Until The Shout

Blog

Christians have long recognized Good “Friday” as the day our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was crucified. The Friday tradition is largely based on the misunderstanding of the Scripture saying the next day was the “Sabbath” and the day after that the “first day of the week”. (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:42; Luke 23:54-56; John 20:1) Therefore the obvious assumption is that the “Sabbath” was Saturday with Sunday following and Friday preceding.

The Bible tells us that Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross because the following day was the “Sabbath”. It also tells us that He rose again on the “first day of the week”. Therefore Jesus must have been crucified on Friday, in the grave on Saturday, and rose again on Sunday.

The Scriptures state plainly that Jesus was in the grave for three days and rose again on the “third day”. Despite the fact that, no matter how we count we can’t get three days between Friday at sun down and the following Sunday morning, the Friday tradition has always held firm.

Incidentally, the point here is not to upset our traditions per say or to formally change the day we recognize the Crucifixion. What is most important is that we do in fact recognize what Jesus did for us. That He, by God’s will and His love for us, sent His only Son to die for us thereby paying the price for our own sins. And that He rose again on the third day demonstrating that His sacrifice was sufficient and complete. Jesus, having died once for all, defeated death eternally, made forgiveness for our sins available to us through faith, therefore granting us eternal life in Him. That is what is most important for us to understand, not just in head but in heart!

The point here is simply to bring clarity to the Scriptures and to provide understanding of what seems to be the paradox in Scripture. Jesus was simply not crucified on Friday! A better review of Scripture and a better understanding of Leviticus 23 (yes, that valuable book that so few care to even read, let alone study!) will exposed the truth.

Let’s start with fact that Jesus was crucified on Passover (John 13:1; 13:29; 18:28; 18:39; Matt 27:15). First of all, while “Passover” did involve a specific meal, the term “Passover” also referred to the collective series of feasts that made up the Passover week. This was actually three separate feast meals. 1) the Passover meal. 2) the Feast of Unleavened Bread 3) the Feast of the First Fruits.

The Passover meal was eaten the evening before (Exodus 12). The feast of Unleavened Bread was eaten the next day. The Feast of the First Fruits was eaten on the first day of the week after the first (temporal) Sabbath after Passover. The order of events for Passover are given in Leviticus 23. It is God’s instruction for the ceremonies that will commemorate for future generations the events in Exodus 12 – 14. Passover is always the 14th day of the month and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the 15th. The point being these days land during the week most of the time. A little history tells us that these “Festival Sabbaths” or feast days were called “High Days” or “High Sabbaths” to distinguish them from temporal Sabbaths in conversation and reference. Understanding Leviticus 23 is critical here since clearly there are other Sabbaths besides Saturday.

OK. Now that the stage is set, let’s raise the curtain and watch as the events of the Passion Week A.D. 33 unfold before us…

KEY 1 – John 12:1 : Jesus travels from Jericho to Bethany “six days before the Passover”. If Jesus was crucified on Passover, and we know He was, and this was a Friday as the tradition holds, then six days earlier would have been the previous Saturday, the weekly temporal Sabbath. Jesus being an obedient Jew would have traveled no more than roughly half a mile that day, a Sabbath’s day journey. The distance from Jericho to Bethany is several miles. Jesus would never have made this trip on Saturday. Therefore six days later could not have been Friday! Jesus made this trip before Saturday, rested on the Sabbath, then on the first day of the week, Palm Sunday, road from Bethany across the Mount of Olives and into Jerusalem. The Passover meal would have been eaten late Wednesday evening (using our civil clock) but this would have officially been Thursday given that the Jewish day is from sunset to sunset. Then Passover would have been the day of Thursday and the day Jesus was crucified. It would have also been the preparation day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread the next day.

KEY 2 – John 19:31 confirms the above and also clarifies for us that these were “high day” Sabbaths not temporal Sabbaths. The day after the crucifixion was a Sabbath but it was not Saturday!

KEY 3 – Matthew 28:1 in the Greek clearly describes Mary and Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb “After the Sabbaths…”, plural. The English translation is here is just plain wrong leaving the “s” off of “Sabbaths”. Discovering this again confirms there was not just one Sabbath, i.e. Saturday, between the crucifixion and Sunday, “the first day of the week” but multiple Sabbaths. The Feast of Unleavened Bread would have been the first and the temporal Sabbath would have been the second.

