Tag Archives: Salvation

The Marriage Feast of the Lamb in Jewish Wedding Customs

Since June is the month of weddings, there is no better time to reflect on the much anticipated gathering of the bride (kallah) and the wedding of the Lamb!
“For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. … Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”  (Revelation 19:7, 9)
While the exchange of covenant vows between a man and woman who love each other is a blessing in any culture, there are aspects of the Jewish wedding celebration that are rich in spiritual truths.
This ancient ritual prophetically points to the coming of the Messiah and the great celebration of the marriage supper of the Lamb.  It also teaches us unique lessons about God’s covenant love for His people.
One would be hard pressed to find an occasion more joyous than that of a Jewish wedding.  In Hebrew, it’s called a simcha (a joyous occasion).
“Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom.”  (Jeremiah 33:10–11)
 
An Orthodox Jewish wedding in Jerusalem: Traditionally, the chatan
(groom) on the day of his wedding first wears the kittel (white linen garment),
which signifies purity, holiness, and new beginnings.  Thereafter, he wears it
on special occasions such as Rosh Hashanah (New Year’s), Yom Kippur
(Day of Atonement), and Pesach (Passover).
Since Yeshua (Jesus) used the model of the ancient Jewish marriage ceremony to refer to His future second coming, to recognize exactly what He was talking about, it’s helpful to understand the nature of marriage during His earthly ministry in Israel.
There are three distinct parts to the ancient Jewish wedding:
  • shiddukhin (mutual commitment),
  • erusin (engagement), and
  • nissuin (marriage).
Shiddukhin:  A Time of Mutual Commitment
“The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.’”  (Genesis 2:18)
Shiddukhin refers to the preliminary arrangements prior to the legal betrothal.
 
Signing the ketubah (marriage contract): in ancient times, the ketubah
protected the rights of the wife by specifying the groom’s responsibilities in
caring for her, and the amount of support that would be due her in the event
of a divorce. 
In ancient times, the father of the groom often selected a bride (kallah) for his son, as did Abraham for his son Isaac (Genesis 24:1-4).
In Ultra-Orthodox Judaism today, many marriages are still arranged by a marriage broker or matchmaker called a shadkhan.  It’s considered an exalted and holy vocation to find and arrange a good marital match, called a shiddukh, between a man and woman.
In ancient times, marriage was looked upon as more of an alliance for reasons of survival or practicality, and the concept of romantic love remained a secondary issue, if considered at all. Romantic love grew over time for some.

Rebecca at the Well, Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini
Of course, the consent of the bride-to-be is an important consideration. Rebecca (Rivkah), for example, was asked if she agreed to go back with Abraham’s servant to marry Abraham’s son, Isaac.  She went willingly (Genesis 24:57–59).
Likewise, we cannot be forced into a relationship with the Son, Yeshua (Jesus).
In the same way that Rebecca was asked if she would go with Abraham’s servant, the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) asks us if we are willing to follow Him to be joined in a covenant of love with Yeshua.
Traditionally, in preparation for the betrothal ceremony, the bride (kallah) and groom (chatan) are separately immersed in water in a ritual called the mikvah, which is symbolic of spiritual cleansing.
In Matthew 3:13–17, we read that Yeshua has already been immersed (baptized) by Yochanan (John) in the waters of mikvah at the Jordan River.
As the Bride-to-be, we are also asked to be immersed.
“Whoever believes and is baptized [ritually immersed] will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”  (Mark 16:16) 

A groom rejoices by dancing with his friends after immersing
himself in the mikvah.  The water for this mikvah bath is outside
and fed by a spring from which the natural water runs down a
hill into the mikvah, just outside of Jerusalem.

Erusin:  The Betrothal

“He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”  (Proverbs 18:22)
After the immersion, the couple entered the huppah (marriage canopy), symbolic of a new household being planned, to establish a binding contract.
Here, the groom would give the bride money or a valuable object such as a ring, and a cup of wine was customarily shared to seal their covenant vows.
In this public ceremony under the huppah, the couple entered into the betrothal period, which typically lasted for about a year.  Although they were considered married, they did not live together or engage in sexual relations.

An outdoor Jewish wedding under a huppah in Vienna
To annul this contract, the couple would need a religious divorce (get), which had to be initiated by the husband.
 Matthew 1:18–25 provides an excellent example of this.
 During the erusin of Yosef (Joseph) and Miriam (Mary), Yosef discovered that Miriam was pregnant, and he considered divorcing her, although he had not yet brought her home as his wife.
“…he had in mind to divorce her quietly.  But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.’”  (Matthew 1:19–20)
During the erusin period, the groom was to prepare a place for his bride, while the bride focused on her personal preparations—wedding garments, lamps, etc.
 Although the bride knew to expect her groom after about a year, she did not know the exact day or hour.  He could come earlier, and it was the father of the groom who gave final approval for him to return to collect his bride.
 For that reason, the bride kept her oil lamps ready at all times, just in case the groom came in the night, sounding the shofar (ram’s horn) to lead the bridal procession to the home he had prepared for her.

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, by William Blake
In the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1–13), Yeshua (Jesus) likened the Kingdom of Heaven to this special period of erusin, when the groom comes for his bride:
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him!’  Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.”  (Matthew 25:6– 7)
So too today, in the season of Yeshua’s end-time return, we should be careful to remain alert and prepared for His coming, since Yeshua was speaking to His disciples prophetically about the condition of the Church in the last days.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  (Matthew 7:21)

In Jewish weddings today, there are two cups of
wine during the wedding ceremony.  After the rabbi
recites the betrothal blessings accompanying the
first cup, the couple drinks from it.  Since wine is
associated with Kiddish, the prayer of sanctification
recited on Shabbat, and since marriage is the
sanctification of the bride and groom to each other,
marriage is also called kiddushin.
Nissuin:  The Marriage
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  (John 14:3)
The final step in the Jewish wedding tradition is called nissuin (to take), a word that comes from naso, which means to lift up.
At this time, the groom, with much noise, fanfare and romance, carried the bride home.
Once again, the bride and groom would enter the huppah, recite a blessing over the wine (a symbol of joy), and finalize their vows.
Now, finally, they would consummate their marriage and live together as husband and wife, fully partaking of all the duties and privileges of the covenant of marriage.

It is traditional in some Jewish communities for the
bride to circle the groom seven times and then stand to
the groom’s right side under the huppah.  Since the
number seven biblically symbolizes completion and
perfection, this represents the wholeness and
completeness that they cannot attain separately.
Likewise, the Messiah, as the Bridegroom, has gone to prepare a place for us.
The day of the return of the Messiah for His Bride is soon approaching.
Although, we know approximately the time of His return from the signs of the times, “the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  (2 Peter 3:10)
The Bride (Believers in Yeshua) should be living consecrated lives, keeping themselves pure and holy in preparation for the Nissuin and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, when the Groom comes with the blast of the shofar (1 Thessalonians 4:16) to bring His Bride home.

A Jewish bride and groom take a walk beside the ocean together for the first
time as man and wife.
Traditional Jewish Marriages Today
“Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber [huppah].”  (Joel 2:16)
Today, in traditional Judaism, the erusin and the nissuin are combined into one.
The bride and groom sign the marriage contract (ketubah) in the presence of the rabbi and two witnesses before the ceremony.
Unlike a Christian wedding, where it’s generally taboo for the groom to see the bride before the ceremony, in a Jewish wedding, the groom must see his bride before the ceremony.
Why?  Remember the story of Laban, who tricked Jacob into marrying his eldest daughter, even though he loved Rachel?
Since Jacob didn’t ensure the identity of his bride, he ended up marrying the woman he thought would be his sister-in-law, Leah (Genesis 29).

