Happy New Year Israel 5777!

Rosh Hashana / ראש השנה

or

Signs, Signs, Everywhere a Sign! (Matthew 24:36)

..the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do….”1 Chronicles 12:32 (New American Standard)

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (New American Standard)

   36“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37“For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  Matthew 24:36-37 (New American Standard)

As the old rock song said: “Signs, signs, everywhere a sign, do this don’t do that can’t you read the sign!” Christian, can you read the sign?

In my haste to begin the series of lessons on Spirit, Soul and Body, I forgot to publish first lessons on our new year starting sundown October 2, 2016. Yes, for those of us Christians, the fall feasts begin in about 10 days with Rosh Hashanah!

Happy New Year 5777!!!                                                                rosh22d

Rosh Hashanah is followed by Yom Kippur, October 12, 2016 and Feast of Trumpets, October 17, 2016. If you are not familiar with the final three feasts of the Jewish calendar, you should be. For I believe these times are right for the coming of our Lord Jesus the Christ, otherwise known as the Rapture of the Church. Signs, sign, everywhere a sign.

The men of Issachar, according to Hebrew Targum, “had understanding to know the times, and were skilled in fixing the beginnings of years, the commencement of months, and the inter-calculation of months and years; skillful in the changes of the moon, and in fixing the lunar solemnities to their proper times; skillful also in the doctrine of the solar periods; astrologers in signs and stars, that they might show Israel what to do; and their teachers were two hundred chiefs of the Sanhedrin: and all their brethren excelled in the words of the law, and were endued with wisdom, and were obedient to their command.”  Are you? I’m not, but there are a few signs we need to know: 5777 and the feasts.

Why are these signs and times important for you to know?

First, they are the remaining feasts not fulfilled yet in their entirety by the Lord Jesus the Christ.

The first four feasts have been fulfilled by our Lord.

  • Passover, as our Passover Lamb, Savior and Sacrifice.
  • Unleavened Bread, as there was no leaven or sin found in Him as our perfect sacrifice acceptable to God the Father.
  • First Fruits, as the last Adam and a type of our resurrection and hope of our salvation
  • Pentecost, the receiving of the Holy Spirit as our Comforter and Power on this earth

Second, you need to see how Jesus fulfills each one of these feasts so you know what to expect. Forewarned is forearmed.

Third, this is your Christian heritage. You need to appreciate what our Jewish friends are doing this time of year. For more information, read a great website called hebrew4christians.com.

Fourth, we must learn the lesson of the fig tree (Matthew 24:29-37). There are signs hung by God all over the place. Some Christians don’t have a clue about the signs or the seasons when the rapture will take place. The Kingdom of God is near. Help them to understand.

We are not supposed to know the day or the hour of the coming of the Son of Man (Acts 1:7), but we are to know generally the times and the seasons of His coming (Matthew 24:32). Unfortunately, the vast majority of Christians churches do no specific teaching on Jewish tradition nor the feasts of our Lord except for Passover. Even then, that is taught incorrectly through man’s tradition. But that is another series of articles.

So, what do we know about New Years and the significance of this coming new year 5777?

The numbers 5777 separately and together have historical and prophetic significance. As an example, 5 is the number of redemption and 7 is the number of perfection. Anytime you see three of any number, that has to do with the Trinity. But, 5777 and it’s reverse 7775 also have to do with God’s judgment. Yes, judgment! The rest of this article is trying to put these numbers into historical context. I think you will find that interesting.

The ancient rabbis believed that God did not just throw numbers around. Every number in scripture has a meaning. This is not numerology, it is called gematria. We get our English word geometry from it. The ancient peoples did not have separate numbers as we do today. So, letters in their alphabet stood for certain numbers. So as the rabbis studied the words and numbers in their Torah, they were astonished as to the regularity and the meaning of those discoveries. So let me get 5777 in some Biblical context using its reverse number 7775.


30. Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years, and he died. Genesis 5:30, 31 (New American Standard Bible)


6. Now Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of water came upon the earth…. 10. It came about after the seven days, that the water of the flood came upon the earth. 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. Genesis 7:6-11 (New American Standard)

So Lamech, the father of Noah, lives 777 years. And 5 years later, the flood happens. “7775.”

Now add this what is going on with Enoch and Methuselah just before this.

 23 Enoch lived 365 years, 24 walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him. Genesis 5:23,24 (New Living Translation).

Then you have the next verse about Methuselah:

25 When Methuselah was 187 years old, he became the father of Lamech. 26 After the birth of Lamech, Methuselah lived another 782 years, and he had other sons and daughters. 27 Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died. Genesis 5:25-27 (New Living Translation).

