In the previous post, It Could Be Something Special, I began to explore the problem of Waiting Weariness or Jesus is Coming Soon…really…Burn-out! Most of us have heard for many, many years from well-meaning folk that “Jesus is returning soon.” We are certainly closer everyday but, I feel it is really important to put this into manageable “bite-sized” terms so that the scoffers as well as foot-tapping believers really understand what “soon” may mean.
There was also much hoopla in recent months about the meaning of Blood Moons and the Shemitah cycles that led many to the conclusion that the world was going to crash on September 13, 2015. While unspoken, I believe many thought it time to pack our spiritual bags, sit around the campfire singing Kum-ba-ya and wait for our Rapture Tickets to be collected! September 13 came and went without an immediate zombie apocalypse or apparent financial atomic Hiroshima! This seemingly is another black X mark on God’s performance chart; another embarrassing disappointment to endure.
No matter what your recent or particular Messianic expectations, thus far it is indisputable. We have seen no Kingly arrival. No incoming Heavenly Host has presented themselves and as a result there is an almost palpable deflation and requisite burn out. We may well believe the ultimate reality of Jesus’ return some fine day but, now we are extremely reluctant to keep talking about it based on this perceived poor performance.
I would like to recommend at this juncture the need to be like Moses. Psalms 103:7 points out that Moses knew the Ways of God while the Israelites knew the Acts of God. Rather than just see or expect to see one big, indisputable, supernatural act like the parting of the Red Sea or the crash of the stock market in gotcha fashion; We need to take a page out of Moses’ book, clamor for such an incredibly close relationship with the Master that we soak up and learn the ways of our Lord, his seasons, his cycles and the ways that he loves, operates and interacts with us. It’s really important!
Last time, I likened this “Tired of Waiting” phenomenon to the Music Man musical number about the Wells Fargo Wagon a coming. Those Iowa folk knew when the delivery wagon was due to arrive. There is certainly no sense in lining up and watching, waiting, singing about the imminent arrival- if it is not yet the scheduled time for the Wells Fargo Wagon or the Messianic return of Jesus in Power and Glory!
Perhaps, even now, you are fussing at your computer screen, telling me that Jesus is coming like a “THIEF IN THE NIGHT” and “NO ONE KNOWS THE DAY OR THE HOUR!” Those warnings are certainly scriptural and I would be remiss if I didn’t address these oft quoted warnings that many use to excuse their total avoidance of serious End Times conversation. Was Jesus really telling people not to bother worrying or wondering about this topic or is there a deeper, clearer connotation?
As with so many things in this Feverseason Blog, I once again reference the 7 Feasts of the Lord which I believe are the framework of any and all Messianic Prophecies and thus important in any discussion of the Lord’s return or Rapture timing.
Initially, I want to go back to the Old Testament scriptures of Leviticus 23 & Numbers 29 which outlines all the timing and details of The Feasts of the Lord, which The Lord declared to Moses, were HIS (God’s) Feasts or Divine Appointments and should be kept forever. That statement by itself should indicate the monumental importance of these Feasts. While the Lord may enjoy a good Holy Convocation as well as the next fellow; He is letting us know that these 7 Feasts will be vitally important to everyone’s understanding for a long, long time!
The first Fall Feast is the Feast of Trumpets. I have written extensively on The Feasts and most recently on Trumpets in September, Let the Shofar Blow and the previous fall, Fly Away Home. I believe that it is, and was understood by the First Church as, a picture of the Rapture at the Last Trump! It is the only Hebrew feast that falls on a new moon. The first day of the 7th month of Tishri. Following the dark of the moon, no one really knew the day or the hour that this feast would begin. Watchers were placed to keep an eye on the night sky to see when the first little sliver of new moon would appear. People certainly knew the season very well, the very explicit time of year, the week that it was going to happen but until that moon actually showed up over the horizon they couldn’t be positive that the Feast of Trumpets had arrived. Later, the Priests added an extra day to this Feast just to make sure that they wouldn’t miss it in case of inclement weather. I told you that entire story to relate that idiomatically, in ancient Hebrew cultures, The Feast of Trumpets was commonly referred to as the Feast “Where know One Knows the Day or the Hour”. Recall too, that the only time the shofar was blown in the Old Testament outside this Feast- which is a picture of all three of the following reasons: To call for a Holy Convocation( Mosaic Worship Meeting) Coronation of a New King and To call the folks to Battle!
