The Last Day(s) - By Pete Garcia -
Shortly after 9/11, a heartbroken and humbled America began asking in earnest if we were truly living in the last days. The response they got (from the so-called experts) was a cacophonic chorus of yes, no's, and everything in-between. It truly was a missed opportunity for the church to unite in message and declare the nearness of our Lord's return, and to be a witness to the nation. Instead, we wasted it arguing over hermeneutical primacy and archaic denominational traditions. God then gave the American churches a second opportunity to shine in unison during the 2008 economic meltdown. Again, not missing a beat, the American church quickly and efficiently formed its circular firing squad, and yelled, ready, fire, aim!
However, let us not kid ourselves.
God is both sovereign and omnipotent; therefore, the future is never hidden from Him (Isa. 46:9-10). He knew from before the foundation of the world that the western church would increasingly succumb too in an increasingly morally vacuous culture (Revelation 1-3). God's strategic coup de grâce against the spirit of antichrist (1 John 4:3), would be through a second wave (latter rain) of evangelical, guerilla, spiritual warfare. In such a time as this, the Holy Spirit would once again move through both nations and denominations, stirring select disciples with a passion to return to biblical literacy and accuracy.
Disciple, Scholar, Prophet
It is doubtful if there has been any other circle of men [dispensationalists] who have done more by their influence in preaching, teaching and writing to promote a love for Bible study, a hunger for the deeper Christian life, a passion for evangelism and zeal for missions in the history of American Christianity. -Dispensationalist Critic, George E. Ladd
In His foreknowledge of things to come (i.e., the increasingly perilous times of the 20th and 21st centuries), God spent the previous 100 years, raising up true, biblical scholars through the 19th-century Dispensationalist movement. The Holy Spirit began to stir men to study, moving them out of their slumbering Protestant denominations, and into a growing non-denominational movement of men and women who had a passion for a return to the literal, grammatical, and historical interpretation of Scripture.
Upon returning to a literal interpretation, these theological pioneers were awakened to the overwhelmingly prophetic and apocalyptic nature of the Bible. These were to become the biblical standard-bearers moving into the last days. They did not invent these prophetic revelations; they simply, rediscovered what the Bible has been saying all along. After removing the centuries-old blinders of dogmas and denominational biases, they began to look at scripture with fresh eyes. Dispensationalists from all stripes came to the same inescapable conclusion that the sine qua non of Scripture was recognizing the differences between the prophecies and promises related to national Israel, and to those of the New Testament Church.
"The essence of dispensationalism, then, is the distinction between Israel and the Church. This grows out of the dispensationalist's consistent employment of normal or plain or historical-grammatical interpretation, and it reflects an understanding of the basic purpose of God in all His dealings with mankind as that of glorifying Himself through salvation and other purposes as well." Charles Ryrie, Dispensationalism, p. 41
Just as God used the first-century apostles to gather disciples to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, these early church fathers, were to be the biblical standard-bearers for the early church. Not only would these men and women contend for the faith against heresies and apostasies, (which were cropping up by the day), but were also called to be examples. They would be known for their love (agape and phileo), in contending for the one true faith, and even until their martyrdom, would safeguard the infant church against Gnosticism, legalism, and paganism, which were simply satanic attempts to strangle the early church in its cradle.
In these last days, God would once again stir up a new generation of disciples; men like John N. Darby, William Blackstone, Cyrus Scofield, and Clarence Larkin, who would depart from their traditional denominations and wholly devote themselves to a deeper understanding of God's word. I would include D. L. Moody, Charles Spurgeon, and Billy Sunday to the groups as well. Although these last three were not necessarily dispensational in their hermeneutics, God impressed upon them lateness of the hour and their consuming passion for saving the lost. Regardless, their jobs was to wake the sleeping church (Revelation 3:3) out of its slumber and prepare her for what is about to come to pass.
Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. Amos 3:7
These 19th-century pioneers would come to greatly influence the 20th-century prophets and scholars. In the scholar category, I would include men like Lewis Sperry Chafer, Harry Ironside, J. Dwight Pentecost, Henry Morris, John Walvoord, Charles Ryrie, Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Tommy Ice, and others. These men would come to possess millennia worth of academic, historical, archeological, philosophical, and geopolitical knowledge. As the world moved out of the industrial age, and into the age of information, their knowledge grafted into and contrasted what we knew/know, with a renewed understanding of God's word. This prophetic proliferation of knowledge was graciously encapsulated into the minds of these men, who would go on to share that knowledge with the last generation of believers.
"But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase." Daniel 12:4
In regards to the 20th-century prophets, I would include men like Billy Graham, Hal Lindsey, J. Vernon McGee, Dave Hunt, J.R. Church, Tim LaHaye, Jack Kelley, and Jack Kinsella. These prophets did not call down fire out of heaven or shut up the rains for years on end, but they did possess the uncanny ability to present prophetic truths with level of precision and clarity rarely matched.
All of the aforementioned did so based upon an accurate understanding of biblical prophecy. All of these would come to influence the growing and emerging mediums of communication (i.e., radio and internet platforms), with ministries such as: Thru the Bible, The Omega Letter, Grace Thru Faith, Olive Tree Ministries, Hal Lindsey Report, Behold Israel, CARM, Rapture Ready, Rapture Forums, and Got Questions (to name just a few). These candles in the night would become increasingly important sources of light for those living in an increasingly darkening world.
These ministries would become a standard for biblical truths in an information-saturated age. These ministries would also become a repository of sound biblical teachings and of prophetic truths, which were no longer coming from America's pulpits. This new medium of Internet-based ministries would come to impact millions of believers and seekers worldwide, in an age, where geopolitical tensions, terrorism, pandemics, lack of interest, and financial stress has put global missions on the decline.
The Last Days
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 1 Timothy 1:1-5
When the secular world talks about the last days, they normally associate "the end" as coming from a naturalistic (or at least, rationally explainable) cause. Simply turn on Nat-Geo or the History Channel any night of the week, and you will get an endless parade of "experts" presenting their theories on how they think the world will end. From their perspective, the most likely scenarios involve an event such as a rogue meteor, runaway climate change, mega-earthquake, or some type of pandemic. These are about the only academically acceptable extinction-level-event (ELE) or global cataclysmic scenarios.
Adding fuel to this particular fire, Hollywood has also long championed the naturalistic doom and gloom genre, because it gives a false sense of hope that we can avoid this seemingly fated, rendezvous with destiny (The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact, and Interstellar). Hollywood also likes this genre, because it makes them a ridiculous amount of money, regardless of how preposterous their version of the end might be (ex. I am Legend, Sharknado, and World War Z). Hollywood especially delights in twisting and then capitalizing off misusing biblical terminology to present their interpretation in a non-biblical scenario for their version of the end (think 1998's Armageddon, Rapture-Palooza).
Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" Matthew 24:3
When asked by His disciples about the last days as they understood it (i.e., Old Testament perspective), Jesus did not say there was any one particular sign that would signal the start of last days. Instead, He said the signs of the end (i.e., wars, rumors of war, pestilence, famines, earthquakes, and false teachers) would come like birth pangs, increasing in both frequency and intensity as the time drew closer. If there were any one particular sign, it would be the convergence of all these things.
A tempting, yet, highly inaccurate and unbiblical form of prophetic teachings is known as historicism. It attempts to force the news of the day onto the pages of bible prophecy, and vice versa. The end did not happen with the Roman siege of Jerusalem in AD70. The end did not start with the rise of the Roman Catholic Church. The end did not start with 14th-century Black Plague, or World War 1. The end did not start with the rise of Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich. The end did not start with AIDS, SARS, Ebola, or this new strand of Coronavirus. The end started, when Jesus ascended into heaven after His death, burial, and resurrection.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; Hebrews 1:1-2
During His earthly life and earthly ministry, Christ (as a man) limited His divinity in many ways. While He did perform miracles, He only did so only to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies to validate His claims of Messiahship. One of the things He willingly limited Himself on was knowing exactly when He would usher in His kingdom. That is not to say, Christ was any less of God for not knowing, but had He known, He could not have said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only" (Matt. 24:36). However, after His ascension, (this author's opinion) Christ is received into heaven to receive the Revelation.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants-things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. Revelation 1:1-3
This is what John is shown in Revelation chapter 5; the grand reception ceremony of Christ as the victorious conqueror over sin, death, hell, and Satan. Although He goes on to open the Sealed Scrolls during Revelation 6, we must remember that there is no "time" in the eternal realm. John had to step out of time in order to view the unveiling in heaven. In other words, John was shown this in AD95, some sixty years after the birth of the Church, yet, John was shown this as Christ's inaugural entrance right after His ascension. Somewhat confusing concept to wrap our minds around, yet, it is the only way that makes sense.