Jacob Meets Rachel at the Well, by William Dyce
In ancient times, the wedding feast (seudah) after the nissuin might have included seven full days of food, music, dancing and celebrations (Judges 14:10–12).
Today, the Jewish ceremony is usually followed by a wedding supper and reception with food, wine, music, and dance!
However, Orthodox Jews do celebrate after the wedding for seven nights with friends and family, hosting festive meals in honor of the bride and groom.

Jewish Wedding in Morocco, by Eugene Delacroix (Louvre Museum)
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.”  (Revelation 21:1–2)
When Messiah returns for us, and everything in the world today indicates that this will be very soon, we will celebrate the marriage supper of the Lamb with Him and our joy (simcha) will be beyond measure.
But there will be those who won’t share in our simcha or celebrate with us because they do not know Yeshua!
Now is the time to reach out to them, while we are still in the erusin period, before the Bridegroom comes.
“Behold, I am coming soon!  My reward is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. … The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’  And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come.”  (Revelation 22:12, 17)
Now so much more can be said on how Jesus has already fulfilled the first two distinct parts to the ancient Jewish wedding, like the covenant has been fulfilled by God, giving us His word the Holy Bible! and how He plans on fulfilling the third! But for now the point is made, and I hope you have a fresh understanding on what is in God’s heart for you and me!
In these end times, please help us bring the Good News of Yeshua and of His Salvation to Israel and the world, so that everyone has the opportunity to come to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Time is Short!

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The Body Of Jesus Christ is also The Bride Of Jesus Christ

The Body Of Jesus Christ is also The Bride Of Jesus Christ. How The New Testament Church Can Be Both The Bride And Body Of Jesus Christ At The Same Time.

Going 6,000 years back into the past, in the very beginning of Genesis, God has placed a wonderful and amazing type of the New Testament Church in the creation of Adam and Eve.

“And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” 1 Corinthians 15:45-47 (KJV)

On a fairly regular basis, people will send us emails or comment on our site about the identity of the body of Christ and the bride of Christ. And more often than not, people seem confused about who this Bride is, and what constitutes the Body of Christ. Rarely do people make the connection that the Bible teaches us that the Bride and Body of Jesus Christ are one and the same entity, the Church. The trail of Scripture which proves that goes all the way back to the creation in Genesis, where we read about an amazing event that almost no one connects with the New Testament church.

Adam’s bride was taken from his own body

“And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Genesis 2:21-23 (KJV)

The Bible tells us that God created Adam in His own image in Genesis 1, right? If you would have been alive in the Garden of Eden and seen Adam, you would have seen the very image of God Himself. OK, shortly after God created Adam, it was decided that he needed a wife for him to be complete, so God created a bride for Adam. But Eve was not taken “from the ground” as Adam was, she was made up of very different material. Eve was formed from one of Adam’s ribs, from Adam’s own body. This means that Adam’s bride was also his body at the very same time. You might want to pause here for a moment and reflect on that, and allow that thought to wash over you as it did me the very time the Holy Spirit revealed that to me.

Jesus’ bride is taken from his own body

Going 6,000 years back into the past, in the very beginning of Genesis, God has placed a wonderful and amazing type of the New Testament Church in the creation of Adam and Eve. For the “first Adam”, God fashioned him a bride out of his own body. For the “last Adam” which 1 Corinthians tells us is Jesus Christ, God has done exactly the same thing. He has given Him a body from which He also has created a Bride.

“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:30-32 (KJV)

If you are a born again, saved sinner in the Church Age, you are part of the body of Jesus Christ. You have been grafted in to His Body so that He now dwells inside of you. This doctrine is one of the great mysteries revealed to the apostle Paul:

Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Colossians 1:26,27 (KJV)

The Church is both the body and bride of Jesus Christ

Just as Adam was presented with a bride that was taken from his own body, so will God also present His Son, Jesus Christ, with a Bride also taken from His own body.

“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:2 (KJV)

If a “virgin” is presented to a “husband”, then by very definition she is a “bride”. This is exactly what the Holy Spirit had in mind when He wrote the following through the apostle Paul:

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:23,24 (KJV)

Now we also know the identity of New Jerusalem

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:2 (KJV)

This verse puzzles a whole lot of people who study the Bible, and rightly so, it’s a tough one. I “chewed on it” for quite some time before the Lord allowed me to “connect the dots”. The question here is this – if the Church made up of people is the bride of Jesus Christ, how is it possible that it can be a “city” at the same time? A city is a place where people live, yet Revelation seems to somehow be merging the two.

In John 14, beloved by so many millions of Christians, we read about the promise of Jesus to build us a “mansion” in Heaven. Not only that, the same passage also tells us that Jesus will “come and get us” in the Pretribulation Rapture. Those “mansions in Heaven” is what makes up the New Jerusalem from Revelation 21.

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:1-3 (KJV)

So now we clearly see where where the Church, the Bride, will live for eternity, but how is the Bride also a physical city? The answer is found in 1 Peter:

“To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.” 1 Peter 2:4-6 (KJV)

And here is where the “dam breaks open”, and it all comes together in one glorious revelation

All through the Bible, Jesus Christ is revealed the foundational building block of our salvation, please note the following:

  • THE STONE MADE WITHOUT HANDS: “Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.” Daniel 2:34 (KJV)
  • THE CORNER STONE: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isaiah 28:16 (KJV)
  • A STONE OF STUMBLING AND ROCK OF OFFENCE: “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” 1 Peter 2:7,8 (KJV)

If you have been born again, you are “flesh of his flesh” and “bone of his bone”. Jesus is the “chief corner stone”, we are His precious “living stones” who make up the New Jerusalem.

“And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.” Revelation 21:19,20 (KJV)

We don’t just live in the New Jerusalem, we are the New Jerusalem, though yes there is still a physical building that does come down from Heaven. What I’m saying here is, it was made for us!

The Church is the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, and the New Jerusalem where God will once again and for all eternity “dwell with man”. God’s glory will be forever made manifest in the thing for which He shed His own blood – the Church of Jesus Christ.

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 1:5,6 (KJV)

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Acts 20:28 (KJV)

“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.” Hebrews 13:12 (KJV)

Amen, come and get us Lord. We’re ready! If your your not ready click here: Salvation

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Dalai Lama

Tibetan Buddhists believe him to be the 14th reincarnation of the original Dalai Lama, a spiritual leader who was born in 1351 and who was said to be the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara,  The 14th Dalai Lama is the current Dalai Lama. Dalai Lamas are important monks of the Gelug school, the newest school of Tibetan Buddhism which is nominally headed by the Ganden Tripas.

Buddhism is the fourth largest of the world’s religions, with about 375 million followers. The religion of Buddhism is made up of several sects, philosophies, or schools. One of these is Tibetan Buddhism which is a religion-in-exile, forced from its homeland when Tibet was conquered by the Chinese. The leader of Tibetan Buddhism is the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since he fled the Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959.

Partly because of the worldwide prominence of the Dalai Lama, most people have heard about Tibetan Buddhism. The Tibetan form of Buddhism is one of the most complicated because it is tied to the ancient spirit-oriented religion of the Tibetan plateau. The essential goal of Tibetan Buddhism, however, is unchanged: to realize enlightenment and enter “nirvana,” or the freedom of one’s spiritual self from the attachment to or affection for worldly things.

Tibetan Buddhism focuses on its monks, called “lamas.” Correspondingly, it also recognizes a multitude of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (a deity or being who has attained enlightenment worthy of nirvana but remains in the world to help others), as well as their consorts. Lamas use different meditation techniques, which include what is called “mandalas” (spiritual diagrams) and prayer wheels. The Dalai Lama is the highest lama. What is most interesting is that whenever the Dalai Lama dies, Tibetan Buddhists believe he is reborn as an infant, and officials of the religion search for the child who is supposed to bear certain distinguishing marks and when he is discovered, he then becomes the new Dalai Lama.

