Category Archives: Salvation

Miracle of the Incarnation*

Baby Jesus in Manger

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”

(John 1:14).

At Christmastime many of us take time to reflect on the birth of Christ and the miracle of His incarnation; but His birth was not a miracle.  Jesus came into this world like billions of babies before Him and like billions of babies after Him.  Yes, the angels announced His birth to humble “shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8), and some magi saw “His star in the east” and came “to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2); but His birth, as special as it was, was no miracle.  A line in a favorite Christmas carol says, “The cattle are lowing, the dear baby wakes; but little Lord Jesus no crying He makes.” That is a sweet sentiment, but it is completely false.  Jesus cried at His birth just like any other baby.  He wet and soiled his diapers, just like any other baby.  He took nourishment from Mary’s breasts as any baby would from its mother.  There was nothing miraculous in any of that.

The miracle was not in His birth, but in His incarnation as a zygote in a virgin’s womb.  Skeptics challenge this on the impossibility of a virgin conceiving without the natural function of a man, but the impossibility of such a thing is what qualifies it as a “miracle.”  Mary expressed the same concerns when the angel relayed the news of her impending pregnancy.  The angel assured her that “with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).  This was in keeping with and in the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy saying “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).  Critics will point out that the Hebrew word translated “virgin” here is ‘almā, which strictly translated means “young woman.”  However, the translators of the Septuagint translated the same Hebrew word into the Greek parthenos, which has no other meaning than “virgin.”  This is the same Greek word that Matthew uses when he points to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “Behold, a virgin [parthenos] shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23).

Another problem arises with Jesus’ lineage.  He was prophesied to be in the line of David the king (2 Samuel 7:12-13, 16).  This promise was confirmed to Mary by the angel Gabriel: “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32).  Matthew presents an ancestral line (Matthew 1:1-17) that disagrees with the ancestral line presented by Luke (Luke 3:23-38).  Matthew traces Jesus’ genealogy through Joseph, His adoptive father.  This line is the “legal” line to the throne of David; however, this line had been cursed by God at the time of Jehoiachin (Coniah) shortly before Judah fell to the Babylonian empire.  Jeremiah records: “Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man [Coniah] childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:30).  Luke, on the other hand, records Jesus’ genealogy through Mary who takes a branch through Nathan, another son of David.  This line escaped the curse.

That resolves the legality issue of Jesus’ right to David’s throne, but now we have another problem.  Since the conception was “parthenogenetic,” that would imply that Jesus received at least part of His genes (His DNA) from Mary.  Mary, being human, is under the curse of original sin, as we all are.  That being the case, Jesus could not be the sinless sacrifice required to atone for our sin.  The Roman Catholic Church recognized this dilemma early on and attempted to resolve the problem by proclaiming Mary sinless.  To achieve this status, they further proclaimed that she was immaculately conceived, i.e., she too was virgin-born.  That begs the question then, how was Mary immaculately conceived, if her mother had a sin nature?  And what about her grandmother, and her great-grandmother, etc.  If one follows that line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, one comes to Eve in the Garden of Eden, and it is generally accepted that Eve sinned.  The solution cannot be in Mary’s sinless nature, for she, herself, was in need of a Savior.  “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46-47).

The truth is, that if one of Mary’s ova was used in the conception, Jesus would have inherited our sin nature.  Even half of a sin nature is full of sin for “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9).   In his book, The Chemistry of the Blood (Zondervan, 1943), Dr. M. R. DeHann attempted to resolve this problem based on the idea that it is the blood that makes atonement for sin (Hebrews 9:22).  He concluded that since the embryo develops its own blood, and since there is no blood exchanged between the embryo and its mother, therefore Jesus’ blood was sinless.  At first sight, this may look like a good solution, however, the embryo develops its own blood based on the genes that it gets from its parents.  There is no DNA in red blood cells, but there is DNA in an ovum, and Mary’s ova were contaminated.

