Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Featured Article: Looking at the Top of the Puzzle Box
Trump congratulates Netanyahu; Bolton says peace plan coming very soon
Nearing Midnight: Chicago Goes from Bad to Worse
Solving the Three Day Three Night Mystery
Daily Jot: Prophetic implications of Israeli elections Daily Devotion: The God Who Suffers
Looking at the Top of the Puzzle Box - By Todd Hampson -
Everyone recognizes that world conditions are disintegrating at an unprecedented rate, but many believers still don't see these conditions as signs of the end-times. And I understand why. For the most part, people don't have a blueprint or a clear picture of what the world will look like. The thousands of prophecies are scattered all over Scripture, so it is difficult to piece it all together and get a clear picture-unless you take the necessary time to study them. That is the purpose of this post. Think of this post as the box top of a 1,000-piece puzzle. Without the box top, the puzzle pieces seem completely random and disconnected. But with the box top, we gain a clear picture of what we are supposed to be piecing together.
I could easily get caught in the weeds because prophecy-related details are developing at an unprecedented rate, but I want to keep this post as simple as I can. With that in mind, I've tried to share the most compelling broad strokes of last-days Bible prophecy as I paint this picture. So, here is a description of the prophetic last-days box top. The context or specific time frame mentioned for these prophecies all relate to the end of the age.
Also, keep in mind that the youngest prophecies cited below are just under 2,000 years ago, and the oldest are approximately 2,600 years old. I cited at least one Scripture reference for each point, but I could have cited several for each. In other words, these are primarily well-founded prophecies-not obscure details. For example, every one of the prophets except Jonah prophesied that Israel would become a nation again after being scattered all over the earth, but I only use a few verses to make that point below.
In any case, here is my attempt at demonstrating the box-top picture:
END-TIME PROPHECIES ABOUT: ISRAEL
Jerusalem and its temple will be destroyed and the Temple Mount laid bare (Matthew 24:1-2). Fulfilled.
The Jewish people will be scattered all over the world for a long period of time and will face hardships and persecution everywhere they go (Deuteronomy 4:27, 28:64; Ezekiel 36:24). Fulfilled.
While they are away from their homeland, it will lie desolate-a *wasteland, but once they are back it will spring to life (Ezekiel 36:34-35). Fulfilled.
It would also be controlled by Gentile nations during Israel's dispersion (Luke 21:24). Fulfilled.
After a long time, their nation Israel will be reborn as a unified nation (Ezekiel 37:15-22) called Israel in a single day-springing to life from death (Isaiah 66:8) at a time when they have lost all hope (Ezekiel 37:11-12). Fulfilled.
First they will come to life as a nation (Ezekiel 37). The ancient Hebrew language would be revived again (Zephaniah 3:9, Jeremiah 31:23). Fulfilled.
A remnant will accept Jesus as their Messiah, but most from the nation will be blind (Romans 11:25) to the fact that their Messiah already came before the destruction of the temple as predicted in Daniel chapter 9. Fulfilled.
Soon after the nation's rebirth, Israel would face hostility from all around, being greatly outnumbered and attacked from all sides by Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, but will miraculously survive as overwhelming victors (Psalm 83). Fulfilled (Note: some prophecy experts think this is yet future).
They will regain their capital city of Jerusalem and develop a very strong military (Zechariah 12:1-6). Fulfilled.
In the latter days toward the very end of the era, they will quickly become very wealthy-so wealthy that several large, powerful nations will want what she has (Ezekiel 38:10-12). Happening Now.
Curiously, this war will not involve Israel's previous border enemies, but will involve an outer ring of nations (Ezekiel 38:1-5). Happening Now.
Russia will be the main leader and protector of Iran and Turkey (Ezekiel 38:7), and together these three nations will lead an alliance of countries including Sudan and Libya that will come against Israel from the north in Syria. Stage is set.
The timing of this attack may be triggered by a preemptive strike on Damascus by Israel or one of her allies (Isaiah 17:1, 14). Stage is set.
Additionally, there will be a great increase in worldwide antisemitism and anti-Israel positions and actions (Zechariah 12:1-9). Happening Now.
