The Joy of the Redeemed ~ Yesha’hayu 35:1-10

In my last post, we explored A Prophecy Against the Nations in Yesha’yahu 34:1-17. In this post, we learn of The Joy of the Redeemed in Yesha’hayu 35:1-10.

Chapter 35 is a mirror image of chapter 34, where Adonai announced that He would turn the nations into a wilderness. In chapter 35, He proclaimed that He would transform the people of Adonai from a wilderness into a garden. The principle of both chapters is that Adonai’s people should trust Him, not the nations.

1 The desert and the dry land will be glad; the ‘Aravah will rejoice and blossom like the lily.

In Romans 8, Sha’ul tells us that all creation is groaning, waiting for the day of redemption. In other words, even the earth realizes it’s in a fallen state. But when Yeshua comes back, everything will be made right once again.

Recall that the ‘Aravah is the desert area south of the Dead Sea. Scientists tell us that the deserts on our planet are expanding at an alarming rate. Ten thousand square miles of desert are being added in North Africa alone each year. But when the kingdom comes, the desert shall suddenly rejoice and blossom like a lily.

How can this be? It is suggested by some scientists that there will be another shift of the axis. If the earth is made straight again, much of the polar ice caps will melt, adding incredible amounts of water and causing evaporation and the reemergence of a water canopy surrounding the planet. Fossil evidence indicates that the earth at one time was uniformly temperate. Scientists suggest that this could happen again. [1] This is an interesting theory, but I don’t think it is connected to “global warming” per se.

2 It will burst into flower, will rejoice with joy and singing, will be given the glory of the L’vanon, the splendor of Karmel and the Sharon. They will see the glory of Adonai, the splendor of our God.

With the elimination of Edom, regions north of that land are freed from oppression and are restored to fertility and prosperity. L’vanon, Karmel, and Sharon were regions especially lush in vegetation.

3 Strengthen your drooping arms, and steady your tottering knees. 4 Say to the fainthearted, “Be strong and unafraid! Here is your God; He will come with a vengeance; with God’s retribution He will come and save you.”

Adonai will save His people from the godless nations that oppress them. Adonai’s retribution refers to the punishment due to the wicked and the reward due to the righteous.

How are we to strengthen people who feel weak or fearful? We are to tell them Yeshua is coming back. The way to enhance people – whether yourself or others – is to say, “Fear not. Be strong. Yeshua will come and save you.”

5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped; 6 then the lame man will leap like a deer, and the mute person’s tongue will sing. For in the desert, springs will burst forth, streams of water in the ‘Aravah; 7 the sandy mirage will become a pool, the thirsty ground springs of water. The haunts where jackals lie down will become a marsh filled with reeds and papyrus.

In the Kingdom, the healing ministry that Yeshua began on earth will be gloriously completed. Elsewhere in Yesha’yahu, these physical disabilities (blind, deaf, and lame) are metaphors for spiritual shortcomings (29:18; 42:18-19; 43:8). They have been physically dead to godliness, but in the future, they will come alive. Not only will the lame walk, but they will leap like a deer. Not only will the mute speak, but they will sing for joy. A similar transformation is described with the language of nature. The parched ground will flow with water.

8 A highway will be there, a way, called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not pass over it, but it will be for those whom He guides – fools will not stray along it.

In the Kingdom Age, the Way of Holiness shall be established. Everyone will walk together in love and righteousness as the Prince of Peace reigns. Even the most foolish of us will not miss the cutoff or take a wrong turn on this glorious highway of wholeness and rightness.

9 No lion or other beast of prey will be there, traveling on it. They will not be found there, but the redeemed will go there.

HaSatan will be bound at this time. Thus, we will not even hear a growl from the roaring lion of 1 Kefa 5:8.

10 Those ransomed by Adonai will return and come with singing to Tziyon, on their heads will be everlasting joy. They will acquire gladness and joy, while sorrow and sighing will flee. ~ Isaiah 35:1-10 (CJB)

The road described in verse 8 will be safe, and it will lead to Tziyon, where Adonai makes His presence known to His people.

Somewhere we got the mistaken idea that holiness is joyless. Here, however, we see that, as we cruise down the Way of Holiness, everlasting joy will replace heaviness and gladness will replace sadness.

In my next post, we begin to learn that The King of Ashur Threatens Yerushalayim in Yesha’yahu 36.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

A Prophecy Against the Nations ~ Yesha’yahu 34:1-17

In my last post, we wrapped up A Woe Against Those on Whom the King Will Take Vengeance ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 33:14-24. In this post, we explore A Prophecy Against the Nations in Yesha’yahu 34:1-17.

In Yesha’yahu 34, we see a picture of the Great Tribulation, specifically the battle of Har-Megiddo.

1 Come close, you nations, and listen! Pay close attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and everything in it; the world, with all it produces.

The first thing I noticed in this verse was the pluralization of the nation. Adonai is not just the God of Israel. He is the Adonai of the whole world, so He calls on all the nations to hear Him when He speaks. That includes all of us.

