Adding to Scripture, more common than you think

Have you ever noticed that the bible commands us NOT to add commands to its laws? In fact this command occurs 3 times in Scripture, at the beginning, the middle and at the end!

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. Deuteronomy 4:2

Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Proverbs 30:6

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Revelation 22:18, 19

Since the first of these commands was written by Moses in the beginning of the Scriptures, it cannot mean that God can’t add Scriptures, since most of the bible was written after that command, but what it meant then, and still means now is that mankind has no authority to add our own ideas to God’s Word! It is a sin to add commandments to Scripture!

Our job is simply to read it, believe it, and obey it!

The Old Testament Jews looked at God’s 613 commands and said “these commands mean that we must add commands in order to fully follow God’s law” and so they added another 2,000 commands to the Word of God!

The fact is that they were not able to follow those 613 commands. Not completely, and not in Spirit! In fact if we were to boil God’s commands down to the core 10 commandments the Jews were not really able to follow even those ten completely!

The purpose of the law was not to save Israel, or anyone, but to condemn us! It was written to show us what we are inside! Unfortunately most people are so blind that we have a tendency to look at other’s sin, and ignore our own!

The Gentiles also have this same problem. Not only are we not able to follow the 10 commandments completely, we also have the same tendency to add laws to God’s law! Christian denominations have the same tendency to bind up their followers under a mess of laws, most of which do not appear in Scripture!

The Catholic Church is probably the worst one, but they are far from alone!

A lot of times there is an element of logic in the creation of these laws; for instance since the Scriptures say “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18) many consider themselves justified to add the law “Thou shalt not drink wine, beer, nor any form of alcohol”!

You see, if you have a “good cause” you can justify any kind of evil! The Good Cause Syndrome will lead millions to the Lake of Fire!

Yes! Adding “good things” to Scripture is still incredibly evil!

Essentially those who do this are saying that “God was not able to express Himself completely and so it is up to me to finish what He failed to say!”, “Poor God! He needs me to finish His Word for Him!”

It makes me feel sick to just type these sentences! This is exactly the attitude of myriads of “men of God” around the globe! Pope Francis’ recent pronouncements from the Vatican display this attitude exactly, but I have seen this attitude in the Baptist Churches I grew up in as well!

The truth on that subject, as in any other, is that you have God’s commands, so it is up to you to figure-out how best to obey them. It is not up to your pastor to make-up new commandments for you to follow!

If I see a Christian brother showing the signs of drunkenness then it is my job to show him what the Scriptures say, and to do my best to help him to obey them, but I must not create laws for him. Ultimately that is between him and the Holy Spirit. If he truly is a brother the Spirit will convict him and will also give him the strength to exercise self-control!

If we believe the bible then we need to let the Holy Spirit do His work. When we create laws like this we encourage legalism, and the truth is that legalism is worse than drunkenness!

Drunks know they are sinning, and are under God’s condemnation, but Legalists think they are doing God’s work!

Something else that Legalists do is to take an example of what God did in the Garden of Eden, and then to create a law based on something that happened 6,000 years ago.

Someone might say that since God created Adam and Eve as vegetarians, that we need to be vegetarian today! Such an idea ignores the permission that God gave Noah after the flood, in Genesis 9:3, and which were repeated to the Christian Church in Acts 15:29 and 21:25. Everything changed at the fall!

Another example from the Garden is the fact that God made Adam and Eve as the first monogamous couple.

Many, including most Churches I have attended all my life, tell us that since God made only one wife for Adam that this means that all polygamous relationships are wrong for all time! When you point out godly men like Jacob or David, they will say that God made an exception in these cases, as if God is a respecter of persons! Or, that God favoured these men more than any other!

Christians have made this a law, and it is a law that does not appear in Scripture! In fact you will find that just about all Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, have this law. This is a law that does not have its origin in Scripture, but actually has its origin in the ancient Pagan Greek empire. Later it was adopted by the Roman Empire, the only exception in both cases was the nation of Israel, which was allowed an exemption!

Even Jesus, when he made his statements regarding marriage never condemned the practice of polygyny!

It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Matthew 5:31-32

You see here that Jesus defines it as adultery when a man divorces his wife and marries another; He does NOT define it as adultery when a man marries two women at the same time! Polygamists don’t divorce one wife when they marry their second!

He repeated Himself in chapter 19;

He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. Matthew 19:8-9

He elaborated a little more in Mark;

5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart [Moses] wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Mark 10:5-9

Some would argue that he uses the term “wife” here in the singular, therefore signifying that there is only to be one wife per man. I would argue back, that the relationship between a man and his wife is to be one of equals, regardless of how many wives a man has; each wife is to be dealt with on a one-to-one basis, as an individual. A man like David is “one flesh” with each of his wives!

When Nathan the prophet confronted David over his affair with Bathsheba, and the murder of Uriah, he, speaking for the Lord said;

And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. II Samuel 12:7-8

Here’s the thing, there is no evidence that David’s mother in law ever lived with him. This is not to be taken literally but is a euphemism that essentially means that “I put you in your master’s place so that you could have multiple wives, like him”. The phrase “such and such things” is based on הנה which comes from הן which is “them” in the feminine plural, and so it could actually mean “more wives”! It certainly means “more of the same”!

Yes indeed God gave David his wives!

Now look at Jeremiah 3. This is a passage where God identifies with a man who has two wives! For brevity I will just quote from the pertinent verses; you can read the whole passage on your own;

1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord.

6 The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.

7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.

8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.

10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.

11 And the Lord said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.

In case we do not understand that God has two wives in this passage, He makes it clear in verse 14. Please note that in the KJV the words “you” and “ye” are always in the plural; always referring to more than one person!

14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:

Yes indeed, God views Himself as a husband with many wives!  He also says that “David is a man after my own heart”, in both Testaments!

Ultimately God has a purpose for this practice which will become a world-wide phenomenon during the early years of the Millennial Reign of Christ! Jesus will use polygyny to repopulate the world after the devastation of Armageddon!

1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.

2 In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:

4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. Isaiah 4:1-4

The context of this passage is set in verses 25-26 of the previous chapter; the “war” it speaks of is Armageddon, and the reason that these women come to this man with this request is because there are no other men left for them to marry! These seven women and one man are not only representative of the survivors of Israel, but also of the whole world!

Every soldier who participates in Armageddon will die, on both sides of the conflict! Jesus told His followers that when they see the “abomination of desolation” in the Temple, they are to flee to the wilderness without delay (Mat. 24:15-18). Well, the believers will obey Him, but the rest of Israel will stay and fight the Antichrist, and will die for their trouble! (Some might actually fight on the side of the Beast, and so this could actually become a civil war, but either way this war will result in the deaths of all the soldiers who fight on either side!)

Notice that in Isaiah 4:3 all the survivors are called “holy”! Yes that’s right, these men are holy polygamists!

Please don’t think that I am saying it is OK for you or me to become a polygamist today. If you are married you probably said something in your wedding vows like “I shall have none but thee”, or words to that effect. You see Jesus commanded us to keep our word, so we really need to take our vows seriously, even if there is no command to make these particular vows!

Once you say it you need to keep your word!

If you live in a western nation, you probably have laws in effect that prohibit polygyny, and since Paul said that we ought to “obey every ordinance of man” (1 Peter 2:13) we should not be disobeying the laws of our nation, unless those laws command us to disobey Scripture.

Nevertheless, in nations that allow polygyny, I can’t say it is wrong, but I would caution all prospective polygynists of another command that God gave us;

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. I Timothy 5:8

It is the responsibility for a husband to not only provide for the food, clothing, and shelter of his family, he is also responsible to ensure his sons and daughters are educated so that they can care for themselves and their own families! If you have multiple wives you will have many children who will need to be educated, and that is your responsibility!

But why would God tell us now of His plans for the Millennial Reign? Surely telling us about it during the Marriage Supper of the Lamb would give us enough time to get our minds around this bomb-shell of a revelation?

