Timeline

I think a lot of people frankly don’t like to hear about “end times” because they fear the end of the world.  More accurately, we’re talking about the “end of the age”.   We ARE indeed in the end of days (search for a study on that topic) right now, so it is extremely important that you have an understanding of what is coming.

“There is a coming deception so great, so incredible, that even the “elect” that fully comprehend the Bible and God’s plan will be deceived.  They will be willing to forget everything they’ve been taught to follow a lie…” 

STOP: Please take a moment to consider that.   What event could you imagine that would happen, that would deceive people in such a way that they would abandon their beliefs in exchange for a delusion?   Please take this seriously… what do you think that event might look like?

God’s Appointments with Mankind 

God’s word clearly tells us that this is ‘a world without end’ although we will soon be coming to the end of “this age” and Christ’s return to earth. Christ will live and reign here on earth for 1000 years before the world is destroyed (actually the original text indicate a “revitilization” not destruction) and a new world created. The Bible teaches us that just like creation, ( the world was made in 6 days, and the 7th day was a period of rest) man’s history since Adam will be for 6000 years, and then we will have 1000 years of peace… the way God originally intended before man decided he could run things on his own. To God, a ‘day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’.

Many things that were known during and shortly after Christ’s life have been lost in today’s teaching. Remember, the first Christian believers were indeed Jews. There are many laws and holy days that were given by God and through Moses that we should be aware of. God had a specific plan for the Jews. It is not that they are any more special than us, but that God wanted to use them to fulfill a purpose in His master plan of which we will all take part.

Much of this “hidden” knowledge was known in the first several centuries following Christ’s death, but has slowly been lost with time. However, this information is still in our Bibles, we just don’t discuss or study it! Some say that the information pertains to the Jews, and therefore Christians don’t need to get bogged down with these details. However, every word in the Bible is placed there for a purpose!

Have you ever wondered why certain names or titles were given to Jesus in the Bible. For example:

  • The “Lamb that was slain”
  • Christ “our Passover”
  • Bread described as His “body”
  • Christ “our Tabernacle”
  • Christ, the “unleavened bread”
  • He was the “Firstfruits” of the harvest

And have you wondered about phrases of events that seem strange. For example:

  • The “bride” of Christ
  • The “marriage supper of the Lamb”
  • The “wedding feast”

No wonder some find the Bible difficult to read, most have no idea what these things mean. Jesus wasn’t a literal lamb, so why was He called one? These phrases and hundreds more, are easily explained by looking at the Laws and Festivals delivered to the Jews. If we are to understand the Bible fully, and appreciate all the details, we must have a background of our heritage and detailed information on these festivals. These terms all describe Christ’s actions fulfilling the Festivals.

Why does the Bible talk so much about the “shedding of blood”?

Remember, when man first arrived on the scene (Adam and Eve), God had designed a perfect world with man living in God’s presence. However, God gave man free will and did not force Himself upon them. The only rule was that they were not to eat of the knowledge of good and evil. Remember, prior to man’s existance there was only the spirit world, and there was a falling away in that realm led by Lucifer (Satan, God’s most beautiful angel!).

Everything was great until Satan told Adam and Eve they didn’t need God, that they could know everything God knows, and that they could be in control of their own destiny. So they ate of the knowledge and they were aware immediately of good and evil. At that EXACT moment, sin entered the world… and so did death. You see, God’s original plan for man did not include sickness, disease, sorrow or even death! Noticing they were naked in front of God, they felt shame and they tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. It was at that point that God had to kill an animal to provide their clothing. It was the world’s first death to “cover the sins” of man. God said that now there would be no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of blood.

Man now needed a method of forgiveness for these sins. This process included animal sacrifice (shedding of blood) . These required offerings (sin offering, guilt offering, grain offering, burnt offering, etc.) are described briefly in the book of Leviticus in the Bible. The only problem was that these animal sacrifices did not “take away” sin, but like the clothes God provided, they merely “covered them” until the next sacrifice. This needed to be repeated over and over and over, year after year. This was because man was sinful and could not lead a pure life.

However, God said he would send the only one capable of living a perfect life… his son (the Messiah) who would “cover sin” once and for all for all mankind by the shedding of his own blood and becoming the ‘sacrifice’ for all mankind. God knew that no human like us could ever fulfill this task. He would allow Christ to take on the sin for all man for all time. This would cover the offering to God once and for all. He would establish a New Covenant that would replace the Old Covenant (Law). Hang on… we’re almost done…

Now the Bible specifically states that a Will or Covenant goes into effect at one’s death, and indeed when Christ died the New Covenant took effect.

