Friday, April 18, 2014

Charting the 2014 Feast Days

You may remember last year there was a disagreement about what the months were because the official Jewish calendar was applying Adar Bet in March 2014 but the report of the barley crop dictated that Adar Bet should have been applied in March 2013.

This year the barley crop was ripe enough by April 1 to go ahead and kick off the new year as the official Jewish calendar observed so there won't be any disagreement this year. But to aid in this, I found this site which cataloged the observations of the barley crop and has laid out the schedule of the seven Feast Days, although I'm not sure they are correct on the Fall Feasts. If you cross check when the new moon will appear, it should be visible in Israel the evening of September 24 or 25. September 27 seems like too long a wait to me. But that's why you observe these things.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Other Temple Raid

Viewing the videos about the mechanism that may have been used to hide the Ark of the Covenant got me to thinking about the other principle time that Jerusalem was raided: Pharaoh Shishak's invasion in the 5th year of Rehoboam.

Both 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles are quite clear that Shishak took everything of value from the Temple and Rehoboam's palace. If you take the position that I do that Shishak was Thutmose III and look at Thutmose III's list of treasures deposited at Karnak, that would seem to support a pretty firm looting of gold and silver artifacts. However, there are several prominent items that are missing that you might expect: the Ark of the Covenant, the table of showbread, and the great menorah. These items should have been at the top of Thutmose's list had he taken them, but he leads off with a golden altar (probably referenced in 1 Kings 7:48).

So, we are left with the likely conclusion that Shishak never took these items from the Temple. Either he had too much reverence of the inner sanctum (something I doubt), the priests deployed the same hiding method that prevented Nebuzaradan from taking them or he was prevented from entering to take these items.

Of the three options, I like the prevention method best. Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu are killed when they attempted to approach God when the Shekinah glory occupied the Tabernacle (Leviticus 10:1-5). What's more, the symbol for the Israelites to move from point to point during the wandering was for the Shekinah to leave the Tabernacle and go in front of the camp. That allowed the Levites to break down the Tabernacle and transport all the instruments, including the Ark. Once the Shekinah glory returned to the Ark, it could only be approached by the high priest on Yom Kippur.

1 Kings 8:6-11 notes how the Shekinah glory filled the Holy of Holies after the Ark was placed inside after the Temple's completion (Yom Kippur of Solomon's 12th year). From that point on, no specific mention is made of the Shekinah glory until King Zedekiah's 6th year in Ezekiel 10:1-19, which makes a very specific point about the Shekinah glory leaving. Given the dramatic nature of the departure, one can surmise that the glory had not left the Temple since it had come in during Solomon's reign.

So when Shishak marched into the Temple in Rehoboam's day, he gathered up everything he could carry but stayed out of the Holy of Holies. It is possible that Thutmose III had accompanied Hatshepsut on her visit to Solomon many years before and he remembered the things of the Temple. He may have also developed a healthy respect for the power of the Israelite's God which warned him to keep out.

This also probably explained why Jeremiah and the other priests knew that the Ark had to be hidden using Solomon's special chamber. God was no longer amidst them and He would not protect the items of His Temple; He left that to Jeremiah.

How to Build a Temple Trapdoor

I think we've all heard the story about the hidden chamber under the Temple Mount, but this is the first time that I've seen a rational explanation as to how it would work. What's more it's nice to see the clue as to how this was done by comparing the Biblical passages regarding Jakin and Boaz and their capitals: 1 Kings 7:15-16 (5 cubits) vs. 2 Kings 25:16-17 (3 cubits).





