Sermon Audio

The Called Out Ones

You ever been called out for something?

Maybe it was in school for talking too much. Maybe it was for a job well done.

Called out ones stand out above the crowd for various reasons, some good, some not so good.

If I’m going to be called out, I want it to be for something exceptional and good!

Nehemiah Chapter 11 describes such a time as it gives the account of the re-population of the newly reestablished Jerusalem after the walls were rebuilt.

Verses 1-2 says, “Now the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem, and the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of every ten to live in Jerusalem, the holy city, while the remaining nine were to stay in their own towns. The people commended all the men who volunteered to live in Jerusalem.”

The rest of the chapter lists their names, some 3000 men, who were called out by God to repopulate the Holy City.

Some estimates placed a total of 10,000 people who moved into the city (when you add the men’s family members) which would mean there were approximately 100,000 people in the surrounding villages and countryside, given that they were to chose one out of every ten people (a tithe) to live there.

Imagine what these men and these families were experiencing. By lot families were chosen and asked to relocate from their comforts and security, their way of life and their friends and extended families, to move to a city that had no family or friends, no comforts of home, and was a target for attacks from enemies who weren’t happy it had been restored.

These people were asked to give up much to walk in obedience to their leader for the greater good of the kingdom of Israel.

And we as children of God in this generation are much the same way.

As the called out ones of God we have been asked to forsake much that this world has to offer for the cause of Christ and His kingdom.

As Believers, the “called out ones”, we are targets for attacks from the enemy of our souls.

We are called to a life of holiness that our flesh constantly resists.

We are called to always be on the stretch and crucify our comfort for the Gospel.

We are called to give up the security of what we’ve known and cling to the Cross of Calvary.

We are called to be careful with the choices we make in our social life as to not live in compromise.

We are called to live by faith.

We are called to walk in obedience.

We are called to work for God’s kingdom and not our own.

This world is not our home. The Bible describes us as “strangers in a foreign land”.

Philippians 3:20 says, “Our citizenship is in Heaven.”

This story in Nehemiah describes exactly what God has done for us. He has chosen us. We have been called out.

The Greek word used in the Bible is “Ekklesia”, which means “Called out ones” (literally EK “out of” ant KALEO “shall be called out” so “shall be called out of”). The called out ones are you and me, which makes up the assembly of God’s people, the congregation of the Bride of Christ, the Church.

We need to remember that we didn’t choose God, He chose us. He pursued us. He called us out. The Holy Spirit worked on us and worked on us some more until, one day, we yielded to Him and gave our hearts to Jesus Christ.

Jesus called out His followers from among the crowd. He looked out among the masses and selected a handful of them to be His disciples.

Mark 3:13 says, “Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted, and they came to Him.”

Peter gives a beautiful and powerful description of the called out ones this way.

1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

Jesus has chosen us to be built with Him as our foundation into this beautiful spiritual house known as His Church, His Bride, for the purposes of declaring His praises to all who would believe!

As wonderful as this is, this choosing and willingness to yield comes with a price. Just as Jesus paid the ultimate price with His life, by embracing being a “called out one”, we also are asked to pay a price.

This price is a daily dying of ourselves to be more like Christ. We allow His holiness to transform us into His image so that others might see Christ in us and be drawn to Him as well.

Let’s talk about that for a moment.

Jerusalem is the only city in Bible that’s called “the holy city”. It’s set apart, “called out”, I guess you could say, from any other city in the world.

And the Holy, called out City should be inhabited by holy, called out people. Psalm 15 talks about the requirements of these inhabitants.

Psalm 15 says, “O Lord, who may dwell in Your sanctuary? Who may live on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and who does what is righteous, and speaks truth in his heart. He who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur upon his fellow man, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his promises, even when it hurts, and who lends money without interest and doesn’t accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken.”

These are standards of righteous, holy living that will qualify us to live in God’s Holy City.

Let’s think again on what the people in Nehemiah’s day were asked to do and see how it relates to us today –

Material Things

To live in Jerusalem, you had to re-order your view of material things. You had to give up land in your previous region, and take up some kind of new business in Jerusalem.

