Daniel's Last Seven – Randy Nettles - https://www.rev310.net/post/daniel-s-last-seven
Jeremiah was a priest in Jerusalem when God called him to be a prophet in the 13th year of King Josiah’s reign. He held this God-appointed office during the reigns of Judah’s last five kings, from 626 BC to 580 BC. Jeremiah’s message to the unreceptive Jews was about the coming destruction of Judah and Jerusalem for their sinful rebellion against the Lord. In 605 BC, Jeremiah prophesied about a 70-year desolation and captivity that God would bring about through His chosen vessel, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
These 70 years of captivity in Babylon were a judgment and punishment from God because the Jews failed to obey His word and will. The main reason for this judgment is given in Jeremiah 25:6-7, “Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings and dwell in the land that the Lord has given to you and your fathers forever and ever. Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them; do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands, and I will not harm you. Yet you have not listened to Me, says the Lord, that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.”
Most Bible teachers think that the 70-year judgment started in 586 BC and ended when the second temple was rebuilt and completed in 516 BC. Others suggest the starting point was 605 BC when the first group of Jews (including Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah) was deported to Babylon, and the end was 535 BC when reconstruction of the temple began in Jerusalem.
Judah’s 70-year captivity was brought about because of the Jew’s apostasy and not obeying the commandments of God. One of these commandments the Jews ignored was keeping the Sabbath of the seventh year as described in Leviticus 25. Evidently, for 490 years, they had failed to keep every seventh year as a sabbath. The length of the Babylonian captivity was determined to be for 70 years because the Jews refused to observe 70 Shemitah years. “And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate, she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years” (2 Chronicles 36:20-21).
In 539 BC, Daniel the prophet was still in Babylon and was reading the prophecy of Jeremiah regarding the 70-year captivity. Realizing the 70 years were nearing completion, Daniel began to pray, asking God’s forgiveness for the sins of his people and pleading for the restoration of Jerusalem and Israel’s imminent return to their land. It was a genuinely righteous prayer and is found in Daniel 9:1-19.
By praying fervently to God and asking for forgiveness of Israel’s corporate sins, Daniel was attempting to bring about the promise of restoration found in Leviticus 26:40-42: “But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me, and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt— then I will remember My covenant with Jacob and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.”
Before Daniel could finish his prayer, the Angel Gabriel appeared and gave him the prophecy of the seventy ‘sevens’ outlined in Daniel 9:24-27.
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
And after the sixty-two weeks, the Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and until the end of the war, desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week, but in the middle of the week, he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.”
Regarding the Shemitah years for Israel and the prophecy of Daniel 9:25-26, in my last article, “The Sabbath of the Seventh Year” ( https://www.raptureready.com/2022/06/24/the-sabbath-of-the-seventh-year-by ), I showed how you get 69 ‘sevens’ from the starting date of 444 BC (Artaxerxes issue to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem) to the end date of AD 33 (the crucifixion of Jesus) without using the 360-day calendar. The 360-day calendar (12 months of 30 days per month) was the “go-to” theory made famous by Sir Robert Anderson. In his book, The Coming Prince, he introduced a ‘prophetic’ biblical calendar that was possible to get 483 years (69 seven-year periods) from the starting date of Daniel’s prophecy, 445 BC, to the end date of AD 32 (Anderson’s dates). The prophetic 360-day calendar had 5 to 6 days less than a solar calendar, so over an extended amount of time would have more years. For this timeline, the prophetic calendar has seven more years than a solar (Julian) or Jewish calendar, which only has 476 years (68 seven-year periods).
Anderson’s dates for the 69 sevens are reasonably accurate (within one year of most modern scholars), and his theory of the prophetic 360-day calendar has kept Daniel’s prophecy in the proper timeline. While others have looked elsewhere (different decrees from different Persian emperors) to get the desired result of 69 weeks or 483 years, Anderson kept to his guns and stuck with his timeline. This was only possible through the use of his ‘prophetic’ calendar. Since then, most scholars and students of the Bible have just accepted it as a proven fact (including myself). However, I was always a little skeptical about his theory of a 360-day calendar as the Bible doesn’t mention it.
