Read "The Times of Tishrei" online, on iPad, e-readers and phones
Download printable PDF file
For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.
"Now when these things begin to happen,
Look up and lift up your heads,
Because your redemption draws near."
Yeshua the Messiah.
The Times of Tishrei: Introduction
is the month in the Biblical calendar when three feasts are celebrated: Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Tabernacles. The first of these is celebrated on the first day of Tishrei. It is also called New Year or Rosh HaShanah (although the Biblical first month is actually Nisan). These feasts of Tishrei are prophetic of the age when the Messiah comes and begins to reign. Christians see this as the Second Coming but Jews see it as the first coming. Both refer to the same Messiah and the same time.
It is the purpose of this study to highlight the scriptures that speak of the Messiah and His coming through a series of daily prayer guides matching the days of Tishrei. At the end of this study and prayer I hope that the reader will have a better understanding of the Times of Tishrei and their future fulfillment.
Christians have, by and large, neglected to observe these feasts of Tishrei. Consequently they have also not given proper attention to the very clear teaching in Scripture of the Messiah’s return. Jewish people have always observed the three feasts but it is my impression that many fail to realise the significance of the feasts themselves.
, called the Old Testament
by Christians, contains very specific details about the course of Gentile world history. It is a simple matter to look at the prophecies and check them against actual, verifiable events accepted by historians everywhere. World events have confirmed prophecy in the past. Given the fact that such prophecies are fulfilled we can have confidence in the prophecies yet to be fulfilled. I feel that the month of Tishrei is that time of the year when we should be focusing on those prophecies.
It is not enough to read about such prophecies. It is necessary to read the actual prophecies themselves and meditate on them. With this in mind this study matches 26 of the 30 days of Tishrei with four Biblical books. Daniel is pre-eminently the book of end times prophecy in the Tanach/Old Testament
. Some of its visions were given to Gentiles to be interpreted by a Jewish prophet, Daniel, in exile in a gentile land, Babylon. The twelve chapters of the book of Daniel
are covered in days one to twelve in Tishrei. The remaining days of Tishrei are allocated to chapters from the book of Zechariah.. Each chapter from the books of Daniel
is matched on an opposing page by a chapter from Matthew
. The latter book, sometimes called the Apocalypse, consists of revelations about end times given to John, a Jew also in exile in a gentile country – the island of Patmos.
Although there is not an exact chronological match of sequence between the Old Testament chapters selected and those of the New Testament the commentary points out similarities and connections and makes clear the pattern.
My hope is for readers to become excited by the precision of the word of God to the extent that they will trust the prophecies for their future fulfillment. Daniel describes the times of the Gentiles and shows that these times will come to an end and then the Messiah will set up His kingdom and reign from Jerusalem. God’s plans for Jew and Gentile shall be fulfilled.
When Ezra and Nehemiah returned from the exile in Babylon and began rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem they also began to read, from morning to midday and in public, the Book of the Law of Moses (Nehemiah
1.1-2) before the assembled people. The day they started this was the first day of the seventh month, that is, on the feast of trumpets. The result of this reading was that people rediscovered the Word of God and believed it. Let us today also read the Word and believe it.
TISHREI Day 1. Feast of Trumpets
Readings for Tishrei Day 1
Days of Awe (1) 1. Reading: DANIEL 1
Preparation for Revelation.
This day is called New Year’s Day and is observed as such in Israel but in the Bible it is called the Feast of Trumpets.(2) The feast points to the regathering of Israel by God to their land for blessing. This regathering is connected with a trumpet call in Isaiah 27.13: “So it shall be in that day, the great trumpet will be blown; they will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, and they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount in Jerusalem.”
Meanwhile, the Jewish people were being exiled to Babylon, to Shinar, about eighty kilometres south of Baghdad The year referred to in Daniel 1.1
is 605 BC. Note the sovereignty of God for it is He who is in charge since it says in verse two that He gave Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. The four young men are selected to serve in the king’s palace. They are trained in the ways of the ruling elite. An attempt is made to change not only their behaviour but also their identity. To this end they are given new names. They already had names honouring the true God. Contrast them with their new names. Daniel means God is my judge, changed to Belteshazzar (Lady protect the king); Hananiah means the Lord is gracious, changed to Shadrach, (Fearful of God); Mishael, meaning “who is what God is?”, changed to Meshach, (Of little account); Azariah, the Lord has helped me, changed to Abednego (Servant of the god Nego). So too, today, those who believe the Word of God are ‘renamed’ by unbelievers with labels that denigrate their belief and trust in God.
How did Daniel cope in a situation that was materially fabulous and spiritually toxic? Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portions of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine that he drunk.” The response was first in the heart. Next followed action concerning food. Note again the sovereignty of God, when it says that He brought Daniel into favour with his immediate boss. Note also the wisdom with which Daniel proposed a trial and so reassured his boss. In all this Daniel seems to show real leadership as his three companions support him in his proposal. The trial is successful. God’s sovereignty is again shown in that it is He, not the local instructors, who gives them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom. Daniel is singled out for special mention as having wisdom in all visions and dreams. The closing scene of the chapter exemplifies Proverbs 18.16, and 22.29 which speak of a man who “excels in his work” will “stand before kings.” Daniel and his companions come before Nebuchadnezzar and their excellence in all matters of wisdom and understanding was publicly rated as ten times greater than that of the locals. The last verse tells us that Daniel continued beyond the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign into the first year, 539 BC, of Cyrus , who defeated Belshazzaar, the Babylonian ruler of the time.
The chapter not only shows that God can preserve us in the worst of situations but also cause us to prosper in such. We shall see, that through the prophecies He gave to Daniel He revealed the course of world history. The fulfilment of many of these prophecies so far is encouragement from the Lord to trust Him for those yet to be fulfilled. Moreover, God later raised up John to bring further revelation concerning both the course of Church history and end times. In Revelation chapter one we see another Jewish exile in a Gentile country prepared by God to speak to us today.
TISHREI Day 1. Feast of Trumpets. Days of Awe ()1 Reading: REVELATION 1
John hears the voice of the Messiah “as of a trumpet”(Verse 10) – a reminder that this day is the feast of Trumpets
Chapter 1 began with the prophet as a young man in exile in Babylon. Revelation 1 begins with John as an old man in exile on the Greek island of Patmos. Daniel first received prophecy of the course of Gentile world history and then of the coming of the Messiah to reign. John receives revelation of the course of Church history, then the Tribulation and the subsequent coming of the Messiah. Both prophets direct us to focus on the Messiah.
John is on the island of Patmos because of the Word and God and the testimony of Jesus. Are we where we are for the same reasons? John the Baptist preached in the wilderness, John the evangelist in exile, but such is the power of God’s word it goes out and is fruitful. The focus is on Jesus. He is the Revelator. He tells us He is coming back soon. He wants us to know the future revealed by Him. Some avoid the book of Revelation but Christ makes it very clear that He wants His servants to know it and ‘keep it’.
The chapter has a description of the glorified Son of Man. Parts of that description are used in connection with each of the letters to the seven churches in chapters two and three. The description is about the person of Christ, the power of Christ and the program of Christ.(3) Note that He is called “ruler over the kings of the earth.” (1.5). This message of God's rule over the affairs of men Daniel (4.31) also had had to convey to the ruler of Babylon.
The revelation given to John is to be shown to the servants of Jesus Christ. One needs to be His servant to receive it. There is a blessing promised for those who read the revelation, for those who hear it, and for those who keep it. How do you keep a prophecy? You keep it by believing it. Note also the wonderful blessing of grace and peace. Grace is a gift with no strings attached. Peace tells us the war is over, that Christ conquered for us on the cross. Believers do not go into eternity at war with God.
Christ describes Himself as He who is, who was, and who is to come. We need to be aware of the past, present and future with Christ. Past
: He died and rose for us: the work is complete, we cannot add to it; present
: He has sent His Holy Spirit to indwell us; future
: He will return to reign and dwell with His people.
The golden lampstands reveal a precious truth. Candles consume themselves but these are lampstands, which have a wick fed by oil. “The church itself is not the light but the light holder. Sometimes emphasis is put on the local church as though it were the light independent of anything else. God works through the local church, but it is not the church that shines, but the light of Jesus Christ Himself shining through His people.” (4)
The whole impetus of this book comes from Christ, who is described in some detail. His garments speak of holiness, purity; his burning eyes see all; brass speaks of judgement; the furnace of refining; the voice like many voices speaks of the nations of the world for whom He died; the sword is the word of God with which He will strike the nations (Rev.19.15); his face like the sun – He will destroy His enemies by the brightness of His coming. (2 Thes.2.8)
The contents of the book are arranged according to Christ’s command: 1. What John has already seen; 2. The things which are – the church; 3. What is to come – the Tribulation and return of the Messiah.
TISHREI Day 2. Days of Awe 2 Reading: DANIEL 2
Readings for Tishrei Day 2
Timetable for the Gentile Kingdoms.
Although God has a chosen people they have to live surrounded by Gentiles. Through prophecies about the course of the Gentile kingdoms God gives His people encouragement that just as these Gentile prophecies have been fulfilled so too will the prophecies concerning Israel be fulfilled.(1)
In this chapter Nebuchadnezzar, the very Gentile ruler who had defeated and taken the Jews into exile, has a dream that could be interpreted only by a Jewish prophet enabled by God. The dream describes what is going to happen in the latter days. The statue of the dream has a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, stomach and thighs of bronze, and legs and feet of iron and clay. “The head of gold is Babylon, the breast and arms represent the Medes and the Persians, the thighs of brass picture Greece, and the legs and feet stand for Rome in its primacy and decline. Finally, a “stone” would arise, representing Israel’s Messiah, who would strike the statue on its feet of iron and clay and [crush] them”(2.34). Then God will establish a kingdom “which will never be destroyed,” referring to the far future messianic reign of the Messiah.(2.44.) (2)
Head of Gold:
||606 – 539 B.C.
Chest and arms of silver:
Belly and thighs of Bronze:
331- 146 B.C.
Legs and feet of iron and clay:
146 B.C. – A.D.476
Each of the kingdoms was defeated by the next but who defeats the fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire? Many feel it fell from internal corruption but will rise again in the latter days according to Daniel 9.26-27. The four kingdoms are also portrayed in Zechariah 1.18-20 as four horns that scattered Israel. Each kingdom is defeated by a craftsman, namely the kingdom that supplanted the previous one. But who is to supplant the fourth kingdom? This fourth kingdom, the feet of a mixture of iron and clay, will arise again during the Tribulation of end times.3 It is the Messiah who shall come and defeat the fourth kingdom. Anti-Messianic forces will attempt to completely destroy God’s people and so thwart the Messiah’s plan to establish His Millennial Kingdom on earth.
Given the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the Gentile Kingdoms so far, we can be confident that the remaining prophecies shall be fulfilled. Daniel describes the destroyer of the fourth Gentile Kingdom as a “stone cut without hands” (2.34) and later says God will “set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.” (2.44) What is this stone that is cut without hands? It is not a work of man’s hand but of God. Isaiah shows that Jewish people will have two reactions to the stone. First, it will be “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both houses of Israel…many… shall stumble…fall …be broken.” (Is.8.14-15) The second is in Isaiah 28.16: “Behold I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation, whoever believes will not act hastily.” (Or be dismayed. NIV). The first reaction is to reject the Messiah, the stone cut without hands, the second is to accept. Simeon prophesises (Luke 2.34) that the Messiah is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel.
TISHREI Day 2. Days of Awe 2. Reading : REVELATION 2
Timetable for the Church
Just as Daniel
2 begins to reveal the course of Gentile Kingdoms, so too there is here a revelation of Church history. Dates are not set but a pattern is clear. Revelation chapters two and three deal with seven churches describing features that have both local significance as well as prophetic significance. These individual churches in Revelation portray conditions true at almost all times in Church history. They can also be seen to refer to different church ages. With the last church, Laodicea, the Messiah is seen outside the church knocking on its door wanting to come in. It seems that the salt loses its savor. No Saviour no savor. If the Messiah is outside the church who are the Laodiceans worshipping inside? Theodore Epp entitles his commentary on these two chapters: “The Great Apostasy of the Last Days Traced from the beginning of Church History.” 4 The rest of Revelation deals with conditions during the Great Tribulation after the Rapture.
Of the seven letters written to these churches four appear in chapter two. Some commentators 5 assign approximate dates as they see the churches of Revelation demonstrating different aspects of Christendom. The actual seven churches no longer exist in present day Turkey but some of the prophecies are yet to be fulfilled. This encourages commentators to take the churches as types.
means ‘desired’. The letter speaks of people leaving their first love. They labour without love. There is no fellowship with our Lord. Recall how Judas criticised Mary because of her love shown for Jesus in washing and anointing His feet. Without that love the Nicolaitans come in and make false distinctions between clergy and laity (although the Ephesians did reject the Nicolaitans). Apostolic Age: AD 30-100.
means ‘myrrh’. Myrrh was used for anointing the dead and this is the church of the Roman persecution; there is no condemnation for this church. They are to have tribulation ten days (remember we are in the ten days of Awe while reading this). There are pretenders around that are Satanic in origin and we must be watchful for these. Age of Persecution: AD 100-313
means ‘thoroughly married’. This speaks of the marriage of church and state, a period of worldly corruption. The church becomes married to the world but there are those who hold fast to the name of Jesus and do not deny the faith. However, the teachings of Balaam are permitted and the Nicolaitans are present. God hates the lust for power that the Nicolaitans have. This mixture is referred to in Matthew 13.31-32. Emperor Constantine (Edict of Milan) made Christianity a State Religion . Period of Worldly Corruption: 313-600.
means ‘continual or perpetual sacrifice,’ indicating the religiosity of the period. Pagan practices and false doctrines lead to idolatry and spiritual fornication and a counterfeit church. The original Jezebel was a heathen that married an Israelite, so too the Church has admitted leaven or sin into the loaf. (See Matthew 13.33-35). God calls for separation whereas many false teachings call for compromise. This is the Roman Catholic Church before the Reformation. Church of the Dark Ages: 600-1517
Just as Daniel had revealed to him the course of Gentile Kingdoms and their final destruction by the stone uncut by hand, so too does John have revealed to him the conditions in the seven churches during the church age. It becomes apparent that the Messiah is issuing a series of alerts for the faithful to heed during this present church age.
TISHREI Day 3. Days of Awe 3 Reading: DANIEL 3
Readings for Tishrei Day 3
Turning from God’s revelation to idolatry
King Nebuchadnezzar’s response to the revelation of the Statue in Daniel 2 is to make an idol of it and command people to fall down and worship it as related in Daniel 3. It was made of gold, the metal of the head in the original dream which represented Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. A decree went out for all to fall down and worship. Music was used to signal the time for worship. Daniel’s absence is not explained but his three friends refuse to bow down to the idol. They remain true to God who had commanded them not build idols nor to make other gods.
Nebuchadnezzar has knowledge of God’s revelation but without godliness he acts in a way that leads to disaster. His statue could be seen as a type of the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9. 27), which is man’s attempt to substitute himself for God. The abomination of desolation is given as a warning sign of end times in Matthew 24.15. Anything set up by man to idolize is to be avoided. However, in end times such idolatry will become a world wide issue.
Shadrach, Mishach, and Abed-nego are accused 1 before the king with "not serving your gods or worshipping the gold image which you have set up." (3.12). The heart of the issue is very clearly stated. Which God will they serve? This is the key issue of end times. In the days of the tribulation, shortly before the Messiah comes, there will be enormous pressure to bow down and worship a false image. It is not enough to lie low. Conformity will be public and compulsory. In modern times the technical apparatus to enforce conformity is already available.
The three friends of Daniel tell us how to deal with such pressure. They trust God and will not bow down to idols even under threat of the fiery furnace. Note that when they are seen still alive in the furnace they are accompanied by one ‘like the Son of God.’ This is again prophetic of the Messiah who shall rescue His people from the tribulation of end times.
These three can also be seen as prophetic of the faithful remnant that God preserves among His people. Such will be true of End Times when He calls forth twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes (Revelation 7.1-8), and the Two Witnesses who give testimony to the whole world from Jerusalem. (Revelation 11. 1-14)
The fiery furnace also speaks of the punishment for those who do not conform in the time of troubles. The Messiah speaks of the false prophets who will arise and deceive many. There will be religious activity that many think is okay but the Lord calls for separation not for compromise. He also says that the tribulation will be so great that unless those days were shortened no flesh would be saved. (Matthew 24. 22)
Nebuchadnezzar responds to the deliverance of the three by admiring the power of their God but does not repent and believe and turn from his idol. God will deal with Nebuchadnezzar again in the next chapter.
In the passage from Revelation
for Tishrei 3 we shall see that there is also a moving away from God’s revealed word and the attempt by man to set up his own idols to such an extent that the Messiah tells the final church, Laodicea, that He is outside knocking on the door asking men to open up and invite Him in. This is what happens when both the revelation and the Revealer are rejected.
TISHREI 3. Days of Awe 3. Reading: REVELATION 3
Prophetic history of the last three churches. Christendom and apostasy.
The last three of the seven churches receive their letters.
means “those escaping”. This church is told that it looks alive but is dead. This is the period of the Reformation and Protestantism. The reformation was of God but out of it came more human religious systems. Church and State remained joined. People were born into a church but not born again. Personal faith was not a condition of becoming a member of a church. Religious activism displaced Christ. Today ecumenism seeks to unite a wide variety of religious activists. Ezekiel 34.1-4 describes a situation where the shepherds were feeding themselves and not the flock, who were scattered. Samson is also a type of this period in that “he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.” (Judges 16. 20) However, there is a remnant who have ‘not defiled their garments.” Overcomers “will be clothed in white garments” and will not be “blotted out from the book of Life.” Period of Reformation 1517-1650
means “brotherly love”. This is the church of the missionary movement ( including mission to the Jews ). There is no condemnation for this faithful remnant. Today doors are closing to missions around the world. This Church will not go into the Tribulation called here ‘the hour of trial which will come upon the whole world.” Philadelphia comes out of the dead, lifeless, Spiritless condition of Protestantism. The message here is “a revival and turning back to the first love….All human pretensions are rejected. The truth of the unity of all believers is owned and manifested in brotherly love towards all the saints…The two chief characteristics during the closing days of the professing Church on earth are: Obedience to His Word; faithfulness and devotion to His name. The Word and the Name are denied in the last days. The apostasy of Christendom consists in the rejection of the written Word and the living Word.” (2) The missionary age of the church: 1650-1900
This is the indifferent and apostate church. Laodicea means “the judging or rights of the people”. It is the opposite of Nicolaitanism. Rome still dominates but Protestant laity arise and claim their rights and do the judging. “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but, according to their own desires and because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers, and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4.3-4) This is the period of the mixture of the tares and the wheat when error seeming to look like the truth will grow alongside the truth in the church. In this church the people are ruling in contrast to God ruling in the church; the Holy Spirit is meant to guide. This is the falling away or apostasy prophesied in 1 Timothy 4.1. Christ is outside knocking at the door. If Christ is outside what is happening inside? Christ is the way the truth and the life. We are meant to follow Him. The Age of Apostasy 1900 - Present Day.
“It is important to notice that Thyatira (Rome), Sardis (Protestanism) and the two phases of Protestantism (Philadelphia and Laodicea) co-exist. This is seen by the fact that in each the Lord speaks of His Second Coming. (2.25; 3.3; 3.10-11; 3.16). The Lord takes His own to Himself. Rome and an apostate Protestant Christendom continue on earth during the period of judgement preceding the visible coming of the Lord.” (3)
TISHREI 4. Day of Awe 4. Reading: DANIEL 4
Readings for Tishrei Day 4
The dream of the tree. False Security among the Gentiles.
This chapter takes the form of a testimony written by a Gentile about the action of God in his life. Nebuchadnezzar has another dream. His first dream prophesied the course of Gentile world history. He responded to that dream by setting up a statue for compulsory worship and condemned three believers to the fiery furnace for not worshipping the false god. The true God showed His might by delivering the three men from within the fiery furnace. Although impressed, the Gentile king of the first Empire did not turn to God. He has another dream that troubles him. He needed to be troubled out of his false sense of security. Again, he is unable to understand the dream. He looks to his worldly advisors for help but it is the Lord alone who can reveal such dreams and He does so through Daniel. Whereas Nebuchadnezzar was the golden head in the first dream and he made a complete statue for worship, now in this second dream he is represented as a tree. This a common image for a ruler to show how he provides shelter and food for his subjects. However this tree was to be cut down. Thus Nebuchadnezzar was to be removed from kingship, although the stump of the tree would remain in such a way as to indicate that he would still retain the kingdom. However, the king is to be driven out from among men and he will live like an animal for seven years, eating grass and exposed to the weather. Daniel has some advice for how Nebuchadnezzar should live by turning from sin to righteousness and showing mercy to the poor so that he may, so to speak, get the implementation of the sentence delayed. However, a year passes and Nebuchadnezzar appears to have forgotten the dream and boasts of his accomplishments. Even as he does so a voice from heaven tells him that the kingdom has departed from him and the seven year sentence begins that very hour.