It is hard to blame the non-Christian for getting the last days wrong. Heck, most Christians cannot even agree on how and when the end happens. The reason for this growing divergence is that they have different forms of interpretation. The more allegorical or non-literal a denomination or theologian becomes; the less likely they are going to take the Bible at its word. Two points:
The Bible is by its very nature, an apocalyptic book. It is the world's first/original apocalyptic book. This dates all the way back to Enoch (seventh from Adam- Jude 1:14). The first book ever penned even before Genesis (circa 2100 BC), the book of Job presents his literal and physical belief that he would one day see the Redeemer on the earth (Job 19:25-27).
The Bible is meant to be taken literally. When it is not, it either tells you or is so nonsensical that it could not be taken literally. For example, when Jesus said, "I am the door," (John 10:9) we know He is not saying He is a literal door with wood, handle, and hinges. We get the meaning of the symbolism because of the surrounding context. It is only through Him, that one can find salvation (John 14:6). Therefore, the correct and only legitimate way to interpret the bible is with a common sense, literal, grammatical, and historical interpretation (hermeneutic).
And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21:24
Jesus warned His Jewish disciples, that the temple and the city (Jerusalem) would be destroyed fulfilling Daniel 9:24-27. History has borne that out to be historically accurate. This was the second time Jerusalem was sacked and its temple leveled. The first was by the Babylonians in the 6th-century BC, this time it would be the Romans. The prophet Jeremiah warned the people that their captivity in Babylon would last seventy years. Moses warned them that if they disobeyed God (crucifying their Messiah certainly qualified), they would be scattered throughout the earth for a very long time (Deut. 30). The prophet Ezekiel was told that the nation of Israel would be like a valley of dry bones, who would again rise up in the last days, and would become a mighty nation (Ez. 37). This came to pass at the conclusion of World War II and the Nazi Holocaust. In 1948, the Jews declared their statehood and became a nation again in one day (May 14, 1948).
Jesus stated that the generation who saw the fig tree bloom (Israel nationally was often referred to as a fig tree in the Old Testament). The fig tree lay dead and barren for nearly two-thousand years, suddenly and miraculously, brought back to life at the conclusion of World War II. Jesus warned that the Gentiles would trample Jerusalem down until the time of the end. That end came to its partial conclusion in 1967 when the Israelis retook the whole city in the Six-Day War.
Although the birth pangs serve as prophetic-markers for signaling the end of the age (i.e., the convergence), they also serve a practical purpose in desensitizing the secular world. But why would God do that? I suppose it is the same reason that Jesus routinely taught in parables and hard sayings.
Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given . . . . And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive, for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them' (Matthew 13:11,14,15).
Unwillingness on the part of the people to receive Jesus' message of the kingdom was the reason that He taught in parables. The truths of the kingdom of God were heard by them but not understood. It was not because God was hiding the truth from them-it was because they did not want to hear.
God has given us the foreknowledge (bible prophecy) and the signs to know when He would be returning to judge the world and restore it to its intended purposes (Jer. 30:7-11). Yet, most people do not want to believe. Most people will accept any reason (aliens, meteors, pandemics, zombies, etc.) before they accept the biblical explanation for how this age ends. They are not only rejecting the repeated warnings, but they are even embracing catastrophism as the new normal (climate change).
