Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TRUMPETS, (Rosh HaShana) Perhaps the most significant portent of things to come?

Dear friends and readers,

This coming Wednesday evening is the eve of TRUMPETS, a day in the future that could (emphasis on COULD) relate to the rapture of the church.

Before going further allow me to remind everyone that the scriptures tells us that no man knows the day or hour of our Lords return (Matthew 24:13).   And it is folly to try and determine any dates for that event.  However it should be noted;  That particular scripture applies to the rapture of the church (1 & 2 Thessalonians) but it does not apply to the second coming of Christ.  For an explanation of that statement please refer to an article I wrote on lastdaysreview.blogspot.com dated November 2, 2016 entitled "CAN WE PREDICT THE DATE OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST?"

The rapture is an IMMINENT event.  No spelling error there as in "eminent--distinguished, prominent etc".  No the word is IMMINENT which means that the rapture is an impending event, likely to happen without delay!  No other prophecies need be fulfilled before the rapture can happen and that is important to understand particularly in relationship to the Biblically prescribed feast of TRUMPETS, also called Rosh HaShanah.

In my many years as a pastor, I have come to realize that for many Christians, their Biblical education merely skims the surface of the Old Testament while majoring on the New Testament.  And one might ask, are we not New Testament creations?  The answer to that would be yes of course we are because we have been saved by grace, paid for as a free gift of God by the death and resurrection from the grave of the true Lamb of God Jesus Christ.  However---

And then there is the "however".  Always remember that the term "OLD TESTAMENT does not mean old as in done away with.  In fact the Old Testament is extremely relevant for Christians today.  Even though we are saved by grace and not by the letter of the law, God still placed within His Holy Word very many pearls of wisdom that form the basis for the New Testament and that Christians today can draw from constantly.  Like what?  well, I will bet that somewhere in your house you have a copy of the Psalms and probably Proverbs.  But those are just examples because the Lord Jesus Christ can be found throughout the entire Old Testament if one opens ones eyes and knows where to look.  An example is Isaiah 53 which is all about Jesus as are Isaiah 7:14,  and 9:6.  Of course in Hebrew His name was (and still is) Yeshua Ha Mashiac---Jesus the Messiah.

My point is that the Old Testament is very relevant for todays church.  In fact in the book of Leviticus, chapter 23, God is speaking to Moses and begins by telling him that "The feasts the Lord , which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are MY feasts".  They begin with a sabbath days rest which can also be seen in the 4th of the 10 Commandments.  But from there, God Himself (not the Jewish people as some may presuppose) sets out 7 extremely holy and relevant days that were to be observed each and every year.

Ah, but is there any reason to suspect that these days mean anything to modern day followers of Christ?  The answer to that is a solid YES.  Keep reading, it will make sense before the end of this article.   The 7 holy days are as follows;  The first 4 are in the Spring of the year.  They are  1). PASSOVER  2).  UNLEAVENED BREAD  3).  FIRST FRUITS and finally PENTECOST.  I will not belabor the original purposes for these holy days because that would take an entire book to accomplish.

But, the question remains;  Why are these important to us as Christians?  As you know, Christ chose to give His life as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.  What many do not realize is that He did so exactly on the holy days prescribed in chapter 23 of the Old Testament book of Leviticus.

Jesus chose to give His life (die) precisely on PASSOVER.  He was buried precisely on UNLEAVENED BREAD and He rose from the grave precisely on FIRSTFRUITS!  50 days later as the disciples of the Lord gathered together "all with one accord in one place (Acts chapter 2) it was precisely on the day of PENTECOST.   On that day the Holy Spirit filled all those who were present and the church was born.

NOTE:  Some folks mistakenly believe that PENTECOST was strictly a New Testament occurrence.  In reality that day was set by God as a Biblical holy day roughly 1450 years before Christ walked the earth in His human form and ministry.  In fact it is believed that PENTECOST was the exact day Moses received the 10 Commandments (representing the Law) on Mount Sinai which makes perfect sense because after the resurrection of Christ from the grave, God used that same day of PENTECOST to create the New Testament concept of salvation through grace rather than through any physical acts of work or accomplishments of the law.

STOP!  So what we have here is the God of creation setting the standard for all New Testament happenings by using the original Old Testament holy days.  That folks is why the Bible is the most perfect document ever to be created.  Talk about advance planning 101.