In fact, the only nations that will protest the attack on Israel are Saudi Arabia, England, and areas that came out of England such as America (Ezekiel 38:13). Stage is set.
The nations of the world will be obsessed with the tiny nation of Israel-wanting to move her borders and condemn her at every turn (Zechariah 12:3). Fulfilled and continuing. Stage is set.
After Israel's rebirth, there will also be an increasing desire, preparation and push toward the building of a third temple and the reinstitution of temple sacrifices (Daniel 9:27). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
There will be some sort of a broad peace agreement between Israel and many other nations (Daniel 9: 27). Stage Set/Possibly Happening Now (with Trump's Mideast Peace Deal).
This agreement will be already on the table-so to speak-when a seemingly peaceful end-time figure will add to, or somehow strengthen it, and push it over the finish line. Stage is being set for this future event.
With this single feat, Scripture tells us he will peg himself as the evil end-time ruler known to most as the Antichrist. The rapture of the church will happen prior to this final signing and strengthening of the peace agreement (2 Thessalonians 2:3)-and likely during its development when the world seems to be repeating the phrase "peace and safety" (1 Thessalonians 5:3). Stage is being set for these future events.
END-TIME PROPHECIES ABOUT: BIRTH PAINS
There will be smaller wars throughout church history (Matthew 24:6), but eventually world war will break out followed by great famine and disease (Matthew 24:7). Fulfilled and Continuing as "Birth Pains."
This will mark the beginning of the end characterized by labor-pain-like conditions that will increase (Matthew 24:8). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
Around the same time, Israel and many other nations will form and grow (Matthew 24:32; Luke 21:29). Fulfilled (Israel Founded 1948, UN Founded 1945 Then Grew).
After Israel's birth, earthquakes, natural disasters, tsunamis, wild climate extremes, and perplexing conflicts with no solution will increase in frequency, scale, and intensity (Matthew 24:7-8, Luke 21:25). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
END-TIME PROPHECIES ABOUT: CULTURE
Culture will grow noticeably course, unloving, lawless, immoral, and insane (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
There will be a noticeable rise in cults and the occult (1 Timothy 4:1, Matthew 24:5). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
In the last days, people will make fun of the belief in Christ's return, the belief in creation, and the belief in the flood of Noah's day, even though there is tangible evidence for all three (2 Peter 3:3-13). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
Sexual norms will be out the window, and the world will become increasingly confused about morality and God's design for sex and gender (Romans 1:18-32). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
Much of the church will lose its effectiveness, water down its message (2 Timothy 4:3-4, Revelation 3:14-18), and still a great number will fall away in a mass exodus (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
END-TIME PROPHECIES ABOUT: TECHNOLOGY
There will be an explosive exponential curve related to technology and travel (Daniel 12:4). In a short period of time, both will increase like no other time in history. Fulfilled/Happening Now.
Destructive weapons never before seen will emerge on the scene and will have the capacity to destroy much of the planet (Zechariah 14:12; Isaiah 24:1; Revelation 3:10; Matthew 24:21,22; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Revelation 16:8). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
News events will be seen live and everywhere on the planet (Revelation 11:9-10). Fulfilled/Stage Set.
A cashless system and skin-implanted technology to enable it will be developed (Revelation 13:16-17). Fulfilled/Stage Set.
Some form of artificial intelligence with global reach will have the ability to kill people on site (Revelation 13:15). Stage Being Set.
END-TIME PROPHECIES ABOUT: CONVERGENCE
If we are nearing the end, we should see all of these things forming at the same time and in the same generation once Israel is reborn as a world nation (Matthew 24:32-34). Fulfilled/Happening Now.
The more we see all of these things in play at the same time, the more we should be assured that the rapture is on the horizon (Luke 21:28). There is a shelf life for many of the categories. The multiple conditions cannot remain in perpetuity (Matthew 24:33). If we are close to what the top of the puzzle box shows, we should see details in these categories continue to increase and line up further with what the Bible foretells. Happening Now.
