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Dropping Hints

I read something about this a few years ago, but recently I dug into it in a little greater depth and detail. The Talmud discusses several unusual events that occurred around the time of Christ's death (or at least around the time of His ministry)—things that stopped happening or began happening about 40 years before the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70, or about AD 30.

The Talmud is a huge collection of Jewish writings generally focused on the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) and the Tanach (basically the entire Old Testament), and these writings comprise a massive compendium of teaching, opinions, and interpretation pertaining to both, as well as other aspects of Judaism. These writings began to be compiled in earnest in the aftermath of the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70, since prior to that such teachings had primarily been passed down orally within a relatively closed Jewish society. But after the temple was destroyed at the hands of the Romans and the Jewish people were scattered to the nations of the world, such oral traditions became far more difficult to maintain and pass on.

Plus, after AD 70, Jewish scholars had their work cut out for them. The challenge? Invent a version of Judaism that could function in the absence of a temple—which, if you count the original tabernacle in the days of Moses, had been the heart and soul of Jewish life for 1,500 years.

There are two versions of the Talmud: a smaller one compiled in the land of Israel and redacted in the mid-fourth century known as the Jerusalem Talmud, and a larger version compiled in Iraq from the third to the sixth centuries known as the Babylonian Talmud. There are many differences between the two, but the majority of Jewish scholars consider the Babylonian Talmud as more authoritative, and refer to it more often than the Jerusalem Talmud.

The reason I mention this is because the unusual events I am about to discuss are described in both, which lends greater credence to the fact that these were widely accepted by the Jews as actual historical events.

As we shall see, the four unusual events we are going to look at that occurred around the time of the Crucifixion each in its own way gives us the distinct impression that God was giving the Jews signs that His relationship with them had fundamentally changed. It seems very much as if God was dropping hints for His people that things were different after their religious leaders persuaded their Roman masters to execute this grifter from Nazareth who did nothing but spout parables, use His demonic power to perform "miracles," and mislead many people into foolishly accepting Him as the Messiah, in spite of His obvious failure to fulfill a single messianic prophecy to their satisfaction.

The four unusual events we will discuss are connected to the following:

1. Which of the High Priest's hands the lot for the LORD came up in.
2. Whether or not the scarlet ribbon tied to the goat would turn white.
3. The center lamp of the temple menorah failing to remain lit.
4. The temple doors opening by themselves every night.

A hint that's NOT in the Talmud

Before we look at the four unusual events that are mentioned in the Talmud, I want to mention one miraculous sign that was given to Israel that was an obvious hint that at the moment Christ died, something radically changed in God's relationship with not only Israel, but with all of mankind.

It is recorded in all three of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), and it involved an extraordinarily tall, thick, heavy curtain (or "veil") that concealed the Holy of Holies:

50Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. 51Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. 

(Matthew 27:50–51 / emphasis added)

37Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and gave up the spirit. 38The veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. 

(Mark 15:37–38 / emphasis added)

45The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two

(Luke 23:45 / emphasis added)

In the temple, there were two main curtains, and one of them hung at the entrance to what was called the Holy Place (equivalent to a nave). The Holy Place contained a seven-branched candelabra called a menorah (representing Christ as the Light of the World), the table of shewbread (representing Christ as the Bread of Life), and the altar of incense, and priests went in and out of this area on a daily basis to perform various duties.

But the Holy Place also contained the Holy Of Holies, a smaller area which contained the ark of the covenant and which was separated from the rest of the Holy Place by a second thick, heavy curtain. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and only once a year on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for both his own sin and for the sins of the entire nation of Israel.

The moment Christ died, it was this inner curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Holy Place that was ripped in two, from top to bottom. At a height estimated by some at about 60 feet, this is clearly suggestive of the fact that it was God who did the ripping. But most importantly...

It told us that the way to God
was now open to all, thanks to the
blood that Christ shed on the cross.

19Having therefore, brothers, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus [some translations render this as "the Holy Place," but note that Paul is clearly referring to the Holy of Holies contained in what many refer to as the Holy Place, just as I did above], 20By a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And having an high priest over the house of God; 22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 

(Hebrews 10:19–22 AKJV / emphasis &
[comments] added)

"Let us draw near"...in a way that no one on earth could dream of doing prior to Christ's perfect work of atonement. Especially the Jews.

After Christ's death, the effective atonement for sin no longer required any High Priest to enter any Holy of Holies and offer any sacrifice, and the reason is thunderingly simple:

The Son of God's perfect sacrifice for sin had just been offered once and for all, and had been accepted by the Father.

But unlike the other four unusual events we are going to discuss, the ripping of the curtain that concealed the Holy of Holies from view is NOT mentioned anywhere in the Talmud, or in any Jewish writings anyone is aware of.

I suspect that at least part of the reason for this is because the rending of this curtain was such a disturbingly bizarre event that the priests would have instinctively sought keep it as quiet as possible. According to Jewish tradition, the priests simply got busy and quietly sewed the curtain back together and pressed right on as if nothing had happened...and no doubt labeled any lingering rumors as pernicious conspiracy theories spread by heretics who foolishly clung to the absurd notion that the Nazarene trickster that had been executed was actually their anticipated Messiah.

The abject spiritual bankruptcy of the
Jewish religious leaders had reached
the point where they literally didn't
know what else to do, think, or say.

Plus, this curtain-ripping thing only happened once. The other events we will discuss each occurred on a regular basis (daily or annually) for 40 years, and so they would have been widely known and acknowledged by the Jewish public—and as a result are mentioned in both versions of the Talmud.

The Yom Kippur miracles

The four events we are going to discuss are sometimes referred to as the "Yom Kippur miracles," which is perhaps not the best name for them since not all four are specifically connected to Yom Kippur. I've never made any effort to come up with a moniker of my own, but if someone threatened to spit in my coffee to get me to do so, it might be the "post-Crucifixion, pre-temple-destruction oddities mentioned in the Talmud" (clunk...)

On second thought, I think I'll just go with the "Yom Kippur miracles."

But regardless of how you choose to refer to them, all four of these strange events are mentioned in both the Jerusalem Talmud and the Babylonian Talmud. Here is how the Babylonian Talmud summarizes them:

The Sages taught: During the tenure of Shimon HaTzaddik, the lot for God always arose in the High Priest's right hand; after his death, it occurred only occasionally; but during the forty years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, the lot for God did not arise in the High Priest's right hand at all. So too, the strip of crimson wool that was tied to the head of the goat that was sent to Azazel did not turn white, and the westernmost lamp of the candelabrum did not burn continually.

And the doors of the Sanctuary opened by themselves as a sign that they would soon be opened by enemies, until Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai scolded them. He said to the Sanctuary: Sanctuary, Sanctuary, why do you frighten yourself with these signs? I know about you that you will ultimately be destroyed, and Zechariah, son of Ido, has already prophesied concerning you: "Open your doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars" (Zechariah 11:1), Lebanon being an appellation for the Temple.

Rabbi Yitzhak ben Tavlai said: Why is the Temple called Lebanon [Levanon]? Because it whitens [malbin] the Jewish people's sins, alluded to by the root lavan meaning white.

— The Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Yoma 39b [Source]

1. The lot for the LORD.

One of the procedures carried out on Yom Kippur involved two goats of very similar size and appearance. One goat was chosen to serve as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the people (i.e. the one "for the LORD"), and the other would symbolically carry the sins of the people far away from the camp (i.e. the one "for Azazel," or the scapegoat).

I'm going to keep this rather general, because the details of how these things were actually carried out varied somewhat over the centuries. First of all, the roles of these two goats would be chosen by lot. At one time, two stones from the High Priest's breastplate were used. At other times, two marbles or stones were used: one white and one black.

The High Priest would draw out one lot in his right hand and the other in his left. It was considered auspicious if the lot for the LORD came up in the High Priest's right hand, and according to the Talmud it did so every single year during the tenure of the venerated Shimon HaTzaddik (aka Simeon the Righteous), who served as High Priest for 40 years in the fourth century BC. After his death, the Talmud indicates that the lot for the LORD came up in the High Priest's right hand only occasionally, but it still did sometimes.

But the Talmud also states that starting around AD 30, or 40 years before the destruction of the temple, the lot for the LORD never came up in the High Priest's right hand again.

Now, this business of drawing lots makes this all sound like it was just random chance, but according to Scripture it was anything but:

33The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from Yahweh.

(Proverbs 16:33)

In other words, the LORD always had total control over which lot came up in which of the High Priest's hands.

Lord help him with his math: While I was working on this, I stumbled across an article by some well-meaning individual who blubbered on about how the odds of this occurring were about 5,500,000,000 (5.5 billion) to 1!!! WOW!!! Uh, no. First of all, his numbers are off by a factor of 200. Assuming it's at the mercy of random chance, the odds of this occurring 40 consecutive times would be approximately 1,100,000,000,000 (1.1 trillion) to 1. Second of all, and more importantly, odds have nothing whatsoever to do with it: "Its every decision is from Yahweh." So save the blubbering.

But odds or no odds, the religious leaders understood that the fact that the lot for the LORD was consistently coming up in the High Priest's left hand every single year did not bode well for the Jewish people.

They just didn't know why it was happening.

2. The scarlet ribbon.

Warning—sharp curves ahead: What follows in this section is a bit involved, and I literally don't know one single person who agrees with me on every detail...which tends to make me a bit nervous. So hang in there and focus, and I'll do my best to get us through this in one piece.

The goat for Azazel or the scapegoat would be driven far from the Jews' camp, or far outside the city of Jerusalem and out into the wilderness. There, it would either simply be killed or shoved off a cliff so it would fall to its death.

Again, I have to go easy here because the details varied over time and so you will see sources that describe things a bit differently. Basically, however, the scapegoat would have a scarlet ribbon or cord tied to its horns or around its neck, and a section of that same ribbon would be kept by the priests or tied to the door of the temple. If that scarlet ribbon turned white, it represented the fact that atonement for the sins of the people had been successfully carried out. This idea was based on the following passage of Scripture:

18Come now, and let us reason together, said the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

(Isaiah 1:18 AKJV)

If it didn't turn white and remained scarlet, it may have cast a bit of a pall over the proceedings, but life went on—do some good deeds and all that. But the fact that this scarlet cord never turned white again for the entire 40 years prior to the destruction of the temple told the Jewish people something of critical importance, and it told them with screaming clarity:

Their actions on Yom Kippur were no longer atoning for anything.

