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Does the Third Seal Point to the Third Temple? – Tom Mayhew - https://www.rev310.net/post/does-the-third-seal-point-to-the-third-temple
Nearly every Bible study I’ve ever seen on the Book of Revelation links the third seal of judgment, the black horse of Revelation 6:5-6, to famine and economic scarcity. It’s been the accepted interpretation for so long it’s often stated as fact without analysis.
Take a deeper look into the scriptural connections behind this seal and the black horse, and some interesting insights come to light. Could it be possible the black horse is a prophecy of the Third Temple?
The passage is familiar to Bible prophecy students: “And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny (denarius), and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.”
Most studies will tell you the third seal and horse indicate famine because of the color black. If you find one that goes into more detail, you may come across Lamentations 5:10, “Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine.” Or Jeremiah 4:28, 8:21, or 14:2, where black describes mourning, astonishment, or desolation. One of the earliest church commentators, around 300 AD, made these and another connection between famine and the Revelation 6 black horse. He based it on a comparison of Luke 21:11, where Jesus Christ on the Mount of Olives described end-time birth pangs (wars, rumors of war, famines, pestilences) roughly corresponding to Revelation 6’s first four seals and the different colored horses. Others have compared the four seals and horses to judgments listed in Ezekiel 14:12-23: the sword, famine, the noisome (evil) beast, and pestilence.
One might conclude these common interpretations are accurate enough and move on. Dig a little deeper, though, and you can find other parallels in the Old Testament that, to my knowledge, have rarely been explored in Bible commentaries and prophecy studies.
First, the Hebrew words for “black” in the Old Testament verses mentioned above are different from the word that actually means “the color black.” The Hebrew “nichmaru” translated in Lamentations 5:10 as “black” comes from the root word “chamar.” This word, also translated as “yearn” and “kindled,” means to be hot, over-ripened, or scorched, rather than the color black.
The Hebrew word translated as black in the Jeremiah passages is “qadar” meaning to “mourn” or “grow dark.” A different Hebrew word, “sahor,” is used for the actual color black, such as when referring to black hair in Leviticus 13 or the black horses in Zech 6:2 and 6:6. In the Septuagint, the Greek word “melas,” the actual color black, is used in these Zechariah 6 verses while different Greek words are used in the other passages. “Melas” is also the Greek word used in Revelation 6:5 for black, the actual color of the horse.
The two Zechariah 6 verses are the only ones in the Old Testament that mention black horses. It’s wise to remember that virtually every symbol in the book of Revelation appears in an Old Testament passage that reveals or clarifies its meaning. Here, Zechariah is told that these different colored horses represent the “four spirits of the heavens” that stand before the Lord, going forth in different directions to exact judgment on the regions immediately surrounding Israel.
The same Hebrew root word “ruach” is translated into English as “spirit” and “wind.” Compare these four “spirits” with the “four winds” of heaven that exact judgment on Elam (Persia/Iran) in Jeremiah 49:36, breathe life into the dry bones of Israel in Ezekiel 37:9, strive upon the great sea in Daniel 7:2 and are held back by four angels in Revelation 7:1 until the seal of the living God is given to the 144,000 servants of God from the tribes of the children of Israel (Revelation 7:1-4).
The colors of the horses in Zechariah 6, although presented in a different order and not associated with specific kinds of judgments, are the same as those in Revelation 6. To me, this makes it clear the four horses of Revelation 6 are the same four spirits/winds of the heavens in Zechariah 6:5 who go forth to bring judgment on the nations standing against Israel.
The overall context of Zechariah 6:1-8, the horses and the judgments, points to what follows in the rest of the chapter—the construction of the Second Temple when the Jews returned to the land of Israel after seventy years of captivity in Babylon. Even the date when this prophecy was given, the second year of Darius the king of Persia (Zechariah 1:1, 7), is directly and specifically tied to the construction of the Second Temple (Ezra 4:24-5:2, Haggai 1:1, 15 and 2:10, and Zechariah 6:12-15 and 8:9).
