandments give us a clearer understanding about how we are to love our neighbors.
Consider the question of the lawyer or Torah teacher to Yeshua, asking for His opinion about the greatest commandment: (Click to Site)