COMPLEX BOX TOP
Okay. I know that is an extremely complex box top, but I've included references if you want to check them out. There were so many things I had to leave out, like the spread of the Gospel around the globe before the end (Matthew 24:14); the persecution of Christians (Matthew 24:9-10); signs in the sun, moon, and stars (Luke 21:25); great movements of the Holy Spirit including dreams and visions (Joel 2:28; Act 2:17); the push toward globalism (Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Revelation 13) and a one-world religion (Revelation 17:1-18); Europe forming into a united empire made up of weak and strong countries (Daniel 2; Revelation 13), and so many others. As with the prophecies above, all of these I left out are either fulfilled or coming together in our generation.
So my goal was to take the randomness of the disconnected puzzle pieces that can easily overwhelm people, and use them to paint the picture of what the end times are supposed to look like. Now ask yourself: Does the current global puzzle look like the box top described above? With the same categories, consider these recent news headlines-all purposely taken from mainstream secular sources-and honestly ask yourself if the puzzle pieces of the world are lining up with the Biblically prophetic box top.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
It depends. If you are a believer, be encouraged and full of joy-and tell others about Jesus! Even though the world is falling apart, it means our departure is soon. I'm paying particularly close attention to Trump's Peace Plan. Once it is revealed, we'll know much more about its prophetic significance, but if it involves talk of rebuilding the Jewish Temple and/or any kind of 7-year time frame, it should REALLY get our attention. We believers need to share our faith and point others to Jesus. Whether his return is soon or not, we are not guaranteed tomorrow. We can't tell anyone about Jesus in Heaven. Everyone there will know him and is saved. NOW is the time for us to boldly share our faith.
Here are our marching orders as believers. In Titus 2:11-14 we read:
"For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope-the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good" (NIV).
We work while we wait, and this prepares us; it purifies us as the text says. We work while we wait, and that expectation drives us to work hard for the Lord.
If you don't know Jesus, PLEASE accept him now. He died for our sins so that we can be right with him. We don't have to be "good enough," because he was our perfect sacrifice. If you don't know Jesus, please contact me and I'd love to answer your questions and help you understand the simplicity of salvation. Simply put, Jesus paid it all and he traded our sin for his perfection. His sinlessness for our sin. He took care of it at the cross and raised himself from the dead to prove it was a done deal. He offers us the gift of salvation-we need only to accept it and to put our trust in him.
Romans 10:9-11 says:
"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, 'Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame'" (NKJV).
If you are skeptical but curious, I dare you to pray this prayer: "Jesus, if you are the God of the Bible and you truly died for my sins, please just make me believe it."
If you are sincere, he will answer that prayer. If you sense truth in all of this but you have questions related to origins, or the reliability of the Bible, or why there must be an ultimate judgment, or anything else, please contact me. I'd love to help answer your questions as honestly as I can. I had many of the same questions before becoming a Christian. Don't leave your questions unanswered. Investigate them. Your eternity may depend on it.
ToddHampson.com | Todd@Timbuktoons.com
Trump congratulates Netanyahu; Bolton says peace plan coming very soon - By Herb Keinon -
Goodwill wishes begin coming in from allies around the world.
US President Donald Trump, who gifted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights just two weeks before the elections, congratulated Netanyahu on his elections victory on Wednesday.
"I'd like to congratulate Bibi Netanyahu, it looks like that race has been won by him. It may be a little early, but it looks like he's won it in good fashion," he told reporters at the White House.
Trump called Netanyahu a "great ally" and "a friend," and characterized the campaign as "a well thought out race."
Trump also said that Netanyahu's re-election will improve the chances of peace in the region.
"The fact that Bibi won, I think we'll see some pretty good action in terms of peace." he said. "Everybody said, and I never made it a promise, 'you can't have peace in the Middle East with Israel and the Palestinians.' But I think we have a chance, and I think now we have a better chance with Bibi having won."
US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Wednesday that the US administration will roll out its long-awaited peace plan in the "very near future."
Trump was among a number of international leaders who sent congratulatory messages to Netanyahu, primarily from some of his closest allies.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who himself is in the midst of an election campaign - with voting there to start on Thursday - tweeted: "My dear friend Bibi, Congratulations! You are a great friend of India, and I look forward to continuing to work with you to take our bilateral partnership to new heights."