There are no holy days prescribed during the summer months.  Also originally there were also no winter holy days but in two cases absolutely miraculous events did happen in the winter months and so are memorialized even to this day.  The first is Hanukkah  which is also called the feast of dedication or festival of lights.  Jesus went to the Temple during this feast day (John 8:12 and 10:22) in which He said  "I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.  HE WHO FOLOWS ME SHALL NOT WALK IN DARKNESS, BUT HAVE THE LIGHT OF LIFE".  He also said (among other things) "My sheep hear My voice and they follow me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;  Neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand---".

The second winter time miracle happened in the book of Queen Esther and involved the saving of the Jewish people from annihilation while living within the ancient Persian Empire.

But for today, the real subject matter are the three remaining holy days prescribed by God in the book of Leviticus chapter 23.  Remember the first 4  were PASSOVER (Jesus gave His life on this day).  UNLEAVENED BREAD (Jesus was buried on this day).  FIRSTFRUITS (Jesus rose from the grave on this day), and PENTECOST (the coming of the Holy Spirit to the church in Acts chapter 2).

The remaining three holy days are  1).  TRUMPETS (Rosh Hashanah)  2).  DAY OF ATONEMENT (Yom Kippur)  3).  TABERNACLES (Sukkot). All of which take place in the fall of the year.

We have now established that God used all of the first 4 holy days (in the spring of the year---spring as in beginning) to prophetically fulfill all of the seminal (crucial-critical) events of Christ's first coming.  So, the real question is ?  Will in some future year, God also choose the remaining 3 fall holy days (fall as in end or ending), to prophetically fulfill Christ's second coming?

We have to use some caution here because even though we do know precisely what happened in the past, the future will remain a mystery until actually accomplished.  But, based upon an extensive past in which God has displayed a propensity to accomplish important things on important holy days, we can at least comfortably speculate on fascinating future possibilities.  So, here are some sensational , electrifying and dramatic possibilities.

1 Thessalonians chapter 4 while speaking of the future rapture of the church says  "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the TRUMPET of God.   And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught upon together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  Therefore, comfort on another with these words."

Is there a possibility that the prescribed holy day of TRUMPETS could relate someday to the rapture of the church?  A special note here;  Many people today think that the feast  of TRUMPETS is a day to gather together and devote time to repentance and introspection.  While that is true, the larger picture of this particular holy day has unfortunately become lost to history.  Originally TRUMPETS was also used to signal directions to the army in times of warfare.  But even more importantly to proclaim the coronation of a king.  The calling to repentance was actually to signal VICTORY over sin or anything that called for repentance and that is why it requires a joyous feast.  Is there a possibility that the TRUMPET sound at the time of rapture could be signaling both victory over sin and also a coming together with our coronated King Jesus?

The second of the last 3 holy days is called THE DAY OF ATONEMENT.  This day really is a day of solemn atonement and judgement.  As such is a holy day but not set aside for feasting.  Is there a possibility that the DAY OF ATONEMENT could be in some way related to Jesus second coming to earth (Revelation chapter 19:15-16)  "Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.  And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.  He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written  "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS"!

The third and last day of the fall (end or ending) holy days is TABERNACLES.  The original TABERNACLE of Moses in the wilderness was a place set aside for God's presence to Tabernacle or dwell with his people.  Could the holy day of TABERNACLES somehow correspond with Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah beginning His 1000 years physical reign upon this earth with His people?

SPECULATION FOR THE FUTURE ONLY!  But it makes sense don't you think?

1).  TRUMPETS perhaps corresponding to the rapture of the church which is made up of all people, both dead and alive, Jew and gentile alike who have placed their faith in Christ as Messiah?

2).  DAY OF ATONEMENT perhaps corresponding to Jesus return at His second coming to judge the nations?

3).  TABERNACLES perhaps corresponding to the beginning of the 1000 year physical reign of Christ upon this earth?

Maybe, but always remember that although this makes sense, the rapture is an imminent event that could occur before I turn off my computer today.

One way or another TRUMPETS 2017 begins this week in the evening of September 20, 2017. On the Hebrew religious calendar that is  Elul 29, in the year 5777 since the creation of man.  Another purpose for TRUMPETS is to announce the Hebrew New Year which begins the very next day on Tishrei 1 in the year 5778 (September 21, 2017).

