The 10 Plagues of Egypt

The notes in this post come from the Torah portions Va’era and Bo found in Exodus 6:1-13:16.

The story of Passover is one of repentance, restoration, and forgiveness. It begins in the book of Exodus with Moses going before Pharaoh with a message from YHVH: “Let My people go!” When Pharaoh refuses, the ten plagues are sent on the land of Egypt.

For four hundred years, the Hebrews had lived in the midst of the Egyptians. They had been so steeped in the pagan traditions they didn’t even know who YHVH was! Don’t we find ourselves in a similar situation? We too have been so steeped in a pagan culture that we don’t even know who YHVH truly is. If we did, we would know that YHVH does not desire these pagan ways but, instead, desires we live our lives according to His Torah. So, in order to introduce Himself to the Hebrews, He sent the plagues on the Egyptians. Let’s not push YHVH to the point of sending plagues on our “host nation” ok? Perhaps we should just humble ourselves now instead of making Him humble us.

Click here to read “The Myth of Easter and the Redemption of Passover.”

Burning Bush

YHVH uses established/ordinary things in our environment and makes them miraculous by His hand and power;

  • this is what we call a “modern day parable”; don’t disregard every day things that YHVH is using to teach you a lesson or reveal Himself; you see it operating under normal circumstances then to one day see it under extraordinary circumstances makes it more meaningful/miraculous to us
  • Moses; nothing special about Him until YHVH goes with him; just like us, there is nothing special until YHVH fills us up and uses us for His purpose
  • YHVH uses ordinary things to show His glory; that’s even more miraculous because to us these are common things we see every day so when YHVH gets a hold of something/someone you would not expect to be holy, it’s even more of a miracle

 4 Layers to the 10 Plagues

  1. Scientific perspective; a chain of events was triggered by one occurrence
  2. The grouping of three sets of three
  3. Each as an attack on Egyptian gods
  4. Signs to the Hebrews; YHVH revealing/teaching the Hebrews & Egyptians who He really was since neither group really knew Him

3 Sets of Plagues

  • 1st set: to show who YHVH was (Exodus 5:2; Pharaoh said he didn’t know YHVH)
  • 2nd set: to show the uniqueness of YHVH among the Egyptian gods
  • 3rd set: to show the supreme nature of YHVH in all the earth
  • each begins with a public message/spiritual lesson to be learned
  • followed by a private warning in the palace
  • ended with another plague that has no warning/message attached

Set #1: “That you will know that I am YHVH” (Exodus 7:17)

1. Blood Dam  דם

  • the Nile was worshiped as a deity
  • “measure for measure”; retribution for the Hebrew blood that had been spilled
  • makes all water unusable for bathing or drinking and causes smell of dead fish; this would have robbed the Egyptians of peace and comfort
  • Hatmehit: fish goddess; originally a deification of the Nile River

2. Frogs Tsephardeda  צפרדע

  • land stank and made living uncomfortable; no sleep allowed because their beds were also invaded
  • the frog was considered the deification of the goddess Heqet, the wife of the creator of the world and the goddess of birth
  • Heqet was most commonly shown with the head of a frog and body of a woman. Egyptian women wore amulets and scarabs with the image of Heqet to protect them during childbirth. Again, retribution for the death of so many Hebrew babies
  • frogs were so sacred in Egypt that even the involuntary slaughter of one was often punishable by death

3. Gnats/Lice Kinim  כינים

  • irritating and carry disease and bite constantly; bites would have caused itching/irritation of skin
  • the lice originated from the dust of the earth
  • the Egyptian magicians recognized this as “the finger of God” that even the dust of the earth obeyed His command
  • the Egyptians worshiped Ged (or Geb), the earth god
  • his laughter was thought to cause earthquakes and he allowed crops to grow
  • associated with vegetation, land, and the underworld
  • sometimes described as “father of snakes”
  • sometimes depicted as jackal-headed and rising from the ground to bind and punish enemies

Set #2: “I AM YHVH in the midst of the land” (Exodus 8:22)

4. Swarms/Mixture Arov  ערוב

  • there is some debate about what the 4th plague actually was; Rashi, Rabbi Yehudah and others believed this plague was a swarm of wild animals. However, Rabbi Nechemiah believed this plague was a swarm of insects
  • if a swarm of insects, then they would have picked at food, laid eggs in food, and caused disease; again, allowing no rest for the Egyptians
  • this plague may have been targeting the Canaanite god “the lord of the flies” or “lord of the high place/high lord” baal zevuv which may have evolved later into Beelzebub

5. Livestock Pestilence  דבר

  • flies and gnats carrying disease from dead fish and frogs; killed sacred animals and food sources
  • the god Apis was represented as a bull
  • Apis was the most important of all the sacred animals worshiped in Egypt
  • connection to crops, herds, fertility, resurrection, and Pharaoh’s strength and fertility
  • only animal to be worshiped as only an animal; versus half human half animal

6. Boils Shchin  שחין

  • soot; is it like the drinking of ashes to determine if a woman had been unfaithful?
  • the first plague to harm the physical bodies of the Egyptians
  • “measure for measure” the Egyptians had harmed and mistreated the bodies of the Hebrews, so too would they be harmed
  • Thoth, the Egyptian god credited with inventing medicine among many other arts and sciences, was unable to cure the boils; depicted with head of either an ibis (bird) or baboon
  • Nefertem god of healing and beauty; originally a water lily; son of the sky god and earth goddess; would mature to be Ra; Egyptians carried a small statue of him as a good luck charm

Set #3: “There is none like Me in all the earth” (Exodus 9:14)