Modi, with whom Netanyahu has forged a close relationship, then tweeted the same message in Hebrew.
Another leader with whom Netanyahu has developed a close relationship, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, was the first leader to tweet his goodwill wishes: "Congratulations to Prime Minister Netanyahu for an excellent showing in yesterday's national elections. While the official results have yet not been published, one matter is clear: you have - once again - gained the trust of the people of Israel in record numbers."
Italy's far-right Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who met Netanyahu in December, also took to social media to congratulate the prime minister, writing on twitter: "Good job to my friend Bibi Netanyahu and a hug to the people of Israel."
A less enthusiastic response came from Berlin, where Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Berlin will "work closely, cordially and faithfully with the new Israeli government." He added that Germany was waiting for the final results of the election.
Israel, he said, "lies in a region with enormous challenges, which is why it's important to form a government quickly."
Nearing Midnight: Chicago Goes from Bad to Worse - Todd Strandberg - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
The City of Chicago is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. It is also a financial train wreck, with a debt so large it is set to replace Detroit as the city with the worst debt load. Chicago has billions in unfunded pension promises.
A recent analysis of the top 75 most populous U.S. cities by "Truth in Accounting's Financial State" gave Chicago a grade of "F" in its financial health and ranked it at the bottom of the list. The report said Chicago's debt burden was $40.5 billion, which would equate to about $45,000 for every Chicago taxpayer.
Chicago is also a basket case for racial strife. There is record black-on-black murder, but white cops are seen as the problem. The Jussie Smollett scandal made the racial discord only worse. The next time there is a real hate crime in Chicago, it's going to be impossible to know truth from fiction.
The city has just had an election to select a new mayor. The winner was former federal prosecutor Lori Lightfoot, who defeated Toni Preckwinkle in a runoff. She swept all 50 wards in the city's mayoral race. Lightfoot will be the first openly gay person and first black woman to lead the city.
Rahm Emanuel, who has been mayor since 2011, made the race possible by announcing in September that he would not seek a third term. When a city's problems become so profound that even a powerful Democrat known as "the Godfather" decides to jump ship, you know that difficult days are ahead.
Lightfoot came in first in an election that saw a record 14 candidates vying to succeed Emanuel. Although a nonpartisan election, the candidates in the February main election were all attached in varying degrees to the Democratic Party. The Republican Party has virtually disappeared from the city, which is shocking for a city with so many problems.
In her acceptance speech, Lightfoot said that as mayor she would focus on investing in neighborhoods on the West and South Sides and bring transparency and accountability to City Hall. She also said she wants to end City Hall corruption and restore people's faith in government.
"Out there tonight a lot of little girls and boys are watching. They're watching us, and they're seeing the beginning of something, well, a little bit different," Lightfoot told a jubilant crowd at a downtown hotel. "They're seeing a city reborn."
I find it amazing that the citizens of Chicago could be so foolish as to elect someone who will obviously make the city's problems worse. She wants to give money to poor areas that have already put Chicago into a massive financial mess. The "transparency" is about removing the rule of law in the black regions of the city. Going forward, the crime rate can only soar. With Lightfoot fixated on any perceived offenses by law enforcement, the blood is going to run like rivers in the streets of the Windy City.
This growing pattern of wickedness and lawlessness that is so evident in Chicago is a warning of more to come. By rejecting God's Word as the ultimate authority in their lives, people are setting the stage for the downfall of our nation.
"Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
"Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:24-32).
Solving the Three Day Three Night Mystery - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/solving-the-three-day-three-night-mystery/
Note: Jack originally published this article in 2003. It remains one of the most popular on this site, and for good reason. It's a great example of what we love about his studies: taking God at His Word and not relying on human logic or tradition. This study has been an eye opener for so many, but some have had a hard time reconciling the differences between the Jewish calendar and their own, in particular, that the Jewish day begins at sundown. I created the new image you'll find at the bottom of the article, hoping that a visual representation would make this all a bit clearer. I hope this helps! -Samantha
In Matthew 12:38 Jesus was asked for a sign to show that He was the promised Messiah. The religious officials had just accused Him of using the power of Satan to perform His miracles, and so He described the only sign they would see. "Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish," He said, "So will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:40)." By this He meant that because of their hardened hearts they would only know for sure that He was their Messiah after He rose from the dead, an unmistakably miraculous sign. History shows they didn't accept even as incredible a sign as this, but His response has resulted in a 2,000 year controversy surrounding the time of His death.