As we learned last week in the grace of giving, when we give God our whole heart then everything else easily falls into place behind it. As the people then were willing to reorder their view of materials things and give up whatever they needed to for the cause of the kingdom of Israel, we need to ask ourselves as the called out ones, how are we doing in our willingness to give everything for our King and His Kingdom?

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

Where is our heart in this matter?

Social Things

To live in Jerusalem, you had to re-arrange your social priorities. This meant possibly leaving some friends and family behind in their old village. When you chose to serve Christ with your whole hearts, some of your family and friends may not understand you. They may treat you funny or call you names or shun you.

Rearranging your social priorities might mean saying no to some business outings and opportunities where compromising behavior takes place. This might mean declining offers to attend parties and other events with your friends from school because you know some things will be taking place there that are not pleasing to God or edifying to your spirit. This might mean breaking off some unhealthy relationships that are constantly tempting you to choose the wider road of destruction. This might mean saying no to activities that keep you away from your devotional time with the Lord, or church, or small groups or other opportunities to grow in the Lord.

Living a life of holiness is not easy. Saying yes to relocating to the Holy City will mean sacrifice and change. But the rewards it brings are wonderful in their peace and joy and purpose beyond yourself and your own goals. It helps you to live for the greater (and greatest) purpose of God and His kingdom.

Jesus said in Matthew 19:29, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sister or father or mother or children or fields for My sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.”

So we ask ourselves, are we willing to rearrange our social priorities to make us qualified to live in God’s Holy City and place Christ and His Kingdom first?

Physical Things

To live in Jerusalem, you had to have a mind to endure the challenges in the city. It had been a ghost town for seventy years, and was now basically a slightly rebuilt, somewhat repopulated ghost town. The city didn’t look all that glorious, and needed work.

Being a Christian is hard work. It’s not for the faint of heart. There’s work to be done. When Jesus said, “It is finished”, he was referring to the work He needed to accomplish for our salvation. But the last thing He told His disciples before He ascended to Heaven was, “Go and preach the Gospel.”  This means there’s work to be done.

We are in the age of reaching and reaping. This Church age between the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Rapture must be marked by an ongoing, vigorous, intentional, passionate sharing of the Gospel.

This Holy City still has room for more residents. The gates aren’t closed yet. The vacancy sign is still lit. And the harvest is plenteous. Those who went into the city didn’t stay in the city. They went out and folks came in. The city’s population didn’t remain at 10,000. In fact, today the city has nearly 1 million residents.

There’s plenty of room in God’s Kingdom, and He will turn no one away. Jesus said in Luke 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never drive away.”

It doesn’t matter who you are today or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter how unqualified or unworthy you feel, Jesus stands always with open arms accepting you saying, “Come unto Me all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest for your weary souls.” And He loves you with an everlasting love.

Kingdom work is hard work. It’s not without its problems and challenges. But we’re not left to do it alone. Jesus has promised to never leave us of forsake us, so He’s with us always giving us the strength we need in every situation.

He’s given us His Holy Spirit to embolden us to witness, give us discernment, guide us, comfort us, and help us along our way.

And He will not let one effort we expend for Him go wasted. It all counts. It’s all being used and fruitful in working together for your good and His glory.

It’s work, but it’s worth it.

Spiritual Things

To live in Jerusalem, you had to live knowing you were a target for the enemy. There were strong walls to protect you, but since Jerusalem was now a notable city with rebuilt walls, the fear was more from whole armies than bands of robbers. The old village was not in much danger from great armies.

As Believers living in the Holy City, we have placed a bullseye on our chest.  Satan doesn’t want us to live a holy life. He doesn’t want us to be successful in our witness. He doesn’t want us to be productive for God’s kingdom. He has many weapons in his arsenal – worry, doubt, fear, busy-ness, complacency, compromise, to name a few.

But we need to be reminded today that God in us is greater than he that is in the world.