Incidentally, this is my first exposure to Michael Rood. I'll be taking a closer look into some of his other works. If you're interested is seeing this lecture in it's entirety, click here. Be warned, this is a few years old and his dates are clearly a little bit off.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Later Eclipses

Now that we are officially in the tetrad cycle, we can look forward to the next eclipses. The next one is on Tabernacles, October 8, 2014. Interestingly the moon will be in complete conjunction with the planet Uranus in Pisces while Jupiter is wandering between Leo and Cancer:


After this, the next Passover eclipse will be on April 4, 2015. This time, the moon will be above Spica rather than in conjunction and only Saturn (of the visible planets) will be hanging around:


Wrapping things up is Tabernacles on September 28, 2015. This is also a supermoon and will be in Pisces with Uranus (although not in conjunction) on the Western edge of the sky (in Jerusalem). Meanwhile, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter are all hanging out in Leo on the Eastern edge of the sky:


I'm of the opinion that things will happen on times other than the actual eclipse days, but it'll still be interesting to observe the sky at these times and see if there anything else to be learned in how things look at these times.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It Begins



The first blood moon is happening now, although I can't see it because of the rain/snow/cloud cover. Let's see what comes forth.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Countdown

Today has a very surreal feel to it. On one hand, lots of places are jumping with excitement over the eclipse tonight (even the secular media is getting into it).

On the other hand, I have this strange feeling of eerie quiet. Like a slight pause before something big. There's very little to add beyond that so we'll just have to sit tight for the next twelve hours.

Now, I'm not expecting anything immediate. I see this as something of a starter's pistol going off and I wouldn't expect anything huge just out of the gate. Of course, I could be wrong.

Oh, and a Happy Passover to you.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Feasts of Israel Primer

I had to work this morning so I had to find something to listen to while working on. Here's a nice discussion of each of the Feasts of Israel between Perry Stone and Bill Cloud. I actually didn't know about the Joseph to Joseph of Arimathea reference.



Also, unfortunately for me, the forecast for my area on Monday night is clouds with periods of rain. Booooo!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fear

For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. - 2 Timothy 1:7-9a

Fear of rejection by people you love and care about is a very hard thing to deal with. It is something I have been struggling with for a long time and one of the reasons that it is so easy to retreat to a format like this blog.

But there does come a point where you have to step out of the boat. I'm going to try and step out shortly and I pray very hard that I will keep my eyes focused and not look down. I'll still ramble on here, but one can only take God tapping him on the shoulder for so long before you have to pay attention.

Time is short.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bone Up or Get Out

I'm not really familiar with this fellow or his ministry. But I liked the message he gave:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

So What Day Is It?

If you ever want to give yourself a splitting headache, try working on a calendar. In my various investigations, I've run into multiple references to the Enoch Calendar. This calendar is written about in the book of Enoch and it describes a year of 364 days with 30 days to a month and one additional day every third month on which the seasons change. Mathematically, it is very nice as it gives 91 days per each season and evenly divides the year into 52 weeks of seven days.

The problems come about when you try to relate things back astronomically. Did you know that there are actually three different kind of days? There is the mean solar day, which is 24 hours (an average day can vary +/- 30 seconds depending on where we are in orbit, but the mean works out well). Then there is the stellar day, the rotation of the planet relative to stars other than the sun, and the sidereal day, the rotation of the planet relative to the vernal equinox. These two type of days only come out to 23 hours, 57 minutes, and 4 seconds or almost four minutes shorter than the solar day. That doesn't seem like much but it does add up.

Then there is a year. There are three types of years as well. First is the tropical year or the length of time the sun takes to complete a 360-degree cycle in the sky. This is a period of 365 solar days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 45 seconds. Second is the sidereal year where the orbit is measured against the fixed frame of stars other than the sun. This period is 365 solar days, 6 hours, 9 minutes, 9.76 seconds or about 20 minutes longer the the tropical day. Third is the anomalistic year or the time it takes to go from either perihelion to perihelion or aphelion to aphelion. Either way, it works out to 365 days, 6 hours, 13 minutes, 52.6 seconds or almost 25 minutes longer than the tropical year.

