Book Review: “Hidden in Plain Sight” by Mark Davidson

October 4, 2012

“Hidden in Plain Sight” by Mark Davidson, Xulon Press, 2011

Mr Davidson has written a book that puts forward a new theory on ‘End Times’ biblical prophecy leading up to the emergence of the Antichrist and preceding the return of Jesus Christ, predicted in the Bible.  It approaches these prophecies from the increasingly common viewpoint that it is the Islamic world (the countries surrounding Israel) that produces Antichrist and not a “Revived Roman Empire” of 10 Western European nations, the prevailing understanding over the last half century.  This new view has also been advocated in such books as “Islamic Antichrist” and “Mideast Beast” by Joel Richardson, one its most well-known proponents.  It is also discussed every week on CBN by Erick Stakelbeck.  Many Christians are turning to this view as events in the Middle East are leading toward Islam as the “End Times Beast” rather than Western Europe.  I agree that there is much biblical support for the Islamic End Times paradigm.

Briefly, Mark sees parallels in three prophetic visions, two in the Book of Daniel and one in Revelation.  Daniel Chapter 7 discusses four beasts – a lion, a bear, a leopard and a terrible beast, while Daniel 8 tells the story of two, a ram and a goat.  The Revelation vision that he relates are the four horsemen of the sealed scrolls – they are white, red, black and pale green, in that order.  Mr. Davidson believes that all three visions are discussing the same period of time, just prior to the “Tribulation”, a 7-seven year period of regional and perhaps world-wide trauma that (some Christians believe) immediately precedes the return of Christ.

Here is the unique aspect of this book:  Davidson’s view that Daniel 7 is not “rerunning” prophecies in Daniel 2 as most current commentators believe, but is previewing End Times events with “Four Signposts”.  Briefly, these are:

  1. the lion = Saddam Hussein and Iraq (already completed),
  2. the bear = Iran invading Islamic Countries to its south, west and north (soon to occur),
  3. the four-headed leopard = Turkey and a confederation of Sunni nations that repel Shiite Iran (further in the future), and
  4. the terrible beast = the Antichrist empire that subsumes the previous three just before the Tribulation.

He believes that the four horsemen correspond exactly with these and the Daniel 8 Ram and Goat reiterate the 2nd and 3rd of them.

Davidson supports his thesis by first showing that although the Daniel 2 vision of the four-part metallic statue and the Daniel 7 vision of the four animals/beast concern the same four general people-group/empires, Daniel 2 tells the history of these empires during Daniel’s day through the formation of the Islamic Caliphates, while Daniel 7 reprises them during the end times, recapitulating, if you will, their lives in a last effort for greatness before being put down by each subsequent empire.  The book of Daniel self-identifies the first three of these as Babylon, Persia and Greece, while Davidson shows from historical sources that the fourth “terrible beast” can only be the Antichrist.

The strengths of this book include the solid historical research into the empires, their accomplishments and conquests and how they relate to biblical prophecy, particularly  the Islamic Caliphates of the Middle Ages.  He digs up some important events that support the notion that the fourth beast is indeed Islam.  He has included some great maps of the Middle East, graphically showing each phase of his interpretations clearly and understandably.  Mark delves into the original languages, particularly interpretations of Hebrew and Greek words to buttress his points.

As I stated earlier, I too am a believer in the Islamic Antichrist End Time paradigm and I share many beliefs in common with Mark.  In the final analysis however, Mark did not convince me to join him in seeing Daniel 7 as future to us, just preceding ‘the Tribulation.’   I continue to believe that Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 are strongly related to each other (the most common view today, I think he would agree).  What Mark unraveled for us regarding the 2nd chapter I see as being reiterated in the 7th.  I believe the Islamic terrible beast will remain in power (more or less) until Jesus returns.

I thought Mark could have provided more discussion and rationale of his theory that the seven-headed dragon of Revelation 17 consists of nations that all eventually become Muslim; I thought he tried to force this point and I did not understand the need for it.  I also did not see the strong correspondence between the four horseman and the animals/beasts of Daniel 7, however I do agree with his conclusion that the last, green horseman concerns Islam.  I know it was beyond the scope of his topic, but isolating the first 4 scrolls (four horsemen) from the last 3, and for that matter the Trumpets and the Bowls left me wondering how they related; a brief discussion of this would have helped.  Davidson is careful not to assign possible dates to his predictions, and also leaves some room for variance from his theory and how events might transpire.  He writes with an air of humility.