The insurmountable problem with the 360-day calendar is that the Jews never used it. Neither did any other kingdom/nation unless they used a 360-day calendar with an intercalary 13th month added every six years to align it with the solar calendar (of 365/355 days per year). I believe this 360-day calendar with an extra 13th intercalary month added was the one Noah used during the great flood described in Genesis 7 and 8.
Another argument scholars use in favor of the 360-day calendar is the verses in Revelation that refer to 1260 days (Rev. 11:3;12:6) or 42 months (Rev. 11:2; 13:5), mainly in association with the last 3.5 years of the Great Tribulation. Since there are 30 days in a month and 12 months in a year with this calendar, there would be 1260 total days in a 3.5-year or 42-month period. But did you know that the Jewish calendar usually has 1260 days from Nisan 10 or 12 to the Feast of Trumpets in a 3.5-year (42 months) period? Nisan 10 was the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as the king of Israel but was rejected by the Jews. It was also the day the children of Israel first entered the promised land. Daniel 7:25;12:7 and Revelation 12:14 refer to 3.5 years as “time, times, and half a time.” Most Bible scholars believe the Abomination of Desolation will occur around Passover, Nisan 14, and 1260 days later on the Feast of Trumpets, Tishri 1, Jesus will return to the earth (Second Coming).
The Jews have always used a lunar calendar with an intercalary month (30 days) added every 3-4 years, which periodically brings it back into alignment or near alignment with the solar calendar. The Jewish and Julian/Gregorian calendars would have shown 476 years to have elapsed in the 444 BC-AD 33 timeline.
The answer to this paradox of 69 ‘sevens’ in a 476-year timeframe is found in the wording of Daniel’s prophecy. The Hebrew word, ‘shabu,’ translates as “a unit of seven” and could refer to seven of anything. It is simply a numerical measure. Our English equivalent is ‘heptad,’ which means "a group of seven.” Daniel, as well as all Jews, would have been quite familiar with the concept of "sevens of years" from the Mosaic law stipulating that every seventh year was to be a sabbatical or rest year for the land during which time they were to plant no crops (Leviticus 25:1-6).
The NIV translation reads "Seventy sevens are decreed,” which is more literal than and therefore easier to understand than the KJV and NAS, which translate “Seventy weeks are decreed,” which naturally congers up the thought of a "week of days.”
I believe that Daniel’s use of the term ‘shabu’ or ‘sevens’ is referring to the actual Shemitah (Sabbath) year/s and not to the seven-year cycles. In my previous article and charts, I showed that the starting date 444 BC and the end date AD 33 for Daniel’s prophecy are both Shemitah years (sevens). Since 444 BC is the actual starting date, you would count it, but you wouldn’t count the six years preceding it. The Shemitah years are continuous back to the first one, 1396-1395 BC (after the children of Israel entered the promised land in 1406 BC). As I said before, God would make sure the land had its Sabbath year of rest regardless of whether the people were living in the land.
So, you would count 444 BC and every year after it, up to and including the last year of AD 33. That would amount to 476 solar years or 69 sevens (actual Shemitah years), including 444 BC and AD 33. In this article, I will refer to the Shemitah 7-year cycles as ‘weeks’ and the Shemitah seventh years as ‘sevens.’
If the Jews were using a prophetic calendar of 360 days per year, the prophecy would have been for 483 years. But of course, they weren’t and never had. Daniel 9:25-26 never mentions 483 years, only 69 (7 + 62) sevens. This portion of Daniel’s prophecy has always been for 476 years, not 483 years. The last week (Shemitah cycle) and seven (Sabbath year) of Daniel 9:24, 27 will make the duration 483 years (or 70 sevens), not 490 years. These verses never mention 490 years, only 70 sevens. It doesn't make sense when you look at it from a mathematical point of view. This is why this prophecy has been such a paradox throughout the centuries. Only through man’s misinterpretation of God’s word is “70 sevens” construed as 490 years.
