Are You Ready? Nehemiah 8:13-14


Are You Ready?

Nehemiah 8:13-14, “On the second day of the month, the heads of all the families, along with the priests and the Levites, gathered around Ezra the teacher to give attention to the words of the Law. They found written in the Law, which the Lord had commanded through Moses, that the Israelites were to live in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month.”

When we read God’s Word it reminds us of things that maybe we’ve forgotten or overlooked.

We get busy with life. Others things crowd in. The urgent consumes the truly important and before long we’ve drifted from the foundational, fundamental importance of our relationship with Jesus. He becomes “one of the things” in our life instead of “our life”.

God’s Word helps us to recalibrate back to His standard.

That’s what happened here.

For over 1000 years this sacred “festival of the seventh month”, this “Feast of Tabernacles”, had been overlooked, ignored, and deemed irrelevant.

Other things had taken priority, and the celebration that had reminded the people of God’s faithfulness and goodness had been thrown in the scrap heap as out of fashion and outdated.

This was to be a yearly celebration, a time of joy, a week long festival of banquets and laughter and honoring God for His bringing of the people out of the wilderness into the Promised Land.

This was the last of the seven yearly sacred celebrations, to be held at the final harvest of their growing season.

Of the seven festivals, three were considered high festivals, to be held in higher esteem and importance. They were the sacred celebrations of Passover, Pentecost & Tabernacles.

The Passover in the O.T. was a solemn celebration of God’s provision of a Lamb’s blood to rescue the people of Israel from the death angel on that terrible night in Egypt during their captivity. It’s also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread and can be found in Lev. 23.

This sacred seven day festival commemorates the people of God’s rescue from captivity and their exodus into the wilderness to follow God until they reached the Promised Land.

In the N.T. it signifies the first coming of Christ, the Lamb of God, who gave His life on the day of Passover and made provision for our sins by His shed blood, and our freedom from the captivity of sin and our privilege to follow Him as He leads us through our lives until we reach our Promised Land of Heaven.

Pentecost in the O.T. is a joyous celebration of the first harvest in the spring mentioned in 2 Chron. 8. It’s also known as the festival of the first fruits, the festival of reaping, or the festival of weeks. It’s also traditionally (but not scripturally) a celebration of when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, which tradition says were given 50 days after their Exodus from Egypt, on Mt. Sanai, which in many ways was the “birth” of the Jewish nation. In Greek “Pentaconta” means 50 , thus the modern term “Pentecost”.

In the N.T. it has become the birthdate of the Church, the gift of the empowering Holy Spirit, and signifying the ongoing harvest of souls until Christ’s return. The Holy Spirit fell in the Upper Room on the Day of Pentecost (50 days after the Passover) and filled each Believer with the power of God to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ with boldness.

The thousands that were added to the Church that day were the first fruits of many souls, including you and I today.

We are known as Pentecostal Believers, because we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to boldly work through us as He did through those in the N.T. to proclaim the Gospel, with signs and wonders following those who believe.

This powerful relationship we have with the Holy Spirit is for the harvest of souls and is ongoing until Christ returns.

The Festival of Tabernacles in the O.T. celebrates the final harvest of the season, and a recognition of God’s faithfulness and goodness during that growing and harvest season.

It is a seven day celebration where the people were instructed to live in temporary shelters, or booths, in remembrance of the children of Israel and their residing in temporary shelters during their 40 years in the wilderness.

It was designed to be time of great joy and celebration as God’s Word was read aloud each day.

In the N.T. it has become for Christians symbolic the second coming of Christ and the final harvest of souls before His return.

I believe this is going to happen very, very soon. Jesus is coming back! What we’ve read about and heard about all of our lives and others have longed to see from centuries past is about to take place!!

In meteorology there are such things as tornado warnings and tornado watches. A warning means it’s here so take cover, a watch means conditions are favorable, so stay alert.

I believe we are in a season of watching. The conditions are favorable. We need to go about our business but be keenly aware that at any moment this could happen, so make your plans accordingly.

Recalibrate your lives to be ready at a moment’s notice, because we won’t have time to respond when the Rapture takes place, for the Bible says it will happen “in the twinkling of an eye”.