Once again, we see the Biblical record is clear and provides us with all we need to see clearly. Yet many see dimly preserving the traditions of men.

John 20:1; Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1 – Jesus rose from the grave on the “first day of the week”. This was the first day after the first temporal Sabbath after the Passover which made it the Feast of the First Fruits. Jesus rose as the First Fruits of the first resurrection. He is our First Fruits, (1 Corinthians 15:20 & 23; Revelation 20:6) and like Him, we will one day rise again! : ) (Romans 8:11)

Until the Shout!

It should not escape anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear that right after the first blood moon in the tetrad and right during the Jewish Spring Holy Week that Jews are being asked to register in Ukraine!

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4510688,00.html

 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:1-5)

Over 2000 Decembers ago in a little town called Bethlehem, the greatest miracle in the history of mankind took place amongst the people. What was this great miracle? The birth of a Savior, a Messiah and a King. “He was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:9-11)

This miracle took place right under their noses, and yet few seemed to notice. A weary mother, a father, a few shepherds, and a stable of animals were the only witnesses. You see, it was tax season and the government had declared a census be taken. The town was crowded and bustling with busyness. Hotels were packed. In fact when the new young parents were looking for a place to have the baby, they were told there was no room and turned away. The only room they found was a stable and so it was there the Light of the world was born.

A time later Magi would come from the east to honor and worship. Their kind, having been taught the Scriptures and prophecies by a faithful man named Daniel some 500+ years earlier. Passing down that revelation, they would recognize the signs of the times, the fulfillment of times and they would respond with confidence and courage.

But those days in Bethlehem were also punctuated with great tragedy. The reigning king heard of this great miracle as well. The king was faithless and short sighted. Feeling threatened by one who might usurp his throne, the king inquired of the whereabouts of young child. But unable to find him, the king, filled with paranoia and anger ordered the killing of all baby boys 2 years old and younger. Only in this way, he thought, could he be sure to eliminate his supposed someday rival.

Fear and anguish swept through Bethlehem as innocent children were slaughtered under the king’s command. Parents were beside themselves with grief. There seemed to be no justice, no righteousness left, no rhyme or reason to lawlessness.

Ironically enough, some 2000 years later, those days seemed a lot like our days today. Corruption and lawlessness seem to be everywhere even when and where we least expect it. It does not stem from the presence of weapons or the lack of legislation. It does not stem from not having the right political leadership. It stems from nothing less than the total depravity of the human heart. It is the tragedy of a broken humanity. It is the tragedy of a culture spinning out of control with no moral compass, no accountability and no hope.

Let us remember that it was for this reason that Jesus was born!He was not born because we need a reason to go shopping. He did not enter into the world to give us traditions. He was not born of a woman, born under the law, to give us wise sayings, a new philosophy or latest fad. Jesus was born to “save His people from their sins” and to save creation from the awful effects of the Fall of man and the depravity of human kind. He was born to do away with murder and death, and to make it possible for a world drunk with sin to be cleansed of every stain of sin and replaced with the “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:12)

He came so that as many as received Him, to them He gives the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. So that mankind could be born again. You see, the curse of sin is not lifted from the world like a blanket. Rather it is lifted from one person at a time as they place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

There is no pain, suffering or anguish that we can suffer that He has not suffered. And yet, God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. Only in Him is true righteousness restored. Only in Him is true and fair judgment levied. Only in Him is there a hope that springs eternal!

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, do not let the greatest miracle to confront mankind escape you. Do not let it go unnoticed in your home. I beg you, do not say to the true reason for the season, “I have no room for you here”.

Rather be as wise men. And make note of the signs of the times and the fulfillment of prophecies. Rejoice that the miracle of hope and life is alive and available for all who will repent and call upon His name for salvation. In the midst of a dark and corrupt world, choose the Light. Choose the Life. Immanuel, God with us!

Celebrate Jesus! And then, even though surrounded by corruption and injustice, you will be able to say, in any season… its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and yours from Until The Shout Ministries!

This page is a ministry page, specifically the ministry of biblical truth. This page is not a political forum and you have never seen a politically oriented post on this page. Until The Shout Ministries is a ministry dedicated to the Great Commission via the teaching of God’s Word.