In his testimony Nebuchadnezzar says his understanding later returned. To ignore God and His word is to be confused. He comes to acknowledge the truth that Daniel stated as the purpose for the trial, namely, “that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men.” (4.17) As Nebuchadnezzar puts it: “He does according to His will in the army of heaven…no one can restrain His hand.” (4.35) He acknowledges that pride had caused him to be put down. (4.37) This is a “picture of all Gentile power – its departure from God, its degradation and bestial character, and its final subjugation to God in the time of the end when Christ shall return in glory… and all Gentile dominion come to an end.” (1)
Many are inclined to put their trust in big barns (Luke 12.18). The Messiah asks what “profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16.26). Seen in this light the dream that troubled Nebuchadnezzar was a mercy from God. He had to learn: 1. God rules. 2. God appoints rulers on earth. 3. These rulers are not always the best people. (4.17)
The core message is that of God’s sovereignty. He rules from heaven. The passage from Revelation
for this fourth Day of Awe shows us a scene in heaven. Nebuchadnezzar heard a voice that “fell from heaven” (4.31), but in Revelation
4 John sees a door open in heaven and in the Spirit he sees a throne set in heaven. What is the message for us today from the throne room of heaven?
TISHREI 4. Day of Awe 4. Reading REVELATION 4
The throne room of heaven
. Whereas Daniel
chapter four says it is the Lord who rules the affairs of men Revelation 4 takes us into the throne room of the Ruler of the universe. The word “throne” occurs 45 times in Revelation and 15 times elsewhere in the New Testament.. In chapter 4 throne occurs 14 times. Whereas Daniel 4 shows God’s intervention for seven years in the life of Nebuchaddnezzar Revelation 4 tells of a holy God who is about to allow the Tribulation to run for seven years on the earth. In the past people have scoffed at God’s intervention in history. They scoffed at Noah’s preparation for deliverance, at Nebuchadnezzar’s punishment for seven years, and at the death and resurrection of Christ. Nebuchaddnezzar is a type of the madness that comes on the earth when the pride of man takes government into his own hands and rejects God.
Revelation is in three parts according to the plan given in chapter one: 1. The things seen
are covered in chapter one; 2. The things that are concern the seven churches
in chapters two and three; 3. The things that are to come
concern events of the Tribulation and the subsequent Second Coming of the Messiah covered in chapters 4-22.The word “church” does not appear after chapter three except once at the end of the book when John is told to tell the churches the revelation he has received.
Chapter four describes events in heaven prior to the Tribulation
. Because the Church is not mentioned again many consider the events in this chapter occurring after the Rapture. The Raptured Church is of true believers. There will remain an Apostate Church on the earth. However, “those saved during the Tribulation period are not referred to as being “in Christ” and thus do not form a part of the true Church or Body of Christ. Believers during the Tribulation are referred to as “saints” but not as the “Church.” (2)
John sees in heaven what is yet to come; Christ's coming for the church as indicated in 1 Thessalonian 4.15-17. Later He will come back with the Church. What the faithful had waited for will have come to pass: the Church will have departed and the saints seen in glory. A voice like a trumpet calls John to “Come hither.” At the Rapture Christ will call the church to come hither. Note that John is in the Spirit here and is not at this stage to dwell in heaven. Why does the scene switch to heaven? The church has been raptured from the earth to heaven and the next series of events is to be initiated from there. This is the lesson Nebuchadnezzar had to learn – that the Lord rules over events in this world. Similarly there will be scoffers in the last days who will think things will carry on as they always have and deny God acts in history. (2 Pet.3.3-4). John sees first “the established throne, the sign and symbol of the universal government of God.”(3) The precious stones and the rainbow speak of priesthood, glory, redemption, judgment and mercy. Who are the elders? They are not angels, who are never seen seated on thrones. Angels do not have crowns as those who sing redemption’s song. The elders are clothed in white, which speaks of redemption and righteousness (2 Cor: 5.21; Rev:19.7, 8,14) and of overcomers (Rev.3.5). “They are the royal priesthood in the presence of the throne.” (4) They are the raptured church. Lightning, voices, thunder remind us of God as judge. Believers are to trust in God’s throne not the false one set up by man on the earth. The lion speaks of Christ’s majesty, the calf His sacrifice, the face speaks of Christ as man, and the eagle of sovereignty. The seven spirits speak of God’s omniscience. Nothing unholy can exist here. We need a coal off the altar.(Is.6.6) Only in Christ can we access the throne.
TISHREI Day 5. Days of Awe 5. Reading DANIEL 5
Readings for Tishrei Day 5
The Writing on the Wall. Belshazzar’s Feast
. A decree has been passed in the heavens. The decree is written on the wall in the midst of a state banquet of the ruler of the world. What does it mean? Who is qualified to interpret it? How fearful to know that God has spoken and not to know what He has said. Even worse is to be told what it means, ‘reward’ the interpreter and to carry on as though it is irrelevant.
The occasion is the eve of the fall of the first Gentile World Empire in 539 BC. In 603 BC, Daniel had prophesied that the Empire would fall. Now he states the Medes and the Persians would be given the kingdom. The decree was to be carried out the very night it was revealed. Why does Belshazzar ignore the warning?
Belshazzar thought that their city was impregnable. The enormously high walls were “fifteen miles square…and wide enough for four chariots to travel abreast…[The city had] supplies of grain and water to last for years.” 1 Darius the Mede diverted the water supply coming into the city and thus gained access even as those inside were celebrating their security. Today, man can think he is impregnable with his technology and ignore the God who “holds your breath in His Hand.”(5.23). Daniel points out why Belshazzar is about to fall. First he has lifted himself up against the Lord of heaven. Then he took the sacred vessels that had once been in the Temple in Jerusalem and used them for unholy purposes. Thirdly, he has praised idols of silver and gold and not glorified the true God. Because of this behaviour the hand was sent from heaven to write on the wall. Belshazzar had not learnt anything from Nebuchadnezzar’s experience of madness. Still today there are people who want to combine religion with self-seeking. “Let us make a name for ourselves,” (Genesis 11.4), said those building the Tower of Babel. The episode also points to the kind of behaviour that will characterise the time when the abomination of desolation (Daniel 9.27) makes its appearance and man creates his own religion and rituals in defiance of God. End time apostates desire “recognition as a power in the world lording it over men’s consciences.” 2 John (3Jn.9) warns about one who “loves to have the pre-eminence.”
How did the enslaved Israelites that Daniel represented feel as they watched the degradation and debauchery of their “betters” who ruled over them and seemingly had control over their destiny? They too needed to remember the prophetic word of God given through Daniel and through other prophets, some contemporary, as well as the promises given in the Books of Moses. They also needed to learn from history as Daniel reminded Belshazzar who had forgotten or ignored the lesson to be learned from the seven years madness of Nebuchadnezzar. That lesson was that God rules in the kingdoms of men.
Is there writing on the wall for our generation? God has given us the example of Belshazzar to remind us to discern the signs of the times (Matthew 16.3) and not to be deceived. (Matthew 24.4). Whereas there was writing on the wall for Belshazzar there is writing on the scroll for us in Revelation 5. No one could interpret the writing on the wall except Daniel. No one can unseal and read the scroll except the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Messiah. 3 We too in our age are to believe the prophetic Word of God and that He rules in the kingdoms of men as we ponder the behaviour of our rulers who seemingly control our destiny. Let’s now look at the writing we need to read and understand for our times.
TISHREI 5. Day of Awe 5. Reading REVELATION 5
The writing on the scroll. Who is worthy to loose the seals?
The writing on the wall was a prelude to the fall of the Babylonian Empire. That prophecy has been fulfilled and can be confirmed from non-Biblical sources as well. We now see the prelude to the Tribulation – an event that will affect the whole world. John weeps because he wants the Father’s decree to be fulfilled but who is worthy to open the scroll and execute the decree? This decree is one of the things that are yet to come. The content will be revealed in the following chapters. The Lord is revealing ahead of time that it is He who decrees the Tribulation. He rules in the kingdoms of men.
Why is Christ worthy to loose the seals? It says that the Lamb has prevailed. The elders sing because the Lamb had been slain and had redeemed them and thus became worthy. The Lamb is worthy because He is the Redeemer. The elders had been redeemed from all over the world through the blood of the Lamb and are now kings and priests to God. They will reign on the earth. Contrast this with Belshazzar who presumed to make Daniel third ruler in his kingdom. Man, through the fall, had lost the title deed to this world. Christ, through His death and resurrection, regained the title deed on our behalf. His kingdom is coming. Notice also that it is a strong angel who asks who is worthy. Mere strength is not enough. Someone who is worthy is needed. Compare Samson who was strong but the Lord had departed from him because of his disobedience. No mere man is able. This “shows the moral inability of man. This is what the world fails to see today.” 4 One suspects that John wept for his own unworthiness as well as of others. But the elders were not weeping – they knew who was worthy.
In Revelation 4
the focus was on the throne of God. In Revelation 5
the focus is on the sealed scroll given from that throne. Contrast the command of the Lord to Daniel to “seal up the book until the time of the end,” (12.4) with the command from an angel given to John to “not seal the words of this book, for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 22.10).To both prophets the Lord gives instructions as to how the prophecy will be received. To Daniel He says: “None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” (12.10). John is told that the unjust and filthy will carry on as they are but the righteous and holy are to be righteous and holy still. (Revelation
We need to be righteous, holy, and wise to understand God’s ‘end game’, first predicted in Genesis
3.15, “to reclaim His kingdom and to redeem His people.” (5) Our righteousness comes from Christ. We are given the Holy Spirit to be holy in God’s way, and to remember that the wisdom that comes from above is first pure. (James 3.17) Here the angels join in the celebration. We can learn from the elders in heaven how to respond to the revelation of the one who is worthy. They fall before the Lamb, sing a new song, declare the truth of what the Lamb has done for them. His redemption is available to all. He desires that none perish. The time is coming when those who reject His righteousness will enter into Tribulation. The angels don’t sing the redemption song but declare the worthiness of the Lamb to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honour, glory and blessing. All creatures in heaven and earth acknowledge God. We are the Lord’s not only by creation but also by redemption. The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fall and worship the Lamb as He begins to open the seals. We, too, are to be holy still under the mighty hand of God even in troubled times.
TISHREI 6. Day of Awe 6. Reading DANIEL 6
Readings for Tishrei Day 6
The lions’ den sealed
. Darius makes Daniel one of the three governors of the second empire, that of the silver chest and arms mentioned in the prophecy of the statue. Alarmed that the king might put Daniel over the whole realm the other governors sought to have Daniel removed from office. Daniel’s record as governor is faultless so the plotters have to create a law specifically designed to incriminate Daniel and have him executed. The law, to be in force for a month only, allowed prayers and petitions to no god or man except Darius alone. In effect people were not allowed to pray to anyone except Darius. A law, once in effect, could not be rescinded, even by the king. Darius signs the decree into law.
Daniel is a type of the remnant that God will preserve among His people in end times. Even though the whole world is in opposition God is able to save. The plotters use the legal system
to entrap Daniel. It is a sting operation that appears to have worked. The method of the plotters reveals clearly their motivation. Their desire is to have power in this world and reject that of God. They think that they can pass legislation that will override the power of God. The king even puts seals on the locks to the lions’ den as though that would ensure success. One is reminded of the guards put on the tomb of Yeshua.( Matthew 27.65
) Anti-Semitic legislation has continued into modern times. Anti-Christian legislation is in force today in numerous countries around the world. A time is coming when man’s law will not protect believers anywhere. Daniel’s accusers knew that they needed a law opposed to God’s law in order to gain the power they wanted. This is exactly the motive of legislators who will want to secure control in end times.
How is it that Darius agreed to the law? It is quite clear that he regrets that Daniel is condemned to death and wants to save him from the lions, but is unable to do so. Did he really believe the plotters when they said that all the governors, including Daniel, and the whole administration had unanimously approved of the legislation? (6.7) Was it out of pride that he was happy to be treated as a god, even if just for a month? Did he succumb to the clamour of his administrators? This reminds us of the caution not to follow a crowd to do evil. (Exodus
23.2) A Russian proverb says that one word of truth outweighs the entire world. That word is the word of God. Daniel stayed with the word of God. The behaviour of Darius begins to confirm an aspect of the prophecy of the statue that there would be a gradual decline, first from the absolute power of the ruler of the head of gold, then to being subject to the law as Darius was in the present chapter, and eventually down to the unstable condition of the feet of clay.
The message that comes through is that the Lord is able to save those who trust in Him no matter what the world system attempts to do. The companion chapter of Revelation asks the question: Who is able to stand? (6.17). Those who reject the Lord are unable to stand. Such people are given in type at the end of Daniel 6 when the accusers are thrown into the lions’ den and perish.
In a sense the whole world is a lion’s den.(1) The Apostle Peter tells us that our adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter
5.8). However, end times will bring a confrontation hitherto unseen. We now turn to the passage that shows the beginning of the implementation of the decrees unsealed in heaven by the Lamb.
TISHREI 6. Day of Awe 6. Reading: REVELATION 6.
The Lion of Judah opens the seal. The wrath of the Lamb.
When Jesus quoted in Luke 4.18-19 the passage concerning His mission from God He ended the quote at a comma omitting “the day of vengeance of our God.” (Isaiah 61.2). Revelation 6 shows this part of His mission about to be fulfilled. The longest comma or pause in history is about to come to an end and divine vengeance to come on the earth. The four living creatures invite John to look on the death that each seal reveals.
The first seal
shows the start of the Tribulation with the first of the Four Horses of the Apocalypse. The passage does not say there are different riders. The horses change but not the rider. The Tribulation begins with a rider on a white horse and ends with Christ coming on a white horse. (Revelation 19.11). Who is the rider on the first horse? He is not Christ. He is a false Christ. He conquers with a bow without an arrow. He has some rule as indicated by his crown. However, his conquering did not bring lasting peace for the second horse takes peace from the earth. Universal peace can come only with the Prince of Peace. Christ gives a sequence of events in Matthew 24.4-6 that is matched by the sequence given by the seal judgements. His first warning is not to be deceived by those who come in His name claiming to be the Christ. The rider on the white horse is such a deceiver. Thus the beginning of the Tribulation may look as if a golden age of peace has been ushered in.
With the opening of the second seal
peace is taken from the earth. The red suggests bloodshed and the sword shows that a military force is at work. There are no bows without arrows. In the sequence of events in Matthew 24 Christ mentions wars coming after deceit. “There are three major wars during the period of the Tribulation, and the second seal is the first of these three wars. The second will be in the middle of the Tribulation, and the third, which is the campaign of Armageddon, toward the end of the Tribulation.” (2)
The third seal
reveals the black horse bringing famine on the earth. The rich controllers remain rich but the great mass of people are starving. Famine is the third event in the sequence given by Christ. In Matthew 24.7 the famine is accompanied by pestilences.
The fourth seal
brings wholesale death. The rider is named as Death and Hades. This speaks of both physical and spiritual death. People die as a result of war, hunger, death, and beasts. One fourth of the world dies. Death is mentioned as though it were an enemy, and it is, but Revelation 20.14 says death and hell will be cast into the lake of fire. Death will be destroyed according to 1 Corinthians 15.24.
With the fifth seal
the scene switches to heaven and the martyrs beneath the altar. These are converts after the Tribulation began. Later chapters describe who preached to them and who martyred them. Such martyrs are also mentioned by Christ in Matthew 24.9. Note that they were martyred for the Word of God and testifying to it. This is the dividing line. The issue will be a public one as it was for Daniel. The martyrs are told to wait until their numbers were completed.
The sixth seal
shows that there is no escape from the wrath of the Lamb for those who defy God. The very mountains and caves people sought to hide in will be shaken. The cosmic disturbances will present them with the wrath of the Lamb, yet they will still not repent but want to be obliterated. All unsaved will stand at the Great White Throne Judgement. However, God in His mercy saved Daniel in the lions’ den and in the Tribulation he provides 144,000 witnesses whose ministry will help complete the number of martyrs. These witnesses are the subject of the next chapter.
TISHREI 7. Day of Awe 7. Reading DANIEL 7
Readings for Tishrei Day 7
The Four Beasts of world history, the defeat of the Little Horn, and the reign of the Messiah
. The vision of the four beasts reveals the spirit behind the four empires of Daniel 2 and shows the ultimate destruction of the Fourth Empire in End Times when the world leader, called here the ‘little horn’, is destroyed. Daniel also has a vision of the Messiah, one like the Son of Man,“coming with the clouds of heaven…to the Ancient of Days” from whom he receives the kingdom for the saints to possess.
The location of the events is the Great Sea in turmoil from the four winds
. The Great Sea is the Mediterranean around which the four empires are located. The four empires of world history portrayed in Daniel 2
are seen as man would see the course of history. Nebuchadnezzar, for example, represents unregenerate man’s response to revelation by building a gold statue to his own renown. (1) The same four empires in the statue are seen spiritually in Daniel 7
as four beasts. The composite statue shows the outer splendour of the empires while the beasts show the “ utter breakdown of power in the hands of man”.
The first beast
matches the Babylonian kingdom and was like a lion and had eagles’ wings – “speaking of majesty, ferocity, and swiftness.” Babylon’s greatness soon began to decline: its wings were plucked, it was made to stand as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. “Thus all progress was at an end and majesty had departed, for one can scarcely think of anything more awkward and ungainly than a lion erect… The heart of a man tells of weakness such as we see displayed in Belshazzar”, (2) whose fall is described in Daniel 5.
The second beast
is a bear representing the Medes and the Persians. It is on its side to show the eventual dominance of the Persians. The bear defeated the lion and others represented by the three ribs in its mouth.
The third beast
represents the rapid spread of the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great. His kingdom was later divided into four. (3) Jewish scholars recognized Alexander from this passage in Daniel and when he was leading his forces towards Jerusalem scholars came out and showed him the passage. Jerusalem was not destroyed. Of the Jews “many were ready to accompany him in his wars.” (4)
The fourth beast
was different from the beasts that had gone before it. Five stages of this last empire /beast can be identified: 5 the United stage, the Two Division stage, One World Government, Ten Division, the Antichrist Stage. Daniel 2 shows the two division stage, occurring when the Empire splits in two. This two division stage, the east-west tension, continues today and will do so until the “little horn” (6) sets up the one world government, assumes dominance in the ten division stage and the Antichrist emerges challenging God.
The scene switches to heaven where the Ancient of Days sits in court. The little horn whose ‘appearance was greater than his fellows” spoke pompous words and made war on the saints. He looks and sounds great. Note the use of propaganda. Christ warns us not to be deceived. Then, one like the Son of Man receives an everlasting kingdom and a judgement is made in favour of the saints of the Most High for them to possess the kingdom. The little horn is defeated. The Son of Man is the Messiah coming in glory to reign. This is the ultimate kingdom, the Messianic Kingdom.
TISHREI 7. Day of Awe 7. Reading: REVELATION 7
Four winds held. Pause to seal 144,000 witnesses from the twelve tribes of Israel. Tribulation saints.
In Daniel 7 the four winds indicate the turmoil among the nations but now they are held in check for a time indicating God’s control over events. During this time 144,000 Jews are sealed to witness during the Tribulation. Had they been sealed before the Tribulation they would have been raptured with the true Church, which is no longer on the earth. The “sealing is done for service and protection. …They cannot be hurt by the judgments poured out by God or by persecution against believers They are sealed [to] proclaim the message of the Gospel in the Tribulation.” (7) The effect of their witness is confirmed in this very chapter when John is told that the multitude which no man could number “are the ones who came out of the great tribulation.” (7.14) In Revelation
6.9 ff we see some of these martyrs already beneath the altar. This suggests that the work of the witnesses is throughout all of the tribulation. Daniel 7.27 refers to saints of the Most High who shall possess the kingdom.
God’s plan for Israel now moves into its final stage. This is the 70th week presented in Daniel 9.(8) This ‘week’ is the Tribulation. Jesus refers to it when He is asked about the time He will return at the end of the age in Matthew
24.9 . He says there will be those delivered “up to tribulation”. In contrast to this He says in Revelation 3.10 that He will keep others from the hour of trial that shall come upon the whole world. There are thus two groups. There are those who go through the tribulation and those who do not. Those who do not go through the tribulation are the church which is raptured from the earth according to 1 Thessalonians 4.17. Those who are converted during the tribulation and go through it are the tribulation martyrs and saints who cannot be numbered according to Revelation 7.
The true church is to be distinguished from the apostate church. In Christendom today there are many denominations with a mixture of what Jesus had called tares and wheat. The tares are deceptive because they look like the wheat. When asked about end times the first thing Jesus did was to warn against deception from false prophets and messiahs. The false church will continue into the Tribulation and partner with “the little horn”. There is much in the New Testament to alert us to deception, with the warnings to the seven churches of Revelation 2 and 3 being given by Christ Himself. We are required to discern: the times and seasons; the wolf in sheep’s clothing; the whited sepulchres covering dead men’s bones; seeming angels of light preaching another gospel; John warns about the antichrist and those who desire pre-eminence. Peter tells us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. ” (2 Peter
3.18) Those who have come out of the Tribulation have been made white in the blood of the Lamb. There is still only one way of salvation and that is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will still convict of sin and bring to salvation but will not be resident on the earth as He had been before the Rapture when members of the Church were the “temple of God and ... the Spirit of God dwelt in” them.(1 Corinthians 3.16
Comparisons between the seventh chapters of Daniel
include: four winds under divine control; the beastly turmoil on the earth is brought to a pause while the witnesses are anointed; both Daniel and John have the vision explained; In both we see that despite the tribulation on earth the Lord is in control. Salvation belongs to God and He sends His witnesses to convey that even in the worst of times.