All of the year variations are due to the fact that the Earth does not move in an ideal Kepler Orbit, but instead wobbles a bit due to gravitational effects of other bodies. It is also important to remember that average lengths need to be used because the orbit of the Earth is an ellipse and not a circle so the Earth actually moves faster when it is near perihelion and slower when near aphelion.

So what does it all mean? Despite it's seeming outdatedness, the Enoch calendar could be used somewhat accurately if a leap week were added every seventh year (Shmita year) and a second week every fourth Shmita cycle (28-years). That's not too shabby a modifier to keep things at least as accurate as the Julian calender (365.25 days/year). It would also have the advantage of keeping things fairly tightly regulated with respect to days of week as there would be no fluctuation of those days, i.e. the first day of the first month would always be a Sunday or the 15th day of the sixth month would always be a Thursday, etc.

Despite this, I would still favor the Hebrew calendar. God may be lining things up by both calendars for all I know, but He is certainly sending signs to us now via the Hebrew calendar as we are observing with the upcoming lunar tetrad. But I don't want to dismiss things wholesale. As a point, next year's Feast of Trumpets will begin the evening of Sunday, September 13th with the bulk of the observation occurring on Monday, September 14th. Traditionally, the Feast is observed two days due to the unreliability of observing the moon and getting the word out, so observation will bleed over to Tuesday, September 15. If you look at the Enoch calendar, the first day of the seventh month would line up with September 15 if you initiated the first day of the first month with the Spring equinox (equal day/night) in Jerusalem (March 17). September 15 is also a Tuesday, but that's just a side point.

One other thing before I let this all go. Given God's precision, I have every reason to believe that a 364-day year was how God structured the Earth in the beginning. So why does it take us just under 365.25 days now? Obviously tidal forces and other gravitational effects are partially to blame, but that only accounts for a small percentage of the variation over the past 6,000 years. My own theory has to do with the two calendar perturbations recorded in the Bible.

Joshua 10:12-14 notes that when Joshua prayed for more time and God caused the sun and moon to stand still for nearly a full day. In doing this, God froze the rotation of both the Earth and the Moon. But, unless God froze the entire galactic plane, the sun would have still be moving in space and in order to keep it fixed from the Earth's point of view, the Earth would have to have been moving relative to it. This may have increased the orbital period of the Earth and lengthened the year by just under a day.

The second perturbation is in 2 Kings 20:9-11 where King Hezekiah asks that the sun go back ten steps. Sometimes this is translated degrees, but steps is probably more accurate. As such, we are somewhat in the dark in how much the sun went backwards since we are not given a measure of how many steps made a day. But, the Hebrew calendar subdivides an hour into 1080 parts with one part being 3-1/3 seconds. From this we can see a tendency to follow a pattern of three. Thus, a sundial could easily be divided into 36 sections where each section represents 20 minutes of daylight. If this is an approximate of a step, then ten steps would be 200 minutes or a bit over 3 hours. If the dial is divided only on the half hour, there would 24 steps and 10 steps would be 5 hours. We also don't know what time of year it was, so the amount of daylight could fluctuate between 8 and 16 hours, adding an additional variable to amount of time was added to the day. So what was a 5 hour retrograde in Spring, would become over a six and a half hour retrograde in Summer or less than a three and a half hour retrograde in Winter.

Again though, regardless of the amount of time it was, the act of moving the sun backwards would have included moving the orbit of the Earth in addition to the reverse rotation of the Earth because of the relative movement of the sun in the galactic plane. Taking these into account, it is not unreasonable to see how the solar year could have expanded by nearly 30 hours.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rapture Statistics

I know I've posted about statistics before, but I like to repost the math every once in a while as a reminder of how bad things will be in the United States.

The estimated population of the US as of 2014 is 317.8 million people. Round down to 315 million for ease of math.

According to the 2010 census, 20.2% of the population is under the age of 15. This works out to 63 million children. Let's say 55 million are under the age of accountability.