What's A Sabbath?
People who were unfamiliar with the sequence of the spring Feasts of Israel determined that the phrase in John 19:31 identifying the day after the crucifixion as a special Sabbath meant that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, because everyone knows that the Jewish Sabbath is Saturday. And almost everyone agrees that He rose again on Sunday. But there isn't any way you can put three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. Hence the controversy.
So let's set the record straight. Sabbath is a Hebrew word that means means "rest" and refers to holy days when no work is allowed. There is one every Saturday in Israel, but there are also several during the year that are date specific. That means they are always observed on a specific calendar date, regardless of the day. They're like our Christmas. Every year it comes on the 25th of December no matter what day of the week that happens to be.
The special Sabbath John referred to is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and it's a date specific holy day; always observed on the 15th of the month they call Nisan, which corresponds to March/April on our calendar. So the first thing we learn is that the special Sabbath mentioned in John 19:31 didn't have to be a Saturday.
Originally there were four special days in the month of Nisan. The first was Passover on the 14th. Then the Feast of Unleavened Bread which began on the 15th and ended on the 22nd, both of which were special Sabbaths. And finally, there was the Feast of First Fruits which fell on the Sunday morning following Passover (Leviticus 23:4-14).
Of the four, only the two that opened and closed the Feast of Unleavened Bread prohibited work like the weekly Sabbath, but all have both a historical and prophetic purpose and like all days in the Jewish calendar they begin at sundown, following the pattern of Genesis 1 where God repeated the phrase, "and there was evening and there was morning" six times, once for each day of creation.
The Passover Lamb
The next issue we have to consider is the sequence of events in the week we call Holy Week. In Exodus 12:1-13, where the Passover was ordained, we learn what that sequence was. God told the Israelites to select a lamb on the 10th day of the month and inspect it for defects until the 14th. This means through the end of the 13th. Then at twilight they were to slaughter and roast it, eating it that same evening, as the 14th was beginning. Using some of its blood they were to paint their door posts red to protect them from the plague coming upon Egypt at midnight.
Jesus came to fulfill the prophecy of the Passover Lamb, to save from death everyone who spiritually applies His shed blood to their lives. The only day He ever allowed the people to hail Him as King was on the day we call Palm Sunday, and as we'll see it was the 10th day of the month. He did this to fulfill the selection process for the Passover Lamb. When the officials told Him to rebuke His disciples, He said that if they became quiet, the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:40). For this was a day ordained in history. It was the day He officially presented Himself as Israel's Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). It was 483 years to the day from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet (Daniel 9:25). A little while after the officials cautioned Him, He condemned Jerusalem to utter destruction because they did not recognize the day of His visitation (Luke 19:41-44).
The next three days were filled with the most aggressive debate and confrontation with the officials in His entire ministry. He was being inspected for any doctrinal spot or blemish that would disqualify Him as the Lamb of God. They found none, and finally no one dared ask Him any more questions. (Matt. 22:46)
Some years before the birth of Jesus, the Passover celebration had been changed and in the Lord's time called for a brief ritual meal of lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs (horseradish) to begin the 14th followed by a great and leisurely festival meal on the 15th, when the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins. This meal is called the Passover Seder.
The 14th became known among the people as Preparation Day , because during the day they made ready for the great feast day beginning at sundown, after which no work was permitted. Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:31 all identify Preparation Day as the day of the Lord' s death, while Matt. 27:62 says the day after the crucifixion was the day after Preparation Day. So all four Gospels agree; Jesus died on Preparation day, the 14th of their month Nisan, which is Passover. As evening began the day, He ate the ritual meal with His disciples in the Upper Room, and then was arrested, tried, convicted, and put to death; all on Passover. So just like the Lord had commanded in Exodus 12, our Passover Lamb was selected on the 10th, inspected on the 11th, 12th, and 13th, and executed on the 14th of Nisan.