In keeping with the 7,000-year theory (I happen to believe this without reservation), which matches God's seven-days of Creation, God has only given the Church two-millennial days to bring as many with us as we can, before He ends this present reality. Think about it this way, it was two-thousand years (two millennial days) from Adam to Abraham. It was two-thousand years (two millennial days) from Abraham to Jesus. Depending on when we start the clock (either Christ's birth or crucifixion); we are at two-thousand years from Jesus to the present. Remember that national Israel was not in existence for most of these last two-thousand years.
God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. He did not have to do that. He could have spoken everything into existence in a fraction of a second, and it would have been just as perfect. He used the seven-days as a model for us to live by, as well as a model for how long He would deal with mankind. Notice here, that when comparing a day to a thousand years, the Bible does not say thousands (plural), but thousand (singular).
~For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past, And like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:4 (author-Moses)
~But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8 (author-Peter)
Lastly, we have the key to our prophetic understanding. The prophet Hosea, who, speaking to the restoration of Israel, noted,
Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth Hosea 6:1-3
We are in the last moments, of the last day (the second day). We have witnessed two-thousand years of church history, the rebirth of the nation Israel, and the convergence of all the signs given to us in the Olivet Discourse, the epistles, and the Revelation have either been fulfilled, or is coming to its economic, geopolitical, and technological fulfillment. Maranatha
End Times Prophecy - How Close Are We? - By Ron Dee Mallett - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=3960
Luke 21, Mark 13 and Matthew 24 all relay Jesus' lecture to his disciples on the subject of His return and end-times rule of the world from Jerusalem. Each writer employs unique terminology, but all agree on the Master's ultimate message. Matthew offers the most detailed of the three renditions:
Matthew 24: 3-14 (Summarized): As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked "... what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"
4 Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars... Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death... hated by all nations because of me. 10 ... many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold... 14 and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Each of the renditions by the three apostles agree on seven specific events, postulates, and outcomes for which we should be aware.
THE SIGNS IN COMMON
1. Wars and Rumors of War
2. Earthquakes in Numerous Places
6. Pretenders/False Prophets
7. Gospel Preached to Whole World
A study of each category in our present era is very revealing. We no longer need ask: "Where are we today in fulfillment of the end-time prophecies of Jesus?"
1. Wars and Rumors of War
Each of the following 20 nations experienced from significant war dead in the past year. Yemen, Ukraine, Turkey, Thailand, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Libya, Iran, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Congo, Columbia, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Afghanistan.
Other conflicts also aflame in 2020: namely Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Uganda, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. In the Middle East we are also seeing armed combat in Yemen and Oman.
In total, in the past decade, we have also seen some 45 separate and deadly "religious" conflicts. Led notably by Malaysia, the Philippines, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Myanmar, some 35 countries are experiencing significant masses of people killed.
Year 2016 was one of the most violent years since the end of the Cold War. While violence levels decreased slightly from another high in 2017, non-state conflicts and internationalized intrastate conflicts continue to frustrate all attempts at global peace.
The gruesome total for armed conflicts resulting in significant numbers of deaths inflamed some 75 nations in the past decade. Other outbreaks are simmering in another 10 regions/countries yet lacking enough deaths to tip the statistical scales.
Enough said on wars: Jesus' prophecies on the topic are occurring today in great number!
Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy
2. Earthquakes in numerous places.
The statistics are staggering. The National Earthquake Information Center records an average of 20,000 earthquakes every year (about 50 a day). There are, however, millions of earthquakes occurring every year too weak to be recorded.
Unquestionably, the earth is seeing a ton of earthquake activity, and some environmental activist 'scientists' are predicting an increase in both frequency and intensity because of global warming for the near future.
Whatever the claims/statistics, we can safely and surely say this particular prophecy of Jesus is with us today in full force.
Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy
After nearly a decade of progress, the number of people suffering from hunger has slowly increased over the past three years, with about one in every nine people globally suffering from hunger today, according to a United Nations report released in late 2019. An estimated 820 million people do not have enough to eat, up from 811 million last year - third year in a row that the number has increased.
This gruesome statistic somewhat softens the hard fact that children suffer the most from this world-class malady simply because they are most vulnerable to the depredations of those older and larger than themselves. We see no need to dwell further on this very unhappy, obvious topic.
Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy
Ironically, this writer had already formed the basic outline for this prophecy report before the current 'Corona Flu' epic made headlines in world newspapers. We probably don't need to cover the topic further, but a few of the statistics we unearthed are interesting. So... here goes!
A pandemic is an outbreak of global proportions. It happens when a bacterium or mutated virus becomes capable of spreading rapidly. It causes serious illness and can spread easily from one person to the next. The Spanish flu pandemic, from 1918 to 1920, is estimated to have claimed betwen 50-100 million lives. It is considered the worst in history. The Black Death claimed the lives of over 75 million people in the 14th Century.
Other outbreaks of significant import include:
Death Toll: 34 million
HONG KONG FLU PANDEMIC (1968)
Death Toll: 1 million
ASIAN FLU (1956-1958)
Death Toll: 2 million
So, we see that pestilence can kill millions with very little warning. And such diseases as HIV, Ebola, dengue, malaria and so forth are also killing their millions even at this moment. In totality, we can securely state that this prophecy of Jesus is being fulfilled even as we read these words. Simply watch the Five O-Clock News tonight.
Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy
The bells are tolling on this one. Unfortunately, this human trait is a two-way street in many instances. Jesus makes it clear that we are to hate the sin, not the sinner. I know too many Christians filled with hatred for people outside the mainstream Christian categories of desired behavioral valuation. In this regard, we will experience some hatred that we or others have brought upon ourselves.
But, I believe Jesus was referring only to the fact we are hated for the same reasons he was hated. God's standards of intellectual morality and behavioral practices are absolute. The unsaved world prefers that these issues be addressed as situational.
Murder, for example, is generally unacceptable, but killing babies in the womb is okay. The Bible says drug addiction and witchcraft are unacceptable. Sexually deviant lifestyles are also frowned on, but most people now consider such trends to be normal and highly acceptable behavior.
How many pastors are hesitant to even push the concept of Hell and eternal punishment? It's illegal hate speech in some circumstances according to Canadian and certain U.S. laws. Bottom line, our Bible-based positions on these and other belief paradigms are becoming so severely offensive in the minds of the majority that Jesus says they will justify killing us in droves.
We're quickly reaching the point where the entire world mimics Sodom and Gomorrah (the practice of sodomy deriving its name from that latter city... the wickedness to which Jesus referred in Matt. 24:13). Indeed, we are now at that point!
Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy
6. Pretenders/False Prophets
Few people fathom the enormous presence of false beliefs and metaphysical practices embedding our 'modern' world. Watchman Fellowship built a reference index listing over 1,200 distinct religious organizations and belief systems, not counting the major world religions (including Christianity).
Upon reading short statements defining a mere handful of these indexed belief systems, my head swirled. It was as though I had crashed into a condensed pool of swarming Hollywood-style cartoon mythologies... each crazier than the one before. Take a look for yourself and test my reaction.
In the book, Loving God's Way!, Gary De Lashmutt and co-author Dennis McCallum list over 40 distinct cults and sects within Christianity itself. Given the prevalence and near-endless range of belief systems swirling about the world... what are young seekers to believe?. For many, it must seem a hopeless riddle... leaving them with sensualism and pursuit of personal purpose (humanism?) as the 'natural' response... simply living life as a feel-good matter of 'anything goes.'
Could Christ's warning of false belief systems get any more profound and imbedded than what we have today?
Conclusion: Fulfilled Prophecy
7. Gospel Preached to Whole World
"And the end will come." Christian television networks have played a major part in helping to ensure that the entire world is being reached with Christianity's message via radio (including short wave), television towers, satellites and mobile recording and playing devices. The last decade has seen a rapid growth of Christian broadcast networks well beyond just the United States.
Most recently, the internet communications phenomenon has completed the paradigm of realized personal contact. It is impossible to imagine any further communications systems/devices/applications than those existing today in terms of reaching every last human being We have more missionaries from more countries than at any time in prior human history daily using all of these informational tools.
