144,000 Raised & Perfect!

Little is known about this group that will be redeemed from among men in the last days (cf. Revelation 14:14), but God will clearly set them apart and protect them during the time of His wrath. They’ll be in Jerusalem with Christ at the onset of His kingdom.

The following are key points regarding the 144,000:

  • Sealed for protection against God’s impending wrath (cf. Revelation 7:3-8 & 9:4).
  • Seen with Christ on Mount Zion during the time of God’s wrath, but before the seventh trumpet when Christ will gain His kingdom and enter Jerusalem. They “follow Him wherever He goes” (cf. Revelation 14:1).
  • There’ll be a new song in heaven that no man can learn but the 144,000 redeemed from the earth (cf. Revelation 14:2-3).
  • Redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb (cf. Revelation 14:4).
  • They’ll be virgins and without fault (cf. Revelation 14:4-5). I remind those who ask “How will this be possible?” that this group will have been redeemed from the earth and will be first fruits unto the Christ, implying resurrection for the purpose of serving with Him in His kingdom (see the references above).

What we know

  • The group will be 144,000 first-fruits unto Christ redeemed from the earth.
  • They’ll be protected against God’s wrath (e.g. the sixth trumpet judgment in Revelation 9:4). They’ll also be seen with Christ during the time of God’s wrath and will be with Him as He gains His kingdom at the seventh trumpet.

What we don’t know:

  • Where the ten lost tribes of the kingdom of Israel are today (although there’s much speculation on the subject). However, God has promised Israel to bring a remnant from the tribes back together at the end and protect them.
  • Specifically, why Christ will select them—unless their purpose is to reign with Him.

Unsupported Theories:

  • The 144,000 will be Jews for Jesus evangelizing the world.
  • The 144,000 won’t be Jews but special evangelizing Christians.
  • The 144,000 are symbolic and represent particular Christian denominations.

A new age is coming . . .

Let the Feasting Begin!

In His covenant with His bride, Israel, God ordained 7 feasts and festivals: 4 in the spring, and 3 in the fall.  While followers of Jesus aren’t forced to observe them, knowing of the events and their past, present, and future significance will help understand where we’ve come from and God’s covenant with Israel and our Christ’s covenant with the world are related.

~ Spring Feasts of the Lord (fulfilled by Jesus’ first coming) ~

Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread: These first two spring feasts commemorate the salvation of the Hebrews from God’s judgment against Pharaoh and their exodus from Egypt in about 1445 BC. Passover commences on the 14th day of the first month at twilight. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts for 7 days beginning on the day after Passover. Jesus fulfilled the role of Passover lamb sacrificed for the choice of salvation (just as with the Hebrews in Egypt), and He represented the removal of leaven (yeast) – sin, as we see in 1Corinthians 5:6-8.

Feast of First fruits: This marks the beginning of the harvest period and gives Israel an opportunity to present the first fruits of that harvest to God in thanksgiving. It occurs 50 days prior to the Feast of Weeks. Jesus fulfilled this event as the first fruits of the resurrected dead presented to the Father (1Corinthians 15:20 & 35-48).

The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost): This particular feast occurs 7 weeks and a day (50 days total) after the feast of First Fruits. The purpose is to signal the end of the grain harvest and give thanks to God for His provision. It’s also marked the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to send the Spirit of God to empower His followers for ministry (John 14:16).

~ Fall Feasts of the Lord (will be fulfilled by Jesus’ return to earth) ~

The Feast of Trumpets: This ‘memorial of blowing of trumpets’ is to happen on the first day of the 7th month (usually September) and will most likely signal our Christ’s return to earth and the gathering of His bride at the ‘last trumpet’ (cf. Matthew 24:30-31 and 1Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The Day of Atonement: The event is meant to be a time of atonement for the Jews and will most likely mark the manifestation of salvation and reconciliation between God and Israel at the end of the ‘time of the gentiles’ (cf. Luke 21:24 and Romans 11:25-27).

The Feast of Tabernacles: Finally, this feast commemorates the Israelites’ time in the desert just before entering the land of Canaan. During the festival, which lasts 7 days, Jews are compelled to live in structures – booths – made of branches, twigs, and leaves. This practice most likely also represents the time of Jesus’ kingdom where He will dwell with man and once again be the protector and provider for Israel.

Which will it be for you – feast or famine (spiritually-speaking)?


No Need for the Temple of God?

Some people believe the third temple mentioned in Scripture is symbolic and not a physical structure. A component of this false teaching is that the biblical third temple is actually representative of every Christian. While it’s true that Jesus’ followers are called the temple of the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 2:21 and 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 & 6:19), there’s no reason to believe the third temple itself will be anything other than what the Bible says it will be: a temple of the Lord built for God by the Jews, and desecrated by the Antichrist. God’s Holy Spirit does reside in and with Christian believers, negating the need for them to have a temple, but apocalyptic literature in the Bible has revealed that the Jews will build one in fulfillment of end-times prophecy.

