Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Understanding Bible Prophecy part one: The Plan

Studying Bible prophecy from the unique perspective of the seven Feasts of the LORD which are all prophetic in nature.

Listen to the Walk with Christ Gospel Radio Broadcast of Understanding Bible Prophecy part one 

 The commentary below is not a transcript of the radio broadcast
  The Plan

God always has a plan, and in his word he promises he will always reveal his plans to his people (Isaiah 48:3-5, Amos 3:7, John 16:13).

God’s plan to redeem mankind was predicted in the Bible. It is revealed clearly in the seven Feasts of the Lord found in the Law of Moses: Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles.

Understanding that these feasts are prophetic in nature and represent seven significant historical and future events is vital to having a good understanding of God’s plan of redemption.

Because his plan of redemption had its beginning before the foundation of the earth and extends throughout history to finally be completed in the New Heavens and the New Earth, any study of God’s redemptive plan is a study of Biblical Prophecy, (1 Peter 1:18-20, Isaiah 65:17, 66:22).

Scripture reveals God’s plan to redeem not only our souls, but also our bodies and the earth that was cursed because of Adam’s sin (1 Peter 1:9-11, Romans 8:23, Revelation Chapters 21-22).

When Will Knowing The Future Not Help Us? There is no gain in studying Bible Prophecy just for prophecy’s sake. All Bible Prophecy revolves around the person and work of Jesus Christ, and knowing what the future holds will not help us unless we know the One who holds it (John 17:3, Hebrews 10:7, 1 Peter 1:10-11, Revelation 19:10).

When we understand God’s great Redemption, Biblical Prophecy is no longer complicated or mysterious. Any study of Bible Prophecy… is a study of Redemption!

Monday, May 23, 2016

70 weeks p-1: For the Jews only while they are in possession of Jerusalem

 Is the 70th week of Daniel the Great Tribulation? This will be a multi-part series discussing biblical reasons to believe that The Great Tribulation, prophesied by Jesus, and the 70th week of Daniel are corresponding times.

The name of The Great Tribulation comes from the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus is quoted as using the phrase “Great Tribulation” in reference to a future time that many believe takes place during the same time period that Jeremiah calls the "Time of Jacob’s Trouble"

In the book of Daniel,  a mysterious 70 "weeks of years” are introduced (Daniel 9:24).

Many reputable scholars believe that everything prophesied concerning the prophet Daniel's 70 weeks has already been fulfilled with the exception of one week—the final “week.” And this final week is what is most often referred to as the "70th Week of Daniel" or "Daniel’s 70th Week" (Daniel 9:25, 27).

Does the 70th week of Daniel correspond to the time that Jesus referred to as "The Great Tribulation" and that Jeremiah referred to as the "Time of Jacob’s Trouble?"

To answer this question, it is necessary to ascertain as to what the 70 Weeks have to do with. And to answer that question, it is necessary to ask another one; what, or more correctly—who—do the 70 weeks concern? 

The angel told Daniel (9:24) that, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.”

In this verse, we see two things explained:
The 70 weeks concern "thy people" (Daniel’s people—the Jews).
The 70 weeks concern "thy holy city" (Daniel’s holy city—Jerusalem).

In Daniel 9:21-24, the angel, Gabriel, is speaking to Daniel and making reference to Daniel’s people—the Jews. And in Daniel 6:10, we see Daniel praying towards his holy city—Jerusalem.

In Daniel chapter 9, Daniel’s prophecy concerns not only the Jews and Jerusalem exclusively, but it concerns the Jews only when they are in possession of their holy city, Jerusalem. That is the reason for the gap between the 69th and 70th weeks. That gap represents the time the Jewish people were in exile—not in possession of their land—and more specifically, when they were not in possession of their holy city--Jerusalem.

In order to understand Daniel 9:24-27, the seventy weeks mentioned there need to be defined scripturally. The 70 weeks are obviously not referring to 70 "7-day" weeks. Verse 25 makes that clear.

The Bible is a self-defining book, and that is why it is so important to develop a working knowledge of its contents by simply reading it on a regular basis. Genesis 29:27-28 gives the key to understanding how long each week is. It says here in reference to Jacob and Rachel: “Fulfill her week...serve with me yet seven other years. Jacob did so and fulfilled her week.” Thus we see that, according to Genesis 29, Daniel's seventy weeks can be scripturally defined 70 weeks of years with each week equaling 7 years.

When we multiply each of the 70 years by 7, it comes to a total of 490 years (70 x 7 = 490).

The prophecy,  in Daniel 9:24-26, covers the time period beginning with the commandment to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem up to the time of the crucifixion of Christ. Both history and Daniel 9:25 agree that the total time period, from the proclamation to rebuild the wall through the crucifixion of Christ, equals 483 years (which according to Genesis 29:27-28, equals 69 weeks).

But 70 weeks of years equals 490 years (70x7=490), not 483 years (69 weeks). That means there is a total of 7 years (1 week) left unaccounted for.

For good reason, many believe the remaining 7 years--the final week--to be the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Many also believe the Time of Jacob’s Trouble encompasses both the Beginning of Sorrows and The Great Tribulation.

After the Church is caught up, the Man of Sin will pretend to be a savior to Israel. They will believe him and make a 7-year treaty with him—which he will honor for only 3 ½ years—some correspond this to the Beginning of Sorrows. Then he will renege and spend the next 3½ years in brutal persecution of them and anyone else who opposes him—many correspond this to The Great Tribulation (3 ½ years Beginning of Sorrows + 3 ½ years Great Tribulation = 7 years).

Both the final stages of the Beginning of Sorrows and entirety of The Great Tribulation take place during the final 7 years preceding the visible and physical return of Christ. Many believe the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, The Great Tribulation, and the 70th week of Daniel are one and the same.

Although the Church, the spiritual seed of Abraham, will share in many of the promises given to the Jewish people, none of the promises given to Abraham concerning his physical descendants, the Jews, have been, or will ever be, transferred from the Jewish people to the Body of Christ--his Church.

When Christ was rejected by his people, Israel, and crucified, a change in focus took place at the creation of the Body of Christ at Pentecost. At that time, God’s focus shifted from the nation of Israel, to His Churchthe Body of Christ. Although it is true that the Church has been given great and precious promises, no transfer of promises--from Jews to Christians--took place at that time, or ever will take place at any time in the future. After this present dispensation (or age) is completed, God’s focus will once again shift. Only this time it will shift back from His Church (which will no longer be on earth but in Heaven with Him) to his people Israel. At that time, he will bring to fulfillment all of his promises to them, and their purpose here on earth will be fulfilled. 

Yes, the Jewish people still have a purpose yet to be fulfilled on the earth.

Because the 70 weeks that have been determined upon the people of Daniel--and on their holy city--are for a special purpose, the purpose can only be fulfilled while the Jewish people are in possession of their holy city, Jerusalem.

That has somewhat been the case since 1967, when God restored his people to their land. West Jerusalem was established as the national capital in 1950; and in 1980 the Jerusalem Law made the entire unified city of Jerusalem the Israeli capital. International debate over Jerusalem continues to rage. In 2015,  the United States Supreme Court  declared that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel .

Additionally, the 70 weeks can only be fulfilled after God fulfills His purpose for, and shifts his focus from, His Church back to His people Israel. That will happen, but not until this present age of grace, the time of "Christ In You," is fulfilled at the raising of the dead [in Christ] and the catching up of those [in Christ] who are alive and remain. (1 Corinthians 15: 51-5, 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8).