What more is left to do in terms of carrying the Word to a waiting world? True, pockets of people, such as the Tarahumara (Raramuri) of the Sierra Madres, Mexico, have not yet heard the gospel. But, in all such cases, these groups have been identified and efforts are underway to bring them into Truth.
Jesus did not say everyone will be reached. He said The Gospel would be a testimony to all nations. If there are nations that legally reject the gospel (Muslim, Eastern Mysticism, etc.) and fail to expose their populace to the Christian belief system, that is on them, not on Jesus. God has been quoted as saying it is not His will that any should perish. That is far different than saying none will perish. A hard truth.
Conclusion: Soon Fulfilled Prophecy
I see the minute hand ticking very near the High Noon deadline on God's Pre-Ordained Clock of World Forebearance Time. Do we have but seconds remaining? Considering all of the above... what say you?
The Angel of the Lord: Part 6 - By Randy Nettles -
Moses brought the children of Israel from the Red Sea into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. "Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters for they were bitter. Therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people complained against Moses, saying, What shall we drink" (Exodus 15:23-24). This was the first of many murmurings against Moses by the people. Moses cried unto the Lord about this situation. The Lord told Moses to cast a certain tree into the water, which made the water good to drink.
They left Mariah and came to Elim where there were twelve wells of water, and they encamped there by the waters. They departed from Elim and came into the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the 15th day of the 2nd month after their departure from Egypt. Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.
"And the children of Israel said to them, Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Then the Lord said to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not" (Exodus 16:2-4).
"Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord; for He hears your complaints against the Lord. But what are we, that you complain against us? Also Moses said, This shall be seen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.
"Then Moses spoke to Aaron, Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the Lord, for He has heard your complaints. Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud" (Exodus 16:6-10).
The "cloud" was a theophany of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jehovah "appearing in a cloud" is similar to the "burning bush" event of Exodus 3:2-5, where two Persons of the Triune God are involved, Jehovah and the Holy Spirit. At this time, Moses did not want to look into the burning bush to see the Lord, for he was terribly afraid.
The Angel of the Lord (who was in the cloud) turned His Shekinah glory on and lit up the "cloud." All the people could see was a bright form inside the cloud. No human can see the glory of the Lord face to face and live. The Lord told Moses that he heard the murmurings from the people and would take care of their needs. Then they would know He was the Lord their God.
"So it was that quail came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, What is it? For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat" (Exodus 16:13-15).
The Lord gave instructions to Moses regarding the gathering of the manna. It appeared on the ground each day as thin flakes like frost. The people ground it like grain and cooked it like a pancake. They were to eat all they gathered and not save any for the next day, or else it would stink and breed worms. On the 6th day, they were to gather twice as much manna, and were allowed to keep some for the next day.
Moses instructed the people about this allowance: "Then he said to them, This is what the Lord has said: Tomorrow is a Sabbath rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning. So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. Then Moses said, Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none" (Exodus 16:23-26).
Unfortunately, some of the murmurers disobeyed this commandment, so the Lord told Moses to make sure all the people obeyed and not gather any manna on the 7th day (Sabbath). "And the house of Israel called its name manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey" (Exodus 16:31). This commandment to rest and do no work on the 7th day is reminiscent of the one God gave Moses (during the Passover event in Egypt) regarding the 7th day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The children of Israel ate manna for forty years until they came into the borders of the land of Canaan.
God rested on the seventh day of creation and blessed it. He made sure His chosen people, Israel, did the same on the Sabbath day. Resting on the Sabbath was not a suggestion; it was a commandment. For the Hebrews, it was a capital offense to work on this special day of the Lord.
The people journeyed to Rephidim, and there was no water for the people to drink. "Therefore the people contended with Moses, and said, Give us water, that we may drink. So Moses said to them, Why do you contend with me? Why do you tempt the Lord? And the people thirsted there for water, and the people complained against Moses, and said, Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst? So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!" (Exodus 17:2-4)
The Lord told Moses to gather the elders of Israel (and take his rod that he smote the Red Sea with) and go to where He would direct them. "Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. So he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the contention of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us or not?" (Exodus 17:6-7).
