Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
In the Midst - by Randy Nettles -
"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate" (Daniel 9:27). The prophet Daniel is clearly referring to the last 7 years ("one week") on earth before Jesus' 2nd Coming to the earth. This time period is known as the Tribulation and/or Jacob's Trouble. Numerous Old Testament prophets referred to it as the Day of the Lord.
Does the term "in the midst" mean the exact middle or could it mean near the middle? There are 269 times in the Old Testament that use that terminology. Very few of them refer to the exact middle. Most of them are in reference to close proximity to the middle or center.
For example, in 1 Samuel 16, Samuel the prophet went to the house of Jesse of the tribe of Judah to anoint one of his sons as the king who would eventually replace Saul. Jesse had 8 sons counting David. God informed Samuel that he was to anoint David, the youngest. "Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren..." (1 Samuel 16:13). With seven brothers, there is no exact middle, for there are four on one side of David and three on the other side of David. If there would have been 9 sons; then yes, David could have been in the exact middle of them, but as it was, he was only in their midst.
Daniel is using the original (prophetic) calendar that Moses wrote about in Genesis 7 and 8 which is in regard to the Great Flood of Noah's day. In the original calendar, one calendar year was equal to 360 days. The duration of Daniel 9:27 is for 7 calendar years of 360 days each for a total of 2520 days
The in the midst event of Daniel 9:27 is known as the Abomination of Desolation and is described in Daniel 12:11 and Revelation 13:14-15. Most Bible experts believe the A.O.D. will occur exactly 1260 days after the start of Jacob's Trouble. But what if instead, it begins 1,230 days after the start of the Tribulation? Isn't that also in the midst of 2,520 days?
Daniel 12:11 gives the duration of the last part (3.5 years) of the Tribulation, from the A.O.D. to the end of the 7 year Tribulation. "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate setup, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days" (Daniel 12:11). Have you ever wondered why Daniel 12:11 is for 1,290 days instead of 1,260 days? To get a better perspective on the number of days, consider the earlier words of Daniel:
"Then I Daniel looked, and behold, there stood two others (besides the angel messenger), the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen (Jesus), which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and swore by him that lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, and all these things shall be accomplished" (Daniel 12:5-7).
Later in Daniel 12:11, Jesus specifically informs Daniel of the exact amount of days that are in the term "time, times, and a half" (3.5 years)....exactly 1290 days. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the first part of the prophecy is for 1230 days and the last part is for 1290 days. In other words, the Abomination of Desolation will occur in the midst of the 2520 days duration of the Tribulation, but not necessarily the exact middle.
There are two theories on the duration of the two parts of the Tribulation. Let us look at these as Theory 1 (1,260-1,260 days) and Theory 2 (1,230-1,290 days). Theory 1 starts 30 days before theory 2 does. Both theories have the same date for the in the midst event known as the Abomination of Desolation. Theory 1 ends 30 days earlier than Theory 2. Both theories agree that The Tribulation will last for 2,520 days.
Theory 1 is similar to Theory 2 in that they both believe that the Anti-Christ's total power over the Tribulation saints and the Jewish people will last for exactly 1,260 days or forty-two months (Revelation 13:5-7). Both theories believe that after the Abomination of Desolation, the remnant of Israel will flee into the wilderness of Jordan (Petra) where God will supernaturally protect them and sustain them for 1,260 days (Revelation 12:6).
Both theories agree that after the seals, trumpets, and vials judgments from God, Jesus Christ returns on a future Feast of Trumpets day at the battle of Armageddon. Daniel's 70th Seven ends there with theory 1 and does not really address Jesus fulfilling the 6th and 7th Feasts of the Lord. They occur after the Tribulation is officially over (7 years or 2520 days).
With Theory 2, the end of the Tribulation does not end with the battle of Armageddon, but rather 30 days later. This takes into account enough time for the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles to be fulfilled by Jesus after his return to the Earth on Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah. The Feast of Tabernacles lasts for eight days until Tishri 23rd. Seven days later the Millennium Kingdom of Jesus Christ will commence.
