rapture

The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah)

In the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus you will find the feasts which are celebrated, mostly by the Jewish people. You find wonderful celebrations, times for rest, time for introspection, and time for judgment. While these are often referred to as “Jewish feasts” the bible indicates otherwise:

Leviticus:23:1: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Leviticus:23:2: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.

These feasts should be recognized and at least acknowledged by the church. Just as we have been made heirs and joint-heirs through Christ, we also share in the promises. If we share in the promises, shouldn’t we also share in the knowledge and celebrations appointed by the Lord? These feasts are rich in symbolism and worthy of teaching and understanding! I have covered some of these in previous articles, such as “Passover” and “Unleavened bread”.

The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated as the beginning of the Jewish New Year. The term for this is “Rosh Hashana” which literally means the “head of the year”. The Jewish calendar is based on lunar cycles, and the new year does not begin until the observance of a “new moon”. There will be one hundred trumpet blasts for this feast.

Leviticus:23:24: Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.

Prophetically, all the feasts were a fore-shadow. This feast is no different. The Feast of Trumpets is a prophetic picture of the rapture, the gathering together of the church. No man knows the day or the hour of the rapture, just as no man knows the day or the hour the new moon will be observed. Consider theses verses also:

1st Corinthians:15:52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

1st Thessalonians:4:16: For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

Revelation:4:1: After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
Revelation:4:2: And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.

The Feast of Trumpets is also called Yom Teruah, which literally means the day of shouting and noise. What a day and what a shout of victory there will be at the prophetic fulfillment of this celebrated feast day! This feast is observed as a day of rest, the beginning of a new year or a new beginning, and a gathering together. The phrase “holy convocation” translates or literally means a holy gathering of a group of people in answer to a summons. What a joyous day that will be when we are gathered together with the Lord! As this day approaches, let us celebrate, and then let us anticipate and live prepared for the prophetic fulfillment!

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Sanctification

We often seek a “right now” word, from God. Whether through preaching, teaching, reading, praying, or listening, a current and meaningful message is being sought. Many times, those messages are not really new at all, just more relevant than the last time we heard them.

As a child I remember many preachers, evangelists, and pastors preaching and teaching on the subject of sanctification or being sanctified. The vague memories I have (consider most of these memories are 20 years or more in the past) seemed to have more to do with holiness and salvation than actual sanctification. While I do see and understand the similarities and the direction the message was going, I can not say I remember any of those messages really “hitting the nail on the head”.

It is not my intent to undo any message, critique another’s sermon, nor undermine anything written, said, or heard. Instead, I hope to add to and hopefully broaden, if just a bit, the message of being sanctified. One of the difficulties when approaching this subject, is defining the subject. The word “sanctification” has several meanings which are similar, but distinct. Sanctification means to “set apart”, “make holy”, “make sacred”, “set free from sin”, and “make conductive to spiritual blessing”.

John:17:19: And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

Ephesians:5:26: That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

1st Peter:3:15: But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

In those phrases and verses you can see a very general picture with very separate details. For the purpose of this writing I will focus on being “set apart”. Once you have accepted salvation through Jesus Christ the process of being sanctified begins. It is the process of being separated from the world (worldly ways) and dedicating yourself to His purpose for you. You can see how easily a message or teaching could go from sanctification to a message of holiness. Sanctification is an ongoing process, for we fight the flesh by the Spirit and this battle is fought until His appearing or our death.

Being sanctified, or set apart, is not a painless process. When we begin our separation from worldly ways and worldly lusts, it is not easy. The best analogy that comes to mind is “old habits die hard”. We are creatures of habit, and often lazy in spiritual matters, I speak from experience. We lose old friends, we refrain from going to old places (bars, casino’s, parties where drugs and alcohol are prominent), we truly begin a new life and that isn’t easy.

Today, I believe, the true church is being further set apart from the world. The refusal to call out sin or call a sin “sin” has become normal to many churches, while the true church confronts sin and shines the light into dark places. Homosexuality has been allowed to creep into the church as “acceptable” and even deemed worthy to become leaders within the church. Yet the true church proclaims the Word of God, stands firm, and declares sinners must repent. Many churches teach worldly prosperity, money, and worldly riches. The true church continues to teach “seek ye first the kingdom of God”, charity, and denial of self.

As these things continue to come against the church, and you as part of the church, it may get painful. The more you stand for what God has to say, the more you will be criticized, labeled as ignorant, or as an extremist. The more the world changes, the further the church will be separated from it. Keep this in mind:

Luke:12:51: Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Luke:12:52: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
Luke:12:53: The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
Luke:12:54: And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is.
Luke:12:55: And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass.
Luke:12:56: Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
Luke:12:57: Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?

Sanctification is ongoing for the church. I will close with this: There is coming a “setting apart” where we will leave this world, be it by the grave or that trumpet sound. Once we are truly set apart from this world and from this flesh we will be with our Lord Jesus and serve Him eternally. Seek Him, seek His will, and be ready, for we could be “set apart” in a moment, in the twinkling of the eye!

A moment

Things happen, often quickly. The term “moment” comes to mind in defining the instant things come to pass. For example, the moment my son was born I became a father. While it is true that pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, there comes that span of time which changes everything.

Our lives change in moments, yet, the moments move by swiftly and never return. Moments become memories, a small amount of time that stands out. A moment is a snapshot, a picture, a detail, a happening, a culmination. It’s easy to think of moments as being precious, tender, and innocent. For example, graduations, marriages, births, and achievements turn into moments.

Just as there are good moments, there are also bad moments. Vehicles wreck, causing various tragedies, in a moment. Heart attacks happen in a moment. Lives are saved and lost in a moment. On September 11th, 2001, our country was changed in a moment. The gravity of this small span of time we know as a moment should not be taken lightly. Our lives are made up of moments, we are remembered in moments, and ultimately all the time we are given, is but a moment.