Last time we discussed Matthew 23 and showed Jesus having serious words with the stuffy Religious hierarchy. In the opening verses of 24 the disciples were asking very specific questions concerning those Matt. 23 discussions. Jesus was now answering those End Times Questions. When Jesus talked with his team, in Matthew 24:36 he stated that he would be coming back, but no one knows the day or the hour he is really saying in his favored, Parable-like form, that he will return on some future Feast of Trumpets. We don’t know the day or the hour….that varies wildly on whether you are in Lake City, Colorado or downtown Jerusalem. But, based on prior performance with the Spring Feasts and his “clues” in speaking to the disciples I think we know, now, what he meant. He was crucified, buried and arose miraculously on the 3 Spring Feasts. His return will also fall on Feast Days.
Another idiomatic reference which I believe was clear to those first church, primarily Jewish Believers but is lost on Gentile Protestant readers today is 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6. This passage carries the same idea only brings with it a Temple reference. Priests were scheduled all night, every night to watch at the Temple to make sure that the lamps of the golden Candle Stand never ran out of oil. That Light, was the only light source in the Holy Place. The Holy Place was only entered through one door was always burning and illuminating their way. If the Holy Place went dark how could anyone hope to find their way to the Holy of Holies?
If the Captain of the Watch, referred to as “The Thief in the Night” came by patrolling the temple at anytime during the wee hours of the night and found this” Candle Stand” Priest, snoozing, he would light the sleepy fellow’s priestly robes on fire and he would run screaming off into the night ripping his flaming clothes off. We can see this same idea and verbiage threading throughout 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 3:3 and Rev. 16:15. Matthew 24:42-44 drives home the importance of watching while working.
This embarrassing possibility would be highly motivational for Priests to stay wide awake and…it also gives a variant insight to the Matthew 25 parable about the 10 virgins and the oil. In that story, they all knew and were expecting the Bridegroom’s imminent arrival. They knew, pretty much, when–they just didn’t know the exact time but they were all there waiting on the correct evening. We as believers, now heirs, priests and kings are invited to this wedding celebration. We are expected to know when the Bridegroom is coming closer. We are expected to be watching diligently as the time grows near. We also know the importance of the oil and that Center lamp of the Temple Candle stand that signifies the Messiah is NEVER to run out of oil. A little bit of oil is symbolic of little bit of readiness, little bit of knowledge and relationship, little bit of understanding and obedience. They had enough awareness to know that he would be coming down the road but, not enough awareness to realize the all-encompassing need and dependence on the OIL.
From all these verses we can see a dual-idea developing.
One: Faith involves the belief and spiritual awareness that Yes, Jesus is the Messiah and he is coming back. His very name means Safety and Salvation.
Two: Total spiritual awareness & complete readiness is predicated on being filled to overflowing in the OIL a picture of the Holy Spirit. Repercussions in that Parable in Matt 25 were very serious. Re-read as needed!
We have dealt now with some of the reasons that some folks don’t like to talk about the timing of the Lord’s return. We have emphasized the timing at the Feast of Trumpets.
We will pick this story up again next time and start talking about those pesky signs! I don’t know why I thought I could tackle this topic in just 2 parts! My Bad!
For additional reading and source materials on Holy Spirit Oil and for Messiah’s return:
Holy Spirit 101 & 102: Permanent Pages on this website.
philologos.org/the-temple/ by Alfred Edersheim
The Feasts of the Lord by Howard & Rosenthal
Rabbi Mark Biltz of www.elshaddaiministries.org has lots of good info and dvd’s available on his website on Hebrew Roots and The Feasts of the Lord. I am including a good teaching (10 minutes) of his which I found on youtube which fleshes out this interesting topic more fully:
When we left off in the last post I promised that we would discuss that “Heavenly” equivalent to the Wells Fargo Schedule and now I will add a proviso as to why, it is important to review this important scriptural schedule at regular intervals!