The current Dalai Lama is named Tenzin Gyatso and is the 14th Dalai Lama. His real name is Lhamo Thondup. Born in 1935 and “discovered” in 1937, he was given the name he now bears, Tenzin Gyatso. He became the political head of Tibet in 1950. However, he left Tibet to establish a government-in-exile in 1959 when the Chinese took over that country. In 1989, the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

So is he a spiritual or political leader?

Both. Six million Tibetan Buddhists look to him for religious guidance but he is also leader of 100,000 Tibetans living in exile in India and the world’s most prominent political refugee. Since fleeing Tibet he has dedicated himself to campaigning internationally for his exiled homeland, but always stressing the need for non-violence a stance which won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

The Dalai Lama has trod a careful line which has kept him spiritually pure but also politically crafty. He has come up with a “middle way” to resolve the status of Tibet autonomy for Tibet within China. He speaks differently to Tibetans and to Westerners. With his own people he is, like previous Dalai Lamas, serious and directive about what they should do. With Westerners he does not pontificate from a high moral position but is an altogether more genial figure who talks with humility from his own Buddhist practice. He is warm and humorous. His medium is his message. But when he speaks to Western Buddhists he often warns them “to be interested in religion you have to be involved in politics”.


Most Buddhists consider Jesus to be an “enlightened master” but not the Son of God. During an interview with “Christianity Today,” the Dalai Lama said that Jesus had lived previous lives and His purpose was to teach a message of tolerance and compassion, to help people to become better human beings. And this is the primary problem with the Dalai Lama and all of Buddhism. While some aspects of the Dalai Lama’s message are undeniably positive, and while most Buddhists are indeed kind-hearted “good” human beings, their denial of the biblical Jesus infinitely outweighs any positive aspects of Buddhism.

The Scriptures reveal that Jesus is God in human form, slain for the sins of the world (John 3:16). Yes, Jesus taught tolerance and compassion, but that was not the primary reason for His coming. Jesus came to provide Salvation for all those who receive Him as Savior. Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus provides salvation for us because we are absolutely incapable of saving ourselves. Due to their explicit rejection of this truth, the Dalai Lama is a false prophet and Buddhism is a false religion. On the most crucial of issues, the Dalai Lama is, sadly, not enlightened.

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The New Jerusalem Is

There is no need for a sun means just that. In Creation, God made light before he created the sun and moon. Do not try to limit the New heaven by our human terms. This is going to be quite different from anything any of us knows!

The New Jerusalem, which is also called the Tabernacle of God, the Holy City, the City of God, the Celestial City, the City Foursquare, and Heavenly Jerusalem, is literally heaven on earth. It is referred to in the Bible in several places (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 11:10; 12:22-24; and 13:14), but it is most fully described in Revelation 21.

In Revelation 21; the recorded history of man is at its end. All of the ages have come and gone. Christ has gathered His church in the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). The Tribulation has passed (Revelation 6-18). The battle of Armageddon has been fought and won by our Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:17-21). Satan has been chained for the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth (Revelation 20:1-3). A new, glorious temple has been established in Jerusalem (Ezekiel 40-48). The final rebellion against God has been quashed, and Satan has received his just punishment, an eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7-10.) The Great White Throne Judgment has taken place, and mankind has been judged (Revelation 20:11-15).

In Revelation 21:1 God does a complete make-over of heaven and earth (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:12-13). The new heaven and new earth are what some call the “eternal state” and will be “where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). After the re-creation, God reveals the New Jerusalem. John sees a glimpse of it in his vision: “The Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” (Revelation 21:2). This is the city that Abraham looked for in faith (Hebrews 11:10). It is the place where God will dwell with His people forever (Revelation 21:3). Inhabitants of this celestial city will have all tears wiped away (Revelation 21:4).

The New Jerusalem will be fantastically huge. John records that the city is nearly 1,400 miles long, and it is as wide and as high as it is long-a perfect cube (Revelation 21:15-17). The city will also be dazzling in every way. It is lighted by the glory of God (verse 23). Its twelve foundations, bearing the names of the twelve apostles, are “decorated with every kind of precious stone” (verse 19). It has twelve gates, each a single pearl, bearing the names of the twelve tribes of Israel (verses 12 and 21). The street will be made of pure gold (verse 21).

The New Jerusalem will be a place of unimagined blessing. The curse of the old earth will be gone (Revelation 22:3). In the city are the tree of life “for the healing of the nations” and the river of life (verses 1-2). It is the place that Paul spoke of: “In the coming ages [God] might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). The New Jerusalem is the ultimate fulfillment of all God’s promises. The New Jerusalem is God’s goodness made fully manifest.

Who are the residents of the New Jerusalem? The Father and the Lamb are there (Revelation 21:22). Angels are at the gates (verse 12). But the city will be filled with God’s redeemed children. The New Jerusalem is the righteous counter to the evil Babylon (Revelation 17), destroyed by God’s judgment (Revelation 18). The wicked had their city, and God has His. To which city do you belong? Babylon the Great or the New Jerusalem? If you believe that Jesus, the Son of God, died and rose again and have asked God to save you by His grace, then you are a citizen of the New Jerusalem. “God raised [you] up with Christ and seated [you] with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). You have “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade” (1 Peter 1:4). If you have not yet trusted Christ as your Savior, then we urge you to receive Him. The invitation is extended: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).

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Salvation In The Time Of Jacob’s Trouble Contains An Element Of Works

Our apostle, Paul, tells us that the WHOLE BIBLE is written FOR us, but the whole Bible is not written to us. There is doctrine for the Church Age in his writings, but not all Bible doctrine can be applied to the Church Age

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:12,13 (KJV)

There are two platform Bible doctrines that the lazy Laodicean Christians in our day seem to despise more than any other. The first being the glorious doctrine of the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church, and the second being the amazing gift of eternal security given to no other dispensation in human history. We’ll start with the second one first, eternal security.

Like it or not, Christians in the Church Age cannot lose their salvation

The apostle Paul, in so many places in his writings, tells us over and over that we did nothing to earn our salvation and we do nothing to keep it. The mechanics of it are amazing, but simple. In the Church Age, when anyone becomes born again, they are SEALED IN by the Holy Spirit so they can never “fall out”. If a kind aunt or uncle gives your 5 year old child a gift card on their birthday with a $20 bill inside, do you let them be in charge of the money – or – do you “hold it for them” until they are ready to spend it? Answer – you hold it for them because you know they of their own accord would lose it. That’s what God does for you and me in the Church Age, He holds our salvation by sealing us in so we cannot “lose it” when we sin after salvation.

“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:10-14 (KJV)

In Romans 8, Paul again reminds us that there is nothing we can think, say or do that can separate us from Jesus Christ after we have gotten saved.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35,37-39 (KJV)

In no other dispensation since Adam and Eve has God given the gift of being eternally secure. In the Old Testament, in any of those former dispensations, people who fell away from the LORD died and dropped straight into the pit of Hell, and sometimes for a whole lot less of an offence than you or I might commit on a fairly regular basis. Those people were NOT “sealed in” by the Holy Spirit, and there is not ONE verse anywhere in the Old Testament showing anyone had eternal security. When King David sinned with Bathsheba, David being a man after God’s own heart, he begged God not to take the Holy Spirit from him. Why? Because David knew he could lose it for what he did, and on some levels should have lost it.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12 (KJV)

So we clearly see that people in the OT did not have eternal security and were not sealed in. In the time of Jacob’s trouble this will return

The Church Age, which began in the book of Acts and will continue until the Rapture, is the only dispensation that is sealed in. In the time of Jacob’s trouble which starts on the heels of the rapture of the Church, there is a return to the Kingdom Age which was in effect until Acts 7 and the stoning of Stephen. What God had “put on pause” is once again at the top of the prophecy playlist.

