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THE LAST DAYS CALENDAR
Understanding God's Appointed Times
Messiah and the prophets spoke the prophetic word
The Western church views Scripture from a Greek Mind-set and within the culture and context of a Hellenized society and pagan Roman solar calendar. They hold to a linear view of history and have compartmentalized thinking – segmenting ideas by defining them a placing them neatly into a box. Therefore, if the members of a denomination or even a local church disagree on certain doctrines both sides believe that they are exclusively right and they may split and form a new denomination or church.
On the other hand, the prophets and writers of the Gospels and New Testament epistles gave forth the Scriptures under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit within the culture and context of a life lived as prescribed in the Torah and according to the lunar Hebrew calendar. The Hebrew view of history is cyclical and the Hebrew Mind-set is of whole-living. The distinction between the two mind-sets arises from the difference between doing and knowing. The Hebrew is concerned with practice, the Greek with knowledge. Right conduct is the ultimate concern of the Hebrew, right thinking that of the Greek.
According to Hebrew understanding, the Scriptures have a depth of meanings and applications. There are four modes of rabbinic interpretation:
P'shat ('simple') -- this is the plain and literal, basic and simple meaning of the text which more modern scholars would call “grammatical-historical exegesis,” using the grammar and the language and the historical setting to decide the plain meaning of a textual passage.
For example: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
The p’shat or simple and plain understanding in this is that God created everything.
Remez ('hint') -- this is where a word, phrase, or some other element in the passage 'hints' as a truth not conveyed by the plain and simple p'shat level of understanding.
But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.” Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,” ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” Matthew 21:15-16
Jesus quoted from Psalm 8:2: From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
Why has God ordained praise from their lips? - To silence his enemies. Jesus is hinting that the enemies of God are the chief priests and Torah teachers of his day.
Drash or midrash ("search") -- this is a further step of interpretation that is more removed. It is method of allegorical or homiletic application by the individual where the text of the scripture can be used to validly reveal a truth that was not even related to the passage under examination.
Paul in Galatians 4:21-31 uses drash in his allegory of Hagar and Sarah by using the historical account of Abraham’s wife and her maidservant as representing two covenants.
Sod ("secret") – means that the mystical or hidden meaning can be arrived at by investigating the correlation of Hebrew letters, numerical values, unusual spellings, transposing letters and reinterpreting words, etc. In other words, this level assumes that God hides the deepest meanings in the smallest letters or number values of the Hebrew words.
The Hebrew view of life is cyclical. The seasons, the Torah cycle, the biblical cycle of Festivals roll on to the future but each cycle supports the one beneath. Sixty seconds complete the sweep of the minute hand. But if there are only 59 seconds, the next minute cannot begin. When a person rides a bicycle, every circular rotation of the tires moves the rider forward. Though time linear, it progresses forward through the cycles of seconds, minutes and hours.
In order to better understand the prophetic passages of Scripture concerning the Return of Christ it is not only necessary to view them from a Hebraic mind-set but also have an understanding of the Moedim – The Appointed Times of God, which are the Festivals of Yahweh.
Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed Deuteronomy 16:16
The three pilgrimage festivals not only were times of thanksgiving for the LORD’s deliverance and provision but are prophetic pictures and symbolic of the triune nature of God and his relationship to his betrothed.
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:27-28
And they sang a new song: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. Revelation 5:9
The first pilgrimage festival is the Passover. Pesach not only looks back to the redemption of Israel from Egypt but both portrays the 2nd person of the Trinity, the Lamb of God, and is a prophetic picture of the future payment of the bridal price.
On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command:
"Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. Acts 1:4
The Feast of Weeks (Shavout) or Pentecost not only represents the Holy Spirit but is a prophetic picture of the promised bridal gift.
I will put my dwelling place (literally – my tabernacle) among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.
The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), not only speaks of God our Father but is a prophetic picture of the wedding feast of the betrothed bride of Christ
Jesus Christ fulfilled the spring cycle of biblical festivals in His First Advent by instituting the New Covenant at the Passover, being entombed during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, resurrecting on the Festival of Firstfruits and sending the promised Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
To better understand what the Bible reveals concerning the Second Coming of Christ, we need to be familiar with the typologies of the wheat and grape harvests, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Jubilee as well as the customs and practices associated with a Hebraic wedding ceremony. I believe that my book, THE LAST DAYS CALENDAR makes a clear connection between the “fall cycle” of biblical festivals and the return of Christ as well as sheds new light on Chanukah – the Feast of Dedication recorded in John 10.
THE LAST DAYS CALENDAR
Steven L. Sherman, 2003
Millions of Christians anticipate a secret and silent, pre-tribulation rapture, whisking them away to the glorious marriage supper of the Lamb. This concept is alluring. It would be a source of comfort to not pass through a coming great tribulation. Although this doctrine has wide appeal, does biblical evidence confirm it as truth? The author contends from biblical prophecy that in the foreseeable future even those who have enjoyed religious freedom with be persecuted for faith in Christ. 238 pages, paper.