Regarding the actual dates (month, day, year) for the 69 sevens prophecy, we know the end date. Jesus died at 3:00 pm Thursday, on Nisan 14 (Jewish calendar), which would have been April 2, AD 33 on the Julian calendar. Regarding the starting date, we know Nehemiah asked King Artaxerxes for permission to rebuild the gates and walls of Jerusalem in the month of Nisan during the king’s 20th year of reign (Nehemiah 2:1). We don’t know the exact day the decree was issued. Still, If it happened 476 years earlier (to the day) on the Julian calendar, the date would have been Thursday, April 2, 444 BC, or Nisan 2 on the Jewish calendar.
Daniel had prayed about Israel’s imminent return to their land; instead, God gave him the revelation of the seventy ‘sevens’ to assure Daniel that God would fulfill His covenant promises to Israel (Abrahamic and Mosaic). Gabriel went on to say that this would not be ultimately fulfilled at the end of the seventy-year captivity in Babylon but at the end of the seventy ‘sevens’ period.
The vision of Daniel’s Seventy Sevens refers to a period of seventy Shemitah years required to bring in the ultimate jubilee, the millennial kingdom of the Messiah. This final jubilee will bring a release from slavery to sin, establish everlasting righteousness, reunite families, and redeem the land.
The six objectives of Daniel 9:24 for the Jewish people and Jerusalem will only be accomplished after the 70th seven when Jesus returns and establishes His kingdom. Only then will the Jews “finish the transgression, make an end of sins, make reconciliation for iniquity, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, and anoint the Most Holy.”
I have written several articles concerning the perfect numbers of God used throughout the Bible, which have spiritual significance in many instances, such as the numbers 7 and 10 and their multiples 49, 70, and 490. See Seven - God’s Perfect Numbers :: By Randy Nettles :: Rapture Ready for more information. We can see God’s significance of spiritual perfection and completeness for the number 7 and the importance of ordinal perfection for the number 10 in Daniel’s prophecy of 70 sevens.
Christ’s crucifixion occurred between the 29th and 30th Jubilees for Israel (the land). As I said in my last article, the sacking of Jerusalem and the destruction of the 2nd Temple (AD 70) occurred about the same time the 30th Jubilee should have begun. If my cycles and Shemitah/Jubilee years are correct, then the last Jubilee for the land of Israel was in 1980-1981. It was the 69th Jubilee. The 70th Jubilee for the land of Israel will be in 2029-2030.
Another interesting example of God’s perfect numbers is the total time that will have transpired for the Israelites since they entered the promised land (1406 BC) and began their first Shemitah cycle in 1402 BC until the next Jubilee (70th) begins in 2029-2030 (Tishri 10 – Day of Atonement). From 1402 BC until AD 2029 is 3430 years. 3430 years is equal to 490 ‘weeks’ and/or ‘sevens.’ Mathematically, it looks like this: 490 x 7 = 3430, or 70 x 7 x 7 = 3430, or 49 x 10 x 7 = 3430, or 7 x 7 x 10 x 7 = 3430. God likes His perfect numbers, doesn’t He?
Does this mean anything prophetically? In other words, will the 70th Jubilee be the last seven of Daniel’s prophecy? Not necessarily, but if not, it sure is quite a coincidence. The only thing we know for sure is that Daniel’s last week/seven (otherwise known as the Tribulation, Jacob’s trouble, or the day of the Lord) is nearly upon us, and it’s going to be a time of crisis like no other. “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).
However, for those in Christ, it means the closer we get to Daniel’s last seven, the closer we are to the Rapture of the Church. “For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10).
Amen; even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Mideast Review: Is the Ezekiel 38 Alliance Preparing to Plunder? – Amir Tsarfati - https://harbingersdaily.com/mideast-review-w-amir-tsarfati-is-the-ezekiel-38-alliance-preparing-to-plunder/
On the morning of Shabbat, I was awakened by a loud sound. I immediately knew what it was. F-16s were taking off from a nearby airbase. This was a very unusual occurrence on a Shabbat, but it wasn’t altogether surprising. Of late, the times here in Israel have been quite interesting. In fact, they have been so uncommon and important that I am going to change the format of [my MIDEAST REVIEW] for just this week so that I can fully explain what is going on. For information on what else is going on in the world, including the resignation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, please go to my Telegram channel.