7. Hail Barad  ברד

  • destroys people, animals, crops, land and green things (9:25)
  • combined fire and ice
  • referred to as “all my plagues” in the biblical text equating it to all the others combined
  • Pharaoh says this time I have sinned; what does that show us?
  • flax and barely struck but wheat and spelt not struck; YHVH’s mercy for those Egyptians who did fear the word of YHVH or perhaps to show us the time of year this was happening?
  • Egyptian goddess Nut, goddess of the sky who covers the earth; she was called “she who bore all the gods” and “she who protects Ra” (the sun god) and “she who holds a thousand souls”
  • Tefnut, goddess of moisture and rain; mother of Nut (goddess of the sky); depicted many ways: a lioness with female body, female only, a serpent, or lion headed serpent

8. Locust (Many) Arbeh  ארבה

  • destroyed what hail did not
  • covered the land so no one could even see the land
  • ate every green tree (10:5); filled houses of Egyptians (10:6); would have been very demoralizing
  • the god Nepri (god of grain) could not help
  • Nepri was most often a suckling child; representing sustenance; also called “one who lives after dying”

9. Darkness Hosek  חושך

  • Ra, Egyptian sun god
  • associated with hawk or falcon; thought to rule the sky, earth, and underworld
  • the cult of the Mnevis bull, thought to be the embodiment of Ra; thought to be the creator of all beings by speaking their secret names; humans were formed from tears and sweat and then called themselves “cattle of Ra”
  • there was even a special burial ground for sacrificed bulls of this cult
  • Ra sent his eye (the all seeing eye) in the form of Sekhmet (lioness; warrior goddess of healing) to punish the humans

The final plague brought a true change in Pharaoh shown by his statement Veirakhtem Gam-Oti “And bring blessing on me too!” This shows that Pharaoh finally knew YHVH, saw the uniqueness of YHVH compared to Egyptian gods, and recognized the supreme nature of YHVH. Pharaoh now understood that he too needed to be blessed by YHVH but that the congregation of Israel had such a special relationship with YHVH that their prayers for him would much more effective than his own.

This change in Pharaoh was also necessary and beneficial for the children of Israel. They had been steeped in Egyptian culture for 400 years that to see Pharaoh (a self-proclaimed god) and the other Egyptian gods rendered helpless against YHVH made them more confident in trusting YHVH to lead them out and to make YHVH their only God.

10. Death of the Firstborn Bekor (Firstborn) Makot (Plague)  מכת  בכורות

  • Exodus 12:12 “against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am YHVH”
  • Min: the god of procreation
  • Isis: the goddess of fertility
  • Selket: the guardian of life
  • Renenutet: cobra-goddess who was the guardian of Pharaoh
  • Bastet or Bast: protector of the pharaoh and solar goddess; depicted as a lioness or cat
  • also makes retribution for the killing of Hebrew children

To recap, the plagues have several main things in common:

  • They target an Egyptian god/important part of Egyptian life and culture
  • They allowed no rest, peace, comfort or sense of safety for Egyptians (warfare tactic)
  • They served as signs to both the Hebrews and Egyptians

Are there any areas in your life where you feel you are constantly attacked? If so, why are you being attacked in that area? Is it because you’ve made that area more important than YHVH or because you need strengthening in that area?

“And Enoch walked with YHVH…”

Genesis 5 gives us the genealogy from Adam to Noah. This might have been one of those chapters you read through really quickly without giving it much thought. But if you read too quickly, you will miss something important in those verses.

For every single man that is mentioned, the Bible tells us he lived a certain amount of years, brought forth sons and daughters, and then died. Except for one man.

And after he brought forth Methushelaḥ, Enoch walked with Elohim three hundred years, and brought forth sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. And Enoch walked with Elohim. Then he was no more, for Elohim took him.

Enoch didn’t just live; he walked with Elohim.

What does it mean to “walk with Elohim?” Think about going for a walk with someone. There are times when you both are talking with one another but there are also times when it is quiet; peaceful. There are times when you both might face a fork in the road and must decided which path to follow. Even though you might change direction, you always go together. There might be times when the road before you narrows and one must go in front of the other. One time you might follow and another you may be in front.

The same is true when we walk with YHVH. There are times in our walk through life when we hear YHVH clearly. And then there are times when there is silence. Neither is wrong, they are just different seasons. We must know and trust that even when He is silent, He is still walking with us.

There will be times in our walk when we face a fork in the road. We might face this fork in a time of talking or in a time of silence but we know that YHVH will always guide us…if we allow Him. His guidance may look different depending on the season we find ourselves in. Sometimes His direction is Him audibly telling us which direction to go; other times, it’s the gentle hands on our shoulders that point us in the right direction without a word being spoken.

And then there are times when the road in front of us narrows and one must walk in front of the other. When YHVH walks in front of us, we see Him paving the way and fighting our battles and all we must do is follow and keep up with His pace! It’s a glorious time of seeing Him working in our lives and it’s so easy to trust Him and see how He is working in our lives!

But then there are times when He tells us we must go in front and allow Him to be our rear guard. This is when we are facing the battles head on and when it sometimes feels as though YHVH has left us. We can’t see Him because He is behind us but we must trust that YHVH has never left us. He is still working in our lives. He is still our shield and our strength. He is still there fighting with us. It simply looks different than when He was in front and we were following.

So here is the question: Are you going to just live and get through life or are you going to walk with YHVH?