Something had fundamentally changed in the way atonement was made for sin, and every born-again believer knows exactly what that is:

What happened about 40 years prior to the destruction of the temple was that the Lamb of God provided atonement for sin through His perfect, one-time sacrifice on a cross at Calvary.

That's an integral part of what the Day of
Atonement had foreshadowed for 1,500
years—but when the Jews were finally
confronted with the reality, they balked.

Notice I said that what Christ did on the cross is part of what the Day of Atonement had foreshadowed for 1,500 years. It's notoriously easy for us as non-Jewish believers to overlook the fact that there's more than Christ's work of atonement being foreshadowed by the Jewish celebration of Yom Kippur.

I recently saw a question online that a Jewish person had asked that was related to the idea of the scarlet cord being attached to the scapegoat and failing to turn white for the last 40 years before the destruction of the Second Temple, and the answer was written by none other than Rabbi Tovia Singer, founder and director of Outreach Judaism and Christian-basher extraordinaire. Here is an excerpt, and he is talking about the Millennial Kingdom and referencing the book of Ezekiel:

In chapters 43–44, Ezekiel clearly states that the animal sacrifices will be reinstated in their full glory. [He tries to make it sound like it's the Old Testament all over again—but it isn't.] In fact, the messiah, who is called "the prince" seventeen times at the end of the Book of Ezekiel, will personally offer a sin offering in the future messianic temple (45:22). [Wrong answer. The prince will have to offer a sacrifice for his own sin. In 46:16, we also see the prince may have sons in the normal sense. Although that sacrifice may be a commemorative one that looks back on what Christ did or one that simply removes ritual uncleanness as a lot of Old Testament "sin" offerings were designed to do (see below), either way this proves this prince isn't Jesus the Messiah.] This simple fact should stir Christians to tremble before they consider suggesting that the transformation of the scarlet strip of wool had ceased due to the fact that God had done away with animal sacrifices. [Straw man alert—that's not what we are suggesting. The only people stupid enough to suggest such a thing are those who don't even know the book of Ezekiel has more than 39 chapters.] Clearly, God has not done away with them as evidenced by the fact that these elaborate Temple rituals will be restored with the advent of the messiah. [Translation: All you deluded Christians don't realize the Old Testament is comin' back in its "full glory"! So enough with your heretical "Jesus is the Messiah" nonsense!]
(emphasis & [comments] added)

— Rabbi Tovia Singer [Source]

Notice how Rabbi Singer cleverly tries to make it sound as if all the temple activity during the Millennial Kingdom will essentially be a return to the Law of Moses as per the Old Testament, and that nothing in this regard will have substantially changed. His goal is obvious: He wants to scare Christians (at least those who aren't as well versed in the Old Testament as they should be) into believing that these Torah-esque animal sacrifices are the only way there will ever be to atone for sin, just as it was for Israel under the Law of Moses—so phooey on your phony Messiah and all your born-again baloney.

"Yep, it's gonna be one big Law of Moses redux, so all you deluded missionaries* can take your book of lies and go pack sand."

(*Be aware that in Israel today, the word "missionary" is used as a pejorative term for Christians, especially those who attempt to share the gospel with them. It's more or less the equivalent of Gentiles calling Jews "kikes.")

Sadly, the reason a man like Tovia Singer can do this with abandon and with every confidence that he can get away with it is because he knows from experience that 99.9 percent of Christians don't know the Old Testament well enough to call him out on his grotesque misrepresentation of Scripture and run it through a shredder.

Well, stand by...because that's precisely what I am about to do.

Ezekiel 40–48 reveals some very interesting facts about the Millennial Kingdom. Yes, there will be a temple. Yes, animal sacrifices will be (gasp) reinstated. But a careful reading of a couple of those last few chapters of Ezekiel also reveals that there are some crucial differences between what was done in the Old Testament and what will be done during the Millennial Kingdom. And I'll just go ahead and spit one of 'em right out at you:

There will be no Yom Kippur
in the Millennial Kingdom.

No Day of Atonement?! Hmmm...now that's interesting.

Yom Kippur gone AWOL: Don't believe me? Read Ezekiel 45 carefully. I've written about this before, but please understand that during the Millennial Kingdom animal sacrifices will still be made in the Millennial Temple. Why? Because they will still be required to cleanse and make atonement in the sense of covering over or purging the ritual uncleanness of people entering His presence and objects being used in His service. Just as in the Old Testament, He will still be a holy God living in a sinful world among natural men with sin natures. The chief difference is that during the Millennial Kingdom, those sinful men will be required to believe in faith in the work of atonement Christ accomplished on the cross to atone for their sin in the sense of removing the moral guilt—not merely the blood of bulls or goats as in Old Testament days. They will also have to maintain a faithful testimony. During the Millennial Kingdom, there will only be Passover/Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles—the Day of Atonement has gone AWOL.

Here is the key passage from Ezekiel's discussion of the celebration of Jewish holy days during the Millennial Kingdom:

21In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month [that's the biblical day of Passover (Lev. 23:5)] , you shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten [hence this could easily and naturally be viewed as including the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:6)]. 22And on that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bullock for a sin offering. 23And seven days of the feast he shall prepare a burnt offering to the LORD, seven bullocks and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days; and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering. 24And he shall prepare a meat offering of an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah. 25In the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month [that's the biblical day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:34)], shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil.

(Ezekiel 45:21–25 AKJV / emphasis &
[comments] added)

And that's pretty much it as far as traditional Jewish festivals are concerned: Passover/Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles.

There appears to be something missing, as in Firstfruits (nobody is waving any sheaves of grain before the LORD), Pentecost, Trumpets, and Atonement. Not to be overly dogmatic or anything, since sometimes others see things in different ways and find ways to read things into Scripture that don't jump out at me. But in my humble opinion, it's crystal clear:

They're not there.

Ezekiel only mentions the actual biblical dates for two of the seven festivals: Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles—and I'm more than willing to toss in the Feast of Unleavened Bread as a gimme, since the eating of unleavened bread is specifically mentioned in connection with Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is considered part of the celebration of Passover anyway.

Where's the blood? To hear the "gospel" preached in many churches today, you might almost get the idea that our dear, sweet Jesus just waved a magic wand to forgive everyone who deigns to invite Him into their heart: no muss, no fuss. Easy peasy Japanesey. Straight up—there are simply no words to describe the horrific pain and suffering that was inflicted on Christ that day 2,000 years ago by the Romans. The lashes alone were enough to kill a man. They weren't intended to merely inflict pain—they were intended to literally rip the flesh from a man's body so severely many would bleed to death (or pray they would). After the lashes, being nailed to a wooden cross was almost redundant—that was intended primarily as a final, humiliating public spectacle. Most victims of crucifixion were three-quarters dead by that time anyway.

The point is that God is going to continue Passover, which foreshadowed and was fulfilled by the Crucifixion, throughout the Millennial Kingdom because the Father is going to honor His Son by never letting us forget what that perfect, sinless Son endured on our behalf, all so that we could be forgiven of our sin and reconciled to Him through faith. In other words:

God is never going to let us forget the blood.

Now, I believe the Feast of Tabernacles will be continued in the kingdom because the Millennial Kingdom is its prophetic fulfillment. For the entire 1,000 years of the kingdom, that prophetic fulfillment will be a work in progress because God will be "tabernacling" with us. That's the entire point.

But Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, and Atonement? Zip. Nada. And that begs the question: Why?

I don't want to go too far afield here because it's an interesting subject in and of itself, but consider:

Firstfruits (Yom Hibikkurim): Firstfruits was fulfilled by the Resurrection: That one's been a done deal for 2,000 years.

Pentecost (Shavuot): The fulfillment of Pentecost was inaugurated by the conception of the Church 50 days after the Resurrection, and I believe the entire Church Age is its complete fulfillment. Israel's prophetic time clock is stopped while God deals with His "heavenly people" the Church. When the Church Age ends at the Rapture, God will restart the prophetic time clock of His "earthly people" Israel and this one will be a done deal as well.

The Day of Shouting (Yom Teruah): What most Christians call the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled by the Second Coming of Christ to the earth to launch His kingdom. And I referred to it by its more literal name just to remind you that what many believers (this writer included) routinely refer to as the "Feast of Trumpets" (a) is not one of the three "feasts" (those would be Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles), and so does not foreshadow a gathering of people to God and so is not the Rapture. Also, it (b) arguably has precious little to do with trumpets. After the Second Coming, that'll be a done deal.

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur): On Yom Kippur, Jews believe the books are sealed—and in Old Testament days you were either in or out. They had just completed a 10-day period known as the Days of Awe that served as their opportunity to repent, right wrongs, forgive others, do good deeds, make amends, etc. If you had done an adequate job of it, God would forgive you and your atonement was secure—your name would remain inscribed in the Book of Life and you would live and be blessed for another year. If not, however, your name would blotted out and the books would be sealed without your name in them, and you would die during the coming year.

Before we go any further, recall one basic principle that applies to the final prophetic fulfillment of all seven of the Jewish festivals:

Every single one of them is fulfilled by
Christ Himself and in their given order.

1. He fulfilled Passover at the Crucifixion.

2. He fulfilled Unleavened Bread with His burial.

3. He fulfilled Firstfruits at the Resurrection.

4. He will fulfill Pentecost when He catches away the Church at the Rapture.

5. He will fulfill Trumpets when He returns at the Second Coming.

6. He will fulfill Atonement when He decides who is granted and denied entrance into the Millennial Kingdom (more on this below).

7. He will fulfill Tabernacles by ruling in the Millennial Kingdom on earth.

OK, steady now...I believe the Day of Atonement finds its final fulfillment in the form of the Sheep and Goat Judgment of Matthew 25:31–46, and I pray that I can make this clear because I already know some of what I am about to say is liable to rattle a few cages out there.