According to Daniel 9:24, the end of the 7-year Tribulation will not occur until six things happen: 1) to finish the transgression, 2) to make an end of sin, 3) to make reconciliation for iniquity, 4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, 5) to seal up the vision and prophecy, 6) to anoint the most Holy.
With Theory 1, there is no time for all of this to happen if the Tribulation is over when Jesus returns at Armageddon. With Theory 2, there is sufficient time for the before-mentioned six results to occur. Also, there will still be enough time for Jesus to fulfill the prophecies of Matthew 24:30-31 as well as Matthew 25:31-46.
In establishing timelines for both of these theories, there is only one hypothesis that must be met... the date that Jesus returns to the earth must be on a future Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah day. Most Bible eschatologists agree the date on the Hebrew calendar for the return of Jesus Christ (2nd Coming) to the earth, at the Battle of Armageddon, will occur on Rosh Hashanah (Tishri 1 on the Jewish calendar) in some future year. Throughout the history of the Hebrew people, trumpets always were sounded when a Jewish king entered into the battle arena. It will not be different this time as well, only the trumpets will be of a heavenly origin announcing the King of kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.
The 5th Feast of the Lord, known as Trumpets, is the next one in line to be fulfilled by Jesus; as the first four (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost) were fulfilled by him in 33 BC. Pentecost was fulfilled by Jesus sending the Holy Spirit to his followers 50 days after His resurrection on Sivan 7 of the same year, thus starting the Church Age.
No one knows the day or the hour of the Rapture, and no one ever will until it happens. However, by studying the scriptures, we can recognize the signs and biblical prophecies that precede it and know when it is getting close. We can be the watchman on the wall warning the people of immediate danger that is approaching, by blowing the trumpet (proclaiming God's word).
"Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he sees the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet, and takes not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head" (Ezekiel 33:2-4).
The Rapture will precede the Tribulation. How much time elapses between these two God-ordained events is unknown. It could possibly be weeks, months, or even years. After the Rapture, the Anti-Christ will eventually come upon the scene to set up his wicked kingdom and will fulfill the prophecy of Daniel 9:27. He should be obvious to identify by two facts: 1) His name will numerically add up to the number 666 as per Revelation 13:18. 2) He will confirm the peace covenant with the many (ruling government of Israel) for a period of seven years.
In the midst of Jacob's Trouble, the Anti-Christ will perform his act of the "abomination of desolation" in the newly built 3rd Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. He will also stop all the daily animal sacrifices that have been recently reinstated there. Many eschatologists suspect this will take place during the time of the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread when all male Jews of age are required to attend this historical and commemorative national event. 1260 days later, Jesus will return to the earth during the time of the 5th Feast of the Lord known as Trumpets, at the Battle of Armageddon.
If the Lord does return on a future Rosh Hashanah day, the time frame of the seven-years preceding it can now come into view. To begin the hypothetical dating process of the seven years of Jacob's Trouble you must travel in time to a future (a minimum of seven years from now) Feast of Trumpets day and work your way back to the past.
The earliest possible Feast of Trumpets date for the 2nd Coming of Jesus would be on Tishri 1, 5788 (October 1, 2027). 1260 days earlier, on Nisan 12, 5784 (April 19, 2024), the Abomination of Desolation occurs and the Anti-Christ acquires total control of world government. 1230 days earlier from the A.O.D., on Kislev 21, 5781 (December 6, 2020), the Tribulation period would officially start in this example. This date is only a little over a month from the 2020 presidential elections here in the United States.
If the Rapture happens sometime before the 2020 elections, I believe a Democrat will be elected into office as president of the United States. All the older conservatives (Republicans) will be raptured at a much higher rate than the liberal/progressive Democrats. This will leave the Democrats with a majority of voters. Most of the raptured believers will be older people and/or the very young (under the age of accountability). Those left behind will probably respond positively to the Anti-Christ's peace covenant with Israel that will occur soon after the Rapture.