APD Protests, Kobe Bryant, How to Tell Time According to YHVH (Passover pt 2)

Click here to read “Happy New Year: YHVH’s Timetable”

Click here to read “Happy New Year: 5775”

Happy New Year: 5775

In my last post, I talked about YHVH’s timetable and how the Biblical New Year has begun! In this post, I would like to tell you a little bit about what we can expect from this coming year. The information from this post comes from the Hebrew numerology system called gematria.  This system assigns numerical value to letters in a word. Hebrew is a very intricate language. Along with having numbers assigned to each letter, there are also word pictures that correspond to each letter. So when you put the numbers and the word pictures together, you get a fuller picture of the word, or in our case the year, that you are studying.

Now that the new moon has been spotted and the month of Aviv/Nisan has begun, we have entered into the Biblical year 5775. Below is the gematria for this year. At the very bottom is the summary of the numbers and the word pictures.

50: faith, grace & mercy, ten times over

7: completeness; spiritual perfection

70: completeness; spiritual perfection, ten times over

5: faith, grace & mercy

“Complete completeness and spiritual perfection through faith, grace & mercy, ten times over.”

 

נ (nun): sprout; continue, heir, offspring, to continue

ז (zayin): weapon; to cut off, to cut

ע (ayin): eye; to see, know or experience

ה (he): man with raised arms; to look, reveal, breath

“The heir that continues despite the weapon that tries to cut off and keep the heir from knowing or experiencing completeness by being the man with raised arms.”

This is a year where the heir will reach the goal and YHVH’s plan for completeness only through complete surrender and worship. This is a year for praise and worship of our Father YHVH; of El Elyon (The MOST HIGH GOD). This is a year for spiritual victory. It is the fifth year in the decade and marks the half-way point. It is a year of faith, grace and mercy where YHVH gives us a respite from the battles and turmoil before we prepare to reengage with the enemy and finish the race set before us. It is a year to rest and regroup.

Just like the above picture, “The Winds of Change are Blowing!” Get ready to feel the Spirit move!

Happy New Year: YHVH’s Timetable

Yes, I said “Happy New Year!” And no, I’m not 4 months behind. According to the Biblical timetable laid out for us in the Torah, the month of Nisan (which usually falls in the March/April period of time) begins the New Year! Leviticus 23:4-6 tells us,

“These are the appointed times of YHVH, set-apart gatherings which you are to proclaim at their appointed times. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between the evenings, is the Passover to YHVH. And on the fifteenth day of this month is the Festival of Unleavened Bread to YHVH – seven days you eat unleavened bread.”

According to YHVH’s timetable, Passover will begin on April 14, 2014 this year and the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins the 15th of April because the new moon was spotted March 31, 2014. The focus of this post is not Passover, but rather, the new year…although you can’t talk about one without the other. I will be talking more about Passover in the coming weeks as we get closer to it.

For right now, let’s focus on the New Year. There seems to be conflicting guidance from “Jewish” and “Messianic” sources about when the New Year actually begins. According to both secular and Orthodox Jews, there are up to 4 new years in one year! This is just crazy! Although, if you fail at your new years’ resolution, no need to worry! There’s sure to be another new year right around the corner so you can start over!

Keep in mind that as we go through the Biblical timetable, I will be using the Hebrew names for these months as designated in the Word and will do my best to name the corresponding English month as well.

The first two “new years” I will go through, are lesser known and less commonly “celebrated” in the traditional sense of the word. The first “new year” is 15 Shevat (January/February). This is said to be the new year of trees and separating your fruits for tithing. The second “new year” is 1 Elul (August/September) and is the new year of tithing cattle. The month of Elul is very significant in YHVH’s calendar and we will be discussing this more as we approach this important month.

The third “new year” is where the bulk of the argument about the real New Year comes in. 1 Tishrei (September/October) is the civil new year of Israel. However, 1 Nisan (March/April) is the month designated by YHVH to be the first month. You see, this distorts a very important feast in YHVH’s timetable: Yom Teruach or the Feast of Trumpets.

I will be talking more about Yom Teruach as we approach this appointed time in September/October, but I’ll give you an idea of why this feast is so important. In Biblical times, and even still today, Yom Teruach was nicknamed “the day and the hour which no man knows.” This is because in order to know when this feast begins, the sliver of the new moon must be spotted. Once the new moon sliver is spotted, the Feast of Trumpets immediately begins. While YHVH’s entire timetable is based on the lunar cycle, the other feasts usually begin several days after the new moon is spotted. However, the Feasts of Trumpets is the only one that begins the moment the new moon is spotted. Hence the nickname “the day and the hour which no man knows.”

So when Yeshua said, “The heaven and the earth shall pass away, but My words shall by no means pass away. But concerning that day and the hour no one knows, not even the messengers of the heavens, but My Father only. And as the days of Noah, so also shall the coming of the Son of Adam be,” He was referencing this particular feast…the Feast of Trumpets. There is more to this scripture and the reference to the days of Noah but we can save that for another day.

You can see how this could get confusing, right??? Well, there is definitely a reason for all the confusion.

You see, in Leviticus 23, YHVH lays out his timetable, which include His feasts or His moedim. The Hebrew word moedim can be translated as “feasts, celebrations, or holidays.” But perhaps the most accurate and descriptive translation is “appointed times.” You see, the feasts of YHVH are the appointed times that He has laid aside in order to meet with us. When the King of the Universe says He wants to meet with you, you don’t want to miss it or turn it down. Would you turn down an invitation to the White House? Well….with the political climate the way it is some of you might very well indeed turn down a visit to the White House, but you catch my drift.

My point is that YHVH, our God and King, has said that He wants to meet with us on these days at these times. Why would we turn it down? Simply because we weren’t taught this way of living? Because it goes against our theology? Because it challenges everything we have been taught and believed to this point? So what! Let it go! Would you really miss an opportunity to meet with YHVH because of your stiff neck and your pride? I hope not. Because let me fill you in on the real reason there is so much confusion surrounding the beginning of the new year and YHVH’s timetable in general.