TISHREI 8. Days of Awe 8. Reading DANIEL 8
Readings for Tishrei Day 8
The Ram and the Goat. The Grecian little horn and the transgression of desolation.
The chapters of Daniel
are not all in chronological order. Chapter 7 gave the overall view of end times and the establishment of God’s saints. Chapter 8 goes back into detail about an event that was to occur about 170 BC but is also indicative of end times. As Daniel was writing about 551 BC in the third year of Belshazzar’s reign the dream was prophetic of two events. The first was the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes who desecrated the temple and attempted to destroy the Jewish people in 170 BC . The second event will be the little horn of end times, the Antichrist (Antimessiah), who will seek to reign as god in the Temple while trying to destroy the Jewish people. Antiochus called himself Theos Epiphanes
, god manifest, thus indicating his ambitions. The Jews called him Epimanes – the madman. Judas Maccabeus succeeded in driving him out and the subsequent cleansing of the Temple (165 BC) is mentioned as the Dedication of the Temple in the New Testament (John 10.22) and is still celebrated as Hanukah by Jews today. Chapter 8 switches from the Chaldean language of Chapters 2.4 to 7.28 back to Hebrew for the rest of the book thus indicating a switch of focus from Gentile to Jew.
The vision occurs in Shushan (1) in Elam in the highlands east of Babylon. Cyrus the Great established it as the capital of the Persian Empire. Daniel’s vision occurred when Babylon was still supreme (551 BC) and was not to fall until 539 BC. In the vision the ram conquers west, north, and south. It does not go into the east. Its two horns indicate the Medes and the Persians. Thus is established the second empire through the defeat of the first. The vision then goes on to the defeat of this second empire through a goat from the west. The goat is named as the King of Greece, known to history as Alexander the Great. “When he became strong, the large horn was broken.” (8.8). Alexander was at the height of his powers thinking there were no more worlds to conquer when he died. Alexander’s kingdom split into four horns or powers and the one formed out of Syria was the Seleucid dynasty. Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 BC) was the fourth of the Seleucids. He passed an edict to unite all religion, law and customs. Jews were not allowed to observe the Sabbath, circumcision, food laws, and were put to death for possession of the Torah. He desecrated the Temple and erected a statue of Zeus there. Note that this profanation was called the “transgression of desolation” and is one aspect that distinguishes this “little horn” from the little horn (Antimessiah) of end times where what he does is referred to as the “abomination of desolation” (Daniel 9.27). Antiochus “cast down the truth to the ground”. (8.12) and is for us a reminder to contend for the truth in a day of relativism.
Daniel has the vision explained to him by the angel Gabriel under instruction from the Lord. We, too, need divine help to understand the word of God. We need to be born again to see the kingdom of God so the Holy Spirit will instruct our hearts.
The key players of world history are presented under different aspects. In Daniel
8 the Medes and Persians, previously seen as a bear on its side, are now a ram with two horns. Alexander, previously presented as a leopard swift in conquest, is now seen as a goat with a single horn that divided into four dynasties, one of which is called “the little horn”. This Grecian little horn arises out of the third Empire and has much in common with the “little horn” that arises out of the fourth Empire and is known as the Antimessiah. Who will defeat the latter little horn and his Fourth Empire? This will happen in the day of the Lord’s Wrath, some details of which are given in Revelation
TISHREI 8. Day of Awe 8. Reading REVELATION 8
The Seventh Seal. First Four Trumpet Judgements.
The “little horn” prefigured in Daniel 8 has already made an appearance (Revelation 6) with the four horses of the Apocalypse, the first of which is the false Christ on the white horse as the Fourth Empire again seeks dominance. God’s answer to the Antichrist is called the day of His wrath and we are told in the last verse of Revelation six that the day of His wrath has come with the sixth seal. Next, chapter seven presents the sealing of the 144,000. Now in chapter eight the last seal, the seventh, is opened and the trumpet judgements begin, the day of God’s Wrath continues.
When the Seventh Seal is opened there is silence in heaven for half an hour. We, too, need to ponder the matter of God’s wrath. Who can stand God’s wrath? There is safety only in Christ. Despite the many being saved by the witness of the 144,000 there are still those who refuse to repent. With the opening of the final seal seven angels are given seven trumpets to announce the trumpet judgements. These trumpets are to be distinguished from the “last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15.52 ) which is the last trumpet for the church when it is removed from the earth at the Rapture prior to the Tribulation. Another angel is then given incense to offer with the prayers of the saints. “The smoke of the incense is a reference to the worthiness of Christ. It is the sweet savour of His life and work which gives efficacy to the prayers of the saints.” (2) The prayers go up before God. The angel then fills his censer with fire from the altar and flings it on the earth, thus showing that what happens next on earth is done under God’s rule. Fire refers to judgement. On the cross, judgement was poured out on Christ for sin. Those who reject Christ still have to receive judgement for sin. The cross has a double effect. For those perishing the fragrance of Christ’s sacrifice is an aroma of death leading to death, for those being saved it is the aroma of life leading to life. (2 Corinthians 2. 15-16) Note the sequence of the effect of the fire on the earth: thunderings come before lightnings – usually it is the other way around. We need to read these as indicating God’s judgement and not call them environmental forces.
The first four trumpets bring judgements on the natural world. The first trumpet
deals with the plant world. Man’s prosperity depends on agriculture but some worship nature and creation instead of the creator.The mixture of hail and fire does not occur naturally and points to the supernatural source of the judgement on trees and grass.The blood indicates death. The second trumpet
shows a third of the seas becoming blood.. Under the later bowl judgment all the sea turns to blood and all creatures in it die. Thus the second trumpet is warning of worse to come. The star of the third trumpet
is called Wormwood that makes a third of the waters poisonous. Some see this star as a person who brings great corruption, however, the focus here is on the judgement on natural objects. The fourth trumpet
brings darkening of a third of sun, moon, and stars. Daylight was reduced by a third and likewise the night. In Daniel 8.10 the little horn cast down some of the stars and trampled them. The fourth trumpet is God’s answer to such defiance. This star war shows something of the scope of events in the Day of Wrath. 3 The last three trumpet judgements are to be worse and are announced ahead of time as woes
TISHREI 9. Days of Awe 9. Reading: DANIEL 9
Readings for Tishrei Day 9
The prophecy of the seventy weeks of years.
The last week of this seventy week prophecy we know also as the tribulation period, details of which are being given in the Revelation readings. Daniel receives revelation of events which will happen within the first 69 weeks between the Babylon captivity and the arrival of the Messiah and His being cut off. What are the circumstances under which Daniel receives the prophecy and what are its details?
The prophecy came in the first year of Darius, about 540BC. Daniel realises from Jeremiah
(25.11-12; 29.10) that desolations are to last 70 years. It is a punishment for Israel not observing the sabbatical year when their slaves were to be freed, people set at liberty, debts of fellow citizens cancelled. (Jeremiah 34.14-22). Knowing that the 70 years will soon be up and that a great work of God will ensue how does he respond? He sets his face towards God, prays, fasts, makes supplications. He repents for himself, the people of God, their fathers. He humbles himself. He acknowledges that the people have not obeyed God, have ignored His word. Yet he declares that it is God’s nature to be righteous and merciful. God responds by sending the angel Gabriel about the time of the evening sacrifice. Daniel had been expecting a restoration of the people. Gabriel confirms that but brings fresh revelation.
The prophecy of the 70 weeks of years
differs from many prophecies in that it comes with a specific timeline. Many struggle with this dating aspect but if you look at the fulfilment of the prophecies of the four Gentile Empires you will see the precision of what God reveals. Daniel is told that the exile will indeed last 70
years, being decreed for 490 years of failure to keep the Sabbath year. However, there is another 70 decreed , it too is 490 years, or seventy weeks of years. These seventy weeks are divided into three sections: 7 weeks, 62 weeks, 1 week
. Each section has events specified. The first two sections of 483 years up to the Messiah being cut off have been fulfilled but not the last week. Why is that? Gabriel tells him that 70 weeks
“are determined for your people and for your holy city.” (9.24) The prophecy concerns the people of Israel and Jerusalem. For nearly 2000 years the people have been out of the land and Jerusalem. This is the gap between week 69 and week 70, between the death of the Messiah and His second coming. At some stage known only to God the clock will again start ticking for the time “determined for your people and for your holy city.” Notice that the city is holy. That holiness will come with the repentance that acknowledges and accepts the Messiah who will no longer be cut off from His people and His city. Note that this prophecy concerns Israel, not the Church.
The prophecy states purposes (9.24), time frame (9.25), the cutting off of the Messiah (9.26), the attack on Jerusalem by the prince who shall come (little horn) and his defeat (9.26) after the abomination of desolation
in the Temple. The Messsiah will no longer be rejected; His sacrifice for sin on the cross will be recognized, righteousness will reign, prophecy completed and the Messiah will anoint by His presence the Most Holy Place. The starting date for the 490 years is the decree of Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 1)in 454 BC to restore Jerusalem. The first group of seven weeks are given to this.(Restoration of the Temple, begun 520 BC, is not the starting point.) The second group of 62 weeks is until the Messiah is cut off, or executed. This completes 69 weeks. 1 Christ, the Messiah, confirms the ‘abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place’ (Matthew 24.15) as a warning sign for those in Judea to flee for the seventieth week will then be upon them.
TISHREI 9. Day of Awe 9. Reading: REVELATION 9
Events in the 70th week
: Trumpet judgements continue. Revelation continues describing events in the Tribulation with details of the fifth and sixth trumpet judgements which occur in the first half of the seven year Tribulation period, the 70th week of Daniel.
The fifth trumpet
sounds the first woe judgement. A fallen star is given the key to the bottomless pit, or abyss, the abode of demons. This star is a fallen angel. The key represents authority, but authority delegated by Christ who holds the “keys of Hades and Death”, (Revelation 1.18), and allows Satan to open the pit into which he will be cast later. (Revelation 20.31). Smoke from the pit darkens the sun and air, demons emerge described as locusts with power like scorpions. They are not to hurt grass, anything green, or trees but only to torment people. Unlike the locusts of the plagues in Egypt (Exodus 10.14-15) these woe locusts have a king, Satan. The locusts are able to harm only those not having the seal of God on their foreheads. Two limits are set on these tormentors: a time limit of five months and they are not allowed to kill people. The people themselves will be unable to commit suicide to escape. Even then they will not repent. The name of the locust king is given in both Hebrew and Greek indicating that both Jew and Gentile will be subject to his torments.
Who are those who have the seal of God
on their foreheads? They are preserved from the woe judgement just as Israelites were preserved from the plagues of Egypt. The Church saints were “sealed for the day of redemption”, (Ephesians 4.30), but the Church has been raptured at this stage. This leaves the 144,000 sealed in Revelation 7.3, but there are believers in the Tribulation who will escape the woes but may be martyrs “until their number …is completed.” (Revelation 6.11) Is the seal visible? Paul speaks of those “having this seal: the Lord knows who are His.” (2 Timothy 2.19). This would indicate that a seal need not be visible. However, later there will be a mark of the beast put on the hand or forehead. (Revelation 13.6). The High priest had a plaque on his forehead saying: Holiness to the Lord. (E xodus 28.36). Our high priest is Christ who keeps His people holy in the midst of trial. Whatever form the seal or the mark takes the Scriptures make clear that there is a division between believers and unbelievers, there is no middle ground.
The sixth trumpet
sounds the second woe judgement
and a voice is heard from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God. “The altar …is the place where mercy is normally extended…but now the call is for justice and judgement.” (1)
The work of the four angels released at the Euphrates contrasts with the mercy at the four corners of the altar. God holds back his judgement no more. The “hour, day, month, year” are determined by God. Why the Euphrates? It is the location of Babylon and its rebellion and idolatry. The army of 200 million is sent to kill one third of the population. Coupled with the fourth seal more than half the population of the world has been killed in a few years. This is not the battle of Armageddon which occurs in Israel. This battle is world wide. The response of people is to believe the lie (2 Thessalonians 2.10-11) and to continue in sin and to worship demons and idols.
We need to seek to be sealed as servants of the Lord. The seal is not some religious practice or observance. When Christ the Messiah was asked what we shall do that we may work the works of God, Jesus answered: “This is the work of God that you believe in Him whom He sent.”(John 6.29). The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God. (Romans 8.16). In the Tribulation too Christ is the only way to the Father.
TISHREI 10. Day of Awe 10: Yom Kippur. Reading: DANIEL 10
Readings for Tishrei Day 10
Daniel’s final vision
. A certain man. Today is Yom Kippur
(1), when Jewish people fast, pray and seek forgiveness for it is the Day of Atonement. They wish that each other “may be inscribed (in the Book of Life) for a good year.” In this opening scene of Daniel’s last vision we hear that his reputation in heaven is of a “man greatly beloved”. Surely an apt wish for Yom Kippur.
Daniel’s final vision occurs in the third year of Cyrus (536 BC). In the first year of his reign people had been allowed to return to rebuild the Temple. (Ezra 1.1-4) This was not the trigger for the 70 weeks to begin; that would be in 454BC when the decree was given to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Daniel had been praying for three weeks up to the 24 Nissan. This means he had been praying through Passover, Unleavened Bread and First Fruits. He had been in distress because the vision of the 70 weeks in Daniel 9 about two years prior had told him that the “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself”. That was to be followed by the abomination of desolation before the little horn comes to an end. Just what was in store for the people of God meantime? Daniel’s way to deal with this was to mourn, fast, not anoint himself for three weeks. We see his efforts from the angel’s perspective who says Daniel “set his heart to understand, and to humble himself before God.” (10.12). Why all the detail about Daniel’s prayer life? I believe the Lord is showing us how to deal with His revelations in our own times. Daniel’s prayer was heard on day one but demonic opposition delayed the answer. We know from this that silence does not indicate refusal. There is a spiritual battle going on in the heavenlies. Note that Daniel’s friends did not see the vision for a terror fell on them, Each of us has a responsibility to set our heart to understand and to humble ourselves before God.
Daniel has a vision of a “certain man”. This is not a vision of a statue or beasts or animals as earlier ones had been. Who is the man? Some say the Messiah. His description is reminiscent of the Messiah in Revelation 1. 12-16. Note the effect on Daniel. Daniel sees a man with a face like lightning. Daniel’s face is to the ground. His eyes are like fire. Daniel’s vigour is turned to frailty. His arms and feet are like bronze. Daniel is unable to stand. His words are like the voice of a multitude. Daniel is unable to speak. Thus the Lord reveals our weaknesses to show us we need His strength and empowering. Daniel is reassured about the Messiah (who is to be cut off), a reassurance similar to that of Job when he says: “I know that my Redeemer lives and He shall stand at last on the earth,” and that he shall see Him. (Job 19.25-26). We, too, stand before the prophecies of God and need His reassurance. Daniel needed revelation from God to understand the vision and strength from an angel’s touch to be able to stand before a holy God. We need to be strengthened by God so that we can hear from Him.
Distinct from the “certain man” is an angel
who is sent to explain the vision before going to fight the prince of Persia. Daniel is told that the prince of Greece will come. The conquests of Alexander the Great will later confirm this and help reassure people in the long wait ahead for the Messiah who will be cut off in the 69th week but shall return in the 70th. Daniel is about to hear what is “noted in the Scripture of Truth
” , written down for our benefit. God’s word cannot be gainsaid. It is not the law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be broken but the Word of God.
The angel says he is helped only by Michael, which means Who is like God
? Is this here another name for the Messiah, the “exact likeness of the unseen God”? (Colossians 1.15). The next chapter begins to explain Daniel’s vision.
TISHREI 10. Day of Awe 10. Yom Kippur. Reading Revelation 10
The mighty angel with the little book.
Amidst prophecies about the day of the Lord that shall affect the whole world this chapter also shows the response of one individual, John, who as it were, models for us the personal response that the Lord requires of each of us confronted by the terrible things that are to come on the earth. This is especially appropriate today, Yom Kippur, when people afflict their souls.
The chapter begins with a mighty angel whose description might lead one to think he is divine. In a later chapter (19.10) John falls down and worships one such and is rebuked for the speaker says he is a fellow servant. The angel with a little book in his hand comes down from heaven and stands with his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land. Contrast the angel from above with the demonic forces from below: first, the beast who arises from the sea; secondly, the beast who arises from the earth; thirdly, the harlot who sits on the waters.(Chapters 13,17). The waters and the land show that the whole world is affected. The angel comes from above with the word of God (the book) but demonic forces emerge from below to wage war against heaven.
The angel cries out and the seven thunders
utter their voices. John is about to write what they said and is told not to but to seal up what they said. This reminds us that we do not know everything about end times and we must watch and pray as the Lord commanded. We are told what we need to know and that is enough for us,or, Dayenu
, as the song has it during the Passover Haggadah.
The angel next raises his arm in oath and swears by Him who made heaven and earth, indicating the authority with which he speaks, that there should be no more delay
. In the days of the sounding of the seventh trumpet the mystery of God
would be finished. What does that mystery involve? It involves the kingdoms of this world becoming the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and His eternal reign.(Revelation 11.15). God has declared through His prophets that the mystery of God would be finished.
It is at this point that John is required to take the little book
from the hand of the angel. The open book speaks of open revelation from heaven, as distinct from the seven thunders which have been sealed to us. John is instructed to take and eat the book. This food is the word of God. John is not some detached observer of events. There is no neutral territory in end times. If we are not for the Lord we are against Him. Eating is a very personal experience, for we cannot eat for others. Man lives by every word that procedes from the mouth of God. The angel tells John how the eating of the book will affect him: it will make his stomach bitter but will be sweet as honey in his mouth. John finds it is indeed sweet in his mouth and his stomach became bitter. What is the significance of this sweet and bitter experience? God's word affects us in our inmost being during trials but when we come through them we can speak sweetly of His grace that has preserved. John is told that he has to prophesy again about peoples, nations, tongues, and kings. More prophecy follows in the second half of Revelation. Furthermore, John is told later that his fellow servants and brethren are those who have the testimony of Jesus. Today, those who have the testimony of Jesus and witness to Him have the spirit of prophecy. The message is for us to eat the word. This is how we are to respond to the book of Revelation and so testify to Jesus and thus declare His prophecy to come again. Thus we live by the word of God and so witness to the Messiah.
TISHREI 11. Reading: DANIEL 11
Readings for Tishrei Day 11
Abomination of desolation
. Daniel is given a vision of Israel subject to the battles between kings to its north and south culminating in the desecration of the Temple. This abomination has features that point to the greater abomination in end times.
The vision is given in the year 534 BC, the first year of Darius. Daniel is told that a Persian king will attack Greece but will be defeated by Alexander the Great and the third of the four empires
mentioned in Daniel 2 will come into being. In turn this third empire will be sub-divided into four. Alexander is identified by the fact that his empire is divided into four but none of his posterity inherit any of it. The angel then concentrates on two of the four post Alexander kingdoms: the Seleucid Kingdom
, called here the King of the North
, and the Ptolomaic Kingdom
, called the King of the South
. These are the two kingdoms between which Israel is sandwiched and over which they fight. Syria is approximately the Kingdom of the North and Egypt that of the South. The angel tells of various power struggles, failed alliances, treaties, and battles between these two giants for hegemony. At one stage there is a sally that is driven back by ships from the west (11.30) suggesting the rising power of Rome, the future Fourth Empire. History puts names to the men and women referred to in these prophecies. 1 Berenice is the subject of verse seven. who was given by her father the King of the South to the King of the North, Seleucid Antiochus Theos, who divorced his wife Laodice. When Ptolemy Philadelphus died Antiochus Theos put away Berenice and her child and took back Laodice. She poisoned him and had Berenice and child put to death and had her own son put on the throne. The account of the rivalry between North and South provides background to the Grecian little horn
(175-163 BC) is the historical character prophesied as the Grecian little horn
in Daniel 8.9-12 arising out of the Third Empire. He is to be distinguished from the little horn that is the Antichrist (Antimessiah) that is to arise out of the Fourth Empire. The Grecian little horn is a type of the little horn of the Tribulation when the abomination of desolation is again installed in the Temple. Antiochus exalts himself above every god, and occupies Israel (the Glorious Land). He appears to have been helped by Jews who forsook the Holy Covenant. He brings Temple services to an end, bans the Torah, kills a pig in the Holy of Holies and sets up a statue of Zeus, thus prefiguring the latter abomination. However, the prophecy mentions those who “know their God shall be strong and do great exploits.” (11.32). This could refer to the Maccabees who took back the Temple and rededicated it in 165 BC. In a future application those who know their God could refer to the 144,000 anointed from the tribes of Israel during the Tribulation. Antiochus is defeated but the account also includes details that are yet to be fulfilled in end times such as Edom, Moab and some of Ammon escaping from his hand. Recall also that the term “transgression of desolation” (NKJV) is used in Daniel 8.13 to describe what the Grecian little horn does. However, in Daniel 9.27 , 11.31, 12.11, the expression used is “abomination of desolation”. This difference in wording helps distinguish the two events and show that while the two episodes have something in common they are distinct. The next reading in Revelation
11 speaks of two temples
: one on earth during the Tribulation and the other is the temple open in heaven.