I imagine the people chosen to live in the city battled distractions of worry and fear. The enemies of the children of Israel didn’t see them as a threat before the walls were rebuilt. But now, they were a target.

Same with satan. As long as you and I are coasting, or staying busy doing other things, or walking in doubt or fear, and really not committed to God’s Holy City and His purposes, he won’t bother you much. But if you determine to God Kingdom purposes and begin to make waves, count on the attack.

Keep in mind, the people in Nehemiah’s day didn’t move in to the city without leadership already in place. It says that along with the chosen ones the leaders of the people settled in Jerusalem as well.

Know this – we have a leader who has already fought the battles for us, who is the captain of the armies of God, who has at His disposal the vast hosts of heavenly armies who, at a moment’s notice and with His word, move on our behalf. He will never leave us exposed. He will never be caught off guard. He will never be delayed in His response to our cries for help. And He will never be less than completely victorious!

One more thing about this spiritual aspect of moving into the Holy City – it required a closer walk with God.

When the folks were living in the country side and other villages they might be able to get away with things they otherwise wouldn’t by living in the Holy City. Why? Because the Temple of God was in the Holy City.

Living right next to the Temple placed a greater awareness on those living there of their need to walk a life that was holy and pure and righteous.

I think maybe that’s why some people don’t like to attend church. They don’t like to be told what the Bible says about their compromising lifestyle choices. “Out of sight, out of mind”. “What you don’t know won’t hurt you”. “Ignorance is bliss”. Or maybe more directly, “You can’t tell me what to do! Who made you God?”

Let me encourage you to make church a priority. Every Sunday and every Wednesday and every other opportunity given to you, come. It puts us in a much needed close proximity to  God’s Word, God’s presence, and God’s people, all so very necessary to keep us walking a life of holiness and righteousness and purity before our Lord.

The Bible tells us there is a city coming down from heaven to earth, when God is done with this earth as we know it, and it calls that city the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:1-4 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the Throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things had passed away.”

Just as the chosen ones in Nehemiah’s day were assigned to live in the Holy City of Jerusalem, so one day God will make a new Jerusalem, consisting of His Bride, the Church, you and me and the those God has pursued and chosen for His own.

To be a citizen of this Holy City you must yield to His will, walking in loving obedience, faith, and trust. What’s standing in your way materially? Socially? Physically? Spiritually?

People don’t want to be citizens of the New Jerusalem for the same reasons many didn’t want to be citizens of Nehemiah’s Jerusalem. It takes work. It takes sacrifice. It takes dying to ones self. But He has a chosen people who have been called to declare God’s praises to others of how He has called us out of darkness into His wonderful light.

We have been called and called out to a high calling of holiness because our God is holy. And we have been called to proclaim Him and invite others into this Holy City.

The lot has been caste. You have been chosen. You are one of the called out ones.

What will you do?

Are You Ready? Feast of Tabernacles (Sunday)