Habakkuk 2:3 tells us that the end time vision seen by Habakkuk is at an appointed time or moedim. It will take time but we are to patiently wait until it is fulfilled.

“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, and it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it lingers, wait for it, for it shall certainly come, it shall not delay.”

Genesis 1:14-19 tells us that YHVH established the sun, moon, and stars to be signs that point us toward the appointed times.

 “And Elohim said, “Let lights come to be in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and appointed times, and for days and years, and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” And it came to be so. And Elohim made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the stars. And Elohim set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And Elohim saw that it was good. And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the fourth day.”

As we see from these two passages, the moedim or feasts of YHVH are the timetable that YHVH uses. If this is the timetable YHVH uses, that means that all prophetic visions and end time events are dictated by the feasts of YHVH. If you read any verses about end times prophecy and you have an understanding of the feasts of YHVH, a lot of the “mystery” and “unknown” is taken out and it begins to make a whole lot more sense. Go figure!

So we can see why the enemy would have such an interest in keeping us in the dark about these feasts, the heavenly signs, and YHVH’s timetable in general. Daniel 7:25 tells us that the spirit of the anti-Messiah is to change these appointed times and to keep us forever lost to their meaning.

“and it [the anti-Messiah/beast] speaks words against the Most High, and it wears out the set-apart ones of the Most High, and it intends to change appointed times and law, and they are given into its hand for a time and times and half a time.”

Think about it. If the people of God are kept in confusion and deceit about when these things will take place, how much easier is it for him to catch us off guard and unprepared? How much easier is it for him to defeat us? Fortunately, we know the end of the story and we know that he is not victorious but that YHVH emerges triumphant and His kingdom is established on earth. This means that there are those who hear the word, repent, and return to the ways of YHVH! So to those who have ears to hear and a heart to understand: the time is now to repent and return to the ways of YHVH! Happy New Year 5775!

Justina Pelletier, Sharia Law in UK, Russia, Blood Red Moons (Passover pt1)

 

This week, I am including my Torah Tidbit notes for the blood moons prophecy portion since it was a lot of information and I didn’t get to all of it. If you have any questions, please send me an email or find me on Facebook.

TORAH TIDBITS

Passover: The Hebrew feast day commemorating the Lamb Sacrifice in Exodus where the Angel of Death passed over Israel while the firstborn in Egypt were slain. It also is the same day the Lord Yeshua (Jesus Christ), our lamb sacrifice for sins, was crucified.

Sukkot (Tabernacles): The feast of Sukkot begins on Tishri 15, the fifth day of Yom Kippur. It is a joyous feast day while Yom Kippur is one of the most solemn of feast days. Sukkot is a feast day with a festival atmosphere. It marks a season of rejoicing. Sukkot means booths and refers to temporary dwelling places the Jews gather into during this holiday. Most Christian Scholars believe the “Feast of Sukkot” is the feast for the 2nd Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ when he returns with his saints on white horses at Armageddon.

Tetrad: 4 total lunar eclipses that happen back-to-back on the Biblical Feasts of Passover and Sukkot

What is a blood moon and why is it important?

Although single blood moons happen fairly regularly, four appearing so closely together is extremely rare. There have only been a series of blood moons a handful of times over the past 500 years.

So what exactly is a blood moon and what is the biblical significance?

A blood moon is when the Earth comes between the sun and the moon. And the sun is shining through the atmosphere of the Earth and casts up on the moon a red shadow. And so the moon appears to be red.

Such moons appear several times in scripture.

In the book of Joel, God says there will be “wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire…the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

In Acts, the Apostle Peter repeats that verse from Joel. And the book of Revelation says that during the Great Tribulation, “the moon will become like blood.”

Blood moons are set to appear in April 2014, on Passover, and then again in September 2014 during the Feast of Tabernacles, or Sukkot.

The timing is the same for 2015 — a total of four blood moons, all appearing on Jewish feast days.

The sun, moon, and stars as signs to YHVH’s people

Genesis 1:14-19

14 And Elohim (God) said, “Let lights come to be in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and appointed times, and for days and years,

15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” And it came to be so.

16 And Elohim made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night, and the stars.

17 And Elohim set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,

18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And Elohim saw that it was good.

19 And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, the fourth day.

Four, blood moons on Jewish Feast days within two years in Israel is very rare and has only occurred seven times since the time of Yeshua. There are now four blood moons scheduled to appear in 2014/2015 and then there will NOT be any for the next 100 years.

Every time a blood moon pattern has appeared on Jewish feast days a big event affects the nation of Israel. The event affecting Israel begins just before the actual years of the blood moons. To understand what will happen in the 2014 – 2015 “blood moons” you must understand the pattern of blood moons in the past.

According to NASA – Four blood-red total lunar eclipses will fall again on Passover and Sukkot in 2014 and 2015… the same back-to-back occurrences at the time of 1492, 1948 and 1967.

Historical Significance

1493 – 1494 Four TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred on the Jewish Passover and the Feast of Trumpets Holidays. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain ordered all Jewish people to leave the country.

1949 – 1950 Four TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred on the Jewish Passover and Feast of Tabernacle in during the 1st Arab – Israeli War for Independence just after Israel had become a nation again for the first time in 2,000 years.

