I am by no means an expert on the end of the age. But the one thing that I believe we should be watching for is a form of peace in the Middle East. According to Daniel 9:24-27, a strong covenant will be made between a coming prince and Israel for a period of one week. This covenant will be broken in the midst. The terms of this covenant are not listed, but it is clear it will be a peace pact of some sort during the first 3 1/2 years of the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy (Dan. 7:23-24; 8:23-25; Rev. 17:8-17). This covenant apparently allows Israel to reestablish temple worship. And it eventually leads to the main sign of the coming of Christ, namely the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel, Jesus, and Paul.
I have heard for many years Christians say that they are just leaving all this stuff up to God and not worrying about it. I see this as an excuse not to be diligent students of the Word of God. There are far more Scriptures regarding the Second Coming and the events that lead up to it than the First Coming. Jesus said to Israel had they known the Scripture they would know who He was (my paraphrase).
So when you see peace spring up in the Middle East just know that it will be followed by the events that usher in the end of the age. Bam! Oh, I had no one to proof this so forgive errors :)
There are seven feasts that Israel was to celebrate according to Leviticus 23. There were four in the Spring and three in the Fall. I believe they all point to a redemptive calendar for God’s people. First, let’s look at the feasts of the Spring. Jesus died on the Passover, was buried during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was raised on the Feast of First Fruits, and sent the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Are these just cosmic coincidences? I say absolutely not! This is clearly not a coincidence; this is the work of an Almighty God who plans a redemptive calendar.
If that is true, then what about the Fall feasts? So here is where you may call me weird. I believe that Jesus comes back for His church at the Feast of Trumpets. I believe that He comes in His second coming at the Day of Atonement (“they will look on Him whom they have pierced”). I believe He sets up His kingdom on earth at the Feast of Tabernacles.
I am not predicting a date, but a season! I think that is a safe place to land. Here is my conviction: If the first four feasts were perfectly fulfilled in Jesus, so will the last three! What do you think?
There is a troubling phenomenon going on in Christian culture. It is a public flogging of Christian leaders. Now granted, sometimes it is well deserved. That is not the source of my unrest. It is that Christians who have been told something or have read something now feel it their privilege to put someone on public trial. To pass on information that someone else is now providing is, by the strictest definition, gossip. It is one thing for those who have firsthand knowledge of a sin to deal with it in a loving an orderly manner. But if you do not have firsthand knowledge then it is best to let God be the judge.
Here is a thought: why don’t we pray for those we hear are struggling. I believe that
I Corinthians 13 teaches us to assume the best until we know differently. We may not have all the information.
Let’s meditate on this verse:
Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. 1 Corinthians 4:5 ESV
Disclaimer: I am neither championing nor condemning the most recent situation. I am just saying we should pray for each other.
There is a growing trend in our culture that is alarming and disturbing. It has to do with a commitment to spiritual progress. The average person who calls himself a Christ-follower is attending church about two times a month. Let me put that in perspective: if the average sermon lasts about 40 minutes, then that person is getting about 80 minutes of instruction, encouragement, and exortation monthly. Put that number in relationship to the amount of time that the average person spends watching television, seeing a movie, or just playng. I think it is safe to say that we out of balance. Have you ever driven down the freeway with a tire that has not been balanced? Do you see where I am heading?
No wonder there is a lack of Gospel-centeredness among those who claim Christ. Brothers and sisters, there is work to do in the Kingdom. So if this is causng you to feel a little uncomfortable, that is a good thing–probably a God-thing. The solution is to repent of our idolatry and return to our first love. Oh, and can I say that being a part of a small group is a crucial piece in the growth process. Being a fully devoted follower of Jesus means a life that seeks His Kingdom first! There, I said it!
In Leviticus 23:1-4, the Bible teaches us about the “weekly Sabbath”: “Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.”
But did you know there were also High Sabbath days? Besides the weekly Sabbaths, there are the High Sabbaths related to the Hebrew Feasts (or Festivals), described in Leviticus 23:4-44.
The Lord set forth two Sabbath days each for the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles. Leviticus 23:7-8 tells us that both the first and seventh (last) day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is an holy convocation and to do no servile work therein.
There are some scholars who hold to a Friday Sabbath (therefore, a High Sabbath) the week that Jesus was crucified.
In addition, let’s do the math: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40). If Jesus was crucified on a Friday, He could have only been in the grave two nights–Friday and Saturday. Bam!
So why do we have Good Friday services? For the same reason we have Christmas services in December…it’s called, “tradition”.
We have recently called the church to a thirty day challenge of testing God in our finances. This challenge is based upon Malachi 3:10 which says “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”
This is the only place where God invites us to put Him to the test. His promise is that He will open the windows of heaven. This has truly been my experience with God. I began the process of first-fruit giving the first week I was saved. I have practiced it for 37 years now. I can say that the Lord is true to His promise.
Just to be clear, we are asking you to step up to the next level with God. This may mean different things to different people. It could mean learning to be consistent in your giving. It could mean that God wants you to go to the next level of giving. It could mean that God wants you to start giving. My challenge to you is to take this walk of faith. It is a walk that will challenge you, but it will be worth it. Talk to me about the results.