The only reasonable solution that remains is that Jesus’ earthly body was a wholly (and yes, “holy”) and unique creation without the inherited sin nature of any human parent.  Understandably, the objection immediately arises that He, therefore, could not really be considered fully human.  To answer that objection, we must recall the creation of the “first Adam” (Genesis 1:27; 2:7).  God created man from the dust of the ground, including his DNA.  There was no human agent required for this process.  It should not be a stretch, therefore, to accept that God created an entirely new body for the “Second Adam.”  It should also not stretch the imagination, in our technological age, to understand that this new creation was implanted into Mary’s womb to be carried to term.  Mary was the “surrogate” mother of Jesus.  She contributed none of her DNA to give Him life, and therefore she contributed none of her sin nature.  Mary’s little lamb was truly “without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19).  Conceived in this way He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26), and because He developed in the womb from a zygote, He was “made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).  Jesus understood this. Once …

While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.  Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.  But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?  And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother (Matthew 12:46-50)

There is substantial scriptural support for the argument that Jesus’ body was an entirely new creation.  He “was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).  Before His condescension, in conversation with His Father “he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me” (Hebrews 10:5).  It was the Divine plan from the beginning that the Savior “Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20) would come to be the ransom for our sin.  Paul tells us that “The first man [Adam] is of the earth, earthy: the second man [Jesus] is the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:47).  John tells us that “The Word was made flesh” (John 1:14).  This is as it should be “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22).

The miracle was the incarnation, not the birth.  It is an awesome thing to consider that the Creator of heaven and earth, would prepare for Himself a body of the same kind as His creation, begin life as a single human cell, go through the process of development in the womb of a virgin girl, pass through the birth canal, gasp for His first breath, grow up as a child and experience all the bumps and bruises of growing up, grow into manhood, only to give His life in the place of His fallen creation, so that we might experience life eternal with Him.  Who could conceive such a plan except a loving God!  It is too marvelous for words.

Merry Christmas!

*NOTE: This article was inspired by my Sunday school teacher and friend, Henry M. Morris III, D.Min., in a lesson he presented to our class on December 16, 2012.  Dr. Morris is CEO of the Institute for Creation Research, Dallas, Texas.

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I’m Thankful

Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. (1 Chronicles 29:11-13)

We have once again arrived at that time of year when we set aside a special time to give thanks to God for all the blessings He has lavished on us. We can focus on the commercialization of the season; following right on the heels of that demonic “holiday” that glorifies death (which is highly commercialized). The focus then quickly changes to the “Holidays,” formerly known as Christmas, without even a cursory mention of Thanksgiving Day. Over the years, I have beaten this dead horse with no sign of revival. I have come to the realization that “it is what it is,” so all I can do is practice what I preach regardless of what others do.

Four years ago, I wrote “One Was Thankful” where I detail the attitude of gratitude, so there is no need for a rehash here. I would encourage my readers to follow the link and read the article. I think I did a fair job of handling the topic. In addition, I have other articles on Thanksgiving Day that I will share on Facebook throughout the week of Thanksgiving. For now, I want to share some of the things for which I am thankful.

First of all, I thank God for life. When God created man,[1] He breathed His breath into his nostrils.[2] What a precious gift, the breath of God, withheld from all other creatures. Only mankind has this special spark of life, and it is eternal. So special is human life that God demands capital punishment for that taking of human life. He even requires that of animals that take human life.[3] The psalmist put it like this: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14). He goes on to describe God’s handiwork in the development of a baby in the womb,[4] which directly confronts those who would kill a baby at any stage of development. Every breath that I take, and every beat of my heart is a precious gift from God, which He can take whenever He wills.

