Dual Fulfillment to Ezekiel’s Dry Bones Prophecy

Valley of Dry Bones

So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.”’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
~Ezekiel 37:7-10

In Ezekiel 36-37 we find the prophet of God predicting the restoration of Israel.  In a vision from God, Ezekiel sees a valley of dry bones come together, stand and live!  Ezekiel 37:11-12 tells us clearly that this resurrection is of the whole house of Israel, thus there is no dispute as to who the prophets speaks of, or what the miracle is.

But do we know the dual fulfillment of the prophecy and understand its gravity?

Bodily, physical fulfillment of the prophecy is perhaps easiest to recognize.  Israel’s population has blossomed to about 9 million, the vast majority of whom are Jewish.  Rising from the ashes of the Holocaust, Israel is not only alive, but is a thriving, successful and powerful country.

But the restoration of Israel, as prophesied in Ezekiel 36-37 (and elsewhere) is not simply a physical one.  It is also a spiritual one.  After all, Ezekiel 37:14 tells us the Lord will put His Spirit within them and they will come to life.  That is more than physical life….that is spiritual life.

Certainly we know the prophecy has neither been fulfilled 100% physically nor spiritually.  We know Jews continue to return home, and we know Jews, in general, are still not spiritually alive.

But there is great news in that regard!  The Spirit of the Lord is definitely stirring and we should rejoice as we pray for His Spirit to continue falling upon the Jewish people.  Here are a few prophecy-fulfilling facts:

  • In 1948, there were about 10 million Jews worldwide who survived the Holocaust, about 600,000 who lived in Israel.
  • Of those, it is believed only 23 believed in Yeshua the Messiah, and there were no Messianic congregations in Israel.
  • By 1989, Israel’s Jewish population reached about 3.5 million and 1,200 Jewish believers attended about 30 Messianic congregations.
  • Ten years later, Israel was home to 81 Messianic congregations and 5,000 believers.  Israel’s Jewish population was 4.8 million.
  • In 2017, at least 300 Messianic congregations could be found in Israel.  Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult to accurately identify the number of Jewish believers, but a conservative estimate is 30,000.

As you can see, growth has been exponential, not linear.  The Spirit of the Lord is moving!  We know God is not done with Israel, and that His Word will prove completely true in time.

Romans 11:26 says that, ultimately, all Israel will be saved, and that passage goes on to promise this:

The Deliverer will come from Zion,
He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.”
This is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

A day is coming, dear friends, when God will fulfill His promises to Israel.  But guess what.  That will occur after the “fullness of Gentiles” comes in.  God is going to finish His plan with the Jewish people after the rapture!

We are watching the ground being laid for prophecies AFTER the rapture.  Thus, we have to understand the rapture is imminent.  No one knows the day of the hour, but as wise followers of Jesus, we are to know and understand the season in which we live.

The season is coming to an end.  Are you ready?

Fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles and Our Eternal Choice

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The Feast of Tabernacles…the “in gathering.”  Either way you look at it, this feast represents God’s promise to bring believers together, and to live with us (“tabernacle with us”) for eternity!

Jews around the world continue to celebrate Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which began at sundown on Sunday, with joy and celebration, as they have moved through their season of repentance (Yom Kippur) and now enjoy this wonderful feast.

Related imageMany, particularly in Israel, build temporary booths (tabernacles) in which to gather their family to eat, live and sometimes sleep in them, commemorating their wandering in the wilderness and the Lord’s “in gathering” of them to the Promised Land.  There are even very small versions set Image result for sukkahup on balconies of Israeli apartments!

But God has ordained so much more in this feast.  One day, the Lord will fulfill the Romans 11:26 promise to save all Israel, and Gentile believers will be gathered with Jewish believers to worship the King of Kings during the Feast of Tabernacles.

But, whether Jew or Gentile, there is an eternal choice to be made.  Amir Tsarfati explains the true meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles and that eternal choice.  It is very timely as we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.  Enjoy!

 

Stay tuned for more interesting details about the Feast of Tabernacles tomorrow!

Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles …what Does it All Mean?

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If you study Jewish culture and tradition, you are likely aware that we’re in the midst of the fall feasts of Israel.  There are 7 major feasts, originally prescribed in Scripture, but lived out in either secular context or rabbinic context by most Jews.  The first three (Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits) are bunched tightly together in the spring, Pentecost follows 50 days later, then three more feasts (Feasts of Trumpets, Yom Kippur/Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles) are bunched tightly together in the fall.  Jewish feasts and festivals follow a lunar calendar, so do not occur on the same day each year on our Gregorian calendar.  Also, days on the Hebrew calendar begin at sundown.