TISHREI 11. Reading: REVELATION 11
Chapter eleven describes two temples
: the first is on the earth and the second is the temple in heaven. At stake is worship. Satan promised all the kingdoms of the world to Christ if He would fall down and worship him. Christ’s answer is that we shall worship the Lord our God and Him only shall we serve. (Matthew 4.9-10) The battle is one for worship and service. Satan’s goal has not changed: he wants to take God’s place. The restored Temple in Jerusalem is where, like Antiochus Epiphanes, Satan will attempt to establish himself as God, to be worshipped and served.
John is given a rod to measure
the Temple on earth. Jewish things are in view here. There is no Temple given to the Church. The church is the temple of the Holy Spirit, “a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2.22) John is told not to measure the outer court of the Temple, the court of the Gentiles who will still be trampling the Holy City underfoot for 42 months. The Temple will be restored by the time of the Tribulation and the renewal of sacrifices there will occur despite the complete work of atonement that Christ has already accomplished on the cross. The little horn will also use the Temple to bring about worship of the image of the Antichrist. The measurement of the worshippers is to see if the glory of God is the aim and that they are true to the word of God. However, against this official apostate place of worship, God raises up a true remnant who preach His word. These are the two witnesses
, two being the required number according to the law (Deuteronomy 19.15). They are Jewish and empowered by God to witness, defend themselves and to bring punishments on the earth. Like Christ they are able to avoid being killed until they have finished their testimony. They are called two olives trees, this being a reference to Zechariah
4. 2-7 and the power of the Holy Spirit. People rejoice and exchange gifts at their death because they are no longer tormented by their witness. They are killed by the beast out of the bottomless pit. This in itself would be a sign to the Jews that the little horn has broken the covenant that initiated the seven years of the Tribulation. Even with the two witnesses coming to life in resurrection power and ascending to heaven people, although afraid, acknowledge God but do not repent. The witnesses are killed 3½ years into the Tribulation. That 3½ year period is expressed as “a time, (2)times and half a time” in Daniel 7.25. Rejoicing over their death are “those who dwell on the earth”(11.10). Such dwellers would include the apostate church which continues on the earth after the rapture of the saints.. The witnesses are vindicated by the signs they did and by being called up to heaven by the Lord. The second woe ends with the an earthquake, destruction of a tenth of the city and the death of 7,000 in Jerusalem.
The seventh trumpet sounds
. Before the onset of the third woe
we hear voices in heaven that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. These are the kingdoms Satan tried to tempt Christ with. There have been those who have not heeded Christ’s words: What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul? (Matthew 8.36). Christ is going to deal with those who have sought to gain the whole world. There is rejoicing in heaven that the Messiah is about to exercise His wrath on those deserving it and reward the faithful. The time of Gentile rule is coming to an end as foretold in Daniel 7.9. The temple is open in heaven and the ark revealed, indicating that God has not forgotten His covenant with Israel. 2 The saints are destined to fellowship with Messiah. Such fellowship was prefigured at the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17.2-4) when Old Testament saints Moses and Elijah were with New Testament saints, Peter, James and John.
TISHREI 12. Reading: DANIEL 12
Readings for Tishrei Day 12
MICHAEL STANDS UP. THE BOOK IS SEALED UP.
The opening verse tells us that the prophecy concerns “ your people”, the people of Daniel, that is, Israel. These are events of the Tribulation, or as expressed here, a time of trouble, that occurs after Michael “stands up”. We learn from Revelation 12.7 that there was war in heaven
and that it is Michael and his angels who cast Satan and his angels out of heaven. On earth they cause trouble never before seen but Daniel’s people shall be delivered. Old Testament saints will be raised from the dead to everlasting life. However, this resurrection is not to do with the Church for the dead in Christ rise first at the Rapture and those who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.(1 Thessalonians
4.16-17). This resurrection happens before the Tribulation, but that of the Old Testament saints occurs at the end of the Tribulation. Daniel is also told during the time of trouble that many will be turned to righteousness. Even in the darkest of times God has a witness. There are eternal consequences for both those who accept righteousness and those who reject it. The wise shall shine but the others will have everlasting contempt.
Daniel is told to seal the book
until the time of the end. Its opening is confirmed by Revelation 5.5 that the book is to be unsealed by the Lamb
, and when He does so in Revelation
6.1 the seal judgements begin. Daniel remains puzzled by some of the vision and further revelation awaits the time of the end. Daniel is told that travel and knowledge shall increase as the time of the end approaches. This would include an increase in understanding prophecy, and John’s revelation greatly increases our understanding. We need to remember that we do not know it all. We know enough to read the signs of the times and to keep looking for Jesus.
One angel asks the other how long the fulfillment of the prophecy at end times will take. The answer is given by the man in linen above the river that it will take a time, times, and half a time. Daniel 7.25 gives the same time period. Daniel 9.27 says that the little horn will confirm a covenant with many for one week. This is the last week or seven years of the 70 week prophecy. However the same verse says that the little horn will break the covenant in the middle of the week and so signal the start of the last 3½ years. The taking away of the sacrifice and the setting up of the abomination of desolation will alert the people of Israel to the breaking of the covenant by the little horn.
Daniel admits he doesn’t understand and is told that the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. He says he doesn’t understand just after he is told the power of the holy people shall be completely shattered. What does this mean? It means that Israel will be brought to a place that will “break the power or the stubborn will of the Jewish nation.” (1)
Jesus said to Jerusalem that they would not see Him again until they acknowledge Him as Messiah: “You shall see me no more till you say ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’” ( Matthew
23.39). This will be the time when they look on Him whom they had pierced and weep.(Zechariah
12.10) When the enemies of Israel under Antimessiah think they are on the verge of success the rebels in Israel will be purged (Ezekiel
20.38). The Lord will deal with Israel face to face. (Ezekiel 20.35)
The countdown of the 1290 days(30 days beyond 3½ years) or the second half of the Tribulation
begins with the abomination of desolation
, which the Lord alerted people to watch out for (Matthew
24.15). Those who wait a further 45 days will be blessed. What happens in those 45 days is not revealed. At the end of days Daniel will rise to his inheritance.
TISHREI 12. Reading REVELATION 12
Signs in the heavens. War in heaven. Onset of second half of the Tribulation.
Scene one (12.1-6), set on the earth, gives a synopsis of the period from the birth of the Messiah to the Tribulation. The sign of the woman
is identified as Israel (not the Church), the land and people that gave birth to the Messiah. The time of year is also indicated: sun and moon together indicate a new moon; and being in Virgo (Virgin) indicates the month of Tishrei. The sign of the red dragon
is identified as Satan. He attempts to destroy the Messiah as a child. The Child is caught up to God, thus indicating the Ascension of Jesus. The scene cuts to end times. The woman, Israel, flees and is kept by God in the wilderness for 1260 days. This refers to the protection of Israel during the Tribulation.
Scene two (verses 7-9) is war in heaven
. Michael and the angels cast Satan and his angels out of heaven. As the accuser of the brethren Satan has had access to the heavenlies, for, as Paul says “we wrestle…against hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”(Ephesians
6.12) He will no longer be able to accuse the brethren. Why was he allowed to accuse the brethren? We know from Job
1.6 that Satan was able to present himself before the Lord to accuse Job. Satan’s access recalls the access that Judas had to Jesus. The presence of evil does not contaminate the Messiah nor defeat God’s purpose. In fact, Satan’s seeming success in having the Messiah crucified was the very event that gave Christ a name that is above every other name and brought salvation for all and ensures Satan’s ultimate defeat. Two of Satan’s six abodes are thus mentioned in this chapter.(2)
Satan was created perfect and his first abode was upon the holy mountain of God. (Ezekiel
28.11-15). He is called Lucifer (“light bearer”) at this stage. A second location is named as Eden the garden of God. His splendour here was signalled by his covering of every precious stone until unrighteousness was found in him. (Ibid). Ephesians
2.2 and 6.12 describe his present abode: he is the prince of the power of the air warring against the saints. The fourth abode is the earth where Satan will be cast by Michael. His fifth abode is the abyss (Revelation 20.1-3) where he will be bound for a thousand years. His sixth abode is forever in the Lake of Fire. (Revelation
There is rejoicing in heaven over the accuser of the brethren being cast out. Now the kingdom of God has come. We learn how believers have overcome Satan: 1. By the blood of the Lamb;
2.By testifying to what the Messiah has done for them;
3. By being willing to die as a witness to the truth.
Satan deceives the whole world. Man will not find truth by conducting surveys among the deceived. It is only the Word of God that has the truth to set us free. On the earth Satan and his angels persecute the woman, that is, Israel and attempt to destroy her. She is supernaturally preserved when the earth swallows up the flood of forces Satan sends to destroy her. He then turns to make war on others “who keep the commandment of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This suggests Gentiles who have been converted by the witness of the 144,000.
The Ark shown in heaven (11.19) is the sign of God’s presence with His people Israel as they go through end times. Daniel 12 shows Michael standing up, Revelation 12 shows Michael at war against Satan, who is cast out of heaven; Daniel has time, times and half a time; Revelation has 1260 days; Daniel seals up the vision; Revelation begins the unsealing. With Satan cast to earth the third and final woe is about to begin.
TISHREI 13. Reading: Zechariah 1
Readings for Tishrei Day 13
Zechariah and Daniel
Daniel was born in Israel and prophesied in captivity. Zechariah was born in captivity and prophesied in Israel. Zechariah was probably born towards the end of Daniel’s life. Unlike Daniel he returned to Israel in 537 BC with the first batch of returnees (Nehemiah
12.4) as the grandson of Iddo, head of a priestly family. Daniel had encouraged the captives in exile with his visions from the Lord; Zechariah encouraged those rebuilding the Temple. He began his prophetic ministry about 520 BC when the foundation of the second Temple was laid, during the second year of Darius Hystaspes of Persia. Before the exile, dating was done by the kings of Israel but afterwards dating is done according to the Gentile rulers of Israel. Both Daniel and Zechariah have visions concerning end times.
Zechariah calls on the people to repent. They have already been in the land around 16 years but infighting has halted the rebuilding of the Temple. They need to return to God and not be like their fathers who had been told by the prophets to turn from evil. That message is still true even though their fathers have died. The people acknowledge that God has dealt with them as they deserved. That call to repentance was given in the eighth month of the year and seems to have had an effect, for three months later Zechariah is given the first of eight visions to encourage the people. The state of the nation at the time of the visions could be used to remind people in the future to trust God in difficult times. For example, the people were back in the land then and they shall be there as well in the Tribulation. They are building the Temple which shall also happen in end times. In both situations they are surrounded by enemies.
Vision of the horses among the myrtles
In this first vision Zechariah sees a man on a red horse standing among myrtles in a hollow. The hollow suggests to me out of plain sight. The horses numbered at least four but could be more. The four horses of the Apocalypse come to mind as well. Red suggests blood shed in war. This could be the blood shed by Christ in His victory over sin and death. A white horse suggests victory. Myrtle
in Hebrew and is the name of Esther who won victory for her people under threat of annihilation, just as it will be in end times. Myrtle is one of the trees used to make booths at the feast of Tabernacles (which begins on Tishrei 15), a yearly reminder of when the Messiah will come to dwell with His people. Isaiah is told (55.13) that the myrtle “is an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” The Messiah was “cut off” (same word in Daniel 9.26) in the 69th week, so the reference refers to end times when the Messiah returns and will not be cut off. Zechariah is told that the earth is quiet. However, Zechariah knows that though the earth is quiet Israel is under threat and asks when will the Lord have mercy because the 70 years of desolations (1) have come to an end but they still suffer. The Lord says He does not approve of the way the nations are “at ease” and promises that He shall return to Jerusalem with mercy, that His house will be built there, prosperity will be in the land and that He will choose Jerusalem.
Vision of the four horns and four craftsmen
. This second vision shows four horns (powers) that have scattered the nation of Israel. These powers refer to the four gentile empires described by Daniel: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Each in turn was overthrown by the next until Greece was overthrown by Rome. As conquerors the empires are referred to as craftsmen. So who defeats the fourth empire/horn? Who is the fourth craftsman? Rome collapsed from internal corruption the first time but its imperial system under Antichrist will come again in the last days when it will be overthrown by the stone not made with human hand, the Messiah, who is the fourth craftsman.
TISHREI 13. Reading: Revelation 13
1 ends with the prophecy of the defeat of the four horns or empires that trample down Jerusalem during the time of the Gentiles, Revelation
13 indicates how the final enemy will arise but will be defeated by the fourth craftsman. This chapter describes a counterfeit trinity that Satan sets up to control the world and enforce worship of the abomination of desolation, namely himself. Satan, called here the dragon, is the father in this evil trinity. Satan had failed to get Christ to accept his offer of all the kingdoms of the world (Luke
4.5-8), but now his offer is accepted by the beast from the sea. The second beast arisen from the earth (later called the false prophet) acts like a counterfeit Holy Spirit directing people to worship the Antichrist. Both beasts are under the control of the dragon.
The beast from the sea
The sea speaks of the nations that go to make up the empire of the first beast, the Antichrist. It is an empire depicted with animal features such as a leopard (Greece), bear (Medo-Persia), mouth (Babylon). Thus aspects of the four world empires spoken of in Daniel
are present in this final empire. The leader is empowered by the dragon. The dragon/father tries to establish his credentials by having his son/Antichrist rise from the dead. This delusion is accepted by many but only Christ became man so that “through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Hebrews
2.14). The result of Satan’s deceit is
that all the world worshiped the dragon and the beast and reckon that no one can stand up to him. For forty two months from the setting up of the abomination the tribulation is in full swing. This is allowed by God as it says:“it was granted to him to make war on the saints.” Recall here how God allowed Satan to test Job. This period is characterised by blasphemy against God and world wide war against the saints. All earth dwellers worship the Antichrist except those whose names are written in the Book of Life of the Lamb. The patience and faith of the saints is shown not by fighting against those who kill the martyrs but by enduring to the end and so they shall be saved (Matthew
The second beast
comes out of the earth. This suggests a specific location rather than a coalition of nations. He looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. This is the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing. His power is derived from the same source as the Antichrist’s – from Satan. His task is to promote worship of the first beast who appears to have been resurrected from the dead in imitation of the two witnesses and of Christ Himself. This beast works signs to validate his claims. He brings fire down to earth, reminiscent of Elijah. The result of his tricks is deceit, not repentance from sin. Those deceived are told to make an image of the first beast to worship. “It was granted” to the beast to breathe life into the image, in imitation of God breathing life into the man He had formed from the earth at creation. (Genesis 2.7) The image pronounces a death sentence on those who will not worship him, and has them killed. He wants to be worshipped as God and imitate the power of the two witnesses in Revelation 11.5 who could destroy those who tried to kill them.
The mark of the beast
is placed on those who worship him. It is a visible mark as it is needed for all buying and selling. However, with modern technology such a mark could be electronic but nonetheless detectable. The combination of religion and commerce is a deadly one. The Lord has warned us that we cannot serve both God and mammon. (Matthew 6.24). People worship Antichrist by deeds (the hand) and thought (mark on the forehead). The triple six suggests the evil trinity. It is the number of a man whose identity will be revealed nearer the time. The visions of Zechariah 1 will remind those confronted by the beasts that victory is assured (the white horse) and that the enemy will be defeated by the fourth craftsman.
TISHREI 14. Reading: Zechariah 2
Readings for Tishrei Day 14
Vision of the measuring line
The third vision picks up on the rebuilding in Jerusalem going on under Ezra at the time (520BC) and shows that it is a hint of the more glorious fulfilment scheduled for end times. The promise is that one day the glory of God will be manifested in Jerusalem when the Lord comes to reign. The glory of the Lord had departed from the Temple (Ezekiel 10) before they went into exile. The shekinah glory did not return, that is why some wept while others rejoiced when the Temple foundation was laid. (Ezra 3.12)
Zechariah sees a man with a measuring line
sent to measure Jerusalem. A second angel explains that one day Jerusalem will be a city without walls because the glory of the Lord will be in their midst and be a wall of fire around the city. Jerusalem will not need man-made walls around her because the Lord Himself will be her protection. The people needed to know this because in Daniel 9.25 they had been told that there would be a decree to rebuild the physical walls of Jerusalem. That decree was issued by Ataxerxes in 454 BC (Nehemiah 2.5-18) and men began to build the walls. At the time of Zechariah’s visions in 520 BC that decree was still years in the future. However, that date of 454 BC would begin the 70 weeks of years prophesied in Daniel 9. Because the Messiah was cut off (crucified) in the 69th week the 70th week is still being held over until the Tribulation starts seven years before the Messiah returns. Both comings of the Messiah are described in Zechariah. The first when he comes on a donkey (9.9) and the second when they look on the one they pierced (12. 10-12) and mourn for Him, that is, they accept Him.
The two daughters
The Lord issues a call for His people to come home to Jerusalem from all the places that the Lord has scattered them. This call is still in effect. Specifically they are to leave their dwelling with the daughter of Babylon
. In 520 BC Babylon was an actual place but in end times Babylon will be an antimessiah system as well. So this call can be seen as having a double fulfilment and as indicative of the political situation in two periods. The Lord says that He will go out to deal with the nations that plunder Israel and He will show His glory when the plunderers themselves become spoil for their servants. In a beautiful image to reassure His people of His love in the midst of persecution the Lord says that they are the apple of His eye. Who is sent to deal with the nations? He would have to be the Messiah.
The Lord tells the daughter of Zion
to sing and rejoice because He is coming to dwell in their midst. That time must be after the time when they build the walls of Jerusalem for the Lord will be their wall of fire
. Meantime they are to sing and rejoice. However, not only will the daughter of Zion be with the Lord but also many nations in that day shall be joined to the Lord and be His people. This joining of Jew and Gentile is timed for that day, the day of the Lord , when he chooses Jerusalem and makes Judah His possession in the Holy Land. Jews looked back to the Exodus when the Lord’s presence manifested by night as a column of fire. Zechariah looks forward to when the Lord’s presence will be as a wall of fire.
2500 years further on the prophecies still act as a guide. The temple and the walls were rebuilt but they were not to be the ultimate fulfilment. The presence of God was manifested in Jerusalem in the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah. As a result the Gentiles (many nations) have been grafted into the Jewish root stock, but still the ultimate fulfilment awaits us when the Lord “will again choose Jerusalem.” The last verse guides our response and inspired an ancient hymn: "Let all mortal flesh keep silence /and with fear and trembling stand;/ponder nothing earthly minded/for with blessing in His hand/ Christ our God to earth descendeth/ our full homage to demand."
TISHREI 14. Reading: REVELATION 14
After the terrible scene of Revelation 13 the Lord gives a preview of victories
coming up. We see the Lamb victorious on Mt Zion. This recalls the Lord as a wall of fire around Jerusalem prophesied in Zechariah
2. With Him are the 144,000 that have been preserved through the Tribulation and would be an encouragement to others still in the midst of it. These 144,000 are called first fruits, thus indicating that others will be saved during the Tribulation. Those who die in the Lord are blessed, and the saints keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. We are told that the everlasting gospel will be proclaimed by angels – there is still a witness to God’s mercy. We learn that Babylon will fall and the wicked judged although Armageddon is not mentioned by name.
Learning the song of heaven
John sees that the 144,000 with the Lamb have the Father’s name on their foreheads, thus indicating how to escape the mark of the beast. The sign of deliverance has always been made clear in Scripture: the blood on the doorposts at Passover; the blood of circumcision; the believer’s acknowledgement of Christ’s death and resurrection followed by the sealing of the Holy Spirit; and here the Father’s name on the forehead of the 144,000. Satan always produces a counterfeit mark of the things of God. The voice from heaven carries a song that is sung before the throne that can be learned only by those who follow the Lamb and so keep themselves pure. What is being sung in heaven is taken up by the 144,000 and others who follow the Lamb. This Lamb is the complete opposite of the counterfeit in Revelation 13 who had horns like a lamb but spoke like a dragon and produced lying wonders whereas there was no deceit in the Lamb's 144,000 followers.
Proclamations of three angels
The first angel proclaims to all on the earth the everlasting gospel and says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. People are called to acknowledge God who made heaven and earth. All are warned that the hour of judgement has come. It is an angel now proclaiming the gospel whereas believers in the church did so before the Tribulation and the witnesses sealed during the Tribulation did so after that. Maybe the times become so fierce that only an indestructible angel is able to proclaim the gospel. What they proclaim is eternal: we need to fear God, glorify Him, and worship Him as creator. These facts cannot be overridden as Satan attempts to do. The second angel proclaims that Babylon is fallen
. This is the defeat of the great whore who has caused the whole world to be polluted, detailed in Revelation 17 -18. The enemy of all that is good is defeated. The third angel warns about the mark of the beast
. Those who take the mark of the beast will drink God’s wrath without mixture – that is, there is no mercy. To receive the mark of the beast is to blaspheme God. The punishment for those so marked is eternal. They have rejected the eternal gospel. Even as this is stated there is a reminder that the saints will be able to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The martyrs will be blessed and their works will be acknowledged. The Son of Man appears with authority (the crown) and the command is given to harvest
the saints (the sickle). Reaping is a term for salvation1 and contrasts with the treading of the grapes as a term for judgement. Angels are sent out to do both as Jesus said in Matthew 24, 25. The amount of blood (up to the horses’ bridles) and the extent (1260 furlongs) points to Armageddon (Revelation 16.16) when the nations become spoil. Zechariah 2.9. Thus Revelation 14 expands on Zechariah 2’s prophecy of the Messiah on Mount Zion and His power to deal with their enemies before that appearance.