2 For Adonai is angry at every nation, furious with all their armies; He has completely destroyed them, handed them over to slaughter. (emphasis added.) 3 Their slain will be thrown out; the stench will rise from their corpses; the mountains will flow with their blood.

Revelation 14:20 tells us that, at the battle of Har-Megiddo, the blood will flow as high as a horse’s bridle. Jeremiah 30 calls this the time of Ya’akov’s trouble, for, in the Tribulation, the nation of Isra’el and all the earth will be shaken to its core in preparation for the coming of the King.

4 The whole host of heaven will decompose, the heavens themselves be rolled up like a scroll; all their array will wither away like a withering grape-leaf that falls from a vine or a withered fig from a fig tree.

Adonai’s warring activity has cosmic implications. The ancient nations thought of the stars as representing their gods. This image in Yesha’yahu of the whole panorama of the sky being rolled up like a parchment scroll is unique in the Hebrew Bible. In Revelation 6:14 we read: “The sky receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place.”

5 ‘For my sword has drunk its fill in heaven; now it descends on Edom to judge them, the people I have doomed to destruction.’

Since verses 1-4 are concerned with Adonai’s punishment of the nations, it may be that the description of Edom as a sacrificial victim is simply an example of what will happen to them all. Indeed Edom serves in many cases as Israel’s prototype “enemy.”

6 There is a sword that belongs to Adonai. It is filled with blood, gorged with fat, filled with the blood of lambs and goats, gorged with the fat of the kidneys of rams. For Adonai has a sacrifice in Botzrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7 The wild oxen will fall with them, the young bulls with the strong, mature ones. Their land will be drunk with blood, and their dust made greasy with fat.

Botzrah is the capital of ancient Edom, present-day Saudi Arabia. Edom is the area where Esau settled. The language of sacrifice is explicit in these verses.

8 For Adonai has a day of vengeance, a year of requital for fighting with Tziyon.

Edom had a reputation for taking advantage of Isra’el whenever Isra’el was weak.

9 Its streams will be changed to tar, its dust to sulfur, its land burning tar 10 that will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will rise forever. In all generations, it will lie waste; no one will pass through it ever again.

Although often mentioned as a sealant material for boats, boiling tar appears in Old Babylonian texts as a form of punishment. Coupled with the foul smell of burning sulfur, both elements being available in the region of the Dead Sea, they could easily be associated with Adonai’s wrath. This punishment is similar to that He had brought against Sodom and Gomorrah.

For years, Bible scholars wondered how an area could burn forever. Now we know – for if a bomb or some other device ignited the vast oil reserves of Saudi Arabia, they would burn forever. Whether a bomb ignites them or they are ignited supernaturally, they will indeed burn. [1]

11 Horned owl and hawk will possess it, screech owl and raven will live there; he will stretch over it the measuring line of confusion and the plumbline of the empty void.

The symbol for utter destruction here is that birds best known as inhabiting and scavenging desolate places have settled in ruins.

12 Of its nobles, none will be called to be king, and all its princes will be nothing.

Edom’s kingship was ancient, predating that of Isra’el, but Adonai will bring that institution to an end since He is bringing the nation itself to a close.

13 Thorns will overgrow its palaces, nettles, and thistles its fortresses; it will become a lair for jackals, an enclosure for ostriches. 14 Wildcats and hyenas will meet there, and billy-goats call to each other; Lilit [the night monster] will lurk there and find herself a place to rest. 15 There the hoot owl will nest, lay her eggs, hatch and gather her young in its shade. There the vultures will assemble, every one with its mate.

The prophecy is that of a city becoming a wilderness. Not only will the public buildings of the nation be overgrown out of neglect, but wild animals – a number of which were considered unclean – will make their homes among the ruins.

16 Consult the book of Adonai and read it: not one of these will be missing, none will be lacking a mate. For by His own mouth He gave the order, and by His Spirit, He brought them together. 17 It is He who cast the lot for them, His hand measured out their shares. They will possess it forever, and live there through all generations.” ~ Isaiah 34:1-17 (CJB)

The meaning of the book of Adonai is unknown. It may be a reference to a heavenly scroll, but if so, it is hard to know how the hearer could refer to this document. The appeal to a scroll could be a rhetorical device to emphasize the certainty of Edom’s destruction and its transformation into a haunt for wild animals.

In my next post, we explore The Joy of the Redeemed in Yesha’hayu 35:1-10.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 6 ~ Yesha’yahu 27:1-13

In my last post, we continued exploring The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 5 in Yesha’yahu 26:11-21. In this post, we conclude our series on The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 6 in Yesha’yahu 27:1-13.

1 On that day, Adonai, with his great, strong, relentless sword, will punish Livyatan the fleeing serpent, the twisting serpent Livyatan; he will slay the sea monster.

Several other passages in the Tanakh mention Livyatan, but most of them, like Psalm 74:14 and Job 41:1-34, speak in terms of God’s creative act that established control over watery chaos (personified by the sea serpent). Livyatan was a sea monster, representing chaos and evil in this verse. According to Revelation 13:1, this is a reference to the antichrist.