The reason is that He is providing a contrast between the reign of Jesus Christ and the reign of the Antichrist! This is one way you can tell who the Antichrist is!  This is a sign that will be seen before the Rapture of the Church!

36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. Daniel 11:36-37

The phrase “the desire of women” is a direct reference to Isaiah 4:1, and this shows the contrast between Jesus Christ and the Beast; The Lord Jesus will allow polygyny after the greatest war of all time, but the Antichrist will prohibit polygyny as he is rising to power after the Gog/Magog war. He will be appointed as some sort of administrator, or governor, over the nations that have just been defeated in that war, and Ezekiel 39:2 tells us that only one in six of the soldiers who came against Israel will survive to return home.

Those men will find that there are six women waiting for each one, when they return from the battle, and having mostly come from Muslim nations, those survivors will expect that they will be allowed to marry six women each! This time, however, this ruler, who also comes from a Muslim nation, will prohibit this practice, and western “Christians” will applaud this man!

By prohibiting polygyny, the Beast will force women who want children, to either have affairs, or to steal men from their wives, and thus this policy will cause sin to increase!

How blind are western Christians that they can’t see this?

This is why you should never add commands to Scripture! Accept that God knows what He is doing and obey the law he has given. Accept that there is freedom when there is silence, and don’t add to, nor take-away from His Word, lest you are found to be a liar!

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How Many Jews Are There?

One of the websites I visit regularly is Arutz Sheva, a conservative Israeli news site.  If you are interested in what is going on in Israel, or around the Middle East, this is an informative site written from an Israeli viewpoint.

One article that caught my attention this week was about the number of people, world wide, who have a Jewish, or Israelite background.  The number is astonishing;

As you read the article, you find that 95 million is a conservative estimate; estimates of the number of people with a Jewish background go as high as 150 to 200 million!

I am not sure if they have taken the number of Jews in Saudi Arabia into account.  They haven’t mentioned them.  These are “invisible” Jews, whose ancestors converted to Islam during the time of Muhammad.  Today they live as Arabs, and are often leaders in Islam.  These people won’t return to Israel until they realize that Allah can’t help them.  That won’t happen until the Arabs lose the Psalm 83 war.

As the bible says, the world will be astonished when they all return to Israel.  There will be so many that there won’t be enough room for them all!

I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.  Zechariah 10:10

11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. Isaiah 11:11-12

When the Jews finally return, after the Psalm 83, and the Ezekiel 38-39 wars, the nation will be larger than nations like England, or Germany!

I am convinced that we are within a decade, or two, of that day!

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The Cross and the Resurrection

The most important event in human history is the cross and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything else pales by comparison. Death was defeated by the resurrection, but Justice was satisfied by His death on the cross, and you and I can be saved because of what Jesus did on that cross!

We had such a wonderful service this morning, remembering the cross and the resurrection, I just couldn’t speak of lesser things today!

Do you remember how, very often context changes in the middle of prophecies? How, in the middle of speaking of one event, the prophet will speak of another event, often separated from the first, by thousands of years?

Zecharia 13 is a wonderful, End Times prophecy, yet in the middle of it there is a prophecy of the crucifixion;

6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

Verse 6 is clearly speaking of the wounds Jesus sustained on the cross of Calvary. His “friends”? The Jewish people unto whom He was born, and lived with. Those people who He ate with, and who ate the meals He prepared for them. They were fickle friends, and He carries the scars from those wounds even today!

It was his intention to die. This was the purpose of His visitation among us; for without the cross there could be no reconciliation between us and God! Jesus paid all that was required to save the entire human race! There was nothing more that needs to be done to save us, except that we need to receive the payment He made on our behalf!

Thank God for the cross…and the resurrection!

Look at verse 7; Who is God’s “fellow”?

Look at this definition:



noun: fellow; plural noun: fellows

  • 1.  informal

    a man or boy.

    “he was an extremely obliging fellow”

    synonyms: man, boy;

     boyfriend or lover. (“has she got a fellow?”)

    2. a person in the same position, involved in the same activity, or otherwise associated with another.


    “he was learning with a rapidity unique among his fellows”

    synonyms: companion, friend, comrade, partner, associate, coworker, colleague;

    – a thing of the same kind as or otherwise associated with another.

    “the page has been torn away from its fellows”

adjective: fellow

1. sharing a particular activity, quality, or condition with someone or something.

“they urged the troops not to fire on their fellow citizens

We can ignore #1, that definition does not apply to Jesus Christ, except for the fact that He actually was a man, (not a woman, nor was he androgynous), but look at #2. “a person in the same position, involved in the same activity, or otherwise associated with another” This is Jesus exactly! He is in the same position as God the Father! Indeed He is intimately involved in the activity of creating the world, and saving souls, and Has been the associate of the Father from before the founding of the earth!

The adjective also applies to Him, for he shares the quality, activity and condition of God the Father! Just as the Father is God, so is Jesus Christ! God the Father loves you, and sent His Son, His fellow, to die in your place, so that you could be saved by faith in Him!

He is coming soon! Make sure He knows your name before it is too late!

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12

8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:9-13

This is a promise! Make sure you avail yourself of it, before it is too late! He is The Promise Keeper! You can’t trust anyone else, not even yourself, but you can trust Jesus to take care of your sin problem!

You don’t need to know everything, just believe that His Sacrifice on the cross was for you, and that it was acceptable to God the Father, believe that He was raised from the dead, trust Him to save you, and tell someone about it!  Then start reading Scripture and He will open your eyes!

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Communion and the Lord’s Day

My family and I have been attending a Brethren Assembly for just around a year now. We have found it a wonderful church; the people are friendly, and the teaching is bible-based and solid.

One thing that bothered me from the beginning, is the fact that we use leavened bread during our communion services. The Churches I grew up in always used unleavened bread, and because it is easy to prove that Jesus ate, and served, unleavened bread at the last supper, I thought there would be no debate over what to use for our Communion services.

When one of our speakers talked about the institutions of the Christian Church, he said that it really didn’t matter what Churches use; it could be either unleavened or leavened bread. He said that the bible doesn’t really say much about it, and the Greek word used is the word for regular leavened bread.

Well, that was too much for me, so I wrote him a letter challenging his position.

He responded by saying that he and a couple of the elders wanted to meet with me some night that week. Well, I lost some sleep over that, thinking that I was about to be kicked out of another church!

I needn’t have worried.

They came one evening and we had a good discussion.

Among the arguments they used is that the word in the Greek is the general word for bread, not the specific word used for unleavened bread. “Azumos” is unleavened bread, while “artos” is just bread. They also said that insisting on leavened bread could lead to legalism.

It is fairly easy to prove that the Last Supper was a Passover Seder. Basically just read Mark’s account;

12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?

13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.

14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?

15 And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. Mark 14:12-15

So, “the Last Supper” was on the first day of unleavened bread. Under the law of Moses, it was a sin to eat leavened bread during the Passover and the seven days of unleavened bread following it. Jesus stated that he was eating the Passover with his disciples, so there was no way that He would have eaten leavened bread at that time.

Not only was Jesus a law-keeper, but He is actually the Law Giver! Jesus is Yehovah (יהוה) of the Old Testament, so the law is an expression of His character, and not merely a code of behaviour. So no, Jesus would not play fast-and-loose with the law.

Here is what Moses said about the Passover;

Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. Exodus 12:15

The phrase “cut off” can mean to be put to death, or it could mean exile from Israel for the rest of your life. What it certainly means is that it was a serious sin to eat leavened bread during the days of unleavened bread.

Jesus was “cut off” the next day; was He cut off for His own sin, or was he cut off for your, and my, sin?

He is our Passover lamb, he died for you and me! So, no! He did not eat leavened bread at the Last Supper.

My friends said that since the yeast is killed in the baking process that all bread is unleavened, but my response is that this would make Moses’ command senseless. Why would someone be “cut off” from Israel for eating leavened bread if all bread is unleavened? Also, leavened bread still contains the dead bodies of the yeast. (this last point is key, but I did not understand why at that time)

I am not writing this to embarrass those gentlemen; the fact is that their main argument is correct, but it took some digging before I understood what was going on. Some of their arguments were incorrect, but using an incorrect argument does not negate your main point, it just means that certain arguments should not be used, because they are based on faulty logic.