And for those who may be wondering, no I do not think that the rapture will happen this year but who knows? Someone much greater than me is in charge!  No matter what "makes sense" to our finite little minds, our Great God, the Creator of the Universe does not do things according to the will of His created beings.

My purpose for writing this article is to draw attention to as many Christians as possible that there are a great many things still to come that were written by God's holy prophets in the Old Testament.  And as followers of Christ (who Himself quotes the Old Testament), we are wise to pay attention to the feast and holy days that God prescribed.  Most particularly the fall holy days coming up which are called the HIGH HOLY DAYS!

I sincerely dislike ending an article with a warning.  But in this case I feel compelled to do so.  Jesus warned us in Matthew 24:11 "Then many false prophets will raise up and deceive many".  That my friends is exactly what is happening today.

Blogs and articles are being cranked out in record numbers making an absolutely incorrect assumption accompanied by a deceptive prediction.  What would that be?  That THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST will be this week and probably fall on Trumpets September, 21, 2017.

Do not fall for that bunk.  The people who write that stuff either do not believe in the concept of a rapture or are post tribulation believers.  Or even worse, "AMILLENNIALISTS"!  In other words, everything happens at once and things like the 1000 year physical reign of Christ on earth is not physical at all but a spiritual event.  Or, the rapture and second coming are combined into one event.

To believe that eliminates several things written in scriptural stone.  To believe that does away with  1).  Pre tribulation rapture.  2).  Destruction of Damascus, Isaiah 17.  3).  War of Gog from the land of Magog Ezekiel 38-39.  4).  The entirety of the book of Revelation through chapter 19: 11.  5).  To believe that leaves absolutely no time for the marriage supper of the lamb Revelation chapter 19:7-9.   6).  VERY MANY other Biblical prophecies that must take place before the second coming of Christ.

And finally number 7).  The rapture is identified in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 which begins with a warning from the Apostle Paul  "BUT I DO NOT WANT YOU TO BE IGNORANT BRETHREN" and goes on to outline what will to happen one day when the Lord does return for His church.

Read the Bible for yourselves folks and insure that what you are being told lines up with the Bible.

Enjoy the HIGH HOLY DAYS which can be done as followers of Christ without sacrificing in the slightest way your salvation by grace.

God bless you all,
Pastor Rance.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fear of the end times? Everyone is asking! The secular press is using the word "ARMAGEDDON" nearly daily.

Dear friends and readers,

It is difficult to keep up with the news these days.  Social media is going ballistic.  Bad news seems to breed more bad news daily.

The big question?  Is it finally here?  The end times?  Will we see the sunrise tomorrow?  Is God judging the planet and the countries on it?  Look around folks, people are nervous and for very good reason.  First let's take these questions in reverse order. I do believe that some Godly judgment is taking place.  In fact I wrote a piece talking about that very thing and was about to push the publish button when hurricane Harvey struck Texas.  Well I did not think it appropriate to publish an article like that in the teeth of such human suffering from the most costly natural catastrophe to strike the US in recent memory.  So, I thought, I will wait a few weeks out of compassion for the victims.

While still recovering from Harvey, the nation now faces yet another and even potentially larger threat which is scheduled to strike Florida sometime tomorrow.  Hurricane ERMA.  Did you know that our current system of hurricane identity only allows for a category 5 ?  Erma surpassed the regulations for hurricane activity in the 5 category with initial winds of 185 miles per hour.  Since there is no category 6, they simple called a 5 on steroids.  Obviously once again  I cannot print that article now and guess what?  More hurricanes are forming in the wake of Erma.  Mexico just got pummeled with a category 8 earthquake, several US states are on fire, Los Angeles county is currently suffering the largest fire in history with 7, 500 acres up in smoke.  Scientists and even NASA are warning daily that Yellowstone National park could erupt at any moment and devastate the nation.

That's right, so here are the facts:  The warnings of a devastating disaster from the Yellowstone "SUPERVOLCANO" have been largely ignored by the public.  That happens when our scientists seemingly harp on natural disaster.  We human beings hear that so much that we have a tendency to think in terms of "cry wolf".   But, Yellowstone has produced 878 small quakes in the last month alone.  This "swarm" is now the largest ever recorded producing over 2,300 tremors since June.   A SUPERVOLCANO is called that because it is thousands of times more powerful than an ordinary volcano (like Mt. St Helens).  In 1980 when Mt. St. Helens erupted within 10 minutes, an ash cloud rose 12 miles into the atmosphere and fine ash circled the globe for 15 days.  57 people were killed, nearly 60 bridges destroyed, 200 miles of roadway wiped out, and hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land destroyed.  Another, smaller  eruption happened in 2008 and the volcano is still active and building pressure once again.