QUESTION: If you believed In God, and believed that He was to send a Messiah to fulfill this Law, BUT you failed to realize that Jesus actually was the one, what would you still be thinking and believing today? Think before reading on ….

Well, you would still think that you should be following the Law of the Old Testament. You would still think that you should be sacrificing animals, and you would still be waiting for your Messiah to come! Who does this describe? The Jews (and even the Muslims to a lesser extent).
Even in the Old Testament (also used by Jews & Muslims), the Bible describes this Messiah as a suffering servant AND a conquering King. The Jews have a really hard time explaining this one because they don’t realize that this Messiah actually comes two times… first as a servant to mankind and later as a king to rule on earth.

Once you understand the importance of this information, the whole middle-east crisis can come into focus. Why do you think there has never been lasting peace between the Jews and Arabs? It is because of religious differences that relate to this very problem. God told the Jews that they were to build His temple on a specific site in Jerusalem, and they did… twice! Unfortunately, it was destroyed both times (most recently in 70 A.D.). The Jews were scattered throughout the entire world and did not return until 1948 when the state of Israel was born. This is a fulfillment of prophecy. They also took control of Jerusalem in 1967 during the 6 Day War (Yom Kippur War).

It Is Important to note that Bible prophecy also states that the generation that sees the Jews back in control of their holy city, Jerusalem, will not pass before all prophecy in the Bible is fulfilled. They were absent from their land for nearly 2000 years until 1948, and have been in control of Jerusalem since 1967. That generation referred to is alive today. We are that generation! Just one more piece of information that shows we are coming to the end of this age.

Hidden Knowledge

You may have read parts of the Bible and thought it was impossible to understand. Unfortunately, over time many of the “pieces of the puzzle” have been distorted or lost. In fact, the church today in many areas is not teaching correct theology. It is so sad to hear the same sermons year after year, when there is so much we need to learn to form a better relationship with God. A note to confused believers: this does not mean we are returning to Old Testament Law!
The Festivals

In the book of Leviticus and numerous other books of the Bible, God had instructed the Jews to follow and observe certain feasts. We are all familiar to some degree with these festivals, but because we have no knowledge of the Jewish faith, we do not understand the full significance of these special days. Also, since Christ came to fulfill the law previously taught, we Christians do not need to keep the festivals… but we better have an understanding of them.

If you’re like most folks, you may be learning this for the first time. Remember, you don’t have to become Jewish to learn from this information. Never forget that Jesus and his followers were Jews. The Bible was written by Jewish writers inspired by God, and was printed by Jewish people. The first people that believed in Christ (Christians) were also Jews.

When Moses received the Torah (the Law) from God, which included the 10 commandments, there were also numerous other laws that were to be followed. Christians no longer need to follow these laws, as God had a separate plan for the body of believers. However, the day is coming when there will be a return to things Jewish (but not a return to the ‘Law’). Jesus will return to earth, after He has completed His master plan and the Jews finally figure out that He indeed was (and is) their Messiah. The Bible, as you may know, says that Christ Himself will reign from Jerusalem for a 1000 year period. The Jews are promised an eternity with Christ as King in their own land. However, believing Christians have the same promise of eternity with since they were ‘grafted into’ the same ‘fig tree’.

Knowledge of these Jewish things will not change anything about who you are as a believer, except that it will allow you to understand more fully about the Bible and future events. In fact, an understanding of prophecy is impossible without an understanding of the Old Testament Festivals.

Getting Started

Centuries before Jesus was born, the Jews were following the various Festivals and customs… waiting for the coming of their Messiah. These were to be followed on the EXACT days and hours given by God. The original Hebrew translation for these special festivals was “a practice” or “preparation” and “rehearsal of future things”.

In Colossians 2:16-17 the principle of hidden information was given to us through these feast or festival days. The verse is “Let no man judge you in meat or in drink, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days …. which are a shadow of things to come.” In other words, don’t worry about what others might say about what I have instructed you to eat or drink on these holy days, or let them judge you regarding the new moon each month which I have placed in the sky along with the stars to inform you of the dates these festivals should be followed …. because, these are a rehearsal of My future appointments with you! These feasts are pictures of great events on God’s calendar. They are a shadow of things to come (including Christ the Messiah!)