I may have a political opinion, but that opinion is irrelevant to the calling of this page and this ministry and I will withhold those opinions and encourage others to do the same in their posts. In other words this ministry is not politically motivated, does not want to be distracted by politics and agrees in principle with the idea that politics does not belong in the pulpit. But what constitutes politics and what constitutes biblical exhortation?

We must understand the difference between political and biblical issues!
The church has allowed itself to be bullied by politics and intimidated by the culture at large. It has become confused regarding the difference between biblical issues and political issues. As a result it has seceded its voice and authority on biblical issues and has seceded its right to speak biblical truth and exhortation to the culture and specifically to our government leaders.

What are political issues that should not distract the church and what are biblical issues that church should absolutely speak to?

An example of a political issue might be whether we (as a nation) are going to use tax payer dollars to build bridges in New York or pipelines from Canada. Another might be will we raise or lower interest rates or will we raise taxes or lower taxes. There are many others of course but hopefully you get the point. While these types of issues should be addressed thoughtfully and wisely they are not directly addressed by scripture and do not particularly shape the moral/spiritual culture of the nation.

On the other hand some of the most significant issues of our day are not actually political issues at all. They are deeply spiritual concepts with specific biblical instruction, exhortation, and admonition. These issues shape the moral and spiritual integrity of our people and have significant eternal consequences. On these issues the church and the leaders of the church must speak! It is part of our job as ambassadors of Christ to do so. It even plays a role in the Great Commission given in Matthew 28:19-20, “…teaching them to observe all the things that I have commanded you…”.

Yet the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12), manipulating the hearts and minds of our culture (2 Cor. 4:4; John 12:40) have told the church, “hands off, theses are political issues and you do not have voice. Be silent!” And the church has bought into this great deception. The idea that our constitution separates church and state is a great lie. The Constitution was written to keep the government out of the church, not the church out of the government! The language in the Constitution is not unclear.

Therefore, what are some examples of these biblical issues that we have allowed to be hijacked by politics and culture? I’m so glad you asked.
▪ Abortion
▪ Homosexuality
▪ The sanctity of marriage
▪ Rabid Environmentalism (making an idol of the creation and placing it over the Creator)
▪ Printing currency without a standard for value. (Creates a false weight and measure)
▪ Establishing a lottery. (The issue here is less about gambling and more about exploiting the poor)


I could name numerous others but these are some of the more obvious examples. If the matter is biblical we are compelled to address it in preaching or writing, and that is part of what it means to be pastoral to God’s people.

Is it right that pastors should remain silent about important matters in society that are being debated in the public square because someone is trying to establish in our culture that there is no place in politics for religious beliefs or biblical convictions? Indeed people squirm when sin is exposed in politics or culture. But does that mean we should refrain from preaching? Absolutely not. In fact it may mean just the opposite.

As well as evangelism, the pastor must rightly divide the Word of God and speak it into the culture and to its leaders. This is included in what it means to have an answer prepared for the hope that is within us. The Christian pastor and teacher (as well as the mature layman) must carry a prophetic voice and speak with biblical authority to other Beast-like powers when there are souls at risk or the honor of Christ and the Church is under attack.

Well, I am not governed by political correctness, born out of a liberal educational system or by the pressure of a liberal press but by the one and only true God. The Word of God must be spoken and spoken in the public square. I am compelled by compassion for souls that may be victims of systems that will ultimately enslave and destroy. And when the forces of politics move beyond politics to the promotion of principles at odds with God’s Word we must call them out. Our Savior Himself, did this when he said of Herod “Go tell that Fox” (Luke 13:32). Jesus, Paul, Daniel, Joseph, Isaiah, Amos (and I could go on), all spoke to the actions of government, to the idols and morality of our culture and to the government leaders themselves.

We are required by God, as watchmen on the wall (Ezekiel 33) to warn of coming danger, even when the culture or the politicians cry “Be silent, do not bring your religion into politics!” To be silent on biblical issues is to have the blood of our culture on our hands!

Therefore, be forewarned that on this page I will withhold those opinions that are truly political. And I will speak to those issues that are truly biblical. I will no doubt draw fire from those who will accuse me of being political or having a political agenda. Rest assured, I do have an agenda but it is not political. It is to proclaim the Word of God Until the Shout!

We are in the midst of an election year. How we as a nation vote in this year’s election may indeed decide the ultimate fate of our country. As Christians, we are the only ones with glorious and gracious access to the one true living God. Only we may boldly yet humbly approach the Throne. Our prayers and the way we cast our votes when its time to do so make all the difference.