For lack of a better term, let’s refer to the people who follow God in the time of Jacob’s trouble as Tribulation Saints. These end times saints are faced with enormous difficulties and challenges that you can read about in detail here. And the Scripture verses that talk about the tribulation saints have something that NONE of Paul’s writings contain, can you guess what that might be? Works connected with salvation. You cannot find me ONE verse in all the Bible where Paul connects works with the born again believer’s salvation, only to their inheritance at the Judgment Seat of Christ. But for the Tribulation saint, without maintaining works pleasing to the Lord they cannot be saved. Here are just a few to illustrate what I mean.

  • “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:11-13 (KJV) Note: In the time of Jacob’s trouble, if you don’t endure to the end, you are NOT saved. Works all the way.
  • “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” Revelation 14:12,13 (KJV) Note: The people in Revelation 14 are Tribulation saints, and not only do they keep the commandments for salvation, their works follow them around. Christians in the Church Age are not required to “keep the commandments” for salvation.
  • “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26 (KJV) Note: To whom is the book of James addressed? To the “12 tribes” of Israel in, and it will have it’s doctrinal application in the time of Jacob’s trouble.
  • “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:12 (KJV) Note: Did you catch the time reference in this verse? The “day of visitation” is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Peter is doctrinally addressing Tribulation saints.

Before we go further, let us address the difference between a doctrinal application versus a spiritual one

Our apostle, Paul, tells us that the WHOLE BIBLE is written FOR us, but the whole Bible is not written to us. There is doctrine for the Church Age in his writings, but not all Bible doctrine can be applied to the Church Age.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16,17 (KJV)

We can read books like 1&2 Peter, Hebrews and James and derive much spiritual and prophetical application from them, but almost no doctrinal application at all. Peter, Hebrews and James are Kingdom Age books doctrinally, and will be the gospel for the Tribulation saints in the the time of Jacob’s trouble. But for Christians in the Church Age, there is much from a devotional aspect we can glean from them.

The great Mark of the Beast conundrum

I’ve asked if they believed in the Bible doctrine of eternal security that we have been discussing in this article. To my joy and surprise, they say “absolutely believed” that Christians in the Church Age are eternally “sealed” until the “day of redemption”. Just for fun, I ask again if they truly believed what they had just stated, and they reaffirmed they did. 100%.

With their now-stated belief in eternal security for Christians in the Church Age confirmed, I took them to Revelation 14 where is says this:

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11 (KJV)

I thought I could hear them either gulp or gasp when those words sunk in on. Then, without allowing them to catch his breath, I took them to Revelation 20:

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4 (KJV)

Now they are in stunned disbelief. Why? Because I had just showed two places in the Bible where God says there is a sin that is absolutely unforgivable, the sin of taking the Mark of the Beast. If Christians were in the time of Jacob’s trouble, with eternal security, and one took the Mark what would happen? Unless God had some hidden verses to account for it, that Christian would NOT lose their salvation by taking the Mark, but in so doing, it would be in grievous violation of the two verses I just showed you.

So now we are presented with an unsolvable Bible contradiction….unless…unless…unless the Church is removed in the Rapture before the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble. Which we are – yay!

Now you need to do some thinking here, but hopefully it’s starting to sink in. If the TAKING of the Mark is the unforgivable sin in the Tribulation, and it is, then the NOT TAKING of the Mark would be a WORK connected with keeping or maintaining your salvation. Do you get it? Does it make sense now?

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

Our apostle Paul commands us to “rightly divide” the Bible, thus proving that divisions or dispensations exist. And when we do that, like a magic decoder ring in the cereal boxes of yesteryear, we begin to see what is doctrine for us, and what is doctrine for those who come after us.

One reason why Paul is so despised by many “christian” splinter groups like the Hebrew Roots Movement, Sacred Name, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and so many others is because it is in his writings we learn of the Pretrib Rapture, Eternal Security, Salvation by grace through faith, and so many others. Why would those groups not like those doctrines?

In a word – Pride!

The lazy Laodicean “christians”  and the various cultists all have this fantasy of “working their way” through the Tribulation. Many have told me when discussing it that they want to “pay Jesus back” for His FREE GIFT of salvation. Imagine such a thing, paying Jesus back! First of all, if you somehow could “pay Jesus back” in the Church Age, you would immediately lose your salvation because it would stop being a free gift. But they don’t stop to consider finer points like that.

Secondly, cultists love to trap their followers in a system of works because that’s how they exercise control over them. It makes me laugh when people tell me they are “Torah observant” and they are “keeping the Sabbath”. No such commands were ever given to any Christian ever, and never will be. Paul says we are FREED from the keeping of the Law for salvation.

“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” Galatians 4:21 (KJV)

I hope this study of Scripture has helped to shed some light on how works are connected with salvation in the time of Jacob’s trouble, and why that is not the case in the Church Age we are currently in. Please click on the links below and read the studies found there to further amplify what has been taught here.

May the Lord richly bless YOUR study of His glorious word!

 

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If You’re Left Behind After The Rapture Of The Church

If You’re Left Behind After The Rapture Of The Church: When I scoured my Bible for verses showing people who rejected the gospel of the grace of God in the Church Age, getting saved after the Rapture, unlike the Left Behind series I could not find it.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12 (KJV)

Like most of Christian America, I was thrilled when the Left Behind book series came out back in December of 1995. It accurately showed that the Rapture of the Church must take place prior to the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble, commonly referred to as the Great Tribulation. It showed characters acting out Bible prophecy in a realistic and exciting fashion, and we rejoiced with them as one by one they came to get right with the Lord and become born again.

My King James Bible in a plethora of places shows me the events surround the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church. It shows up as early as chapter 2 in the Song of Solomon, is all throughout Paul’s writings, and has its main crescendo in chapter four of the book of Revelation. But when I scoured my Bible for verses showing people who rejected the gospel of the grace of God in the Church Age, getting saved after the Rapture, unlike the Left Behind series I could not find it.

What I did find, however, shook me to my core.

God sends a strong delusion on the heels of the rapture of the Church

The apostle Paul tells us that the two things that must take place in order for the Rapture of the Church to start are

1). The great falling away from gospel truth, and

2). The revealing of the Antichrist.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 (KJV)

Now anyone with eyes and ears who is even mildly awake can tell you that the falling away has been in full swing for quite some time now. Nearly 100% of the preachers on television and radio are preaching lies to get money from people. Fakers like Rod Parsley, Paula White, Todd Bentley, Hillsong, Joel Osteen and all the others are nothing more than end times charlatans who make up the Laodicean Church from Revelation 3.

As far as when the Antichrist is revealed, it looks like that and the Rapture happen at very close to the same time. The rapture of the Church is shown in Revelation 4:1,2 (KJV), and the releasing of Antichrist by the Lord Jesus Christ happens in Revelation 6:

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Revelation 6:1,2 (KJV)

John, a type of the Church, watches Antichrist let loose almost as soon as he arrives in Heaven. This shows you that very little time passes between the Rapture and the Antichrist. When we go back to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 to pick up the action, we see something quite startling. We see that what accompanies the releasing of Antichrist on the Earth is a strong delusion, given to people who had rejected the preaching of the gospel before the Rapture.

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 (KJV)

You will note the following regarding the context of these verses:

  • Antichrist is revealed on the heels of the Rapture of the Church.
  • Antichrist comes with “signs and lying wonders”.
  • The people who rejected the gospel of the grace of God while the Church was still on the earth are rebuked.
  • Those same people are given a “strong delusion”.
  • Those same people are all damned.