The Jews know every little detail of these holy days, and follow them exactly. Because the early church leaders knew these festivals related to Old Testament Law, and Jesus came to fulfill that Law and replace it with the New Covenant, they didn’t see a need to continue to teach about the holy days. Wrong! Yes, it is true that believers don’t need to practice these holy days. However, we must thoroughly understand them if we are to know what is coming in the future. Even though they contain an Old Testament legal element, they also reveal a fulfillment by Christ.

The problem is the Jews are following the holy days because they think they still need to. Unfortunately, they don’t see the significance behind them. Christians on the other hand, don’t know anything about them because we think it’s just something the Jews do and the festivals must not be important for us.

There are a total of 7 feasts or festivals that were to be observed. The Bible also instructed us that these would be fulfilled by Christ on their EXACT days. The first 4 feasts occur early in the year at the time of the “former rain”. This refers to the rainy season early in the year, but also describes “reign”. These are known as the spring festivals. The final 3 festivals occur during the “latter rain” late in the year and are called the fall festivals. This is also a picture of Christ’s first coming (the former reign) and Christ’s second coming in the future (the latter reign).

These festivals are often related to agriculture. The dates they are to be practiced are EXACT, and are provided via the earth’s position to that of the heaven’s. It is interesting to note that God gave us the stars and what we hear of as the “zodiac” to help us relate back to Him and what He wants us to do and to look forward to on specific days. Satan has, like most things, confused the entire situation so that today people are looking to the stars for answers… not to God! What a disaster.

The spring festivals have already been fulfilled by Jesus. There was then a ‘pause’ scheduled (the age of grace or the church age) of 2000 years. The prophetic time clock stopped. When it resumes, then the fall festivals are to be fulfilled.

We do not have time to go into the fine details of each festival here, but I would like to show you some examples of feasts that have been fulfilled by Jesus and then skip to the festivals that are coming soon!

Let me stress here again: Everything God does, everything recorded in his word, is EXACTLY what he wants to convey to us. The numbers, dates, the stories, etc., have all been designed and recorded for his purposes.

The Dual Meaning in the Festivals

As we stated, long before Jesus appeared on the earth the people were given various holidays, festivals and customs to follow until the coming of their Messiah. Let us look at these Old Testament Festivals (we’ll often call these the ‘Jewish’ feast days since they still follow them (not recognizing Christ is the fulfillment of the Law).

Throughout history, numerous spiritual events have occured on these exact pre-established Jewish Holy days. Yes, ON THE EXACT DAY, even on the exact hour! We know the exact dates of these festivals for the past 3000+ years… and we know the exact dates for them in the years to come as well. The Bible and other historical documents give us the exact dates of Jesus’ travels and the day of His crucifixion. The dates coincide EXACTLY with the festivals.

Hopefully, you will begin to see these match-ups are not accidental. This is probably the most significant aspect of prophecy. These feasts are pictures of God’s appointments with mankind… actual “rehersals” of great events on God’s calendar.

The First Festival’s Dual Meaning Almost 1500 years before Christ, God called Moses to lead the Jewish nation out of bondage in Egypt. Their release came after the first born child in every house died at the hand of the Lord. Miraculously, the firstborn in each Jewish house lived because of the Lamb’s blood that was placed around the doorway. The yearly PASSOVER meal is a memorial of those saved lives and the nation’s release from slavery. But wait, God said these festivals are a picture of things to come. Let’s look at some specifics:

During the Passover Festival each house was to take a perfect lamb without blemish on an EXACT date each year. The lamb was to be brought into town for public inspection. For those traveling from out of town, a lamb could be purchased in the city that was considered the “lamb factory”. In fact, over 250,000 lambs were raised in this town for this first passover alone! When the lamb was brought into town, the onlookers waved palm branches as it passed by… on it’s way to be inspected and then sacrificed.

Once in the center court of the city, the lamb was to be inspected for 4 days to make sure it was indeed perfect. On the 14th of the month of Aviv (the Jewish or biblical calendar), the lamb was to be killed at Exactly 3:00 p.m. At that time, the lamb’s throat was to be cut, shedding the blood while it was bound to an upright stick. At the time of the lamb’s death, the phrase “It is finished” is to be spoken aloud.

The lamb is then prepared for a meal by roasting it on an upright stick, not across the fire as meat is usually prepared. It’s intestines are removed, rolled into a circle and placed like a crown on the lambs head. There are so many other elements that we don’t have space to tell them all.