Now let's go to a more likely timeline, as there will probably be more of a gap of time between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation. A popular theory is that Jesus will return when the modern nation of Israel is 80 years old...in 2028. Of course, He will return on Rosh Hashanah. The date, in this case, would be on Tishri 1, 5789 on the Jewish calendar or September 20, 2028, on our modern Gregorian calendar. We must then count backward 1260 days (approximately 3.5 years or 42 months) to determine the in the midst point of the Tribulation, otherwise known as the Abomination of Desolation. This historic day would occur on Nisan 12, 5785 (April 9, 2025).
If you agree with theory 2 and believe that the beginning of the Tribulation takes place 1230 days earlier from the date of the Abomination of Desolation (instead of 1260 days), then the official starting date tales place on Kislev 24, 5782 on the Jewish calendar or November 27, 2021, on the Gregorian calendar. On the 25th day of the month of Kislev, the Jews celebrate the Feast of Hanukkah every year. Hanukkah commemorates the cleansing and rededication of the 2nd Temple of Jerusalem in 164 BC after the Jews won back control of Jerusalem from the occupying Syrian forces. On the day before the Feast of Hanukkah, the 24th day of Kislev, Israel has witnessed four major historical events regarding Jerusalem and/or the Holy Temple in Jerusalem:
1) The foundation of the 2nd Temple was laid in 520 BC (December 10, 520 BC).
2) The abolition of the Temple sacrifice by Antiochus in 167 BC (December 11, 167 BC).
3) The recapture of the Temple and the cleansing of the temple sanctuary in 164 BC. (December 8, 164 BC)
4) Jerusalem was freed from Turkish rule in 1917 (December 8, AD 1917).
What are the odds that the first day of the start of the Tribulation (when the Antichrist and the ruling government of Israel confirm a peace/trade covenant), might be on Kislev 24th of all days? Of course, odds don't really matter to God! This confirming of the covenant would allow the Jews to rebuild their holy temple in Jerusalem. Once the temple is built, the remainder of Daniel's prophecy can then become fulfilled.
As mentioned before, 1230 days later on Nisan 12, 5786 (April 9, 2025) the "in the midst" event, otherwise known as the Abomination of Desolation, will occur. The A.C. will do his dirty deed on or near the anniversary date of Nisan 10, (33 BC) when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey as the true king of Israel. The Antichrist will emulate Jesus as being king of the Jews (and the entire world)...only he will try to claim his right to rule by force.
1260 days after the A.O.D., on Tishri 1, 5789 (September 20, 2028), Jesus will return to the earth at the Battle of Armageddon. This will ultimately fulfill the 5th Feast of the Lord known as Trumpets. The King of kings will have returned and the trumpets will be blowing for him. Jesus will have a greater victory even than the one He accomplished at Jericho approximately 3433 years earlier. After His great victory at Armageddon, He will fulfill the 6th and 7th Feasts of the Lord...Atonement and Tabernacles. Thus all seven Feasts of the Lord will have been accomplished and fulfilled by Jesus the son of God.
30 days after the last Feast of Trumpets, the Tribulation/Jacob's Trouble will have ended and the Millennium reign of Jesus Christ will begin. The date in this hypothetical example would be Heshvan 1, 5789 (October 20, 2028). 1290 days will have passed from the Abomination of Desolation (as mentioned in Daniel 12:11) to the end of the Great Tribulation and 2520 days will have passed from the start to the end of the seven-year Tribulation.
The 1000 year glorious reign of Jesus Christ as king of the earth will have begun. Hallelujah!
Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Over 200 Israeli Rabbis Sign Letter Thanking Trump for "Fulfilling Prophecy of Jeremiah" - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - www.breakingisraelnews.com
"Again you shall plant vineyards On the hills of Shomron; Men shall plant and live to enjoy them." Jeremiah 31:4 (The Israel Bible™)
Over 200 rabbis, including the Chief Rabbis of Israel, sent a letter to President Trump, thanking him for his recognition of Israel's right to Judea and Samaria. The letter was composed by the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and published in Srugim compared the political move to the prophecy of Jeremiah.
Again you shall plant vineyards On the hills of Shomron; Men shall plant and live to enjoy them. Jeremiah 31:4
"Over 2,500 years ago, the Prophet Jeremiah claimed that the nation of Israel would return to the hills of Samaria and plant their vineyards there."
The Rabbis then cited another verse in Jeremiah as being manifested by Trump's actions.
Thus said the lord of Hosts, the God of Yisrael: They shall again say this in the land of Yehuda and in its towns, when I restore their fortunes: "Hashem bless you, Abode of righteousness, O holy mountain!" Jeremiah 31:22
"We get to live in the generation where these prophecies are fulfilled word for word. 130 years ago, Jew from all over the world started returning to Israel. 72 years ago, the nation was freed from foreign rule. 52 years ago we returned to Jerusalem, Hebron, and the rest of Judea and Samaria. Our enemies did not accept this, and are still trying to stop the process. But God has promised to Abraham that 'Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies', and we have seen with our own eyes how 'Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you'".
"We are grateful for the blessing of peace, of the hills of Israel producing fruit, and of the Israeli economy gathering strength" the letter read. "We are grateful that the world recognizes Israel's mission to bring joy and hope to the world, to strengthen justice and bring everlasting peace. Two years ago we got your recognition of the central position Jerusalem has in our country, followed by recognition of the Golan Heights - and now we are blessed with your recognition of the legality of the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria".
"The United States of America were one of the first countries to support the founding of the State of Israel. The presidents of the US were honored to support Israel, and be part of the fulfillment of the Prophet's predictions of the return of Zion and the foundation of the State of Israel. It is a rare honor for you to be the first President to lead this recognition".
God made a promise to Abraham, that 'I will bless those who bless you'. He promised the prophet Isaiah that 'For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow'. President Trump, you are blessed to see the fulfillment of this prophecy".
"We are sure you will be remembered in the history of Israel as the leader who stood fearlessly by our side. May God bless you and fulfill you as he promised Joshua: 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go'".
Jewish Myopia - By Terry James -
As anyone who reads my commentaries knows, I support Donald J. Trump in most every one of his actions and policies as president. As a matter of fact, I believe he has been placed in this powerful office at one of the most crucial points in human history, not just at the most critical point in American history.
A quick rethinking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election makes one acknowledge the strange turn of events. The so-called odds ran totally contrary to the way the election was supposed to go.
I believe it was not just a strange turn of events, but a supernatural turn of events that took place.
Likewise, I think most who read these commentaries know that I strongly support the nation Israel in most every way. This is not to say I always support and agree with the Israeli government and that country's actions and reactions to events in which they become involved. The nation is in many ways stumbling in the dark like any other nation, and often makes mistakes. Israel is in no way perfect, and those who accuse we who support the nation blindly just don't know the truth of our support. I'm talking about our support as Christians -Christians in the truest sense. -Christians who believe in the literal interpretation of Bible prophecy.
And, speaking of blindness -a myopic view of things that rivals any nearsightedness in history- the nation called Israel and the people called Jews are subjects of legendary such malady.
Only, it is not merely legendary myopia the nation and Jewish people as a whole suffer. It is Biblically pronounced extreme nearsightedness with which they are afflicted.
Paul the apostle wrote the following in this regard.
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." (Rom 11: 25)
Jewish orthodoxy, of course, rejected Jesus Christ as Messiah 2000 years ago. This puts the nation, as a whole, under Paul's further expression of God's condemnation in this regard.
"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Cor 4: 3-4)
Having prefaced these commentary thoughts with the fact that both Mr. Trump and the Jewish people and the nation Israel have no greater a supporter than yours truly, I must point out a development that portends devastating trouble ahead.