Mt. St. Helens was not a SUPERVOLCANO!

The predictions for Yellowstone are dire to say the least.  Scientists state that the volcano located directly under Yellowstone is 37 miles long, 18 miles wide and ranges from 3 to 7 miles deep.  Yahoo News just reported that if Yellowstone erupts it will produce enough power and capability to BURY the states of Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Colorado under 3 feet of volcanic ash.  Rendering the totality of those states uninhabitable.  96% of Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming, 3% in Montana and the remaining 1% in Idaho.

That one probable future natural catastrophe could bankrupt the USA.  It would ground nearly all air travel in the continental United States for some time to come.  The emergency resources and FEMA would become overwhelmed within days and volcanic ash would spread over the entire continent and much of the world.

I have speculated many times that the reason the United States is no where mention in Biblical end times prophecies may well be the occurrence of the rapture of the church since the United States is home to a declared population of 230 million Christians.  But could there also be another reason?  Natural disasters are striking the US at an alarming rate including these 2 current huge hurricanes.  The US national debt is already approaching 20 TRILLION dollars.  Hurricane Harvey may well cost upwards of 190 Billion and Erma is bigger at least in forecast.   How much more money can a nation borrow and continue to float it's national stick?

When I finally do think it appropriate to publish the ON HOLD article, it may well open the eyes of our administration (as well as Presidents back as far as George H. W. Bush) to rethink the US policy regarding forcing Israel to give up land in exchange for peace.  Of course I am not the first to write about this and all before me have been roundly and soundly ignored.

In the meantime, lets talk about earthquakes.  One of those terrible things prophesied by Jesus Himself in Matthew chapter 24.  First, the earthquakes of today are measured in two different ways.  The Richter Scale we all hear about measures the actual impact of a quake and is Logarithmic in measuring scale.  The "Mercalli scale" is used to measure the extent of surface damage.

Example;  If a young boy has 3 marbles and he finds 3 more he has a total of 6 objects in his hand.  Not so with earthquakes.  Adding one whole number for example between a magnitude 5 earthquake and a magnitude 6 earthquake actually increases the power by a factor of 10.  Each incrementally  greater whole number actually increases the event by 31.7 percent.  But earthquakes ranging from 7 to 9 on the Richter Scale increases the power output by 100 times.  So when it is reported that there was and earthquake off the Mexican coast today that measured 8 on the Richter Scale, it means it was huge.  We are still waiting news regarding the surface damage in an area known as Chiapas but it was felt in Cancun, Mexico which is 1,700 miles away from the epicenter.

Matthew 24:7 clearly states that in the end times earthquakes will happen in various places.  And yes earthquakes have always happened but not to the extent we are seeing today.  Of course the USGS (United States Geological Survey) will say it's no big deal---nothing new.  What would you expect a Government agency to say to a worried public?

FACT:  First we do not want to take "snippets" out of the daily news to try and justify Biblical prophecy.  On the other hand one would have to be blind, deaf and dumb not to recognize the obvious.

Earthquakes have been recorded by various authors and historians all the way back to 856 A.D.  Obviously without the aid of modern seismological devices.  I have a mountain of research articles however that have impressed me with one conclusion.  Earthquakes are indeed on the increase worldwide.

Regarding the question "haven't there ALWAYS been earthquakes"?  the answer is yes and no.  There were no recorded earthquakes in any of the following years; 1961, 1956, 1936, 1924, 1921, 1894, 1893, 1889, 1888, 1883, 1881, 1880, 1878, 1876, 1874, 1870, 1869, 1866, 1858 through 1864, 1844 through 1854, 1839 through 1842, 1837, 1824 through 1834, 1822, 1820, 1813 through 1818.

So, the question is simple.  Is there any kind of historical trend indicating that earthquakes have either become stronger or more frequent as time has gone by?  Well, you be the judge!

NOTE:  I am only going back to 2010 but a future article will give an update from that point forward.  From the year 856 A.D. until 2001 (1145 years) there were a total of 567 earthquakes reported in a magnitude of 6.0 or greater.  From 2002 until May of 2010 (8 years) there were 429 earthquakes magnitude 6.0 or greater..