It strikes me that most Christians today have been mistaught about the Sheep and Goat Judgment, if they have been taught anything at all about it (which many haven't). I am convinced that everyone who stands before Christ at the Sheep and Goat Judgment is someone who believes the truth of the gospel. Yes, including the goats.

No? Consider: When Christ comes back at the Second Coming, all the people left alive on earth will be able to be divided into two groups: those who took the mark of the beast and worshiped the Antichrist as God, and those who refused to do so. That's everybody. The latter group, however, can be divided into two subgroups: (a) the believing Jewish remnant who will be protected in the wilderness until the Second Coming so they can be ushered alive into the kingdom, and (b) surviving Gentiles at large who have believed the message of the gospel and so have rejected the mark of the beast and as a result are struggling to survive the persecution from the forces of the Antichrist.

Out of the picture: In regard to the 144,000 Jewish evangelists, I am convinced they will have all been martyred before the end of the Great Tribulation, so they're out of the picture at this point. They're in heaven and in full rejoice mode. (Even if they're not, they would be lumped in with the Jewish remnant anyway.) Incidentally, unbelieving Jews who "didn't receive the love of the truth" will also be dead...but in "rejoice mode"? Uh, not so much.

If you think any of the goats standing on Jesus' left are people who took the mark of the beast and worshiped the Antichrist as God, then why would Jesus be asking them about the nature of their actions toward other believers (His "brothers"), to which they so innocently respond:

"Gosh Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty? We certainly would have visited you in prison! How can you not let us into the kingdom?!"

Note that the nature of their reaction indicates that the goats were actually expecting to be admitted into the kingdom, and seem genuinely perplexed as to why they are being denied entrance. The question boils down to this:

Why on earth would Jesus be wasting His time
accusing people who took the mark of the beast
of failing to display a bold Christian witness?

Are you kidding?! They staunchly rejected everything connected to Christ and the gospel and worshiped the Antichrist in His place! And that tells us everything we need to know about them. However, you might say that there is another reason there are no markees at the Sheep and Goat Judgment that's a bit more pragmatic:

Uhm...they're all dead.

20The beast [the Antichrist] was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21The rest [i.e. "those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image"] were killed with the sword of him who sat on the horse, the sword which came out of his mouth [it sounds like they're all dead before Christ even dismounts]. So all the birds were filled with their flesh.

(Revelation 19:20–21 / emphasis &
[comments] added)

Revelation 19:20–21 makes it crystal clear that when Christ returns at the Second Coming, the first thing He is going to do is cast the Antichrist and the False Prophet alive into the lake of fire. Then He will kill everyone remaining who took the mark of the beast and worshiped his image—that's just initial housecleaning for the newly returned King of kings. This precedes any of the activities that follow that are part of the preliminaries of actually setting up the kingdom, which would include the Sheep and Goat Judgment.

So none of the people standing before Christ at the Sheep and Goat Judgment took the mark of the beast—it simply makes no sense and doesn't sit well with Scripture. Well, what does that tell us about them?

Let's think this through: During the Great Tribulation, following the launching of the kingdom of the Antichrist, everyone on earth is going to be required to take the mark of the beast and worship the Antichrist as God on pain of death. In other words, refusing to do so will be a capital crime. Now, what could possibly influence a person to risk their life by refusing to take the mark? I only know one thing—and I am convinced it is the only thing:

Belief in the truth of the gospel.

It's going to be a clear-cut choice: the Big Lie or the Bigger Truth. Listen: If you think this world is divided now, oh baby...you ain't seen nothin' yet!

The only reason people will risk their lives by refusing to take the mark of the beast is because they have come to a knowledge of the truth of the gospel. As a result, I believe all those standing before Christ at the Sheep and Goat Judgment are believing Tribulation survivors.

Are some Christians in name only (CINOs)? Let's let God be the judge.

But these have survived and are standing before Christ, being judged to determine whether or not they warrant admittance into the kingdom—admittance which some are granted and some are denied.

OK, so what is the criterion for admittance into the kingdom? Just belief in the message of the gospel? Just a profession of faith in Christ's work of atonement on the cross? No. They did that, or else they wouldn't be there. Failing that, they certainly would have taken the mark of the beast. At this point in time there's a bit more to it than that.

No matter how much someone wants to massage this and say the goats are actually just wimpy CINOs who weren't really saved (yet their belief in the gospel was initially strong enough to enable them to refuse the mark?), there is a cold, hard reality at work here that many in the Church today are blithely unaware of (or would prefer to ignore). And that buck stops at the pulpits of thousands of churches all over the world where preachers are doling out dollops of woke, politically correct whipped cream.

Remember: The Church Age—along with
its unique blessing of eternal security—
is ancient history at this point in time.

The criteria for entering the kingdom
for all surviving Tribulation believers
will include a faithful testimony.

They all professed faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ—that's why they are standing before Him at the Sheep and Goat Judgment to begin with. But now they are being judged on how they treated other believers during the darkest days of the Tribulation. Whether they protected them or gave in to pressure to rat them out. Whether they offered them food and drink and shelter and other types of aid and comfort, or steered clear of them and let them suffer out of fear for their own safety and well being.

Both the sheep and the goats obviously risked their lives by refusing to receive the mark of the beast and worship the Antichrist. But the sheep put it all on the line and maintained a faithful testimony by selflessly aiding other believers—no doubt at great personal risk. The goats caved and failed to do so in order to save their hides—it's pretty much that simple. The sheep and the goats are all people who either took a stand or took cover. And admittance to the Millennial Kingdom will be granted or denied accordingly.

And as on previous Yom Kippurs,
after the Lord's decisions are made
the books will again be sealed.

Only this time the books won't
be sealed for one more year—
they will be sealed for eternity.

So when the Millennial Kingdom is finally launched, the Day of Atonement will no longer be necessary because its final fulfillment at the Sheep and Goat Judgment will have already determined who among the Tribulation survivors who refused to worship the Antichrist are granted or denied entrance into that kingdom in the first place, and the books will be sealed for the last time.

That's what Yom Kippur foreshadowed for 1,500 years. Yes, something did change in how atonement was made for sin 2,000 years ago. During the Church Age, it is based on belief in faith in Christ's work of atonement alone. And I believe Scripture is quite clear: Members of the body of Christ—those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29)—are blessed by being sealed with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in a way believers in other eras are not and as a result enjoy the blessing of eternal security.

But they're Gentiles! Some out there may be grousing about the fact that I have the final, prophetic fulfillment of Yom Kippur being fulfilled by Gentiles, not Jews. Yes, the Jewish feasts were given to Israel...trust me. But the final, prophetic fufillment of all seven of these festivals basically form an outline of God's plan of redemption for sinful man—from the Crucifixion to the kingdom, and that's about more than just Israel. God planned for the Church to be grafted into this comprehensive plan and play a key role in it, right alongside God's Chosen People the Jews. For example, as I mentioned earlier, I believe the entire Church Age is the complete fulfillment of the Feast of Weeks, aka Pentecost—and its final fulfillment is the Rapture, an event the Jews know essentially nothing about.

After the Rapture, belief in faith in Christ's work of atonement will need to be supported by a faithful testimony—and that's what we see being played out in the final prophetic fulfillment of the Day of Atonement at the Sheep and Goat Judgment, which will determine who among these Tribulation survivors will enter the promised Millennial Kingdom. So when the kingdom is finally launched, the Day of Atonement will have served its ultimate prophetic purpose—and then it will be a done deal.

Whew...take a deep breath. I think we made it.

All right, where were we? Oh yeah, the third unusual event:

3. The center lamp of the menorah.

Inside the Holy Place in the temple there was a large golden candelabra (or menorah) with seven lamps. Some menorahs have a center lamp that is a bit taller than the others, but styles vary. Whatever the design, however, the priests saw to it that this center lamp remained lit at all times, and it was used to keep the other six lamps lit on a daily basis.

But starting about 40 years before the destruction of the temple, for some inexplicable reason the center lamp kept going out. Every single night, it would fail to remain lit. Exasperated priests tried everything they could think of. They kept extra supplies of oil on hand. They kept its wick carefully trimmed. Nothing worked. No matter what they did, the center lamp would go out every single night, and so was useless in its role of keeping the other lamps burning—they couldn't even keep it burning.

Of course, the lamps represented the Holy Spirit and hence God's presence with and favor upon Israel. And the grim, disturbing overtones of this unusual phenomenon were not lost on the Jewish religious leaders—they understood that this continual extinguishing of this central lamp indicated that God's presence and favor had departed from Israel, starting around AD 30, or 40 years before the destruction of the temple.

Why "western"? In the passage I quoted earlier from the Babylonian Talmud, it says "the westernmost lamp of the candelabrum did not burn continually." Most other translations simply read "the western lamp." But why the "western" lamp? At first blush, that would seem to rule out the center lamp, no matter how the menorah was oriented. I found several explanations for this, a couple of which were in complete disagreement.

However, the best explanation I found is that the menorah in the temple was aligned north to south, and the Holy of Holies was on its western side. The wicks of the three lamps on the north side were bent to point south and the wicks of the three lamps on the south side were bent to point north, so all six pointed toward the center lamp. The wick of the center lamp, however, was bent to point west, toward the Holy of Holies. I won't be dogmatic about it, but this is far and away the most satisfying explanation I found, because the center lamp that was kept burning continuously represents Christ, who is the Light of the World and imparts light to us through the Holy Spirit.

And it's worth noting that the center candle of the nine-candle Hanukkah menorah is also used to light the other eight candles. This candle is known as the "helper candle," which is interesting because the light comes from the Holy Spirit, and when Jesus promised His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit at the Last Supper, He used a form of the Greek word parakletos, which many English translations render as "the Helper." Just an interesting tidbit.

4. The doors of the temple.

The final odd event involves the huge set of doors the led into the Holy Place of the temple. According to some sources, these doors were so massive that a team of up to 20 men was required to open and close them.

But just as with the previous three events we have discussed, about 40 years before the destruction of the temple, something strange began to happen: These huge doors in the temple would swing open every single night about midnight all by themselves, and the door-closing detail had to be mustered to shut them again.