Those F-16 take-offs were soon followed by more in the afternoon. Then out in the Mediterranean, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) were fired from the Israeli navy’s corvette warship, Eilat. The targets of each of these attacks? The morning fighters attacked targets in Syria. The others went after three drones flying from Lebanon toward Israel’s Karish gas field and its newly installed drilling rig. The SAMs took out two of the drones, while the jets destroyed the third.
Why is the second event so significant? Because it is just one element of several that appear to be moving us ever closer to Ezekiel 38. What makes this event so distinct is the clear hand of Iran behind it. These drones were not from the Lebanese government. In fact, the Lebanese foreign minister Abdallah Bou Habib criticized the launching of the UAVs.
There was certainly a time when the Lebanese government may have supported information gathering in the Karish gas field. There is a UN-established line demarking the international waters between Israel and Lebanon. In 2010, about a decade after gas was found in Israeli Mediterranean waters, Lebanon bumped their international water border southwards. Then, eight years after the Karish gas field was discovered in 2013, Lebanon dropped their water border even farther south – far enough to now claim half of Karish as their own. Their claim was short-lived, and when even the anti-Israel UN wouldn’t back their new claim, the government dropped it. Hezbollah, however, did not.
These intelligence gathering drones were sent by Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that has infiltrated and, to an extent, taken over much of the Lebanese government. Tehran is pulling Hezbollah’s strings, looking to get back at Israel for all the setbacks Jerusalem has been causing them. Israel is the only nation that is taking consistent decisive action aimed at slowing down or stopping Iran’s nuclear program. Reports have leaked that Iran now has enough enriched uranium to create five bombs. Currently, they are stalling the time before they have to turn back on the cameras at their facilities while they decide if they want to take that next critical weapons-making step. By attacking their nuclear facilities and their scientists, Israel is trying to remove Tehran’s ability to make that decision.
A second area of attack by Israel is in Iran’s ability to supply their proxy militias. The Tehran regime of terror is supplying arms and rockets to militias in Iraq and Syria. They are funneling weapons to the Houthis in Yemen and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Just last week, Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz revealed that Iran has entrenched four warships in the Red Sea through which they are feeding weapons to Somali terrorists. Time after time, Israel has destroyed Iranian weapons in transport or once they arrived. Iran is fed up with Israel and would like nothing more than to see the Jewish nation destroyed.
Not coincidentally, Iran is also building alliances – two in particular. While not best buddies yet, Iran and Turkey have been getting closer. Turkey’s economy is in a nosedive. Inflation in June reached 78%. Over the past year, energy costs have risen by 151%, transportation by 123%, food by 94%, and housing and utilities by 75%. President Erdogan has to figure something out to stabilize the country’s financial system.
A second alliance is with Russia. Where Iran and Russia find common ground is not in Ukraine but in Syria. Russia continues to build up their presence in the war-torn nation, landing 500 paratroopers in northeastern Syria on Monday alone. They, along with Iranian-backed terrorist militias, are inching further and further south toward the Syrian-Israeli border.
What interest does Russia have with Israel? It’s all about the money. The war in Ukraine changed everything. Suddenly, Russia is out of the world economic system, unable to pay its debts because its creditors don’t want rubles. Europe, once wholly dependent upon Russian oil and gas, is turning elsewhere for its energy supplies. The problem is that turning elsewhere isn’t that easy, which is causing major shortages. In the last year alone, the price of natural gas in Europe has increased by 700 percent as it seeks to wean itself from Russian supplies. Russia is looking to strong-arm its customer base back, cutting gas flow through the Nordstream 1 pipeline by more than 50%. Germany is in a near panic, worried that after a ten-day maintenance shutdown of the pipeline beginning July 11, Russia won’t turn the supplies back on. Europe is desperate for a dependable source of gas, and they believe they have found it in Israel.