What you don’t see anywhere is people being given a second chance like in the Left Behind series

All the seals that are opened in Revelation 6 match exactly with the action happening in Matthew 24, but we don’t see a whole lot of gentiles. What do we see? We see the Jews back in the spotlight now. And instead of an “end times revival” of the people who missed the Rapture of the Church, we see unsaved gentiles cowering in rocks and caves, begging for death rather than face King Jesus.

“And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:14-17 (KJV)

In chapter 7 of Revelation we see the marking and commissioning of the 144,000 servants of God, but not a gentile in the bunch. God’s entire focus has now shifted from dealing with the Church of Jesus Christ made up of Jews and gentiles, to once again dealing with His chosen people the Jews. But what about the unsaved gentiles who missed the Rapture? Sadly, it appears that the vast majority of these people wind up taking the Mark of the Beast and worshipping Antichrist. And just so you know, in the time of Jacob’s trouble, the unpardonable sin is taking the Mark. God offers zero forgiveness for those who accept it

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11 (KJV)

As you march through chapter after chapter in Revelation, you see many amazing and terrible sights, but one thing you don’t see anywhere is the much ballyhooed “end times revival” of gentiles who missed the Rapture of the Church. No matter how much heat God applies to them, they refuse to repent.

“And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.”Revelation 16:8,9 (KJV)

Even when the Lord Jesus Christ finally makes his spectacular grand entrance, no one on the Earth seems overly happy. Why not?

“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Revelation 1:7 (KJV)

For one reason, the Church who is very excited to see Jesus is not on the Earth, and we were very excited when we saw Him at the Rapture. Now we are on horseback with the Lord at His return as seen in Revelation 19. Secondly, the people who made it through the Tribulation realize the great price they paid by their refusal to get saved while they had the chance. The vast majority of the unsaved gentiles appear to have taken the Mark during the strong delusion, and have joined Antichrist in his satanic army to fight with Jesus at His return.

“And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” Revelation 19:19,20 (KJV)

The gentiles who do get saved and refuse to take the Mark of the Beast pay for those decisions with their life by beheading! Hopefully there will a lot of those people, but in order to do it they must overcome God’s strong delusion, the revelation of Antichrist, the Mark of the Beast, and a never-ending barrage of supernatural and physical judgements falling down on them from above. Tribulation saints are not the same as Christians in the Church age. And because they’re not in the Church Age like we are now, they won’t have eternal security.

Whew…tall order that one.

Better to get saved now and not have to wonder if you would “make it through the Tribulation because billions will not.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)

 

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Where The Wrath Of God In The Time Of Jacob’s Trouble Really Begins May Surprise You

From the perspective of the time of Jacob’s trouble, a.k.a the Great Tribulation, there is only one “wrath” the world needs to be concerned with. The wrath of God.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 (KJV)

When you understand that the Bible was written dispensationally, and that God commands us to search out and find those divisions, as seen in 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV), you naturally come to the conclusion that the Bible holds to and teaches a Pretribulation Rapture of the Church. When you don’t do that you come to a number of other conclusions unsupported by scripture like the post-tribulation rapture, the mid-tribulation rapture. no rapture at all, and the rather silly pre-wrath rapture.

The pre-wrath rapture was conceived in the 1970’s by a man named Robert Van Kampen, who died in 1999. This view was then picked up and endorsed by Marvin Rosenthal who wrote his book ‘The Pre-Wrath Rapture Of The Church’. The “Pre-Wrath” view of the Rapture argues that the first three-fourths of the Tribulation is the wrath of Man and the wrath of Satan, and not the wrath of God. Therefore, the proponents of this view argue that the Church will suffer through the first three-quarters of the Tribulation since the Church is promised protection only from the wrath of God.

As you can see, the entire premise of this view is built on a very shaky foundation.

From the perspective of the time of Jacob’s trouble, a.k.a the Great Tribulation, there is only one “wrath” the world needs to be concerned with. The wrath of God. The Bible makes no distinction of the wrath of man and the wrath of Satan. James 1:20 (KJV) mentions the “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” but it is only talking about men displaying anger toward their fellow man. As far as the “wrath of Satan” goes, the book of Job shows us that Satan is an instrument of judgement from God, and can only do what God allows him to do. So the “wrath” that Satan yields during the time of Jacob’s trouble is actually God’s wrath, as he is one of God’s instruments of judgement.

Surface-skimming students of prophecy will read Revelation and not see God’s judgments until the first of the Trumpet Judgments start firing off. But God’s wrath begins a little bit earlier than that. The wrath of God starts almost immediately after the rapture of the Church. That happens in Revelation 6 with the opening of the First Seal:

“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” Revelation 6:1,2 (KJV)

So there very first judgment/wrath sent on the world is the opening of the First Seal, which reveals the Antichrist, two chapters after the Church typified by John in Revelation 4 is safely taken to Heaven. Further light on this event is shed in 2 Thessalonians, the entire chapter, that breaks down the rapture of the Church and what must immediatly follow after our departure.

Paul starts the chapter by comforting the people and telling them that they have not missed the “day of Christ”, the rapture of the Church.

Paul teaches us that the two events that precede the rapture of the Church are

1). The great falling away in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV) which matches with Revelation 3:14-22 (KJV) and,

2). The revealing of the Antichrist. The Church does not live under the rule Antichrist, but Paul says he will be revealed to us. (For more on that, please read our article entitled “Does The King James Bible Reveal The Identity Of The Antichrist?“)

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10 (KJV)

2 Thessalonians continues on its merry way, describing the Antichrist, and more importantly, those who have been left behind after the rapture. It is in this section where I see the very first place where God begins to pour His wrath out upon the Earth in judgment. The Bible tells us that those left behind that were exposed to the gospel and rejected it would be subject to the wrath of God as His judgement on their refusal to believe and receive the Truth. And here is where the wrath of God in the time of Jacob’s trouble actually begins. Please note the following:

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11,12 (KJV)

And there you have it, God’s wrath at the very start of the time of Jacob’s trouble that comes in the form of an irresistible lie spoken by the father of lies, Satan. This lie, that the Antichrist is the Messiah, will be believed by all those who rejected the gospel preached during the church age, and will lead to their ultimate damnation in a place called Hell. This will cause the vast majority of the world’s population to worship the Antichrist and take the Mark of the Beast. A sin which the Bible declares their is no forgiveness for.

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11 (KJV)

Passages like this are further proof that the Church cannot be in any part of the time of Jacob’s trouble, because in the Age of Grace, we have full and complete pardon for all our sins from the moment of salvation. In the time of Jacob’s trouble, they do not have eternal security as evidenced the verses quoted above and also appearing in Revelation 20:4 (KJV).

Where does the wrath of God begin? Immediately after the Church is removed and the “strong delusion” is cast down in judgment. Long before the first trumpet is blown, or the first bowl is poured out, the wrath of God is dispensed on a Bible-rejecting world in the form of a strong, soul damning delusion that cannot be resisted. And it won’t be until the 144,000 male, virgin Jews  are raised up to finally fulfill the Great Commission of Mark 16 with anyone have a chance to get saved.

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The Life of Paul

The apostle Paul born a Roman citizen to Jewish parents born in Tarsus, in modern eastern Turkey. Paul the Apostle commonly known as Saint Paul, and also known by his native name Saul of Tarsus, who trace their ancestry to the tribe of Benjamin.

There is much we can learn from the life of the Apostle Paul. Far from ordinary, Paul was given the opportunity to do extraordinary things for the kingdom of God. The story of Paul is a story of redemption in Jesus Christ and a testimony that no one is beyond the saving grace of the Lord. However, to gain the full measure of the man, we must examine his dark side and what he symbolized before becoming “the Apostle of Grace.” Paul’s early life was marked by religious zeal, brutal violence, and the relentless persecution of the early church. Fortunately, the later years of Paul’s life show a marked difference as he lived his life for Christ and the advancement of His kingdom.