Before they arrived I read a couple of articles on the subject. One very interesting point that the articles, and my brothers used is the fact that the primitive Christians all used leavened bread in their Communion Services. The Roman Catholic Church did also, and only went back to unleavened bread around the 900s AD!

That got me thinking. Was there something that the “Primitive Christians” knew that I did not know?

I told them that I was aware that the wave loaves of the feast of Pentecost were leavened, and that they represented the Christian Church. Therefore it looked to me that using leavened bread was like “eating the Church”.

It was about this time that the Lord brought a certain verse to my attention. It just popped into my head;

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. I Corinthians 11:29

Now I had always tried to view the communion bread as representing the Lord’s body, on the cross, and not just as bread, but the thought came to me “Am I not discerning the Lord’s body the way He wants me to understand it?”

You see, there are numerous passages that speak of the Christian Church as being the “body of Christ”.  Was He trying to show us that we need to view ourselves as having been crucified with Christ?  Indeed He was!

Does the Lord want us to see ourselves in the communion service? When I said that eating “leavened bread is like eating the Church” I didn’t realize how close I was to the truth!

Doesn’t Paul say that we are crucified with Christ?

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Romans 6:6

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. Galatians 5:24

As I thought on these things I realized that God wants us to view Christ’s crucifixion as our own crucifixion! He wants us to see ourselves in the communion service, not that we are the Saviour; He is the Saviour. He is the bread, and we are the leaven!

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3

Isn’t this a picture of what we see in the communion loaf? We see the bread, and the yeast is present, hidden within the loaf. In the same way, He is the bread of Life, and we are the leaven, hidden in Christ!

There is more;

As I thought about it, I considered the conditions in which the 3,000 Jewish converts were observing on the feast of Pentecost; That day they were eating the leavened wave loaves of the feast of Pentecost. When they heard Peter preach the gospel these people believed and were immediately indwelt with the Holy Spirit.

Here is Moses, on the feast of Pentecost, or Shavuot;

15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.

17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. Leviticus 23:15-17

Lots of people calculate Pentecost incorrectly, but just in case we got it wrong, Moses gives a different way of calculating it in verse 16, that ends up with the same day; Sunday. The feast of Pentecost was to be held on the day after the seventh sabbath; Sunday!

The sheaf of the wave offering was offered during the Sabbath day that Jesus was in the tomb, and Pentecost occurred 50 days later, or seven weeks to the day after His resurrection!

So these Jewish converts had no problem moving their day of worship to Sunday, because they had experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit on that day, the very same day they were eating the leavened wave loaves! Indeed the Spirit witnessed to them that they were to change the day they set aside for worship to Sunday! Does this mean it is wrong to worship on Saturday, or Tuesday? Absolutely not; Christians should be living in communion with God seven days a week, but the day He wants us to set aside regularly, is the first day, Sunday.

This answers two questions; The bread the early Church ate was leavened, because of the wave loaves of Pentecost, and the day they met was the first day of the week, also because of Pentecost!

The coming of the Holy Spirit during the feast of Pentecost (Shavuot, the feast of weeks) is God’s seal of approval of both Sunday worship, and Leavened bread in the Church’s Communion Service!

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II Thessalonians and the Sign of the Antichrist

Years ago, while reading through 2 Thessalonians 2, I was struck by the fact that there is an apparent contradiction between verses 2-4 and 6-8. I also noticed that Dispensationalists use verses 6-8 to prove a pre-Tribulation rapture, while Post Millennials, Amillennials and Post-Tribulation Rapturists use verses 2-4 to “prove” a Post-Tribulation rapture; in other words one passage seems to say that the Church will be here for the Tribulation, and the other seems to say that we will be raptured out of here, before the Tribulation begins.

I have found a way of harmonizing both passages; we don’t need to ignore any Scripture to prove our point.

Here is the whole section;

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Now, it is impossible for God to contradict Himself, and the Apostle Paul was a brilliant man, who knew exactly what he was trying to say. So, we know that there is no real contradiction here, so we must find a way to harmonize these two passages.

Really the answer is rather simple; There are two revealings of the Antichrist, to two different groups of people, at two different times.

Verse 3 says that the day of our “gathering together unto Jesus” (the rapture) will not happen until there is a great falling away from the faith, and the “man of sin” the Beast is revealed. Please notice also, that neither passage says we will be here for the Tribulation itself, only that we will see the Antichrist revealed, before the rapture. So which group of people will the Beast be revealed to, before the rapture?

Here’s a clue;

Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7

If we were to rank the top 5 events of earth’s history, apart from creation itself, I would rank them this way; #1) The resurrection of Jesus Christ, #2) The Cross of Jesus Christ, #3) The virgin birth of Jesus Christ, 4) The Tribulation and the return of Jesus Christ, 5) Noah’s flood.

Some would lump the birth, death, and resurrection into one event, and if so that would be number 1, but I believe each part is an important event itself.

The Tribulation is a greater event than the flood, because it will produce a greater amount of death than the flood, simply because there weren’t as many people on earth in Noah’s day than there are today. Noah was the lone preacher of righteousness in the days leading up to the flood, but today every nation has a gospel witness, and most have bibles in their own language. Therefore the current rebellion against God has greater consequence than the one of Noah’s day! Christian nations have turned against their God, and are embracing the paganism that their ancestors rejected for the gospel!

The Tribulation will also end with the personal, physical, return of Jesus Christ, to begin his reign for 1,000 years! So, an event the magnitude of the Great Tribulation is not an afterthought to God, and He certainly will warn the final generations before He brings down judgment against them.

So, who is in the place of the prophets today? Is there an office of “prophet” in the Christian Church?

There are Christians who do indeed fill the position of prophets, but they are not receiving dreams and visions today! On the contrary, today God speaks through His Word, and not through dreams and visions!

So how is He going to warn this generation? Simple; he is going to warn our generation through opening the minds and hearts of preachers, who will preach His truth to a hard-hearted generation! The Antichrist will be revealed to true Christians but he won’t have power to harm believers until after the rapture. In fact the persecution of believers will begin in earnest at the mid-point of the Great Tribulation.

Those who preach the first revelation of the Antichrist will be hated by professing Christians around the world. When he is actually revealed by this sign, the true believers will realize they were wrong, and will start to point out that the man in question is the Antichrist, and their audience will, for the most part, reject their message!

The audience will say something like “You used to oppose this message, as a Christian, so why should we believe you now?”

How is this possible? There are certain doctrines preached by many Christians that have their origin in Rome and Greece, and not in the word of God. They have been preached by professing Christians so long that most believe that this particular doctrine is essential for Christianity.

If you haven’t read my last two articles, I urge you to do so now. See the first one here, and the second one here.

I didn’t understand what was going on until bit-by-bit, the Lord led me to understand what His plans are. The fact that there are prophesied events that will occur during the Church-Age was an eye opener to one who was always taught that the rapture could happen at any time. The fact that Israel became a nation again during the Church-Age is an indication that this was always God’s plan. There simply isn’t enough time in 7 years to build a nation from scratch! There isn’t enough time during the Tribulation for Israel to rebuild the Temple, to start the Sacrificial system again, and for the Antichrist to put an end to Sacrifices.

It will take much more than 3 ½ years for Israel to rebuild the Temple. With modern machinery, buildings can be built much quicker than in the past, but even so, archaeologists will want to thoroughly inspect the site first, not only to find any hidden treasures there, but also to ascertain the exact location of the earlier Temple.  Then construction will begin, and it will take years!  This is not a coffee-shop we are talking about here; it must be built correctly, and with care!

Once I understood that the Psalm 83 war must precede the Ezekiel war, of chapters 38-39, and that both are Church-Age events, then I realized that this time frame would be the most likely time for Israel to rebuild their Temple.