In verses 2-6, pleasant vineyard is a metaphor for God’s people. The poem has many contrasts with the vineyard song of 5:1-7. There the vineyard image is used to emphasize God’s judgment on sin; here, the vineyard image describes the restoration of His people after judgment.

2 On that day, a pleasant vineyard – sing about it! 3 “I, Adonai, guard it. Moment by moment, I water it. So that no harm will come to it, I guard it night and day. 4 I have no anger in me. If it gives me briars and thorns, then, as in war, I will trample it down and burn it up at once; 5 unless it takes hold of my strength, in order to make peace with me, yes, to make peace with me.”

In these verses, the briars and thorns seem to represent rebellion against God – the type of behavior that led to a judgment in the first place. The briars and thorns have two possible courses of action: they can experience the devastating punishment of God, or they can make peace with Him.

Many of us have the mistaken idea that God is really, really angry. All of the anger He rightly feels toward humanity, however, was poured out on Yeshua at Calvary. If we will just embrace and receive that, we can be at peace with God.

6 The time is coming when Ya‘akov will take root; Isra’el will bud and flower, and fill the whole world with a harvest.

Yesha’yahu saw a prosperous future for God’s people, one that would bring prosperity to the whole world (Genesis 12:1-3). We’re seeing this prophecy fulfilled even today, for Isra’el is the world’s third largest exporter of fruit and the fourth largest exporter of flowers. [1]

7 [Adonai] will not strike Isra’el, as He did others who struck Isra’el; He will not kill them, as He did the others.

Adonai indeed will judge all His people, but He will not annihilate them as He will do with those whom He uses to punish them.

8 Your controversy with her is fully resolved by sending her [into exile]. He removes her with a rough gust of wind on a day when it’s blowing from the east.

Rather than annihilating His people, God will scatter them. The image of a rough gust of wind evokes the picture of chaff being blown away.

Verses 9-12 speak of the future restoration of Isra’el – when God gathers His people from their dispersion throughout the world.

9 So the iniquity of Ya‘akov is atoned for by this, and removing his sin produces this result: He chops up all the altar stones like chalk – sacred poles and sun-pillars stand no more.

Limestone is crushed to produce stones like chalk that can be used for mortar, as a liming agent in cesspools and to seal stone walls with a type of “whitewash.”Sacred poles refer to Asherah poles.

10 For the fortified city is alone, abandoned and deserted, like the desert. Calves graze and lie down there, stripping its branches bare. 11 When its harvest dries up, it is broken off; women come and set it on fire. For this is a people without understanding. Therefore, he who made them will not pity them, he who formed them will show them no mercy.

The fortified city, like the city of chaos and the lofty city, represents arrogant human evil. In the aftermath of God’s judgment, this city will become grazing land.

12 On that day, Adonai will beat out the grain between the Euphrates River and the Vadi of Egypt; and you will be gathered, one by one, people of Isra’el!

The Euphrates River and the Vadi of Egypt were the far northern and southern boundaries of the promised land. It appears that modern Isra’el has more territory to settle. The image of threshing grain is an image of refining judgment since the process separated the wheat from the chaff. But the aftermath of the punishment will bring a regathering of God’s dispersed people.

13 On that day a great shofar will sound. Those lost in the land of Ashur will come, also those scattered through the land of Egypt; and they will worship Adonai on the holy mountain in Yerushalayim. ~ Isaiah 27:1-13 (CJB)

Perhaps because of their use for signaling in battle, the blast of a great shofar became a familiar image used in eschatological and apocalyptic literature as a signal for the end time (see Zechariah 9:14 and Revelation 8:6-12). Here it awakens the exiles to the moment when they will return from Ashurim exile and from the places in Egypt where they have fled for refuge.

In my next post, we will begin another series of Woes in Yesha’hayu 28.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 24:13-23

In my last post, we began to learn about The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 24:1-12. In this post, we continue exploring The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 24:13-23.

13 Around the earth, among the peoples, it will be as when beating an olive tree, as when gleaning the grapes at the end of the harvest.

A harvested olive tree or a grapevine after the harvest had only a few olives or grapes. So, the cities of the nations will have just a few people left when God’s judgment falls.

14 They lift their voices, singing for joy, shouting from the west to honor Adonai. 15 So in the east, honor Adonai; in the coastlands, honor the name of Adonai, the God of Isra’el. 16 From the farthest part of the earth, we have heard them sing, “Glory to the Righteous One!” But, I say, I’m wasting away, I am wasting away! Woe to me! Traitors betray! Oh, how the traitors betray and betray!

As seen throughout Scripture, even in judgment, God shows mercy, for here, a remnant is saved who will praise Him both for His mercy and His majesty. The remnant celebrated the downfall of the wicked described in the previous verses.

Yesha’yahu (the first-person speaker in verse 16b) does not join the chorus of celebration. Perhaps he was horrified by the destruction or, more likely, by the depth of the transgression of the nations.

17 Terror, pit, and trap are upon you, you who are living on earth. 18 He who flees at the sound of terror will fall into the pit. He who climbs up out of the pit will be caught in the trap. For the windows above have been opened, and the earth’s foundations shake.