Davidson opened my eyes to some great revelations, particularly in the areas of history relating to Islam destroying the eastern Roman empire headquartered in Constantinople, the evolution of Baal worship into the ‘Allah’ of the Arabian peninsula, and the translation of original language words and their meanings as they relate to End Times realities.  One example is the Greek word is toxon, meaning “bow”, often used for launching poisoned arrows.  The word of course came to mean “poison”; it shows up  in Revelation 6:2 as the bow being carried by the rider on the white horse.  Davidson relates this to Saddam’s WMDs; I’m not ready to agree with him, but it is intriguing.

I learned a great deal from his book and would recommend it to others. I was challenged to examine my beliefs and investigate scripture more closely.  This is always worthwhile. I often find myself adjusting my beliefs as I consider the light given to my brothers and sisters from God’s Word.  This book will certainly help you do that too.


How the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls speak of the Holy Spirit, Yeshua and Yahweh

August 25, 2012

I was thinking about the Sealed Scrolls, Trumpets and Bowls of Wrath judgment series from the book of Revelation this morning as I was driving around doing errands.  In the Bible we have many references to groups of 7’s, particularly in Revelation.  In addition to the 7 lampstands, the 7 spirits of God, the 7 horns, 7 eyes, and 7 churches, we obviously have the 7 Seals, 7 Trumpets and 7 Bowls.  Added together these three equal 21, an uncommon number in scripture.  This might actually be another clue (there are many others) that these 3 groupings are not in series, but are parallel, or roughly co-occurring. Why do I say that?  There are only two uses of the number 21 in all of the Bible; that was the age Zedekiah became king and it was the amount of days Michael was resisted by the king of Persia on his way to answer Daniel’s prayer.

But the Bible is replete with references to ‘7’ s, as previously noted in just the book of Revelation, as well as the number ‘3’.  Three, most auspiciously, is the number of persons in the Trinity.  We know that 7 means ‘completion’ or ‘divine perfection’, so perhaps 7 being repeated 3 times is for emphasis and finality, or perhaps even more.  Could there actually be some relationship between the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?  Lets look at some scriptures:

Ephesians 1:13, In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise

Ephesians 4:30, Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

A seal is associated with the Holy Spirit, the evidence of salvation. The trumpet is associated with the coming of Yeshua, who provided our salvation:

1 Thessalonians 4:16, For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

Revelation 11:15, Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “ The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”

Throughout the Bible, wrath being poured out is associated with YHWH-God’s judgment on those who reject salvation:

John 3:36, He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Rev 16:1, Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”

Why does this association of the three persons of the Godhead to the Seals, Trumpets and Bowls reinforce for me their parallelism, or synchronicity? Because we know that God is not three separate beings, but a unified one; He is not in series (that error is called Sabellianism, or modalism or modalistic monarchianism, the belief that God transitions from Father to Son to Holy Spirit through time), but He is parallel–He is only one what (God), but three whos (Father, Son & Holy Spirit).  The Seals, Trumpets and Bowls likewise are one what (the end times from John to the return of Christ) seen through three, individual descriptions.  They are not predictive of separate times, but the same time through different lens. They co-exist; they overlap, they co-occur, interlace, converge; they are telescoping.

The last one or two of each series, Seals 6 & 7, the last Trumpet and the last Bowl all describe the return of the Lord.  Along the way, down the road of history they tell us of different, important events, from different angles, with different emphases.

Revelation 12:1-6

April 10, 2012

Chapter 12 brings us an interlude in the timeline, offering perspective on the broad sweep of prophetic forecast of the “times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24).

1  A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars;

A great signA particularly special occurrence since the Book of Revelation is given in “signs, wonders, miracles”.

Woman—Israel.  The Old Testament’s prophets referred to Israel as a “woman” (Isaiah 54:5-6; Jeremiah 4:31; Micah 4:9-10), but this is designating more than just Israel, but rather the “Israel of God” or spiritual Israel—the remnant, the elect, chosen of God, including both believing Jew and Gentile.  The old testament “church” gave birth to Christ (v5), and in turn, the new testament church (v17).  Both the OT and NT present the people of God as His bride/His wife to whom He is betrothed.

Clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars—This identifies the woman as Israel by referencing Genesis 37:9–11, in which Joseph  has a dream of the sun and moon symbolizing his father and mother, and stars representing his brothers, which bow down to him.  Clothed with the sunthe righteousness of God, His light.  Psalm 72:5 states that “He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations”, speaking of the future rule of God’s righteous, royal son.  The moon under her feetSatan being conquered, crushed under the feet of the Ekklesia (Rom 16:20).  The only light from Satan is reflected from the glory of God; he has no produces no light in and of himself.  The Moon governs the night, the time of darkness.  An interesting side note:  The symbol of Islam is the crescent moon, and the origin of Allah is the ancient moon god of the Arabians, so if the moon in this verse symbolizes Islam, it is giving the dominant position to Christ’s body, the EkklesiaA crown of twelve starsroyal status of Christ’s bride (Isa 28:5).  We see the “woman” glorified, from God’s eternal perspective, as she will be at the end of the age.

2 and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

With child—Jesus:  “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us.” (Isa 9:6)

And she cried outThe prayers of the OT saints, as Paul in Gal 4:19: My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you” Exo 3:9:the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me.” As a woman has pain in child birth, so Israel travailed at the birth of her Messiah, Jer 31:15:  “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping Rachel is weeping for her children.”

3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems.

A great red dragonSatan: “the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan” (Rev. 12:9);  Red=reckless, bloody, war (Gen 25; Nah 2; Zec 1)

Seven heads—Kings, kingdoms, worldly systems throughout the ages.  Seven=spiritual perfection, fulfillment, all that God will allow.  “The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings.” (Rev 17:9,10)  The dragon has 7 heads because he is manifested on earth through these worldly power structures throughout history.

Ten Horns—Each represents a human ruler manifesting the authority of Satan.  Ten=physical, earthly, physical perfection and completion; human strength, wisdom and authority;  (Gen 24:10, 22, 55; 32:15; 45:23; Lev 26:26; Num 7; Jos 15:57; Rut 4:2; 1 Sam 17:17; 2 Sam 18:15; 1 Kin 7).  Horn=symbol of strength, authority, resistance to authority, prideful resistance, boastfully intransigent and unbending; warring. (Lam 2:3, 17; Eze 29:21; Dan 7:8; Psa 5:4,5; Jer 48:25).  The terrifying beast of Dan 7 also had ten horns, which proved to be “kings” in 7:20 and 24, 3 of whom were subdued by the “little horn” of 7:8.

Diadems—Symbol of human authority, crown; actually, a blue and white band securing a Persian turban/tiara.  Satan, up until this point still in the heavenlies but fallen, is the penultimate ruler of the earthly, human realm and has fully expanded into the vacuum created by man’s willful disobedience to his Creator.

4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

Swept away a third of the stars of heavenOne third of the angels followed Satan in his rebellion.  Satan, a fallen angel, is called a “star” in Isa 14:12:  “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn!”  Rev 1:20 reports that “the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches…”

The dragon stood before the woman…when she gave birth he might devour her childSatan tried to kill Jesus after he was born; Mary and Joseph had to flee to Egypt as Herod the Great had all children under two in Bethlehem slain (Mat 2:13ff).

Verses 3-4 have also been related to the constellations Draco (the Dragon—Satan) and Virgo (the Virgin—Mary) and movements of individual stars within these constellations that may have portended the incarnation and crucifixion events during the life of Jesus.

5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.

A son, a male childYeshua, Jesus; Isa 66:7, Zec 9:9, Mic 4:10.

Who is to rule all the nations with a rod of ironJesus was to rule; this is language is taken from Psa 2: “He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron…’”

Her child was caught up to God and to His throneJesus ascended to Heaven (Acts 1:11) where He sits on the throne (Heb 1:11; 12:2)

6 Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

Fled into the wildernessIsrael was scattered throughout the entire world, the “wilderness”.  Moses, Elijah, Paul and most notably, the Nation of Israel fled Egypt and Pharaoh into the wilderness, where God protected and prospered them.  Spiritual Israel, the Ekklesia, was scattered from Jerusalem when the persecution started with the martyrdom of Stephen.