Paul was actually born as Saul. He was born in Tarsus in Cilicia around A.D. 1-5 in a province in the southeastern corner of modern day Tersous, Turkey. He was of Benjamite lineage and Hebrew ancestry. His parents were Pharisees-fervent Jewish nationalists who adhered strictly to the Law of Moses-who sought to protect their children from “contamination” from the Gentiles. Anything Greek was despised in Saul’s household, yet he could speak Greek and passable Latin. His household spoke Aramaic, a derivative of Hebrew, which was the official language of Judea. Saul’s family were Roman citizens but viewed Jerusalem as a truly sacred and holy city.

At age thirteen Saul was sent to Palestine to learn from a rabbi named Gamaliel, under whom Saul mastered Jewish history, the Psalms and the works of the prophets. His education would continue for five or six years as Saul learned such things as dissecting Scripture. It was during this time that he developed a question-and-answer style known in ancient times as “diatribe.” This method of articulation helped rabbis debate the finer points of Jewish law to either defend or prosecute those who broke the law. Saul went on to become a lawyer, and all signs pointed to his becoming a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court of 71 men who ruled over Jewish life and religion. Saul was zealous for his faith, and this faith did not allow for compromise. It is this zeal that led Saul down the path of religious extremism.

Because of his extremism Saul might have been present at the trial of Stephen. He was present for his stoning and death and he held the garments of those who did the stoning (Acts 7:58). In Acts 5:27-42, Peter delivered his defense of the gospel and of Jesus in front of the Sanhedrin, which Saul heard. Gamaliel was also present and delivered a message to calm the council and prevent them from stoning Peter. From that moment on, Saul became even more determined to eradicate Christians as he watched the Sanhedrin flog Peter and the others. Saul became more ruthless in his pursuit of Christians as he believed he was doing it in the name of God. Arguably, there is no one more frightening or more vicious than a religious terrorist, especially when he believes that he is doing the will of the Lord by killing innocent people. This is exactly what Saul of Tarsus was: a religious terrorist. Acts 8:3 states, “He began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.”

The pivotal passage in Paul’s story is Acts 9:1-22, which recounts Paul’s meeting with Jesus Christ on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, a journey of about 150 miles. Saul was angered by what he had seen and filled with murderous rage against the Christians. Before departing on his journey, he had asked the high priest for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for permission to bring any Christians (followers of “the Way,” as they were known) back to Jerusalem to imprison them. On the road Saul was caught up in a bright light from heaven which caused him to fall face down on the ground. He hears the words, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He says, “Who are you Lord?” Jesus answers directly and clearly, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (vv. 4-5). As an aside, this might not have been Saul’s first encounter with Jesus, as some scholars suggest that young Saul might have known of Jesus and that he might have actually witnessed His death.

From this moment on, Saul’s life was turned upside down. The light of the Lord blinded him, and as he traveled on he had to rely on his companions. As instructed by Jesus, Saul continued to Damascus to make contact with a man named Ananias who was hesitant at first to meet Saul because he knew Saul’s reputation as an evil man. But the Lord told Ananias that Saul was a “chosen instrument” to carry His name before the Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel (v.15) and would suffer for doing so (v.16). Ananias followed the Lord’s instructions and found Saul, on whom he laid hands, and told him of his vision of Jesus Christ. Through prayer, Saul received the Holy Spirit (v.17), regained his sight and was baptized (v.18). Saul immediately went into the synagogues proclaiming Jesus and saying He is the Son of God (v.20). The people were amazed and skeptical, as Saul’s reputation was well known. The Jews thought he had come to take away the Christians (v.21). Saul’s boldness increased as the Jews living in Damascus were confounded by Saul’s arguments proving that Jesus was the Christ (v.22).

As a result of this miraculous transformation, Saul became known as Paul (Acts 13:9). Paul spent time in Arabia, Damascus, Jerusalem, Syria and his native Cilicia, and Barnabas enlisted his help to teach those in the church in Antioch (Acts 11:25). Interestingly, the Christians driven out of Palestine by Saul of Tarsus founded this multiracial church (Acts 11:19-21). Paul took his first of three missionary journeys in the late 40s A.D. Paul wrote many of the New Testament books. Most theologians are in agreement that he wrote Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Philemon, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. These 13 “letters” (books) make up the “Pauline Authorship” and are the primary source of his theology. As previously noted, the book of Acts gives us a historical look at Paul’s life and times. The Apostle Paul spent his life proclaiming the risen Christ Jesus throughout the Roman world, often at great personal peril (2 Corinthians 11:24-27) It is assumed that Paul was arrested upon his return to Rome and died a martyr’s death by beheading in the mid-to-late 60s A.D.

So, what can we learn from the life of the Apostle Paul? First, we learn that God can save anyone. The remarkable story of Paul repeats itself every day as sinful, broken people all over the world are transformed by God’s saving grace in Jesus Christ. Some of these people have done despicable things to other human beings, while some just try to live a moral life thinking that God will smile upon them on the day of judgment. When we read the story of Paul and know what he had done, it is difficult for us to believe that God would allow into heaven religious extremists who murder innocent women and children. Today, we might see people on death row as unworthy of redemption because their crimes against humanity are just too great. Yet we live our lives in a sinful manner, expecting that God will be impressed by the fact that we haven’t killed anyone. The story of Paul is a story that can be told today-he isn’t worthy in our eyes of a second chance, yet to God he is worthy. The truth is that every person matters to God, from the “good, decent,” average person to the “wicked, evil” degenerate. Only God can save a soul from hell.

Second, we learn from the life of Paul that anyone can be a humble, powerful witness for Jesus Christ. Arguably, no other human figure in the Bible demonstrated more humility while sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ as Paul. Acts 20:19 tells us that he “served the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to [him] through the plots of the Jews.” In Acts 28:31, Paul shares the good news of Jesus Christ: “Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul was not afraid to tell others what the Lord had done for him. This verse is the very definition of Paul’s newfound life in Christ. He would spend the rest of his days working tirelessly for the kingdom of God.

Finally, we learn that anyone can surrender completely to God. Paul was fully “sold-out” for God. “I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear” (Philippians 1:12-14). Paul was in prison when he wrote these words, yet he was still praising God and sharing the good news. Through his hardships and suffering, Paul knew the outcome of a life well lived for Christ. He had surrendered his life fully, trusting God for everything. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

Can we make the same claim?

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Pesach – Your Hope in the Wilderness

Shabbat Shalom during Pesach!
Because this Shabbat (Sabbath) falls during Chag HaMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread), a special reading is inserted into the regular Torah reading cycle.
This special portion will be read in synagogues around the world during the Shabbat Pesach (Saturday Passover) service.
On this weekend as many Christians are also celebrating the resurrection of the Messiah Jesus (Yeshua), it is fitting to recall the physical redemption of the Jewish People from Egypt.
We know you will be blessed as you discover the Jewish roots of your faith in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pesach (The Intermediate Sabbath of Passover)
Exodus 33:12–34:26; Numbers 28:16–25; Ezekiel 37:1–14; Luke 24
“You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread [Chag HaMatzot].  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread [matzah], as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Aviv, for in the month Aviv you came out from Egypt.”  (Exodus 34:18)
The Parasha (Scripture portion) for this Shabbat occurs in the middle of the Passover week and begins by describing the holy days of Pesach (Passover) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot), which lasts seven days.
These two special events are most often blended into one and just called Passover, but there is a crucial difference between the two, which we will explore in today’s study.
During the Passover time frame, there are three distinct events that represent three unique spiritual states or conditions of the soul:
  1. Passover represents salvation: we are saved from the wrath of God by faith in the blood of the Passover Lamb.
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”  (John 1:29)
Yeshua (Jesus) was slain on Passover as the perfect fulfillment of the lamb that saved the Israelites on the very first Passover:
“And when I see the blood I will pass over you.”  (Exodus 12:13)
  1. Unleavened bread, also called matzah or the bread of affliction, represents sanctification.
Matzah is flat because it is devoid of yeast (chametz), which represents wickedness, pride, and that which causes us to be puffed up or to think more highly of ourselves than we ought.
“Your boasting is not good.  Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?  Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are.  For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”  (1 Corinthians 5:6–7)
Chametz is closely related to the Hebrew word chamutz, which means sour.  Yeast is a souring agent.  Likewise, sin causes bitterness in our soul.
“Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread [matzah] of sincerity and truth.”  (1 Corinthians 5:8)
The week of unleavened bread, therefore, represents sanctification accomplished through affliction, trials and testing, and the purging of pride in order to teach us humility and obedience by the things we suffer in our wilderness experiences.
“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.”  (Deuteronomy 8:2)
  1. First Fruits, also called Bikkurim in Hebrew, which occurs the day after the first day of Unleavened Bread (although there is some disagreement as to the timing), represents resurrection.