The judgments of the horses in Zechariah 6 are against the neighboring nations (Babylon, Egypt) involved in the invasion of Jerusalem and the destruction of the First Temple, as well as those who rejoiced over the Jews’ captivity in a foreign land (Persia and others). Specifically, after the four horses are released to the North (Babylon), South (Egypt), and East (Persia), Zechariah is given a vision where Zerubbabel and Joshua, the governor and high priest of the returning Jews, are designated directly by God to lead the construction of the Second Temple. As mentioned above, the prophecy is closely tied to the books of Ezra and Haggai, and further announces the coming Branch, the Messiah (Zechariah 6:11-12).
This begs the question: are the four horses of Revelation 6 a similar description, or the second fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy? Are they the sign of God’s judgment against the nations opposing modern-day Israel after its people have gathered back in the ancient land after having been scattered all over the world, coinciding with the construction of a new, Third Temple?
It’s quite possible.
Revelation 11 describes a temple, in the “holy city” Jerusalem, which did not exist when John wrote His vision, has not existed since, nor does it exist today. John was told to measure this temple with a reed in much the same way as the Millennial Temple was measured in Ezekiel 40-42. Similar measurements were recorded for the Tabernacle (Exodus 26), the First Temple (1 Kings 6), and the Second Temple (Ezra 6).
This Third Temple of Revelation 11 has a pivotal role in the Great Tribulation as the “holy place,” the site of the “abomination of desolation” (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, and Mark 13:14). It must—and will—be built to similar standards of the previous temples to serve this specific purpose in God’s timeline. As serious Bible prophecy watchers are aware, the present-day Jewish Temple Institute has made detailed preparations to construct the Third Temple, awaiting the geopolitical events that will make it possible.
A second Old Testament passage, 2 Chronicles 2:10-15, presents further evidence that the third seal/black horse judgment could point to a Third Temple. It is the only other passage in the Bible where wheat, barley, oil, and wine are specifically listed together as measures of wages. In 2 Chronicles 2:1-2 and 2:17-18, King Solomon hired 153,600 workers from Hiram, the king of Tyre, to construct the First Temple. Of those workers, 80,000 were woodcutters. In 2 Chronicles 2:10, Solomon promises 20,000 measures of wheat, barley, oil, and wine as wages for the woodcutters. The Hebrew word “corim” (plural of “cor”) is used in this verse for the “measures” of grain and the word “battim” for the “baths” of wine and oil.
1 Kings 5:11 tells a similar story but lists only wheat and oil, and uses “cor” for the measure of both. Further, according to this verse, these were annual wages for Hiram’s workers. Without getting into a long discussion of Old and New Testament weights and measures, it appears the large amounts of “corim” and “battim” allocated to these thousands of workers could equal daily individual allowances similar to the “choinix,” the daily ration translated as “measure” in Revelation 6:6. Similar rations were given to the workers who built the Second Temple (Ezra 3:7).
The balances held by the rider have been interpreted several ways, but they may bring up a possible connection to Leviticus 19:35-36. Here, the Lord instructs the people how priestly offerings were expected to be measured: “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard (quantity), in weight, or in measure (capacity). Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.”
There is an interesting difference between the equal measures of wheat and barley in 2 Chronicles 2 and the three measures of barley to one measure of wheat in Revelation 6. Most commentators say the three-to-one ratio is because barley is a cheaper and lower quality grain than wheat. In my study, I noticed several interesting possible connections to the number three as it might relate to this prophecy.
First, the Lord instructed the children of Israel to gather before Him three times a year, at a place of His choosing, to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles (Exodus 23:14, 17, Deuteronomy 16:16, 1 Kings 9:25 and 2 Chronicles 8:13). That place of His choosing was ultimately the Temple in Jerusalem.
When the nation of Israel split into the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom vs. the tribe of Judah in the Southern Kingdom after Solomon died, the first thing rebel king Jeroboam did was make two golden calves and announce two new places of “temple” worship in Bethel and Dan. This was specifically so the ten tribes wouldn’t travel to the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:26-30) and submit once again to the leadership of the King of Judah, the line of David. Throughout the history of the Northern Kingdom, this was called “the sin of Jeroboam.” The gathering of the people in Jerusalem three times a year was very important to God. It’s possible the three measures of barley offer a hint of that Temple requirement.