This leaves 260 million people. Also according to the 2010 census, 78.5% of the population considers themselves as belonging to some form of Christianity (this includes cults such as Mormons and JWs). But it still would give us 204 million people that consider themselves Christian.

Now, imagine if only 25% of that group were actually saved. That would still be 50 million people over the age of accountability taken in the Rapture in addition to the 55 million children. In the blink of an eye, 1/3 of the population of the United States would be gone. That number jumps even more the greater the percentage you shift over from simply being "culturally Christian" to being actually saved. But 1 out of 5 adults/teens and all children or 1 out of 3 overall is pretty mind numbing as it is.

Any idea that the US will be able to pick up the pieces and simply try to get back to normal should go out the window in a heartbeat. That and withdrawal of the Holy Spirit will drive those who remain into a frenzy and things will be so terrible for those we love left behind. And this is before we even begin the horrors that Antichrist will bring and the judgements God will pour out on the unbelievers.

We must not rest and hope that our Rapture letters and Bibles will be enough. The people must be witnessed to now, because the potential horror may be too great for some to survive in the upheaval after the Rapture. Work the field given to you. God will send the rain.

*Addendum*

World population is approximately 7.155 billion. The world population under the age of 15 is about 26.3% and Christianity is believed to be practiced by between 2 and 2.2 billion people. If you reduce children to 25% of overall population and take 25% of Christians, you are looking at about 2.3 billion people vanishing from the Earth. Maybe more when you realize that many Christians are underground and may be counted under another faith.

Seal and Trumpet Arrays

One day is enough time to ruminate yes? ;)

Based off yesterday's post, we should be able to array the important points of the Tribulation with two variable considerations. First variable, whether the Tribulation begins this year or next year. Yes it could be later but that would discount everything going on now and what fun is that? If we're going to play with dates, why not consider the immediate future?

The second variable would be whether the array of the seals and trumpets is allocated as one year for the seals and three for the trumpets or if it's split two and two. I tend to favor two and two, but I like symmetry. So:

Option 1 - 2014 start, seals end YK 2015, trumpets end YK 2018, Return YK 2021
Option 2 - 2014 start, seals end YK 2016, trumpets end YK 2018, Return YK 2021
Option 3 - 2015 start, seals end YK 2016, trumpets end YK 2019, Return YK 2022
Option 4 - 2015 start, seals end YK 2017, trumpets end YK 2019, Return YK 2022

I personally think the weight of evidence favors a 2015 Rapture and start to the Tribulation, but others would obviously differ and it doesn't matter what I think, it matters what God says.

Now, no matter which option you might favor, having the start of the tribulation anytime in the next year and a half forces the tribulation into the period of the shmita. This also would seem to nix any tie of Jesus taking legal claim of Earth to a jubilee. But as know, there are always loopholes.

Last year we took a quick peek at 2017 and all the ways it tied to various key dates observed by Israel. Option 4 is the only one that would have an event tied specifically to 2017. Scotty's Revelation 12 signpost would actually be occurring around the opening of the seventh seal in this scenario. One other thing we looked at was the conclusion of the tenth jubilee of Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel. According to the rabbi, Messiah would come before this period ends (1968-2017). Obviously this could easily be fulfilled if the Jews accept Antichrist as the Messiah and this would be accomplished prior to 2017. However, it would be interesting to note that if the seal judgements did finish in 2017, Christ would have taken legal possession of the Earth through the document, although the expulsion of Satan from the heavenly realms had not been accomplished yet.

In a way, the completion of each set of judgements could be viewed as the three phases of Christ taking possession of Earth. At the end of the seal judgements, He has legal possession through the deed. At the end of the trumpet judgements, He has proclaimed His possession and expelled all objectors from Heaven, purifying that realm. At the end of the bowl judgements, He takes physical possession of the Earth and exiles Satan, allowing the subjects of the realm to either accept or reject His rule over the period of the final day.