Seventh Feasts, Tabernacles.
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” 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 bondage of slavery, keeping them in the wilderness, and bringing them 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.
Passover. Historically for the people of Israel the Passover 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 occurs back to back with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and First Fruits in the spring time and can be found in Lev. 23. It’s the first three of the seven feasts appointed by God.
Prophetically for the Church it signifies the first coming of Christ, the Lamb of God, who gave His life on the exact 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. Historically for the people of Israel Pentecost was 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 “Penta” means 5, “Pentaconta” means 50 , thus the modern term “Pentecost”.
Prophetically for the Church Pentecost is 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, the ongoing harvest in the Church Age which has been occurring throughout the centuries, 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 Feast of Tabernacles for the people of Israel was in celebration of 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.
Prophetically for the Church it has become symbolic of the second coming of Christ where He sets up His earthly reign in the Millennium and for all of eternity.
These temporary shelters were to be constructed with branches from the trees of Olive, Pine, Myrtle, and Palm, which represent for us God’s abundance and blessing as we walk in obedience to His Word, the sweet aroma of our witness of Christ to others, His ability to keep us all of our days through His sheltering Holy Spirit, and our long term commitment and fruitfulness until He returns or chooses to take us Home.
These temporary shelters are representative of our human bodies, and we would be wise to construct them with these materials.
But one day these bodies in which we reside will no longer be needed. Because one day the trumpet of God is going to sound and we will be caught up in the air to be with Christ. We will be instantly transformed into new a perfect beings, and mortality will be swallowed up in immortality. Our human bodies will be transformed into eternal vessels which will never die, never again experience pain, where there’ll be no more sorrow, no more tears, no more death. Nothing but joy and peace and perfection for all of eternity in our glorified bodies as God will eternally tabernacle (dwell) with us.
This is the promise we have in God’s Word that we can look forward to!
I believe this is going to happen very, very soon. The Rapture is eminent. 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” and like a “thief in the night”.
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, and it’s getting louder and more urgent, 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. The Rapture could be at any moment. It’s soon. He’s at the door. The trumpet is about to sound. Things are about to get real!!!
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 to take his Bride away 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 a generation is a lifespan, 70-80 years. So if we take 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.”
Many of us may know that we are nearing the end 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 was April 4, 2015, Passover.
Fourth blood moon will take place in just two more weeks, 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.
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 an upcoming Jubilee year. It begins tomorrow. 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. Tomorrow begins the Jubilee year. It’s a year where slaves are to be freed and debts cancelled! This is the year of God’s universal pardon!
And one more thing, it’s the 70th Jubilee year since the first one was celebrated by God’s people when they entered into Canaan, the Promised Land.
And remember 70 is the low range of a generation based on Ps. 90. Wouldn’t it be just like God to bookend the Promised Land entry of God’s people with the entry of His Bride into our Promised Land of Heaven, completing the generation cycle of a life?
Just a thought.
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 upcoming Jubilee, which always follows the Shemitah (every seven years, canceling of debt) begins today at 6pm our time. But think about this, it has already begun if we count Jerusalem time. We are 7 hours begin them, so it began actually at 11am OUR time. We are officially in the New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Jubilee, and Shemitah is over.
What happened the last two Shemitahs? It’s the lunar seven year anniversary of the global financial meltdown of 2008 which was also the seven year lunar anniversary of the stock market reopening on 9/17 after 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? Who knows? God is not obligated to do anything. He’s God and He’s in control. I guess we’ll find out in the next little bit.
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 these thing takes place today, next week, next year, or down the road a piece, we are warned to be wise in staying prepared, keeping watch, and not being at all caught by surprise.
I’m not saying these things WILL happen this year, I’m saying the signs point to a heightened possibility.
What I AM saying is that this time we’re in may prove to be, 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 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!!
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 Feast of Tabernacles that celebrated God’s faithfulness of the harvest is coming up again in two weeks, September 28. We will celebrate it tonight. The first day of it will coincide with the final of the four blood moons.
Right now we’re still in the Church Age between Pentecost and Trumpets, signifying the ongoing harvest of souls in the power of the Holy Spirit until Christ’s return.
4 feasts have been fulfilled in Christ, the last three remain to be fulfilled, but may soon occur.
There’s coming a time very very soon that we are going to see our King.
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.”

Feast of Tabernacles (Saturday)