We can expect the Antichrist to have a hand in the rebuilding of the Temple at this time, in apparent fulfillment of Zechariah 6:12. He may make a large donation to the construction, and perhaps make some prominent speeches in favour of its rebuilding, which will come as a surprise to many, coming from a leader from a prominent Muslim family, especially one from the family that has custodianship of the Temple Mount today!

This may be a minor sign of the Antichrist but I don’t believe this is the one that Paul has in mind in 2 Thessalonians 2.

And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. Isaiah 4:1

The sign Paul has in mind is the one that Daniel alluded to in chapter 11, verses 36-37 of his book.

And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

The “desire of women” is a direct reference to the women of Isaiah 4:1. In this verse 7 women propose marriage to one man. This is a direct result of the carnage of Armageddon, which is spoken of in verse 25 of the preceding chapter; with the men of Israel having been killed-off during Armageddon, there will only be one man available for 7 women. Rather than only 1 in 7 women being able to marry, and thus have children, it is Jesus’ plan for all the survivors of Armageddon to be able to have a family.

Why would God allow this? First of all He loves people. He loves children, and He loves women. Every child who is born on this planet is another person who has the chance to receive Christ as Saviour, who can then spend Eternity with God! God loves giving people this chance!

For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. Isaiah 45:18

In this instance it is the women themselves who come up with this plan, because they all have the God-given desire for a family. This is the desire that Daniel speaks of, and in the situation in which they find themselves the only way for them to have a family is for them to share their man, in the ratio of 7:1. These women love the other women who have escaped the Antichrist with them, and they don’t want to see their friends live without the opportunity to have a family, especially since these people will have extremely long life-spans.

Thus, these women are motivated by a great love for their friends, to be willing to share their man.

Some of this generation will live through the entire Millennial reign, and how sad would it be to live through the most wonderful time the world will ever know, without the chance to share it with a family of your own? God knows this; He’s the one who gave women this desire!

We know that this is God’s plan, because in verse 4 it identifies these women, and men, as being the holy ones who have survived Armageddon;

3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: 4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.

God’s indictment of these women, years earlier, comes in chapter 3, and as they have seen the horrors of the Tribulation they have turned to Jesus, and He has washed them clean with His blood! Both the men and the women of Isaiah 4:1 are believers in Jesus!

God has given us a very similar ratio, which occurs at the end of the preceding war, Gog/Magog, which shall occur near the end of the Church-Age, just before the Antichrist is revealed.

And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: Ezekiel 39:2

These soldiers, survivors of the Gog/Magog war will find that as they return home that there are 6 women available for every survivor, only this time will be the time when the Antichrist is on the ascendancy. It appears that he will be appointed as an administrator of some of the attacking nations from that war, and as the women of those countries, with a Muslim background will expect to be able to marry men in a similar ratio to Isaiah 4:1, only this time the Antichrist will not care about, or concern himself with, the desire of women, as Jesus will, but he will prohibit polygamous marriages.

Many professing Christians will see reports of this, and their conclusion will be that this is “a man of God”! How horrible! What kind of a Christian would you be if you saw the Antichrist, and thought he was a “man of God”? You would be an Apostate Christian! A Christian in name only! You would be a “Christian” who does not believe the bible!

So we see that while many people see this sign of the Antichrist, most professing Christians will mistake the sign, and believe that they are witnessing the rise of a man of God, and a peacemaker! This is why it is so dangerous to accept man-made traditions as doctrine, instead of simply accepting the teachings of the bible, even the teachings of the Old Testament!  God never prohibited the practice of polygamy in the entire bible, precisely because He plans to use it during the Millennial Reign!  Those who think He did are reading their own ideas into the bible, and not taking God’s message our of it!

The truth is that there are many more prophecies of the End Times in the Old Testament, than there are in the New. Not only this but the New Testament prophecies are dependent upon the prophecies of the Old. Revelation itself has 500 references to the Old Testament. Since Daniel was locked until the time of the end, we can be certain that no one through the Church-Age was able to understand all of the prophecies of Daniel, until the time of the end draws near.

And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Daniel 12:9

Did he mean that the book would be sealed only until the End Times, the Church-Age, or did he mean that it would be sealed until the events of the End Times start to occur? I think he meant that Daniel’s book would be sealed until the events it speaks of begin to occur, which is our day, and just a few years earlier. I also think it is being progressively revealed, as one prophecy unveiled, sheds light on another.

Whether Augustine, Luther, or Calvin, none of these men understood the End Times, indeed they all neglected Revelation. I’m not talking about whether they were saved or not, but only of the fact that God had sealed Daniel until the day in which we live, and they could not understand His plan for the End Times. When God blocks the understanding of a portion of His word, though millions read it they can’t understand it until He reveals it!

I’m not certain that He has revealed everything in Daniel yet, but this I am sure of; that the preceding is exactly what Daniel 11:37 is talking about. This is the sign of the Antichrist, and the majority of Christians today are not prepared to accept it!

I hear some good prophecy teachers at times, men like Jimmy DeYoung, or Andy Woods, and I learn a lot from them, but when they get to this passage they still don’t get it!

You need to get your copy of “The Spirit of Prophecy”. In it you will discover much more than I can share in a short article, and you will see how Scripture supports what I am saying here. The truth is that this subject represents just one of nine chapters in the book, and each one is much more thorough than one can be in a brief blog post!

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The First Sign of the Antichrist (Part 2)

After writing my last post, I am aware that some will balk at what I am saying. Some will attack my motives, like my mother, when I told her that I had discovered that God is not against polygamy, responded “So Dan, does this mean you want another woman”!

The truth is that this is not about me, and I am still married to the same woman I was when I made this discovery some 15 or more years ago. This is about God’s plan for repopulating the world after the Tribulation, and their witness throughout the Millennial reign.

And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. Isaiah 4:1

You see, the families referred to in Isaiah 4:1 will have children in the natural ratio,which is very close to 50:50, male to female. It is actually slightly heavier on the male side, with around 1-2 extra boys for every 1000 children born. It appears that God has designed this ratio to account for the male tendency to get killed doing stunts, racing cars, jumping out of airplanes, etc. In the Millennial Reign, these extra men might just be free to serve the Lord.

What this means then, is that after the first generation in the Millennial reign, there will be no need for the practice of poygyny (polygamy) in subsequent generations! I’m not saying it won’t ever be seen, but it will be extremely rare. What woman would want to be a second wife, when there is a young man who could be all hers? There will be no more war, so there will be no need.

Many prophecy scholars have stated that they believe that life-spans during the Millennial Reign will be very long, with many people living the entire length of that age! Many people will live longer than Methuselah who only lived to 969 years old! The believers who enter the Millennial reign as young people will exit the age by being raptured themselves at the end of the age, one thousand years later!

There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed. Isaiah 65:20

Infants shall not be dying during the Millennial Reign, and if someone dies at one hundred, he will be considered to have died in his childhood. Someone who dies at one hundred years old will be considered accursed, who had died because of his sin! (my paraphrase)

So yes, Garden of Eden conditions will return to the earth, and people will indeed live as long as in the early earth, and probably longer, because Jesus will be here physically, in all His Glory! The down side is that when people live in a perfect environment they think quite highly of themselves. As Isaiah 65:20 says; if a person dies, people will consider that it was because he was a sinner, and by extension, they will reason that since they are still alive, that they are not! This is a huge mistake, but one made frequently even today!

These families of one man and seven women will attract attention to themselves by the unusual marriage arrangement they live in. This is by the Lord’s design. He wants them to stick-out!

These people will be eye witnesses to the events of the Tribulation, and Armageddon, and their presence and ability to give eye-witness accounts of the events they have seen, will provide evidence that Jesus means what He says! The first generation, and some of their children will see the aftermath of Armageddon. They might actually see some of the dead bodies of the Antichrist’s soldiers lying on the open ground, but very quickly the world will recover, and in the ensuing years of prosperity the horrors of the Tribulation will become a distant memory.

