Blood Moon

So, last night heralded the first of the four blood moons that will be taking place over the next year and a half.

No, Messiah did not return. No, he’s probably not going to anytime soon.

We can hope and pray that He speedily returns. But that is all we can do, and all we can know is that His timing is perfect.

My family and I were blessed With a wonderful Pesach meal prepared by my mother in-law, and accompanied by a family of wonderful people.

Messiah didn’t return last night, but He was definitely in our midst, as He was with all who we’re partaking in the celebration of our redemption from not only our physical captors, but our spiritual slave master as well. What a blessing to be able to take part in such a glorious reminder of how much our God loves us!

20140415-113207.jpg

Advertisements

Passover Thoughts

Pesach is almost upon us. This time next week my household will be munching on over-sized crackers (Matzah), substituting it for regular bread for a week.

Pesach is actually the day before the beginning of the feast of Unleavened Bread, but the commandment to eat the Pesach meal with unleavened bread causes the Matzah to overflow to the Seder the night Pesach begins. Traditionally, preparation for Pesach and Unleavened bread entails ridding the house of all yeast products in keeping with the commandment to do so. As the weekend will bring us a little bit closer to the festivities and reflection that comes with Pesach and FOUB each year, it’s generally a time to search through one’s heart and life and find things that need to be removed (much like Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 5:8).

The official preparations in our household haven’t quite started yet, as there are still some yeast products in the house, and tonight at Erev Shabbat we will likely be enjoying some wonderful Challah, hand-made from scratch by either my lovely bride or my gracious mother in-law.

As I was thinking about this early this morning, I decided to do a little reading to stimulate my thoughts on the subject. My good friends over at Psalm11918 Ministries (psalm11918.org) have written a beautiful piece on Pesach and FOUB, and how both relate to us as followers of Messiah Yeshua. You can read the article for yourself, it’s not very long, but I wanted to share what it helped me to think of.

First, the relevance of the appointed times for believers in Yeshua.
Many in modern times think that all things “old testament” have been either replaced or “done away with.” However, Pesach still holds relevance for us despite our opinion on the Torah commandments, and even Paul mentions it and tells us to “keep the feast.” While I think I can prove, using scripture alone, that not only has no part of Scripture has been done away with, but also that believers and followers of Messiah Yeshua actually should still be keeping Torah to the best their ability, that is an issue for another time.

Yeshua was our Pesach Lamb. He was blameless and spotless(1 John 3:5), He was crucified on Pesach (Matt. 26), and He was the payment for our salvation.

What an honor to be able to take part in the celebration of Pesach! It warps my mind to try to comprehend the thinking of anyone who thinks it a burden to take part in a ceremony that not only reflects on the blood that was spilled for our sins, but also looks forward to the return of the Messiah!  Of course, we cannot follow the entire letter of the command in offering the Pesach lamb as a sacrifice because there is no temple in Jerusalem in which to offer it. This is why it is tradition at the end of the Pesach Seder for everyone in attendance to exclaim “Next year, in Jersusalem!” For Jews who do not know Messiah, this is their wish because making the journey to the Promised Land is considered the highest goal. For those of us who have been drawn by Messiah, it is an exclamation of hope and looking forward to His return, when He will sukkah with us for a thousand years, during which the daily sacrifices will be reinstated, and we will look back at the sacrifice He made for us as we dwell with Him.

As Pesach comes and goes, may we be mindful to reflect on the awesome gift of salvation that was given to us on Pesach almost 2000 years ago, and the spotless lamb that was sacrificed to bring this about. May we remember the mercy God showed to our forefathers in Egypt when He spared their lives as they anxiously awaited the signal that all was well. May our King return hastily, and may we live to see the day when we will be reunited with our Groom!

Next year in Jerusalem!

Messiah is coming at Passover!

Messiah will be coming to Passover this year, I’m sure of it.

There’s been a lot, and I mean a lot of controversy in many Christian and Messianic circles lately about the coming tetrad of blood moons and accompanying solar eclipses that are spread out between this year and next. There have been a lot of false rumors or blatant misunderstandings spread around about the teachings of Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries. The advocates of these rumors are making false claims that Biltz has made predictions about the return of Messiah, and a number of other things. While most of these claims are either false, ignorant of what was actually said, or incorrectly inferred (combining other things he has taught or suggested in the past that are entirely unrelated with the blood moons teaching), the undeniable truth remains that there are four total lunar eclipses taking place over the next two years, and that all of them fall on Biblical Appointed times. Specifically Pesach (Passover) and Sukkot (feast of tabernacles/booths) of 2014 and 2015. Also undeniable is the fact that there are things going on right now that will likely shape the future of the nation and people of Israel.

