A summary of God’s promises and their fulfillment: PART 3

The New Testament promises and their fulfillment

Jesus, who fulfilled the Old Testament, made prophecies about future events in the New Testament. Among other places, Matthew 24 and the entire book of Revelation are well-known as prophecies concerning the second coming.

The prophecies of the New Testament are all fulfilled at the time of the second coming. These prophecies describe two battles that take place between God (the spirits and flesh who belong to him), and Satan (the spirits and flesh who belong to him).

When the pastor and group who belong to Satan wins, he takes control of all of God’s possessions (God’s tabernacle, Rv 13) – this is the first battle that takes place. When the male child and his brothers fight and overcome the dragon (Rv 12:11), God wins and Satan’s world is judged and brought to an end – this is the second battle.

God’s new kingdom is then established – the Twelve Tribes of New Spiritual Israel (Rv 7:4-8; Rv 14:1-4) – through the pastor promised in the New Testament (Mt 24:45; Rv 1:1-2; Rv 2:26).

This is a message to all Christians who believe in Jesus. Let us not become like the people of the past who refused to believe in God’s covenant. Let us obey the words of the new covenant so that we can receive forgiveness for our sins and become a part of the 12 tribes of God’s new kingdom established at the time of Revelation’s fulfillment – the end of the age, the second coming.

This is God’s objective for us throughout the Bible, for us to attain salvation and eternal life.

Those who hear the testimony about the fulfillment of the New Testament prophecies and refuse to believe them are no better than the Pharisees at the time of the first coming, who ultimately lost the right to be called God’s children and chosen people (Mt 21:43).

Let’s be people who verify again and again the fulfillment of the prophecies, believe in that fulfillment, and are forgiven so that we can attain salvation and eternal life!

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The Sun, Moon, and Stars

Recently I have heard a lot of questions and interpretations concerning the prophecies about the darkening and falling of the sun, moon, and stars at the time of Jesus’ return. Here are the two passages usually mentioned:

“Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”
~Matthew 24:29

“I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.”
~Revelation 6:12-13

The only way we should understand these things is by turning to God’s word for the explanation.

Prophecies are written using a figurative language, they are not supposed to be understood literally. In fact the same events where prophesied to take place at the time of the first coming:

“All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved 
and the sky rolled up like a scroll; 
all the starry host will fall 
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.” 
~Isaiah 34:4 (and Isaiah 13:10)

Did the physical sun, moon, and stars turn dark and fall to the earth at the time of Jesus’ first coming? Did God lie when He gave His word to the prophet Isaiah? If we can’t understand how these heavenly bodies fell at the time of the first coming, then how can we be so sure that we will be able to recognize it taking place again at the time of Revelation’s fulfillment?

So what are the sun, moon and stars referring to?

In Genesis 32:28 Jacob is given the new name “Israel”, because he had struggled with man and with God and had overcome. We know that ‘Israel’ then has 12 sons. In Genesis 37:9-11 one of Israel’s sons, Joseph, has a dream in which his household (Jacob [Israel], his wife, and the 11 other sons) are represented by the sun, the moon, and the stars. God uses these heavenly bodies to represent His chosen people. The 12 tribes of Israel are created after each of the 12 sons.

So how did the sun, moon and stars turn dark and fall at the first coming?

God’s chosen people were the Physical Israelites, the Jewish nation. However, they refused to accept their Messiah. Jesus came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him (Jn 1:11). Because God’s people, the spiritual sun, moon and stars, had turned their backs on God, the kingdom of God was taken away from them and given to a people who would produce its fruit (Mt 21:43).

The Physical Israelites turned dark by refusing to accept the light (Jn 8:12), and so they fell from their position of being God’s chosen people. They fell from heaven, a place of dwelling with God, to the earth, becoming mere men no longer God’s people.

Now God has to establish a new chosen people. Those who received and believed in the name of the one who was sent now become the spiritual children of God, those who are born of God. It is no longer dependent on lineage, or physical descent (Jn 1:12-13). Those who are spiritually born of God are His new chosen people – the new sun, moon and stars.

Philippians 2:15 says, “…so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe…”

However, this is what we have to understand. Once again, at the time of Revelation’s fulfillment, the sun, moon and stars turn dark and fall (Rv 6:12-13). Once again, those who belong to God turn their backs on Him, fall from their position in ‘heaven’, and return to the ‘earth’.

Did the Pharisees and Jews understand the prophecies at the time of the first coming? Did they realize they were the ones actually fulfilling the scriptures? If we don’t understand how this is going to happen, then how can we make sure it isn’t us that fulfill this part of scripture?