The trouble of which I write is for the Jewish people who continue to reject the one, true Savior of the world -the Lord Jesus Christ.
It involves the matter of the orthodox Jews -the religious upper-strata that holds to Judaism and the rejection of Jesus Christ. These religionists -at least a number of them-embrace President Trump as a sort of savior. They don't give him Messiah status, but they laud him as a king of prophetic prominence within their clerical view.
This brief excerpt will, I hope frame my thought here.
President Trump attended an Orthodox Jewish fundraising event at the Intercontinental Hotel in Manhattan on Tuesday evening. Four hundred Orthodox Jews participated in the event, contributing an estimated $100,000 each for the honor of paying a personal tribute to the Commander-in-Chief.
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson recited the blessing said upon seeing a non-Jewish ruler...
Blessed art Thou, O L-rd our G-d, King of the Universe, that you have shared part of your love and glory and compassion with a human being who maintains the honor of every innocent person and every Jew forever."
The Talmud states that it is a mitzvah (Torah commandment) for a Jew to go out of his way to see rulers and kings, whether they are Jewish or non-Jewish but there is a dispute among Halachic (Torah law) authorities as to whether this blessing should be recited with the complete name of God in these times upon seeing a ruler who is not a king.
It is significant that when the rabbi recited the blessing upon seeing Donald Trump, he said the complete and explicit name of God in Hebrew.
Rabbi Nachman Kahana, a prominent spiritual leader in Jerusalem, did not agree with Rabbi Jacobson's decision to use the name of God in this instance.
"Every rabbi can make his own ruling and Chabad has their own methods and rulings. But what is for sure is that Halacha is not influenced by political considerations," Rabbi Kahana explained to Breaking Israel News. "It is like science and should be the result of careful consideration of the facts and the current situation...
This is learned out from the real king, Hashem (God, literally 'the name'), which is the source of the king's authority. Hashem's authority is not derived from other men. He cannot be impeached, and we don't vote for God." (Rabbi: Blessing Trump as King Shows He is the Final President Before the Return of Davidic Dynasty, By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz, Breaking Israel News, November 13, 2019)
So, there is disagreement about the technicalities of giving homage to political leaders amongst the Jewish upper-clergy. However, their myopic inability to determine who is who among politicians and world leaders is the point I wish to make. The lack of ability to determine how those leaders can be trusted as a blessing by God to Israel is becoming clear in these strange days so near the end of the age.
Their blindness, as expressed by the Apostle Paul in the scripture given above, becomes increasingly manifest as their true Messiah's coming nears. This myopia -this blindness, is foretold by the Messiah, Himself.
"I have come in my Father's name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him." (John 5: 43)
Jews at the highest ecclesiastical echelons are exhibiting the supernatural myopia Jesus predicted. They are straining to look for the anointed one so long promised. Sadly, they will soon, deludedly, see Antichrist as Israel's Messiah.
Want To vs. Have To: Discovering the Joy of Giving - By Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/tough-questions-answered/want-to-vs-have-to-discovering-the-joy-of-giving/
Because we're adults, we think we're pretty responsible. We have ourselves convinced that by and large we do the "right thing." But sub-consciously we're still governed by something called the "want to vs. have to" principle. Here's what that means.
Given the option, we try to order our lives so as to do more of those things that make us feel good, and less of the things that make us feel bad. In conversations we say, "I want to" about the good things and, "I have to" about the bad. When we say "I want to," we're really anticipating the desirable results of our action, whereas "I have to" anticipates effort where results are either undesirable or unclear. (Example: "I want to play golf, but I have to do my taxes.") So when we say "I want to" we're focused on results, but when we say "I have to" we're focused on effort, and results are usually more pleasant to consider than effort.