Next I want to look at the 7 God appointed feasts in the Bible found in Leviticus 23, and what they mean historically to the people of Israel as well as prophetically to the Church of Jesus Christ and God’s ultimate plan of salvation for mankind.
God is precise. He’s economical. He wastes nothing. He always seems to have multiple meanings and fulfillments in His ways of saying and doing and being.
It’s never more apparent than in the feasts. It will blow you mind!
The 7 Feasts
God’s plan of salvation is summed up in the 7 feasts found in Leviticus 23. These are God appointed feasts for His people to meet with Him.
As they point back historically to events to be remembered in the Jewish people’s history, they also point forward prophetically to “shadows of things to come” as stated in Colossians 2:16-17. “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration, or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come, the reality however is found in Christ.”
All 7 feasts were and are previews of coming attractions. 4 have been fulfilled in Christ, with three remaining to be fulfilled.
At the same time they lay out God’s plan of salvation and rescue for mankind, all through Christ.
The word “feast” literally means, “to keep an appointment.” God intends for us to keep our appointments with Him. He made them. We shouldn’t break them.
With that said, let’s look at the 7 appointments God has made for His people.
First Feast – Passover. Exodus 12:1-11 describes the first Passover. “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.”
It was the moment God finally freed the Israelites from Egyptian captivity. The feast was established by God to be remembered every year of God’s redemption. It was prophetically fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah as our Passover Lamb whose blood would be shed for our sins.
Jesus, the Passover Lamb for all of mankind, rode into Jerusalem 4 days before Passover, on the 10th day of the month, on the very day the people were selecting their lambs to be slaughtered as commanded in Exodus 12.
Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover, at the same time that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening. John 19:4 says, “Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, Look I am bringing Him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against Him.” Unbeknownst to the people, they were being presented with their final sacrificial Lamb, which they blindly and hatefully rejected, but God, on our behalf, accepted, as the first step in His plan of redemption for mankind.
Jesus, the perfect, spotless, first born, male, sinless Lamb of God was slain on Passover, fulfilling this feast as God’s first step in our salvation.
Second Feast – Unleavened Bread. This feast is celebrated the day after Passover. Historically the people of Israel didn’t have time to make bread with yeast. They were commanded to make in haste unleavened bread (bread without yeast) for their exodus out of Egypt the day after the Passover. This bread is known as Matzo bread. It has 3 pieces (representing in the Church the Trinity). In the feast the middle piece of matzo is taken, broken, and hidden inside a clothe napkin until the end of the meal. At the end of the meal its revealed. This feast was commanded by God to be remembered for the haste of their exodus and God’s faithfulness in releasing them from their bondage of slavery.
Jesus fulfilled this on the very day of the feast when He was broken (crucified), hidden (buried) and then revealed (resurrected). Our communion is a close practice of this. 1 Cor. 11:24, “This is My body which is broken for you, do this in remembrance of Me.”
Yeast, by the way, always represents in God’s Word sin. Yeast when introduced to dough quickly changes the very chemistry of dough, just like sin permeates quickly into our hearts and changes us for the worse if we allow it.
This day after Passover, this Unleavened Bread, pointed prophetically to the Messiah’s yeast-free, sinless life, making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was covered and hidden in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.
This is the second feast fulfilled in Christ moving forward God’s plan of salvation for mankind. Unless a seed of kernel falls to the ground, it cannot produce fruit.
Third Feast – First Fruits. Israel, much like most cultures up until the last hundred years or so, was more agricultural than industrial. Many were farmers of food and animals. This appointed feast historically was celebrated on the first day of the week, on a Sunday. It was to celebrate the first fruits of the newly planted harvest. One barley branch, representing the entire harvest, was waived before God in thanks for His faithfulness and in faithful acknowledgment of His continued provision through the rest of the year.
To that end, this feast pointed to Jesus as the first fruits of the harvest of souls at His resurrection. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, on the first day of the week, Sunday, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits from the dead.”
Jesus became the guarantee and the beginning of the final harvest (resurrection) of mankind. This was the third feast that points to God’s salvation for mankind directly fulfilled through and in Christ Jesus.
So we have Jesus death, burial, and resurrection, all fulfilled on the precise day of each festival (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits) and all pointing to God’s redemptive plan of salvation for mankind.
Which bring us to our Fourth Feast – Pentecost. God appointed His people to count out 49 days from First Fruits to gather together to celebrate with thanksgiving the “season of the giving of the Law”. This was a high holy day, one of three super feasts (Passover being the first, then Pentecost, and finally Tabernacles). On these 3 major feast days God commanded all males to gather in Jerusalem to give thanks.