    Just as the barley is offered up to the Lord as the first crop after winter, so Yeshua was also raised from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits.

“But now the Messiah is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”  (1 Corinthians 15:20)
From these distinct elements within Passover, we can understand that between the events of salvation and resurrection is a process of sanctification.
Passover → Unleavened Bread → First Fruits
Salvation → Sanctification → Resurrection
The Intermediate Sabbath—Losing Heart in the Wilderness
When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, they also had to go through a sanctification process, which took them through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land.
Even though the Israelites entered into a covenant with God in the wilderness, and came to understand their identity as God’s treasured possession there, sometimes they responded to hardship and barrenness of the wilderness with discouragement.
In the wilderness, they also lost heart, lost hope, longed for Egypt, grumbled, murmured, and complained.
For that reason, all perished but two—Joshua and Caleb—who followed the Lord wholeheartedly and kept the faith.  The bodies of the other Israelites lay scattered across that vast wilderness.
Even Yeshua spent time in the wilderness—perhaps the Judean or Negev Desert. The Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) led Him there to be tempted by the devil(Matthew 4:1–11)
The Negev is not an easy place to live—even with air conditioning!
It is a land of snakes and scorpions; a place of great danger.  And yet, the wilderness is not a punishment, but a necessary stage in our spiritual journey.
It is often God who leads us into our wilderness experiences to humble us, to test us, to refine our faith, and to teach us perseverance and endurance.
If we come out of it alive, we do so “leaning on our beloved” instead of relying on our own strength or limited sufficiency.  (Song of Solomon 8:5)
The wilderness can be our spiritual university where we learn to trust in and depend upon the Lord, and only God knows how long that lesson will take.
or Believers, in the vast space between salvation and the resurrection lies the wilderness, a dry and thirsty land where water is scarce.  That is where we are sanctified.
Because it is so easy to lose heart in the wilderness—our sanctification process—our response to the trials and challenges will determine how well we make it through to the resurrection.
Discouragement during our wilderness is an especially powerful weapon of the enemy because of its enfeebling, demoralizing effect.
This is not so with hatred, jealousy, fear, and other negative states that may cause us to act foolishly, to fight, or to run.  With these emotional attacks, at least we act.
Discouragement on the other hand, hurts us the most because it ultimately saps the energy right out of us, causing us to sit down, pity ourselves, and do nothing.
Discouragement causes us to give in to the temptation of the enemy who whispers, “Just give up.”
Hopelessness is a very dangerous state of being.  In fact, Scripture tells us that “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”  (Proverbs 13:12)
When Hope Is Lost—The Day With No Name
The Scripture reading between Passover and Bikkurim is simply called “Intermediate Sabbath” (Chol HaMo’ed).  It doesn’t even have a name like the other parshiot.
It describes a time of hopelessness for Israel, wandering the nations without God’s blessing to protect them, as if they were living in a valley of dried up bones.
In our own valleys of dried up dreams and desires, when all hope seems lost, we wonder if everything has been in vain, if the sun will ever shine again in our grieving hearts.
Israel asked the same question in the Haftarah reading for this intermediate Sabbath.
The dry bones, which represent the whole house of Israel, say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.” (Ezekiel 37:11)
Sometimes we feel that we have been cut off from hope itself.  But so often when we feel the darkness is closing in on us, at that moment God is doing His greatest work.
Likewise, it is when Israel’s hope in itself is completely destroyed that God’s promise of restoration comes forth as a breath of life:
“Behold, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, O My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.  And ye shall know that I am the Lord…  And I will put My Spirit [Ruach] in you, and you shall live.”  (Ezekiel 37:13–14)
Ruach, the Hebrew word for spirit, is the same word used in verses 5 and 6 that is translated breath:  “I will cause breath [Ruach] to enter into you and you shall live.”
In the Brit Chadashah (New Testament), Yeshua miraculously foreshadows the fulfillment of this Word.
Yeshua arrived four days after His friend Lazarus had died and been placed in the tomb.  Everyone’s hope in Lazarus being raised from the dead was completely lost.
Why did Yeshua wait for four days?
Jewish tradition holds that a person’s soul hovers around its physical body for three days, but after this time period, the soul leaves.
Therefore, the Jewish people who witnessed Lazarus’ death were convinced on the fourth day that the situation was completely and totally without any hope whatsoever!  Even the soul of the deceased had departed.
But Yeshua called out to Lazarus, TZEH HAHUTZAH!  COME OUT!
And Lazarus came up out of his grave and he lived!
One thing, however, needed to be done before Lazarus could come out of the tomb—the stone had to be rolled away.  Somebody had to do it, and it wasn’t Yeshua.
While He could have easily rolled it away Himself or even commanded the heavy stone to move and it would have obeyed Him, He called upon the people to participate in the miracle.
Yeshua said to them, “Take away the stone.”  (John 11:39)
Why?  Perhaps He wanted to teach us that we are not to be completely passive and expect God to do everything for us.
Maybe there is a stone standing between us and our miracle.
Perhaps, all that is needed is to draw upon the faith and strength within us to “take away the stone” under God’s direction.  Then we will witness God perform a resurrection in our own life!  Halleluyah!
Like the people around Lazarus who thought Yeshua came too late, sometimes we find ourselves in an utterly hopeless situation where it is so tempting to give in to despair and depression.
This is exactly when we should be reaching out for a miracle to the One who said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”  (John 11:25)
Before our situation became hopeless, we may have been counting on God to show up to perform a miracle.  But it seems that He did a “no-show,” and the relationship or the business or the whatever we were hoping for died.
That is when deep disappointment sets in.  “Where was God?” we ask.  “Where was His power when I needed Him?”
We could sit there, looking at that stone, crying, and thinking it’s just too heavy or too hard to move—or we can just move away the obstacle, let God in, and see miracles come forth.
May we hear the voice of our Good Shepherd and obey what He tells us to do to see that miracle happen—even if it doesn’t make sense or seems impossible in the natural.
But We Were Hoping
Yeshua’s disciples also knew hopelessness and utter despair.
At Passover, after Yeshua’s death on the cross, it looked like all hope was lost and that the forces of evil had triumphed.  His disciples wandered about in confusion and sorrow.
They had hoped that this finally was the “real deal.”  After so many false Messiahs, they believed that He was truly the Mashiach who would redeem Israel from Roman oppression and restore the Kingdom of Israel.
After Yeshua’s execution, two disciples were traveling to a village seven miles from Jerusalem.  They walked together, chatting and reasoning about the event with quite sad demeanors.
But then Yeshua came near and walked with them along the road.  Still, their eyes were restrained and they did not recognize Him.  (Luke 24:16)
Yeshua’s disciples had a certain expectation of how God was going to work things out.  But even though things didn’t happen the way they thought it should, this was God’s greatest triumph over darkness.
In their darkest hour, in their utter hopelessness, they couldn’t see that Hope was walking right alongside them!  For Yeshua is a Living Hope.  (1 Peter 1:3–4)
Isn’t this just like us when we’ve experienced a disappointment?  We’ve just got to find somebody to talk to about it.  We try to reason the thing out, to somehow make sense out of something that just doesn’t make sense.  This often only causes more sorrow.
When things don’t work out the way we had hoped they would, it could be that redemption is right there with us, walking alongside us.  Sometimes that Living Hope is right under our noses but we don’t perceive it because it comes in a form we didn’t quite expect.
In our darkest hours, we must remember that God never leaves us, for He safeguards our soul as we travel through the wilderness where we are sanctified.
There in our wilderness, our ultimate hope is in Yeshua and His resurrection.
“You who are the Hope of Israel, its Savior in times of distress.”  (Jeremiah 14:8)
“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord.  I will put My laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”  (Hebrews 10:16)
Chag Sameach (Happy Holiday) and Shabbat Shalom