A place prepared by Godin the “wilderness” of the world.  When Israel left Egypt, it fled to the wilderness where God provided for them, shade by day and light by night, manna and quail.  God protected his new covenant people through the persecutions by Satan via the Jews, the Roman Empire, the Roman Church, Islam and countless others through the two millennia since Christ.

One thousand two hundred and sixty days–this could mean 1260 days, years, or it could even be a symbolic number.  Three OT precedents are examples of the “year for a day” principle, to which Historicists hold.  In Numbers 14:34, Israel must wander for 40 years in the wilderness, one year for every day spent by the spies in Canaan.  Ezekiel 4:5-6 describes the prophet being commanded to lie on his left side for 390 days, followed by his right side for 40 days, to symbolize the equivalent number of years of punishment on Israel and Judah respectively.  Daniel 9:24-27 is known as the Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.  The passage refers to 70 “sevens” or “septets” of years—that is, a total of 490 years.

The question arises as to whether this 1260 is distinct from the 3 1/2 “times” of Rev 12:14 wherein the woman likewise flees into the wilderness, the 1260 days that the two witnesses prophesy in 11:3, or the 42 months of 13:5.  I believe these refer to the same period, a particular period of persecution also called “Jacob’s Trouble” in Jer 30:7 of the bride/wife of God made up of both OT and NT saints at the end of the age.

Here are all the biblical references to this period, starting in the Old Testament:

Dan 7:25:  “He [the little horn, the Antichrist] will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law, and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.

Dan 12:7:  “I heard the man dressed in linen [Michael], who was above the waters of the river [peoples of the earth], as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time [1260 days, or years?]; and as soon as they [the Antichrist] finish shattering the power of the holy people [the remnant, the elect, the Israel of God], all these events [the tribulation and the resurrection] will be completed.”  In verse 9 Michael tells Daniel that the words are concealed and sealed until the end time.

Jam 5:17:  “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth [the Israel part of the earth] for three years and six months. [the same period of testing]

Rev 11:2-3:  “Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months [equal to 1260 days/3.5 years—the same period of trials]And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”

Rev 12:14:  “But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.”

Rev 13:5:  “There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”

Two ‘Little Horns’ – Do Daniel Chapters 7 & 8 describe the same individual?

February 18, 2012

A prevalent view I’ve encountered lately is that the “Little Horns” of Daniel chapters 7 & 8 describe the same person. After all they both chronicle “Little Horns”, a rather unique descriptor, and either explicitly or implicitly state that “the vision pertains to the time of the end” (Dan 8:17, 19).  The term “Little Horn” is too specific it is argued, it must they refer to the same time, kingdom and individual!  While there are clearly some differences, mustn’t we massage and synthesize the data to arrive at the truth? No. To be certain, there is a relationship between the two; they are in the same ‘family’; similar, but not the same evil entity.

Let us briefly examine some of the distinctives of the two Little Horns, then we can discover their actual identities.  Let’s start with the Chapter 7 Little Horn (LH):

  • The Ch. 7 LH stays small, unlike the one in Ch. 8, although it has “great boasts” (v8, 11)
  • Its littleness draws attention to its eyes and mouth (v8)
  • 3 of the 10 horns were pulled out by the roots before it (v8)
  • This LH was slain, and given to the burning fire, presumably by “the Ancient of Days”, described in verses 9 & 10 (v11).  BTW, this is also the destiny of “the Beast” of Revelation, see Rev 19:20.
  • It makes war with the saints (kaddesh, ‘holy ones’, the Greek version of which, hagios, is used of believers in the book of Revelation) and prevails (v21)
  • Judgment was passed on the horn and the kingdom was given to the saints (v22)
  • This little horn arising from the ten that issue from the fourth beast, will be “different” from the previous ones and will subdue three kings (v24)
  • He will speak out against the Most High and wear down his saints (v25) He will try to make changes in times and laws (v25)
  • They will be delivered for a “time, times and half a time”. A common interpretation of this is 1+2+1/2 = 3-1/2 years, although another plausible interpretation goes like this: It will take time, then it will seem like a really long time (times), then the end will come suddenly, in 1/2 a time. (v25)

Inserted into this description of this Little Horn’s time is the coming of the ‘Son of Man’ (v13), who brings an everlasting kingdom, with people serving Him, that will never pass away. It is rather simple to conclude that this is a prophecy of Yeshua, the Son of Man’s second coming, and this Little Horn, who is tied with the terrible, fourth beast (v7, 8, 11, 19, & 20), is none other than the Antichrist, the Beast of Revelation.