TISHREI 15: Feast of Tabernacles (1). Reading: ZECHARIAH 3
Readings for Tishrei Day 15
Today is the first of the eight days of the Feast of Tabernacles when small booths, made from branches of trees, are built outside for people to eat in. The feast points to the millennial reign of the Messiah when He dwells with His people. Today’s reading points to that period and closes with celebrations beneath vine and fig trees.
Vision of the high priest
The high priest is called Joshua (Y’hoshua), meaning ‘the Lord is Salvation’. Yeshua is an abbreviation of Y’hoshua . Note three called Joshua. One led the people into the Promised Land the first time about 1400 BC. The second Joshua, the High Priest, leads the people as the temple foundation is laid again (520 BC) in Zechariah’s day. The third Yeshua, Jesus in English, our great High priest, came according to prophecy and will come again to lead His people into the millennial kingdom. There was no high priest during the exile. He was reinstated on return to Jerusalem. Currently there is no High Priest in Jerusalem. The time has not yet come for his reinstatement. Satan opposes the installation of the high priest specifically but Jerusalem generally for the Lord identifies Himself as the one who has chosen Jerusalem. He is the eternal high priest. Jerusalem, despised, but is the brand plucked from the fire of 70 years exile. In a prophecy about events that will impact the world, focus goes onto an individual, a high priest who represents Israel. He is opposed by Satan. Joshua’s filthy garments indicate sin. Exodus 28.38 says the high priest bore “the iniquity of the holy things”. However, although the priest bore the iniquity he was not able to take it away. For now, when Joshua’s filthy garment is removed, the Lord says that He has removed his iniquity from him and clothed him with rich robes and a clean turban. All this is of tremendous encouragement to people knowing they are sinners, under the accusation of Satan. Joshua, standing before the Angel of the Lord, is a reminder that we have an intercessor with the Father, our sinless high priest who will clothe us with robes of righteousness. That promise the Lord wants His people in the Holy Land to know for He now reveals to Joshua the prophecy of the Branch.
Joshua is admonished
by the Lord and told his task is to walk in the Lord’s way and keep His commands. If he does so he will judge the Lord’s house and have charge of His courts and will be given a place to walk among those standing there, that is, among the angels. Further, Joshua and his companions are to be a wondrous sign. The Lord explains what they are to be a sign of.
Prophecy of the Branch
The priesthood of Joshua and those who follow him is not the final priesthood but to be a sign of one to come. That priest is called My Servant, the Branch. That Branch has already been identified in Isaiah 11.1 as a descendant of Jesse of the house of David on whom the Spirit of the Lord shall rest. This is the Messiah. Jeremiah 23.5 says the Lord will raise “to David a Branch of righteousness”. Zechariah is also told that the Branch is the stone laid before Joshua, a stone with seven eyes, indicating complete knowledge. The Lord will engrave an inscription on the stone, recalling how the names of the tribes were engraved on the stones worn by the high priest. The Branch will remove the iniquity of the land in one day. Yeshua, our sinless high priest, died for all on the cross. In Zechariah 3 He is removing the sin of the land. This sin refers to the rejection of the Messiah. His acceptance in the Holy Land is yet to happen and will occur when the people of the land look on Him whom they have pierced and acknowledge Him as the Messiah. (Zechariah
12.10) Jesus said they would see Him again when they said, “blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew
23.39). In that day people will rejoice in a way the feast of Tabernacles anticipates with everyone inviting “his neighbour under his vine and his fig tree”.
TISHREI 15: Feast of Tabernacles Reading: REVELATION 15
Today’s reading on the Feast of Tabernacles (Succot) tells us that the “temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened.” The tabernacle is familiar to God’s people from the time of the Exodus. It was designed after the model in heaven, being sanctified by the shechinah glory of God.(Exodus 29.43) The column of fire that lead them through the wilderness also manifested the presence of God. Shechinah comes from the word to dwell and is the “visible manifestation of the presence of God.”2 That glory departed just before the exile, (Ezekiel 9 - 11), and returned with the Messiah and his glory was made visible on the Mount of Transfiguration. The shechinah glory will come again and dwell in Jerusalem during the millennial reign of the Messiah. (Isaiah 35.1-2, 60.1-3). Such is the glorious expectation of this feast.
Sign of the seven last plagues
The next sign appears. The first sign mentioned in Revelation 12.1 is that of the woman clothed with the sun – a sign of Israel; the second is that of the Dragon in 12.3; and now the sign of seven angels carrying the seven last plagues which will complete the wrath of God. John then sees something “like a sea of glass mingled with fire” and standing on the sea are the victors. The situation is not one in which natural man could live and reminds one of the three kept by the power of God in the fiery furnace in Daniel. These have had a fourfold victory: over the beast himself, over his image, over his mark and over his number. The number is given as something to solve. They have identified the evil power behind the identity of the beast; they have refused to take his mark and so would have been unable to buy and sell; they did not bow down to the image set up by the false prophet, and thus they have had victory over the beast himself. We know from elsewhere that they overcome by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony. These victors have harps of God and they sing the song of Moses
, indicating physical deliverance and reminding us of the Jews saved during the Exodus, and they sing the song of the Lamb
, our spiritual deliverance. The content of the song acknowledges God’s deeds as just and true. Among those deeds is His wrath about to be completed. They sing that we are to fear God and glorify Him for He alone is holy. No sin can exist in His holy presence. The whole world will come and worship Him and will see His judgments manifested. God’s holiness always implies judgment.
The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony
in heaven was opened. This suggests that access to the temple in heaven is open but we are told that no one is able to enter the temple until the seven plagues were completed. In other words, no one was to enter the temple until God’s wrath was completed. The angels administering the plagues are given seven bowls full of the wrath of God by the four living creatures who are those who, without rest night or day, declare the holiness of God (Revelation 4.8). The point is that the bowl judgments
emerge out of the decree of a Holy God. The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and His power. When the ark of the testimony was brought to the Temple on earth a cloud filled the place and the priests were unable to continue ministering because the glory of God filled the house of the Lord. (1 Kings
8.11). 2 Corinthians
4.6 speaks of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He is the express image of God. (Hebrews
1.2) He Himself said He will come in the glory of His Father.(Matthew
16.27). The nations shall see the glory of God on Israel. (Isaiah
60.1-3) Before that, the wrath of God must be completed.
TISHREI 16: Tabernacles Day 2. Reading ZECHARIAH 4
Readings for Tishrei Day 16
Not by might nor by power but My Spirit, says the Lord.
This chapter is a wonderful word of encouragement to those who wonder if what they are doing is significant or not. The Lord shows that not only will the task He has set them be completed but that it is by His power it shall be so. The vision was originally intended to encourage those building the second Temple but it will also be an encouragement to those who, in the tribulation of the Day of the Lord, will need to know that they are significant in the eyes of the Lord, and that by His power just as the capstone was put on the Temple and His promises fulfilled, so too will the promise of His return.
Vision of the Lampstand and Olive Trees
It would seem that all the eight visions occurred the same night for Zechariah has fallen asleep after the first four and has to be awakened for this fifth one. This reminds us that we too need to be awakened to see the things of God. The natural man does not perceive them. Zechariah has to respond to the vision by being asked what he sees. He describes the vision of the golden lampstand. It is the seven branched menorah familiar to us from the one made according to the instructions given in Exodus 25.31-37. However, this present lampstand has a bowl on top for the supply of oil. This oil speaks of anointing. Messiah means anointed. Lampstands represent the seven churches in Revelation and were removed when they did not follow the anointed one, the Messiah. There are also two olive trees, one on each side of the lampstand. Zechariah admits he does not know what they are when asked by the angel. He would have been familiar with the menorah in the Temple but does not know what they signify in the vision.
Interpretation of the vision
. The message of the vision is to be conveyed to Zerubbabel, the governor, the political power, in charge of the building programme. Zechariah is told that the vision signifies that what is to be accomplished will not be brought about by the efforts of man but by the Spirit of God. Obstacles shall be removed and the Temple will be completed from foundation stone, laid by Zerubbabel, to the capstone – both in his lifetime. When the capstone is placed people will shout, ”Grace, grace to it.” The connotations of grace include favour, kindness, mercy, preciousness. They all speak of the blessing of God.
The vision to be confirmed
. Zechariah will have this vision confirmed when the Temple is completed. Meanwhile don’t despise the day of small things. Individuals may wonder about the value of what is being built but the Lord has said He is involved. The seven refer to the seven eyes in the stone laid before Joshua in the previous chapter. Those eyes are glad to see the building that is going on. That is, that God rejoices to see the plumb line used to align the building. A plumb line is also a small thing, but not to be despised. Plumb line could also be interpreted as “selected (chosen) stone”. The Messiah is the foundation other than which no man can lay. The Messiah is the author (foundation) and finisher (capstone) of our salvation. We are also told here that the eyes of the Lord scan the whole earth, thus signifying that what is happening in Jerusalem has worldwide implications.
The two olive trees
that supply oil for the lampstand are two anointed ones who stand before the Lord of the whole earth. Some identify these as the political (Zerubbabel, the governor) and religious (Joshua, the high priest) leaders in the land. Some see them as prophetic of the two witnesses that God will raise up in the Tribulation (Revelation
11.1-14). There were two trees in Eden and there is a tree of life on either side of the river of life in the New Jerusalem.(Revelation
22.2). The image of the tree and oil supply show that the power and might of God’s people is not of themselves but comes from the anointing of His Holy Spirit.
TISHREI 16, Tabernacles Day 2. Reading: REVELATION 16
It is done
. In this chapter God pours out the bowls of His wrath on the earth and declares that His wrath is done. On the cross Jesus said, “It is finished,” indicating that the work of redemption was completed because God so loved the world that He sent His Son to save men. It was now up to individuals to enter into that redemption. Now, in contrast to that love, is the wrath of God. This time the wrath is executed through the seven bowl judgments
. “These are the direct judgments of God upon the world; they do not proceed from man’s misdoings or Satan’s machinations.”1 Some of the judgments recall part of the trumpet judgment but the latter affected only a third of mankind. The bowl judgments affect the whole world.
It seems as though the bowl judgments unmake the world, beginning with man, created last, and going through the natural world of seas, waters, the sun, light. The first bowl judgment
is directed at those with the mark of the beast. Believers on the earth, those who have not taken the mark of the beast, are not subject to the bowl judgments. Those with the mark of the beast also worship the beast thus indicating the idol worship present throughout the earth. Sores appear on such worshipers who were created in the image of God but now visibly reflect the “foul and loathsome” maker behind the image they choose to worship. The next judgments deal with the natural world which some worship as their source of life without acknowledging their creator. Now the creator shows that the source of life in the natural world had only been made possible through His power. The second bowl
turns the sea to blood and every creature dies. Next the third bowl
turns rivers and springs of water to blood.
At this point the angel of the waters declares the righteousness of God
in giving blood to drink to those who have shed the blood of saints and prophets and rejected the blood sacrifice of Yeshua. Note also that the waters had been under the charge of an angel of God, again indicating this source of life. The angel’s declaration is confirmed by “another from the altar”. Those at the altar were those who had been martyred and who had asked in Revelation
6.10 how long it would be until the blood of the martyrs would be avenged.
In the fourth bowl judgment
the sun scorches men with fire. This sort of punishment is spoken of in Isaiah
42.25 However, for those who have not taken the mark of the beast “the sun shall not smite thee by day.”(Psalm 121.6) Those with the mark blasphemed God, despite knowing He has power over the plague. They did not repent nor give Him glory. This open defiance of God is mentioned three times under the bowl judgments. The fifth bowl judgment
brings darkness on the throne of the beast himself and throughout his kingdom. Darkness was the ninth plague in Egypt but the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. (Exodus 10.23). With the sixth bowl
the waters of the Euphrates dry up to allow entry by the kings of the east. The Euphrates was a boundary given for Israel (Genesis 15.18). On the drying up of the waters the demonic trinity of dragon, beast, and false prophet go out performing signs to gather the kings of the earth for “the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” They gather at Armageddon
. The Lord reminds His people to keep watching and to keep their garments clean for He is coming. When the seventh bowl
is poured out a loud voice from the throne in heaven says, “It is done”. This bowl is poured into the air for Satan is prince of the air. (Ephesians
2.2) The final bowl causes the greatest earthquake since men were on the earth. In the heavens were thunders, lightnings, and huge hail fell. Cities fall, islands flee and mountains disappear. Babylon is dealt with. The great city is divided into three. Zechariah 14.4-5 says that Jerusalem itself will be split in two. The reaction of those with the mark of the beast is to blaspheme God whose wrath is revealed on the earth.
TISHREI 17 Tabernacles Day 3. Reading: ZECHARIAH 5
Readings for Tishrei Day 17
The Vision of the Flying Scroll
suggests a marketing strategy that modern advertisers would appreciate. The scroll contains a message that is to go out over the face of the whole earth. The Lord is speaking to the whole earth. Whereas the previous vision spoke of God’s Spirit, grace and anointing, this vision speaks of God’s curse on sin. The curse is seen written on a scroll, which will enter and destroy the homes of thieves and perjurers. Whatever such people construct will be destroyed. The scroll indicates a decree by God that sin will be punished
. Some see the two sides of the scroll as indicative of the ten commandments, the two tablets of the law: one side refers to our relationship to God and the other refers to our relationship to each other; in a similar way do the first four commandments refer to our relationship to God and the others to one another. A similar pattern can be seen in the Lord’s Prayer. For those who repent and believe, Christ redeems from the curse of the law (Galations
Vision of the Woman in a Basket
Zechariah sees a basket that appears. The word for basket is the word ephah , which is a measure used for grain. Some translate this word as bushel basket. This measure has overtones of commercialism Those who had just come out of Babylon would have been dismayed by the message of future wickedness from there but would have already been reassured by the previous vision of the Branch and the peace He shall bring. There is a woman in the basket who is identified as Wickedness. A fuller description of her is given in today’s reading from Revelation 17. The basket is the appearance of wickedness. The word for appearance is “eyes”, conveying the sense of the “look” of wickedness. She is in the basket and restricted by the lead lid that keeps her down. She is thrust back into the basket and the lid put back on, suggesting there are restrictions on her activities. This idea of limitations on her activities is supported by the comment that a house is to be built for her in Shinar, where Babylon is. When the house is finished the basket will be set there on its base, its base of operations, and wickedness will have free reign during the Great Tribulation. This house of wickedness is in direct conflict with the house of the Lord who has said His house shall be completed, both in Zechariah’s day, and in the Day of the Lord. We constantly need to recall that the “Most High rules in the kingdom of men.” (Daniel 4.17)
Two women with wings like storks
carry the basket off to Babylon to build the house for it. Who are these women? They contrast with the two anointed ones who stand before the Lord in the vision of the lampstand in the previous chapter. The two women with stork like wings and the woman in the basket form an evil trinity that speaks of the dragon, the antimessiah and the false prophet of end times. The wings suggest empowering by the fallen angel, Satan. The key point here is that evil has a plan and is seeking to establish a base of operations on the earth and that base is called Babylon. The ephah suggests the connection of this base with economics and we need remember that buying and selling will be controlled by the Beast.
Zechariah is told that this is the look of wickedness. Wickedness is hidden in a basket; it has a lid on it and is presently restrained. However, there are wicked forces, represented by the women with stork like wings, that are assisting wickedness to spread. The two visions of this chapter deal with two types of houses. First are the houses of individuals who steal and perjure themselves. The second house is that of wickedness itself. The Lord has already said of the first house that it will be consumed with its timbers and stones. (5.4). So too will the second house be destroyed. Set against these is the House of the Lord, the Temple.
TISHREI 17: Tabernacles Day 3. Reading: REVELATION 17
The mystery of Babylon revealed
5 we saw in the vision of the woman in the basket that Babylon was being set up as a house of evil. However, there is an aspect of Babylon that is not revealed until this chapter in Revelation
. The mystery is that the evil beast of Babylon is ridden by a woman. This woman is called the Harlot and the relationship between her and the beast is described. By the end of the chapter she is destroyed by the very forces she thought she controlled. In this God's purpose is fulfilled.
This great harlot
sits on many waters. The waters represent the nations. The kings of the earth fornicate with her. Fornication here represents spiritual prostitution, the apostate church, sold out for worldly power. The Lord warned against people trying to gain the whole world and suffering the loss of their immortal soul as this Harlot does. Not only do kings fornicate with her but the inhabitants of the earth also are drunk with her false teaching and practices. John sees that the beast itself is full of blasphemy – that is, totally opposed to God The beast has seven heads and ten horns, indicating political entities in the world. The clothing of the harlot has imperial colours and she is wealthy yet within she is filthy. Her forehead has a name describing her as the source of all abominations on the earth. This contrasts with God's priest who has Holiness to the Lord on his turban. The harlot is responsible for the blood of saints and martyrs. She has been in open warfare against God and His faithful believers.
is Satan who will be allowed out of the pit but will go into perdition in the end. The inhabitants on the earth who are drunk with the fornication of the harlot are those whose names are not written in the book of life. They will marvel when they see the beast who has been working behind the facade of the apostate church, the harlot. The angel gives us the wisdom to help identify the harlot. She sits on seven heads which are seven mountains. Mountains may be places of power or physical locations. Some identify the place as Rome with its seven hills. The seven are also seven kings out of whom emerges the beast as an eighth king, coming up through the ranks as it were. The other kings fall away. There are ten horns which are ten kings as well but have received no kingdom as yet, but for a brief period they receive authority with the beast. They share his plans, are of “one mind” with him and hand over their power and authority to the beast. It is this joint worldwide force that makes war on the Lamb but will be defeated by Him. Those with the Lamb in this battle are called chosen, faithful. It is the Lamb who is King of Kings.
Destruction of the harlot
The harlot wields enormous power over people, nations and language groups. She was prefigured in the story of Queen Jezebel who as the wife of Ahab developed power and a school of prophets as a religious showpiece. The Harlot of Babylon is a mockery of the Bride of Christ, which has been raptured by this time. Christ said that the gates of hell would not prevail against the church. But just as Jezebel was over thrown and given to the dogs, so too is the Harlot overthrown by the ten horns who destroy her out of hatred and perhaps because they do not want to share power with the apostate church.
is fulfilled in that the kings became of one mind to give their kingdoms to the beast. God's words will be fulfilled in that evil shall be judged in the day of His wrath. God's word to Jezebel was that she would be eaten by dogs and it was fulfilled (2 Kings 9.10, 35). The Harlot is the great city that rules over the kings. This city is opposed to the city of God.
TISHREI 18. Tabernacles day 4. Reading: ZECHARIAH 6
Readings for Tishrei Day 18
The last of Zechariah's visions illustrates that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4.25) as the Lord sends out four spirits to go throughout the earth and to deal with the north country and bring rest to His Spirit. The second part of the chapter has the prophecy of the Branch, the Messiah, coming and reigning.
Vision of the four chariots
Zechariah see four chariots between two mountains. These could be Mount Zion and the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem as some of the chariots are sent north, where most of Israel's enemies came from and where Israel had been exiled, and others sent to the south in the direction of Egypt. However it is clear that they go throughout the earth. What are they doing? Because the mountains are of bronze, and bronze speaks of judgment, we could conclude that they are dealing in judgment with some areas of the earth. This seems to be true of the north country where the chariots give rest to the Spirit of God. How they do this is not clear but the colours of the horses give an indication. The first were red, speaking of bloodshed, the second are black indicating famine, white is for victory, and the fourth dappled, suggesting a mixture of effects. Through the four spirits of heaven represented by the chariots and their horses God's judgments are being implemented on the earth. However, there is coming a time when the Messiah Himself shall be sent to reign on the earth and administer judgment. This brings us to the prophecy of the Branch.
The Lord brings Zechariah back to current events to deal with some new arrivals from the north, from Babylon. They have brought gifts with them that are to be used to make a crown. This crown is to be put into the Temple as a reminder that the Messiah will come to reign. There is thus an extraordinary historical range indicated here from the Babylonian captivity to the future reign of the Messiah. Furthermore, the Lord decreed that out of the silver and gold of the captivity a memorial crown be made. Thus the terrible suffering is not to be a cause for despair but a reason for hope and a reminder that the Lord's promises to His people will be fulfilled.
The prophecy of the Branch
The word here for crown is not the crown put on the high priest but that worn by a king. It was forbidden to unite the two offices of king and priest in one person. The crown is put on Joshua (Yeshua) the high priest as a sign that one day the Messiah, the Branch, priest according to the order of Melchisedek, will reign from Jerusalem. Only Yeshua the Messiah can unite the two roles. The Messiah is called 1. the Branch of David, the king ( Jeremiah 23.5); 2. my servant the Branch in Zechariah 3.8;3. the Man here in this chapter; and 4. the Branch of the Lord in Isaiah 4.2., indicating His divinity. The tasks of the Branch
: to branch out from His place (He became Man); to build the temple of the Lord, indicating a future temple not the one being built in Zechariah's day; to bear the glory; to rule on His throne; to be priest on His throne and to bring peace. Thus the two roles of priest and king will be the Messiah's.