Is anyone serious about building the third temple? You bet! Many Jews have looked forward to this since June 1967 when the Israelis once again controlled the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock (where they believe the Holy of Holies and Ark of the Covenant had been in Solomon’s days). The control only lasted for a few hours, but many Israelis still hope to one day obtain permission to rebuild the temple. Several significant sources raise funds, create temple articles, or educate the public on the topic of the Temple Mount and temple: Temple Institute (www.templeinstitute.org), Temple Mount Faithful (templemountfaithful.org) and Temple Mount resource compilation (www.templemount.org).

Some of the preparations already made for the third temple include:

  1. Reestablishment of the Jewish Sanhedrin.
  2. Creation of cornerstones in 1989 (attempts made annually to place these have been unsuccessful thus far).
  3. Attempting to determine the exact location of where the temple should go (the location may be several hundred feet from the Dome of the Rock, allowing it and the new temple to exist simultaneously and peacefully).
  4. Seeking the Red Heifer (the ashes of which are necessary for the process of temple purification).
  5. Creation of various temple vessels to include the menorah and temple utensils.

In the end, both ‘temples are necessary: the bodies of Jesus’ followers for the Spirit of God; the Jewish temple for prophetic fulfillment.

Trinity . . . Exactly WHO or WHAT is our God??

God . . . Three in one? One in three? Slivers of the same? Or three distinct beings?

Despite the fact that religious leaders have gotten their underwear in a bunch over the trinity debate for centuries, Biblical texts refer to God in two ways: Corporately at the beginning of creation – Hebrew el-o-heem (Genesis 1:1-2 & John 1:1-14) and as God the Father. Different heavenly beings under corporate God are as follows.

  • Father: The father of spirits (Hebrews 12:9), the father who gives us the Spirit (Luke 11:13), and the father who forgives (Matthew 6:14-15).
  • Son: Took human form to live and die as a man in order to give humankind the choice of life through covenant with Him.
  • Spirit: Described as the ‘breath of god’, He is currently on earth to guide and instruct those who follow the Christ (John 16:13).

They’re corporately the same just like company employees or a husband and wife may be of one mind. Jesus pointed this out when claiming that He and His father were one and the same (John 14:11).  However, each is a distinct entity with beautiful attributes.

Different titles for God the Father based on His character and actions:

  • His true name, Jehovah/Yahweh – “I am that I am” – “I exist” (Genesis 2:4)
  • Creator and Father of spirits (Genesis 6:7, Ecclesiastes 12:5-7 & Hebrews 12:9)
  • Healer, Jehovah-Rapha  (Exodus 15:26)
  • Provider, Jehovah-Jireh  (Genesis 22:14)
  • Judge of the world through Jesus the Christ (Acts 17:30-31)

Regarding the Son of God: He came to earth and took human form (spirit in body like us) to become the final sacrifice for sin. He has earned the right to rescue us from judgment (Revelation 5) and sits in the kingdom of heaven at the right side of God the father (Ephesians 1:19-20).

What about the Spirit of corporate God? The Spirit is given by God the Father at the moment of true belief (Luke 11:13) and Acts 19:2).  He is also a teacher & helper to Jesus’ Followers (John 14:26 and 16:13, and 2Peter 1:21). Finally, the Holy Spirit also gives gifts to the Followers of Jesus to strengthen them. These include the tongues of men and angels along with interpretations, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, and discerning of spirits (Acts 2:4 & 13, and 1Corinthians 12:7-10).

El-o-heem God corporately describes creator, savior, and helper – three distinct individuals working together to reconcile with mankind.  Who’s your god?

True Love . . .

True love is an actionable one not based on emotion. We usually associate a mushy, warm, down-in-our-gut emotion with love and often mistake that lustful desire or fondness for true love. These feelings are necessary in many human relationships or situations; however, the foundational love we’re to exhibit is related to action. Let’s take a further look at these variations of emotion and actions often called love.

The Bible refers to love in three primary ways: (1) lust or desire; (2) fondness for a person or thing; (3) love not based on emotion but unconditional charitable action that comes from moral compelling. The two types of love based on emotional feeling are lust (or desire) and fondness. Lust is more short-lived than fondness, but both can fade as our feelings change. The latter type of love isn’t based on emotion and is purer and longer-lasting than the first emotion-based loves.