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The Elements of the Passover Seder point to Christ

Bethlehem or the City of David means “House of Bread.”

Migdal Eder, the Tower of the Flock, was the place where lambs destined for the Temple were born and raised. Every firstborn male lamb from the area around Bethlehem was considered holy, set aside for sacrifice in Jerusalem. The Passover sacrifice also known as the “sacrifice of Passover”, the Paschal Lamb, or the the Passover lambs were slain in Solomon’s Temple.

The Seder is the traditional dinner that Jews partake of as part of Passover. The annual Passover commemoration is celebrated by nearly the entire Jewish community, bonding families and communities to their Jewish roots. Each year Jewish people, religious and non religious, celebrate the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by gathering and experiencing the Passover Seder.

The Hebrew word Seder means “order.” The Passover meal has a specific order in which food is eaten, prayers are recited, and songs are sung. Each item on the Passover plate has a specific historical meaning related to the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and their freedom from slavery. But 1 Corinthians 5:7 identifies Jesus Christ as our Passover; thus, the Seder carries a New Testament meaning related to Jesus the Messiah.

In the Seder, there are several strong symbols of Christ. One is the shank bone of a lamb, which reminds the participants of the feast of God’s salvation. During the tenth plague, God instructed the Israelites to daub their doorposts and lintels with the blood of a spotless lamb so that the Lord would “pass over” their homes and preserve the lives within (Exodus 12:1-13). This is a symbol of salvation in Egypt, but it is also a picture of Jesus who was and is the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29). His sacrifice preserves the lives of all who believe. The instructions for the original Passover specified that the lamb’s bones could not be broken (Exodus 12:46), another foreshadowing of Christ’s death (John 19:33).

Another symbol of Christ on the Seder plate is the matzoh, or unleavened bread. As the Jewish people left Egypt, they were in great haste and therefore had no time to allow their bread to rise. From then on, Passover was followed by the week long Feast of Unleavened Bread (Deuteronomy 16:3). There are some fascinating things about the matzoh that provide a remarkable picture of the Messiah.

For example, the matzoh is placed in a bag called an echad, which means “one” in Hebrew. But this one bag has three chambers. One piece of matzoh is placed into each chamber of the bag. The matzoh placed in the first chamber is never touched, never used, never seen. The second matzoh in the bag is broken in half at the beginning of the Seder, half of the broken matzoh is placed back in the echad, and the other half, called the Afikomen, is placed in a linen cloth. The third matzoh in the bag is used to eat the elements on the Seder plate.

The word echad is used in Genesis 2:24 (the man and his wife will become “echad,” or “one” flesh). The word also appears in Numbers 13:23 when the spies returned from Canaan with an echad cluster of grapes. In both cases, the word echad refers to a complex unity of one. Many Jews consider the three matzohs to represent Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But they cannot explain why they break “Isaac” in half or why they place half of the middle matzoh back in the echad and keep the other half out, wrapped in a cloth.

The meaning of the Seder’s ritual of the matzohs is understood with clues from the New Testament:

The Trinity is pictured in the matzohs. The first matzoh that remains in the bag throughout the Seder represents Ha Av, the Father whom no man sees. The third matzoh represents the Ruach Ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. And the second matzoh, the broken one, represents Ha Ben, the Son. The reason the middle matzoh is broken is to picture the broken body of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:24). The half put back in the echad represents Jesus’ divine nature, the other half, wrapped in a linen cloth and separated from the echad represents Jesus’ humanity as He remained on earth.

The linen cloth that wraps half of the second piece of matzoh suggests Jesus’ burial cloth. During the Seder, this linen cloth with the Afikomen inside is hidden, and after the dinner the children present look for it. Once the Afikomen is found, it is held as a ransom. Again, we see that these rituals point to Christ: He was fully God yet fully human; He was broken for us; He was buried, sought for, and resurrected; and His life was given a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Jesus is the completion of the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31, and the Passover Seder rituals bear that out.

Also, the matzoh used for the Passover Seder must be prepared a certain way. Of course, it must be unleavened, leaven is often equated with sin in the Scriptures, and Jesus is sinless. Second, the matzoh must be striped, Jesus’ “stripes” (His wounds) are what heal us spiritually (Isaiah 53:5). And, third, the matzoh must be pierced, Jesus was nailed to the cross (Psalm 22:16).

The other elements of the Seder plate are traditional reminders of the Israelite enslavement to the Egyptians. They are as follows:

Vegetable (Karpas) – This element, usually parsley, is dipped in salt water and eaten. The karpas pictures the hyssop that was used to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to homes of the Israelites in Egypt. In the New Testament, hyssop was used to give the Lamb of God vinegar when Jesus said He thirsted (John 19:29). The salt water represents the tears shed during the bitter years of slavery and the Red Sea that God split during the exodus.

Bitter Herbs (Maror) – The eating of “bitter herbs” is commanded in Exodus 12:8. In modern times, this is usually horseradish, one of the bitterest herbs. The maror reminds the Jews that they were unable to offer sacrifice and worship to God, and that was bitterer than the slavery of Egypt.

Charoset (haroseth) – Charoset is a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and spices. It represents the mortar the Israelites used in the constructing buildings during their slavery to the Egyptians. Of all the elements of the Seder, charoset alone is sweet, and this is a reminder of the hope of redemption.

Hard-boiled or Roasted Egg (Baytzah) – Traditionally, hard-boiled eggs were eaten by mourners, and the egg is eaten during the Seder to remind participants that they are always in mourning for the loss of their temple. The fact that the egg is roasted evokes the roasting of the sacrifice on the altar of the temple.

There are also four cups of wine used at various points during the Seder. Each of these glasses of wine has a name: the first glass is the “cup of sanctification.” The second is the “cup of judgment.” The third is the “cup of redemption.” And the fourth is the “cup of praise.” At the Last Supper, Jesus took the first cup and promised His disciples that the next time He drank the fruit of the vine with them would be in the kingdom (Luke 22:17). Later in the Seder, Jesus took the third cup-the cup of redemption-and used that cup as a symbol of the New Covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20). Thus Jesus fulfilled the Passover symbolism and infused the whole feast with a new meaning.

In Exodus 6:6, the Lord God promised His people that He would save them from slavery: “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.” The phrase “with an outstretched arm” is repeated throughout the Old Testament in connection with Passover remembrances: Deuteronomy 4:34; 7:19; 9:29; 26:8; 2 Kings 17:36; Psalm 136:12; Jeremiah 32:21.

Can it be coincidence that, in the New Testament, the Messiah had both of His arms outstretched as He freed us from Sin and brought us Salvation?

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