So now let’s review the Chapter 8 Little Horn:

  • The ram has two horns representing the Medes and Persians. The longer horn comes up last, representing Cyrus and the Persians (v3, 20)
  • The ram “butts” or pushes west, south and north, the direction of their greatest conquests (v4)
  • A he-goat comes from the west, which v 21 identifies as Greece; its feet don’t touch the earth (its fast). It has a “conspicuous horn”; from history, this is Alexander (v5)
  • The he-goat Greece triumphs over Medo-Persia (v6-7)
  •  The one conspicuous horn broke into four; again from history, Cassander, Lys., Seluecus and Ptolemy (v8)
  • A LH grew up from one of the four; this is Antiochus Epiphanes (AE), proceding from Seleucus. This horn grows, unlike the horn of Chapter 7.  It grew toward “the Desire” or the “Beautiful Land”, NASB (v9)
  • It grew toward “the host of Heaven”, causing some of these stars to fall (v10).  These could be the holy people, the Jews, or angels.
  • It magnified itself to be equal to the Commander of the Host (Yahweh God), and removed the regular sacrifice from Him (v11).  Historically sacrifice was stopped for several years by AE, in 168-165 BC.
  • The host (the Jewish people) are given over to the LH, who flings truth to the ground (v12)
  • The transgression that causes horror, the vision of the stopping of the regular sacrifice, takes 2300 evenings and mornings to be properly restored (v13, 14). This could mean 2300 days, or 1150 days, since “evenings and mornings” are described, possibly referring to the twice daily sacrifices.  This in itself is a “foreshadowing” or type of the Abomination of Desolation which descends on Israel as a result of their rejection of their Messiah, Yeshua.

Verses 20-26 of Chapter 7 interpret the verses referenced above, including revealing the kingdoms involved (Media, Persia and Greece) and more detailed description of this insolent king, skilled in intrigue (v23).

While there are certainly similarities (more on that in a moment), consider these significant differences:

  • The Ch. 7 LH arises from the terrible beast, different from all others, amidst 10 horns, overthrowing 3, while the Ch. 8 LH arises out of one of the four horns, described as emanating from Greece.
  • The Ch. 7 LH is defeated by appearance of both the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man, resulting in an eternal kingdom wherein the Son is served and obeyed by all peoples and men of every language, while the Ch. 8 LH stops regular sacrifice, which is eventually restored. The only one who meets this description is Antiochus Epiphanes, because after he died, the temple sacrifices were reinitiated. Following the desolation of the temple in 70 A.D., there can be no regular sacrifice to interrupt or restore.

The similarities are noteworthy as well—they are both “horns”, imbued with strength, they both afflict and war against the holy people, they appear in the future relative to Daniel’s point of view, and the two Little Horns are eventually destroyed by God.

The End Time, eschatonic Beast and the Little Horn that arises from him are described first, then this Little Horn’s foreshadower Antiochus Epiphanes, also a Little Horn, is revealed.  In other words, “here is how things finally end with the appearance of the Son of Man’s eternal kingdom on earth” (Chapter 7) while “this one is a pattern and type; he will appear first” (Chapter 8).

The Seal of God vs. ‘The Mark of the Beast’

October 1, 2011

‘Seals’ and ‘Marks’ are symbolical Biblical language for an inward spiritual reality, not a literal, visible sign on or under someone’s skin.  If that weren’t the case, ‘the mark of the beast’ could be given to someone against their will, and the Bible makes clear that those who receive such will inherit God’s wrath and be sentenced to Hell (Rev 14:9-11).  A person’s eternal destiny then would then be determined by another, which contradicts the testimony of the entire Bible.  A spiritual seal or mark is given by God to someone based on that person’s freewill choice–God, in His sovereignty, has allowed people to choose life or death (Deut 30:19).