1967 – 1968 Four TOTAL lunar eclipses occurred on the Jewish Passover and Feast of Tabernacle in coinciding with the 6 Day War when Israel recaptured Jerusalem. As Israel’s neighbors prepared to destroy the Jewish state, Israel invoked its inherent right of self-defense, launching a preemptive strike (5 June 1967) against Egypt in the South.

At the end of six days of fighting, Jerusalem, which had been divided under Israeli and Jordanian rule since 1949, was reunified under Israel’s authority.

2014 – 2015 The coming Blood Moons of … These four TOTAL lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses WILL occur on the Jewish holidays of “Passover,” the “Feast of Tabernacles” and the “Feast of Trumpets.”

This is the only “tetrad” in the near future that aligns itself with the Jewish holidays. One should make mention here that there are other “tetrads” occurring as well. The difference between these “tetrads” and the 2014 – 2015 “tetrad” is that this “tetrad” aligns with the Jewish holidays and the others DO NOT!

Putting everything into perspective… 

Mark 13:24 – 46: “But in those days the sun shall be darkened (eclipse) and the moon shall not give its light (eclipse) then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

Yeshua (Jesus) told His disciples what would be the signs of the end of the age and some of them involved signs in the heavens he closes commanding them to ‘watch’ 4 times. To be a “Watcher, and observe what is happening in the heavens” relating to the Last Day, when “unusual signs” are seen in the heavens we watch, pray and record.

Matthew 24:29 – I encourage you to read this entire chapter

15 “So when you see the ‘abomination that lays waste,’spoken of by Daniel the prophet, set up in the set-apart place” – he who reads, let him understand –

16 “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.

29 “And immediately after the distress of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.

30 “And then the sign of the Son of Adam shall appear in the heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of Adam coming on the clouds of the heaven with power and much esteem.

31 “And He shall send His messengers with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

32 “And learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that the summer is near.

33 “So you also, when you see all these, know that He is near, at the doors.

Luke 21:36

36“Watch then at all times, and pray that you be counted worthy to endure all this about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Adam.”

Yeshua spoke those words after He warned us of many of the events that will happen in the end times. They are especially relevant to us today when we consider current headlines are now fulfilling Bible prophecy at an absolutely amazing rate — which is setting the stage for more ominous events to happen at any time. The signs are sometimes obvious, such as rumblings in the Middle East, economic turmoil, shifts in geopolitical policy, earthquakes, signs from heaven, and more. At other times, the clues are more subtle, yet equally astounding to those who know Bible prophecy.

Joel 2:10, 27-32

10 The earth shall tremble before them, the heavens shall shake. Sun and moon shall be darkened, and the stars withdraw their brightness.

27 “And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am YHVH your Elohim and there is no one else. And My people shall never be put to shame.

28 “And after this it shall be that I pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men dream dreams, your young men see visions.

29 “And also on the male servants and on the female servants I shall pour out My Spirit in those days.

30 “And I shall give signs in the heavens and upon the earth: blood and fire and columns of smoke,

31 the sun is turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of YHVH.

32 “And it shall be that everyone who calls on the Name of YHVH shall be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be an escape as YHVH has said, and among the survivors whom YHVH calls.

Acts 2:16-20

Peter says,

16 “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 ‘And it shall be in the last days, says Elohim, that I shall pour out of My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams,

18 and also on My male servants and on My female servants I shall pour out My Spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy.

19 ‘And I shall show wonders in the heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

20 ‘The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and splendid day of YHVH.

21 ‘And it shall be that everyone who calls on the Name of YHVH shall be saved.’

This passage says there will be a blood moon before the day that the Lord comes. Since it says that the sun will be darkened, we know the blood moon referred to can’t be caused by an eclipse, because it is physically impossible for a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse to occur simultaneously. However, a large fiery comet impact that puts dust in the atmosphere is indicated as being the cause of both the darkened sun and the moon being reddened, since “fire” and “smoke” is mentioned.

Revelation 6:12-14

12 And I looked when He opened the sixth seal and saw a great earthquake came to be. And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood.

13 And the stars of the heaven fell to the earth, as a fig tree drops its unripe figs, being shaken by a strong wind.

14 And heaven departed like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved out of its place.

The above does not mean that the Second Coming of Yeshua at Tabernacles has to occur in 2015. But, what the above taken as a whole does show a pattern. The “1493 tetrad”… is tied to the Spanish Government expelling the Jews. The “1949 tetrad” is the nation Israel being reborn” and the “1967 tetrad” is the recapture of Jerusalem. The coming “2014 tetrad”… will be tied to some major event dealing with Israel. We believe that the “tetrad” of 2014 through 2015 will have something to do with Israel for the start. The blood moons show a pattern of Jewish persecution… and then new land for Israel after a time of war!

This means that the blood moons of 2014 – 2015 will be a time of war or persecution for the Jewish people. This may Lead Israel to gain and/or loose land during this time.

It cannot be regarded as coincidence that all four blood moons of 2014/15 occur on religious festivals of Israel, together with two eclipses of the sun also on important days in 2015. A blood moon will occur on Passover 2014. Nisan is the first month in Israel’s religious calendar. On the 15th day of the seventh month (Tishri) when the Feast of Tabernacles begins (Leviticus 23:34) there will be another blood moon.

Exactly the same pattern will be repeated in 2015. Because of Israel’s lunar calendar these dates all coincide with the full moon – on these occasions the moon will become blood-red. Apart from the lunar eclipses there will also be two eclipses of the sun in 2015… on the first day of Nisan and again on the first day of Tishri.

The eclipses of the sun and moon confront us with precise dates which cannot be manipulate! Nevertheless, these signs should not be seen as an attempt to date-setting for the Second Coming of Messiah but rather as a wake-up call to be ready for what may happen in the near future. Now is not the time to lapse into spiritual slumber like the Matthew 25 foolish virgins.