The Holy Scriptures reflect the following three major variations of love in these Greek root words:

  • Epithumeo or epithumia for lust (examples include Matthew 5:27-28; Ephesians 2:1-3)
  • Variations of phil (as in philanthropea or Philadelphia) for fondness (i.e. Mark 10:17-22, Titus 3:3-5, Hebrews 13:1, etc.)
  • Unconditional, non-emotional love – :Agapao (Strong’s Greek G25): a verb representing morally-compelled action we’re to take as in, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” —1John 4:7. And Agape, a noun representing charitable manifestations that can occur because of compelling agapao love as in, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” —1John 4:7.

So, being ‘nice’ isn’t what God desires – it is actionable love that honors Him and treats His creation appropriately despite how we feel.

‘Feel’ or ‘do’ – which identifies you?

Here Comes the Judge . . .

All will be judged at the end of our current age. The names of the obedient and faithful throughout time will be found in the Book of Life. For them, eternal and unimaginable life awaits. The rest (those whose names won’t appear in that Book) will be thrown into hell – the lake of fire punishment created for Satan and his fallen angels.

He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. —John 3:18.

Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. —Acts 17:30-31.

And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. —Revelation 20:12-15.

Eternal life will be given to those who choose reconciliation with God through the Christ. All others will be judged and dealt with accordingly regardless of whether they’ve chosen to reject God or just not bothered to choose.

Life or death. Have you chosen?

What is Hell Like?

Personal opinions on the subject of hell range from a profession of its existence as the fire-and-brimstone punishment for the person with unrepentant sin to a belief that it’s a mythical place since, “A good god would never kill his people!” The truth is that God is a just god who offered us a choice: follow Him and His Christ and live or don’t and die (spiritually). He created a place within the earth to serve as a means of destruction – a consequence that awaits the spirits of those who didn’t choose life through faith and resulting obedience.

Originally created for eventual judgment of the fallen angels (including their leader, Lucifer) hell will also be the final destination for the spirits of unrighteous humans. As well, this is the holding place of those spirits of the unrighteous awaiting judgment. Scripture is pretty clear about this. We also find references to this holding place and the fiery judgment from others like Enoch, the grandson of Adam.

  • Hell – holding place Hades = Sheol: holding place of the spirits of those whose names aren’t recorded in heaven as they await judgment. This place will be unnecessary and eliminated when death is abolished at God’s great judgment (cf. Revelation 20:15).

References include: Matthew 11:23 and 16:18; Luke 10:15 and 16:22-23; Acts 2:27 & 31; 1Corinthians 15:55; 2Peter 2:4; Revelation 1:18, 6:8, and 20:13-14

  • Hell – fiery judgment Gehenna & Lake of Fire: last-days consequences for the wicked after judgment. Scripture and the Book of Enoch describe this as a place within the earth that produces incredible heat and flames. Read Luke 16:23-24 and you’ll see words and phrases like ‘hades’ and ‘torment’ and “I am in agony in this flame”. So, for those who believe hell is figurative or a parable – I’d reconsider.
  • Gehenna references include: Matthew 5:22-30, 10:28, 18:9 and 23:15 & 33; Mark 9:43, 45, & 47; Luke 12:5; James 3:6

Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. —Matthew 10:28.

  • Lake of fire references include: Revelation 19:20, 20:10 & 14-15, and 21:8

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. —Revelation 20:14-15.

Now that we know what hell is, let’s address what it isn’t. Contrary to popular opinion, hell isn’t a multi-layered furnace where sinners are divided and placed based on the bad things they did on earth. This concept is fantasy based on “Dante’s Inferno” – the first part of a poem titled Divine Comedy. It’s not even loosely based on Scripture and shouldn’t be taken as such. Anyone whose name isn’t recorded in heaven among the righteous at their time of death will find their spirit waiting in holding-place hell until their final disposition: hell as a fiery judgment.

What’s your destination?

The Sign of the End

If there will be a single significant sign immediately preceding the gathering of Jesus’ followers (dead and alive) and the wrath of God against the remaining population of earth, it’ll be a complete darkening of the natural lights. Ancient prophets foretold this. Jesus confirmed it to His disciples on the Mount of Olives in about 27 AD and in the Revelation given to John in roughly 90 AD. It’s the one event that will signal the end of the greatest time of tribulation known to humankind. The complete darkening will also be a clear indication that the time of harvests has come: the gathering of Jesus’ followers and preparation of the rest for destruction.

Foretelling of the darkening that will precede God’s great wrath:

 I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. —Joel 2:30-31.

Jesus’ confirmation that the darkening will precede God’s wrath:

I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, . . .  Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man . . . said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?” —Revelation 6:12-17.

Jesus’ revelation that the darkening will also precede the gathering of His true followers:

But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. . . .  and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY . . . and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. —Matthew 24:29-31.

‘Lights out’ will mean salvation for some and destruction for others. Which will it be for you?