Jesus instructed us to stay alert. Luke 21:34-36 says, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

I’m hearing from many, many, many people, Bible scholars, pastors, laymen and lay women, more than ever before say, “Jesus is coming soon. Get ready!!!”

These are watchmen.

Isaiah 62:6 says, “I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest.”

Today I’m being a watchman on the wall. And if I don’t give warning that conditions are favorable I’ll be held accountable by God.

Listen to how God puts it in Ezekiel 33:2-6, “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves. But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes someone’s life, that person’s life will be taken because of their sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for their blood.’”

Today I plead with you to heed this warning. Jesus is coming back. It’s soon. He’s at the door. The trumpet is about to sound. Things are about to get real!!!

As I said a few months back the Holy Spirit has quickened my spirit to inform the Church, “Get Ready!”

The sword of God’s righteous judgment is getting ready to strike against sinful mankind. God’s wrath is getting ready to be poured out because of man’s rebellion and rejection of God and their choice to live apart from Him and His commands.

It’s no different than in every other time before documented in God’s Word, but this upcoming judgement will be the last time. Jesus is coming back and the Great Tribulation as described in Revelation will begin. Those who are left behind will experience catastrophe and heartache and agony unlike the world has ever experienced before.

And we’re not ready, Church. The world isn’t ready and the Church isn’t ready!

Let’s get ready!!

Let’s get our bags packed! Let’s get our houses in order! Let’s not be caught by surprise!

Fortunately God hasn’t left us in the dark about this. He’s made it clear that there are signs to look for, clues to decipher, and conditions to be aware of that will help us to know what season we are approaching. I believe we are approaching very quickly into the season of the return of our Lord!

We can look to prophecy for strong signs and clues, and there is none more relevant than when Israel became a nation again back in 1948. This started the clock ticking to the return of Christ, because in prophecy all eyes must always be on Israel and Jerusalem.

Matthew 24:32-34 says, “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”

The fig tree is symbolic of Israel in God’s Word. It’s leaves came out in 1948. After not being a nation for about 2500 it was re-birthed supernaturally by God in May, 1948.

Jesus said, “This generation will certainly not pass until all these things have happened.” So how long is a generation? 40 years? 50?

Psalm 90:10 I believe says it most clearly, “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.”

So if we take a generation of 70-80 years and add it to 1948 that brings us to a window of 2018-2028.

If this holds true, then we could be right at the time just before the return of Christ. But then if we take the 7 year Tribulation and factor that in, deducting that number from 2018-2028 makes it 2011-2021, which actually places us right in the middle of that range where Jesus could return.

Are we living on borrowed time? Is God holding back just a bit longer so that one more soul can be saved? Only He knows the day and the hour, but I’m sure keenly aware and believe that we are in the season and the conditions are favorable for Christ’s return!

And what about “all these things” Jesus mentioned must happen as a sign just the trumpet sounds?

Listen to the conditions just before He returns – Matthew 24:6-7, 9-12, 14, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and pestilence and earthquakes in various places. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 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.”

Wars and rumors of wars? Check
Nations rising against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms? Check
Famines & pestilence? Check
Earthquakes in all kinds of places? Check
Persecutions and killings of the Saints of God? Check
Hated by everyone because of our Faith? Check
Many turning from the Faith? Check
Betrayals and hatred of families and friends? Check
False prophets deceiving many? Check
The love of most growing cold? Sadly, Check
The Gospel being preached in the whole world? Check!

Luke 21:25-26, adds to this list the following signs, “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”

Joel 2:31-32, “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Many of us may know that we are in the middle of what is being called the 4 consecutive blood moons, also known as a tetrad.

A blood moon is a lunar eclipse, where the moon gets between the sun and earth. This phenomena makes the moon look red, like blood.

There have been many, many blood moons over the natural course of history, but this tetrad is significant in that they land on the high festival days of Passover and Tabernacles.

First blood moon was April,15, 2014, Passover.
Second blood moon was October 8, Feast of Tabernacles
Third blood moon will occur this April 4, Passover.
Fourth blood moon will take place this September 28, Feast of Tabernacles.

This has only occurred where 4 consecutive blood moons have fallen on high festival days since Jesus crucifixion 7 other times. This is the eighth. All other times it has happened have been significant in the history of the nation of Israel and the Church.