This year, the Feast of Trumpets commenced at sundown on September 10.  It is also known as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish civil new year, so is marked by celebration and great joy.  That feast is followed by 10 “days of awe” when Jews fast, pray, examine their lives, repent, forgive and prepare for Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  It is a very somber day for Jews, as many wail in repentance, attempting to insure their names are written in the Book of Life.  This year, Yom Kippur occurred between sundown on September 18 and sundown September 19…just a few days ago!  Next up is the Feast of Tabernacles, which is a 7-day feast, beginning on September 23 this year.

But what does it all mean?  Well, on more than one occasion we have discussed each feast and provided Biblical evidence that Jesus is the fulfillment.  (Here and here, for example)  Today, we’ll go a different direction.

Among believers, there are different ideas about Jesus’ fulfillment of the feasts and what it means for us as Christians.  Some of those ideas are just plain wrong.  For example, some say, because the Jews rejected Jesus, the church has replaced Israel and Jesus’ fulfillment of the feasts now applies to the church.  WRONG!  God has not rejected the Jews (read Romans 11:1-2), and the feasts still apply to Israel.

Another common misconception among believers is that, because a trumpet will sound at the rapture, it will occur on the Feast of Trumpets.  But we must understand at least two simple things:

  1. Trumpets are mentioned many times in Scripture, not simply at the rapture.  Thus, the Feast of Trumpets cannot be limited simply a signal of the rapture.
  2. The feasts are Jewish and apply to Israel…not Christians!  God did not implement the feasts as a “Christian thing,” but rather a “Jewish thing!”  Thus, it is highly unlikely the rapture will happen on the Feast of Trumpets!

At the rapture, the trumpet will sound from heaven, but only believers will hear it as we are snatched rapidly from this earth.  However, another trumpet will sound at the Second Coming of Jesus…when He physically returns to earth, stepping foot on the Mount of Olives at the end of the Tribulation.  Revelation tells us that we (“saints,” believers) will be with Him.  Thus, that trumpet is meant for unbelieving Jews, and WILL occur on the Feast of Trumpets, as Jesus fulfills that feast!

The progression of feasts will follow.  The trumpet will announce the coming of Jesus (Feast of Trumpets). Jews will “mourn for Him” and “weep bitterly” (Zechariah 12:10), fulfilling the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur).  Then, Jesus will tabernacle with them (Feast of Tabernacles).  By God’s grace, all the nations of the world will be invited to go up to Jerusalem to worship at the Feast of Tabernacles, making that the only feast not fully Jewish!  (Zechariah 14:16-18)

Image result for feast of trumpetsNow, one last thing.  In Numbers 10, God commanded Moses to make 2 silver trumpets, then gave him instructions for using them.  Trumpets were sounded to gather and assemble the congregation.  That’s what the trumpets will do for both Christians at the rapture and Jews at the Second Coming!

But why two trumpets…and why silver?  The Old Testament (Isaiah 43:8-13) indicates Israel will gather the nations together and will be a witness.  The New Testament (Acts 1:6-8) identifies Christians (the church) as a witness.  Thus, two trumpets…Israel and the church…are blown to warn the world of what is to come.

Interestingly, silver is precious, but not perfect.  Such is the case with Israel and with the church….precious in God’s sight, though not perfect!

There is so much more to the feasts, the trumpets and all  the other symbolism God has given us in His Word to help us understand the days and times in which we live!  Over the past few days, we have focused on world events that assure us we are living in the last days.  Isn’t it good to know that, despite what might seem “scary” to some, God has laid out His plan for us and it cannot be thwarted!  We are safe in the plans of the One who fulfills those feasts!

I hope you are encouraged by these things!  Check back tomorrow, as we’ll talk more about the Feast of Tabernacles, which is quickly approaching on the Hebrew calendar!

Shalom!

Russia is Furious! What Does that Mean for Israel?

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Russian IL-20 (Photo credit: Avionews)

Major news outlets have confirmed Israeli airstrikes in and around Latakia, Syria on Monday.  In the midst of the attacks, a Russian-made S-200 anti-aircraft defense system activated by Syrian forces, inadvertently shot down a Russian IL-20 that was on reconnaissance over the Mediterranean Sea.  While Russian President Vladimir Putin cited “tragic chance events” publicly, Russia’s Defense Ministry clearly blamed Israel for irresponsible actions that led to the downing of the Russian aircraft.  In fact, Israel’s ambassador to Russia was summoned and rebuked for the action taken by Israel.