The Amaleks came and fought in Rephidim. Moses told Joshua, his lieutenant, to choose men and go out and fight them. Amalek was a descendant of Amalek, a grandson of Esau. Joshua obeyed Moses and fought with Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of a hill.
"And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. So Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword" (Exodus 17:11-13).
Moses gave thanks to the Lord. He built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissis, for he said, "Because the Lord has sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation."
The children of Israel came to Mount Sinai in the third month (Sivan), on the same calendar day as their departure from Egypt (14th day of the month). The date would have been Sivan 14, 1446 B.C.
"And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel" (Exodus 19:3-6).
Moses relayed this message from the Lord to the Israelites. All the people answered together and said, "All that the Lord has spoken we will do." "Then the Lord said to Moses, Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people" (Exodus 19:10-12). The Lord also told Moses to inform the people to keep a safe distance from the mountain and base. If they touched the mountain they would be killed.
"Then it came to pass on the third day [Sivan 17, 1446 BC], in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly" (Ezekiel 19:16-18). This is reminiscent of the theophany during the covenant between Abraham and God where "the smoking furnace" and the "burning lamp" passed between the pieces of the sacrifice.
This was a spectacular theophany of Jehovah in his glorious, Godly form. He was accompanied by the Holy Spirit in the form/s of a cloud and smoke (like a furnace). The children of Israel were looking from a safe distance because of their great fear. They couldn't make out any details of God, but they saw the accompanying elements that surrounded Him... fire, dark clouds, lighting, thunder, and a loud sound of a trumpet. Trumpets were always played upon an arrival of the king in ancient times. This sound, however, was the sound of a trumpet played by a heavenly being and not by an earthly man.
"And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice. Then the Lord came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. And the Lord said to Moses, Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to gaze at the Lord, and many of them perish. Also let the priests who come near the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them" (Exodus 19:19-22).
Moses did as he was told and went down the mountain and warned the people once again. He then went back up the Mount again and talked with God. The Lord God verbally gave Moses the Ten Commandments, laws concerning people and property, and general laws for living as a people and nation of the Lord... He stressed the importance of the 4th Commandment (no work on the Sabbath).
The Lord also informed Moses that the land should rest every 7 years. That meant the people and work animals were not to sow the land every 7th year. If they obeyed God, He would make the 6th year so bountiful that it would last for the next couple of years. The Lord instructed Moses that three times in a year all Hebrew adult males would gather and keep a feast unto the Lord. These three events were known as the feast of Unleavened Bread, feast of harvest (later called Pentecost), and the feast of ingathering (later called Tabernacles).
Jehovah told Moses, "Behold, I send an Angel (Angel of the Lord) before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.
"For My Angel will go before you and bring you in to the Amorites and the Hittites and the Perizzites and the Canaanites and the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I will cut them off. You shall not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works; but you shall utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars. So you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you. No one shall suffer miscarriage or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days" (Exodus 23:20-26).
Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all His laws and commandments. The people answered with one voice, and said, "All the words which the Lord has said, we will do." Moses wrote all the words of the Lord, and then built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. The children of Israel offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings to the Lord. "And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words" (Exodus 24:8).
After the blood covenant, Moses, Aaron and his two sons, and 70 of the elders of Israel went up the mountain. There they saw the God of Israel, "and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank" (Exodus 24:10-11). Seventy four children of Israel saw a theophany of Jehovah on this day. This was probably the Angel of the Lord in an angelic body, but not the glorified Jehovah in His Shekinah glory.
"Then the Lord said to Moses, Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone (the Ten Commandments), and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them. So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, Wait here for us until we come back to you. Indeed, Aaron and Hur are with you. If any man has a difficulty, let him go to them.
"Then Moses went up into the mountain, and a cloud covered the mountain. Now the glory (Shekinah) of the Lord rested on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day He called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud. The sight of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire on the top of the mountain in the eyes of the children of Israel. So Moses went into the midst of the cloud and went up into the mountain. And Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights" (Exodus 24:12-18). This time Moses wanted to see the full glory of the Lord, unlike when he was too afraid to look into the "burning bush."