The words terror, pit, and trap play on the similarity of sound of three words in Hebrew. They stand for the judgment that God has prepared for the sinful inhabitants of the earth. The open windows of the sky imply rain and suggest a devastating flood. The shaking foundations would be experienced as earthquakes.

So all-encompassing is this judgment that there is nowhere to hide.

19 The earth cracks and breaks open, the earth crumbles to pieces, the earth trembles and totters. 20 The earth staggers to and fro like a drunk, sways back and forth like a watchman’s shelter; its transgression weighs heavy upon it; it will fall and not rise again.

As you may have observed, a drunk cannot think or stand straight. This judgment is connected to rebellion against God by virtually all people on earth. Revelation 8 says even mountains will be cast into the sea.

21 When that day comes, Adonai will punish the armies of the high heaven on high and the kings of the earth here on earth.

The phrase when that day comes points to a future but unspecified time. God’s judgment is extensive. It covers not only the earth but also the host of heaven, a phrase that either indicates the stars or fallen angels.

22 They will be assembled like prisoners in a dungeon and shut up in prison to be punished many years.

Verses 21 and 22 refer to the rulers in high places – demonic spirits. As the Tribulation comes to an end, HaSatan and his demons will be cast into a pit for a thousand years. Then, following the thousand-year period of peace and prosperity when Yeshua reigns from Yerushalayim, God will loose HaSatan and his demons — giving them one last chance to deceive the people.

23 Then the moon will be confused and the sun ashamed, for Adonai-Tzva’ot will rule on Mount Tziyon and in Yerushalayim, with his glory manifest to the rulers of his people. ~ Isaiah 24:13-23 (CJB)

Even the moon and sun will pale in comparison with the brilliant light emanating from God as He exercises His sovereign rule from the temple.

In my next post, we will continue to explore The Lord’s Judgment of the Whole Earth ~ Pat 3 in Yesha’yahu 25:1-12.

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The Coming Day of the Lord ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 2:9-17

In my last post, we began to look at The Coming Day of the Lord in Yesha’yahu 2:6-22. I decided to switch gears for my blog for this series as I will be taking more of a verse-by-verse format. We only covered verses 6-8. In this post, we continue to look at The Coming Day of the Lord beginning in Yesha’yahu 2:9-17.

Why will God judge His people? We learned in Part 1 it was (and still is) because of their idolatry, covetousness, pride, and exploiting of the poor. Instead of holding to the truth of God’s Word, they were full of sorcerers, not unlike many “religious seekers” today. The growth of Eastern religions in the modern Western world is a phenomenon that is both frightening and challenging. Even nonreligious people are practicing Eastern forms of meditation and relaxation, following techniques that are being taught in university classes and business seminars.

9 A person bows down, a man lowers himself — don’t forgive them! 10 Come into the rock, hide in the dust to escape the terror of Adonai and the glory of his majesty.

In the ancient world, a bright or flaming aura surrounding deity is the norm in depicting the glory of his majesty. It is especially evident in the divine warrior motif where the deity unveils his glory as he fights for his people.

11 The proud looks of man will be humiliated; the arrogance of men will be bowed down; and when that day comes, Adonai alone will be exalted. 12 Yes, Adonai-Tzva’ot has a day in store for all who are proud and lofty, for all who are lifted high to be humiliated; 13 for all cedars of the L’vanon that are high and lifted up, for all the oaks of the Bashan; 14 for all the high mountains, for all the hills that are lifted up; 15 for every high tower, for every fortified wall; 16 for every “Tarshish” ship, for every luxurious vessel. 17 The pride of man will be bowed down, the arrogance of men will be humiliated, and when that day comes, Adonai alone will be exalted.

With the words proud looks of man will be humiliated, Yesha’yahu expressed one of the major themes of his book. Through judgment, God cuts down the sinful pretensions of His people.

The prophets of the Tanakh often spoke of a Coming Day of the Lord (Joel 1:15; Amos 2:1,11,31; 5:18,20; Zephaniah 1:7,14; Zechariah 14:1). This day is the judgment of sinners, which means the redemption of God’s people. However, God’s people in this verse were the object of His anger since they were rebelling against Him. While the Day of the Lord ultimately points to the final judgment, God’s temporal punishments of His people are often understood to be anticipatory fulfillment of the final judgment. L’vanon and Bashan were well known for their fertile lands and their impressive trees. Thus, they are representative of arrogance built on abundance. God’s judgment is against all kinds of pride.

The cedars of the L’vanon and the oaks of the Bashan were valued for their size, beauty, strength, and durability. They would be used in the building projects (such as gates and palaces) that were the sources of pride for nations and in which they would put their trust. The cedars of L’vanon and oaks of Bashan speak of men that are proud of their abilities. Who or what do we put our trust in? For my wife and I, it is the Lord and ADT Security.

The high mountains could speak of government. Walls and towers speak of military might. Walls of this period were solid and could be made of mud brick, fieldstone or ashlar [large square-cut] stone. While towers and walls were features of fortified cities, there were also many garrison fortresses built along trade routes and borders. In Isra’el both the fortresses and towers were rectangular. Since city walls have not been preserved to their original height, it is difficult to say how high they were. A width of fifteen to twenty feet was common and judging from their massive foundations and the length of ladders used for scaling the walls, a height of thirty to forty feet would not be unusual.