These are a missionary generation to their own children and later descendants, and the things they talk about should be a warning to those who rebel at the end of the age! (Revelation 20:8) The people who saw Jesus return from the sky, and who saw the horrors of the Tribulation will never abandon Him, but many of their very own descendants will; as usual many people discount the accounts of older generations! “What does Grandma know?” Well, actually, Grandma just might know a lot, especially if your Grandma is a survivor of the Great Tribulation!



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Marriage in the Modern World

(Or, the first sign of the Antichrist)

Do you remember the story of when Jacob, the father of Israel, was leaving his father-in-law with his two wives? Do you remember how Rachel, though she was leaving with the man of God, stole some of her father’s idols? There is a tendency to cling to that which is familiar and comfortable, rather than trust God and head into the unknown!

Do you realize that this scenario has occurred countless times since then?

People never seem to be content with the Word of God, or the instructions God has given us. So many of us seem compelled to make up rules, when it seems to us, that God didn’t give enough. Israel did this, adding a couple thousand laws to the 613 God had given them, as if there was no challenge keeping those 613 laws!

Not to be outdone, Christians have done the same thing time and time again.

One time, sitting in a service at our local Independent Baptist Church, Heritage Baptist, the pastor read from I Timothy 3:8

“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;”

At this point he stopped and said “We can do better than that! If there is any deacon sipping a little wine on the side, I want his resignation on my desk tonight!” And there was a chorus of “amens” from the audience!

My immediate thought was “do you actually think you can do better than God’s word? There is no way you can consistently keep it all, let alone do better!” As John says “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8

But before you get offended at Baptists, you must realize that almost all Christians do the very same thing, and sometimes on more serious matters, like Salvation! A great many Christians add works to Salvation, saying such things as “you are saved by grace, but you must keep it through works”! And when they do this they nullify the Gospel of Grace!

So where do we get our standards for living? Is it from the bible, or do we add traditions of men? Most add traditions, and in fact, while many might say that they base their standards of living on the bible, when the bible contradicts their culture, they are happy to ignore the clear teachings of the bible, or to twist them to fit the culture.

Well, what if your view of morality puts you at odds with God, and clouds your view of major prophecies? Is it possible that a wrong view of morality could actually interfere with prophecies regarding the identification of the Antichrist?

It is not only possible, but it is actually a certainty, that those who refuse to understand the biblical standards of morality will miss the sign of the Antichrist!

What am I talking about?

There is a prophecy in Isaiah, about the early years of the Millennial reign of Christ, which describes how the death-toll of the Tribulation and Armageddon, will result in Jesus Christ allowing polygyny, that is marriages of seven women to one man.

1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. 2 In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. 3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: 4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. Isaiah 4:1-4

The rules of context certainly apply here.

Verse 1 starts with the phrase “in that day”, which links the following with the previous chapter. If you go back only 2 verses you can see the reason for the ratio of 7:1

3:25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.

Specifically, this is a prophecy about Israel, though it has implications for the whole world. Many of the men of Israel will stay behind to fight the Antichrist and his armies, when he sets-up the “abomination of desolation” in the Temple, in Jerusalem. Like men everywhere, these guys will tell their wives “you go and run for shelter in the wilderness, and I will stay behind to defend Israel’s honour”.

After finally getting their Temple back after some 2,000 years, who would blame them? The problem is that Jesus told them…

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. Matthew 24:15-18

Jesus was telling them this for their own protection, and those who disobey Him will pay with their lives! These Jewish fighters will trigger Armageddon, however, and the armies of the world will converge on Israel, and will slaughter each other there!

After it is all over, and after Jesus returns and fights Israel’s enemies for them, it will be the ones who were obedient and fled to the wilderness who will be the one third of Israel who survive!

Jesus will use these families of one man, and seven women, to repopulate the world in the early years of the Millennial reign. Indeed, not only will the survivors of Israel be 100% believers, so will the survivors of the rest of the world!

The unbelievers will pick up arms to fight against this “invader from the sky”, and everyone who does so will die. It will be the believers who understand that this is Jesus, who died for their sins, and who is returning to set-up His earthly reign.

There is another End Times war that has a very similar ratio of men to women, at its end. This is an earlier war, and rather than immediately preceding the return of Christ, this war will actually precede the coming of the Antichrist! This war is probably the most significant Church-age war, which occurs very close to the end of the age; the war of Gog and Magog, found in Ezekiel 38-39.

I have discussed this war at length in the past, so today I will just note one small portion, which describes the aftermath of this war;

1 Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 2 And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: 3 And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. 4 Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 5 Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God. Ezekiel 39:1-5

Notice that of the number of men that attacks Israel, during this conflict, only 1/6th will return to their homeland, the rest will die on the hills of Israel!

So what will those surviving 1/6th part of the armies find when they return home? Something very similar to the situation at the beginning of the Millennial reign; there will be more women than men, to the tune of 6 women to one man!

I can’t be totally certain what the Antichrist’s role will be in the aftermath of the Gog/Magog war, but it appears that he will initially be appointed as a governor, or administrator over the nations that now have to rebuild after this horrific war.

Now the Antichrist bills himself as a replacement for Christ, but in this situation his reaction will be the very opposite of Christ, only a great number of professing Christians will applaud him, because they misunderstand the teachings of the bible, and of Christ! Here is the relevant passage from Daniel;

36 And the king (Antichrist) shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. Daniel 11:36-37

You see, the phrase “nor the desire of women” is a direct reference to the desire of women in Isaiah 4:1, and while Jesus will concern Himself with this desire, the Antichrist will not! By forbidding polygyny in this situation, the Antichrist will cause women who want children to have affairs, and steal men from their wives, and play the harlot!

While professing Christians applaud this man, he will actually be causing sin to increase exponentially!

Do you remember the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s? In that war approximately one million men died, about five hundred thousand from each side, and very few women. This left about five hundred thousand women without husbands in each country. We did not hear much about this in the west, apart from the statistics, because the Muslim practice of polygyny simply meant that the surviving women had to double-up on their men. This has been the standard solution to the problem of large numbers of war dead in most Middle Eastern societies, since ancient times.

It was a solution that predated Islam, and was God’s provision so that women did not have to live alone during their old-age. God’s plan for Old-Age-Security was, and is, children! The government does not have enough cash to care for the elderly in any society, and it does not have the love for them, that their children should have.

You see, the nations that attack during the Ezekiel 38-39 war are mostly Muslim, and it would be natural for the women of those countries to desire to marry several women to one man, this time, this man who is from a Muslim family will prohibit this practice. How do I know he is from a Muslim family? “he does not regard the God of his fathers” is a simple statement that separates the God of Gods, the biblical God, from the God of his fathers. He cannot come from a Christian or Jewish family, and since the rest of the world is polytheist, it leaves only Islam, or Zoroaster. But Zoroastrianism is very small, so it would be unlikely, and since the subject is polygyny, legalization of which is a characteristic of Islam, it really eliminates all but Islam as being the religion of his fathers.

The world will look at his prohibition of polygyny, and think that it is so out-of-character for a Muslim to think this way, that he must be a Christian! They are wrong, of course, for when he speaks of “Christ” he is actually speaking of himself, and not Jesus!

You can also see the “desire of women” throughout the bible; From Rachel and Leah’s competition for children (Genesis 30:23), to Judah’s daughter-in-law Tamar’s seducing her father-in-law (Genesis 38). From Lot’s daughters (Genesis 19:31-38), to the Shunamite woman (2 Kings 4:8-37), and Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother (Luke 1:25), the “desire of women” is the same; to have children, and preferably within the security of a marriage! This is exactly the desire that the Antichrist will not be concerned about!

Some prophecy teachers will tell you that “the desire of women is to be the mother of the messiah”, and “this is the desire that the Antichrist has no regard for”! This is wrong because the subject at hand is the desire of women in general, and not just Jewish women. Besides that the Messiah has already been born, so no woman can be the mother of the Messiah today, neither Jewish nor Gentile! If you think about it, it is a rather silly thing to say! No, don’t look for some obscure desire that doesn’t apply today, look for something, as I have shown you, that is found throughout Scripture, and is a general desire of women of all national backgrounds!