In Genesis 18, the Lord met Abraham outside his tent in the plains of Mamre to announce a promise and a judgment: the upcoming birth of Isaac and the imminent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham told Sarah to prepare three measures of meal into cakes for the three “guests” who showed up to tell him this news. Perhaps the three measures in Revelation 6:6 is a link to the “days of Lot” prophecy in Luke 17:28. Also, in Matthew 13:33 and Luke 13:21, Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to the leaven a woman hid in “three measures of meal,” leavening the whole lump. Perhaps the three measures of barley portend a promise and a judgment, and a subtle hint that contrasts the leavened Kingdom of God with the first annual Temple gathering, the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Lastly, there may be a connection to the six measures of barley Boaz gave to Ruth at the threshing floor (Ruth 3:15). They were a token of his intent to fulfill the role of the kinsman-redeemer, three measures for Ruth and three for Naomi so that Ruth would not go back to her mother-in-law Naomi “empty-handed” (Ruth 3:17). Perhaps this is a hidden promise to the Jews who turn to Jesus Christ at the end of the Tribulation that the Kinsman Redeemer, the Messiah, will not leave them empty-handed (Zechariah 12:10-11, 13:1, 8-9).
A literal Bible interpretation always looks first for instances where “scripture interprets scripture.” Chuck Missler used to say the Bible is a completely self-contained system with many, many interlocking truths, patterns, examples, and types. As Peter said in 2 Peter 1:16-21, we are not following cunningly devised fables, but have a more sure word of prophecy when we consider the supernaturally integrated scripture given to us by holy men of God who were moved by the Holy Spirit. Many prophecy teachers believe the Third Temple will be built in the first part of the Tribulation. Perhaps this third seal and black horse is a more specific hint of the timing.
Proverbs 25:2 says, “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: But the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” Are the third seal and black horse of Revelation 6 a hidden sign of the coming Third Temple? We shall soon see! May this study encourage you to dig into scripture to find more gems God has hidden for us in His Word.
Israel Prepares for the Pre-Messiah Sabbatical Year, Nations Offer to Provide Bounty – David Sidman - https://www.israel365news.com/194383/israel-prepares-for-the-pre-messiah-sabbatical-year-nations-offer-to-provide-bounty/
Speak to B’nei Yisrael and say to them: When you enter the land that I assign to you, the land shall observe a Shabbat of Hashem. Leviticus 25:2 (The Israel BibleTM)
As the Hebrew year nears its end, preparations are being made for the shemittah year.
RABBI ELIYAHU: “IT IS OUR MORAL OBLIGATION NOT TO PROVIDE AN INCOME TO ARABS”
Despite the Biblical promise of bounty, Jews in Israel are quite concerned about ensuring a source of food for the shemittah year. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the chief rabbi of Tsfat (Safed) and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Council, shut down one of the sources that many religious Jews utilize; produce purchased from Arab farmers in Israel.
“It is our moral obligation not to provide an income to those who wish us ill,” Rabbi Eliyahu was quoted as saying by Hebrew-language media outlets. “It is a religious commandment to buy from Jews and not Arabs.”
His decision was supported by Rabbi Haim Druckman, Rabbi Dov Lior, Rabbi Mordechai Sternberg, Rabbi David Hai Hacohen and other religious-Zionist rabbis who signed a letter to support Rabbi Eliyahu’s decision.
The letter called “to help our brothers and support their livelihood, as the first pioneers who built the land always advocated for Jewish labor,” the letter said. “We consider the purchase of the produce of [those who are] declared enemies a total prohibition,” the rabbis wrote.
Rabbi Eliyahu’s Torah decision was decried by Meretz MK Mossi Raz who called for the attorney-general to investigate Rabbi Eliyahu for incitement to racial hatred.
GUATEMALA SEEKS REPENTANCE FOR INQUISITION VIA SHEMITTA
Rabbi Hillel Weiss, the former spokesman for the Sanhedrin, related to Israel365 News another possible solution for the shemittah year. In 2018, Rabbi Weiss was involved in organizing the Creation Concert in Jerusalem. Guatemalan Ambassador Mario Adolfo Bucaro Flores attended the concert as well as several other Temple-oriented events.