One of the ideas suggested by Mark Biltz (in a totally unrelated sermon, mind you) that have been wildly misconstrued and repurposed to make him look like a false prophet is that Biltz believes that Messiah will return at Shavuot (feast of trumpets). Keep in mind that Mark has never even once claimed to know or even have an idea as to what year or anything like that, but his reasoning for believing the second coming will take place at Shavuot is based on scriptures that seem to indicate that the second-coming of Messiah will be announced by trumpet blasts. His reasoning is based on the fact that Yeshua fulfilled all of the prophecies surrounding the Spring Feasts at their appointed times (in the spring) so it is logical to assume that He will also fulfill all the prophecies surrounding the Fall feasts in the Fall. There is also a strong relationship between the Fall Appointed Times  and the work that Yeshua did and will do for us as our King (Shavuot) and High Priest (Yom Kippur), and the 1,000 year reign during which He will tabernacle with us (Sukkot).

But again,  Biltz has never suggested that he knows the time or day on which Messiah will return. (unlike others)

Another idea that has been tossed around by so many “theologians” whom I strongly suspect have neither listened to nor read the teaching from Mark Biltz about the blood moons, is the idea that these solar and lunar eclipses coming up are insignificant and mundane in nature. In my research, the main reasons I have found that they use to support this thinking is that lunar eclipses happen on full moons all the time, so there’s no real magnificence in these ones either.

Well, yeah, duh, “blood moons” only happen on full moons. That’s a moot point. Biltz hasn’t claimed that these lunar eclipses are significant simply because they happen to fall on the biblical Appointed times (which as the authors at answersingenesis.com are quick to point out is nothing new due to the lunar calendar that God created), but because of the sequence in which they occur along with the accompanying solar eclipses. The Appointed times, specifically Pesach, will always be dictated by the orbit of the moon, because that’s what God said. That fact is not what is remarkable about this tetrad (though it is remarkable that Almighty God set aside appointed times to spend with us!). What is remarkable is that there are four of them accompanied by two solar eclipses, all of which fall on the same days both years. THAT’S AMAZING! Even if there is no prophetic value to them, there is something to be said about the magnificence of God’s timing to cause that to happen! Ultimately, my opinion on the matter remains that even if absolutely nothing happens over the next two years, the undeniable fact remains that the Creator of the universe has prepared for us a glorious light show of sorts that will take place at the specific times that He wishes to enjoy with us. Even if they’re unaccompanied by any world happenings, that in itself is something that these authors shouldn’t try to rob from God.

They also claim that Mark Biltz must be a false prophet, because they misunderstand Biltz’s teaching to be saying that the 2014-2015 Tetrad will announce the Great Day of YHVH prophecied in Joel 2. They so blatantly take Biltz’s words out of context and they blast him for his apparent “misunderstanding” of Joel 2 in that the red moon and blacking out of the Sun must be accompanied by the stars being blacked out as well. They say “this tetrad of blood moons is not significant because it ignores the prophecy that includes the blacking out of the stars.”

Biltz never made any claims that the blood moons have anything to do with “The great Day of YHVH” prophecies in Joel 2. If anything, Biltz repeatedly says that he is not making any prophecies or predictions, or trying to set any dates. And any mentions he has made of Joel 2 were simply pointing out the connection with the fact that blood moons and solar eclipses are mentioned in Scripture.

The main issue for most people who deny the relevance of these blood moons, is that they have trouble end times prophecies about the return of Messiah. I don’t intend to make any blanket assumptions about all groups of Christians, but I can’t help but feel that a large number of Christians, even if they may not realize it, are ultimately against the idea that there could be some end-times significance to these lunar and solar eclipses for several reasons which I plan to address.

1. It upsets their ideal timeline, which usually goes like this (or similar):
1. Rapture
2. 7 year Tribulation
3. Return of Messiah

Now, I don’t know about you, but the timeline given for end times events isn’t exactly … well, it just isn’t. There is no clear indication given in scripture for the order in which certain events will take place. For that matter, there really isn’t even a clear indication of what the events will even be that take place. We do have an idea as to what might take place given the fact that those events are strongly linked to both the plagues in Exodus chapter 7-11 and the events in Daniel. But these events are cryptic at best.