Trade using seagoing vessels was already taking place in the first half of the third millennium BCE. Excavations of a sunken merchant ship (off the coast of Turkey) from the period gives a good idea of the variety of items being shipped. Trading ships of the first millennium were single-masted with a crow’s nest and could feature either one or two banks of oars. A typical length would be about fifty feet, though larger ones are known. [1]

It is not idols, but only Yeshua who will ultimately be exalted. When He comes back to this planet, before He rules and reigns in the Temple, there will be a time of chastening and judging. As a result, people will take all that they once worshiped to the dump to be left to the rats because, at last, all idols will be seen to be meaningless.

In my next post, I will finish with this topic for now as we explore The Coming Day of the Lord ~ Part 3 in Yesha’yahu 2:18-22.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament

The End Times Revisited

Mark 13:1-37
The End Times

Okay, I LIED, again!!  Forgive me??? Somehow, I just can’t leave this topic alone.

I know that we are in a series on the Letter to the Messianic Jews, but God said I should briefly interrupt my schedule to post this. This year, my daily devotion plan includes re-reading the Brit Hadahah one chapter at a time during the week and re-reading one chapter at a time from the historical books in the Tanakh on the weekends.

This morning’s reading was Mark 13:1-37. That, coupled with the fact that I have been thinking a lot about Billy Graham the last several days and listening to snippets of his old sermons on SiriusXM channel 145 as I drive on my errands, prompted me to write this post.

I’m sure most of us know the Rev. Graham preached Christ and the Cross in every sermon he delivered.  His goal was to reach non-believers with the message of salvation.  He didn’t want anyone to be left behind.

Mark 13 is his version of the Olivet Discourse we saw earlier in this and other series I have posted.  Of the thirty-seven verses, only three are not “red letter” verses.  Yeshua is explaining to Kefa, James, Yochanan, and Andrew when and what signs will precede the destruction of the Temple as He said would occur in verse 2.

I would commend you to review this chapter for yourselves. The themes of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE seem to be interwoven with the Final Tribulation and Yeshua’s return.

In my study this morning, I found the following Study Note to be very enlightening:

Some interpreters assign all of Mark 13 to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Most believe Jesus used the earlier destruction to foreshadow the end times. Some who hold this latter view assign verses 1-13 to the first-century events and verses 14-37 to earth’s last days [This had been my view as expressed in this series]. Others assign verses 1-31 to the first century and verses 32-37 to the end times. However, still, others find an A1-B1-A2-B2 pattern and assign verses 1-13 and 28-31 to the first century and verses 14-27 and 32-37 to the end times. [1]

This last view of the A1-B1-A2-B2 pattern makes much more sense to me.

What saith thou?

[1] HCSB Study Notes.

Reflections On The Revelation of Yeshua HaMassiach to Yochanan

The End Times

Okay, I LIED!!  Forgive me???

I did intend to start a new series on the Letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews), but it seemed more appropriate that I wrap up the series on The End Times with my reflections on what I learned from studying this unique Book of Scripture.

For those that have been with me from the beginning of this series, we have been studying one hundred-seven posts on  Revelation since Christmas Day, 2016. Recall that before the exploration of The Revelation of Yeshua HaMassiach to Yochanan we had examined  “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times.” That series comprised thirteen posts on Matthew 24 & 25 ~ The Olivet Discourse, which concluded an eighty-part series on the Christain Torah from Matthew’s Gospel.

I introduced our study of Revelation by stating:

Shortly after committing myself to the Lord, I read Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth” and was convinced a pre-tribulation rapture of the church would occur soon.  Then going through the entire Bible, I became a mid-triber hoping the pre-tribers were correct.  I devoured Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” series.  I thought it was an excellent fictionalization of The End Times and didn’t have too many concerns from a scriptural standpoint.  But, once again the idea of studying eschatology didn’t trip my trigger.

It now appears that God has cocked that trigger.  As I think I’ve shared before, my personal study in God’s Word this year has been through the Brit Hadashah (New Covenant), Tehillim (Psalms) and Mishlei (Proverbs) using the English Standard Version Study Bible.  In addition to the Olivet Discourse which I blogged on earlier this year, I kept running into passages in the Brit Hadashah by Sha’ul and Kefa that mention The End Times.  My Tuesday Skype group has also been studying the End Times and the Pastor at our church who leads the Senior Adult Ministry (Prime Time) has just finished a study on Revelation.  Ok, Lord, you got my attention.

I am forever grateful to Anthony Baker over at Recovering Legalist for introducing me to Steve Gregg’s “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated.”  Mr. Gregg introduced me to a whole new way of understanding the four main views of scholars in interpreting this apocalyptic literature: Historicists, Preterists, Futurist, and Idealist.

Although I could occasionally understand how Historicists and Preterists came to their interpretations and agreed with some, I found myself to be more aligned with the Futurists and the Premillennialists.  I never did understand the Idealists point of view.  It was just too squishy to sink my teeth into it.