Traditionally, Pentecost was first celebrated 50 days after the Exodus when God gave His people the Torah, or the Law. It is considered to be the birth of the nation of Israel, since the law brought all 12 tribes under one corporate umbrella of people.
When the Law was given, fire and noise came from Mt. Sinai. We also see prophetically and similarly that, on the Day to Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell, there were cloves of fire upon each head and a sound of a rushing wind came through the place, and the Church was birthed.
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who believed and would wait. This event, this day of Pentecost when the Church was birthed, prophetically points to the great harvest of souls, both Jew and Gentile, that would come into the kingdom of God during the Church Age. We are in the age of working in the fields, of reaching and reaping.
The Church was established on this day of Pentecost when Jesus poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 souls responded to Peter’s first proclamation of the Gospel.
These first four feast were all fulfilled in Christ on the very days of the feasts, completing the first part of God’s redemptive plan for mankind, all through and in Christ.
So now we have three feasts left to look at, the “fall” feasts”, and three feasts which have yet to be fulfilled in Christ. There’s the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles.
The long interval of three months between Pentecost and Trumpets points to the current Church Age we are in, a period of time that was kept as a mystery to the Hebrew prophets in Old Testament times.
Because Jesus literally fulfilled the first four feasts and did so on the actual feast days, do you think it is safe to assume that the last three will also be fulfilled and that their fulfillment will occur on the actual feast days? None of us can be certain how they will be fulfilled, but it makes sense that they most likely have the following prophetic implications.
Fifth Feast – Rosh HaShanah / Trumpets. This feast was to make an announcement for an assembly, for war, for worship, or for the entrance of the King. It was also a way of proclaiming the New Year, much like the fireworks we launch on our New Year’s Eve celebrations.
In this celebration of the new year before the trumpets could be blown, first the new moon needed to be spotted in the night sky. If it wasn’t seen, then they’d wait until the next night. Once spotted they would run back to the High Priest to announce its sighting, and the High Priest would give the authority to blow the trumpet announcing the new year. That’s why this celebration could last a total of two days or up to 48 hours.
No man knew the day or the hour of the trumpet blast.
Prophetically this points to the Rapture when the Messiah will appear in the heavens as a Bridegroom coming for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet! 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, ““Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”
1 Corinthians 15:52, ““in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”
This event could happen at any moment. Which means we must be ready. It doesn’t have to happen on the actual days of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah, but it could. Not sure why Jesus would break His perfect string here. It may be tomorrow, may be the next day, it may be next year, maybe be several years, but I do know it’s soon!
This begins the culmination of God’s redemption plan for mankind as Jesus calls His Bride away, creating the catalyst for the period of time known as Jacob’s trouble, the great Tribulation.
Sixth Feast – Yom Kippur / Atonement. Between Rosh Hashanah and the Day of Atonement are called the “Days of Awe”, ten days of introspection and repentance. It is a time of soul searching and making things right with God and one’s neighbor. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year. It’s a day to be restored to God as a holy people in service to the Lord.
The high priest would prepare all year long for this day. On this day they would enter into the holy of holies representing the nation to make atonement for their sins before God. They would tie a rope around their ankle, just in case things didn’t go well. That way the people could pull his dead body out of the holy of holies without getting killed themselves.
This process included confession (recognition of our sins), contrition (remorse for our sins), conversion (repentance of our sins), compensation (repayment of our sins), and consecration (dedication beyond our sins).
The Day of Atonement points prophetically to the day of the Second Coming of Messiah when He will return to earth after the Tribulation, judge the nations, and set up His earthly throne and reign. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they “look upon Him whom they have pierced,” repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah.
Zechariah 12:10, “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.”
Romans 11:1-6; 25-32, ““I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don’t you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah—how he appealed to God against Israel: “Lord, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars; I am the only one left, and they are trying to kill me”? And what was God’s answer to him? “I have reserved for myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written: “The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”
This is the second to the last festival appointed by God that speaks to God’s salvation plan for mankind. Trumpets and Atonement are yet to be fulfilled in Christ, but prophetically will occur I believe very very soon, which bring us to our final feast, Tabernacles.
So as a review, there’s Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits – Salvation (gaining His people)
Pentecost – Sanctification (grounding His people), along with reaching and reaping
Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Tabernacles – Glorification (gathering His people)