 

Purim: The Story of a Courageous Bride

Her name was Hadassah. You might know her as Esther. She was a Voice in the Desert who saved her people from destruction and death. She was beautiful. She was obedient. She was courageous. She was a Jew. Hers is a beautiful story of love, courage, and obedience. The story of Purim is most commonly associated with the Jews of Persia (modern-day Iran) being victorious over their enemies. However, there is so much more to this story. Purim is a lesson in being courageous, what it means to be obedient, how to be a voice in the desert, and how to be a Bride that is worthy of her King. This and so much more is what we learn from Hadassah and the story of Purim.

Over the course of time, King Ahasuerus gained victory over his adversaries and brought peace to his kingdom. To celebrate this peace, he held a large banquet for the royals in his kingdom. At the end of this long banquet (and much drinking), the king summoned Queen Vashti to come before him so he can parade her as his prize to the other nobles. Queen Vashti refused to come before the king and the king’s wise men advised him to send out an edict that Vashti be queen no more and was to be replaced by someone better and more worthy.

Enter Hadassah. When Hadassah was a young girl, her parents were killed and she was left an orphan. The text does not tells us how her parents were killed but we can presume it had something to do with a battle during the captivity of the Jews. As an orphan, Hadassah is taken in and raised by her older cousin Mordecai. When the edict goes out to the kingdom that all “lovely young maidens be sought for the king,” Hadassah is taken to the citadel of Susa. Mordecai instructs Hadassah not to reveal her Jewish identity and she is obedient. After 12 months of preparations, Hadassah is brought before the king.

Each young woman could ask for anything to take with her to go before the king. While the other young women asked for jewels and gold, Hadassah asked for only what the guardian of the women advised. When she went before the king, he “loved Esther more than all the women, and she found favor and loving-commitment in his eyes more than all the maidens. And he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.”

In time, there arose to power an evil man named Haman. He hated Mordecai and sought to have him killed. Haman devised a plan that would not only kill Mordecai but all the Jews in Persia. He manipulated the king into signing a decree which would destroy all the Jews in the province. When Mordecai learned of Haman’s plan, he told Hadassah that she must use her position with the king to stop this annihilation from happening. At first, Hadassah does not see a way to do this as she has not been summoned by the king…and no one can appear before the king unless called upon.

In one of the most famous passages of the book, Mordecai tells Hadassah,

“Do not think within yourself to escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep entirely silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise from another place, while you and your father’s house perish. And who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

In the second most famous passage, Esther responds, “Gather all the Jews in Susa and fast for me. Then I shall go to the king, which is against the law. And if I perish, I shall perish!”

Hadassah goes before the king and after two strategic banquets, exposes her true identity and the deceit of Haman. The king then signs another edict allowing the Jews to bear arms and defend themselves against their enemies and Haman is hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. It was a great victory for the Jews of Persia.

However, there is so much more to this story than just the victory over Israel’s enemies. Underneath all the layers, there is a story of a courageous bride; one who has made herself ready and has done the hard work so that she is found ready when she appears before the King.

Hadassah had to leave the life she knew and move to the palace where the king dwelt. We envision life at the palace as this glamorous life of food, fun, and freedom. But in reality, the palace was a harsh place for a woman. She could only stay in the women’s quarters, unless of course, she was summoned. She had to essentially compete with the other women and concubines for her place in the palace and her life certainly was not her own. But Hadassah was obedient to go and when she arrived, she won favor by being submissive to the servant of the king.

In the same way, we need to leave our life and all we envisioned for our lives behind when the King calls us to His palace. We should never expect our King to leave His palace and come to live in our house. We have to conform to His ways, not Him to our ways.

Hadassah underwent twelve months of preparations before she could go in to the King. Twelve months. That was just for their one night, that doesn’t include the waiting period afterwards for him to decide which girl to make queen! Hadassah obediently and patiently waited and went through all the preparations that were given to her. She understood that she would not be ready for the king without them. She did not fight the hard work or deny the areas in which she lacked. Instead, she embraced this time as a time to make herself perfect and ready for her king. And it paid off! We read that she found favor in eyes more than all the other maidens and that he loved her.

Often times, the Holy Spirit will send people or circumstances our way that highlight the areas in our lives in which we lack. Many times we fight these changes because we don’t think we need to change, we don’t see the point, or we don’t want to wait the time it will take in order to complete the work. Don’t fight these preparations…embrace them as a gift from YHVH. It is in these times of hard work and preparation that we are making ourselves more beautiful, more pleasing, for our King. And how worth it will it be when our King says to us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

When she appeared before the king, we see that she only took that which her guardian advised her. This is key; it’s what set her apart from all the other women vying for the king’s affections. She took the time to seek the king’s desire by asking his servant. Often times, we think we can pick what gift we bring to our King. We think that just because we bring Him a gift that He should accept it. That’s not how His kingdom or any earthly kingdom works. When you bring someone a gift, especially the King of Kings, you should always ask what He wants to receive. She desired to know what would please him. Again, we should conform to His ways instead of making Him fit ours. The fact that Hadassah sought the servant about what the king desired, demonstrates her willingness to obey and submit.