This inexplicable self-opening of the temple doors is not only mentioned in both versions of the Talmud—it is also referred to by Roman historian Josephus:

Moreover, the eastern gate of the inner [court of the] temple, [likely a reference to the doors that led into the Holy Place, which would have been on the east side of this court area discussed earlier] which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night [around midnight] . Now those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it; who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty was able to shut the gate again.
(emphasis & [comments] added)

— Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews (6.5.3) [Source]

Like the other odd events we've looked at, there was no explanation for it. As hardened as they were, at least the Jewish religious leaders had enough sense to grasp the fact that God was using these strange events to speak to them, and they understood that these things didn't bode well for Israel and their relationship with God. In other words:

They understood God was dropping hints.

Now, in regard to the temple doors opening by themselves, this strange event was actually believed to portend the impending destruction of the temple, because the Jewish religious leaders interpreted it in light of the following prophecy from Zechariah:

1Open your doors, Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars.

(Zechariah 11:1)

As mentioned in the passage from the Talmud I quoted at the outset, "Lebanon" was seen as a reference to the temple itself since the word is based on the root lavan, which means "white." And one of the fundamental purposes of the temple was to "whiten" the sins of the Jewish people.

So, the religious leaders interpreted this opening of the temple doors on their own as God dropping a big, fat hint that the temple would soon be destroyed.

And destroyed it was, just as Jesus had prophesied to His disciples:

1Jesus went out from the temple, and was going on his way. His disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple. 2But he answered them, "You see all of these things, don't you? Most certainly I tell you, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown down.

(Matthew 24:1–2)

But for the last two millennia, these hints have fallen on deaf Jewish ears.

Baseless excuses: For the last two thousand years, Jewish rabbis have taught that the reason God turned away from the Jewish people and judged them so severely was due to the baseless hatred in their hearts. Nothing to do with rejecting the Messiah, no sir. It's all because of whatchya call yer baseless hatred—a terrible absence of social justice and a deplorable lack of kindness and brotherly love among people throughout Jewish society. Tsk tsk tsk.

OK, then I have two questions for the good rabbis:

1. If there was such "baseless hatred" and such a terrible lack of social justice and brotherly love among the Jews that God drove them out of their land and placed them under severe judgment, that would seem to suggest that the Jews were in greater need of atonement than ever before. So...why would God remove the only means of atonement from them in the form of the temple?

2. The Orthodox Jews believe that repentance and good deeds are more efficacious than sacrifices in maintaining a right relationship with God. If that's the case, then it seems that the long-term effects of the absence of a temple would prove to be beneficial for the Jewish people. So...why after two millennia do the Jews still mourn the loss of the temple and pray for another?

Just wondering. As for the Church, if the ongoing fulfillment of prophecy as well as the copious number of hints God is dropping for the body of Christ are anything to go by, then it seems that the Jewish people are just about ready to start getting the wax cleaned out of their ears.

A word about timing

Before I bring this in for a landing, I want to say a few words in regard to the year of Christ's death. As I said, these four unusual events either started or stopped happening about 40 years before the destruction of the Second Temple in AD 70, which places them at about AD 30. And it is believed by many that these events started around the time of the Crucifixion. And h-e-r-e we go...I can already hear people out there:

"You fool! Christ was crucified in AD 33/32/31/29 and I can prove it!"

Yeah, yeah, yeah...chill. One of the clearest scriptural clues in regard to the timing of Christ's ministry is found in the Gospel of Luke, who has earned the respect of secular scholars as a historian of the first rank:

1Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.

(Luke 3:1–2 / emphasis added)

Of all the names and positions Luke refers to, the only one he attaches a specific number to involves Tiberius. He tells us that the ministry of John the Baptist began in the "fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar," and Christ's ministry—which kicked off with His baptism by John—began not too long after this and is believed to have lasted about three and a half years.

OK, so when did the reign of Tiberius begin? According to history books, that's an easy one: AD 14. So, it would seem that the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius (depending on the style of counting used) would be about AD 28–29. Toss in a few months here and there to smooth out the rough edges, and an AD 32–33 time frame for the Crucifixion fits just fine and dandy.

And AD 30 is obviously far too early to even be considered.

Tiberius was the step-son and later the adopted son of Rome's first emperor, Augustus (I'm not even going to try to explain this—family relationships among the Roman elite were scandalously convoluted). Augustus took the reigns of power in 27 BC, and in the latter years of his reign he wished to see his adopted son prepared to assume his role.

There are historical records that indicate that in AD 12, Tiberius was officially named as co-regent along with Augustus, and as such had the same authority as the emperor. By AD 12, Augustus was in his 70s and according to some reports was in failing health, and as a result Tiberius essentially became the acting emperor at least two years before the death of Augustus in AD 14, the year of the "official" crowning of Tiberius as the new emperor.

Now, don't get the wrong idea...this co-regency deal was no secret. There are records that make it clear that there was nothing clandestine in this regard. Tiberius was openly recognized and hailed as the emperor and was seen as wielding the same power and authority as Augustus by people throughout the entire Roman Empire—including Judea.

So, if one were to regard the reign of Tiberius as beginning in about AD 12, which is not a wholly unreasonable assumption, suddenly a Crucifixion year of AD 30 becomes eminently possible. The question comes down to this:

Was Luke going by the beginning of Tiberius' "effective" reign, or by the beginning of his "official" reign following the death of Augustus?

Of course, many assume the latter, insisting that Luke would have certainly gone with the official records to avoid confusion. But again, Tiberius' effective rule as emperor for about two years prior to the death of Augustus was widely known and recognized throughout the Roman Empire. So...your call.

By the way, it is not outside the realm of possibility that these strange events started or stopped happening around the beginning of Christ's ministry—when He began to make His messianic presence known to Israel, rather than the time of His death. I won't attempt to make the argument here, but I believe such an argument could be made. This would allow the Yom Kippur miracles of about AD 30 to mesh nicely with an already widely accepted time frame in regard to Christ's ministry, and everybody goes home happy.

Relax...I'm not trying to change anyone's mind here—not even my own. All I want you to see is that a good, reasonable argument can be made for AD 30 as the year of the Crucifixion, just is it can for several other years in that general time frame. And as a result, a good, reasonable argument can be made to mesh this with the Yom Kippur miracles starting around AD 30, as claimed in the Talmud. No veins are popping out of my forehead here.

What I'm not going to do, however, is waste my time trying to pin all this down with an ironclad degree of certainty, because I don't think anyone can or ever will this side of heaven. However this all fits together, I am convinced that the historical haze that enshrouds these events is no accident.

I believe we will never know the exact year of the
Crucifixion with absolute, 100 percent certainty
because that's exactly how God arranged things.

'Nuff said. If God intended for us to know these details, I have no doubt that we would have known them a long time ago.

Hint-dropping season

It occurs to me that if God went to the trouble of dropping hints for the Jews that He was turning His attention away from them (and to the Church), it seems reasonable to assume that God would drop some hints for the Church that He was ready to turn His attention away from us (and back to Israel).

And as we look back over the last few years, we see a number of hints that He is about ready to do just exactly that. Of course, only a small portion of the Jewish people grasped the import of these unusual events and understood the true reason for the hints that God was dropping: Israel had crucified their promised Messiah and God was about to judge His people.

In a similar manner, only a small portion of the Church today grasps the import of the hints God is dropping that He is about to bring the Church Age to a screeching halt via the Rapture and focus His attention back to His people Israel in preparation for the Tribulation, during which they will be purged and ultimately blessed with their promised kingdom.

Hints such as the REV12 sign of 2017, the solar eclipses of 2017 and 2024 that scrawl a big "X" across America, and any number of others.

As if we needed such hints, that is. We are being so bombarded with the ongoing fulfillment of end-time prophecy that God scarcely needs to drop a whole lot of hints that the Rapture is dead ahead—His Word says it all.

Yet He is dropping hints for those with ears to hear. So press in, stay close, and make sure the wax is cleaned out of your ears.

It's hint-dropping season.

From Greg Lauer @ A Little Strength—MAR '23
Post A Comment


  1. Greg L.

    I have a few thoughts this is just one of them.

    Paul is under house arrest in Rome, during his first imprisonment when he writes this letter. Epaphras reported on the conditions in the Church while visiting Paul in his confinement. Tychicus was the bearer of the letter.

    False teaching, the common culprit of the time, had brought about heretic thinking. The Church became synthesized, blending Jewish legalism, Greek philosophic speculation and Oriental mysticism. The new teaching had it all covered; diet, Sabbath observances, worship of angels and the practice of severity, which stemmed from the belief that the body was inherently evil.

    Paul combats the heresy by emphasizing the cosmic significance of Christ as Lord of Creation and Head of the Church and that any practice, teaching or intermediary that detracts from the uniqueness and centrality of Christ is against the faith.

    The theme of the Colossian letter is the supremacy and all-sufficiency of Christ as Paul addresses the work and personage of Christ, heresy and the connection of Christ to the believers.

    Is cast as a shadow into its future within the First Fruits landscape. Jesus fulfills this because He is the new offering of the work of His labor.

    It was offered to and accepted by the Gentile substitutes, only after the Jews had rejected the work.

    Under Paul’s tutelage the Gentiles began growing the body of new creatures in Christ, which continues into the present day. Whereas the Jews display the characteristics and history of a people who have been on hold, while the prophecies concerning their fate continue to plays out in time.

    On Pentecost, with every Spring feast (set time) fulfilled by Jesus, the way is clear for God to resume the Abraham covenant and fulfill their destiny.

    The object here is to see that since the offering of the completed Messiah was made on Pentecost of Acts 2 for the Jews, and since they later rejected Jesus as the Messiah, God opts to place them on hold while he deals with the new covenant people, the Church. This requires that Jesus come again to complete His role for the Jews.

    Pentecost becomes the pivotal feast, because the shadow cast into the future by the Pentecost of Acts 2 includes not only the new offering of Jesus, but also the anointing of the witnesses who carried the message of the Messiah to the Jews.

    When Jesus takes His freed captives home with Him on Ascension Day, He casts the shadow himself of the Rapture, coming after 40 days of warning about the coming destruction.

    Then on Pentecost, the witnesses are anointed and the march to convert the Jews was under way.