When in the past 2000 years has Israel been such a prize as it is now? There were times it was desired for its religious significance, but never for its monetary strength. Yet now this tiny country is the leading technological, agricultural, and energy powerhouse of the Middle East. It is a treasure that is just too precious for a pirate-like Putin to ignore. Read these words from Ezekiel 38 and see how clearly they describe Israel and the plundering prize it is:
Ezekiel 38:11-12 KJV – “And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.”
These words were directed to a series of nations, including Turkey, Iran, and chief among them, Russia. What is it that could bring Sunni Turkey, Shiite Iran, and Russia who hates them both, together in a working partnership? Again, follow the money. Ezekiel 38 is not about religion or land or people. It is all about the plunder.
There are those who see this building of alliances as a preparation for the fulfillment of Psalm 83. However, the prophecies of that psalm were fulfilled in the aftermath of Israel becoming a nation. The enemies listed by the psalmist Asaph are Tier One – neighbors along Israel’s borders. The enemies of Ezekiel 38 are Tier Two – those that are not touching Israel. By all appearances, we very well might be watching the buildup of a coming massive assault on the Jewish nation.
Sadly, Israel has opened the door for this attack. The country voted in a progressive, liberal, post-Zionist government and it is now paying the consequences. When Benjamin Netanyahu was prime minister, you could count on Israel hitting Syrian targets on a regular basis. Now the attacks are few and far between. With the “government of change” collapsing, some may be optimistic over Israel’s future. I am not. It is not the Israeli government that has changed; it is the Israelis themselves.
The country’s left still remains left. But the country’s right that has shifted in the liberal direction. The enemy has breached the conservative fortress. Even Orthodox Jews in the Knesset were willing to partner with the Muslim Brotherhood and pro-LGBT parties just so they could kick Netanyahu out of office. There are no standards anymore. There are no principles. The Jews are on a clear path toward progressive liberalism that will reach its peak with their acceptance of the antichrist.
Is all of this pointing to a soon arrival of the Rapture and the Tribulation? I certainly believe so. There is nothing that I see right now that doesn’t fit biblical prophecy, and there is a whole lot that does. What should be your response? First, be about your Father’s business. You are on this earth to be a witness of His salvation through Jesus Christ. Do your job; share the truth.
Second, rejoice and feel no fear. Whatever happens in the weeks and months ahead, it is all leading us closer to that moment when we will be in the presence of our Savior, seeing Him face-to-face.
From Bondage… Back Into Bondage - By Jack Kinsella - https://www.raptureready.com/2022/07/07/from-bondage-back-into-bondage-by-jack-kinsella/
Alexander Fraser Tytler lived from 1748 to 1813. He was a professor of history at Edinburgh University. In his book, The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic, published in 1776, he made the following observation:
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.”
The historian, Gibbons, attributed the collapse of the Roman Empire to this same cause.
According to Tytler, there is a life cycle to the life of democracy. It is important to remember that his theory was based on his study of the great democracies of history, like Greece and Rome. He was published in 1776 before there was an American democracy.
Tytler’s life-cycle model runs as follows;
Although published before the Declaration of Independence, Tytler’s outline could have been published yesterday, and people would assume it was a thumbnail sketch of US history to the present day.
America was born out of bondage, but the Founding Fathers attempted to avoid falling into Tytler’s mold by creating a Republic instead of a pure democracy.
In a true democracy, the voting majority wins no matter what the question. In the American republic, only such things as were not already forbidden by Divine Law were open to public review.
In the American republic, the public could never hold a vote to repeal murder statutes, for example, because murder is forbidden by Divine Law. The Founding Fathers had great spiritual faith and great courage, which, when mixed together, produced the US Constitution, America’s assurance of Liberty.
With our Liberty came America’s great prosperity. With great Prosperity comes, according to the model, Selfishness.
The Roaring 20s, the first ‘Decade of Greed, ‘ brought with it the collapse of the Stock Market and the Great Depression. It also bankrupted the country. The American Republic became a pure democracy with the passage of the Banking Act of 1933.