Enoch walking close to God and then disappearing is a type of the rapture of the church. The first of four generations of preachers, and the seventh from Adam, Enoch had a prophecy about the second coming of our Lord:

 14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Jude 14 &15. (New American Standard)

Then add to that Methuselah’s name. Enoch means “teaching or commencement.” But following this, Methuselah’s name means “his death shall bring” or “When he is dead, it shall come or be sent.” What then came after 969 years of his life: the flood. Get it? The seventh man (there’s that number again), rapture, then judgment.

rosh-hashanatrumpetWhy is going back to Genesis important? Jesus the Christ said that “just like in the days of Noah” (Matthew 24:37). Jesus talks here of end time events, but He specifically cites the flood because it was the first judgment against man and the second coming of Christ will mark the last judgment of man. Like bookends, 7775 (Lamech’s age 777 and the 5 years to the flood) and the new Jewish year 5777 are significant.

What else is significant about 5777? I believe in God’s own timing, the rapture of the church will occur prior to the Great Tribulation. Jesus will literally fulfill the last three feasts and the tribulation will begin. And there is no better time than this feast season. The number 5 represents redemption and the three 777 represents perfection and the Trinity, plus we are ending a jubilee year when all captives are set free and the land reverts to its original owner. Sounds good to me! Good for we Christians, but bad for the unbeliever as it starts the Great Tribulation. But what about the tribulation period and 5777?

Rosh Hashanah is the fifth feast. (Remember Jesus has fulfilled the other four.) We know from scripture that the tribulation period of seven years contains 7 seals, 7 trumpets and 7 vials. (Revelation chapters 6, 7 & 8) So the tribulation, leading up to final judgment starts with a 5 (the 5th feast) followed by three 7’s (seals, trumpets, and vials) giving us the number 5777. So the Bible starts with a 7775 and ends with a 5777. First worldwide judgment the flood, last worldwide judgment, fire. God just doesn’t throw numbers around.

Other significant 7775 and 5777 happenings have occurred. On September 29, 2008 the US stock market dropped 777 points. While this was on the 29th in the United States, it was already about 12:30 a.m. in Israel on the 30th, which was Rosh Hashanah, the 5th feast. So again, we have the number 777 appearing on the 5th feast (Israel time) combining again for the number 7775. Or, if you will, 5777. Either way, it is interesting.

In the next few articles, I will talk about the numbers 5777 themselves, and how our Lord, Jesus the Christ fulfills each of the fall feasts. He is coming. Be ready!

Spirit, Soul and Body

God’s Hat Trick (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

or

The Trinity, Within a Trinity, Within a Trinity

 

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. (1 Thessalonians 5:23,24 New American Standard)

In sports, three successive goals by one player is called a hat trick. God scored a hat trick in you, did you know that?

Let’s review: I am a new creation whose spirit has been made righteous by the Holy Spirit and I have been adopted into the family of God. Since I started this blog, this is my working definition of who I am as a Christian.

Now, I want to teach on how all this works together. If you grasp Spirit, Soul and Body, you will understand a little more about how God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit interacts with you and how the devil messes with you in spite of being saved.

Did you catch that? God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. God is a Trinity. Spirit, Soul and Body. You are a trinity. And within your soul, you are again, a trinity. Pretty neat, huh? That’s God’s hat trick.
I taught Spirit, Soul and Body to many soldiers and their families about 25 years ago in starting in Korea, then at Fort Hood, Texas and finally in Germany. This is one of the most important teachings a Christian could possibly learn, especially a new Christian. Understanding the inter-relationship between your spirit, soul and body will help you understand your relationship with the Godhead, especially for prayer, and for sickness in your body and the body of Christ. Take time to read this blog carefully, print it out and read it at your convenience. You will see how this applies to so many aspects of your everyday life and reinforce to you how your salvation works.

I have defined who you are to heaven. Now let me define who you are on earth: you are a spirit, who lives in a body, who possesses a soul. Moses wrote in Genesis that God formed man from the dust of the earth, and breathed into him the breath of life and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). In the new testament, God wants us sanctified spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23, John 4:24).

Some Christians have never heard of spirit, soul and body. I never did for many years until I stumbled upon some information from a guy I knew in Oklahoma. The only thing I understood growing up in Christ was that I had a spirit or soul (interchangeable depending on who I talked to), and a body. Somehow, when I died, the soul goes to heaven and the body decays. Beyond that, all I knew was that God influenced the spirit part of me which was a mystery.