Second, I thank God for eternal life. The Bible says that we all have sinned[5] and we are due the wages for that sin, which is death.[6] With no prospect of rectifying the matter on our own, God took on human flesh[7] and took the penalty of sin upon Himself in order so that we might be saved.[8] It seems too easy, but our only requirement is that we believe in Him and what He has accomplished by His death and resurrection by faith. I made that choice 66 years ago at the age of six and my faith in Him has only grown and has never disappointed. Because I know that my life is His, I know that when He comes to call His children home, or if He calls me home in death, I will be with Him for eternity in a place that I am sure is far more beautiful than that the Apostle John could describe.[9]

Third, I thank God for my wife. She blesses my life daily and has done so for over 34 years. I know she truly loves me even when I am not so loveable.

Fourth, I am thankful for family. I am thankful for Christian parents that were instrumental in leading me to Christ. I am thankful for my brothers and sister who love the Lord and for the love we have for one another. I am also thankful for my wife’s family who has taken me in as a real part of their family. We are family! And I am thankful that we all love the Lord and share that common bond.

Fifth, I am thankful for my church family. In my many years as a Christian, I have found that whenever I am among Christian, even those I have never met, I am among family; I never feel out of place. That sense of family is exponentially stronger in our local church. There we do share one another’s burdens and rejoice with the joy of others. We are truly brothers and sisters in Christ.

Finally, I am thankful for all the “stuff” with which God has blessed us (June and me). We have a house, our home. We have two, not-too-old vehicles. We have no debt. We have more clothes than our closets will accommodate. We have plenty of food to eat. We are blessed with good health. We live in a wonderful town filled with wonderful people. All of these things, as described in the leading verse above, come from the hand of God who richly blesses us even though we are undeserving. When God has so richly lavished His love on us, spiritually and materially, how can we be anything but thankful! God is good, and I am so thankful for Who He is and for His love for me. He loves you, too.

Dear reader, do you know this great and loving God? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Genesis 1:26-28

[2]  Genesis 2:7

[3]  Genesis 9:5-6

[4]  Psalm 139:15-16

[5]  Romans 3:10, 23

[6]  Romans 6:23

[7]  John 1:14; Philippians 2:5-11

[8]  Romans 5:8

[9]  Revelation 21-22

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Transformed Not Conformed

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

As our world grows continually darker, it becomes more and more difficult to distinguish between Christians and non-believers. Surely one can find “Christians” in church, but how about outside the walls of the church? Can you spot them? Very often, no clear distinction exists. Christians, by and large, behave much like unbelievers and often one will find non-believers doing “Christian” good deeds.

Vladimir Putin mounted his righteous steed and recently criticized the “west” – mainly the United States – for the immorality it was exporting to the rest of the world: homosexuality, pedophilia, pornography, gender dysphoria, abortion, etc. These sins provoke his hatred for the west, and he wants to protect Russia from such evil. His strong talk makes one think Putin is a righteous man and perhaps a strong Christian. His speech really puts us to shame. However, do not let his righteous blather fool you. Putin is a cold-blooded killer who has no regard for human life and has no problem killing innocent people.

One cannot judge the condition of a man’s heart by the words that exit his lips. On the other hand, one cannot necessarily judge a man’s heart by his “good” deeds “for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

Yet, for the Christian, God has a standard of conduct that He expects from His children. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9, emphasis mine). Royalty carries with it certain expectations. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [i.e., “life conduct”]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16, emphasis mine). To be “holy” simply means to be set apart from the world; to be “consecrated,” i.e., set aside for the service of God.

So, there should be a clear distinction between a Christian and a non-believer. We may dress like the world – hopefully in modesty and not in a way to call attention to ourselves. However, the likeness should stop there. A Christian should not exhibit fear because of world conditions knowing that our Lord and our Redemption is very near; that should be a cause for joy, not dread. Our faces should express deep joy and peace. Our speech should be pure and free of profanity. “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful [i.e., “full of pit/compassion”], be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9). More could be added to the list, but this should make the point.