God seals the righteous in the OT:

The LORD said to him, “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark (H8420 תו tav) on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst.” Eze 9:4

God seals the righteous in the NT:

They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal (G4973 σφραγίς sphragis) of God on their foreheads.  Rev 9:4

God marks the unrighteous in the OT:

And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark (H226  אות ‘owth)  upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.   Gen 4:15

God marks the unrighteous in the NT (By God allowing a person to choose to be marked, he is thus marked by God):

And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark (G5480 χάραγμα charagma) on their right hand or on their forehead.   Rev 13:16

Were these physical or spiritual seals and marks?  Certainly we can see the sealing of the righteous is spiritual–wouldn’t it then follow that the unrighteous are likewise spiritually and not physically marked?

Which is emblematic of your life–are you sealed by God, trusting by faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for your sins, or are you turning from God, pursuing your own path, your life marked with sin and self-sufficiency?  When the times become even more difficult to choose Christ, when it becomes life or death, who will you side with?

‘Feast of the Lord’ #5: Yom Teruah / Rosh Hashanah / Trumpets

September 24, 2011

The Spring Feasts–Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost–speak of the 1st coming of Jesus to take our place as the Lamb of God, slain for the sins of the whole world (see The Spring ‘Feasts of the Lord’).  In addition to commemorating major historic events of national Israel, they foreshadow the future Messiah’s work.  Jesus died, was buried, was resurrected, and sent the Holy Spirit on the very days, and on Passover, the very hour specified in Leviticus 23 and other Old Testament passages.

Will the Fall Feasts be any different?  If Jesus came on the day of and fulfilled the very meaning of the Spring Feasts, won’t he do the same when He returns for judgment and salvation of His people Israel, and rulership of the world?  Are we to be taken unawares, as if broken in on like ‘a thief in the night’ (1 Thes 5:4)?  No, scripture warns us to be alert, that we WILL know the signs (1Thes 5:1-8), and that ‘festivals’ are a ‘shadow’ of what is to come (Col 2:16-17).  Let’s examine the Fall Feasts more closely, beginning with Feast #5, the “Feast of Trumpets”:

Trumpets (Yom Teruah, v23-25, Num 29:1) Month 7 (Tishrei—usually Sept-Oct)1st  day—literal meaning is “day of blowing/an alarm/a signal/a shout/awakening” (of the shofar, the ram’s horn); it was later also called Rosh Hashanah, meaning “the head of the year”, since the 7th month begins the “civil” calendar.  The religious calendar begins with Nisan, the 1st month, in remembrance of the deliverance from Egypt, while it is believed that the creation of Adam & Eve occurred on Tishrei 1.

Start of New Year   The Jews maintain a lunar-solar calendar, based on the 29.5 day lunar cycle (every third or fourth year it is reconciled with the solar year via a 13th month).

  1. Trumpets is the only Feast day that occurs on the 1st day of a (lunar) month.   The first day of the month begins on a new (sliver) moon.  During the Feast of Trumpets the beginning of the new year is determined based on the sighting of the new moon in west, following the setting sun.
  2. Trumpets became to be observed on the first two days of Tishrei, since the new moon might actually be determined to begin on the 2nd day rather than the 1st. The Jewish calendar is dependant upon the correct start date of the new year for religious observance reasons.  This was determined by a Rabbinical court in Jerusalem.
  3. Because the new moon might occur on the 29th or 30th day, “Of that day or hour no man knows” was a saying used exclusively on Rosh Hashanah by the Jews.  Additionally, every day of the month Elul that precedes Tishrei, the shofar was blown, except the last day before Rosh Hashanah—this was called “the hidden day”, or “the day that no man knows.”

Wake-up Call/Resurrection   Teruah means “an awakening blast”; the trumpet’s purpose is to awaken us (Eph 5:14); theme of “awakening from sleep” found throughout the Bible—Jn 11:11, Rom 13:11, Dan 12:1-2.

  1. 1 Thes 4:16 very clearly associates the trumpet of God and Yeshua’s shout with the resurrection, as does 1 Cor 15:52, which states “at the last trumpet, the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed…”
  2. Teruah (H8643) can also be translated as “shout”; its root word is Ruah (H7321) meaning “to shout” in triumph, give a signal.  In fact, Teruah is only used twice to mean “blow a trumpet” and both are in connection to the Feast of Trumpets—every other time the word means “to shout” or “to sound an alarm.”  Lev 23:24 could be translated “the shouting of trumpets…”, very similar to 1 Thes 4:16.
  3. The resurrection of the dead will take place on Rosh HaShanah according to the Talmud, (Rosh HaShanah 166).