The first tetrad was in 162-63 A.D., the second in 795-96 A.D., the third in 842-43 A.D., the fourth in 860-61 A.D., fifth in 1493-94 A.D., the sixth in 1949-50 A.D., and the seventh in 1967-68.

It’s interesting to note that the sixth occurred the year Israel was officially recognized by the UN as a nation, the seventh occurred during the Six Day War, which saw Israel take back Jerusalem as their capital for the first time in 2500 years.

We are in the midst of the eighth tetrad since the Crucifixion of Christ. In fact, the midpoint to this was just a couple of weeks ago, on January 5.

Now the number eight in the Bible signifies regeneration, resurrection, and new beginnings.

Could it be that this eighth tetrad since the Crucifixion could mean a new beginning?

Could it be that we are coming up on a very interesting time in world history as it relates to prophecy?

This is not a warning, per se, but a watch.

And one more significant aspect of this year is that it’s a Jubilee year. What is a Jubilee year?

Jubilee is a special year of remission of sins and universal pardon. Every seventh year is a sabbath or a sabbatical year, where the land is to lie fallow. Every seventh seven (49 years) is a year of sabbath, called a year of Jubilee, where they sound off a trumpet blast and announce throughout the land that slaves are to be freed and debts cancelled. You can read about in Lev. 25.

Did you catch that? I’ll say it again. This year we are in right now is a Jubilee year. It’s a year where slaves are to be freed and debts cancelled! This is the year of God’s universal pardon! Could it be that we’re getting ready to hear a trumpet blast and be set free!?

That’s why we sing, “Behold He comes, riding on the clouds, shining like the sun, at the trumpet call. So lift your voice, it’s the year of Jubilee, and out of Zion’s hill salvation comes!”

This Jubilee, also knows as the Shemitah, begins at 6pm on Sunday evening, Sept. 13, and concludes at 6pm, Sept. 14, of this year, which happens to also be the lunar seven year anniversary of the global financial meltdown of 2008 which was also the seven year lunar anniversary of the response to the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Could these last two be warnings for America? Could this next one on this Jubilee year be more significant?

By the way, another tetrad coinciding with Jewish festivals won’t take place for another 500 years or so.

The climate is juicy, the atmosphere is ripe, the conditions are favorable, the signs are all around us. And whether the Lord returns this year or next year or a hundred years from now, we are warned to be wise in staying prepared, keeping watch, and not being at all caught by surprise.

I’m not saying Jesus IS coming back this year, I’m saying the signs point to a heightened possibility.

I’m saying that this year may prove to be a year where, if we don’t recalibrate, if we don’t get our houses in order, if we don’t realize that it’s not business as usual anymore and don’t wake up, we might be reeling because of our being ill prepared.

Let’s get ready! Let’s recalibrate back to God’s Word! Let’s repent, turn from our wicked ways, humble ourselves and pray, seek God’s face, cry out to Him and place our whole beings in His care! Seek Him first and only! Prioritize Jesus as number One again in your life!! As Joel wrote, “All who call on the Lord will be saved!”

No man knows the day or the hour that Jesus will return for His Bride, but we can know the seasons and the signs.

The men of Issachar in 1 Chron. 12:32 knew the seasons and the signs of the times and knew how to respond and live their lives accordingly.

This festival of the seventh month, the Festival of Tabernacles that celebrated God’s faithfulness of the harvest is coming up again this September. It’ll take place at the final of the four blood moons.

Right now we’re still in the Church Age of the Festival of Pentecost, or the Festival of Weeks, signifying the ongoing harvest of souls in the power of the Holy Spirit until Christ’s return.

We are in the days between Passover (the provision of the Lamb) and Tabernacles (the final harvest).

But there’s coming a time, and I believe it to be soon and very soon, that we are going to see the King. The most grand Feast of Tabernacles will be held at the marriage supper of the Lamb, as we celebrate God’s faithfulness and the final last harvest of souls in these final days where He is pouring out His Spirit upon all flesh, as He promised to do in Joel 2:28-29, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.”

So let’s get ready. Let’s not be caught unaware.

Jesus told this parable immediately after He spoke of the signs of the end times. Listen.

Matthew 25:1-13, “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

The watch has been posted this January 18, 2015. Lift up your head, for your redemption is drawing closer and closer and closer. Are you ready?