Some might say that I am wrong, because Jesus forbade polygyny, but there is no place in Scripture where God ever said it is wrong for a man to have more than one wife at the same time. In fact what Jesus actually said is exactly the opposite of what is practiced in most Christian Churches;

But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. Matthew 5:32

7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. Matthew 19:7-9

Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. Luke 16:18

Notice that the phrase “put away” means “divorce”. Also please notice that polygamists/polygynists don’t divorce one wife to marry another! Jesus is condemning modern western society to a greater extent than he is Muslims!

I went through this myself, and my pastor told me that he couldn’t marry me to my new sweetheart until I was a divorced! It is so amazing to me that we Christians do the exact opposite of what Jesus said, and still think we are Christians!

If you, like me, have been through this already, the thing to do now is to repent (change your mind), and don’t do it again. Keep your vows even if it kills you! (Don’t leave your current spouse, because you have already made vows to him/her) (I would make an exception for “gay” marriages, because God does not recognize those relationships as marriages)

Oh, hey! Here’s another one, from Paul this time;

But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. I Corinthians 7:36

Notice to whom this statement is directed to; “any man”. Notice that Paul does not qualify the statement by the word “unmarried”. We add to Scripture when we read “unmarried man” when God says “any man”!

So where did the teaching that it is wrong to practice polygyny come from, if not from the bible? The truth is that polygyny was prohibited in both the Greek and Roman empires, with the only exception being Israel, in both cases. The Roman Church, because of their tendency to add man-made traditions to the bible, added this cultural tradition, and read-into Scripture reasons for doing it! Ultimately it was their pride in their culture, and disdain for their Jewish brethren that led them to reject the biblical teaching on this subject, and to accept a man-made replacement!

So, will Christians who support the Antichrist be going up in the Rapture? I don’t think so! If you support the Antichrist because of what he does with regard to this subject, then you don’t know the God of the bible!

My friends, it is time to start taking the bible seriously, every part of it!


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Problems with Dispensationalists

I have been listening lately to Ed Hindson (On Crosstalk) and Andy Woods, found at the radio page of Worldview Weekend. I also frequently listen to Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Christian from Israel.

First-off I have to say that there is a lot of truth these gentlemen teach, and I am all for truth! These men teach Dispensationalism, and to the extent that Dispensationalism follows, and harmonizes Scripture I am with them!  I do recommend their teaching, but you must be a Berean and compare what they say to Scripture, as you will see that is what I am doing below;

This is one of the strengths of Dispensationalism, that historically teachers of this form of Eschatology have allowed the Scriptures to modify their position. Unfortunately there seems to be a somewhat hardening of views among some otherwise good teachers, who refuse to modify their views when new Scriptural insights come to light.

A case in point: Mr. Hindson says that the Rapture could happen at any time, and that there is nothing prophetically speaking, that needs to occur before it happens. I believe this is also Andy Woods position on this subject as well. In fact it is the dominant view among Dispensationalists, but it is in error. Amir and I agree that the Gog/Magog war is a late-Church-age/pre-Rapture event, but he thinks the Psalm 83 war is over, and I believe it is coming soon.

The main objection I have is that Jesus actually said there would be signs before the beginning of the Tribulaion. Just because he said “no man knows the day nor the hour” does not mean that there will not be signs before the Rapture of the Church. There will be!

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. Matthew 24:4-6

Most prophecy teachers take the phrase “wars and rumours of wars” to simply mean “the same as it ever was”, and thus turn a sign into a non-sign! They take the fact that there has been no peace on earth since the time of Christ to mean that “wars and rumours of wars” is just a continuation of everyday life, until the Rapture.

They thus ignore the fact that Jesus was always pointing people back to the Scriptures! Always!

When He said “wars and rumours of wars” he was actually pointing to biblicly prophesied wars as being signs of imminent rapture!

When we study prophecy we very often have to look at the implications of even very small words. It was no accident when Jesus said “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

Every word, and not just the general thoughts are important. Paraphrase just doesn’t cut it!

So lets do some prophetical math, shall we?

Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger come upon you.  Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger. Zephaniah 2:1-3

So the “nation not desired” is Israel. They are not desired in Heaven because they are still in unbelief. Now, in verses 1 and 2 we see that Israel will be gathered together BEFORE the Tribulation period begins! Before the “fierce anger of the Lord” comes upon them! This is “the day of the Lord’s anger”.

The Jews are not strangers to Scripture, They know that the “time of Jacob’s trouble” or “the day of the Lord’s anger” will be a terrible time, and many of them don’t want to be anywhere near Israel when it occurs. So, the Lord will allow them to be deceived, that they have actually missed the Tribulation. He won’t deceive them Himself; He will allow them to deceive themselves, through their false teachers, along with the teachings of some false teachers among Christians as well!

This is the role the Gog-Magog war will play. It will be so bad it will be considered World War 3, and God Himself will intervene to save Israel. When it is over the Israelites around the world will believe that they have escaped the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, and so they will think it is safe to return to Israel!

There will be deceived, professing Christians who will also be telling them “It is safe to go back, because the Tribulation is over”!

Now read this passage from Ezekiel 39, which takes place at the end of the Gog-Magog war;

25 Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; 26 After that they have borne their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they dwelt safely in their land, and none made them afraid. 27 When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; 28 Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. 29 Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God. Ezekiel 39:25-29

God doesn’t show His mercy on them by lifting them up to rule the world, at this time. This time He shows His mercy by revealing Himself as Jesus of Nazareth! This is the time that He unveils their eyes and they see Him for what He did on the cross! This is the time the 144,000 Jewish evangelists get saved and begin their ministry. This is Israel’s time to shine!

So, if that is the case, and the Tribulation is about to begin, where is the rapture? I’ll show you;

Here is a passage from Isaiah 27, which describes the same time-frame as Ezekiel 39:25

12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.

Here God is “beating off” the enemies of Israel from the Euphrates (the channel of the river) to the Nile (the stream of Egypt). The enemies beaten-off here are the same enemies who attacked during the Gog-Magog war. How do I know? Ezekiel 39:28, AFTER it is over, says that “I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there.” At the end of the Gog/Magog war the last remnants of the nation of Israel will return home!  These two passages are speaking of the same event.

By the way, there are a lot of Jews in the Arab nations. Most of them are Muslims today, as was predicted by the prophets, but God knows who they are, and they will return to Judaism and to Israel when HE shows them that the God of the Qur’an can’t help them! He can only do that with a major international defeat of Islam.

Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not, neither ye nor your fathers; and there shall ye serve other gods day and night; where I will not shew you favour. Jeremiah 16:13

You see, God predicted that Israel would serve false gods after He had cast them out of their land. So several lines of Israelites converted to Islam 1,400 years ago, but He is still able to bring them back to the land as he promised their forefathers, and He will convince them that He is the one true God!

So when the Lord is gathering them “one by one” in the event of Isaiah 27:12, this means that there are only a few of them left there, then this is the same event as Ezekiel 39:28, the last gathering of the Children of Israel! According to Zephaniah, this is still at a time before the Tribulation, so what is the event that starts the Tribulation?

This is “the great trumpet”that is blown in verse 13.

How many “great trumpets” are there? According to the little word “the”, there is only one great trumpet, and this is it!

So what about the “last trumpet” that Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The “Great Trumpet” IS the “Last Trumpet”! This is the same trumpet of Isaiah 27:13! It does not only call Israel back to the land, but it also calls the Church to meet their Saviour in the clouds; the Rapture! This is the exact end of the Church-age, and the beginning of the last seven years of the age of Israel!

It is a precise moment, and I can’t give you a day, nor an hour, but only the sign!

This is the last sign of the imminent Rapture of the Church, and closely related to it is the revelation of the Antichrist! The Church will be here for the first revelation of the Beast, but that sign is a subject for another time.

Another, earlier sign, is the Psalm 83 war.