“The ambassador displayed a deep love of Israel,” Rabbi Weiss told Israel365 News. “He claimed that this was true for many of his countrymen who felt their connection to Israel was more than just politics. He described it in deeply spiritual terms, even mentioning their connection with the Iberian Inquisition.”
“We began to discuss the possibility that some form of agreement could be worked out through which his country could help Israel revive the shemittah as it was observed in Biblical times. This would be a huge act of reconciliation and repentance.”
Rabbi Weiss suggested that a similar approach could be used with the Arabs in Israel.
“In the end of days, the Children of Israel will certainly repent and embrace Isaac. We just came through a period when not only Hamas in Gaza, but the Arabs inside Israel turned against their Jewish neighbors. Including the Arabs in shemittah could help heal this.”
BOUNTEOUS HARVEST THE YEAR BEFORE AND HOLY PRODUCE DURING THE SHEMITTAH
Produce grown in Israel in the seventh year takes on an elevated level of holiness. This produce should not be traded commercially nor sent outside Israel. It may not be wasted or used in an unusual manner. However, it is permitted to eat it and it should be treated in a respectful way i.e. leftovers should be wrapped prior to throwing it away.
God assures Israel that the year preceding the shemittah will produce a bounteous harvest that will provide all their needs for the year that they do not work the land.
And should you ask, “What are we to eat in the seventh year, if we may neither sow nor gather in our crops?”I will ordain My blessing for you in the sixth year, so that it shall yield a crop sufficient for three years.When you sow in the eighth year, you will still be eating old grain of that crop; you will be eating the old until the ninth year, until its crops come in. Leviticus 25:20-22
Other practical methods are used by Jews to access produce during the shemittah such as growing produce in hothouses with raised beds that are technically disconnected from the land of Israel.
Another technique is referred to as otzar beit din. Under an otzar beit din, a community rabbinical court supervises harvesting by hiring workers to harvest, store, and distribute food to the community. Members of the community pay the beth din, but this payment represents only a contribution for services and not a purchase or sale of the food. Under this approach, land cannot be sown but existing plants can be tended and harvested, the approach is applied to orchards, vineyards, and other perennial crops.
Over 100 years ago, in order to protect the new settlements in the land of Israel, some leading rabbis in Israel devised a method of selling the Land of Israel to non-Jews in order to avoid the restrictions of shemitta. This technique is referred to as “heter mechira”. Other authorities debated its validity and still others objected to it on the grounds that it transferred ownership of the Holy Land to non-Jews, albeit in only a symbolic manner.
SHEMITTAH: A GUIDE
The Shemitah comes every seven years, making it a form of Sabbath that occurs on a yearly, rather than a weekly, cycle. The Sabbath is generally characterized by a cessation that signifies accepting God’s greater authority in the world. Practically during the weekly Sabbath, this means a cessation of labor, showing that despite spending six days working for the material, we stop on the seventh day to show that God is the true master. The same is true for the Shemitah year. We work the land for six years, and on the seventh, we leave the land fallow and the fields are left open for anyone to come and take of the fruit.
Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield;but in the seventh you shall let it rest and lie fallow. Let the needy among your people eat of it, and what they leave let the wild beasts eat. You shall do the same with your vineyards and your olive groves. Exodus 23:10-11
Other cultivation techniques, such as watering, fertilizing, weeding, spraying, trimming, and mowing, may be performed as a preventive measure only, not to improve the growth of trees or other plants. Additionally, any fruits or herbs which grow of their own accord and where no watch is kept over them are deemed ownerless and may be picked by anyone. A variety of laws also apply to the sale, consumption, and disposal of shemittah produce.
Speak to B’nei Yisrael and say to them: When you enter the land that I assign to you, the land shall observe a Shabbat of Hashem. Six years you may sow your field and six years you may prune your vineyard and gather in the yield. But in the seventh year the land shall have a Shabbat of complete rest, a Shabbat of Hashem: you shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.You shall not reap the aftergrowth of your harvest or gather the grapes of your untrimmed vines; it shall be a year of complete rest for the land.But you may eat whatever the land during its Shabbat will produce. Leviticus 25:2-6
All debts, except those of foreigners, were to be remitted.