    Now, in the future, the shadow cast from the Pentecost of Acts 2 requires that witnesses be anointed and begin offering Jesus as the Messiah to the Jews. Scripture tells us that God will anoint His last two witnesses to be the preachers of righteousness to the Jews.

    When they begin to preach on Pentecost, it will be to the Jews, because the Church is gone! They will be pointing at the Rapture to demonstrate to the Jews that again they were warned, and again they were stiff- necked and so again they missed Him.

  2. In regard to the 144,000 Jewish evangelists martyred:

    You have to see the Jews during the tribulation in three groups. There are 144,000 sealed, they are going to be caught up. The tribulation is still in progress in the 14th chapter- I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand having his Fathers name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from Heaven - they're up there.

    As God's got a Lamb's book of Life, into which the saints are written, that are caught up at the Rapture; God has got a book, in which there is sealed 144,000 that He will pick up in this last moment in the middle of the week, and that's the man child, it's the 144,000.

    God's got them in His book, and He seals them with the name of God. He saves them from those trumpets because they will be preachers of righteousness like this world will have never seen before then. And because they are the man child, they are going to come out of National Israel.

    And that woman that is National Israel, pains to be delivered. Out of her, comes the 144,000. The Nation brings forth a people - it takes a woman to bring forth a son! The woman is a symbol, a Nation, reconstituted out of every nation, brought back as Ezekiel has it; to the mountains that have always laid waste.

    Rev. 14 - I looked and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Fathers name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders; and no man could learn that song but the 144,000, which were redeemed from the earth.

    The man child caught up - Michael was fighting with Satan, and Satan was cast down to the earth when the Dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he persecuted the WOMAN, which brought forth the man child - vs.13. Man child is already gone. But the woman's got other kids.

  3. Great, meaty article. I loved the in-depth look at the different Yom Kippur miracles and all they represent. I have to say, the teaching on the Sheep and Goats judgement was a new one for me. The fact that the people who are goats *expected* to be sheep was something I'd definitely not noticed in the way you pointed it out - three groups of people, two of which are denied entrance into the Kingdom. Very interesting stuff. Thank you for sharing this!


  4. Now let me show you something. If I may?

    Isaiah 66 speaks of this man child. No prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. Verse 5: Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word: you brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

    A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompense to his enemies, before she travailed, she brought forth, before her pain came (that terrible pain of the last three and a half years), she was delivered of a man child.
    Who has heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? (This is the nation Israel we are talking about) Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.

    Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? Saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? Saith thy God. Rejoice ye with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that mourn for her:

    And then He goes on to talk about the relationship between mother and children but the man child has already been caught up. But the rest of her children, the remnant are persecuted at Jerusalem during that last three and a half years.

    1. Interesting! Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this regard--I can see I will be gnawing on this for a spell.

      I do know the fate of the 144,000 is a point of division for many, with a lot of capable commentators seeing their being sealed as a guarantee of their survival of the entire Tribulation, as in John MacArthur, et al. I actually had considered the possibility of the 144,000 simply being caught up, but I am still strongly swayed by the unmistakable lines of comparison with their prototype Paul. So much so that I am still inclined to see them being beheaded rather than all being caught up en masse--even though I am not actually dismissing that possibility based on any particular passage of Scripture.

      I understand what you are saying about Pentecost, but I am a bit hesitant to take it quite that far. I admit that I am still influenced by the "personally and directly" aspect of Jesus Himself fulfilling all seven feasts, which tends to lean toward the Rapture. But it is certainly food for thought.

      Also, I admit that I had never connected the man child with the 144,000. I think that's the part that will require the bulk of the gnawing. =:[ ] ` ` `

      Greg L.

    2. Greg L.

      Thanks for getting back to me.

      We know that the 144,000 are those sealed in their foreheads, so those demon locusts from the pit can recognize them, so they won't hurt them through the blowing of the trumpets.

      I don't think God would allow anyone else to touch them either.

  5. Great article, But I completely disagree with your speculation that the "goats" believe in The person and works of Christ, because there is no other possible reason to reject the mark of the beast. Let me give you a relevant example - I, like many others saw that something didn't smell right about the Kovid pandemic and associated vaks. So I rejected the vaks and was subsequently fired from my job. I didn't have much to lose because I am an older man who is financially secure, but many risked everything they had worked for in this life, career, house, financial security and even family. Most were not believers, they just believed that government mandated and coerced medical procedures were wrong.
    How many more will reject the "mark" for the same reasons, and go underground ?
    It will be very sad, but there will be some who make it through the tribulation without accepting that Christ has atoned for them.

    1. You could be right, Jace. In fact, during the course of writing this article, I considered that very line of thought carefully...and came out on the other side of things.

      The basic problem in my view is that we cannot even imagine what things are going to be like during the Tribulation, especially the second half. As a result, we sometimes err when we project the way things are now to the way things will be then. I don't think there is any conceivable way we can do that, at least not in a way that allows us to draw any meaningful comparisons.

      I'm afraid that anyone who believes all this COVID/vaccine lunacy--as idiotic and brimming with evil and deceit as it is--can be compared to the way the world will be during the Great Tribulation is in for a terrifyingly unpleasant surprise...assuming they are here to witness it. Which I am sure you will not.

      It's like I said in my article: "You ain't seen nothin' yet."

      Just my two shekels.

      Greg L.

  6. Jesus declared "It is Finished." It is hardly a stretch to believe that He finished the fall feasts as well as the commonly accepted spring feasts. He was born on Trumpets. He began His ministry (per Luke) reading from Isaiah in the temple declaring the "acceptable year of the Lord" on Yom Kippur and He actually Tabernacled on earth for the remainder of His ministry.

    1. It's possible, but the Bible is fairly explicit about the fulfillment of the spring feasts, not to mention that they all were fulfilled in the same year. The Bible is much less clear about the fulfillment of the fall feasts and for that reason I suspect their fulfillment is future.

    2. LIGHT OF THE WORLD: The backdrop of when and where Jesus makes this declaration is amazing! The seven-day Feast of Tabernacles just ended (around the October time frame about six months before Jesus is crucified). On the first day of the feast there are four seventy-five foot high “Golden Candlesticks” erected in the “Women’s Court” where the treasury was located. The light from these was so bright it lighted up every courtyard in Jerusalem. At the end of the feast those candlesticks are taken down. It was at the time that the candlesticks (and the light they produced) was being taken down Jesus, standing in the Woman’s Court, declares this message to everyone. Can’t you just see the massive golden candlesticks being dismantled and taken away behind Jesus as he declares that HE is the LIGHT of the World?

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  8. Thanks, Greg for this interesting article. While I was reading it I was on goat maternity duty. I finished reading just before one of our goats gave birth to two buck kids. Seemed appropriate. :)

  9. Yes, interesting article Greg on a topic I have spent little to no time on. Continuing to make my way through it. Great study points!

  10. Here is something that should be seen clearly, but traditions have so blinded most that they can’t see clearly what Jesus and Paul talked about so clearly and it has been right in front of our face all along.

    From Paul’s teaching in the Colossians letter : "Substance and Shadow"

    2:016 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
    2:017 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

    And what Jesus tells us through Matthew:

    12:039 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
    12:040 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
    12:041 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

    How long was the preaching of Jonas?

    With 1 Thessalonians:
    4:016 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of
    the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    4:017 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

    And 1 Corinthians:
    15:051 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
    15:052 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

    So are there 2 Trumps? from this is safe to assume that the "we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together" right, "at the last trump"

    What i am saying is there is a 40 day warning of time between the dead rising the "we which are alive and remaining" get changed in a moment of time and meet the ones in the clouds.

    I posted this in the other topic before this one but I thought "Date speculation" would be good to post in.

    When the dead rise and go into Jerusalem, that would trigger a time count down of 40 days.
    Since we are to be looking at the Jews and Jerusalem, we could recognize this if a select known dead people in Christ had risen and of course they would be in there glorified form.

    1. You've preached this theory many times, but I still don't buy it. It's not that I don't see where you get the idea, it is just that it seems like a huge stretch, where you make huge leaps of assumption. For example, everything with the sign of Jonah is fulfilled at or right after the crucifixion. None of the passages you site then points back to Jonah for a second coming fulfillment, except for the single verse that you ASSUME has something to do with the Rapture. The Dead rising from their Graves at Jesus Resurrection (which you ASSUME lasts for 40 days, despite no verse saying what happens to these people). You then make a completely unwarranted leap that the Dead in Paul's verse are thus 40 days raised before the Rapture. It is purely guess work on your part to connect these two things when the Bible does not give you a verse to back up that connection.

      Now, i want to say that God could do this your way, (He is God!), but you are so dogmatic about it as if it's a garentee, despite your leaps of logic. Here's a different example given in the Bible - the 2 witnesses in Revelation. They are dead for a couple days, God Resurrects them, and they DO NOT wander around for 40 days before they are Raptured up to Heaven.

      So, what's to say that their example isn't a better one about how the Dead are treated at the Rapture? You ignore verses like this because they do not fit your theory, and that's BAD Bible study. You should never read the Bible and cram verses to fit your ideas, but rather adjust your ideas to fit the Bible.
      So, in conclusion, I don't agree with your idea at all.

    2. I would also add that, if your theory were true, and Paul knew it, why doesn't he tell everyone "Watch all the graveyards! The Sign of the End is that the dead will get up and wander around for 40 days! So don't bother looking for a Blessed Hope until that event, which will give you the exact date of when to expect the Rapture, which will definitely not be unexpected or a surprise at that point!"

    3. I have been asked about and discussed the topic of the dead raised at the Day of the Cross and point to this verse concerning those who were raised,

      52 The tombs also were opened.
      And many bodies of the saints
      who had fallen asleep were raised

      (Matthew 27:52 ESV)

      Keywords, "bodies" and "raised" or "bodily raised" jumps out. Just as the others were woken from their sleep by Jesus and the apostles. Just as Lazarus was bodily raised so were they. What a witness for Christ! What a witness for Jesus! If so, no wonder so many came to faith come Pentecost!!

      Like I said before, so much for the Sadducees and their claim of no resurrection!

    4. Sherrill—I am in agreement with you regarding how a person cannot be adamant about God’s timeline unless it is in the Scriptures.