The Psalm 83 war is not the same as the Gog-Magog war because the nations that protest the Gog-Magog war are all a part of the earlier war. Sheba, Dedan, and Tarshish are all Arab entities, and their protest “Art thou come to take a spoil?” makes all the difference.

Some prophecy scholars, such as Amir Tsarfati and Andy Woods, identify Tarshish as England, but the little word “come” indicates that the invading armies must come through the territories of these three entities to get to Israel. In other words they are geographically close to Israel, like right next door!

Tarshish is the Syrian port of Tartus, which will become the capital of Syria after Damascus is destroyed during the Psalm 83 war. The devastation will be so complete that the Syrians will have to move their capital to Tartus.

As the invading Turkish and European armies come down through the Bosphorus, and along the coastline of the Mediterranean, they will come through the territory of Syria, and Syria’s capital Tartus will only be able to register a protest, because they will have been disarmed in the aftermath of the Psalm 83 war!

The UK is a long way away from Israel, so there is no way the invading armies would have any need to go through their territory. This little fact eliminates the possibility that England could be Tarshish.

Another fact that destroys the idea that the UK is Tarshish is the fact that the UK is made up of descendants of Gomer. The English are a Germanic tribe, descendants of Gomer’s son Ashkenaz. The Irish, Scots, and Welsh are descendants of Gomer’s son Riphath, although the Scots are also mixed with Magog, another attacking nation. When Ezekiel says “Gomer and all his bands” (Eze. 38:6) it means all the armies of the descendants of Gomer, will be involved in the attacking forces. England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be a part of the Gog/Magog armies coming against Israel!

The sequence of these two wars, then, is first the Psalm 83 war, and after the Arabs are defeated, and sue for peace with Israel, then the next war will be the Ezekiel 38-39 war, which will result in the end of western dominance in world politics!

These are two of the signs that Jesus was speaking of when he said “wars and rumours of wars”. These wars will both occur before the Rapture of the Church.  In other words, if you have not died by then, you will be here for these wars!

No doubt the Apostle Paul felt that he might still be alive when the Rapture occurred. This is evident in I Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” The fact that Paul died is evidence that it was not God’s plan to stage the Rapture at that time. God always had a specific date in mind for the Rapture, but He chose not to reveal it to Paul, or to any other prophet.

In fact He is still revealing His End Time plan, bit by bit, to those who will listen! Please don’t think that I am saying that there are new revelations that trump Scripture. On the contrary, everything we need for this age is in Scripture, but He chose to hide things from the understanding of past generations, because His purpose in those days was to spread the gospel for the Church-Age. God always wanted every generation to live as if they could meet God today.  Now, however, as the end of the age draws near, he is revealing his End Times plan, more fully, to men who will listen, at the same time as the majority in the Church are growing hard-hearted, and many refuse to listen!

Here’s the thing; the Lord, when He was inspiring prophets to write Scripture, did not overpower the prophet, but worked with the man’s intellect. Thus there are statements in Scripture that are from the author, and there are also statements made by God.

Solomon wrote that “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4) Now this is a statement that is demonstrably false. Scripture confirms that the earth will end after the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ, but this is what Solomon actually thought, and God had not yet revealed his plan for the destruction of the earth at the end of the Millennial reign. So the bible accurately records the thoughts of its authors, even the incorrect ones!

It is possible to differentiate between the thoughts of men and the teachings of God, however, all one needs to do is compare Scripture with Scripture, and trust the Holy Spirit to lead you to the truth! When you think you know it all, keep on seeking, because there will be something you have missed!  And, don’t get discouraged, but keep on trusting the Lord to lead you into all truth!

Additional resources;

The Table of Nations, by Tim Osterholm

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Christmas Wishes

You know I had to interrupt myself.  I was working on another article about biblical End Times prophecy, but it is Christmas, and I think I want to focus on the coming of the Messiah for a moment.

The word Christmas comes from Christ-Mass, meaning the physical body of Christ.  And yes, I know that the name came from the Roman Catholic Church, and I also know that they got the date wrong, but if Christians are not prepared to celebrate His birth in September, or in some other month, then December is as good a time as any!

Do you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ? Ever?

It is not just that His birth was a virgin conception, though it is that, but it is more;  When Jesus was born, God took the form of a man, and came and lived among us!

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Colossians 2:9

Everything that Jesus was, is exactly the way God is, encapsulated in a human body! Jesus is the statement about Himself that God wants us to understand!  Jesus is exactly as Holy as His Father, and the Holy Spirit!  The wrath that God the Father has against our sin, is exactly the same wrath that Jesus has against that same sin!

Jesus is the creator of everything, including Hell, and the Lake of Fire!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3

There are people who say that God has no son, but the bible clearly says that God has a Son.  Jesus is visible in the bible from the Garden of Eden unto the End, and for all eternity!  Who was it that walked with Adam in the cool of the morning?  God the Father is a Spirit so he can’t walk in the grass!  And a spirit makes no sound as it walks;

8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8

The Lord God, in Genesis 3:8 is nothing less than a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ, in a body that he created temporarily!

It was Jesus who appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18

1 And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

Again, the Lord who appeared unto Abraham ate meat, milk, and cheese with the two angels, and Abraham.  A spirit doesn’t eat.

There are numerous appearances of this person in the Old Testament, sometimes He is identified as “the angel of the Lord” but he accepts worship, and a mere angelic servant of God, will not accept worship, as He did in the case of Gideon;

12 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
13 And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.
14 And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? Judges 6:12-14

Note that the “angel of the Lord” in verse 12 is the same person identified as LORD (יהוה YHVH, Yehovah or Yahweh) in verse 14.  Notice that He refers to “the Lord” in the second person in verse 12, and yet He Himself is also the LORD?  This is an early reference to two persons of the Trinity!

Some 1,500 years later the Lord was conceived in the womb of a young virgin of Israel, Miryam, (aka Mary) a descendant of the Jewish king David, and entered the human family, born in a stable in Bethlehem Ephrata, without a human father!

6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Psalm 2:6-7

Jesus is the “only begotten” of the Father.  The word “begotten” or “begat” (past tense) is used to describe the relationship between fathers and sons throughout the bible. A begotten son comes from his father, and is made of the same substance as his father.  He is equal to his father, though is lower in status, than his father, until he inherits his father’s position.  It is the same way with Jesus Christ, As the Son of God Jesus came from the Father, and is equal to Him, though presently He takes a submissive role to the Father.

At the end of time Jesus sits on His Father’s throne!

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. Revelation 3:21

6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Psalm 45:6-7

Here we see two persons of the Trinity together in verse 7.  God on the throne, has a God, who has given Him a position above his fellows!  Who are His fellows?  His “fellows” are the people of Israel, and by extension the human race!  The anointing is a reference to the ancient practice of pouring oil on the head of the new king!  God has a God?  Yes, God the Father’s God is the Son, and God the Son’s God is the Father!

This king who was born in an animal stable, and died on a cross, almost 2,000 years ago has been declared King of kings, and Lord of lords, by God Almighty!  The leaders of your nation will one day soon bow the knee to Him and declare that He is their King with power to do with them whatever He wants!

But, the prophets foretold that the Messiah would be God Himself;

But thou, Beth–lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2

The only person who’s existence is from everlasting is God.  No angel came from everlasting, angels were created in time:

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Psalms 90:2

Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction. Habakkuk 1:12

Yes Jesus is the Messiah, and He is God.  Not a god, but God Almighty, and He is the Judge of all the earth!

So, remember that He was born of a virgin, which was foretold by the prophets, and He entered the human family in the lowest of circumstances.  Then He went lower, and wandered about for three years without a home, and then He was condemned in an unjust trial, and suffered abuse by his contemporaries, and died as a criminal on a cruel Roman Cross.

But that isn’t the end of the story, for three days later He was raised from the dead, and was seen by hundreds of people on the earth before he ascended to Heaven.  The people who saw Him also touched Him, and they even ate with Him!  Spirits don’t eat!

The resurrection of Christ is the most established event in all of History.  The people who saw Him alive were willing to die for Him, and were in a unique position to know the truth of His resurrection!  People die for lies every day, but no one willingly dies for something they actually know is a lie, especially when they are threatened and tortured for their testimony.