There are several other cases of cycles of seven that are related to this, for example the seven year cycle of a Hebrew slave before he is set free, as described in Exodus 21:2. Another aspect of the Shemitah year also has implications for loans, for the same reason.
Shemitah was commanded to Israel at Mount Sinai. After 40 years in the desert, the Jews entered the Land of Israel, but the land must be owned in order for it to be forfeited as the verse specifies. So 14 years later, after they had completed conquering the land, they began counting the seven year cycle. The first Shemitah year was the 21st year after the Jewish nation had entered the land.
The Shemitah is part of a larger framework of seven Shemitah cycles, in which we count 49 years, and then the 50th year is the Jubilee year, as described in Leviticus, chapter 25. The Jubilee year is observed only when all of the Nation of Israel is in the Land of Israel. Therefore, when the Jews returned from Babylonian Exile, since many chose to remain in the Diaspora, the Jubilee was not observed. For the same reason, it is not observed today in modern Israel.
It is interesting to note that despite the initiation of the Shemitah year being determined by the actions of the Jews, it worked out that the first Shemitah year was a multiple of seven since the creation of the world, according to the Jewish calendar. The year after the destruction of the Second Temple, 3829, was also known to be a Shemitah year, 547 seven-year cycles since the creation of the world. Next Rosh Hashanna (New Year) the Hebrew year will be 5782; precisely 826 Shemitah cycles.
SHEMITTAH AND THE MESSIAH
Observance of the shemittah is hugely important as the Prophet Jeremiah warned that non-observance led to the exile:
Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying: “At the end of seven years ye shall let go every man his brother that is a Hebrew, that hath been sold unto thee, and hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee”; but your fathers hearkened not unto Me, neither inclined their ear.” Jeremiah 34:13–14
According to Jewish sources, the year after the Shemitah has a special significance relating to the Messiah. The Babylonian Talmud in the Tractate of Sanhedrin, 97a, brings the verse from Amos:
“On that day, will I raise up the fallen booth (Sukkah) of David.”Amos 9:11
This verse comes in the context of a prophecy about God bringing the nation of Israel back from exile among the nations. Amidst descriptions of the days preceding the Messiah, the Talmud says:
“As it is written, in that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen. Our Rabbis taught: in the seven year cycle at the end of which the son of David will come-in the first year, this verse will be fulfilled.”
The Talmud is saying explicitly that the Messiah will come in the first year after the Shemitah. It should be noted that the Talmud describes the days before the Messiah in-depth, and they are especially difficult times.
Nearing Midnight: The State of News Today – Todd Strandberg - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
About 20 years ago, 70% of the news we posted on the Rapture Ready News page came from a link found on Yahoo.com. About 10% of other news links came from CNN.com. Today, we rarely ever use Yahoo or CNN as a news source.
These two sites have become so biased in their news coverage, the vast majority of their articles contain leftist propaganda. You could be reading a news item about wildfires in California, and it would blame Republicans for causing the fires because they have doubts about climate change.
Some news articles from mainstream media sites are basically true; however, we can’t use them on RR because they’re written in the nastiest tone possible. In that case, I’ll look for a conservative site that covered the same subject.
I just took a fresh look at Yahoo news, and I found four articles that had negative news stories about former President Donald Trump. Over the past six years, Yahoo has probably posted 10,000 articles about him, and every one of them has been negative. Their writing is so predictable, I don’t know why they even bother to create a news story. They should just post: “Orange man bad” and leave it at that.
Yahoo could just as well fire all its reporters and replace them with software that only posts negative things about Republicans. You probably only need 10 lines of code to fish out the following two quotes:
Schumer said there is a ‘rot at the center’ of the Republican Party while making a speech to advance the For the People Act in the Senate on Tuesday. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said there is a “rot at the center of the modern Republican Party” over efforts to restrict voting after former President Donald Trump’s “big lie” of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Mitch McConnell held his entire Republican caucus together to effectively kill the Democrats’ highest legislative priority of the year, a transformative 888-page bill intended to make it easier to vote, rein in the wealthy’s impact on elections and outlaw the gerrymandering process that constructs partisan congressional districts.