Futurists hold that Chapters 4 and 5 seem to detail the events that occur in heaven after the Rapture, and chapters 6-18 the events that occur on the earth after the Rapture.  It is the same event told from two different vantage points.  They also believe that at the end of chapter 3, the Rapture of Believers takes place: Come up here. (4:1). The period that follows, beginning with chapter 4 and ending with the Battle of Armageddon (19:19) and the 1000-year reign of Yeshua on earth (the Millennium; chap. 20), covers a terrible seven-year period at the time of the end referred to as the Great Tribulation (see 7:14 and Matthew 24:21). These seven years are the same as the 70th set of seven years the prophet Daniel spoke about (see Daniel 9:27).

Throughout my study, I tried to place myself in Yochanan’s sandals without much success.  His visitation by angels and being caught up to heaven in Chapter 4 and elsewhere were beyond my personal experience.  If I saw what he saw, could I describe it any differently to a modern audience?  Perhaps because of advanced technology and the threat of nuclear holocaust.

Are we in the last days?  Is the Lord going to call the faithful home soon?  Is the Roman Catholic Church the Anti-Messiah?  I don’t know, and no one else does except God Himself.  All I know for sure from the study can be boiled down into two simple statements:

  • We may see signs and wonders that are predicted to proceed The End Times, but we do not know the day or the hour it will begin; even so, come Lord quickly.
  • God is on the throne, and He is still in control.  All we need to do is trust and obey, and it will all pan out for our good.  All we must do is Be Prepared.

I hope you have enjoyed coming along with me on this journey.

In my next post, we will begin a new series based on the Letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews).

Click here for PDF version.

Final Blessing & Curse and Conclusion

Revelation 22:16-21
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 22:11-15 ~ God’s Completed Work. In this post, we conclude our study of Revelation by investigating Revelation 22:16-21 ~ Final Blessing & Curse and Conclusion.

16 “I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the Messianic communities. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star. 17 The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ Let anyone who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let anyone who is thirsty come  –  let anyone who wishes, take the water of life free of charge.” 18 I warn everyone hearing the words of the prophecy in this book that if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes anything away from the words in the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life and the holy city, as described in this book. 20 “The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! 21 May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!” ~ Revelation 22:16-21 (CJB)

I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the Messianic communities harkens back to Revelation 1:1-2.  It’s as if He has put a bow on the whole scroll as a gift to His followers.

I am the Root and Offspring of David. King David sprang from this Root, because Yeshua pre-existed David (Micah 5:1(2), Yochanan 8:58), and through Yeshua, everything, including David’s ancestor Adam, was made (Yochanan 1:1-2, 14). But Yeshua is also David’s offspring; in particular, He is the promised Son of David who would be the Messiah (see Matthew 1:1). Yeshua’s Davidic ancestry is referred to in the rest of the Brit Hadashah also at Mattew 1:6, 9:27, 15:22, 21:9; Luke 1:32, 2:4, 3:31; Romans 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:8. In Revelation, the term Root of David is also found at 5:5. As for the bright Morning Star see Revelation 2:28 and 2 Kefa 1:19.

The Final Invitation

The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come!’ Let anyone who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let anyone who is thirsty come  –  let anyone who wishes, take the water of life free of charge. This final invitation consists of three comes. Moved by what we have read in this book and looking around at what is happening in our world today, we join our voice and say to the lost, “Come!”

As in verses 14-15, either Yeshua or Yochanan may be speaking here. No matter which, both the Spirit and the Bride, the Messianic Community, also identified with the New Jerusalem (21:2), agree with Yeshua in reiterating his call to the thirsty to take the water of life free of charge (see 21:6).

Yeshua had just said, I am coming soon! (v. 12). The Spirit, the bride, and whoever hears, join in the chorus and prayer, Come. Yeshua answers, Yes, I am coming soon (v. 20). It is His last recorded word, the parting message to His waiting bride as He passes out of sight. The passage contains an invitation to sinners to come to Him, that they may be ready when He comes. As a result, some will ask Yeshua to save them, and others will harden their hearts further. It is for each to decide – choose life or choose death. This decision has eternal consequences. If you have not accepted Yeshua as your Lord and Savior yet – don’t delay. Ask Yeshua to be your Lord and Savior and receive His free gift of eternal life! ( see 2 Corinthians 5:17; 6:2; John 14:6; Romans 5:8; Mark 1:15).

A Final Warning Against the Mutilation of God’s Word

I warn everyone hearing the words of the prophecy in this book that if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues written in this book. 19 And if anyone takes anything away from the words in the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life and the holy city, as described in this book. The final warning follows the form of Deuteronomy 4:2, which reads: In order to obey the mitzvot of Adonai your God which I am giving you, do not add to what I am saying, and do not subtract from it. Yochanan’s warning refers to the Book of Revelation, not to the whole Bible.