Meanwhile the crown is to be kept in the temple as a memorial
that the Branch is coming to reign. That temple is the one being built by the those who have returned from Babylon, including those who have just brought the silver and gold. The completion of that temple will confirm that the Lord has indeed spoken. Obeying the voice of the Lord will bring completion. The temple rebuilt in Zechariah's day was destroyed in 70AD . The Millennial temple is yet to be built from where the Branch will rule and be priest. Before that happens a Tribulation temple will be built where the Antimessiah will install the abomination of desolation and seek to be worshipped as god. The destruction of that Babylonian system is the subject of today's reading from Revelation
TISHREI 18. Tabernacles day 4. Reading: REVELATION 18
began with the construction of the Tower of Babel by Nimrod. It was an attempt by man to achieve unity to reach to the heavens. During the Tribulation it is Babylon's sin that reaches to heaven. The original Tower of Babel was destroyed when the Lord confused the languages. The pattern of man defying God and coming into judgment is seen also with Noah and his family being delivered in the ark before the Deluge brought judgment on the earth. Lot and his family had to leave Sodom before judgment fell. With Babylon during the Tribulation there is a call for God's people to leave before it is destroyed.
An angel descends from heaven, so bright is he that the earth is lit with his glory. All are meant to hear his message. The destruction of Babylon is announced
. The tense of the verb is a prophetic past, seeming to indicate that it is over, but such tenses signal the certainty of an event that is yet to come to pass. The destruction of Babylon is included under the seventh bowl judgment (Revelation 16.16-17). Whereas Revelation 17 describes the destruction of the spiritual harlot of Babylon, the apostate church, Revelation 18 describes the destruction of the political and economic Babylon. The result of this destruction is that Babylon becomes a prison, a cage for the demons, the foul spirits and unclean birds. The latter recalls the storks that carried the basket containing the woman of Wickedness off to Babylon in Zechariah
goes out to God's people to come out of Babylon to avoid being caught up in her judgment. These people will be believing Jews and Gentiles converted during the Tribulation through the Two Witnesses and the 144,000. “The evil spoken of...is concentrated in....Babylon...but is representative of the evil in the world today.”1 Believers cannot serve both God and mammon. No call went out to those in the apostate church for they would have taken the mark of the beast. Babylon's attitude is one of self sufficiency and she describes herself as a queen who shall see no sorrow. 'Queen ' suggests political power whereas 'harlot' suggests spiritual fornication as in the previous chapter. She will be utterly burnt with fire. Her destruction will be mourned by three distinct groups who gained from her: kings, merchants, and those trading by sea. They shall all view her destruction from afar (maybe on television). Her destruction occurs in one hour. A list is given of the luxury goods traded, ending with trading in the bodies and souls of men. The charge against commercial Babylon includes the fact that she had deceived the whole world through sorcery. In contrast to this mourning is the rejoicing in heaven because God has avenged those who were slaughtered by Babylon. God's justice has been carried out. Vengeance is mine says the Lord.
The suddenness of Babylon's destruction is compared to a millstone being thrown into the sea, never to rise or to be seen again. Fruchtenbaum sees the fall of Babylon as a stage in the campaign of Armageddon. Isaiah
13.3 says the holy ones of God are involved in carrying out the destruction of Babylon. Fruchtenbaum sees those involved as converted Gentiles.(2) Babylon shall not be found anymore but the false Messiah is not destroyed in the fall of Babylon. He has assembled his forces elsewhere and leaves his capital to its fate and focuses instead on the capital of Israel as the campaign of Armageddon continues. The false Messiah has installed the abomination of desolation in the Tribulation Temple at this stage. The Messiah, Yeshua, said that would be the signal for His people to flee. The Branch is about to make the appearance prophesied in Zechariah
TISHREI 19: Tabernacles Day 5. Reading: ZECHARIAH 7
Readings for Tishrei Day 19
In the midst of visions that impact world history the Lord brings matters down to a personal level, to how we as individuals are to act in our daily lives. The message in this chapter comes between the wonderful promise of the Branch in chapter 6 and the glorious promise concerning Jerusalem as the holy city in the future given in chapter 8. Meanwhile, how are we to occupy until He comes?
19.13) This chapter tells us how to be obedient and fruitful ahead of those great promises.
It is the year 518 BC (two years before the Temple was completed) messengers are sent to inquire from the priests about continuing the fast days that had been observed in the exile. There had been four fasts
observed although only one is mentioned by the messengers and a second is mentioned by the Lord.
The fasts were held to recall:
1. the destruction of the walls of Jerusalem (fourth month);
2. the burning of the Temple (fifth month);
3. the killing of the governor Gedaliah (seventh month);
4. the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem (tenth month).
The messengers are seeking a stop to the fast of the fifth month. However, the Lord mentions the fast of the seventh month. Gedaliah had been appointed governor under the control of Nebuchadnezzar when the latter took the Hebrews off into exile. A remnant community, including the prophet Jeremiah, gathered around him in Mizpah. A power seeking member of the royal family of Judah, Ishmael, was sent by Baalis, king of the Ammonites, to have Gedaliah murdered. Although warned beforehand by friends Gedaliah did not heed it and was killed while he hosted, and ate bread with, his assassin, Ishmael, and his group. They went on to massacre others. Many of the remnant out of fear of reprisals from Nebuchadnezzar, fled to Egypt forcing Jeremiah to go with them despite the fact that he had sought the Lord at their request and was told by Him not to go to Egypt but to stay in the land and not to fear Babylon. It is of this incident that the Lord reminds the messengers when he mentions the fast of the seventh month. What was the motivation of those seeking the word of the Lord from Jeremiah when they went on to ignore it? In other words, they were doing religious activities but their hearts were not inclined to obey God. (Jeremiah 40-42) Now in 518 BC the Lord reminds them that external religious activities are of no use if the heart is not right. The key message is obedience. They had not been obedient in the days of prosperity. They have been through the exile but have they learned the lesson?
The word of the Lord concerning the fasts is followed by a second word
concerning what He expects of His people. They are each to do true justice, show mercy, compassion to his brother. This deals with family relationships. Next is social justice: they are not to oppress widows, the fatherless, foreigners or the poor. They are not even to think evil against a brother. They are not to go through the motions of good behaviour but they are to be sincere in what they do out of a genuine heart attitude. The Lord describes how people have responded in the past to such commands. There is a course of indifference leading to hardness of heart. They would not heed, shrugged their shoulders indicating a lack of care, blocked their ears drowning out the word with distractions. The result is their hearts became like flint. This is the result of refusing to hear the word of God. Ishmael's cruelty well illustrates that. Because they would not hear the word of the Lord He would not listen to them. Not only were the people scattered in punishment but the land itself became desolate. They hadn't listened when the land was prosperous – now it became desolate. The Lord goes on to reassure His people in Zechariah 8 but the message remains for us today to occupy ourselves with justice and brotherly love
TISHREI 19: Tabernacles Day 5. Reading: REVELATION 19
This chapter deals with the Battle of Armageddon
to end the Tribulation. The word Armageddon is not used in this chapter but it fits the description of the battle. Throughout the ages believers have been told that vengeance is the Lord's, He will repay. Christians are not to take vengeance themselves. Jesus said that if His kingdom were of this world His followers would be taking up arms to fight but such is not an option. Now with Armageddon the Lord repays.
19 begins with heavenly reaction to the events. First a great multitude in heaven praise God for His salvation, glory, honour, and power. Then they praise Him for His judgment of the great harlot and her punishment. Next the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures worship God and praise Him. This is followed by praise that the Lord God reigns and that the time has come for the marriage of the Lamb
. This is the marriage of the saints who had died earlier or been taken up to heaven in the Rapture. The harlot, the apostate Church, was removed from the earth before the marriage of the Lamb was to take place in heaven.1 The pattern for the marriage is the traditional betrothal service, which had distinct stages. First the engagement or betrothal; secondly, the bridegroom went away to prepare a place for his bride, just as Jesus had said he was going away to prepare a place for His disciples. Thirdly, when the place was prepared the father of the groom sent his son to collect the bride. The Rapture will gather in the saints still alive on the earth when the Father makes the call. Fourthly, there will be a marriage ceremony. This is the marriage of the Lamb to His bride the Church
. The bride is dressed in a wedding garment, the righteous deeds of the saints. Salvation comes from the righteousness of Christ. The fast described by the Lord in Zechariah 7 speaks of the kind of deeds expected. The wedding feast itself will later take place on the earth when the Old Testament saints are raised and those converted and still alive during the Tribulation will be joined by the saints coming down with the Lord.
John is told to write down that those are blessed who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. This supper is yet to take place. He is also told that these are the true sayings of God. John falls and worships the speaker but is told not to do that for the speaker identifies himself as a fellow servant and a brother of those who have the testimony of Jesus. One must wonder at the glories of heaven that John should make such a mistake. In order to prophesy one must have the testimony of Jesus. Witnessing to Jesus is prophecy.
Christ comes forth on a white horse
to judge and make war. Note the contrast of the Lamb at the marriage with the warhorse of judgment. He is now to judge the nations and make war on them. His eyes are like a flame of fire. Here a flame of judgment and his authority is indicated by the crowns on His head. He has a name that no one knows except Himself, indicating that all about the nature of what Christ is about to do has not been revealed. His robe is dipped in blood. His own blood was shed on the cross for the salvation of the saints, but now the enemy is being slain. Although He comes with armies, the weapon of war is a sharp sword from His mouth. Just as in Genesis the world was spoken into being so now the enemies of God are being spoken into destruction. It is He who treads the winepress of God's wrath, that is, He carries out the wrath of God. He will rule the nations.
A second feast
is announced for the birds of the air to come and feast on the dead, men and horses, killed in the Battle of Armageddon. The beast (Antichrist) and the false prophet are cast into the lake of fire. The Tribulation is ended.
TISHREI 20: Tabernacles Day 6. Reading: ZECHARIAH 8
Readings for Tishrei Day 20
Restoration of Jerusalem. The city of Truth.
Who is talking?
There are seventeen times in a chapter of twenty three verses where it mentions that it is God speaking. Nothing could be clearer that this is the Word of God. In the middle of it there is mention of the word of the prophets (8.9) also clearing indicating that they have been speaking the word of God. Our response (three instances) also involves speaking: we are each to speak the truth to our neighbour.
What is being said is encouragement
. Several times the Lord identifies Himself as the Lord of Hosts to remind us of His power to bring about what He says in His word. He first speaks of His zeal for Zion and that He shall return to dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is to be known as the City of Truth, and ahead of that He says later (8.18) that each is to speak truth to his neighbour. Right speech is truthful speech. Jerusalem will also be the mountain where the Lord of Hosts dwells – His power shall go forth from Zion. However, it is also a holy mountain. So the speaker is the God of power, truth, and holiness. A picture is given of how Jerusalem shall be at such a time. The old sitting in the streets and the young playing before them. The Lord asks if people think that would be marvelous given the circumstances at that time when people are still building the Temple. It may be marvelous to them but not to the Lord who knows that He has the power to bring about what He promises in His word. The picture describes an age beyond the circumstances of that time. The Lord says He shall be bringing His people back to the land and He will be their God in truth and righteousness. Jerusalem is not yet a city of truth and righteousness but it shall happen. What the Lord said through the prophets (especially Zechariah) concerning the restoration of the Temple is coming true in the lifetime of the builders. This fulfilled prophecy is a reassurance of the fulfillment of another prophecy the Lord is now delivering through His prophet Zechariah. This prophecy concerns the Lord restoring His people and living among them.
What is to be done in the meantime?
First, there are practical matters. The Lord tells His people to let their hands be strong, that is, to get on with the task given to them to complete the restoration. The Lord is about to change the economic conditions in the land. People will have work and draw wages. The fields will be fruitful, the weather will do its part. Instead of being cursed by the nations Israel will be a blessing to them. They are told twice not to be afraid for the Lord is working on their behalf. Secondly, there are spiritual matters. The Lord tells them to have right relationships among themselves. They are to speak the truth to their neighbours, and “in the gates”, that is in civic and social affairs, they have to give judgment for truth, justice, and peace. These are the values that are to characterize their life in the land. It is not only a matter of observable behaviour but they are to have hearts that are acceptable to the Lord. This involves not having evil thoughts in their hearts towards their neighbours. This would include not coveting what others have.
Signs of the Lord's blessing
. The Lord tells them that He intends to change the four fasts they do into feasts of joy, gladness and cheer for the house of Judah. Because of this promise they are to love truth and peace. Such will be the blessing that people will be wanting to pray and will be encouraging each other to do so and go to seek the Lord. Not only will this be true of the people of Israel but foreigners will be wanting to come to Jerusalem to pray. Individuals will be latching onto Jews, actually taking them by the sleeve, asking to be allowed to go with them because they have heard that God is with them. Today's reading from Revelation 20 takes us to the millennial reign of Christ, when Messiah dwells in Jerusalem.
TISHREI 20. Tabernacles 6. Reading: REVELATION 20
End of the age not the end of the world. Events after the Battle of Armageddon. Revelation
twenty begins with the removal of Satan from the earth before Christ begins His millennial reign
in Jerusalem. The end of the Tribulation is not the end of the world. There are two ages spoken of for this earth: the present age, and the one to come when Messiah will reign. The disciples had recognized the Messiah and expected Him to reign on earth in their own life time. Thus they were shocked when He died on the cross. He had alerted them beforehand that when the Holy Spirit came on them He would bring them understanding. Today also some think that the earth will be destroyed before His millennial reign. However, “[the] entire Bible bears witness that there will come a better day for this earth before the predicted destruction by fire comes. And that promised age of blessing and glory comes when the King, our Lord, has come and reigns in righteousness with His saints over the earth.” 1 “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.” (1 Corinthians
15.26). Many scriptures speak of the Messiah's reign when “the wolf and the lamb shall feed together...” (Isaiah
An angel has been given the authority and power (the key) to lay hold of Satan and chain him up bound for a thousand years . He casts Satan into the bottomless pit
and shuts him in and seals him there. He will have no influence on the earth. The effect specified here is that he will no longer be able to deceive the nations. This is a reminder to us today to know that the nations are being deceived, including our own nation. We need to be aware of such power behind the scene in world affairs.
The first resurrection
includes those who reign with the Messiah during the Millennium Kingdom. Fruchtenbaum 2 identifies five stages in the first resurrection because 1 Corinthians 15.20-23 speaks of each being made alive in Christ in his own order: first is Jesus, the first fruits, the second are church saints resurrected at the Rapture, third are the Two Witnesses, fourth the Old Testament saints, and fifth the Tribulation saints.
After the Millennium
Satan is released to again deceive the nations. Together with Gog and Magog he gathers followers as the “sand of the sea” in number to battle against God. Why is this? God shows “that man has been tried and tested under every possible condition. He has failed in every age. He failed under the law and...grace...and even in the Millennium.” 3 Recall also: Lucifer and his angels fell from heaven because of pride. So too, man, even in the best of circumstances, may assert his pride against God. This warns us to know that we creatures are not to worship creation but the Creator. Satan, Gog and Magog and their followers will be devoured by fire from heaven and cast into the lake of fire
Before the Great White Throne
appear those resurrected for judgment. This judgment is not to be confused with the judgment of the Gentiles (the sheep and goat nations) when the Messiah returns. The Great White Throne judgment is for unbelievers of all ages after the Millennium. There is no enquiry as to their guilt or not for they have already rejected Christ. There is no altar of sacrifice for them for they have rejected the blood of Christ.4 They have refused His provision for salvation. Those not in the Book of Life 5 are cast in the Lake of Fire together with Death and Hades. This is the second death.
TISHREI 21, Tabernacles 7. Reading ZECHARIAH 9
Readings for Tishrei Day 21
Meantime, how is Israel going to cope with the neighbours?
Zechariah now has a prophecy about Israel's neighbouring powers. It is one thing to rebuild the Temple but how are they going to cope with foreign nations that already have a track record of causing Israel grief? The prophecy begins with cities to the north, Hadrach, Damascus, Hamath, and on the coast, Tyre and Sidon. The economically powerful maritime city of Tyre will be cast down. Her power at sea will be destroyed and she will be “devoured by fire.” Philistine cities to the south and on the coast will also be dealt with. Those mentioned are Askelon, Ekron Gaza, and Ashdod.
Alexander the Great
acknowledges the God of Israel The Lord says He will camp around His house because of him who passes by. The one who passes by will be Alexander the Great. Greece is actually mentioned later in this chapter. It is a matter of both biblical and historical record that Alexander laid waste cities north and south but preserved Jerusalem. Josephus records (Antiquities of the Jews, XI.8) how when Alexander was approaching Jerusalem the High Priest came out robed, leading a procession to meet him. To the surprise of all it was Alexander who knelt and seemed to worship the high priest. His entourage was amazed because it should have been the other way round. Alexander explains: “I did not adore him but that God who has honoured him with the high-priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither,for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; so it is that having seen no other person dressed in this habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army here under the divine conduct.” (The Greeks are the third world power, the leopard, and the goat respectively in Daniel chapters 2, 7, 8.) Alexander did not destroy Jerusalem, and as Zechariah prophesied, he passed by. This prophecy is given to encourage God's people today when they are surrounded by those who would destroy them.
Zion is to rejoice for The Coming King
who will not be passing by Jerusalem. He is coming as king, not in power but lowly and riding on a donkey. We know from Daniel and Zechariah that the Messiah shall come in victory. This raises the issue of the two comings of the Messiah
. Does Scripture support that? Traditionally Jewish sages have spoken of the Messiah son of Joseph and the Messiah son of David.1 Joseph in Egypt is a type of the Messiah who, among many points of similarity, was sold for silver by his brothers into slavery and later became the deliverer of his own brethren; he took a Gentile bride and his children were adopted into the tribes of Israel; he provided bread for all, a type of the Messiah who said He is the bread of life; Joseph was not recognized by his brothers when he was in gentile dress. So, too, Christ among the Gentiles is not recognized by Jewish people. In contrast the Messiah son of David speaks of the King coming to reign from Jerusalem. This has not yet happened. We know that the Messiah son of Joseph has come on a donkey but we have not yet seen Him come to reign as described in Isaiah
9.6-7. Then the Messiah will come “with the clouds of heaven” to establish “an everlasting dominion”. (Daniel 7.13-14). Thus the two comings are clearly presented in the Tanach.
The Lord says that He shall use Judah and Ephraim to deal with Greece and adds that He too will save them in end times (“that day”) and they shall be like “the jewels of a crown lifted like a banner over His land.” (9.16) The other reading for this day examines the report of the Messiah's first coming, on a donkey.
TISHREI 21. Tabernacles 7. Reading: MATTHEW 21
Readings for Tishrei Day 21
The last two chapters of Revelation
(21 and 22) are held over for the two closing days of this study because they deal with the Eternal Order after the Millennium and “contain brand-new material not revealed to the prophets of the Old Testament.”2 For Tishrei 21 to 24 we turn to the words of the Messiah as He fulfills the scriptures about His first coming and reassures His disciples about His second coming.
21 quotes from Zechariah 9.9 the very scripture examined today but does not quote verse ten and following because that would be fulfilled when the Messiah comes again. Similarly in Luke 4.18-19 Christ, by shortening a quotation from Isaiah 61.1-2, indicates that He has not come to implement the day of vengeance of God – that is still to be fulfilled.
The Day of Christ's entry into Jerusalem
has multiple significances. He rides in on the very day that the Jews selected the lamb that is to be slaughtered later in the week for Passover. Christ is the Passover Lamb. This day is the very one foretold in Daniel 9.24-27 in the prophecy of the seventy weeks. It is in the sixty ninth week that the Messiah will be acknowledged as such and that He will be cut off, that is, executed, or crucified as we now know. The seventieth week is held off as the prophecy was directed to Daniel's people and the holy city and awaits their restoration. Between the 69th and 70th weeks the Church is born and raptured.
The significance of the day is clear to the crowd. They acknowledge Him as Messiah with the Messianic title
“Son of David”. The word “hosanna” means “save now”. The Messiah is indeed riding into Jerusalem to save them but not by destroying Roman rule and becoming ruler. He was riding in to overcome sin and death as their redeemer and saviour. There is to be no sin and death in His kingdom and that victory was to be won at His first coming. The Lamb will return as Lion to rule the nations.
Although it is Passover week the crowd waves branches and calls out from Psalm 118.26 “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” This is a Messianic reference from the Great Hallel set of psalms. This reference, the saying of hosanna and the waving of branches are activities from the feast of Tabernacles. Thus, during Passover Week the Messiah is acknowledged and Tabernacles is also brought before us. Tabernacles is the feast that speaks of the Messiah coming to dwell with His people. In the rest of the chapter Christ signals that He is not going to be accepted by the leadership of the nation.