How does one accomplish such a feat? Certainly not in our own strength or by our own efforts. Paul gives us the simple formula in our starting verses (Romans 12:1-2). Paul says to “present” your bodies. The word in the Greek means “to place a person or thing at one’s disposal.” Your body is that thing that transports your soul from place to place and is often the thing that carries you into sin by “the lust of the flesh” (1 John 2:16). We need to place our bodies at God’s disposal.

Your body needs to be a “living sacrifice.” Normally, a sacrifice must die. Paul says, “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:19-20, emphasis mine). We are dead to sin and the law, but we are alive through faith in Christ who died for us. Hence, our sacrifice is a “living” one, and a “holy” one that is set apart for God.

Understanding what Jesus did on our behalf, it is logical (“reasonable”) that we should render our service or “worship” to God, and this is a pleasing and “acceptable” sacrifice or offering to Him.

In order to offer God an “acceptable” sacrifice, we must not “conform” or take the shape of this world. “World” translates the Greek word aiōn, meaning “an age.” “The word used here properly denotes an age, or generation of people.”[1] Do not allow this age, this world in which we live, to mold you into its form. Rather, be “transformed,” (i.e., metamorphosed) by the renewing of your mind. There is a new adage for the computer age that says “garbage in, garbage out.” What you put into your mind affects much of what you think and do. So, the opposite is also true: good things in/ good things out. That comes through the constant feeding on God’s Word and prayer. When you do this, you will “prove” (i.e., “test”) “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”

What is the “will of God”? “For whom [God] did foreknow [i.e., “His children], he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29, emphasis mine). Do you want to know what God’s will is for your life? There it is! His will is that you be “conformed,” not to this world, but to the “image of His Son.”

What shape have you taken on, that of the world or that of Christ? Please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life” and make sure you are in the right shape.

Notes:

[1]  “Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible”

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Answering For What You Know

And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; (Daniel 5:22)

Following the death of Nebuchadnezzar in 562 B.C., Babylon started to decline from its former glory. Evil-Merodach succeeded his father and reigned for two years. He was murdered by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar (referred to as Nergal-Sharezer in Jeremiah 39:3, 13), in 560 B.C. He reigned four years, died in 556 B.C., and was succeeded by his young son, Labashi-Marduk, who ruled for two months and was assassinated by Nebonitus. Although Nebonitus became king, his interests in restoring the religion of the moon god, Sin, kept him away from Babylon for 10 out of the 17 years he reigned. In his stead, he named his son, Belshazzar as coregent of the kingdom.[1]

On October 12, 539 B.C., while the Persian army, led by Ugbaru, besieged Babylon, Belshazzar threw a party for 1000 of his nobles proudly trusting in the impregnable walls of that great city. Babylon straddled the banks of the Euphrates River. The river’s entrance and exit through the city were protected by iron-bar gates preventing man or beast from passing through. The Persians were not so easily deterred. While Belshazzar partied, the Persians were busy diverting the waters of the Euphrates so that the flow through the middle of the city dried up. The dry riverbed now provided unrestricted entry into the city, and the Persians caught the Babylonians with their proverbial pants down. Considering the engineering effort to divert the Euphrates around the city, it seems apparent that no one was watching. The Persians conquered Babylon, they killed Belshazzar, and Nebonitus was somewhere in Arabia clueless that he lost his kingdom.

In the middle of all of this drama, Daniel records the final night of Babylon’s glory.[2] As the wine freely flowed into vessels taken from God’s Temple in Jerusalem, Belshazzar saw “the fingers of a man’s hand” writing on the wall. The “vision” so terrified him that he lost control of his bowels.[3] The writing was real. It was not imagined. Belshazzar called his “wise” men to interpret the writing, but they failed. Then Belshazzar’s mother remembered about Daniel and his abilities, so she came to the king to offer advice. “There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.” (Daniel 5:11-12).