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Do you enjoy star gazing?

Time to wake up

“And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from you slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” 

~Romans 13:11

The Pharisees were rebuked repeatedly by Jesus for not recognizing the times. Even though they studied the Scriptures, they still refused to go to Jesus to have life (Jn 5:39-40), and even though they could interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, they didn’t know how to interpret the present time (Lk 12:56).

We have been given all the signs of the end of the age – throughout the New Testament, but especially Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation. Now is the time to wake up, because our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

“so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”~Hebrews 9:28

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Are you a morning person? Or do you struggle to wake up?

May 21, 2011…seriously!?

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” ~Mt 7:15

So I guess I am a little behind the times…I just found out today, for the first time, about Harold Camping’s prophecies about the Rapture and Judgment Day taking place on May 21, 2011. I drove passed a few billboards claiming that judgment day was coming, and that the Bible actually guarantees this date. I thought it was just some strange conference ad, but still came home and googled the date… Apparently Harold Camping’s organization, Family Radio Worldwide, has plastered bus stops, benches, cars, RV’s and billboards with warnings about May 21 (as in 20 days from now) being the end of the world.

I am not going to entertain you with my initial reaction to all this, but it definitely inspired me to get-a-bloggin’, so here goes.

Harold Camping is claiming to know something that the Bible clearly states neither the angels in heaven nor Jesus himself know, only God alone knows the day and hour. So either Mr. Camping does not believe in the very words of the Bible he is preaching, or he is proclaiming himself to be God…

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” ~Mt 24:36

And how about the following verses?

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” ~Mt 24:42-44

“Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” ~1Thes 5:1-2

“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” ~Acts 1:7

There are approximately 2.1 billion Christians in the world today, and approximately 38,000 different denominations amongst them. The Bible is the best selling best-seller of all time, yet somehow it remains the most misunderstood and misinterpreted book of all time.

On a lighter note, I read a funny response to all of this on facebook. There is a guy who is challenging everyone who believes Harold Camping’s “prophecy” to write him a $5000 check on May 20…they won’t be needing the money anymore, right?

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What are your thoughts on all of this? 
Have you seen any billboards around your neighborhood? Do you know anyone involved with Family Radio Worldwide?

One of the many articles about the ‘Camping prophecy’: End of Days in May? Believers enter final stretch

Which mountain? What abomination?

When the disciples asked Jesus what the signs of the end of the age will be, the first thing Jesus said was, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many.”  (Matthew 24:4-5). I don’t think many of us would be deceived by someone coming up to us saying, “Hey, follow me, I am the Christ”, however, there must be a reason Jesus said this. So who are the ‘many’ who will be deceived, and how will this deception take place?

“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ … Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
~2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

How does this relate to not being deceived? Well, here we see how a man of lawlessness, doomed to destruction, manages to set himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God…sounds similar to the deception in Mt 24:5.

And how about Mt 24:15-16

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

Here again we see an abomination standing in the holy place. But what is the holy place? What is the abomination? How did it get into the holy place? And which mountain must we flee to?

The holy place is God’s temple (modern-day church), and the only way the abomination can get there is by deceiving the ‘inhabitants’ of the holy place by claiming to be the Christ (Mt 24:5), proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thes 2:4). This is why we are warned so many times in the Bible to test spirits, discern the times, and watch out we are not deceived.

These passages are prophecies concerning the end times. Prophecies in the Bible are written using a ‘spiritual’ or ‘figurative’ language. They are not meant to be understood literally. But if we don’t understand what the true meaning of the figurative language is, then how are we going to do what is required of us, how are we going to know which mountain to go to, or what the abomination is? Jesus promises that there will be a time when he will speak plainly and not use this figurative language anymore (Jn 16:25). If the time has come when we can understand plainly, then we will know what mountain to go to and what this abomination is.

Even though the true meaning of the New Testament prophecies have been hidden, there is a promise that they are only hidden until the time God has appointed for their fulfillment (1 Cor 2:7; 1 Cor 13:12). At that time we will be able to see face-to-face and fully understand, but will we choose to see, or will we act like the Pharisees at the time of the first coming?

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Nobody is expected to believe without evidence. John 14:29 tells us that we have been given prophecies so that we are able to believe in their fulfillment when it happens. It’s time to fully understand the scriptures and the New Testament. Let’s have ears that hear and eyes that see, so that we can keep the covenant and do what is required of us.