The mood changes as they enter Jerusalem. Jesus is referred to as the prophet from Nazareth and not as the Messiah. He cleanses the Temple
by overthrowing the tables where dealers charged exchange fees to make money out of people come to worship. Jesus stayed on in the Temple and healed the blind and lame in a glimpse of the future Messianic age. The Pharisees were indignant because the children were acknowledging Him as Messiah. Christ now points out the consequences of their rejection. Through the episode of the fig tree
Christ shows that He was expecting fruit from the nation's leadership and found none. The Pharisees equivocate about John the Baptist and show they are not ready to acknowledge the truth. Light refused leads to darkness. The parables of the two sons and the wicked farmers
signal the Pharisees upcoming response for the kingdom is to be taken from them. Christ, rejected, will become the chief cornerstone
(Psalm 118.22-3) The Pharisees have stumbled and been broken on the stone (verse 44); later Gentile world powers will be crushed by the stone cut without hands (Daniel 2) at the Messiah's second coming.(3)
TISHREI 22. Tabernacles - Final Day. Reading: ZECHARIAH 10
Readings for Tishrei Day 22
This final day of Tabernacles is called “The eighth solemn assembly” (Shemini Atzeret) when the festival is prolonged for an extra day as though one is reluctant to relinquish the time of celebration. “Atzeret” has this notion of holding on. One day the feast of tabernacles will go on and on when Messiah comes to “tabernacle with his people.”
The battle for truth
. There is a reference to that Messianic time in the opening verse of Zechariah 10 when we are told to ask the Lord for rain in the time of the latter rain. However, conditions before then will degenerate on the earth. People will be deluded into worshiping idols. Rejection of truth leads to deception. People will perish because they did not have a love of the truth and they will be subject to strong delusion. ( 2 Thessalonians 2.10-11) Diviners will promote lies. We know that Satan is the father of lies. (John 8.44) Any comfort will be in vain. Deluded, deceived, and dispirited the people will wander around like sheep without a shepherd. The Lord is angry because of the people who are supposed to be their shepherds. What is wrong with them? They have become goatherds. How so? Goats are a proverb for wanton behaviour. They use the flock according to their own desires. Although leaders in name, the shepherds have become like goats through impurity in their lives. However, the Lord is going to deal with this by visiting the house of Judah and He will make them as His royal horse in the day of battle. From Judah will come the cornerstone. This cornerstone is none other than the Messiah and by aligning with this cornerstone Israel will avoid falling into sin. In another image, He will be the tent peg that secures their dwellings and enable them to be mighty men to tread down their enemies.
The Lord says that He shall bring His people back to the land. This must refer to a future restoration
for His people are already back in the land rebuilding the Temple. As the lord strengthens and saves His people their children will rejoice in what God is doing. He will call for His people and redeem them. However, the Lord speaks of sowing them in distant countries and they shall increase. The increase of Jews in distant countries in both the old and new world is a matter of historic record grimly confirmed by the pogroms and persecutions carried out against them over the centuries. The Lord again affirms that He shall bring them back from unnamed distant countries and also from the more familiar and closer countries named as Assyria and Egypt. So many will come back that no room shall be found for them. (10.10) The lack of room would be caused by both sheer numbers and by the reduction in the borders of Biblical Israel that has occurred in our own days, first under the British Mandate and then under the various peace treaties brokered by the United Nations.1 The Lord will bring affliction by sea and strike the waves of the sea. The Nile will be affected and the power of both Assyria and Egypt will be brought down, both of which have claimed and occupied Israeli land.
Israel then is described as a nation of strength who will “walk up and down in His name.” This suggests a spiritual power that comes through acknowledging God and His providence. To walk in any other name is vain.
Prophecy deals not only with key events in history and the way the Lord fulfills His promises but it also speaks of everyday issues that most will have to deal with while watching and waiting faithfully for that fulfillment. One of those issues is religious leadership. Zechariah 10 deals with the shepherds and so does the Messiah deal with the leadership in the companion reading for today from Matthew
TISHREI22. Tabernacles – Final Day.Reading: MATTHEW 22 and 23
warned that the shepherds would become goatherds. Jesus shows in the parable of the wedding feast
that these leaders would reject the invitation 2 from the Father to go to the feast for the Son. This is an invitation to Israel. The Church, the Bride, is not mentioned here. The invitation is given (22.3) before the death and resurrection of the Messiah and is rejected. It is repeated (22.4) when all is ready after the resurrection and after the Holy Spirit had been sent. Again this invitation is rejected (Acts 3.19 – 4.3) by the leadership who kill messengers such as Stephen. Later the city will be destroyed (70 AD). A third invitation is taken to the Gentiles in the highways and byways. The man without the wedding garment represents those in Christendom who profess belief without accepting the Lord Jesus Christ and putting on His garment of righteousness.
next records three attempts by the leadership to ensnare Jesus. The first is about paying taxes and our relationship to the world system. This is an aspect of end times when no one will be able to buy and sell, let alone pay taxes, unless he has the mark of the beast. Secondly they attempt to prove there is no resurrection. Jesus shows that they err because they know not the Scriptures nor the power of God. This is warning for us to believe the word of God to avoid deception. The third attempt asks Jesus to identify the greatest commandment. The answer is given from scripture and not from the over 600 laws formulated over the years as the Pharisees had thought He would. Jesus asks the Pharisees a question based on Psalm 110. If the Messiah is to be a son (descendant of David) how can He also be his Lord, that is, divine? Thus He declares His divinity and we are reminded that the Messiah, son of Joseph who came on a donkey will return as the Messiah son of David as ruler.
is a solemn judgement of the leadership
described in Zechariah as goatherds. The list of woes makes grim reading but it enables us to see what kind of people rejected the Messiah and would help the church to be alert to such things in our day and in the future. Overall there is ignorance of the Word of God and rejection of its authority. The woes signal external behaviour that covers a wrong internal attitude. Some of the charges are specific to the Pharisees but many are applicable today. They are in authority. People are to do what they say but to be aware that they are hypocrites who do not follow their own rules. They aim to be recognized by people by the way they dress and by sitting in prominent positions to be acknowledged publicly. One is reminded of the celebrity culture of today. They usurp the role of Father and want to be called teacher when Christ alone is to be our teacher. Greatness comes not from exalting yourself but by being a humble servant. The woes list specific charges. The leaders do not enter the kingdom of heaven and prevent others entering. They use religious practices to cover up financial scams. They work hard to make converts worthy of hell like themselves. They make money more important than God as shown by the way they require oaths to be taken, They are not interested in the sanctity of the Temple.They focus on minor matters and neglect important matters such as justice, mercy, and faith. Various images describe their hypocrisy and lawlessness: clean cups on the outside but filth within; whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones; vipers, serpents. They are part of a long line of such people on whom will come the blood of slain prophets.
The speaker of these woes is one who would have loved to gather them up as a hen gathers up chickens but they were not willing Their house (the Temple) is left to them desolate and they will see Jesus no more until they acknowledge Him as Messiah. Such acknowledgement is prophesied in Zechariah
TISHREI 23. Reading: ZECHARIAH 11
Readings for Tishrei Day 23
11 continues on the subject of leaders but has a prophecy concerning the fate of worthless shepherds. First, however,there is a description of conditions in Israel before the matter of leadership is dealt with.
Verses 1-3 present a passage concerning trees that take on prophetic significance
. (1) This passage is addressed to Lebanon but the content of the message concerns Israel. What is the significance of Lebanon? First it may be through the doors of Lebanon that the fire comes that is to bring desolation on the land.However, Lebanon is also used of Israel (Jeremiah
22.6) in general, and of the Temple in particular because of the timber from that country used in its construction. It is used figuratively of what is “great, strong and beautiful” (Unger). The passage mentions (cypress) trees wailing because other trees greater than themselves, the cedars, are in ruins. Likewise the mighty oaks wail because the forest has come down. Verse three mentions the ruin of the pride of Jordan. “Pride” may also be translated jungle where the lions lose their habitat. This play on words speaks of people wailing when they see those stronger than themselves brought down and wonder how weaker people such as themselves can survive. When the Temple falls how can the people survive? The shepherds wail because the Temple in which they gloried has fallen. It is recorded in the tract “Masseceth Joma” 2 that the doors of the Temple, made of Lebanese wood, opened of themselves for forty years before the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 AD. Christians hold that Christ's death and resurection had opened the way for all believers. However, others thought the opening signified punishment. We are to put our trust only in God Himself – anything else is doomed to destruction. So, how did the shepherds get to the point that they were not trusting the Lord but glorying in something else? Zechariah explains.
The shepherds are charged with exploiting their flocks for profit and then praising God because they have become rich. Perhaps a modern counterpart might be the prosperity Gospel. One of the results of this exploitation is the lack of pity people have one for another. The good shepherd (not named as such in the passage) then says he took two staffs and fed the flock himself. One staff he called Beauty or Grace and the second he called Bonds or Unity. He dismissed three shepherds who should have been feeding the flock. This wicked triad is not identified but could have end times significance.The staff bearer is put off by the behaviour of the shepherds and refuses to feed them anymore and allows them to consume each other. He breaks the staff of Grace, the covenant of protection which is conditional on their obedience as stated in the passage about the potter in Jeremiah 18. The Lord is not breaking his everlasting, unconditional covenant with His people but only the one of His protection. The poor of the land, the remnant, are watching this shepherd and know that this is the word of the Lord. The leadership divest themselves of the shepherd for thirty pieces of silver which are thrown into the Temple for the potter. The Messiah was betrayed for that amount which the Temple authorities used to buy the potters field for the burial of foreigners. (Matthew 27.3-10) The field had been used by the potter for ruined pots. The Messiah has paid for all of us ruined by sin.The second staff is broken, indicating the loss of brotherhood between Judah and Israel which will continue until they accept the Messiah, the son of David of the tribe of Judah.
The chapter ends with a portrait of the foolish shepherd
whose implements are not staffs of Grace and Unity and who will later lord it over God's people. This is a hint of the anti-Messiah who will one day gain power and set up his abomination of desolation in the Temple.
TISHREI 23. Reading: MATTHEW 24
Christ answers the Apostles' questions about the end of the age
. Significantly, He speaks on the Mount of Olives from which He later ascended (Acts 1) and from which direction He will return. Christ says that one day the Temple will be destroyed. He is asked when this will be and what will be the sign of His coming and the end of the age. He does not speak here any further on the destruction of the Temple although Luke does, pointing to 70 AD. (Luke 21.20-24) Christ focuses on the sign of His return and the end of the age, not the end of the world.
For the Jews there are two ages: this present age and the age to come. The latter, Messianic age, would arrive with the Messiah coming to reign. This present age for the Apostles was the Jewish Age. The Jewish Age has not come to an end but has been interrupted according to the seventy week prophecy of Daniel (9.24-27). That prophecy was addressed, Daniel was told, “to your people and to your holy city.” It is not a prophecy for Gentiles. The Messiah was to be cut off, that is executed, in the sixty ninth week. In the middle of the next week, the final seventieth week yet to come, the abomination of desolation is set up, which Christ alerts the people of Israel to watch for (Matthew 24.15). It is after the events of this week that the Messiah will appear. In between the Jewish Age and the age to come is the Church Age. Care must be taken not apply to the Church events prophesied for Daniel's people and the holy city. Christ's reference to the abomination proves that the 70th week is yet to occur.
There will be a battle for minds and Jesus warns of false Christs who will deceive many. The sequence of events in the Tribulation given here matches that in Revelation 6 : 1. False peace; 2.war; 3. famine; 4.death; 5.martyrs; 6. lawlessness. The end will come after the gospel of the kingdom is preached to all nations. This gospel of the kingdom was preached to Israel at Christ's first coming and its preaching was interrupted when the king was rejected. After His resurrection the gospel of grace was preached. There are not two Gospels. All believers, Jew and Gentile, are saved by grace. However, in the Church Age we are not setting up the kingdom. The gospel of the kingdom heralds the king coming as Christ did 2000 years ago and as He will again do after the Tribulation. After the Church is raptured God's remnant in Israel will preach again the gospel of this coming kingdom beginning with the Two Witnesses and the 144,000. The tribulation saints are the ones urged to endure. References to conditions at the time of the abomination indicate a Temple ('holy place')in operation and the Sabbath observed. Christ's own appearance cannot be missed so do not be deceived by counterfeit claims. Christ's second coming to earth is also termed the Glorious Appearing (Titus 2.13) as distinct from His coming in the air at the Rapture (1 Thessalonians
4.17). The elect, God's faithful believers on earth during the Tribulation, will be gathered by angels. The trumpets here are not to be confused with the last trumpet, which is blown for the church (1 Corinthians
15.52) at the Rapture. The fig tree is a type of Israel and the generation then observing these events will see them completed.
Christ then deals with the end of the Church age also called the rapture, the timing of which is known only to the Father. His comments on Noah and the evil servant refer to the tares and wheat characteristic of the Church Age whereas in the Tribulation the believers will be easily distinguished from those with the mark of the beast. Prior to the Tribulation some in the Church will outwardly profess but inwardly deny the imminent return of the Messiah and instead of giving them food oppress their fellow servants as the Nicolaitans do. We are to live with a right expectation of Christ's imminent return and not take power over His people.
TISHREI 24. Reading: ZECHARIAH 12
Readings for Tishrei Day 24
This prophecy signals circumstances immediately prior to the Messiah revealing Himself to His people. He had said that they would not see Him again until they said, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord,” (Matthew 23.39) that is, until they acknowledge Him as Messiah. The mourning on the day of atonement will reach the day longed for when they weep for the one who was pierced, the Messiah, repent and acknowledge Him. This will happen in the closing days of the Tribulation.
The chapter begins with a word of the Lord against Israel. He speaks of His power over earth and man. It is He who shall make Jerusalem a burden to all the nations whose enmity is like a drunkenness. All those who try to “heave” Jerusalem away will be “cut in pieces.” Efforts in our own time to divide Jerusalem remind us of this warning, however, they are not the siege that takes place after the Rapture. In Zechariah 12
the gathering of all nations against Jerusalem is part of what Fruchtenbaum (1) calls the Campaign of Armageddon
. He identifies eight stages:
1. The gathering of the armies of the Antichrist at Armageddon.
2. Antichrist's capital, Babylon, is destroyed but his forces move south.
3. The siege and fall ( Zechariah 14.1-2) of Jerusalem to Antichrist.
4. The remnant from Jerusalem shelters in the area of Bozrah/Petra. These are “the tents of Judah” whom the Lord saves first.
5. The regeneration of the nation of Israel when the remnant repents acknowledging the Messiah, the one whom they pierced.
6. Christ answers the prayers of a repentant Israel and defeats those forces of Antichrist gathered against the remnant.
7. The Final Battle as Christ moves down to Jerusalem along the Valley of Jehoshaphat. Antichrist himself is destroyed (Zechariah 14.12-15) as will his international coalition.
8. The campaign is over and Christ will stand upon the mount of Olives.
It is the Lord who pours out His Spirit on His people. “When He seeks to destroy their enemies He pours out His Spirit on His people,” says Matthew Henry. It is God's gift of grace and supplication that causes them to seek God. One of the results of this gift is mourning for sin - in this case a very specific sin - the rejection of the Messiah. They now look to Him and weep. Significantly their weeping is compared (12.11) to the weeping that occurred when King Josiah died (609BC). Thus the Lord uses that event to point us to a greater event in the Day of the Lord. Josiah was wounded in battle in Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo, and died in Jerusalem. This was the last time Israel was an independent nation because Nebuchadnezzar was about to take them into captivity in Babylon. Josiah had lead a great revival in the land and he himself wept when the word of the Torah was rediscovered and returned to the people. He realized how far the people had moved away from the word of God. So too, the remnant will mourn when they rediscover the Messiah, the one pierced, the actual Word of God. And that too will be after a far greater battle in the campaign of Armageddon, a name meaning Mount Megiddo. The chapter mentions some who mourn. One pair represents the royal line and the other the priestly. Nathan son of David is mentioned. Mary, the mother of Jesus, carried the blood line of David through Nathan but Joseph carried the legal line through Solomon. The separation of men and women mentioned here is preserved in seating arrangements in synagogues to this day and is thus a visual reminder that one day they will mourn and look to one they have pierced.
TISHREI 24. Reading: MATTHEW 25
The Olivet Discourse
24 &25) is given a few days before the Messiah is “cut off” (Daniel 9.26) thus bringing the sixty ninth week to an end. He knows there will be a long gap before the seventieth week begins. This discourse is addressed firstly to Jews to warn them of the signs of the end of their age; secondly, to believers in the gap on how to behave; thirdly to the sheep and goat nations existing during the Tribulation and how they will be judged. The sequence of events is: 1. sixty ninth week; 2. church age and rapture; 3. seventieth week and tribulation and the glorious appearing of the Messiah; 4. judgement of the sheep and goat nations.
25 begins with the wise and foolish virgins
, a parable based on the Jewish wedding custom of being ready to welcome the bridegroom when he comes for His bride. Christ, the Bridegroom, could come at anytime to meet His bride, the Church, in the air at the Rapture. Some say this parable applies to events in the Tribulation. However, the wise virgins cannot be a sleeping remnant during the Tribulation, a time of martyrdom for believers. Both wise and foolish look alike but one has oil, representing the Holy Spirit. It is the Lord who is the Baptiser in the Holy Spirit; one cannot buy this oil. The foolish go to the merchants who may well represent the normal source of supply in an apostate church that gives the appearance of believers but has refused to come to Christ, the only way to the Father. The episode ends with a division into those the Lord knows and those He does not know. The parable tells us that we must live in expectation of Christ's return at any time. However, there has to be a reality behind the appearance of waiting and this is the reality of the Holy Spirit. Christ said: “He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come in to judgement.” (John 5.24)
The parable of the talents
tells us to be occupied while waiting for the Lord's return. We must be engaged with the talents that God has made available. The man with the one talent refused to use what God gave. This third man is condemned out of his own mouth because he refused to put his one talent with those who could gain interest for the absent master. Christ has enabled the man to be profitable, giving him the means to obey. Although talents can be increased and effort rewarded they are not a means of earning salvation. The man was unprofitable because he refused to accept the Saviour. He knew the terms of the offer but still has free will to decline. Rejection of the light leads to outer darkness. The Lord will not cast out those who come to Him. (John
Having taught on the need to manifest the light and use talents available from God during the long ages after His death and resurrection Christ turns to the time when He shall come in Glory at the end of the Tribulation. Prior to the Tribulation he would have come in the air to take away His bride, the Church. In this Glorious Appearance after Armageddon He comes to judge only those nations who lived through the Tribulation and are now assembled before His throne. The basis of the judgement is the way in which these nations have treated the brethren of the Lord. The sheep are the blessed and the righteous who have ministered to Christ by ministering to the hungry, thirsty, sick, homeless, naked and those in prison. The goats are those who have not done so. Some debate as to whether the brethren of the Lord refers to Jewish people only or to all converted during the Tribulation as well. The Lord knows those who are His. The story of Rahab the harlot is a type of a Gentile helping Jews in a city about to come under judgement. The sentence at the throne is eternal punishment or eternal life.
TISHREI 25. Reading: ZECHARIAH 13
Readings for Tishrei Day 25
The first six verses describe three events
“in that day”, which refers to the Day of the Lord, also known as the time of Jacob's trouble, the Tribulation. The first event is the opening of a fountain
for sin and uncleanness. This fountain is for the House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The Messiah is of the House of David and it is He who opens the fountain to purify his people. That fountain was signified when His side was pierced on the cross and blood and water flowed out. (John
19.34) The second event in that day speaks of the cutting off
of idols and the removal from the land of prophets and the unclean spirit. An unclean spirit is a demonic spirit. Parents will kill any of their children that prophesy because they will prophesy lies in the name of the Lord. This lying spirit reminds us of the beast from the earth (the False Prophet) in Revelation 13 who gave breath to the image of the beast from the sea and caused people to worship it. The third event in that day is the shame of the prophets. Even when exposed they continue to lie. They get rid of the traditional garb of the prophet to avoid recognition and claim that they have been cattle farmers. When pressed to explain the wounds they had cut on themselves as part of usual prophet practice they say they weren't self inflicted but done to them by friends.
In contrast to these false prophets is the Shepherd of the Lord
. The Lord calls Him both “My Shepherd” and “My Companion”. The word for companion (amiyt) has as its root the word
amam, which means 'be rival to, be equal to'.(1) The divinity of the Messiah is also stated in John's gospel where he says “the Word was God”. (John
1.1). Zechariah tells us that it is the Lord who calls for the Shepherd to be struck and the flock scattered. The Messiah quotes that same verse ( Matthew 26.31) showing that He is acting as always in accord with the Father's will. Isaiah 53.4,10 also reveals God's will in this matter: “We esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted...Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” The scattering of the flock is reported the same evening as the arrest of Jesus on the eve of His crucifixion: “Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.” (Matthew
26.56). Zechariah 13.7 concludes with the Lord saying He will turn His hand against the little ones. This could refer to the fact that the believers would later come to suffer persecution for their faith in the Messiah.
13.8-9 applies to a time of persecution that is yet to come. It speaks of two-thirds
being cut off and dying. During the Nazi Holocaust one third of world Jewry died. However, only one third will survive in the time Zechariah refers to. Those who do survive, however, will call on the Name of the Lord and they shall be heard. Although the state of Israel was established after the Holocaust this acknowledgment of the Lord did not occur. Furthermore this time of recognition is characterized by each individual saying, “The Lord is God.” This signals the new covenant that the Lord will make with Israel as described in Jeremiah 31.31-34 when each will know the Lord for himself and not need others to tell him. In other words, this will be a personal response and not a liturgical one. Furthermore the Lord will say, “This is My people.” So, along with the personal response will be an acknowledgment, by the Lord this time, of His people. This is the time of the Glorious Appearing
of the Messiah when He comes to live among His people during the Millennium.