      For years I have blogged about rhema—prophetic utterances—visions, and dreams correlating them with the geopolitical and paralleling them with Scripture. Due to the supernatural aspect of the Plague of Darkness that has been prophesied, I have held back being adamant about it but have continued to warn because of the myriad of other watchmen who have been shown it is indeed coming AND because God orchestrated it once before and could do so again. Of course, we must remember to seek the Lord on any prophetic words, visions, or dreams no matter who gives them.

      What is interesting is more and more trusted prophetic voices are being shown that Those in Christ will walk in great glory—perhaps our new bodies?—during this brief period of supernatural darkness. I wrote about this in
      SINAI and the EXODUS of the TRUE CHURCH

      Then just today I updated my most recent article because of new information and further confirmation of this Plague of Darkness and its possible connection to the Passover Season.

      The KING Comes to the Threshold at Passover!

      Whatever events occur as we transition from the Dispensation of Grace into The Tribulation, they will be brief for transition is the shortest phase in the birth of the Man Child (Revelation 12:5)!

    5. The son being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split,

      and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;

      and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.

      Jesus picked Paul and Paul told the same thing to all the Churches.
      The feast of the Jews are "Shadows of things to come for the Church" and the body casting those Shadows is Christ.
      Jesus told the Jews the sign of the Messiah is Jonah!

      You all have to figure that out for yourselves or you are going to be stuck in the same traditional muck for a very long time.

      There was no reason for the Dead rising and going into Jerusalem preaching and testifying about what they new. Except for one thing, they were the promise of the full harvest, Rapture yet to come.

      Right now you should be looking for the Peacemaker not the Antichrist.

    6. Gregg, you do not logically approach your doctrine. Find me ANY verse that Paul used to equate the Rapture with Jonah. Or find any verse that tells me the dead raised at Jesus Resurrection then ascended with him 40 days later. No? Because they don't exist except the invisible threads you imagine are there. Jesus waited 40 days after the Resurrection as a testing of the Jewish Leaders to see if they would acknowledge the Sign of Jonah that had just been fulfilled. If they had repented, the Kingdom of God would have started right there. But they did not, so the Church Age begins at Pentecost. The 40 day waiting was fulfilled.
      We do not expect the Rapture to mirror Jesus Resurrection/Ascension exactly because He is unique. Unless you are going to tell me that you believe every single believer is Resurrected after only 3 days in the grave too? No? Then you have zero basis for your argument. It is NOT, I repeat NOT a logical one. Just because Jesus did something is not a reason to believe the same thing will happen to everyone else without further evidence, which you cannot provide. Believe it as you like, but you can't preach it as gospel truth when anyone else can see there's no foundation for the argument.

    7. sherrill777

      027:051 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
      027:052 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
      027:053 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

      These are the wave offering, promise of full harvest yet to come.
      Ascension day is Rapture day, because its a shadow cast of Christ himself, in the landscape of Jonah.

      Because the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah, God reveals the mystery of the Church to Paul, and he teaches that the feast of the Jews are but shadows of things to come for the Church, and the substance that is casting those shadows is Jesus.

      First comes the weekly Sabbath:
      Christians keep holy the Sabbath by making it a verb. It becomes Sabbathing, or resting in the work that Christ did, because there is nothing that we can do on our own to attain what Christ already attained for us. The promise to the Church is that we can surely rest in what He did because it’s the only way to Salvation. The Jews rejected Jesus, so they are still under the Law, so they must continue to keep holy the Sabbath by
      actually resting from all work on that day.

      Feast of First fruits which celebrated the promise of the full
      harvest yet to come.

      Finally, occurring fifty days after First Fruits, the feast of Pentecost is
      celebrated as the final day of First Fruits. This last day was a time for a
      new offerings of a loaf of bread, the completed product of the harvest.

      Actually Paul uses the Jewish feast days and teaches us about the Rapture event and a lot more, Jesus teaches us about the sign of the prophet Jonah as the sign of the Messiah to the Jews.
      Paul gives us the Rapture, Daniel gives us the the timing, Rev gives us the warning just prier to and the where afterwards.

      Paul tells us the God brings with Him the past dead in Christ ( the asleep ones)
      The dead in Christ is a repeat of Matthew 27:52 a Jonah warning of 40 days.

    8. sherrill777

      Jesus could only have been offered by the newly anointed Apostles as the new offering, symbolized by the loaf of bread that was offered in the Temple as a sign of completion, because He Himself had been completed as Messiah just 10 days before at His ascension by returning back to His divinity.

      Just as the last two witnesses will be christened on that day by the Holy Spirit at the appointed time to continue God's march to the conclusion of His covenant with the Jews and the rest of the house of Israel.

    9. sherrill777

      Specifically, First the Dead in Christ will be raised, with many being seen in
      Jerusalem as they once were, speaking of the miracle of their
      resurrection and the closing of the Church age for forty days, ending
      with the fulfillment of the promise of the full harvest, what we call the
      Rapture. But, that part of the landscape is contained in the landscape of
      the Messiah, which is contained within the picture being painted by

    10. Okay, let's use your same logic, shall we? Lazarus ia a type of the Rapture, clearly shown because he was once dead in his grave, then Jesus said "Come Out", and he did. Therefore, he was taken up in the ascension 40 days after the Resurrection of Jesus (and I'll cite the exact same number of verses you do to support this - zero). So, since Lazarus was around for some time (let's say a year, since I'm not going to bother to figure out the exact date, but it is clearly more than 40 days). Therefore, by your own logic, the dead shall come out for a year before Rapture. Clearly my logic is perfect. Since I used your own methods of interpreting the Bible, you will agree that the dead will wander, not for 40 days, but a year. Ta da!

      But, more seriously, you will not respond with a reasonable argument because you cannot back up your theory with any logic beyond what you've already shown. You make unreasonable leaps of imagination and refuse to even listen to others when your errors are pointed out. Fine, you are free in Christ to believe what you want and it isn't a salvation message, but it's foolish to expect any other person to listen to you when you (repeatedly!) fail to be logical in any respect. If all the other strong Christian End Times watchers look at your theory and reject it, it is not everyone else that's the problem. It's you.

    11. Argh, my husband laughed at me and said I'm letting this get to me more than it should. So, I'm dropping it now, since he's right. I can't convince someone who simply doesn't want to be convinced, it doesn't matter whether truth is involved or not.

    12. sherrill777

      No Lazarus is not a type of Rapture. John was a type of Rapture

      “Therefore, he was taken up in the ascension 40 days after the Resurrection of Jesus” No he wasn’t.

      When Jesus was on the earth, he raised four people from the dead. He raised the widow’s son in the village of Nain (Luke 7:15). He raised the 12-year-old daughter of Jairus, a ruler of the synagogue (Mark 5:42). He raised Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha in Bethany after he had been dead four days (John 11:44). And he raised himself from the dead after he had been crucified.

      Now when John in prison heard of the work's of Christ, he sent word by his disciples, and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?" And Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you hear and see: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM. "And blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me."

      It is not my Theory and Im try to understand where and how you think this way! Who taught you this cause all of what Im saying is from scripture.

      Convince me of what? I just told you the Jewish part and you don’t believe….wow that sounds like Jesus telling Nicodemus something. Come on you gata work with me on this, geese !

  11. I don't know much about date setting or anything, but is there any reason why what we are seeing Israel right now is the beginning of the Ezekiel 38 war and the rapture happening at Easter?

    1. The stage certainly appears being set as it were. But I wouldn't look so much toward signs (birth pains) as much as I would consider being a child of the promise. I have been asking the LORD if we got the sign of our departure last year? If that sign was a one-year head's up to the birth of the child of the woman, the child of the promise (traditionally celebrated at this time of the year for the Jews and being personified in Isaac); then I can easily see the harpazo coming anytime during the season of first fruits.

      If you were to ask me what date stands out for the Day of our Blessed Hope? Based on my studies to this point I would say Sunday, June 4, 2023.

    2. The Ezekiel 38 war occurs when Israel is at rest and not suspecting attack. That isn't the case right now.

  12. Thursday, April 6, 2023

    15 Nissan, 5783

    There is a WEALTH of history surround today including the first day of Passover, the 2nd Seder, Torah reading of (Exodus 12:21-51), (Numbers 28:16-25) and (Joshua 3:5-7), (Joshua 5:2-6:1) and (Joshua 6:27). The Covenant between the parts between G-d and Abraham (Genesis 15:13-18), Abraham defeats the four kings (Genesis 14:15-16), Angelic visitation of Abraham (Genesis 18:1-15) and so much more.

    By faith we are children of God. By His merciful Grace we are Children of the Promise,

    "28 Now you, brothers
    like Isaac, are children
    of the promise."

    (Galatians 4:28 ESV)

    Glory to God in the Highest!

    Grace and peace to you.

  13. "Substance and Shadow"

    Short version

    What Jesus Did As The "Substance"
    1 Jesus resurrected on the Jewish Feast of First fruits and others resurrected with Him. Matt 27:52,53
    2 Jesus and those that rose with Jesus stayed on earth 40 days and appeared to many people in Jerusalem and declared. Jesus' resurrection as well as their own and proclaimed Him to be the Jews Messiah
    3 Jesus Ascended bodily into Heaven on the 40th day after the Jewish Feast of First Fruits and at the same time also led those into Heaven who had risen with Him. Acts 1:9 Psalm 68:18

    What Paul Saw As The "Shadow"
    1 Paul saw the 'dead in Christ' being resurrected on the Jewish Feast of First fruits IThes 4:16 Col 2:17
    2 Paul saw the 40 day time period when he uses the word 'then' in IThes 4:17 to separate the raising of the dead in Christ from the joining of them to the living believers in Christ prior to both of them meeting Jesus in the air.
    3 Paul saw the Body of Christ, the Church, both those that were resurrected and those that were alive at the time, ascending into Heaven or being Raptured on the 40th day after the Jewish Feast of First fruits. IThes 4:16,17 Col 2:17


    Sending early morning Easter blessings to my friends in Singapore. Sunrise is but a couple of hours away.

    Jesus is risen!

    Grace and peace to you all,


    1. Back to ya PR

      He is Risen

      Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.

      But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared.

      Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them.

      And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?"

      And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred.

      And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.