A friend of mine recently asked a very good question. The question was a good one and very relevant to the season in which we find ourselves. So much so that I decided to post the question (protecting this person’s anonymity) and my response. The specific question was as follows:

“I will not vote for Obama but I have a conundrum. What to do when the only other candidate is a mormon. How can I as a christian vote for someone who don’t believe what I do? I have ask others this, sorry if I am putting you on the spot. I don’t like what I am hearing and wanted to know what a brother in Christ thinks.”

His question is obviously framed in the context of the current upcoming presidential election but it is a question I hear commonly every election almost regardless of who the candidates are. In short, his question is, “as a Christian, how can I vote for someone who does not believe as I do?”

That’s a great question, a common question and by no means puts me on the spot. The answer is this: You must cast your vote according to biblical principles. The question is not so much ‘should I only vote for a Christian’, since there are many problems with this stand. The question is how many Biblical principles can I uphold or will I compromise by my vote. You should always cast your vote to uphold as many Biblical principles as possible. The idea that “I will only vote for a Christian” can become problematic. Let me explain.

First of all, certainly if a Christian is running for office, and you are confident that he/she is a Christian not only by their own clearly articulated testimony, (Every true believer has a testimony, if they tell you otherwise, there is your first red flag.) but by the fruit of their life, voting record and history of decision making, then by all means vote for them! But what do you do when two Christians are running? What do you do when no Christians are running?! This is by no means the first election cycle (nor will it be the last) where there is no Christian choice. What do yo do when a person claims to be a Christian but articulates no testimony and whose actions betray almost all things Biblical? You cannot know a mans heart. Only God knows the hearts of men. A person who calls himself a Christian may not be and a person who has never mentioned his faith might be. And what is their definition of “Christian”? Do they actually refer to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or is it defined culturally for them? Therefore how can you ever know for sure?

In any case, you must vote! While ancient Biblical kings were not “elected” as we do in America today, the people have always had the responsibility of holding their leaders accountable to the best of their ability. Voting is God given privilege and your freedom in Christ is not the freedom to do as you please, you were born doing that, (this is the terrible condition of Judges 21:25b), rather it is the freedom to do what it right having been redeemed and indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:13)! Should you vote is never the question. How you vote is. Therefore how do you vote?

You vote so as to obey and uphold as many Biblical principles as possible. You vote so as to best uphold life, liberty, the sanctity of marriage, the freedom of religion (which is not defined as keeping the church out of the government but rather keeping the government out of the church), the integrity of the family structure, Biblical personal responsibility, Biblical financial stewardship, and I could go on. You look at the issues and candidates and vote so as to uphold as much of God’s Word as possible and so as to transgress and compromise as little of God’s Word as possible. Vote according to God’s Word and Biblical principle. If only one Christian is running this will guide you to the Christian candidate. If two Christians are running this will guide you to the most mature and obedient. If no Christians are running this will guide you to vote such that you are protecting as many scriptural principles in the land as possible and it will guide you against the greater degree of transgression and compromise. Do this and your vote is never wasted!


live in a day when many , even Christians, dismiss or even mock the prophecies of scripture. Here is an excellent article by Dr. David Reagan on why it is so important for Christians to take the prophecies seriously. Enjoy the read and let me know what you think!

“Why Study Bible Prophecy?”

Although prophecy constitutes almost one-third of the Bible, its importance is constantly downplayed by those who dismiss it as having no practical significance or by those who object to it on the grounds that it is a “fad” that takes people’s eyes off Jesus.

A good example of what I’m talking about can be found in the immensely popular best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren.1 He mocks Bible prophecy when he writes, “If you want Jesus to come back sooner, focus on fulfilling your mission, not figuring out prophecy.” He then goes on to characterize prophecy as a “distraction” and says that anyone who lets himself get involved in distractions like studying prophecy “is not fit for the kingdom of God.”

Such cavalier dismissals of Bible prophecy fly in the face of scriptures like Revelation 19:10 which says that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Thus, if prophecy is properly taught, there is no reason for it to divert anyone’s attention away from Jesus. In fact, it should serve to emphasize the centrality of Jesus.

Is prophecy practical? Consider that all the New Testament writers testify to the fact that living with the anticipation of the Lord’s return will motivate holy living. What could be more practical than that? Here are some examples:

The Apostle Paul: “The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” — Romans 13:12-14.