Judgment   Yom Teruah also speaks of judgment; it was also known as Yom HaDin, the Day of Judgment in the Talmud—it is in preparation for the solemn Day of Atonement, the next Feast day on Tishrei 10.

  1. Between Tishrei 1 & 10 are the “Days of Awe”, the last chance for repentance before the day of judgment and atonement.
  2. The zodiac sign for the month of Tishrei is a pair of scales (same as Libra, occurring same time of year), symbolic of judgment.
  3. Dan 7:9-14 is a poignant picture of Yom Teruah, the beginning of God’s judgment: “the books were opened…one like the son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven…”  Also “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Cor 5:10, Rom 14:10).

Remembrance   The day is also known as Yom HaZikron, ‘zikron’ meaning “to remember”, from Lev 23:24: “shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial…” (KJV)

  1. God remembers us in His ‘book of life’ (Ex 32:32-33, Rev 3:5), and we remember God (Ex 13:3, Deut 8:18).
  2. Since in Dan 7:9-10 “the Ancient of Days took His seat…the court sat, and the books were opened” it is understood to be Rosh Hashanah.  The common greeting among Jews on this day is “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.”

Day of the Lord   When the trumpet blasts and Yeshua returns it is called ‘the Day of the Lord’.  1 Thes 4:13-5:9 explains that:

  1. The Lord will return with a shout and the trumpet of God (v4:16)
  2. The resurrection will occur (v4:17)
  3. This is called ‘the Day of the Lord’ (v5:2)
  4. It will come as a surprise on the unexpecting, like the pains of childbirth on a pregnant woman (v5:3)
  5. We are not to be unexpecting (v5:4-9)
  6. We are not ignorant of ‘the times and the seasons/epochs’ (v5:1, chronos & kairos)

The Shofar   Joel 2:1 associates the blowing of the shofar with the coming of “the Day of the Lord”; The NLT says “.. because the day of the Lord is upon us.”  The trumpet (shofar):

  1. Signals God’s sovereignty over the Earth:  “God has ascended with a shout, The LORD, with the sound of a trumpet” (Psm 47:5)
  2. Announces the coming of the Messiah to save Israel: “Then the LORD will appear over them… And the Lord GOD will blow the trumpet… And the LORD their God will save them in that day” (Zech 9:14, 16)
  3. Ushers in the ‘Day of the Lord’:  “Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the LORD is coming…” (Joel 2:1)
  4. Is sounded at the resurrection of the dead and rapture of believers (1Thes 4:16)
  5. Is blown in Revelation to announce judgments and the arrival of the Kingdom of God on Earth (Rev 11:15-16)
  6. Is blown at the coronation of Kings, such as Solomon (1 Ki 1:39, Psm 47:5)

Jewish Wedding   Jesus compares his return to that of the bridegroom coming for his bride “those who were ready went into the Wedding Feast” (Mt 25:1-10), Eph 5:22-33 compares marriage to Christ and the church and Rev 19:7 says “the bride has made herself ready”.  The Jewish wedding involved many steps relating to our status as ‘bride’:

  1. Bride chosen by Father of bridegroom (Gen 24, Abraham)
  2. A bride price was paid (paid in Yeshua’s blood)
  3. The bride and groom are betrothed (kiddushin)
  4. A betrothal contract is written up (ketubah, The Bible)
  5. Bride must give consent (Israel said “I do” at Mt Sinai (Ex 24:3)
  6. Gifts are given to the bride and a ‘cup of the covenant’ was shared (Lk 22:20)
  7. The bride has a ritual bath (mikvah, water immersion)
  8. The bridegroom returns to Father’s house to prepare the bridal chamber (Yeshua goes to His Father’s House to “prepare a place for you” (Jn 14:2-3)
  9. The bride waited in anticipation for the groom’s return
  10. The bridegroom would return with a shout, “Behold, the bridegroom comes” and the sound of the ram’s horn (shofar) would be blown.
  11. He would abduct his bride, usually in the middle of the night to go to the bridal chamber for 7 days (there are seven days between Rosh Hashanah on Tishrei 1-2 and Yom Kippur on Tishrei 10.
  12. After the 7 days there would be a marriage supper for all the guests (This is a theme of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles)

Other concepts associated with Rosh Hoshanah/FoT:

  1. The Open Door in Heaven:  Is 26:2 says “open the gates that the righteous may enter…” See also Psm 118:19-21, Eze 46:1

Post-Trib Responses to Pre-Trib Beliefs #3

August 9, 2011

This a continuing series that scripturally analyzes Pre-tribulationism, the belief that the Church does not need to go through the Tribulation but is caught up to Heaven with Christ in a Secret Rapture.  Pre-trib teaches that He appears to believers only at the Rapture (i.e., it is “secret”), based on Bible passages, such as these:  1Thess 4:13-18; Mat 5:8; John 11:40; Heb 9:28.  Let’s look at them:

1 Thes 4:13-14:   But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

Paul writes that Christians are to believe that when Jesus returns He will bring with Him those who have died in a saved state—believers in Jesus.  Note several items:  these believers will be coming from Heaven with Jesus, that they are not “soul sleeping” until He returns, and that no sign of two returns, one for the Rapture and one for the Day of Judgment are expressed.  Item #1 is a source of confusion for Pre-Tribism; indeed the saints WILL be accompanying Christ on His return from Heaven, but these are not those “who are alive and remain” (v17).  Item #2—“soul sleep” is the concept that when we die we remain dead and unaware, until Christ returns to resurrect us.  Paul directly contradicts that in these verses.  Item #3—nowhere, including this passage, are two returns of Christ ever seen when applying the main and plain interpretation to a given passage.

1 Thes 4:15:   For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

Paul teaches that many believers will remain on Earth until THE Coming (singular) of the Lord.  Yeshua returns and stays.

1 Thes 4:16:   For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

The trumpet of God is elsewhere called “a great trumpet” in Mt 24:29-31, “the last trumpet” in 1 Cor 15:52, and “the seventh (trumpet)” in Rev 11:15.  The Revelation passage is particularly cogent because at the sounding of the 7th and last trumpet “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ”—if we were raptured away for 3.5 or 7 years at the trumpet blast, arguably the same trumpet referenced in all of these passages, how does the world come under Jesus’ control if there’s still a Tribulation to go through?

1 Thes 4:17-18:   Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

The Greek for “caught up” is “harpazo”, translated “rapturo” in the Latin Vulgate, the English equivalent of which is “rapture”.  This is the only place in the Bible harpazo is used in the context of Christ’s return.  The word “to meet” is particularly interesting in this verse; it is “apantesis”, which means ‘to go out of a city, meet a dignitary or military procession and accompany them BACK into the city’; it has the meaning of “greet”, as in greeting guests that arrive at your house.  The verses state that from then on, we will always be with the Lord.  Pre-Tribulationists cannot make this mean we’ll be with Jesus in the air/heaven only, or even initially, because they also hold that Christ will return to rule during the Millennium, as do Post-Tribbers, so the only certain meaning is that we will never be separated from Christ again.

Mt 5:8:  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

This verse has apparently been used by Chuck Missler, a noted Pre-Tribulationalist, to state that Christ will be seen only by believers when he comes to rapture them.  Not only does this verse not say that, or actually have any specific connection only to the Second Coming, but Rev 1:7 states that “BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.”  Before you protest that this is at His second, Second Coming (to judge), please note that 1 Thes 4:17 (discussed above) says we “will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air”  Both verses reference “clouds”, but Rev 1:7 says that despite the clouds “every eye will see Him”.

 John 11:40:  Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”

 Jesus is talking to Martha here, just before He raises Lazarus from the dead.  He is specifically speaking about the miraculous act about to occur; this verse does not address the Rapture/Resurrection, or whether it will be a secret event seen only by believers.

 Heb 9:28:  so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

Again I fail to see how this supports a secret Rapture—on the other hand, the Greek “deuteros”, meaning “the second, the other of two, the second time” is translated with the definite article “the” or “a”; in other words, it references a single occurrence—He is returning a second time, not many second times.  To say that is only Pre-Trib believers who eagerly await Him is incorrect.

For those who read this, and perhaps believe or come from a Pre-Trib background, like I did, note that verses referenced to support Pre-Trib notions of Christ’s return are being carefully reviewed in light of the context and what other scripture is saying.  If there are any errors in interpretation on my part, I would welcome you to point them out.  As long as we stay focused on what scripture actually says we are going to find the truth.

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