  15. There is a huge crowd at western wall in Jerusalem right now and the time is 23:49 or 11:49 so sometime between now and sunrise Jesus rose.

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  17. Happy Easter! He is Risen!

  18. This beautiful Sunday morning was truly given to us at a high price by the God-man and our risen savior, Jesus Christ. Despite such a great gift, paganism has transformed this blessed day of eternity in Him into being represented universally by bunnies and colored eggs. I partook in this for years blindly. My eyes have been opened and my heart purified by a blood so powerful that I can no longer walk in deception and ignorance...the world can no longer transcribe my hopes and realities about what is acceptable and true.

    A humble man, born of a virgin in Bethlehem, prayed in a garden alone over 2000 years ago to his Father about this bitter cup He must drink, whose wine He had already drank at the last supper a few days before at Passover over 2000 years ago with his brothers and a betrayer. But he promised that He would not drink of the vine again until the Kingdom of God comes. My question...have we upheld His blood covenant today or succumbed to the paganism that is celebrated in place of His sacrifice. Should we utter the word "Easter" that has an egg emoji with a baby chick hatching representing the relevance of this precious day instead of a crown of thorns or a cross? I choose Jesus, His blood, His cross, His resurrection and and His Father as my representation of a day so precious...Happy Resurrection Day! He is Risen!

    1. Carmon

      Agreed, every time I here that I respond with " Happy first Fruits Resurrection"
      And that usually spawn a conversation which Im happy to engage in.

    2. Thanks! I appreciate that so much Gregg! I'm very unpopular with many because of my stance on this. I'm truly happy to explain why as well.

  19. Not to beat a dead horse, but I think this needs to be repeated, why, cause its new to me also.

    I surmised by reading them together in above posts that there are two God trumpets at the time of the “Catching away event” the closing of the New Covenant. And now even more convinced of that.

    1 Corinthians

    015:051 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
    015:052 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.(at the last trump.)

    Emphasis in parenthesis are mine.

    1 Thessalonians

    003:013 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

    004:013 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
    004:014 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.(at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.)
    004:015 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
    004:016 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:(for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible.)
    004:017 Then we which are alive and remain shall be (changed.(at the last trump.)) caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

    In the margins of one of the Bibles that I have is written:(Dakes Annotated Reference Bible)
    “ The Gr. says en atom, in an atom of time. It will happen at the last of two trumpets which will sound at this time. At the first trumpet the dead will be raised to immortality. At the second or last trumpet the living will be changed to immortality and be caught up with the dead to meet the Lord in the air(v 52; 1 Th, 4:16-17)"

    Question comes up which is who are the "dead in Christ"?
    And the only answer that makes since is a repeat of Matthew (27:51-52).
    There is a lot more to be said about this.

    1. In exploring this the question becomes, what is the first resurrection? Or to put it another way, what are the orders of the resurrection? Paul discusses this in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:22-26). John touches on this as well in (Revelation 20:4-6).

      Unlike you, I do not see the dead in Christ rising as an event separated by a significant length of time from the changing of the living. I read the Greek literally as a two-in-one event.

      That said, I also encourage everyone to dig for themselves and ask questions. There is no better time spent than quiet time spent with God. There are no questions that God isn't prepared to answer in His time. He has certainly been answering my questions from my study time!

      (Matthew 27:51-52) was one of those questions a while back. I believe He provided the answer through my study and quiet time. The bad news is that I won't know for sure until He takes me Home. The good news is that I will know for sure when He takes me Home.

      Because we believe we will all know. We will live because HE LIVES!!!

    2. PR

      My question was which dead in christ, cause everyone in accounted for except those particular one's.

      And why would God have two Trumpets simultaneously?
      Then we have this to consider:
      2:017 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

      So, I would suggest to everyone to study the Feast of The Jew's that God put on there Calendar that went to the Church Body of Christ. Of which the first 4 feast were fulfilled
      By The Messiah.

    3. Well, there are two (2) dead in Christ. Church age saints and Tribulation age saints who come out of the Great Tribulation. I believe that the church age saints are seen in the fifth seal and the tribulation saints are first seen in the sixth seal (Day of the Lord).

      The church age saints are raised at Christ's coming on the clouds. The tribulation saints are raised at the outset of the MK the Second Coming. This is a time marked by trumpets as in Yom Teruah and the fall feasts.

      I am reminded of (Numbers 10) when the LORD spoke to Moses to,

      2 "Make two silver trumpets.
      Of hammered work you shall
      make them, and you shall use
      them for summoning the
      congregation and for breaking

      3 "And when both are blown,
      all the congregation shall gather
      themselves to you at the
      entrance of the tent of meeting."

      (Number 10:2-3 ESV)

      NOTE: The resurrection beginning to end are special focus of my current study.

    4. NOTE: Technically there may be three groups who are the dead in Christ. The last being humans who die accepting Christ from the MK. From the looks of it (so far in my studies) they would be raised on the last day with everyone else.

    5. ...but don't quote me on that last one. More questions but I suspect humans will enter into the holy city the New Jerusalem where they will be able to eat of the Tree of Life. The literal new Garden of Eden. Far, far into the future but in a time when we are known as the church fathers called us, "The Eternals". Glorified man, church age saints, the body of Christ.

    6. I was referring to:

      1 Corinthians 15:052


      1 Thessalonians 4:016

    7. Thank you for that...

      Going back to the direct translation of the Greek text from my study Bible,


      Here's a link to the same passage at Biblehub.com.

      A keyword in the verse is "and" which is the conjunction that links "THE DEAD WILL BE RAISED IMPERISHABLE *AND* WE WILL BE CHANGED." (Emphasis mine)

      PS, My Greek New Testament is rendered in all caps so I render it so here too.

      Quoting Biblehub.com here's what "and" means,

      Strong's Concordance (G2532)
      kai: and, even, also
      Original Word: καί
      Part of Speech: Conjunction
      Transliteration: kai
      Phonetic Spelling: (kahee)
      Definition: and, even, also
      Usage: and, even, also, namely.

      HELPS Word-studies
      2532 kaí (the most common NT conjunction, used over 9,000 times) – and (also), very often, moreover, even, indeed (the context determines the exact sense).

      [After 2532 (kaí), the most common word in the Greek NT is the definite article ("the"). 2532 (kaí) is never adversative, i.e. it never means "however" ("but") – unlike the principal conjunction (waw) in OT Hebrew (G. Archer).]

      There are many more notes offered on the site for anyone interested. You may also find a lot of commentary on this verse at Biblehub.com.

      But overall the word "and" is a linking word connecting two ideas. In this case two almost concurrent events. (This is where you and I differ Gregg). Key to this term is "Christ". The living and dead are all in Christ and caught up in an event taught by Paul in his letter the Church in Corinth,

      22 For as in Adam all die, so
      also in Christ shall all be made

      23 But each in his own order:
      Christ the firstfruits, then at
      his coming those who belong
      to Christ.

      24 Then comes the end, when
      he delivers the kingdom to God
      the Father after destroying
      every rule and every authority
      and power.

      (1 Corinthians 15:22-24)

      The harpazo (Rapture) of the church is the second order of the first resurrection of the righteous saints. That's clearly all church age believers both living and the dead in Christ. Paul continues this thought in his letter to the Church in Thessalonica. Same people, same event.

      At the time of the writing of both of these letters the dead had already been raised. They were raised once Jesus emptied Sheol (Paradise) of the dead. Some were bodily raised after Jesus died on Calvary. These dead were part of the firstfruits of the first order of the resurrection of the righteous saints. These are OT saints who's faith was counted as righteousness. I believe virtually all of them are in heaven waiting their turn to come to life in the end. When is that end? It is either of the establishment of the MK or at the GWTJ when the dead, great and small, stand before God. (Still a study point with a variety of opinions on either side). The more I look at that I am falling on the side of resurrection at the GWTJ.

      But I digress...

      So far the two verses you quote discuss the same event. A two-in-one event that happen in succession and almost instantaneously. One and the other in their order. If the verbiage indicated one later another then that would be totally different. The connecting word "and" is important and is inescapable for me.

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.


    If the voice of God calling His people (individually or corporately) is likened to a trumpet then how many times do we see God calling His people from the grave?

    1. When Christ emptied Sheol (Abraham's Bosom) of the righteous OT saints
    2. At the harpazo (Rapture) the body of Christ
    3. At the second coming (Tribulation Saints maybe OT saints too?)
    4. At the end (OT saints?) the GWTJ

    So as of today there are only two immediate destinations after earthly death - heaven or hell (with hell a temporary layover on the way to the lake that burns with fire). Paradise (aka Abraham's Bosom) lays empty if it hasn't already been swallowed up by Hades itself.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.


    1. Elijah raised the widow of Zarephath's son (1 Kings 17:17-24)
    2. Elisha raised the Shunammite woman's son (2 Kings 4:18-37)
    3. A dead man was raised having touched the bones of Elisha (2 Kings 13:20-21)
    4. Jesus raised the widow Nain's son (Luke 7:11-17)
    5. Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:40-56)
    6. Jesus raised Lazarus brother of Mary and Martha (John 11)
    7. Eutychus was raised by Paul in Troas (Acts 20:7-12)

    These were also raised from death or from the grave, bodily raised, lived again and would have later died again. In all cases it is God who is raising the dead.

  24. PR

    All of that and you still don't know who Paul was referring to "the dead in Christ rise first".

    1. The dead in Christ are either church age saints who have passed on or those that will come out of the Great Tribulation. The dead in Christ do not include the OT saints died before the Day of the Cross who were taken into heaven from Sheol by Jesus after He died on the cross.

      If not they who would you say they are?

    2. ...in the context of what Paul was talking about in his letters to the churches? That would be the church age saints who have passed on or fallen asleep.

    3. What about the millions of ancient dead who are not in Christ ?? who lived & inhabited the earth long before Christ came. I always wondered about all the many many groups like Sumerians, Aztecs, Incas, ancient Chinese & peoples of India, etc. WHERE are their souls & where will they spend eternity?. After all these people worshiped other gods & idols with no possible knowledge of Christ.