TISHREI 25. Reading: REVELATION 21
The sequence of events since the opening of Revelation
19 are: the fall of Babylon; the marriage of the Lamb and the Bride; Christ comes forth on a white horse with the armies of heaven; the battle of Armageddon occurs when the beast and the false prophet are defeated and thrown into the lake of fire. In Revelation 20 Satan is bound for a thousand years while Christ reigns during the Millennium. Satan is released for a short time, camps against the holy city and the saints but is cast into the bottomless pit. The evil dead are judged at the white throne judgment and go into the second death. Revelation 21 takes us into the eternal state
after the Millennium.
A new heaven and a new earth appear. “This is not another heaven and earth but a renewed one.... The passage in 2 Peter 3.10 does not mean the annihilation of the earth but a purification... Heaven is not the entire heaven for there is a heaven which cannot be touched by these fires of purification.” 2 There are no seas on this renewed earth. Coming down is the New Jerusalem
, dressed as a bride. A voice from heaven declares that God dwells with men and they shall be His people, thus fulfilling the promise made in Zechariah
Life in the New Jerusalem of the eternal order will be without sorrow, death, tears, and pain. John is specifically instructed to write those words and the fact that all will be made new. This comes over as a message of encouragement to readers who are suffering in this present age for the Lord describes Himself as the Alpha and Omega who created all things and will bring all His word to completion. He addresses Himself to the one who is thirsting and overcoming. He promises such a believer a fountain of living water and an inheritance, and he will be His son. In contrast are listed those who do not receive life but go into the second death in the lake of fire.
John is then addressed by the angel who has the seven last plagues, thus reminding us that all the events of the Tribulation are yet to occur before the Lord comes to tabernacle with His people. The angel invites John to come up to a high mountain to see the bride, the Lamb's wife. The mountain suggests a high vantage point to see far into the future, a vantage point available only by the power of the Spirit. When earlier (17.1) the same angel invited John to see the harlot's future judgment he took him into the wilderness. In contrast it is from a mountain John is enabled to see the Jerusalem that shall descend from heaven at the beginning of the eternal order. The city is called the bride of the Lamb and consists of faithful believers. The bride is now the wife yet still clothed in the beauty of the bride. We have an inheritance “that fades not away.” (1 Peter
Although the Lord will be reigning during the Millennium there will be a battle at the end when Satan is released for a short time and gathers forces from hell and from those on the earth. In contrast the eternal state will have no sin. It will be holy and no unclean thing may enter. This is brought out in its description. The state of Jerusalem in the Millennium is wonderfully described in Isaiah 62.2-5. The shechinah glory will be over and around Jerusalem. Conditions on the earth will be wonderful in the Millennium but they will not be perfect because sinners will die at one hundred (Isaiah 65.20) and some will side with Satan when he is released briefly. The Lord is showing how sin can occur on earth under the best of circumstances as it did in the Garden of Eden. All this serves to show the perfection of the eternal order to be established after the Millennium and that we are kept by the power of God alone.
TISHREI 26. Reading: ZECHARIAH 14
Readings for Tishrei Day 26
The final chapter in Zechariah describes the Millennial Jerusalem
being shaped by a huge earthquake which will split the Mount of Olives, form a plain centred on Jerusalem which will be the headwaters of a vast spring from which will flow fresh water down to the Dead Sea and to the Mediterranean. The physical description of Jerusalem during the Millennial reign of the Messiah differs from that of the New Jerusalem of the eternal order described in Revelation 21 and 22. The former is for a thousand years and the latter is everlasting.
In this one chapter are eight mentions of the day of the Lord and ten of the name of Jerusalem. This specific time and specific location do not allow any spiritualizing of the events described. They are going to happen as described. These will be actual events. The day of the Lord refers to the time at the end of the Tribulation when the Lord is going to defeat in plain sight the foes of Israel and of His coming kingdom. Even if we cannot know now the date of these events we can see the circumstances will be grim immediately prior to the Lord's intervention. Jerusalem will be under attack from all nations gathered for the purpose. The city will be captured, houses pillaged, woman raped and half the population will go into captivity. Note that this is half the population of Jerusalem and not of the nation. However, there will be a remnant that will survive in the city. It is at this point that the Lord will intervene and stand on the Mount of Olives.
The Lord's presence immediately transforms the physical landscape. The Mount of Olives will be split in two north and south and form a large valley west-east through which the remnant shall flee Although one might think of the parting of the Red Sea, the Lord uses another flashback comparing it to an earthquake that occurred in the days of King Uzziah. who had begun reigning in 810 BC. This was an earthquake that the Lord used to bring deliverance to His people and defeat to their enemies. Uzziah was a very successful ruler but when he tried to assume the priestly role as well he was immediately afflicted with leprosy and spent the rest of his days in seclusion. Only the Messiah shall be both priest and king over Israel. When the remnant flees through the newly created valley the Lord says he shall come with his saints. Zechariah then mentions that there will be no light in that day. Amos (8.7-9) also associates eclipse like conditions with an earthquake in that day. Recall also that there was an earthquake and eclipse at Yeshua's death and on the day of the resurrection (Matthew
27. 45,51; 28.2). Such was the impact of the earthquake in Uzziah's day it could still be recalled 250 years later in Zechariah's day.(1)
The result of the Lord's coming to the Mount of Olives is that He shall be king over all the earth. This is yet to be fulfilled. With the Messiah as King, Jerusalem will be safely inhabited – something that can only occur when the King is in residence. The description of the manner of the destruction of those who fought against Jerusalem has caused some to compare it to the effects of a nuclear blast.
During the Messiah's reign
nations are to come up to worship at the feast of Tabernacles. Those who do not come up to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, will be punished. This distinguishes the Millennium from the eternal order to come into effect when the New Jerusalem appears. Millennial Jerusalem will be holy in every aspect, not only the pots before the altar but in every home. In the Temple there will be no Canaanite allowed. This refers to them as traders. There will be no buying and selling in the Temple. Yeshua cleansed the Temple of traders just before He died, establishing His messianic credentials in this respect.
TISHREI 26. Reading: REVELATION 22
The final reading describes the source of life in the eternal order and John is told to make known the revelation he has received. The importance of the prophecies is stressed; the Lord says three times that He is coming quickly, thus encouraging us to expect his return at any minute. A warning is given not to tamper with the prophecy by adding or removing anything from it.
Whereas the river in the Millennium flows from the earthly Jerusalem, in the New Jerusalem the river of the water of life
flows from the throne of God. This is a symbol of eternal life, which is also presented here as a tree. Adam and Eve had been denied access to the tree of life but the second Adam has opened the way through His death and resurrection. This tree yields fruit every month, signifying there is no time when it is not producing as with trees today. This life is not seasonal but eternal. The waters bring healing unlike those of the deluge which brought judgment. The curse that came with sin is gone and all its consequences removed. There will be no ongoing issues. God's servants will have His name on their foreheads. There will also be a name given known only to God and the person receiving it (Revelation 2.17). The reference to the name on the forehead and the secret name speak of how God deals with us individually. Furthermore they shall see His face and by His light see for ever.
John is told that the words he has heard are faithful and true and are to be believed as correct about what is to come. If we are servants of God we shall be shown the things that are to come. This is why it is important to study the prophecies given in Scripture. We are to keep the words
of the prophecy in Revelation. We keep them by knowing them and believing them in expectation that the Lord is coming quickly.
So overwhelmed is John by what he has seen and heard that he worships the angel who has been speaking to him. The angel's reaction is immediate, forbidding him to worship him because he is a fellow servant and brother of prophets and of those who keep the words of Revelation. The angel's reaction warns us not to worship anyone other than the Lord. Recall that the worship of himself is Satan's goal all along. One of the prophets indirectly referred to is Daniel. Daniel had been told to seal up his prophecy but John is told not to seal the words of the prophecy that he has received for the time is near. In that time there will be two classes: one is the unjust and filthy and the other is righteous and holy. Whatever nature you take into eternity will continue still, whether fallen or born again.
The Lord again declares He is coming quickly and that His reward is with Him, repeating what was said of the Lord God in Isaiah 40.10. What we seek is with God and no one else. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. The reward of His life is with Him. He originates all (Alpha) and brings it to completion (Omega). “Blessed are those who wash their robes” (verse 14) brings out that it is through Christ we are saved but that we are rewarded for our deeds. There will be a division between those who can enter the city and those who can not. The latter are described and include those who love and practise a lie. The Lord has sent His angel into the churches to testify to these things. Are the churches listening? The Lord identifies Himself as root and offspring of David – confirmed by Yeshua. The Morning Star alerts us to the Sun of Righteousness yet to rise in full view. The Bible's last “whosoever wills” reminds us that Christ's salvation is still on offer to anyone who desires it. Do not add to the prophecy or you will suffer the Tribulation plagues. If you subtract from it you will be subtracted from the Book of Life. “I heard your voice and was afraid,” said Adam but now we dare say: “Come, Lord Jesus.”
Below are print references cited in the notes for the readings:
, The Coming Prince. 10th edition. Kregel Classics. Grand Rapids. 1975. Originally published 1894
. Practical Studies in Revelation. Back to the Bible. Two Volumes. Lincoln,Nebraska.1970
Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G
. The Footsteps of the Messiah. Revised edition. Ariel Ministries. San Antonio. 2000
Gaebelein, Arno C
The Revelation: an Exposition. Loizeaux Brothers. New Jersey. 1961 reprint.
The Gospel of Matthew: an Exposition. Copyright 1910 by A.C. Gaebelein. Loiseaux Brothers. New Jersey. 1961 reprint.
, Matthew Henry's Commentary in one volume. Broad Oak Edition, Marshall Morgan & Scott, London, 1960
Lectures on Daniel the Prophet. Second edition 1920. Loiseaux Brothers. New Jersey. 1980 reprint.
Jones, Floyd Nolen
. The Chronology of the Old Testament. Revised and updated edition. Master Books. Green Forest, Arizona. 2009.
. The Works of Josephus. Complete and unabridged. Translated by Whiston, W (1667-1752). New Updated Edition. Hendrickson Publishers. Peabody, Massachusetts. 1988.
LaHaye, Tim, and Hindson, Ed
, Editors. The Popular Encyclopedia of Bible Prophecy. Harvest House. Eugene, Oregon.2004.
, (1606- 1675). A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. Four volumes. From the edition originally published by Oxford University press, 1859. Hendrickson Publishers. USA. 2nd printing 1995'
McGee, J Vernon
Reveling through Revelation. Two Volumes.Thru the Bible Books. Pasadena. 1962
Thru the Bible with J Vernon McGee. Five Volumes. Thru the Bible Radio. Pasadena. 1982.
NKJV Study Bible
. Scriptures taken from the New King James Version, Copyright©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved
. From Time Immemorial, the origins of the Arab-Jewish conflict over Palestine. JKAP Publications. USA. 2002. Reprint of original 1984 edition published by Harper and Row.
Unger, Merrill F
. Unger's Bible Dictionary. Moody Press. Chicago. 3RdEdition. 1974.
, ed. The Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible. AMG Publishers. Chattanooga, USA. 1996.
NOTES TO THE READINGS
Notes are numbered afresh for the double readings for each day of the month of Tishrei.
Readings for Tishrei Day 1
1.The thirty days of Tishrei straddle September - October. The first ten days of Tishrei are called the Days of Awe and finish on Yom Kippur.
2. The feast of trumpets is mandated in Leviticus 23.23-25. Readings relating to the feast of Trumpets include the following:
Leviticus 23.23 –25 The feast established.
Numbers 29.1 – 6 Sacrifices for the feast.
Matthew 24.29 – 31 The sound of the trumpet when the Messiah returns.
1 Corinthians 15.51 – 52 The last trumpet when the dead will be raised. Isaiah 27.2 – 13 The great trumpet blown at the restoration of Israel
3 Epp, Volume 1, page 14
4 Ibid., page 45
Readings for Tishrei Day 2
1 Note that the Church is a mystery not revealed in the Tanach (Old Testament) but only in the New Testament. Before the prophecies for Israel will be completed the Church will be raptured. See Fruchtenbaum, pages 651-695.
2. See LaHaye and Hindson, under “Daniel, Eschatology of”.
3. Fruchtenbaum, pages 19 and 20, has diagrams illustrating historical stages leading up to a one world government.
4 Epp, page 67
5 Such as Fruchtenbaum, LaHaye & Hindson
6 Fruchtenbaum assigns these dates.
Readings for Tishrei Day 3
1. “Accused” means “ate the pieces of, devoured piecemeal.” The term suggests slander and malicious accusations which devour the accused piece by piece. (NKJV Study Bible margin)
2The Revelation, page 41
3.Ibid., page 43
Readings for Tishrei Day 4
1. Ironside, page 61
2. Epp, Vol,2, page 8
3 Gaebelein, The Revelation Page 45
4 Ibid., page 46
Readings forTishrei Day 5
1. McGee, Thru the Bible, Vol 3, page 527
2. Ironside, page 93
3. Note that the Messiah is a priest from the tribe of Judah. He is not a priest from the tribe of Levi, and is of a different order – that of Melchizedek.
4. Epp, page 34
5. NKJV Study Bible, note to Revelation 5.5
Readings for Tishrei Day 6
1. Commentary on Daniel chapter 6, Thru the Bible
2. Fruchtenbaum, page 216. The second war is between the Antichrist and the Ten Kingdoms based on Daniel 11.40-45. Ibid., page 240.
Readings for Tishrei Day 7
1. Recall how Peter wanted to build tabernacles on the Mount of Transfiguration when he should have been listening to Yeshua. That is always our task – to listen to the Word of God. Matthew 17.1-9
2 The three quotes are from Ironside, page 125.
3 The four rulers were Ptolemy, Seleucus, Cassander, Lysimachus.
4 Josephus, Antiquitie of the Jews, book 11, chapter 8.
5 Fruchtenbaum, page 37.
6 Note that each Empire had a specific leader: Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander
7 Fruchtenbaum, page 220
8 Discussed in more detail in Daniel chapter 9.
Readings for Tishrei Day 8
1 The events in the book of Esther were later to take place there. Nehemiah was exiled there.
2 Epp, volume II, page 99.
3. “The symbolical meaning of this trumpet judgment is that all authority within the revived Roman Empire will be smitten by the hand from above and as a result there will be the most awful moral darkness.” Gaebelein, page 62. Fruchtenbaum (p.260) sees the stars as angels. This would make the trampled stars in Daniel 8 to be trampled angels.
Readings for Tishrei Day 9
1 For calculations, discussions and debates on the 70 weeks see Anderson, Jones, Fruchtenbaum, LaHaye & Hindson. The actual year is the 20th of the reign of Artaxerxes. Anderson uses 360 days as ' a prophetic year' and arrives at 444 BC and a crucifixion in 32 AD. Jones uses a 365 day year and arrives at a 454 BC as the start of the 70 weeks and a crucifixion in 30 AD. I use Jones' calculation.
2 Epp, volume II, page 118.
Readings for Tishrei Day 10
1. Readings specific to Yom Kippur include the following:
Leviticus 23.26 – 32 The feast mandated.
Leviticus 16 Priest’s role .
Numbers 29.7 – 11 Sacrifices for Yom Kippur.
John 1.29 The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Hebrews 9.11 – 10.22 Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.
Zechariah 12.10 -14 Israel mourns for the Messiah.
Readings for Tishrei Day 11
1.Cambyses, Pseudo-Smerdis, Darius I, Xerxes, to identify some not mentioned by name in the passage.
2. Recall that Moses was given the pattern of the heavenly tabernacle which was the model for the earthly temple built by Solomon.
Readings for Tishrei Day 12
1 Fruchtenbaum , page 178
2 Ibid., pages 543-563
Readings for Tishrei Day 13
1. Jeremiah 25.1, 11 The desolations (589-520) are distinct from the 70 years of servitude (606-536 BC) mentioned in Jeremiah 27.6-7; 28.14; 29.10 . The sometimes concurrent years of servitude and desolations may be found in chart form at www.biblebelievers.org.au/bb940715.htm
Readings or Tishrei Day 14
1. Fruchtenbaum, page 208
Readings for Tishrei Day 15
1 Today begins the eight day feast of Tabernacles. Readings relating to the feast include the following.
Leviticus 23.33 – 43 Live in booths and rejoice.
Numbers 29.12 – 39 Offerings for the feast.
John 7.1 – 31 Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles.
John 14.1 – 4 Jesus says He goes to prepare a place for us.
Revelation 21.3 The tabernacle of God is with men.
Zechariah 14.1 -21 The Messiah reigns
2. Fruchtenbaum, page 601
Readings for Tishrei Day 16
1. McGee, J.V. Reveling through Revelation, Part II, Page 36
Readings for Tishrei Day 18
1. Epp, Volume II, page 324
2 Fruchtenbaum, page 313
Readings for Tishrei Day 19
1. Epp, Volume II, page 337 "As long as the harlot, the apostate church, was on earth the marriage of the Lamb could not take place in heaven. But once the ecumenical , Antichrist church is destroyed in the middle of the Tribulation, then the marriage of the Lamb takes place.'
Readings for Tishrei Day 20
1. Gaebelein, The Revelation, page 136
2. Fruchtenbaum, pages 369-70
3. Gaebelein, The Revelation, pages 137-8
5. Mention of the Book of Life here indicates there had been opportunity to accept. They are judged by their deeds. Salvation is not by works but by faith in Christ. (Eph.2.8-9)
Readings for Tishrei Day 21
1. For a discussion by a contemporary Messianic believer see Jacob Prasch's sermon: One Messiah, Two comings at www.moriel.org
2. Fruchtenbaum, page 523
3. Lightfoot, volume 2, page 271, quotes from Babylonian Sanhedrin fol 98.1 on the way the two appearances of the Messiah were handled by one sage: “If the Israelites be good, then he shall come with the clouds of heaven; but if not good, then riding on an ass.”
Readings for Iishrei Day 22
1. See Joan Peters in From Time Immemorial for a thoroughly documented account of the Mandate period.
2. Gaebelein, The Gospel of Matthew,discusses the rejections in his comments on Chapter 22.
Readings for Tishrei Day 23
1. www.arlev.co.uk/zech23.htm - discussion on the significance of the trees
2. Quoted in www.blueletterbible.org/commentaries
Readings for Tishrei Day 24
1. Fruchtenbaum, page 309 ff
Readings for Tishrei Day 25
1. Zodhiates, gloss for Zechariah 13.7
Readings for Tishrei Day 26
1.www.biblefocus.net/consider/v21uzziah/eclipse%C2%AC_and_earthquake.html - discussion on the earthquake
Dates are from Floyd Jones, Chronology of the Old Testament, apart from those in square brackets.
The dates are chosen for their relevance to the prophecies and events in The Times of Tishrei.
626 [Jeremiah called to prophesy]
606 Nebuchadnezzar invades Judah
First deportation to Babylon. Daniel 1
604 Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the Four
597 Second deportation to Babylon
593 Ezekiel begins to prophesy
592 Glory departs from the Temple
588 Final siege of Jerusalem begins
586 Babylonians sack Jerusalem
539 Babylon falls to Darius the Mede
[First of the four empires replaced by the second]
536 Return under Zerubbabel
535 Foundation of Temple laid
533 [Daniel still alive]
522-518 [Zechariah prophesies in Jerusalem between these
520 Temple rebuilding begins
516 The Second Temple is completed
467 Ezra arrives in Jerusalem
455 Nehemiah learns of Jerusalem's status
454 Decree of Artaxerxes
Begins Daniel's 70 week to the Messiah
Wall of Jerusalem built and dedicated
331 Persian Empire falls to Alexander the Great
[The second of the four empires replaced by the third]
323 Alexander dies. Empire divided into four.
171 Antiochus Epiphanes plunders the Temple
168 Sow offered on altar in the Temple
63 Jerusalem taken by Pompey
[Third of the four empires replaced by the fourth]
40 Romans appoint Herod the Great king
4 Birth of John the Baptist and CHRIST
1 Beginning of the Christian Era
14 Augustus dies
26 Pontius Pilate Procurator of Judea
30 Crucifixion – Resurrection of our Lord
[69th week completed. 70th week held in abeyance]
54 Nero becomes Roman Emperor
70 Titus destroys Jerusalem
96 John the apostle banished to Patmos
Calendar for The Times of Tishrei to 2020
The starting date for the thirty days of Tishrei is also the feast of Trumpets, also called Rosh HaShanah or New Year. The ten days up the Day of Atonement are the Ten Days of Awe. The week of the celebration of Succot (Tabernacles) has an extra eighth day. The reading plan for The Times of Tishrei covers only 26 of the 30 days of Tishrei.
|| 29 September
|| 17 September
|| 9 October
|| 14 October
|| 3 October
DOWNLOAD "The Times of Tishrei"
(printable PDF format (648 KB), free for private, non-commercial use.)
Kevin D. Vincent, All Rights Reserved. Readers are free to print off individual pages for their own use but not to sell them to others.