Adds to them is not about those who amplify to have a better understanding, nor is it addressed to those who in their zeal to understand fail to interpret the actual meaning correctly. The warning seems to fit those who claim additional revelations or who write other volumes and claim them to be an inspired part of the Bible. Since it is recognized by all of Orthodoxy that claimed another revelation from God is the sign of a cult, it is those who would take away that might well be those closer to home! It is not unusual for many Believers even pastors and teachers to ignore the Biblical prophecies, even entire books of prophecy – Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Revelation, and all the rest, which are essential parts of the Bible which the Lord has given. Many of these same people go a step further and deny the miracles as recorded in the prophecies of the Scriptures, saying that future events will not be nearly so horrific or apocalyptical. It would not be wise to be among those who are always picking the Bible apart rather than just trying to live by its teachings.

The Final Prayer

“The one who is testifying to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’” Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! 21 May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all!” M. R. DeHaan frames these final words: [1]

Revelation began with Him, and ends with Him, and is about Him. We have written this book that you who are unsaved might come to Him and that those of you who have come might love Him more and look with new eagerness for His return… The night is dark, and the world seems to be in the throes of death. Humanity is engulfed by turmoil and confusion. The dark clouds of coming judgment and distress are upon the horizon, and the rumblings of coming judgment may be heard. Men everywhere are wondering about the future, and some are despairing. One of those days or nights, however, while the world is occupied with its frivolities and empty pleasures and scoffing at the Word of God, a form will rise above the lashing waves, as on Galilee, to vindicate forever the devotion and the patient watching of that remnant in all ages who have not abandoned the hope of His coming again, and take them home to the realms of bliss where sorrow and sighing, loneliness and heartache will never be known and where, with loved ones gone before, we shall rest forever in the perfect service of our perfect Lord. “Even so, Come. Lord Yeshua.”

With this concluding thought by Dr. DeHaan, we have now analyzed and evaluated each of the 404 verses of the Book of Revelation, from Chapter One, verse one to Chapter Twenty-two and verse twenty-one.

Remember the opening verses of Chapter One introduced us to the purpose of the book. This is the revelation which God gave to Yeshua the Messiah so that he could show his servants what must happen very soon. He communicated it by sending his angel to his servant Yochanan, who bore witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah, as much as he saw. ~ Revelation 1:1-2 (CJB)

The Kehilah is instructed to say Amen at the close of the public reading of the book. The two final sentences, one for heaven and one for the earth, set the tone for those inspired to do the Lord’s will. So I echo the words of Yochanan: Come, Lord Yeshua and May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with all.

In my next post, we’ll begin a new series based on the Letter to the Messianic Jews (Hebrews).

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

God’s Completed Work

Revelation 22:11-15
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word. In this post, we explore Revelation 22:11-15 ~ God’s Completed Work.

11 “Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy. “Also, whoever is righteous, let him go on doing what is righteous; and whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.” 12 “Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done. 13 I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” 14 How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city! 15 Outside are the homosexuals, those involved with the occult and with drugs, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” ~ Revelation 22:11-15 (CJB)

Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy. “Also, whoever is righteous, let him go on doing what is righteous; and whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.” 12 “Pay attention!” [says Yeshua,] “I am coming soon, and my rewards are with me to give to each person according to what he has done. 13 I am the ‘A’ and the ‘Z,’ the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. The phrase I am coming soon found in Revelation 22:7, 12, 20, does not mean immediately! It says that once the process begins, he will come quickly; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. The coming of Yeshua will be so sudden that humanity will not have a chance to change any part of his lifestyle! Whoever keeps acting wickedly, let him go on acting wickedly; whoever is filthy, let him go on being made filthy…whoever is holy, let him go on being made holy.”  When Yeshua appears, it will be too late to repent; too late to accept Him as your Lord and Savior; too late for heaven.

I am the “A” and the “Z” (the Alpha and the Omega), the Beginning and the End is a repeat from Revelation 21:6. The First and the Last is a paraphrase from Isaiah 44:6, where Adonai says: Thus says Adonai, the King of Israel, and its redeemer Adonai of Hosts [heavenly armies]: I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God.” By applying this text to Himself, Yeshua once again identifies Himself as Adonai.

How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city! 15 Outside are the homosexuals, those involved with the occult and with drugs, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. These verses may be the words of Yeshua (as this version has it), or of Yochanan. Those who wash their robes, who obtain forgiveness for their sins. How? “With the blood of the lamb” (7:14), that is, through the atoning work of Yeshua the Messiah, so that their robes are “white” (7:14; see also 3:4, 19:7-8, Isaiah 1:18). To eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city is to enjoy eternal life in fellowship with God. Yochanan continues to draw a contrast between those who live in obedience and those who live in disobedience. The distinction is between those who live their lives for Yeshua and those who live for themselves. God wants humanity to understand if they choose to live a self-serving, self-seeking, selfish lifestyle, he can only hope to reap hell for all eternity.

Outside in the lake of fire (20:12b, 21:8, 21:27) are unrepentant sinners. They are out not only in the future but out even now, to the extent that the Kingdom of God has broken through into this world in the hearts and lives of the saved.