How Do We Know This?
A little over 100 years ago a believer named Robert Anderson was head of Scotland Yard's investigative division. He became intrigued by the three days and three nights issue and enlisted the help of the London Royal Observatory to investigate the problem since astronomers can locate the exact position of the planets and stars on any date in history. Since Passover always falls on the 14th, and since the Jewish calendar is lunar (moon) rather than solar (sun) oriented, there is always a full moon on Passover. This fulfills Genesis 1:14.
Plotting the course of the Sun and Moon they documented the day and date of every full moon. The Royal Observatory discovered that the first Palm Sunday was the 10th of Nisan, the day when Exodus 12 says to select the lamb. Therefore Passover, the 14th, was a Thursday. The Feast of Unleavened bread began on Friday the 15th, Saturday the 16th was the weekly Sabbath, and Resurrection Morning was also a Sunday, the 17th, when the Feast of First Fruits was celebrated. From Thursday to Sunday there are three days and three nights. It's a little confusing to our way of thinking because the Hebrew day changes at sunset, which means that night precedes day. But read carefully and you'll see that it makes sense.
As I've said, Jesus had to die on Passover to fulfill the prophecy. Early that Thursday morning the Jewish leadership had gotten permission to crucify Him. (Matt. 27:1-26) His fate was sealed and He was hanging on the cross by 9 AM, as good as dead. His actual time of death was about 3 PM and His body was laid in the tomb sometime later, since the officials wanted it off the cross before sundown brought the Feast of Unleavened Bread, after which no work was permitted. By then Jesus had been in Sheol for several hours. Thursday was day one.
Because in Jewish reckoning the night precedes the day, at sundown it became Friday the 15th, night one, and the special Sabbath John mentioned began (John 19:31). At sunrise it was Friday morning, and day two began. The next sundown brought Saturday night the 16th, night two, and the regular Sabbath began. As of sunrise it was Saturday day, the beginning of day three. At sundown on Saturday it became Sunday night the 17th, night three, and sometime before sunrise Jesus rose from the tomb. Three days and three nights. When the women arrived at sunrise to anoint His body early in the morning, He was already gone.
So in the week Jesus died two Sabbaths that permitted no work were observed back to back: The Feast of Unleavened Bread on Friday the 15th, and the regular weekly Sabbath on Saturday the 16th. In Matthew 28:1 we read that at dawn on the first day of the week (Sunday the 17th) the women who were close to Jesus went to the tomb. Luke 24:1 tells us they were going to anoint His body for burial. The two consecutive Sabbaths had prevented them from doing so earlier (Luke 23:55-56). But He wasn't there. He had risen. Being the Sunday after Passover, at the Jewish Temple it was Feast of First Fruits. At the Empty Tomb it was Resurrection Morning.
How Can We Confirm This?
Some people try to equate his time of death with the burial of His body and say you can't count Thursday as day one, because His body wasn't laid in the tomb until sunset was upon them. But that doesn't make sense. A person's death always precedes his or her burial, sometimes by several days. In the Lord's case it was several hours between the time He died and the time His body was laid in the tomb.
The two disciples who met the Lord on the road to Emmaus that Sunday (the day the Lord's resurrection was discovered) help us to confirm this (Luke 24:13-35). At first they thought the Lord must have been a very recent visitor to the area when He asked them to explain why they were so sad. In the course of the discussion they indicated it was the third day since the crucifixion. "Since" is roughly equivalent to "after". It being a Sunday, the previous day (Saturday) would have been the 2nd day since it happened , and Friday would have been the first day since it happened, making Thursday the day it happened.
Others argue that this view doesn't permit three full days and three full nights in the tomb but that's not what the Scripture says. It simply says three days and three nights. If you move his death up to Wednesday to get three full days you violate the Passover Lamb prophecies, the women wouldn't have waited until Sunday morning to prepare the Lord's body because they could have done it on Friday, and the disciples on the Emmaus road would have said Sunday was the fourth day since the crucifixion. So the Thursday date is the only one that will accommodate both the Passover Lamb and the three day three night prophecies. Mystery solved.