As we go forward in our lives, there are moments yet to come. There is one specific moment I live in hope of:

1st Corinthians:15:51: Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
1st Corinthians:15:52: In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

I hope to not sleep, but to be changed, in that moment, that twinkling of an eye. Every day I have, I live expecting, hoping, longing, looking for that moment. For those who are ready, whether they sleep (euphemism for being dead) or live, this moment is one of promise, glory, expectation, and eternal joy.

For those who are not ready, this is the moment, an exact and coming point in time, where everything (and I do mean everything) will change. Families will be torn apart. Worldliness and wickedness will dramatically increase. Hope will be hard to find. Uncertainty will remain and all that was, will never be again.

Just as we live, there is a coming moment, where we will either be changed or we will die. Can you imagine standing before Almighty God, the Righteous Judge, and being shown every moment, every opportunity you were given to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and refusing? Seeing those moments in your life when you could have said “yes” to the Master, but believing you had time? Deciding, you were too embarrassed, you were too prideful, you just “weren’t ready” or you’re “too busy” living your life? Thinking, you didn’t want to change your life, you were afraid what someone else would think, you may lose out on something you wanted or had?

We don’t know when our last moment will be, nor what our last moments hold for us. We have no promise of time. Things happen, often quickly. Take a moment, this moment, and call upon God, ask Jesus to forgive your sins, come into your heart so that He can present you faultless to God the Father. It only takes a moment, and it will be, in eternity, a priceless moment, the greatest moment of your life. The moment of salvation.

Moments after

Have you considered the day after the rapture? Have you given it much thought? Have you truly considered, contemplated, or meditated on what the world, your country, or your town may look like?

I know there is much controversy surrounding the rapture teaching. I also know there are several views as to when it will happen. Those things aside, for the sake of time, let us consider it happens tomorrow. The morning comes when Jesus calls home His saints, those found worthy by His blood. First and foremost, where do you see yourself?
If you find yourself there in His presence, why would anything else matter? It matters because you probably know someone who will not be among the redeemed. You may be related to someone who has not considered the things that will take place or the truth He set forth in His Word.

Matthew:7:14: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Moments after the rapture, world economies will crumble. Money will have no value. Looting and riots will ensue. Supplies around the world will be cut off. Traffic routes will be impassable, cars left running, idling, and crashed will be the barricades. Services such as water, electric, sewage, and garbage will falter with no one to maintain them. That would indeed mean no electric, no water, no modern accommodations.

Looting will turn friendly neighborhoods into battle zones. There will be no immediate supplies of gasoline, food, groceries, or medicine. Hospitals will be running over, unable to keep up with the injured, sick, elderly, and dying. Wait times for care will exceed people’s patience. Panic and fear will have a majority of people in their grip.

Communication locally, nationally, and internationally will be sporadic at best. People will begin to hoard, pilfer, kill and steal as the survival instinct takes charge. Missing loved ones will be afterthoughts with so much to deal with. Who do you trust? Who can sort this kind of world-wide tragedy out? Who will people look to, upon whom will they cast their care? Their faith? A worldly savior will rise, and gladly offer all the help and assistance that will be needed. All that will be asked is that they will knowingly take his mark, his number upon their hand or forehead.

Is it too hard to imagine that this could happen? This is just a few thoughts, a few imaginings of a world that may be and in a not too distant future. There are terror cells across the world, funded by countries with nothing less than world domination as the agenda on which this could be blamed. This is what many may have to look forward to. If not this, something like it, maybe something far worse.

There is good news: There is still time. Jesus is still seeking and saving those who are lost. Lives and futures can be changed, if you will accept Him. Go to Him in prayer, confess your sin to Jesus and be not afraid, for His grace is greater than your sin. Ask His forgiveness, accept Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, and please reach out to those you love. The day is coming, and no one knows that day nor that hour. It could be tomorrow. Even so, I pray, come quickly Lord Jesus. It is with hope and prayers this could be your prayer too, for that day is coming.

Noah (a short story?)

Noah went on about his business. Although he never grew weary of people inquiring about his boat they would not take the time to hear him preach about righteousness. He delighted in proclaiming to people why he had undertaken such a project and what it would be used to accomplish. He knew they laughed and made light of him, and he was aware that “crazy” was one of the nicer terms they used to describe him. He had set time aside to preach to them, but he had also resigned himself to the knowledge that while few would listen, maybe the only way he would reach them is if he took time daily during his work to answer their questions.

Noah often spoke of rain. The people had no concept of what rain was or what it did. How could they just believe in something they had never seen? It was not just belief in rain itself, it was the nearly laughable argument that it would over-take the world in destruction.

Giving no heed to Noah, nor his warnings, the world continued on just as they always had. The lived, they lived vibrantly, eating, drinking, and marrying. They watched Noah labor, and they laughed. Noah continued faithfully building his boat. He continued living faithfully, a witness to all those who scorned him, preparing for rain.

As Noah finished his ark and entered in, a great sound from the sky filled the earth, then a great streak of light raced across the heavens. A drop of water fell to the ground. Silence followed for a moment. What was happening?

Matthew:24:37: But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

The story above is eerily similar to where we are today. Can you see and feel the similarities? Consider the following verses:

Matthew:24:38: For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
Matthew:24:39: And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

2Peter:3:3: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Peter:3:4: And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

There must be a sense of urgency to reach out today to any and all who will listen. I’m afraid the storm clouds are gathering. Praise God, I’m waiting on the lightning!

Lu:17:24: For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

To Jesus be the glory, for He is truly worthy!