    4. Sutton, there are only 2 categories of people - those who are righteous and those who are not. The people who "have no way of knowing about Jesus" are judged based on the knowledge that they do have access to (namely their conscience and Creation). If they respond positively, they can be numbered among the righteous, and if not, they fall in with the unrighteous.

  25. Gregg, brother, you are your own worst enemy.

    Whether or not you have any truth to offer is neither here nor there, since so many readers are lost in the delivery of your messages.

    I'll say no more, except that I hope all of you had a Blessed Easter!


    1. I will put it to you also Jeremy who do you think Paul is Referencing "the dead in Christ rise first" cause that is what he is tell us the Church to watch for among other things.

    2. And its not Easter, thats a Babylonian cult tradition!

      Why not Happy First Fruits Resurrection.

  26. I believe that after Jesus died, he went to Abraham's Bosom. When He resurrected, Abraham's Bosom was evacuated and taken out of Hades. (He took captivity captive.) However, before Jesus ascended to the Father to sprinkle His blood on the Mercy Seat, these Old Testament Saints were sort of in limbo so they walked around the city of Jerusalem. After Jesus had sprinkled His blood on the Mercy Seat, they were taken to heaven as the way had been opened up for them. No need for 40 days.

    1. Which brings to question, exactly when do the OT saints get resurrected? Some point to the beginning of the MK while others point to the end at the GWTJ. This is still an active study point of mine in regard to the resurrections of the Bible. (Hmm, that sounds like a possible book title). But I agree, that Jesus descended into Sheol and emptied out Paradise.

      My thoughts on those who were bodily raised is that they (the recent dead) returned to life just as others who had been raised before them in the OT/NT times. Not unlike Lazarus of Bethany. I must caution that this is conjecture as I would say that such a thing is *hinted* at in Scripture but not clearly stated as fact. If nothing else, it is one way that we may see the dead bodily raised after the Christquake. It may also suggest why there was such a strong response to Peter's message on Pentecost (although some of my friends will argue that point for reasons I won't go into here and now).

      These topics are fascinating to explore but in the end I don't think we'll truly know the answer this side of heaven.


    Sure, why not. Here are some fun facts as the Feast of First Fruits dawns for those who follow the calendar of the Essenes (Zadok Priests). This is NOT an exhaustive list as there is simply too much to dig on to go into detail here. It's gets overwhelming quickly,

    1. Day count from 1/1/23 to Shauvot (Essene) is 153 days (Each day a large fish)
    2. The moon phase of Shavuot (Essene) on 6/4/23 will be full at 15.3 days old
    3. Shavuot (Essene) is always on the 15th day of the third (3rd) calendar month

    ...and there is so, so much more to be found concerning one-hundred fifty-three. My favourite is found in the Gospel of John Chapter 21. It recounts the twinkling of an eye encounter with Jesus on the shores of Lake Tiberius when Peter hauls a catch of 153 large fish ashore for a breakfast with his maker.

    A wonderful picture of the Rapture to come!

    When would the Essene calendar mark Shavuot (Pentecost) or what we otherwise call the Feast of Weeks? Since they mark it from the Feast of First Fruits on their calendar differently than that of the Pharisees; they would begin counting the Omer this evening. Shavuot will begin on the setting of the sun on Saturday, June 3, 2023.

    Sunday, June 4th will be Shavuot (Pentecost) on the Essene calendar this year.

    About a year after all of the signs surrounding the bright morning Bethlehem Star event of last year and the run up to Shavuot. Not too unlike the story of the child of the Promise. Isaac. A child not too unlike us.

    Children of the Promise.

    May you be blessed in the coming weeks according to the riches of God the Father in Christ Jesus our Lord!




      October 12, 2023 as the arrival of the two witnesses. Details found in earlier posts on the topic.

      And while I'm on the topic of date speculation -- REMEMBER THIS!!!

      I have a rock solid 100% streak of being wrong on my speculation. But I do love the study time and quiet time with the LORD.

      Keep looking up!

    2. Do the Two Witnesses start their ministry on the first day of the tribulation? Is it possible that the Two Witnesses are on the world scene prior to the start of the tribulation?

      The Feast of Trumpets in 2030 falls on September 28. If we assume the Second Coming occurs on the last day of the tribulation, that would mean the tribulation starts 2,520 days earlier, which would be November 4, 2023.

    3. Excellent questions, hiftobaf,

      The date I offer is based on (Psalm 90:10) and dates that flow from the 80 years of days or 28,800 days. That model *suggests* the two witnesses could arrive on the scene on October 12, 2023 and that 2,550 days later is Shabbat Shuba, 2023 (Sabbath of her return). Thus their arrival would coincide with the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel.

      Models are a great way of exploring these questions. This model suggests a day count structure that follows this form,

      <------ 1,260 ------>A<30>B<------ 1,260 ------>C
      <---------- 1,290 ---------->B<---------- 1,335 --------->D

      ...with the events on the timeline being,

      A) Death and resurrection of the two witnesses, March 21-25, 2027
      B) Abomination of Desolation / Flight of Israel to the wilderness, April 24-25, 2027
      C) Second Coming on Shabbat Shuba, October 5, 2030
      D) Hanukkah I, 2030, December 1, 2030

      Thus the Second Coming on Shabbat Shuba would mark the Gog of Magog War I and the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom.

      A + B + C = 2,550 days

      ...thus the beginning of this timeline is at October 12, 2023 with a beginning point at the birth of Israel on May 14, 1948.

      80 prophetic years * 360 days/prophetic year = 28,800 days
      5/14/1948 + 28,800 days = March 21, 2027

      The model explores the 80 years Moses wrote of in (Psalm 90:10) as being personified by the two witnesses. Both are elders and clearly representative of Israel and the G-D of Israel.

      Your dates are a start. Why not model it out the rest of the way? I HIGHLY encourage this as a study!


    Greg L,

    I think you hit it right on the button! Sorry that it has taken so long to get through your fine article but my time has been, well, spoken for!

    Now that things are quieting down again I have finished reading your most excellent work and agree. There will be no Yom Hibikkurim. Shavuot, Yom Teruah or Yom Kippur in the MK. They are missing from Ezekiel altogether. Agreed too that G-D will remember the blood through Pesach.

    How could He not?!!

    I appreciate too how you say, "The fulfillment of Pentecost was inaugurated by the conception of the Church" emphasis *conception*. Indeed, what is usually termed as the *birth* of the church on Pentecost was in fact much more akin to the a conception than a birth. You don't hear it spoken of that way too often and try to do so myself. Although I might say that G-D begins the heavenly clock for Israel once the 70th week begins (which may not necessarily be at the time of the Rapture).

    But will the books be finally sealed at the Sheep and Goat Judgment? We have yet to see the books opened at the GWTJ. Hmmm...a point I've been picking on lately.

    Again, an excellent study and lots of avenues for further study that I truly appreciate! Lots of new information offered from Talmud (which I do not trek into) that I am thankful for.

    Keep handing out those heavenly Q-tips!

    With thanks,


  29. I was reading Acts, Chapter 11 today. Has anyone thought about the significance of Acts 11: 9-10? I've read this book and chapter countless times but noticed this for the first time today..."what God has cleansed you must not call common. Now this was done three times, and all were drawn up again into heaven." (NKJV) Could it be illustrating how the unclean (representing all of us) once accepting and being cleansed by the blood of Christ, (Jew or Gentile) will be taken up to God. They were drawn to heaven each time. What is clean (saved) is drawn up to heaven. Could this be more evidence of the reality of the rapture...just throwing it out there....

  30. That's interesting about the Tiberius "Effective start" vs "Official start" of reign...

    Gives you a two year window of uncertainty regarding which Luke referred to. :)

    Lets also not forget that there is no year "0 [zero]" between BC to AD calendars. So that could possibly make it a 1 or 3 year zone dealing with the switch also when counting years.

    I think it interesting how Luke references a Gentile ruler, versus a Jewish leader, or referencing the Temple, though he does link he current High Priests as well.

    This sort of "play in the steering wheel of time" has creeped up in my thoughts on the Birth of Israel in 1948. I favor God's calendar myself with the Blood Moon Tetrads for example.

    You have the same thing going on here too... "Effective birth of Israel (with UN support)" is indeed 1948, but the "Official Autonomous birth (Jewish congress of their own and voting)" is the following year of 1949. And it is 1949 that the Blood Moons tetrad started.

    So it is possible to consider Israel a year younger than what most everyone claims today by habit. Which also throws off any 70-80 year prophecy stuff by a year also. You also have to consider each year as a full year of days, and not just say it's done because the last year of the count has started (in January for example because you have all those days left till the end of December).

    On the Great American Eclipses, 2017 and 2024, we have less than a year now for the final one, X marks the spot.

    I remember in 2017 watching that one while just of center of Totality. Looking back I see it as a start of change, and wow what changes have come, and not for the better either.

    I also remember with some excitement the Great Sign of September 23, 2017, and I still do believe it is the Rev 12:1-2 fulfillment, for reasons that Revelation 12 is a parenthesis chapter and covers the whole tribulation period as well as some time before it.

    I believe it's purpose (as a sign usually is) was to warn of what is coming, start the clock, and specifically on the labor pains events preceding the Tribulation. Verse 2 of Rev 12 practically shouts this out.

    A sign is placed long before what it warns of. The Bridge analogy is always helpful here. The sign warning that the bridge is out is not placed at the bridge, but far enough ahead to give the driver time to stop or change course.

    Sure, at the time, in my excitement I was "hopeful" of the soon return of our Lord for us, and who wouldn't be, that love and long for our savior?

    Patient Endurance is the command though, Love and keeping of His word, and not denying His name as so many do now.

    I have learned so much since then, and have grown so tired of this world even more than then. So much the better and profound His arrival for us soon, after 7 more years later...

    In this, I sense a link to Joseph's time, taking a Gentile wife, making peace with his brothers. Then preparing in 7 years of plenty, then 7 years of want (and terror and death) in Egypt.

    Am I setting a date? No... But with all that is going on, with the Ezekiel 38-39 alliance in place, the new Temple, the great deception of Covid, et all...

    The timing seems so right... :)

    [🦊 Foxman] Jack

    🚫 🍇

    ··╱ɷ ɷ╲··

    Foxman on the Wall



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