The Apostle Peter: “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God… so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” — 1 Peter 4:7-11.

The Apostle John: “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” — 1 John 3:2-3.

Prophecy does not have to be either faddish, other-worldly, or impractical if taught properly. Nor does it have to be a playground for fanatics. It can and should be green pastures for disciples.

Reasons for Study

There are many reasons why all believers should be interested in studying Bible prophecy. Some of the more important ones are listed below:

1) The Quantity — One-fourth to one-third of the Bible is prophetic in nature. In the Old Testament, this includes the Psalms, the Major and Minor Prophets, and many passages in the historical books. In the New Testament, entire books like 1 & 2 Thessalonians and Revelation are devoted to prophecy, as are major passages like Matthew 24 and 1 Peter 3.

To ignore Bible prophecy is to ignore a significant portion of God’s Word, and we are told in 2 Timothy 3:16 that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” — and that certainly includes Bible prophecy.

2) The Uniqueness — No other book in the world contains fulfilled prophecies. This includes the sayings of Buddha and Confucius, the Koran, the Hindu Vedras, and the Book of Mormon. And it certainly includes the ridiculous nonsensical quatrains of Nostradamus.

In contrast, the Bible contains hundreds of specific prophecies that have already been fulfilled — prophecies about towns, cities, nations, empires, and political leaders, as well as prophecies about the Messiah. Consider, for example, the prophecy in the book of Isaiah that a man named Cyrus would be the one who would release the children of Israel from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 44:28). And that is exactly what happened 142 years later (Ezra 1:1-3).

3) Validator of Scripture — Fulfilled prophecy is one of the best evidences I know of that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. As I stated above, the Bible contains hundreds of fulfilled secular prophecies pertaining to cities, nations, empires, and individuals. Isaiah prophesied that Babylon would fall to the Medes and Persians (Isaiah 13:17-20).

Jeremiah predicted the Babylonian captivity of the Jews would last 70 years (Jeremiah 25:11-12). Daniel outlined in advance the precise order of four great Gentile empires (Daniel 2 and 7). The destruction of both Judah and Israel was foretold by Moses (Deuteronomy 28 and 29). In the New Testament, Jesus predicted the complete destruction of Jerusalem 40 years before it actually occurred (Luke 21:6).

4) Validator of Jesus — The prophetic scriptures validate Jesus as who He said He was — namely, God in the flesh. The Bible contains more than 300 prophecies about the First Coming of Jesus, but some of these are repetitive. There are actually 109 separate and distinct prophecies concerning the First Coming, and all of them were literally fulfilled.

Every aspect of the life of Jesus was prophesied — the place of His birth, the nature of His birth, the quality of His ministry, the purpose of His life, and the agony of His death. Consider, for example, the prophecy in Psalm 22:16 that the Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced. That prophecy was written by David about a thousand years before the birth of Jesus.

It was written 700 years before the invention of crucifixion as a form of execution. The literal fulfillment of so many prophecies in the life of one individual transcends any mere coincidence and serves to validate that Jesus was who He said He was — the divine Son of God.

5) Revealer of the Future — Prophecy serves to tell us some things that God wants us to know about the future (Deuteronomy 29:29 and Amos 3:7). God does not want us to know everything about the future, but there are some things we must know if we are to have a dynamic hope.

Thus, prophecy assures us that Jesus is coming back, that He will resurrect us, and that He will take us to live forever with Him and God the Father. In this regard, Peter likens prophecy to “a lamp shining in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19). Paul makes the same point in 1 Corinthians, chapter 2. He begins by observing that “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, nor has the mind of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” But in the next verse Paul says those things have been revealed to us by God through His Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).

6) Tool of Evangelism — Prophecy can be used as a very effective tool of evangelism, as illustrated in the story of Philip and the Eunuch (Acts 8:26ff). Philip used Isaiah’s great suffering lamb passage (Isaiah 53) to teach that Jesus is the Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world.

Matthew and Peter both used fulfilled prophecy in the life of Jesus as one of their basic evangelistic tools. In fact, Peter referred to prophecy constantly in his first gospel sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-39). He preached that Jesus had been crucified and resurrected in fulfillment of Hebrew prophecies. Later, Peter referred to fulfilled prophecy as one of the greatest evidences that Jesus was truly the Son of God (2 Peter 1:16-19).