The Banking Act was actually an admission of bankruptcy by the United States following the Crash of 1929. America’s gold assets were seized, private ownership of gold was declared a crime, and the gold collected was shipped to Europe to satisfy our creditors.
The US Republic became the Corporation of the United States, complete with a new flag — the one with gold fringes you see in federal office buildings.
The Secretary of the Treasury does not work for the United States but for our creditors, who are the foreign banking concerns that own the Federal Reserve, which is neither Federal nor is it a reserve. (I explain all this in detail in my book on the money trust. This is just a teaser, but it is fascinating stuff.)
Today, the courts are currently clogged with cases of corporate executives charged with stealing millions from stockholders, wiping out the life savings of working Americans, erasing pension funds, and destroying lives.
Tytler’s model goes on, with Selfishness breeding Complacency. If there were one word I’ve heard used more than any other to describe how it was that September 11 could have happened, it would be the word ‘Complacent.’
Out of Complacency comes Apathy.
Election 2000 was a case study in Apathy. Only a tiny fraction of the eligible electorate showed up at the polls.
From Complacency comes Dependency.
Entitlement programs create dependency. When the government wants to pass an unpopular bill, they invent some threat to some entitlement program, usually Medicare or Social Security. (Entitlement programs began in America as part of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” that closely followed the passage of the Banking Act of 1933.)
Political pundits call it ‘scare tactics,’ but the reason the tactics work is because of the dependence of the public on entitlement programs to stay afloat.
Which brings us to the last Stage of Tytler’s life cycle: Back into Bondage.
But centuries before Tytler, the Apostle John also foretold the collapse of civilization and its subsequent willing embrace of dictatorship and bondage — in the last days.
“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:4).
This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on October 21, 2003.
How the Book of Jude Addresses the Last Days – Jack Wellman - https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/how-the-book-of-jude-addresses-the-last-days/
The Book of Jude seems as if it’s almost written for today and it really is, because these are the last days leading up to the return of Jesus Christ.
The Last Days
The Book of Jude seems as if it’s almost written for today, and it really is, because these are the last days leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. To begin with, the “last days” have been the “last days” for the last 2,000 years. Since Jesus’ ascension, we have always been living in the last days. The phrase “last days” or “end times” is very prominent in the New Testament (Acts 2:17; 2 Tim 3:1; Heb 1:2; James 5:3; 2 Pet 3:3), even though two centuries later, Jesus has still not came back. Why? We are now and have been living in the last days since Jesus’ resurrection and ascension, meaning Jesus could come back at any moment. That is what all ages of the church have believed and had expectations of. The true church has always had an eager expectation of the soon return of Christ. The trouble they saw around them prompted them to believe it was the last days. And that’s as it should be. We should all be living as if Jesus were coming back this very minute, because, He could! The Book of Jude is not very long (only one chapter), but its twenty-five verses have much to say about the last days, and our day today. This book is strikingly similar to the way it was in Jude’s day too.
Jude is the half-brother of Jesus Christ, having the same mother but not the same father, and the range of the date of this book is incredibly wide, with conservative scholars placing it between the years 70 to 90 AD. The reason I think the date is much later is because Jude refers to the Apostle’s predictions for the last days (Jude 1:18) as having come true (Jude 1:17), but clearly, Jude’s epistle is just as relevant today as in the day it was written. Jude begins by telling us who he is, that being “a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (Jude 1:1), so Jude is a servant of Christ more than His half-brother. Jesus is not Jude’s brother anymore. He is his Lord and Savior. The Greek word for servant is actually slave (“doulos”), and there is a huge difference between being a slave and being a servant of Christ. A servant can quit their job, get fired, do a poor job, and go home after work, but a slave, particularly one of Christ’s, is owned by the Master, but the Master is good and He is merciful, and like a good master, He provides for all of our needs. Incidentally, in Jude’s day, slaves were more like family members than what we think of as slaves. They were sometimes adopted into the family. That was never so with a servant.