Right now, NBC’s Saturday Night Live is in reruns until this fall. Last year the show would make lame jokes about Trump, and the news media would report these jokes as being news. Yes, the radical leftist SNL would make fun of Trump, and for some odd reason, this would be seen as newsworthy by other leftist news outlets.
With the mainstream media having become useless as a source for news, we’ve had to turn to secondary news outlets for reports on world events. Some of our viewers think that we should not post news articles from sites that they disagree with. The site I get the most complaints about is Natural News over its anti-Covid-19 vaccine articles.
About a month ago, Natural News ran a story that misquoted a French virologist, claiming he said everyone who had gotten a vaccine would be dead in two years. We obviously didn’t post this on RR because it would be silly to think 2.6 billion are going to die in the next couple years. Otherwise, I allow stories about people getting the vaccine and then dying to be posted because I think it’s useful information.
If there was something seriously wrong with the COVID-19 vaccine, the liberal media is not going to tell us. Jeff Bezos kicked a doctors’ organization off his AWS server service because he didn’t like the views it had about the vaccine. If anyone dares suggest the possibility that the virus may have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab, all the press will come after them.
The days are now long gone when you could trust the news to be 95% correct. For a growing number of subjects, truth is determined by the political views of the news article’s author. It seems that even with many conservative sites, their news should be listed in the opinion sections.
I find it very regrettable that we now have to question the reliability of all news. This is to be expected for the time we live in. The devil has been able to freely sow lies because we are in the last of the last days.
“The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is at the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world…. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just” (Matthew 13:39-40, 49).
If You Die Tomorrow, Where Will You Spend Eternity? - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
The most important question of all time is, “Where will you spend eternity?” People have come up with various answers to that question, and most are wrong. “I’m a good person, so I’ll go to Heaven”. Wrong. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. Nobody can be “good enough” to earn the right to abide in Heaven. Heaven is waiting only for people who have accepted the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. People usually judge “good” people and “bad” people based on human standards, and we usually excuse our own sins. Eternity is judged by God’s standards. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:10. We are only made righteous by the blood of Jesus. By God’s standards, nobody is “good enough”, and that’s why Jesus had to shed His blood for us. Jesus was God incarnate and only His blood was pure enough to be the once for all sacrifice to take sin away. Gratitude for what He did should make you do good works in His name, but those good works won’t bring salvation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Only God’s blood, untainted by sin, can bring salvation. Nobody can work hard enough nor do enough good things to earn salvation. Another goofy idea is people are reincarnated. Wrong again. We live this life, make our choices, then upon death we either go directly to be with the Lord or we wait for the final judgment, depending upon whether or not you accepted Christ’s shed blood for salvation. You don’t recycle through life, nor do you become an angel upon death, which is another erroneous human idea. Angels were created by God prior to when He laid the foundations of the world.
Other questions you should seek answers for are, is there an afterlife? Is Hell real? Is Heaven real? The answer to those questions is yes. The Old Testament uses the word “sheol” which means “the abode of the dead”. It was the place where souls went after death. It’s translated variously as “grave”, “hell”, and “pit”. The first place the word is used is in Genesis when Jacob’s sons lied and told him that Joseph had been killed, when in fact they sold him to A group of Midianites, who sold him to Potiphar in Egypt. Jacob’s grief was deep. “And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.” Genesis 37:35. Jacob said “grave”, but he wasn't talking about where his body would be placed upon death. The word “grave” is Sheol, the abode of the dead where souls would rest while waiting their final destination…peace in Heaven or the flames of Hell-fire.