So, let me illustrate the way I think of spirit, soul and body. Look at the chart below.

basic-spirit-soul-bodygraph
Your Spirit is represented by the explosion symbol. That is the God-consciousness part of you that is connected to the Soul that is represented by the triangle. The Soul is the Self-consciousness part of you. It is made up by another trinity of parts of your Will, your Mind and your Emotions. Those three parts help you interpret the spirit world and the natural world. The Soul connects you to your body which is the World-consciousness of you. Your body is the earth-suit we travel around with until we get a new one in heaven.

As we talk about this in the coming weeks, I will add to this chart. The important idea is that you must understand that you are a trinity as God is a Trinity. The individual parts of you play an important role in your Christian life. For an example: there is a baptism for each part of you; and there is a communion for each part of you. The temple of Moses is a type and shadow of you. There is a healing for each part of you. There are many other aspects of you that is right there in scripture if I get to write about it.

Treating your Spirit, Soul and Body with respect is critical to your relationship with God. Paul warns that our Body is a temple of God. He warns not to misuse it because it is supposed to be God’s. He uses the illustrations of marriage and prostitution. In each case, the person is joined to that partner in body, but also we know there is a spiritual and soulish bonding. Paul continues to make this corollary: when we are joined to the Lord (salvation) we are one in Spirit with Him. So Paul describes all three parts of us in the passage. He speaks of the physical body, he speaks of the Soul (how else are you going to generate the lust for a prostitute or the love for your wife?) and the Spirit.
Interesting that Paul uses the word “Kallao” for joining to a prostitute, a spouse and God. And he said that we are one in Spirit with God. “Kallao” means to join with or cleave to, we adhere to (like glue) we keep company with. One “heis” in Spirit means you and God are one person. Same sense of the word in Gal 3:28 and Ephesians 2:14. There is no Jew nor Greek, Male nor Female and the Jews and Gentiles and Christ are united into one Body of Christ in the Spirit. See how important that one part of you is?

23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. (I Thessalonians 5:23,24 New Living Translation)

Catch the rest of the verse and check out verse 24. God will make us holy in every way, keep us blameless and God will make it happen!

I have kept this blog entry very basic so that if you are not familiar with Spirit, Soul and Body, you won’t be overwhelmed with tech talk. The specifics about your Spirit, your Soul and your Body I will get into some specifics. The Greek and Hebrew will come, so don’t just take my word for something, look it up and decide for yourself. That’s what the Bereans did!

Next lesson, I will talk specifically about your Spirit.

The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled: From Christian to Disciple (1 Corinthians 2:15)

or Why People Don’t Want to Mature in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

 

“Life is hard,” are the first words in a book that everyone needs to read. The Road Less Traveled by Dr. Scott Peck has been out for many years, but the truths are enduring. If you haven’t read it, you need to. I know life is hard. I travel a road in my head with few passersby. I contemplate many thoughts, both theological and secular, trivial and spectacular. Many times I know what needs to happen, but don’t have a clue about why it doesn’t.

Church participation is one of them. Why people don’t grow in Christ is a mystery to me. I know people are busier than they have ever been. For younger people, building a business and growing a family, are first priority in their lives and it should be. They know that church is a key piece of that puzzle, but where does it fit in with an already busy life? The Christian life isn’t for the fainthearted.

The major problem is that life is so crazy that church is seen as a safe place to kick back and enjoy a few minutes of solitude and encouragement. Then a pastor double-crosses them by asking them to participate in ministry that adds more stress to their world. Ministry asks them to travel a road where they have never gone before.

What is a busy family to do? The hard truth of the matter is that a well organized church and the christian life are the answers to the chaos and challenges facing families. But how do you plug into church and how do you balance what’s going on at home. Many times talented people feel guilty because they have been touched by God’s encouraging grace, but have enough on their plate already.

I didn’t know that I was heading down that road less traveled at first. I began a deeper walk with God almost out of desperation. I just began to do one simple thing: I began to take Biblical authority over the chaos in my life. It didn’t take but a minute to utter words of faith over the issues of my life, but when I did, I began to move from just being a Christian, to being in training for a Disciple.

The first step in that journey was the unconscious move from just making Jesus my Saviour, to making Jesus Lord of my life. And that made all the difference starting me on my road less traveled.

Consider the chart below.

 

phases of faithportraits11111

 
The goal of the church is to make all persons Disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:19-20 No, not the denomination). But how do we get there? It’s a journey. Paul describes three types of people in his letters to the Corinthians. He first talks about the Natural Man who is the unsaved person. He then talks about the Carnal Christian and lastly, the Spiritual Christian. My personal goal as a Christian is that of Disciple.