Homosexuals, Greek kunes (“dogs”). One can imagine real wild dogs slavering over the wicked excluded from the city (compare Mattew 15:26, Luke 16:21). But Deuteronomy 23:18-19 illustrates the figurative use of the word “dog” in the Bible to mean “male (homosexual) prostitute”:  “No daughter of Israel is to be a female prostitute (k’deshah), nor is a son of Israel to be a male prostitute (kadesh). You are to bring neither the wages of a female prostitute (zonah) nor the wages of a dog (kelev) into the house of Adonai your God in payment of any vow; both of them are an abomination to Adonai your God.”

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 22:16-21 ~ Final Blessing & Curse and Conclusion.

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Affirmation of God’s Word

Revelation 22:6-10
The End Times

In my last post, we examined Revelation 22:1-5 ~ Renewal of the World. In this post, we explore Revelation 22:6-10 ~ Affirmation of God’s Word.

6 Then he [the angel] said to me, ‘These words are true and trustworthy: Adonai, God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show His servants the things that must happen soon. 7 Look! I am coming very soon. Blessed is the person who obeys the words of the prophecy written in this book!’8 Then I, Yochanan, the one hearing and seeing these things, when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, ‘Don’t do that! I am only a fellow-servant with you and your brothers, the prophets and the people who obey the words in this book. Worship God!'” Then he said to me, ‘Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy in this book because the time of their fulfillment is near.'” ~ Revelation 22:6-10 (C3B)

The Certainty of Yeshua’s Return

Then he [the angel] said to me, ‘These words are true and trustworthy: Adonai, God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show His servants the things that must happen soon. 7 Look! I am coming very soon. Blessed is the person who obeys the words of the prophecy written in this book!Once again, Yochanan is assured of the honesty and integrity of this report. Note the words: These words are true and trustworthy. This revelation, which Yochanan has been given for the Kehilah, is to be taken seriously to heart. In Revelation 19:11 Yeshua is shown coming from heaven on a white horse, and in the same verse, He’s given a name: Faithful and True. This is the same phrase found here in verse six! It would seem that these words are being backed by the very person and character of the Son of God Himself. In verse seven is an exciting promise in the words of Yeshua: Look! I am coming very soon.

There is no doubt about our Lord’s coming. He is coming! Therefore, the question is not will He come, but are we prepared for His arrival? Some might ask if He is coming, why the delay? We find that answer in 2 Kefa: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some people think of slowness; on the contrary, he is patient with you; for it is not his purpose that anyone should be destroyed, but that everyone should turn from his sins.”  ~2 Kefa 3:9 (CJB) Have you repented of your sins and placed your faith and trust in the Lord Yeshua HaMashiach? If Yeshua were to appear today, would you go to be with Him?

The Worship of Angels Forbidden

“I, Yochanan, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God. It would seem that this revelation so overcame Yochanan that he does what might seem to be a natural reaction, to worship the angels, whom the Lord created, rather than the Creator Himself. This is the second time (Revelation 19:9-10) Yochanan has been guilty of such a response. William Newell adds these words: [1]

The fidelity and humility of the angel abase and shame us. Though higher than man, he is a fellow-servant (sundoulos) – a word that wholly excludes independence, in which man glories. Note also how the angel remembers “the prophets,” those faithful servants of God, and also that the angels themselves are “keepers of the words” of this book of The Revelation. Doubtless, Michael and his angels derive their very courage for the terrific conflict of chapter 12 from the revelation of certain victory given through Yochanan the beloved. How wonderful are the ways of God! Let us lay dose to our hearts the angel’s words: Worship God. These words will search us out. Unless we are walking with God, other gods are ho/ding our affections. The very glory of divine revelations may tend to turn our weak hearts away from adoration of the divine, Person, Himself.

Then he said to me, ‘Don’t seal up the words of the prophecy in this book because the time of their fulfillment is near. Dani’el who lived over two thousand five hundred years ago was given a number of prophecies concerning the End Times.  After receiving the prophecies he was then told to seal up the book. “But you, Dani’el, keep these words secret and seal up the book until the time of the end. Many will rush here and there as knowledge increases.”~ Daniel 12:4 (CJB)

The question arises, how long will it be sealed? The answer is, even to the time of the end. How will we know when the end is near at hand? Again, the explanation is, many will rush here and there as knowledge increases. In light of these two signs involving travel and knowledge, it is easy to conclude that the time for Yeshua to appear is drawing near. Dani’el was commanded to seal his book, but now Yochanan is being given an opposite command as he is told not to sea/the prophecy of this book because the time of their, fulfillment is near. Jerry Falwell adds these thoughts: [2]

In verse 10 Yochanan is commanded not to seal the words of the prophecy of this book. The reason is dear. There is a blessing for anyone who keeps the sayings of the prophecies given in Revelation (22:7). Besides, the time is near when the Lord will come quickly, and people will need to understand what God is doing for them (cf. Dan. 12:4). The period which will usher in the eternal state is very near, and in Yochanan ‘s day, as in ours, the end is always impending, because Christ may return at any moment and the time piece of Revelation will start ticking away. Therefore, this book is to be opened, read, and heeded as a source of blessing.

 In my next post, well examine Revelation 22:11-15 ~ God’s Completed Work.

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[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

[2] Ibid.