Jesus told a story which is recorded in the New Testament, and gives us a peek into life after death prior to the cross. In it He tells of a place of comfort and a place of flames and torment. The story is found in Luke chapter 16. There was a poor man named Lazarus. He didn’t have money for food and was in poor health. A rich man often walked past Lazarus with no concern about his condition. The inevitable happened and both died. “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell he lift up his eyes being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” Luke 16:22-23. There’s a lot to learn from this verse. The Greek word translated “hell” is “Hades” and is the Greek equivalent of Sheol. The abode of the dead, had two sides. One side was where those who honored God went. It was a place of comfort often called Abraham’s Bosom. The other side wasn’t at all comforting, and was called “torments”. In both places, those who awaited their final destination could feel comfort or pain. The rich man was in torments feeling pain and suffering. “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Luke 16:24. The rich man should have made better choices while living on this side of eternity. Abraham explained that fact to him. “But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” Luke 16:25. Many times people interpret this story to prove it’s better to suffer in this life than it is to be rich. It’s actually telling us that what we do with what we have is what matters. We hear about many very wealthy people who run the internet and computer companies, but aren’t using their wealth to honor God. If we are given much but are selfish with it, we have put our wealth on the throne rather than Jesus. “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:10. The money isn’t evil, but the love of it causes the problem. The rich man loved his wealth more than he loved God.
There was a gulf between torments and Abraham’s Bosom that could not be crossed. They could see each other, but not pass from one side to the other. We also learn that those who have gone on remember those of us who still have a choice of where to spend eternity. “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: for I have five brethren; that may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” Luke 16:27-28. Although the rich man remembered his family, he couldn’t contact them, nor could anyone be sent to them from the other side. If you think you’ve had a message from your Uncle Charlie or Grandma, you haven’t. God warns against trying to contact the dead. We have Scripture to guide us to eternity and the Holy Spirit to show us the paths of righteousness of God.
After the cross all was changed. Those who inhabited Abraham’s Bosom were led to their reward by Jesus, and today if we have accepted Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, death is not to be feared. Christ conquered death and the grave has no hold upon us. “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55. Jesus left an empty tomb; His death was a victory, and we who have placed our faith in Him have nothing to fear from death. “Therefore we are always confident knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:” 2 Corinthians 5:6. Today, you have the choice of where you will spend eternity…with Jesus or in the lake of fire. Christian’s works will be judged at the Bema Seat of Christ. Our sins are forgiven, so it won’t be a judgment of Heaven or Hell, but our actions will be judged. Our rewards will be crowns that we will be able to return to Jesus in humble gratitude for the price He paid for our redemption. Those who reject Christ’s free gift of salvation will spend eternity in the burning lake of fire. The beast and the false prophet will join the devil in that eternal lake of fire, and those who will take the Mark of the Beast, thus choosing to reject Jesus while following evil. It is an eternal punishment. Finally, all who remain in the abode of the dead will join them. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14-15.
God doesn’t send anyone to Hell, but we make our own choice here in this life. Jesus gave His life to give humans the only way to avoid Hell-fire and damnation. If we place our faith in Him, we will spend eternity in Heaven. I’ve chosen eternity with Him in Heaven, have you? The choice has to be made now…there is no such thing as purgatory…no second chances, and you can’t work your way out of Hell. If you don’t respond to the Gospel message before death, then you’ve made your own eternal choice. Today you need to admit you’re a sinner, believe that Jesus Christ paid the price for your redemption, and accept His gift of salvation. “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21. The Apostle Paul suffered many things while on this earth, but he kept his eyes on Jesus and knew that, by faith, when he died, he would be with the Lord. Today, Paul is waiting in Heaven to receive his crowns for a life lived for Christ. I have many loved ones who are there, too. What a glorious day it will be when we are all gathered around Jesus praising Him for our salvation. You will only be there if you’ve believed the Gospel truth prior to death. There is no other path to Heaven than through faith in Jesus. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. Trust Him today.
God doesn’t send us to Hell…we choose to go there when we reject Christ. Don’t put off your decision. Young people die as well as older people. It’s been said that God has no grandchildren and we must each make our own choice. If you were raised in a Christian household, you may understand your need for Jesus more than someone raised with secular influences, but you must make your own decision. Don’t think that if you were baptized as an infant you are covered. That decision wasn’t your own. Although important, baptism doesn’t bring salvation. Only your own personal faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will take your sin away. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raise him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9. An infant cannot believe in his or her heart nor confess with his or her mouth.