Unlike Vashti, Hadassah knew to whom to submit herself. Hadassah started with her family, Mordecai. She obeyed his command to not reveal her identity and she listened to his counsel when it was time to rise up in order to save her people. We can assume that as a young girl, she obeyed him and learned to submit herself to authority. Vashti, who clearly had an issue with authority, had gotten prideful in her place as queen. So prideful, she thought she was even above the king himself! Sometimes we can get too comfortable with where we are in life and this can produce a sense of pride. When we no longer listen and obey, shema in the Hebrew, to the voice of our King, we put ourselves in a dangerous situation. We set ourselves up to be removed. If we learned anything from the book of Esther, its that everyone is replaceable if they refuse to play their part. Vashti’s rebellion towards her husband and her unwillingness to submit to her king caused her to be removed from her position for someone “who is better than she.” Don’t be a Vashti.

Hadassah was not only beautiful and lovely, she was incredibly courageous and strong. She was a warrior. When the time came for her to lay down her life for her people, she was ready and prepared. Had she not submitted and done the hard work, she may not have been ready at the right time. And just like we learned from Vashti, “do not think you will escape because you are in the king’s palace. For if you remain completely silent, relief and deliverance will arise from another.”

Hadassah had lived her whole life as a sacrifice to God. YHVH never leaves us unprepared. Think back to the circumstances you have faced or are facing. All of these things are actively being used by YHVH to prepare you for His destiny for your life. Don’t doubt your abilities; don’t doubt the call on your life. God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

It’s not about us; it’s always about bringing Him the glory He rightfully deserves. Because everything is to bring YHVH glory, if you refuse your position, like Vashti, there will be another to replace you. We tend to think that God will go on begging us to play our part and to do His work. The truth is that He doesn’t need us to accomplish His work. He wants us and desires us to be part of His plan, but He is King of the Universe, He doesn’t need us to do anything! So how merciful and beautiful that He would choose us to bring Him glory. Don’t refuse Him. There is always someone else who would love to take your place.

Hadassah also had to face the enemy seeking to destroy her and her people. She did not cower and she did not back down. She was smart and cunning when dealing with Haman and was able to find favor with the king on behalf of her people. We all face the enemy seeking to destroy us every day. Our enemy is not flesh and blood but the one who seeks to destroy the people of YHVH. He will try everything he can to deceive us and destroy us. He will whisper in our ears lies that keep us deceived. Lies that tell us we aren’t good enough. Lies that we didn’t really hear from God. Fear is one of his favorite tactics. If he can make us so afraid that we refuse to act, then he will be victorious over us every time.

Being afraid is normal, but it doesn’t have to stop us. Think about skydiving. You can be afraid, but you can’t let it stop you from jumping out of the plane. Don’t be afraid to stand up and be a voice in the desert. YHVH will never leave you alone; He will never leave you unprepared. Never be afraid to stand for what is right, even if it is against the law. Seek the Lord and ask for His wisdom and He will be faithful to provide and show you the way in which to walk.

This year, Purim begins on Saturday, March 15 at sundown and ends Sunday, March 16 at sundown. As you celebrate Purim, reflect on the story of Purim and the life of Hadassah, a courageous bride who saved her people.

Conversations with an Atheist

This week, I had the opportunity to talk with someone who is a “devout atheist” about what he believes. It was an interesting conversation to say the least. I learned several things about my faith, myself, and what I believe because of it.

1. Faith And Belief Is Not For Those Unwilling To Lay Aside Their Own Knowledge and Intellect 

Faith in God means we don’t always understand the way everything works; that we may not always have the answers to every single question. But that’s ok. I don’t have to understand the way the world works. As long as YHVH does, I’m ok with that. This doesn’t mean we stop our pursuit of knowledge or wisdom, it simply means that we recognize our limited abilities and that we can only take ourselves so far. Because really, isn’t it just pride to think we could ever have all the answers anyway?

We should also recognize that the wisdom and knowledge we pursue as believers is not the same wisdom the world seeks after. The world seeks after its own wisdom. They seek to have the answer within themselves. We, as believers, are seeking after YHVH’s wisdom. He tells us in His Word, “Your ways are not My Ways; your thoughts are not My thoughts. My thoughts are higher than Yours.” As believers, we are first seeking the One who has the answers and second we are seeking His wisdom. The world is primarily seeking the answers within itself and apart from God.

In case I haven’t made it clear, let me clarify what I am and what I am not saying: I am NOT saying that as believers we give up our right to think or to be intelligent or to seek answers. God tells us in Hosea 4:6, “My people die from lack of knowledge.” I am NOT saying that believers can’t be intelligent or smart or should just give up trying to learn altogether and just accept what they are told. I AM saying that as believers, we should accept that we won’t always have the answers and what we believe won’t always make sense to nonbelievers. However, that’s kind of where faith comes in. It’s not a cop-out answer, it’s just the way it is.

2. No Matter What Reasons You Give, To The World It Will Always Sound Like Gibberish

Yeshua tells us that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, we are to become like children. Think back to when you were little. It was much easier to believe in “fantastical” things and to believe in the things you didn’t fully understand. Again, going back to my previous point, this doesn’t mean that believers should be ignorant or simply accept whatever they are taught; rather, that we believe human wisdom and understanding can only take us so far and we must leave the rest up to faith.

Because of this belief, there will never be an argument that will appease an atheist or an intellectual who is relying solely on their own understanding. Our beliefs and our faith in the unseen will never make sense to those who rely on their own strength to comprehend. But guess what? It’s not supposed to. The Word constantly reminds us that the message is for those “who have ears to hear and a heart to understand.” This means that not everyone will “hear” or understand the message. That’s ok. It’s not our job to be the Holy Spirit and convince others of God’s truth. That person may come to believe in God one day but it will be when they have a personal encounter with God, not when your words or defense of faith is perfect.