The Original Gospel
Jude originally wanted to write this letter (book) about one thing and that was their salvation, but something came up and he had to change the content. This book is very different from the rest of the New Testament books because it refers to a later time period than most of the other books do. And you can read a sense of urgency in Jude’s words, as he says he “was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Contending for something means fighting for something, and in this case, it was fighting for the original message (the gospel) that originally came from Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15). What we are fighting for is the preservation of the original faith that was once “delivered to the saints.” This means, it was “once and for all,” and that’s it.
The Canon is Closed
No more revelation is necessary today for God has already (past tense) spoken (Heb 1:1-2), no matter what people say. What God has said in His Word stands and it is settled in heaven. Please notice that this statement is in the past tense: “once for all delivered.” It’s enough for “all” and it’s sufficient for all. Nothing more is needed for us. I’ve heard it said, “If it’s new, it’s not from God; and if it’s from God, it’s not new,” so “new revelations” trouble me because we cannot ever be certain of the source. Of Scripture, we can always be sure! Just like what is happening today in the modern church, “certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4).
There have been and still are satanic churches who have satanic ministers preaching another gospel (2 Cor 11:14-15), and today, they are even allowing homosexual marriage and even condoning it. They argue, “Since they love one another, what is wrong with that,” but remember, Eve loved the forbidden fruit. Bank robbers love money, so love cannot justify the means. Many swallow these lies because of those who brought them in came in under the cover of darkness and have “crept in unnoticed.” They are subtle and small changes to doctrines at first, but then they can grow, but if they are wrong on one point, why believe them on the other doctrines. If they had been noticed, someone would have said something, but that’s why Jude believes we must contend for the faith originally delivered by Christ and expounded by the Apostles.
The enemy is very clever, yearly adding elements to the gospel of Jesus Christ that were not in the original. They add baptism, works, the sacraments, tithing, Sabbath observance, or something else they must “do.” It is often, “Jesus + something.” That means it is not actually the gospel originally delivered (Gal 1:7-9). It can’t be added too because God has already spoken through His Apostles and Prophets, but most clearly through the Son of God, Jesus Christ (Heb 1:1-2), and His own hear Him speak clearly and plainly in the Gospels (John 10:27-28).
Since the date of this book’s writing may have come after most of the Apostles had died, it makes sense that the prophecies the Apostles gave had been fulfilled. Jude writes about “the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:17), and what “They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions” (Jude 1:18). We know it’s not those within the Body of Christ that Jude writes about, but “these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 1:20). It is those outside the church of Jesus who infiltrate and try to weaken the gospel of repentance and faith (Mark 1:15). Looking religious means nothing to God because it’s not about religion; it’s about a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. We are reminded that Satan’s own ministers can look like angels of light (2 Cor 11:4-5), but they only appear that way, because they bring a message of darkness.
… even the Devil can appear to be a preacher of righteousness …
A gospel look-alike that neglects matters of sin, repentance, confession, sanctification, living in holiness, coming out of this world, being Jesus’ disciple, and doing what Jesus’ disciples would naturally do (Matt 25:35-36). If the Apostles were here on earth today, they would be appalled at some of the “buffet-style” religions that claim to be Christian. There is only one way (John 6:44; Acts 4:12) and not a little of this and a little of that. Without the whole gospel of repentance and faith (Mark 1:14-15), you have half the truth, and a half-truth is a whole lie…straight from hell.
We can be students of prophecy but overlook Jesus. I believe it is still best to focus on Christ and to be ready for His appearing at any moment and to live that way. Is Jesus’ return soon? Are we living in the last days? I don’t know to the first one, but yes to the “last day.” I know a better question: “Have you put your trust in Christ? Are you ready for His appearing because He could come at any moment?” If not, there are other prophecies that will come true someday for you (Dan 12:2-3; Rev 1:7, 20:12-25), so it’s not too late to repent of your sins and place your trust in the Savior. Do that today, while it’s still called “today” (2 Cor 6:2). Eternity is a very long time to be wrong.