7) Tool of Moral Teaching — People often overlook the fact that the Hebrew prophets were forthtellers as well as foretellers. In fact, the prophets spent most of their time using God’s Word to spotlight societal problems. They called their listeners to repentance, true worship, social justice, and personal holiness.

One of the great recurring themes of the prophets is that “obedience is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22 and Hosea 6:6). That statement means that in God’s eyes, obedience to His commands is more important than outward religious practices such as offering sacrifices. Prophecy is thus a great repository of moral teaching, and those moral principles are still relevant today. (See Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:8; and Isaiah 58:3-9.)

8) Generator of Spiritual Growth — Prophetic knowledge encourages patient waiting (James 5:7-8); provokes earnest watching (Matthew 24:36,42); inspires dedicated work (2 Timothy 4:7-8); and enhances our hope (Titus 2:11-14). The result is holy living.

Paul exhorts us to “behave properly as in the day,” because the time is at hand when the Lord will return (Romans 13:12-13). Likewise, Peter calls us to gird up our minds and be sober and holy as we look forward to the revelation of Jesus (1 Peter 1:13-15).

9) Understanding of Current Events — The Bible contains detailed prophecies about the end times we are living in, and there is just no way to fully understand much of what is happening today apart from those prophecies. Three characteristics of our day and time immediately come to mind: the intensifying decay of society, the growing apostasy in the Church, and the escalating crisis in the Middle East.

All three of these situations are prophesied in detail in the Bible. We are told that society will become as violent and immoral as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37-39); that the Church will be assaulted with “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1); and that all the nations of the world will come against Israel over the issue of who will control Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:2-3).

10) Signifier of the Season — One of the most exciting reasons for studying Bible prophecy is that it provides very definite signs that we are to watch for which will signify the season of the Lord’s return. It is true that we cannot know the date, but the Bible makes it clear that we can know the season if we are aware of the signs that we are to look for. The Apostle Paul made this point in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 when he wrote:

Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night… But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all ons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

According to this passage, Jesus is coming like “a thief in the night” for the world, but those of us who are “sons of light” — that is, those of us who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit — we should not be surprised when the Lord returns because God’s Word gives us signs to watch for.

Paul made the same point again in Hebrews 10:25 where he admonished believers to not forsake the assembling of the saints, especially “as you see the day drawing near.” What day? He defines it in verse 27 as the day of judgment. So, Paul is making the point here that there are signs we can watch for that will clearly identify the fact that we are living in the season of the Lord’s return.

Jesus made the same point in His Olivet Discourse as recorded in Matthew 24. After specifying many end time signs, He said, “when you see all these things, recognize that He [Jesus] is near, right at the door” (Matthew 24:33).

Advice & Counsel

I pointed out earlier that in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 Paul writes that all of God’s Word is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” I want to emphasize again that this admonition includes God’s Prophetic Word. Also, in 1 Thessalonians 5:20 the apostle Paul pleads with us to treat prophecy with respect: “Do not despise prophetic utterances.”

Peter warns us in his second epistle, that one of the signs of the end times will be the appearance of “scoffers” who will cast scorn and ridicule on the promise of our Lord’s return (2 Peter 3:3ff). The great tragedy of our day is that many of the loudest scoffers are religious leaders who profess to follow Christ. Such leaders crucified Jesus the first time He came. They now scoff at His promise to return.

A good example of what I’m talking about is the “Jesus Seminar”4 that began meeting in 1985 and whose work culminated in 1993 with the publication of a book titled, The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say?5 The seminar was composed of forty New Testament “scholars” from a great variety of Christian seminaries in America. The seminar met every six months to vote on the sayings of Jesus as recorded in the four ospels. The goal was to produce a new version of the gospels in which the sayings of Jesus would be color coded: red, if He said it; pink, if He may have said it; grey, if He probably did not say it; and black, if He definitely did not say it.

They titled the evil fruit of their labors, The Five Gospels, because they concluded that the spurious Gnostic Gospel of Thomas6 was as valid as the four Gospels adopted by the early Church Fathers.

When they voted on the sayings of Jesus regarding His Second Coming, they voted that all the sayings were spurious and had probably been “made up” by His disciples. What apostasy!