Our happiness is governed by the relationship between "want to's" and "have to's" in our life. The more "want to's" we have in our life the greater our happiness will be. But if we lose sight of the desired result, or if the result has lost it's meaning for us, then even those "want to's" we formerly enjoyed doing will become "have to's", and will no longer be enjoyable. It may sound confusing at first, but if you give it some thought, I think you'll see the logic.
How Giving Became A "Have To"
The Lord understood this principle (naturally) when He established the law of tithing. In three passages from Deuteronomy, He explained this law, commanding the people to put aside one tenth of their annual production for Him.
"Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land-a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills" (Deut 8:6-9).
He said there would be plenty of opportunity to prosper in the land He was giving them;
"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery" (Deut 8:10-14).
He warned them not to become proud and forget that it was He who had made their prosperity possible;
You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today (Deut. 8:17-18).
Then He explained how He wanted them to remember Him.
But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling (Jerusalem). To that place you must go; there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks. There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you (Deut 12:5-7)
They were to take the Lord's tenth (tithe) to Jerusalem each fall after the harvest and use it for a big feast to celebrate the Lord's blessings upon them. Here's what He told them to do with it.
Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year. Eat the tithe of your grain, new wine and olive oil, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks in the presence of the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name, so that you may learn to revere the Lord your God always. But if that place is too distant and you have been blessed by the Lord your God and cannot carry your tithe (because the place where the Lord will choose to put his Name is so far away), then exchange your tithe for silver, and take the silver with you and go to the place the Lord your God will choose. Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice (Deut. 14:22-26).
The reason He commanded them to separate the tithe was that He wanted to remind them it was His. Also if He hadn't required them to do so, most wouldn't have set anything aside for the feast. It would all have been absorbed into their living costs and they would have missed out on the celebration.
Every third year, instead of celebrating they gave the tithe to the priests in their city to help the poor and indigent, first within the community and then from among their visitors. There was always enough to last until the next contribution three years later.
And do not neglect the Levites living in your towns, for they have no allotment or inheritance of their own. At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year's produce and store it in your towns, so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands (Deut. 14:27-29)
Obviously, the Lord didn't need their money. He only wanted them to remember Who had blessed them. By celebrating, they were reminded. Further, He commanded that the celebration be at His house, not theirs, so they wouldn't start thinking they had created their own blessings.
The Origin Of Thanksgiving
Each fall in Jerusalem, at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, the Lord hosted a national celebration with His people coming from all over. The aroma of delicious foods cooking over open fires permeated the whole city. For seven days where ever you went there was an air of joy and festivity as the people remembered their Provider and gave thanks. In the US, our Thanksgiving celebration was originally patterned after it.
Because it felt good to obey, they wanted to do it, and they learned the joy of giving. When it came time to donate the tithe to the poor, they did so with a generous spirit, knowing that they were giving away the Lord's share not theirs. (It's always easier to be generous with some one else's money.) Because each community helped its own poor directly everyone got the help they needed, and the people could see how their generosity was blessing others.
What About Now?
Contrast that with the way of giving in the Church today. Because we're not under the Law, we no longer believe that one tenth is the Lord's, so we no longer credit Him for our blessings. When the Church asks for money, we think we're being asked for some of our own money, and sometimes we're not clear about the benefit. All we're told is that the Lord's work will be hindered without our help, as if the all powerful King of the Universe will be stopped in His tracks for lack of our contribution.
This approach to giving makes us feel bad, so we want less of it. We resent being made to feel guilty so we give only as much as is necessary to ease our guilt. "I want to" has become "I have to." No wonder the joy has gone from our giving.
Some "religious" groups require 10% of their members' income and conduct periodic audits to make sure they're getting it all. Some even teach that tithing is evidence of salvation. It's the most glaring example of man's religion working at cross-purposes with the intent of God's laws.
A Blessing or a Curse?