He is my Saviour.  He became my Saviour when I received Him as Lord and Saviour, and entrusted my eternity to Him.  I hope Jesus is your Saviour, and if not today, then I hope and pray you take His claims seriously, soon! This is my Christmas wish for you!

Your eternal destiny depends on Him!

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The meaning of the story of Jephthah’s daughter

You know, we are told that all Scripture was written for our learning (Romans 15:4), and we are also told that reading of Scripture is profitable, and even necessary, for the people of God to grow to maturity in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15-16).

As natural men you and I can know nothing about the character of God, unless He reveals Himself to us.  He has chosen to reveal himself primarily through the Scriptures.  He does not reveal Himself through dreams and visions during the Church-age, although He could if He chose to.  Even if He did, however, He would not contradict anything in the written Word!

What if I said I believed everything the bible says about God, with the exception of one story?  If that were the case, then on that one story, my God is not the God of the bible, but actually an idol! On that one story I have chosen to be my own God, because I don’t like what the bible reveals about the true God!

If I have rejected what the bible says about God on even one point I have actually rejected the God of the bible!

Christianity today is full of idolators; people who refuse to accept everything the bible says about God.

One story that is seldom spoken of in Christian sermons is that of the Israelite Judge Jephthah, and his daughter.

This would be understandable if it were not for the fact that Jephthah is included in the “Hit parade of Faith” found in Hebrews 11. You see, Jephthah sacrificed his daughter to the Lord, so how on earth are we to understand his inclusion in a list of “heros of the faith”?  How are we to reconcile this “child sacrifice” with the God of the bible?  We can and we must!

Before we go on you need to see this;

31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Hebrews 11:31-34

You see lots of kings and judges of Israel defeated Israel’s enemies by faith. Some of them. like Saul, began to think that the victories were the result of their own work, but Jephthah knew better.  He knew that it was God who had given him the victory.  He is not included in the “hit parade of faith” for his victory in battle, but for his relationship with his daughter, and with the Lord!

Before the battle Jephthah told the Lord that if He gave him victory in battle, he would sacrifice the first thing that came out of his house upon his return. I imagine that he was probably thinking “I would gladly sacrifice my favorite dog to the Lord, if He were to give me victory in this battle” but he didn’t say this! God is not really interested in sacrifices of dogs, or even sheep, goats and cattle. What He really wants is people! And, God isn’t really interested in death, so much as people who trust Him with their life, even to the point of death!

So this story is not only about Jephthah, but to an equal extent it is about his daughter, and the type of person she was. In all the people of the bible, the only persons who were willing to lay down their life, because of a promise their father had made, were Jesus Christ, and Jephthah’s daughter;

29 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.

30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.

32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.

33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.

34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.

35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back.

36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the Lord, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon.

37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.

38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.

39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,

40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

I have heard pastors go through this story and come to the conclusion that the lesson of the story is “don’t make foolish promises” or “don’t make open-ended promises”!

To be sure this is a corollary of the story, but it is a minor point!

There are several major points to this story;

  1. Jephthah won the battle by relying on the Lord to lead him to victory. While he was smart and an experiened man of valour, he relied on the Lord’s leading in the battle.
  2. It appears that it was the Lord who led Jephthah to make his vow to the Lord, since verse 29 tells us “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah” and then the next two verses describe the vow. Jephthah was thinking that it would be something else that would come out of his house when he returned from the battle, but he didn’t say so. Sometimes the things we don’t say are as important as the things we do say!
  3. Unlike the sacrifices the pagans made to their gods, like Moloch, this one was done with the assent of the victim. In fact Jephthah actually gave her the opportunity to escape. She requested “Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows (friends).” So she went camping for two months, with her friends, to take time to reflect on what she was about to do.I imagine that Jephthah might have hoped that she would escape to a neighboring country, to live out her life normally. Who wouldn’t have hoped such a thing? His daughter, however, was a woman of her word, and it is very clear that she loved her father more than life itself! She returned because she knew it is a serious thing to lie to the Lord! In her judgment it is more serious to lie to the Lord than to lose her own life! She could have escaped to Jordan, or Lebanon, or Saudi Arabia, and lived out her life as a fugitive, but that would have been a life without honor!
  4. To most people throughout the history of the world, having children is important, because it is your legacy. Leaving someone behind when we die is important because they carry on the family name, and often the family business. They will remember us if no one else does!Jephthah’s daughter was an only child. Her mother is not in the story, so she may have already been dead. She might have died in child-birth having his daughter, or she might have left, but she is not in the picture at all.So, when Jephthah sacrificed his daughter he was actually sacrificing his whole family! All his descendants would have come from this daughter! So he lived the rest of his life without children or family, and with no hopes that there would be some!
  5. I am sure that Jephthah would have preferred to die himself, but then he would have died as a man who had broken his promise to the Lord! Committing suicide would have been an act of cowardice! He had painted himself into a corner, and there was no honourable way out!To the unsaved a promise to the Lord can be broken whenever it is inconvenient to keep it. To a believer, however, the Lord God is more important than anything in this life! It is “faith” to believe that God heard your promise, and it was faith for Jephthah to believe that God had chosen his daughter for the sacrifice.Indeed, I believe that it was God who had chosen Jephthah’s daughter for this sacrifice. He had a purpose in this particular sacrifice!
  6. Jephthah’s daughter became a type of Christ by willingly laying down her life, because of a promise her father had made. God the Father promised Salvation to humanity, and it could only be accomplished by His Son dying on a cross, willingly, for you and for me!Certainly one of the purposes in this sacrifice was to show you and me the depth of love that existed between Jephthah and his daughter, the same as between God the Father and God the Son. It was also to show us the sense of loss the Father had when His Son died for someone else’s sin!Jephthah gave his daughter the opportunity to escape, in the same way that Jesus could have walked away from the cross. Had she done so her father would have been known as a man who broke his promises, in the same way that if Jesus had walked away from the cross, then God would not have been a God of honour! In both cases it was the father’s honour that was at stake, and it was the child who had the power to honour or to dishonour their father!
  7. Jephthah shows us the importance of keeping one’s promises, even if there is a personal cost to us! So, when Jesus says33 “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.

    37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

We had better believe that He is serious. God wants us to learn to be people of honour! It might seem like a little thing at the time, but a broken promise can have implications that reverberate throughout time, long past our own lifetime!

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26-27

How many Christians have had a Leftist, or a Muslim, hold their child with a knife to the throat and say “Deny Jesus or your child will die!”  It happens every day, folks! Maybe not in Canada or the USA, but there are places in the world where this actually does happen every day!  The day is coming when it will happen in the west!  In that situation God wants you to be like Jephthah, and his daughter!

So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33

 Jephthah forsook all that he had to keep his promise to God!  His only daughter forsook all that she had to honour her father!  Yes, God wants us to be like Jephthah AND his daughter!

Since the cross until now, many millions of Christians have had to face the same choice Jephthah’s daughter had to face. Many millions took the cowardly way out, and dishonoured their Saviour. History has forgotten those who joined with the murderers, but the martyrs are remembered as jewels in the Messiah’s crown! They still shine today!

In the Muslim world today, every day, Christians are persecuted and martyred. Some of them are from denominations I would tend to disagree with on some major points, but these people are not dying for Orthodoxy or for Catholicism; They are given the choice “Jesus or Muhammad” Those who choose Muhammad are set free as cowards, and those who say “Jesus” die for Him!

He knows those who are His, and He will honour them before His Father’s throne!

He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. John 12:25

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33

Yes indeed, God wants us to be like Jephthah, and his daughter!  He does not ask every believer to actually give up all of their possessions, or even their life, but He truly wants every one of His children to be willing to do so, should He ask it of them!

Do you love God that much?

Oh yes, there was a minor point wasn’t there? “Don’t make open-ended promises”!  It is a valid point of the passage, but it pales in comparison to the character shown by Jephthah and his daughter!

God is all about character!

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