Ummm! Let's see now:  1145 years = total 567 worldwide quakes!

8 years = 429 worldwide quakes!!!

Oh, and Pleeeease, for those who may be tempted  to make an argument like the USGS does that early earthquakes were not recorded reliably. The information I just gave you dating back to 856 A.D. came off the USGS website.

For anyone asking the question "is there concern that we are in the end times"?  If you believe what is written in the Bible then clearly the answer is YES!  If you want to try and explain that away, it will not change the truth of what is happening all around us.

Matthew 24: 4-12 recap;  "TAKE HEED THAT NO ONE DECEIVES YOU".  From that point begins   a prophecy with "many will come in My name",  saying "I am the Christ" and deceive many.
We will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  Nation will rise against nation.  Kingdom against kingdom. Famines, Pestilence, Earthquakes in various places.

Let's begin with wars. 263 wars have been fought in various places and countries since 1900.

Currently we still have a minimum of 27 kingdoms on this earth today.  Many of them are at odds with one another.  In recent years, Sudan fell, Egypt was over thrown, ancient Persia (Iran) under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi fell to the current Iranian religious zealots in 1979.  Iraq fell, Afghanistan fell, Libya fell.  Lebanon basically over thrown by Hezbollah.  It goes on and on and does not even include dozens of countries gobbled up during WWI and WWII.  Many countries before that time no longer exist today.  All of this is Biblical prophecy.

How about the increase of Pestilence?  (Plague).  Some forms of these kinds of disease have been reported in Africa, the Congo, Mongolia, Vietnam, India, China, and even in the United States.  In Europe of the Middle Ages roughly 25 million people died of plague. Today a minimum of 10 million people in various countries have HIV (aides) with a predicted possibility of 100 million within another 10 years.  Aides is in 85 countries.  And that is not to mention that many childhood diseases once thought completely wiped out are once again mysteriously appearing.

Famines;  From 1902 to present, famines have been reported in all of the following countries. India, Spain, China, Lebanon, Germany, Russia, Iran, Rwanda and Burundi, Soviet Union and Ukraine, Morocco, Poland, Greece, Java, Netherlands, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Uganda, Somalia, North Korea, Sudan, Congo, Senegal, Gambia, Yemen, and some could argue the United States during the Great Depression.

Now hurricane Erma is barreling down on the US mainland.  Who knows what will happen there but it will cost billions no matter what.  And how much will a potential war with North Korea cost?  Or the protections of allied nations like Japan and others within NATO?  What if Russia really does have ulterior motives where Poland is concerned?  How will we react and what will it cost if Hezbollah fires an estimated 150,000 rockets and missiles at Israel?  What will happen when the brand new dictatorships in both Argentina and Turkey eventually melt down?  What will happen if and when Iran's nuclear weapons are finally a reality?  When will tensions finally boil over between India and Pakistan and someone decide to pull the nuclear trigger?  When will Jihadists finally be strong enough to try and over throw the Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and Jordan?  When will ISIS fully develop it's social media terror organization?  None of those questions even approach the potential cost in human life and suffering.

Folks, all of these and many many more are on the radar screens as I type this.  And in the USA?  Are you kidding?  The KKK reestablishing itself with other white supremacist groups who hate anyone not white along with all Jews. Black robed and masked people of all colors rushing into peaceful demonstrations with clubs and other kinds of weapons.  Police now targeted for assassination.  Murder rates through the roof in many American cities.  Drugs flowing in from Mexico, suicides on a drastic increase, rapes on college campuses, hate everywhere we look.  And you know the saddest thing of all?

The church not doing much about it!  You say, but what can we do?  What do you think would happen if an estimated 230 million American Christians suddenly put politics aside and stood up for Biblical values? What would happen if we all decided to say no to racial hatred, drug gangs, a congress who cannot get along or decide the time of day.  What would happen if that "silent majority" stood up with one united voice and said THAT'S ENOUGH!  And then what would happen if we acted the part?

2 Chronicles 7:14  "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land".

What sin would that be? All it takes for wicked men to prevail is for good people to do nothing!

We are in the end times my friends and there is very good reason to be concerned.

I am trying to do my part by standing up and publishing Biblical articles that can be accessed worldwide.  Other Christians are doing the same including pastors, teachers and evangelists.  But among those 230 million, we number but a few.

Food for thought,

God bless,
Pastor Rance.