First, we all start off as the Natural Man (1 Corinthians 2:14), that’s the unsaved person. But, somehow through prayers of others and the beneficent will of God, we get saved. Now there are plenty of Natural (unsaved) people who attend church. Don’t be fooled. I attended church for many years before I got saved. My parents (God bless them!) made to come to church as a kid until God’s grace broke through my heart and I walked the aisle at age twelve. Then when I was in the Army, I saw Natural (unsaved) people come to chapel because that was the thing to do, plus attendance at funerals and weddings. Natural people have no clue of whats really going on; sermons and the Bible makes no sense to them.

I didn’t know this as a new Christian, but my goal is ultimately to be a disciple of God. But unfortunately, the vast majority of Christians stay in the entry phase that being a Carnal Man (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). Carnal Christians have a pragmatic view of the scriptures because they are judging everything through their worldly senses. They cannot develop sufficiently their spiritual side. When I used to be in this phase, my thought was show me the money! In other words, if people went to the altar for healing, then show me healing, if giving was going to return some thirty, some sixty and some hundredfold, then multiply. I still had much sin failure and never understood why God didn’t swoop down and do a work in me immediately upon asking. I had enough conman sense to know I needed salvation, but not enough spiritual sense to know that I entered an entirely new realm of existence that needed to be understood in a different way. I crossed into a new phase of my Christian life when I realized I needed more. I had to let Jesus be Lord of my Life and not just my Saviour.

“Lord” means a person who has authority over others or ruler. (Matthew. 28:18- 20; Ephesians. 1:19-23; Luke 6:46) I had strongholds in my life that needed a ruler, and I wasn’t it.

One day, I decided that if I was going to have victory over areas of my life – you know that stuff the preacher was talking about – I guess I was going to have to take authority in Jesus’ name. When certain tempting unclean thoughts came into my head that I knew was wrong, I had to tell them to leave in the name of Jesus. When bills came, and I had no money, I had to take authority in Jesus’ name. I started tithing. Still in my worldly thoughts, “Jesus I’ll trust you if you really come through.” Slowly, I was crossing over into the area of spiritual man (1 Corinthians 2:15). Jesus was the Lord of my Life and not just Savior.

As a Spiritual Man, my view of the Word was more practical than pragmatic and I wanted to know the Word’s view of my life and not just the World’s view of my life. I started to overcome sin and receive a deeper revelation of God’s Word. I got baptized in the Holy Spirit. Slowly, over a period of years, I began to want to know Jesus more intimately. I wanted to know the Person who wrote such a wonderful Bible and loved me so much as to work in my life for my good. Suddenly, I wanted to know the Master Himself. I was moving on to being a Disciple.

 
“Disciple” means a follower, pupil, student, learner – one who adheres to the teachings of the master. (Matthew 10:24,25; 16:24) The Greek term for “disciple” in the New Testament is mathetes, which means more than just “student” or “learner.” A disciple is a “follower,” someone who adheres completely to the teachings of another, making them his rule of life and conduct. The Pharisees prided themselves in being disciples of Moses (John 9:28). Jesus’ followers were called “disciples” long before they were ever called “Christians.” Their discipleship began with Jesus’ call and required them to exercise their will to follow Him (Matthew 9:9).

On my way to Disciple, my view now has gone from pragmatic to practical to personal. I want to know what the Master thinks about me and other issues in His world, not mine. I want to be guided not just by the Bible, but by the Holy Spirit in my daily life. I just don’t want to have authority over problems in my life, I want to reign with Him in my daily life. I don’t want to just understand His Word to us, but I want to understand the Logos Word, Jesus. And after being saved some fifty years, baptized in the Holy Ghost some forty years ago, and being ordained some thirty five years ago, I have faltered on the way. I have much, much more to go. Please don’t misunderstand: I haven’t attained anything (Philippians 3:14).   But I want to go on with God.

Why some don’t go on with God even at a basic level is a mystery to me. There are those who sit on the sidelines in church because I guess that’s just what they do. They have done it for years. They have stayed the same for their entire Christian life. Yet, there are others who want to move on. If you compare it to education, there are people who have attended church 40 years and still are in the first grade. Why, because they are either unsaved or just content to be on the sidelines of Christian life. Some people won’t like reading this, but it is true. As Paul wrote, you still need milk instead of meat.

I know that it is difficult and a struggle for busy young families to grow in Christ. But started out almost unconsciously out of desperation because I knew that something had to change. It’s not too late to start down that road less traveled.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 

Robert Frost