I love the way Frances J. Roberts puts it in “Call of the Turtledove” in Come Away My Beloved:

The voice of the Bridegroom is calling His Bride. It is the call of love, and those who truly love Him will respond. Those whose hearts are fixed on things above will not be held by worldly entanglements. Those who are listening to the voice of their Beloved will not be deafened by the cries of men. In a world filled with noises, each demanding attention, they will hear him. Another stand besides them and hears only the voice of the preacher. Another may be giving attention to the opinions and arguments of men. But you need not fear that you will miss it. Be it ever so soft, you shall hear. Your heart shall hear, and your heart shall leap with joy.

3. God’s Truth is Not for Everyone

Here is where I’m going to get emails and calls…but stick with me on this one. Like I said before, a person might come to develop a relationship with God when they experience a personal encounter with Him. However, some people may never have this experience. Or if they do, they may chalk it up to something entirely different than God.

At dinner, my “devout atheist” was asked if he had ever had a spiritual or supernatural encounter. He responded with two stories. The first experience he admitted was definitely of the supernatural but it was not enough to convince him that God is real. The second example was in moments of complete contentment and happiness. He said that in those moments he desires to attribute it to something beyond himself and wonders in those moments if there is something more to life, but eventually dismisses the feeling altogether and instead decides to attribute the feeling of happiness to himself.

My point is that some people, even after having spiritual encounters, will still refuse to believe there is a God. That is their decision. You cannot do anything to change that. If someone is so prideful that they can experience God and desire to believe in Him but continue to fight it, then nothing you say or do is going to change that person. Again, only the Holy Spirit can do that. The Word also tells us in Revelation that even in the last days when the earth is being destroyed and the world is crumbling before their very eyes, there will still be those who refuse to acknowledge or humble themselves before God.

4. It Truly is Pointless to Argue With Someone Who Has No Desire to Have a Conversation

The Word tells us not to engage in pointless arguments that only bring division. This is a healthy boundary to have in your life in any relationship. If a conversation is clearly going nowhere and its going there fast, then stop. Clearly it’s of no benefit for either party…unless of course the person you’re engaging is thriving off the conflict, in which case you should really really stop the conversation. Besides the fact that it is a waste of time to engage in pointless arguments that lead nowhere, you’re only going to push them further away from the truth and deeper into their own beliefs. The more you challenge someone, the tighter they will hold to their beliefs. So if your goal is to be a witness, share your faith and then leave it at that. Don’t get yourself into a conversation where it benefits neither side and doesn’t bring glory to God.

5. God Doesn’t Need You to Defend Him

You will never convince someone that YHVH is loving or just or true or even real for that matter, if they truly don’t want to be convinced of it. But guess what? YHVH doesn’t need you to defend Him. This is something I have been struggling with lately, “Am I doing a good job of defending who YHVH truly is?” YHVH used Roberts’ “Sing, My Children” to deeply minister to me when I was struggling with this.

Do not be concerned for My reputation. I have withstood many storms, and I will survive this one. Human strivings are like the waters around Gibraltar. They have beat upon the rock, but they have not changed it. I am not disturbed, and I forbid you to be anxious.

You can stand your ground and stand firm in your faith, but like I said before, no matter what argument you try to use it’s never going to make sense to them…if they don’t want it to make sense. Do you know why? Because you’re not the Holy Spirit. Only God can convict someone’s heart and only His Spirit can stir someone to believe. Your job is to be a vessel and speak only when He gives you words to speak. If you don’t have the words and the person clearly doesn’t have an interest in learning about what you believe, it’s as foolish as “throwing your pearl to the swine.”

Ukraine, 18 yr Old Suing Parents, Being a Voice in the Desert

A Sabbath Prayer: A Quiet Pool

“Quiet Pool” is from Frances J. Roberts’ book Come Away My Beloved. God has been showing me these past few weeks that I need to lay aside my worries, fears, doubts, questions, and anything else that keeps me from Him and His perfect peace…His shalom. This is really a great devotion any day but I thought it was especially perfect for ShabbatI pray this Sabbath you will enter into His rest. Enjoy and be blessed!

Wait upon Me.

Let your life be as a deep, quiet pool. Let your heart rest in My hand as a bird in a nest. Let your eyes be still. Let your hands be free. For then I shall fill all your vision, and then I shall take your hands into Mine and My power shall flow forth into you.

If you would only make yourself a place apart, yes, removed from the pressure and turmoil, and there I will meet you. Yes, I wait for your coming. For I long to pour out My blessings upon You, and I long to give you My fullness. Only be still before Me. Never let the toils and cares of the day rob you of this sweet fellowship with Me.

For I know what you need, and I am concerned about your duties and responsibilities. You will find your cares vanish, and your load is lightened by an unseen hand. I would have you bring Me your love, and even as you are bringing Me your love, I shall in turn bring to you My power, so that I work for you in a twofold measure.

I will give you the power to discharge your duties with greater efficiency. I am actively engaged in working for you in ways you cannot see, to make your path clear, and to bring about things you could never accomplish, and which would otherwise absorb your energies and wear out your patience.

So I say again…Rest in Me. Wait upon Me. Come apart with Me. Seek My face. Seek My fellowship.

O YHVH, what shame that You should need to beg us thus! Better that others might find us unavailable because of our occupation with You, rather than for us to be so slow to come, so dull to hear, so cold of heart, so indolent of soul.

O God, spare us Your wrath! Do not let Your anger be kindled against us. Let us ask only one thing more, and do not turn away.

Grant this one prayer more, O YHVH, that You would give us all that is lacking in us; intensify our hunger and fire our devotion; take the indifference from our spirits; and have within us Your wonderful way and perfect will, O YHVH, we pray. Amen