Today, tithing is thought by many to be a curse for believing rather than a celebration for blessing. They go around looking for a church that doesn't talk about money all the time. Because they never learn the true purpose of their giving, they are deprived of the blessings of abundance the Lord promises to those who "bring the whole tithe into the storehouse." For its part, the church merely survives when it should thrive. (The church would actually receive much more income if we went back to doing things the Lord's way)
And perhaps most sadly, those in need don't receive the help from the church they could otherwise have. Instead, the government has become their benefactor. Therefore, help that could have come in the name of the Lord, and perhaps prompted a life change in the heart of the recipient, influences the way they vote instead. Satan wins again.
Daily Jot: The price of leadership - Bill Wilson -
Leadership is a difficult thing. No matter how good a person is at serving others, leading by example, doing the right thing even when others think it is wrong, having good character, being a good decisionmaker, and so on, leadership has its price. The bigger the leader's responsibilities, the bigger the price. I've led a range of organizations and companies in my lifetime. From 4-H Clubs to sports teams to political campaigns to small and large companies to ministries, and all along the way there were enemies and detractors, no matter how good a job I did. There is always "that person" who finds offense and makes a big deal about it. The current leadership parallels between America and Israel are interesting.
In America, we are bombarded every day with impeachment news. The news media and politicians who oppose the President have been trying to remove him from office even before his transition team began its work in late 2016. Government progress has been obstructed at every turn. There is nothing more important to the opposition than the removal of America's elected leader. Everything he does is wrong as measured in their eyes. They use every opportunity to justify skewering him base on their own brand of logic and justice. This US President has been under attack from his enemies from day one. And there are no signs that it will let up.
Halfway across the world is another leader, the Prime Minister of Israel. He has been a good leader, a strong leader. But the very same spirit working here in America also is trying to take him out. Think back to the previous US president and all the efforts to defeat the Prime Minister of Israel that were even illegally funded with US dollars because the previous US president didn't want to deal with the Prime Minister's hard line policies against Islamic terrorists. Well, now the opposition in Israel has finally got their indictment against the Prime Minister-bribery, breach of trust, and fraud. All vehemently denied by the Prime Minister who says this is no less than a witch hunt. Others say it is a coup attempt.
See the parallel? Both leaders have different styles. Both have been successful in their lives. Both are serving the public. Both are not perfect. Yet their opposition paints them as the worst people on earth, that their every breath does harm to someone. It is amazing how the people clamor for better leadership, yet refuse to recognize good leadership when they see it. There is always the complainer. Good becomes evil and evil becomes good. The verses about leadership in the Bible require righteousness, skill, wisdom, fairness and justice. Proverbs 29:2 says, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bear rule, the people mourn." Some people mourn if they don't get their own selfish way-and many of them wail the loudest. Herein is the price of leadership.
Daily Devotion: The Joy of Putting Others First - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.-Mark 10:45
A study by Carnegie Mellon University found that older adults who volunteer at least 200 hours a year decrease their risk of hypertension by a whopping 40 percent. And other studies have shown that those that help others live longer.
If only we could discover the joy of serving others. Conventional wisdom says, "Everyone should serve me. I'm entitled. You owe me. Take care of me. I don't want to work. I don't want to apply myself. I just want everything to come my way."
Biblical teaching, on the other hand, says, "Put the needs of others first. Serve others." And Jesus said, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45 NKJV).
Here's a little secret that many of us miss: There is great joy in serving people. In fact, there's more joy in serving than there is in being served.
Sometimes we think people who are in what we might call professional ministry are sort of the elite: "They're really serving God. I'm just out here in the regular old workforce. I can't bring glory to God."
Oh, yes, you can. Learn to serve. Serve in some way, shape, or form.
My number one priority is to know God and bring glory to His name. And my number two priority is to be a good husband, a good father, and a good grandfather. By the way, that comes even before my ministry as a pastor. We have to keep our priorities in order.
Every Christian is called to do or be something for God's glory. In his letter to the Romans, Paul called himself "a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God" (1:1 NKJV).
Every Christian can and must bring glory to God.
FROM THE HEART
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