None of this is definitive, but it does allow us to pin 2017 and all it's significance to a certain event as opposed to having 2017 float untied. It also allows us to speculate about any other phenomena that we might observe and how that would relate to any of the next eight years, especially if we see things that might tie to any of the four scenarios noted above.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Taking Legal Possession

I was reading a fascinating discussion regarding Jesus taking both legal possession and physical possession of the Earth as the kinsman redeemer. Obviously His taking physical possession comes about when He alights on the Mount of Olives, splitting the mountain in two. But when does He take full legal possession?

You would think that His taking legal possession would be accomplished when He finished opening the 7th seal, unrolling the title dead. Yet, when the seventh seal is opened, there is silence in Heaven and the only action is for the seven trumpets to come forth while an eighth angel takes fire from the altar and casts it to Earth (Rev 8:1-5).

Contrast this to the seventh trumpet where the voices of heaven announce that Christ has taken possession of the Earth and has begun to reign (Rev 11:15-17). So it is more than just the opening of the document that awards Christ ownership, but the announcement factor as well. I'm also inclined to think there is one more aspect to Christ taking possession.

Back in February, I talked a little bit about how the beginning and endings of the various sets of judgements coincided with Yom Kippur. The big takeaway from that is that the major events of the mid-point of the Tribulation (death/resurrection of the two witnesses and abomination of desolation) will occur prior to the conclusion of the trumpet judgements (as the text implies). This also means that Satan and his minions will be cast out of Heaven before the trumpet judgements conclude as he will be pursuing the woman (Israel) prior to her 1,260 days of seclusion and he doesn't pursue her until he is kicked out. So, the announcement of the reign of Christ commencing (legal ownership of Earth) does not occur until the last objector (Satan) plays his final heavenly card and moves to open war. He loses and the last barrier to ownership is removed. From that it's just three years of attempting to get the squatters to concede the claim before they are removed forcibly.

It would be tempting to try and line these events up with time line parallels, but I think I will leave that for another day and just ruminate on what we have so far.

Friday, April 4, 2014

...And We're Done Here

Remember Secretary Kerry's big push to get a peace deal between Israel and the Arabs done by April? Well, the effort is pretty much dead.

The Palestinians have stonewalled the talks, adding a number of new preconditions and formally petitioned the UN for membership on fifteen different treaties and conventions. President Abbas has gone on record stating that "He would rather be a martyr" than take back the applications he made to the UN.

Israel responded by saying they would not release the promised fourth batch of Palestinian prisoners (which was probably in their best interests anyway). That was more than enough for the Arabs to walk and blame Israel for not living up to their obligations.

The Palestinians have stated that they will now petition the international community to wage economic war on Israel. Israel will counter with their own diplomatic spread of attacks.

The real question is whether the Arabs will supplement their economic attacks with physical ones and if they will draw anyone else in. Israeli leaders seem to be downplaying it, but the IDF appears to be cranking up their awareness by a notch so they are least aware that this is a possibility.

I think something is going to happen but how hot and how heavy is the question. If Fatah goes it alone, it'll be short and sweet. If they convince Hamas or Islamic Jihad to join in, it'll get more serious. If Hezbollah gets drawn in, I think things will get very ugly as they have expanded and improved their rocket attack capability in the last eight years. They are also almost sure to have some chemically tipped rockets mixed in their arsenal as well.

We know blood and war are on the horizon. How much and how soon is the question.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gnosticism in Noah

L.A. Marzulli linked to this post by Dr. Brian Mattson about the abomination that is the new movie Noah. I've not watched it (and have no intention of doing so) but from what I've heard, confusion and outrage seem to be the order of the day. Dr. Mattson's post provides a lot of clarity when things in the movie are viewed through the lens of gnosticism (especially the Jewish form of gnosticism: Kabbalah). Certainly the use of the power of the snake should have been a strong red flag.

Read the article. It's interesting.