But here is what the media will not tell you: potentially, there are significant Biblical implications to what is happening in and around Syria.  Let’s set the stage:

Syria serves as host to many nations, rebel groups and terrorists vying for power in that war-torn land.  Not surprisingly, the Bible is more accurate than today’s news!  Ezekiel 38 describes a coalition that will invade Israel in what is known as the War of Gog and Magog.  A trio of modern-day nations, currently entrenched in Syria, will lead that coalition: Russia, Iran and Turkey.  Verse 4 says God Himself will put a “hook in the jaw” of Gog, a Russian czar who will lead the invasion, and drag him down from the “remote parts of the north” (verse 6).

Today, Russia patrols the Syrian-Israeli border, Iran has very actively moved weapons and troops into Syria (which may be what prompted Monday night’s attack), and Turkish President Erdogan is marking his territory with troops and bluster in Syria as well.  One could make a strong argument that the “hook in the jaw” has already been set, God has drawn Gog and his allies down to Israel’s border, and will soon draw them to the mountains of Israel (where they will ultimately be defeated by the Lord).

But tensions ratcheted up on Monday, leaving Russia embarrassed and furious.  Why?

  • The Russians claim Israel did not provide sufficient warning before launching airstrikes.  Thus, furious at Israel.
  • A Russian plane, along with 15 airmen, was shot down…by a Russian-made defense system fired by Syria.  Thus, furious at Syria, but embarrassed that their own defense system did not identify the aircraft as Russian.
  • Israeli F-16’s are accused of having “hidden behind” the Russian IL-20 to avoid return attacks from the S-200 defense system.  Thus, embarrassed, yet furious at Israel for those tactics.  (It is unclear if the allegation is true, as reports indicate IAF F-16’s were back in Israeli airspace when the Russian plane was hit.)

Though not widely reported, undertones suggest Russia views the US as the instigator behind Israel’s attack (or at least very much in favor of it), and is viewing Israel as a US “proxy.” Thus, Putin is hinting that any action taken by either Israel or the US may result in direct attacks upon Israel.  To make matters worse, a very significant influx (perhaps doubling or more) of Russian fighter jets, cargo planes and other military equipment has occurred at bases not only in Syria, but in Iran as well, just since the Latakia attacks!  They are preparing a multiple front against Israel.

If all is accurate, the gravity of the situation is extreme.  Imagine Israel continuing to take preemptive action in Syria.  While Russia has allowed them to come in and take care of business in certain areas, Russia is now thoroughly embarrassed and likely not in a cooperative mood.  Yet, Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders have consistently said they will not allow Iran to build up their military in Syria and threaten Israel’s security.  At the moment, Idlib is the focus of attention in Syria (at least in the media), as that is the last rebel stronghold.  However, Damascus is the real barometer.  Interestingly, Israeli officials just released a satellite photo of Assad’s palace in Damascus.  Why?  Who knows!

Secondly, imagine Russia declaring war on Israel.  They are certainly laying the foundation of their rationale when they imply that Israel will be the whipping boy if the US or its allies take action.  A French warship apparently fired off missiles during the attack on Latakia.  The Polish president requested the US to build a large military base in Poland (a former Russian ally!)  Israel is cutting deals with Greece, Cyprus and others to supply oil and gas to Europe (in place of Russian exports). There is plenty of activity taking place by US-NATO allies.

Is it conceivable that Russia could declare war on Israel?  My answer is this: the Bible is more accurate than today’s headlines.  Through the prophet Ezekiel, God has warned that Gog (Russian leader) will indeed lead a coalition into Israel “to capture spoil and to seize plunder” (Ezekiel 38:12).  Vladimir Putin is very “Gog-like,” and is certainly in a position and has all the necessary motivation to fulfill what the Word of God says will one day take place.

The question is: Could it be soon?

So, here is my challenge to you:  Pull up and read any news article about what is happening with Russia and Iran inside Syria right now, then slowly and carefully read Ezekiel 38.  See for yourself if the headlines or the Bible is more accurate.

As a believer, these are exciting times, as we know our time on earth may be coming to an end.  For others, these are dreadful times, as the Bible describes the terrible days of the tribulation that will follow our departure in the rapture.  It is time to wake up, and to determine on which side of the fence we stand!

Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.  The night is almost gone, and the day is near.
~Romans 13:11-12