Have you seen the whole picture here? If you have doubted who Jesus Christ is, you need to read the fulfillment of this festival. No human being could stage an event like this… from prophecy provided generations before!!

On the very day the Jews were celebrating their Passover, a man (who had been born in the same town as the lamb factory; Bethlehem) was riding into town. Keep in mind that a person cannot choose his place of birth! Those Jews that knew Jesus, turned away from the lambs that were going through town and waved their palm branches at Jesus instead (Christians call this Palm Sunday). Have you ever wondered why the people waved palm branches, or why Jesus is called “the lamb that was slain”? God was fulfilling his appointments with man through Jesus… down to the exact detail!

As you may remember, exactly like the inspection of the lamb, Jesus was inspected and questioned 4 days by the Sadducees, Pharisees, and other government officials who could not find fault with Him but sentenced Him to death anyway. Jesus had no say in why they took exactly 4 days (just like the lamb!). Like the lambs that were inspected for fault, He was also inspected for fault, but none was found… He was innocent. He was found without ‘blemish’, just like the lambs to be sacrificed. Regardless of His innocence, He was nailed to an upright stick. Was it just coincidence that Jesus had to be placed on the cross early that day because the next day happened to be a Sabbath, and no bodies could be left up at the crucifixion sites. And records (even non-biblical sources), show that he died at exactly 3:00 pm which, in fact, was the exact time of the slaying of the lambs.

Was it also a coincidence that his legs were not broken, even though all crucifixions of the time involved breaking the legs to speed the dying process (remember that the prophecy in the old testament indicated his legs would not be broken). What were His very last words spoken in front of hundreds of witnesses? “… Jesus said, “It is finished:” With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30) The same words were spoken on the other side of town (at the exact moment) when the lambs were killed. WOW!

Coincidence, followed by coincidences, followed by coincidence, followed by another coincidence, continued by more coincidence, followed by a coincidence, following more coincidences? NOT. Remember, we are only able to cover part of the fulfillment of this ONE prophecy alone. We also have non-bibical historical documents supporting this event. If you ever doubted that Jesus was God in the flesh… you now have a non-disputed answer.

If this hasn’t brought you to your knees, we’ll share a bit of the second festival for you skeptics. Remember, these festivals were celebrated 1500 years before Christ, and continue 2000 years after Christ!!! These predicitons were given generations before Christ’s birth. No man can choose events in his life, his birth date, and the day of his murder. Unfortunately, most Jews have failed to see the connection and Christians haven’t pieced it together either. Many have never even considered the evidence. It is this very lack of understanding that will play a significant role in future events… as this was predicted too.

Another Festival This festival began on the Passover preparation at which time only unleavened bread could be eaten. (This commemorated the hurried release of the Jews from Egypt when they had to take their food (bread) before it was finished and get out of town ).
The presence of leaven (yeast) in bread causes it to rise and become puffed up. Bread baked without is flat, but does not spoil or mold. Leaven in our Bible is a symbol of sin:


“Know ye not that a little leaven does leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out …the old leaven that you may become a new lump.” “…let us keep the feast not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

Christ Himself was without leaven (sin). This graphic taking away of leaven is a picture of Christ taking away our sins after shedding His own blood.

These festivals are quite involved, and if you study the details, there would be no doubt in your mind regarding their significance. Just one other interesting element of this feast: Instructions during this festival include piercing the bread and grilling it. This makes holes and stripes on the flat bread. then, the piece of matzah (unleavened bread) was to be wrapped in linen and buried. Remember these verses:


Isa 53:5 “…by his stripes we are healed.” and John 19:37, “They will look on the one they have pierced.” (NIV)

Three days later, the children who watched the burial try to steal it and hold it for ransom from their father. Do you remember that Christ’s body was called bread? Remember what the bread and wine stand for during communion? Jesus (the pure unleavened bread) was pierced, striped, wrapped in linen, was buried, and EXACTLY 3 days later was out of the tomb? The body was thought to be stolen… held ranson from the Father. Once again, the Jews celebrate this festival, but have not seen the entire picture of it’s intended meaning.

Coincidence? The probability of the past two festivals being fulfilled by a human are not even measurable.  Have you begun to see the awesome significance of these festivals? Every major event of Jesus’s life occurred on the exact days of the festivals. Even at the EXACT minute of the day. Read that last line again. Not in a “similar manner”, not “like the festival”, but at the very SAME minute in time!

 

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