Ask yourself “If I die tomorrow, where will I spend eternity?” It’s an important question and the answer you give to this question is the most important answer you need to have the right answer to. If you would like more information, talk to a Christian near you or send an email. Your salvation and eternity matter.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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Daily Jot: Biden's war on children – Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
The month of June was spent celebrating lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, questioning and other nontraditional sexual orientations. White House Press Secretary Jan Psaki capped off the month-long celebration with a live stream on the White House Youtube on transgender equality. The hour and a half “convening” began with Psaki saying that President Biden believes that transgender rights are one of the most important civil rights movements of our lifetime. They primarily target children. The last letter in LGBTQ is “Q” for “questioning,” which is the mission—to confuse kids enough that they question their sexuality so they can be groomed and evangelized.
LGBTQ Nation’s website says the live stream is convened to “highlight the hopes, joys, and success of young transgender and nonbinary people across America.” Key word here is “young.” This is the target—young, meaning youth. Meaning minor children. Meaning your child or grandchild. LGBTQ+ activists are in the public schools with various anti-bullying programs and other social activities to evangelize minor children and groom them for sexual purposes. The Psaki live stream featured many speakers, including high school students. One of the speakers asked a rising junior in high school how she got enough courage to “go in front of the whole country and tell your story.” My point--If this was so positive and good, why would you need courage to talk about it?
And the deeper question—if everybody was so proud of their choice of sexual identity at such young ages, why are LGBTQ+ pre-teens and teens 70% more likely to commit suicide than heterosexual teens? Why do LGBTQ+ activists have to start organizations like the Trevor Project to prevent youth suicides within their own community? They will tell you it is because of non-acceptance, but the real story is far deeper. The fact is, this grooming and evangelizing of children by LGBTQ+ activists is sexual abuse and, in many cases, sexual assault. It must be stopped. But the Biden Administration and the LGBTQ+ activists are standing against Republican-led—and quite popular—child protection laws.
In fact, at a White House hosted Pride reception, Biden said, “These are some of the ugliest, most un-American bills I’ve seen and I’ve been here a long time.” Couple this promotion of sex in minor children with the willful lack of border control that results in huge numbers of sexual assaults and human trafficking of children, and one has to surmise that all this is intentional. As Paul wrote in Romans 1;32, “…they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Citizens must arise like those in Loudoun County, VA, who are standing firm against this war on children by challenging the school board. The shame and guilt perpetrated on these children by this horrible political agenda is at the bottom of the pre-teen and teen suicide rate. It is a war on children and it must be stopped.
Daily Devotion: Growing in Faith - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. —James 1:3–4
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/growing-in-faith/ - Listen
I’ve come to expect that whenever we are living in the will of God, the devil will try to trip us up. The devil may be there to challenge or tempt us after a church service. Or he may be there to challenge and tempt us after God has done a great work in our lives.
After the Spirit, like a dove, came upon Jesus following His baptism, the Bible says, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil” (Matthew 4:1 NLT). After the dove came the devil.
And after Elijah’s experience on Mount Carmel where God sent fire down from Heaven, King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, put out a contract on his life.
While it’s true that we’re going have mountaintop experiences in life, we cannot live off those alone. At the bottom of every mountain, there’s always a valley. There’s always a test. And perhaps there’s even the devil seeking to challenge what God has done. But don’t dread it. Just keep moving. Keep growing. And keep learning.
Maybe you’re on a mountaintop with God right now. Everything is going great for you. All the lights are green, the sky is blue, the sun is shining, and the flowers are growing.
Then again, maybe you’re at the foot of the mountain today. Everywhere you look, you see problems and difficulties, and you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just remember that God has not abandoned you. He wants your faith to develop. You’re going to come through this, and you’ll become stronger as a result.
For our little faith to become great faith, we must apply it. We must use it. We must stretch it. And we must avoid the temptation of spiritual slumber and laziness so that we don’t miss out on what God is doing.
FROM THE HEART
Let Us Make the Short Time We have Left,
Count for ALL of Eternity!
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