Spiritual Food

God’s Prophetic Word is food for our spiritual growth. We need to take it off the shelf, open it up, and feast upon it — and we need to do so with believing hearts.

The book of Revelation promises blessings to those who read it (or hear it read) and who obey it (Revelation 1:3). It is the only book of the Bible to promise such a specific blessing, but all God’s Word is designed to bless us spiritually (Psalm 119), and that includes the Prophetic Word.

Bible prophecy, properly taught, can literally transform a person and a congregation. This will happen if the person or congregation can be convinced of two things regarding prophecy: 1) Jesus is returning, and 2) His return could occur any moment.

Regarding the first point, most Christians believe with their minds that Jesus is returning, but they do not believe with their hearts, and therefore their belief has no impact on their behavior. Regarding the second point, most Christians are unaware that the return of Jesus will be in two stages — first, the Rapture, and then the Second Coming.

Because they know little or nothing about the Rapture, they have no understanding that the Lord could truly return at any moment. They believe that many prophecies — like the preaching of the Gospel to the whole world — must be fulfilled before the Lord can return, when the truth of the matter is that there is not one prophecy that must be fulfilled for the Rapture to occur.

Again, if a person or congregation can truly be convinced that Jesus is returning any moment, they will be transformed because they will be motivated to share the Gospel with others and to commit their lives to holiness. A commitment to evangelism and holiness! What more could a pastor hope for?

Bible prophecy does not just relate to the future. It has an important spiritual relevance to the way we live our lives in the present.

Key Scriptures about Prophecy
Let’s conclude with a reminder of what the Word of God itself says about the value of prophecy. In this way we can be assured that the effort we expend in looking at the prophetic scriptures will be time extremely well spent.

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our sons forever” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

“Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).

“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done… I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isaiah 46:9-11).

“[Jesus said] ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill’” (Matthew 5:17).

“[Jesus] said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled’” (Luke 24:44).

“Of Him [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43).

“The prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow” (1 Peter 1:10-11).

“…we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place… But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:19-21).

“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).

Notes
1) Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007), page 286.
2) David Reagan, “Nostradamus: Prophet or Charlatan?” Lamplighter magazine, November-December 2003, pages 5-7.
3) David Reagan, Christ in Prophecy Study Guide (McKinney, TX: Lamb & Lion Ministries, 3rd edition in 2006).
4) Birger A. Pearson, “The Gospel According to the Jesus Seminar,” www.veritas-ucsb.org/library/pearson/seminar/js1.html.
5) Robert W. Funk, The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus (New York, NY: Harper One, 1996).
6) The Gnostic Society Library, “The Gospel of Thomas,”

You’re Invited!

27.01.2012

Blog

Join me, Brian Johnson, at the following churches and experience live events that unveil God’s epic as you’ve never known it before! As a National Corporate Instructor for Walk Thru the Bible I am blessed to teach this material and proud to promote these Live Events through Until The Shout Ministries.

Step into the story: The Bible can be confusing—what was that name? who begat whom? and what’s a “begat” anyway? Our live events tell God’s story in a way that’s interactive, relevant, and fun. Join the 20 million people worldwide who have seen the Bible come alive.

Old Testament Live Event – Sunday, January 25th at Agape Baptist Church, 78 Dick Hayes Road, Scottsboro,AL256-574-5992-http://www.agapebaptist.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=359 Event begins at 10:15am

Old Testament Live Event – Sunday, February 26th, First Baptist Church, 123 Church Street N.E. , Decatur, AL 256-353-0423 Call the church for event times and details for the Walk Thru the Bible Live Old Testament Event- http://fbcdecatur.org/index.html -

New Testament Live Event - Saturday, March 31st at Grace Point Community Church, 1401 Old Peachtree Road N.E., Suwanee, GA – 770-495-5802 Call the church for event times and details for the Walk Thru the Bible Live New Testament Event

Please contact me today at bjohnson@untiltheshout.com and ask about hosting a Walk Thru the Bible Live Event at your church. Find out why we say, “Take a walk. Change the world!”