Daily Jot: The Farm Chronicles: Independence Day Myrtle Beach - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
It was the July 4, 1967 week when we took our annual beach vacation with the Heft’s to Myrtle Beach, SC. But it was haying season. Bill and Martha Heft and their daughters Jean and Nancy lived on a small farm down the road from us. We had our hay to get in the barn and they had their hay to get in. Sometimes we worked up until the night before we left on that long trip, sweating it out in the hay mow, bale after bale as fast as possible, to not only beat the rain, which was normal for Northeastern Ohio, but also to get the haying done before we left for the beach. Sometimes, we would go help the Hefts because our other neighbor and close friend Warren McCarthy did the baling for both of us. It was a group effort.
Then the morning had arrived. We packed up our Buick Electra 225 convertible and drove over to the Hefts. Then the packing began. You can imagine how much “stuff” Martha, Jean, Nancy, and my Mom—all of them glamour girls in their own way–had to take for a week at the beach. But that trunk on the Buick was like a ballroom and we packed most everything in. Bill was an excellent packer and I believe I learned how to do it well by watching him. All seven of us packed into that Buick. I was the smallest, so I got to sit on a little fold-up camp stool on the floor in the back seat. It was pretty close quarters, but we thought nothing of it. We were going to the BEACH!!!!
The scenery changed quite a bit going from the north to the south. It was often like we were in another country, except the people sort of spoke the same language. We were always amazed that there were tobacco barns and what we were told were old slave quarters as we looked at the farms on the southern highways. We didn’t see these things in the north. Along the way, we would stop for gas and a potty break. It was really strange to see signs on the restrooms—Whites Only. Or the water fountains—sometimes there would be two, the cleaner one would have the sign: “White Drinking Fountain.” The other one may just have the words “Colored” painted above it. This is also something we didn’t see up north.
Myrtle Beach was all decked out for July 4th. It was a festive atmosphere. But a strange thing I noticed was there were no American flags, at least I don’t recall seeing any. The streets were lined with the Confederate Stars and Bars. In fact, it became a game to spot an American flag. There was one that I remember. It was at the very top of the roller coaster. All the American flags that were usually there had been replaced with the Confederate battle flag. Must be that they couldn’t easily reach that last American flag. When asking about this, we were told that “this here is the South and we do things different than you Yankees.” Indeed, they did. I didn’t understand at 12 years old what I was experiencing, but it caused me to think.
These trips South in the ‘60s quietly shaped me and affirmed Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” This statement of equality in Christ is very similar to the Declaration of Independence statement that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Roughly a century had passed since the “War of Northern Aggression,” as we were often reminded, and all people in those states were welcomed into the Union with those rights restored, except some were more equal than others. Back in the Buick, we returned home, grateful for the truly wonderful southern hospitality, sunburned to where we could hardly sit, talking of all that we saw and did.
Daily Devotion: Not Coincidence but Providence - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives —Psalm 37:23
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/not-coincidence-but-providence/ - Listen
Sometimes I’ll be out and about and sense that I should start a conversation with a certain person. I don’t know anything about them, and I don’t know the conversation will go. But I’ve come to realize that I need to respond to those promptings of the Holy Spirit.
That’s how it starts. It’s just a little nudge, a little direction from the Holy Spirit.
One of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of the beauty queen, Hadassah. We also know her as Esther. She was a young Jewish woman whose cousin, Mordecai, raised her after her parents died.
The king of Persia wanted a new queen, so he held a beauty contest. Incredibly, Hadassah won that contest and became the queen of Persia. But then a villain named Haman launched a sinister plan to exterminate the Jewish people. And the king, who didn’t know that Hadassah was Jewish, signed a decree that every Jew would be put to death on a specified day.
Meanwhile, Hadassah was oblivious to what was going on. So Mordecai delivered a message to her at the palace: “If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 NLT).
In other words, “This is your wake-up call, Hadassah. This is why you are where you are. You’re not here by coincidence; you’re here by Providence to save your people. And if you don’t do it, God will find someone else.”
Did it ever occur to you that God has placed you right where you are to reach certain people? Maybe God has been nudging you lately to talk to you someone you know. Seize the moment.
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