Many people have found comfort in the idea that they will be swept up into the clouds and avoid any and all trouble that comes with the tribulation. But there is no scripture that backs this up, unless you take certain verses out of context and put them next to other out-of-context verses. That’s the very reason there are so many opposing theories and positions that people take on the timeline of the end times. Heck, it’s even an area of study in some bible colleges! People earn “degrees” in the area of being able to (supposedly) defend scripturally their personal opinion on what the order of events should be.

Sorry, folks, there’s just no evidence to support this money-making, soul-soothing, comfortable theory.

I think that, at least for some this idea spurs from a desire even to forgo the glorious second coming of Messiah if it means they may have to suffer a little bit. Again, I’m not trying to assume anything about any one individual or group/denomination/sect of believers. But the fact is undeniable that there are some who would rather avoid the persecution because it means they will be forced to actually rely on God, and for some, that will be impossible because their faith was never actually there (since Yeshua does say that there will be some to whom He says “depart from me, I knew you not“).

2. Those who are against the blood moons being biblically or prophetically relevant likely cannot stand the thought that God would choose to put a sign in the heavens on a “Jewish holiday,” because mainstream Christianity has been trying for nearly 2,000 years to distance itself from Judaism. Throughout history, there has been an overwhelming desire inside a large majority of Christians to disassociate themselves with Jews, Judaism, and anything “Jewish.” Martin Luther, though he did a great deed in exposing the heresy of the Catholic church in his 95 Theses, accomplished exactly the opposite of what he truly wanted. As a result of his proliferating scripture and liberating people to read it on their own for the first time in a long time, many people started observing the biblical feasts, keeping a 7th day sabbath, and many other “Jewish” things, because when people read the scriptures literally (as any true follower of Messiah should) that’s what happens. Luther, being a good catholic who simply saw thru the lies of the Catholic Church, never intended to create a separate sect of Christianity, he simply wanted to perfect the Catholic Church, to “purify” it. So when people started straying from the pagan rituals of the Catholic Church and getting back to the true Biblical design for worshipping God outside the Land (keeping sabbath, abstaining from unclean foods, etc.), Luther couldn’t stand it (if you think this is nothing more than wishful thinking, read “The Jews and Their Lies” by Luther, in the opening paragraph of which, even he admits that he would “not have believed that a Christian could be duped by the Jews into taking their exile and wretchedness upon himself”).
This same disdain and hatred toward the Jews and the rightful place they have as God’s truly chosen people can be seen even in today’s Christian society. A few years ago there was a video that went viral on YouTube called “Jesus hates religion.” There are plenty of articles and response videos out there for me to not get into tearing apart the sheer arrogance of a statement like that, let alone the pithy prose the maker of the video wrote explaining his ill informed notion that “Jesus was a rebel.” I won’t even do it the favor of linking to it.

The point remains that there are a lot of Christians who either dislike the Jews. Whether they condemn them in their hearts because of their rejection of the blonde-hair blue eyed, Jew-hating Jesus of the 20th and 21st centuries, or because they simply choose to disregard the fact that they are God’s chosen people. For a lot of people, because of this, anything that is opposite of what the Jews or “the god of the old testament” would teach or instruct has to be true. Even if there is black and white evidence that it isn’t.

One last example of this is the reaction most Christians will have when you say “Yeshua” or “Messiah” in place of the greek replacements “Jesus” or “Christ”, respectively. Try it, you’ll see.

3. Another possible explanation for mainstream christianity’s refusal to accept the idea that God might do something significant on one of the Moedim is that it would seem to imply that maybe, just maybe, God is still using the calendar which He instructed the Israelites to follow. But this notion is unacceptable to most Christians. Again, going back to #2, accepting this would be to accept the fact that maybe God never did change His mind about anything in the Torah, and that’s a thread you just don’t wanna pull on …

Regardless of any of these false claims, slanderous accusations, and downright despise for someone who is a Godly man, despite what anyone might say about false prophets or misinterpretations of scripture, we can be certain that Messiah will be with us at Passover this year.

Really. Just take my word for it.

Better yet, take His:

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
-Matthew 18:20

Continue reading Messiah is coming at Passover!