The Walk Thru the Bible Old Testament Live Event is one of the best kept secrets in ministry. This event is no lecture or mere seminar but rather a fully interactive, educational and inspirational expedition through the pages of Scripture. I’m not aware of any other Live Event that will give people such a comprehensive foundation in the Old Testament and simultaneously be so much fun. The room becomes a map of the Holy Land; the participants become the people, places, and events of the Old Testament and together we will tour 4000 years of Bible history from creation to Christ. As a National Corporate Instructor for Walk Thru the Bible I am blessed to teach this material and proud to promote these Live Events through Until The Shout Ministries. Please contact me today at bjohnson@untiltheshout.com and ask about hosting a Walk Thru the Bible Live Event at your church. Find out why we say, “Take a walk. Change the world!”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkk63Ua1k0I&feature=plcp&context=C3637ab2UDOEgsToPDskL9iiT4Mw9UfclTtFyn3OPD

Have you noticed in Luke Chapter 2 how the angels appeared first to the shepherds? In ancient times the shepherds were the among the lowest class of people. Only the lepers were considered lower. And yet the shepherds were the first to hear the good news. The angel says in verse 10 that the good news is for ALL people. No matter who you are today, no matter where you have come from, no matter what you have done, Jesus Christ came into the world on this day to turn your despair into hope, your sorrow into joy, your pain into comfort, and most importantly, your guilt into righteousness. Trust Him today. Rejoice in Him today. And have a very Merry Christmas from Until the Shout Ministries!

As is the case with many topics, the devil loves to polarize our view points.  Knowing the extremes on both ends are generally wrong, the devil will polarize our view points to fracture our unity and distract us from the Truth.  

Many are making a mockery of Mr. Harold Camping for claiming the Rapture will occur, well, tomorrow. They quickly (and rightly) site Matthew 24:36 – “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only”.   Mr. Camping has been so bold as to not only set the date but the hour (6pm EST) also!  Indeed, he is not merely terribly misguided but a false prophet. 

But in response to Mr. Camping’s claims, I hear many Christians swinging to the opposite extreme.  They will say that we are to know nothing of the time, completely dismissing very valid signs all around us that the end time prophecies are being fulfilled right before our eyes.  (In fact, Mr. Camping and his prediction is one such sign in and of itself!  Matthew 24:5 & 23-24).  While they acknowledge that Jesus will in fact return “someday”, they disavow our ability to have any specific knowledge of it.  They poke fun at men like Camping and go about life as usual.  The tragedy here is that we loose all sense of urgency and even awareness. 

Those in the “we cannot know” camp, do precious little but give lip service to His “eventual” return while continuing to live as they always have.  Is there any wonder the church (in America at least) has lost nearly all points of reference for holiness?  Just because we cannot know what we are not meant to know, do not forsake knowing what we ARE meant to know!  Recently, I even heard a dear saint proclaim, “I just want Jesus to surprise me!” The Truth is, while we may not know the “day or hour”, neither are we to be caught by surprise!  The Bible tells us in no less than a dozen places that the wise will recognize the season of His return and the righteous are NOT to be caught by surprise. 

We are meant to recognize and understand the “season”, figuratively speaking, of His return which is specifically defined in the Bible.  Can we understand everything perfectly? Of course not.  Can we preach the events preceding His return with a zero margin of error? No.  But, virtually every prophet in the OT mentions His return not simply in general terms but in specific terms.  Likewise, in the NT, virtually every writer gives specific details as to the “end times” and the “day (time) of the Lord”.  

Jesus, Himself said: “Behold, I have told you in advance.”  He scolded the Pharisees in Matthew 16:1-3 and His disciples, (and therefore us) in Matthew 24:32-33; Luke 21:28; and Mark 13:28 for not properly discerning the “season”.   Very, very specific Bible prophecies regarding His return are being fulfilled all around us and many Christians are either dismissing these events or are completely unaware of them.  Our unawareness has cost us our sense of true expectancy.

If we truly believe that our Lord Jesus is really returning (and you can trust His Word, it will be sooner than most think) then it will be demonstrated by the way we live.  We will be endeavoring to conform our lives to the image of Jesus Christ, joyfully, enthusiastically and urgently!  I have said before, an intense desire for the day of the Lord shines light in the darkest places, breaks the seductions of flesh, and renews hope in the midst of the greatest desperation.  Our faith is to see what the lost world cannot – and to live accordingly. 

Rest assured I nor Until The Shout Ministries will ever be caught proclaiming a day or an hour.  We will however, encourage believers in the imminent return of Christ by pointing to the signs of the times (as the Bible defines them), fulfilled prophecies, and proclaim the Word of God – Until The Shout!

Blessings,

Brian