Most of us see our "day" beginning when we get out out of bed in the morning, but the reality is that it began hours before, at midnight. If you keep that subtle difference in mind, it shouldn't be too difficult to back up a few more hours to sundown of the previous day. That's when the Jewish calendar day began. In this calendar, each column represents one day of the week, just like your daily calendar. The top row represents the daytime hours while the bottom row represents the nighttime hours, just as you're used to. The difference in this calendar is in the dating. Since the Jewish day begins at sundown, the first half of each day is shown on the bottom half of the calendar. To follow that day to it's completion, you jump to the top of the next column to the right.
Daily Jot: Prophetic implications of Israeli elections - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
There are a lot of prophetic implications of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu winning reelection in Israel. Leadership is important. We know that God is sovereign in all things, but he often chooses to work through humans as his plan unfolds. Israel is the centerpiece and the timepiece of prophecy, so what goes on there is important to how prophecy plays out. The upcoming peace plan that President Donald Trump will present to Israel and the terrorists entities of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas will speak volumes about the march of prophecy. While it is not wise to always boil these complex issues down to "if-then" scenarios, because a lot can change in a heartbeat, here are some prophetic thoughts.
There are signals of where the so-called peace plan is headed. First, Trump has supported Israel's right over the strategic Golan heights-a move that is not supported by the rest of the world, especially the one-world order crowd at the United Nations. Trump also designated that Iran's elite military group, the Revolutionary Guard, are terrorists. During the election campaign, Netanyanu promised that he would extend Israeli sovereignty over the settlements in Judea and Samaria, commonly called the West Bank. Meanwhile, there are the same type of media and opposition efforts against Netanyahu as there are against Trump-corruption charges, constant barrage of leftism being used to cover the terrorist advance.
These facts could signal that Trump and Netanyahu already know where this new peace plan is headed. If Israel gets sovereignty over the settlements in Judea and Samaria, its capital in Jerusalem, and ownership of the Golan Heights, what do the enemies of Israel get in return? That's how deals work. The Trump Administration has signaled that there will be "investments" in Judea and Samaria, and the agreement would address the controversial "Palestinian Right of Return" for those displaced in the creation of Israel. This has the makings of where both sides could be dissatisfied with the outcome, even if an agreement is reached. This could mean temporary peace, then more war, or just war.
In Ezekiel 38:3-8, the Lord says, "Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: and I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army...Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them...against the mountains of Israel..." These areas mentioned in Ezekiel 38 coincide with modern Turkey, Iran, Sudan, Libya, parts of Iraq, even Saudi Arabia. In February, Russia, Iran and Turkey met to coordinate their efforts in Syria after Trump announced US withdrawal from the war-torn neighbor of Israel. Therefore, the major players of the Gog of Magog prophecy are active nearby. A peace plan lies ahead. Netanyahu, despite reelection, remains embroiled in investigations and media controversy. There will be continued chaos. The time ahead will reveal the speed of prophecy. Watch and pray.
Daily Devotion: The God Who Suffers - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief . . . Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. - Isaiah 53:3-4
When we think of God, we usually consider that fact that He is righteous, holy, loving, and good. But here is something else to consider about God: He is the God who has suffered.
We don't tend to think that a perfect Creator would experience such a human trait as human pain and suffering. After all, why would you suffer if you did not have to?
But God has suffered, and more deeply than any of us could ever imagine.
In his book "The Cross of Christ," John Stott said, "Our God is a suffering God." And I think he is right.
Listen to Isaiah's description of what Jesus (who was God) went through at Calvary:
"He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief . . . Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:3-5)
"A man of suffering." That was Jesus.
But why did God suffer? Because He loved and loves. That means He also enters into our suffering as well.
Hebrews 2:17-18 tells us:
"Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation, he is able to help us when we are being tempted" (NLT).
You are not alone in your suffering today. Jesus has been there and walked in your shoes and He is here for you right now. Call out to Him.
FROM THE HEART
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