Belshazzar called for Daniel and offered him a third of the kingdom if he would interpret the writing. Such status would put Daniel on equal standing with Nebonitus and Belshazzar. However, Daniel refused the offer. He knew it would be short-lived anyway; he knew what was coming. Rather than meet the request directly, Daniel recited Nebuchadnezzar’s history.[4]

O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father[5] a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. (Daniel 5:18-21, emphasis mine)

Daniel charged Belshazzar with the same pride that brought Nebuchadnezzar down. “And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this” (Daniel 5:22, emphasis mine). Belshazzar was not ignorant of this fairly recent history, and yet he blasphemed the only God that could save him.

He knew this, and God held him accountable for what he knew to be true. He would answer for it. Daniel read the writing and gave the interpretation:

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. (Daniel 5:25-28, emphasis mine)

“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old” (Daniel 5:30-31).

God has given every human on earth enough information so that they can recognize and worship Him as God. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20, emphasis mine).

Indeed, Paul says that those who do not know the law of God follow that law instinctively. “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” (Romans 2:14-15, emphasis mine).

Everyone will have to answer for what they know. However, God’s standard requires perfection, and no one – whether knowing the written law of God, or whether knowing the law of God instinctively – can keep the law perfectly. And James says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10, emphasis mine). In the end, everyone will have to answer for what they know. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works … and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:12-15, emphasis mine).

Reader, Jesus is coming very soon. Are you prepared to meet Him? Now especially, having read this, you will answer for what you know. There is only one way to avoid that judgment. Ask Jesus to be your Savior. Please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Victor Books, SP Publications Inc., 1985), p. 1344.

[2]  Daniel 5

[3]  Daniel 5:6 “his loins were loosed”

[4]  Recorded in Daniel 4

[5]  Belshazzar was not related to Nebuchadnezzar. The term “father” is used as a metaphor meaning predecessor or founder.

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Tisha B’Av

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

At the posting of this article, August 6-7, 2022, Jews everywhere solemnly observe Tisha B’Av or the Ninth of Av. Av is the fifth month on the Jewish calendar which begins with the month of Nissan. Christians, for the most part, are ignorant of Jewish observations and feasts; but the same God that gave observations to the Jews is not a God who does things arbitrarily or at random and without purpose, and He does not change. So, even though Christians are under a different “covenant” than the Jews, that does not render these observations meaningless. It behooves Christians to study and understand the Jewish feasts and observances because, while they may not directly apply to us, they have great significance in our understanding of our God.

Tisha B’Av, like Purim and Chanukah, was not given by God as one of His seven Feasts of the Lord.[1] These “observances” were started by the Jews as memorials to God’s intervention in the life of the nation. Purim looks back to God’s salvation of the Jews that were in Babylon from the hand of Haman.[2] Chanukah commemorated the miraculous preservation of the oil in the menorah for eight days at the cleansing of the Temple after it was desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes.[3]  

Tisha B’Av, however, reminds the Jews of God’s judgments on the nation for one sin or another. These judgments always fell on the Ninth of Av beginning when 10 of the 12 spies sent to spy out the Promised Land returned with a bad report.[4] The website “Rapture Ready” lists 29 judgments against the Jews from Av 9, 1312 BC to Av 9, 2020 AD.[5]

Perhaps the most significant judgments to the Jews were those involving the Temple. The Babylonians razed Solomon’s Temple on Av 9, 586 BC. The Romans destroyed the second temple, Herod’s Temple, on Av 9, 70 AD. Pete Garcia, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, suggests the possibility (not the inevitability) that the Rapture of the Church could take place this year on Tisha B’Av.[6] (I recommend that you read his article in the link provided below. He goes into much greater detail than I plan to go into here.) Pete got his idea from Greg Lauer,[7] another student and teacher of end-times prophecy. (I recommend that you read his lengthy article as well. He goes into great detail to develop his theory and he employs sound logic in doing so. You can find the link to his article in the endnotes below.)

In brief, here is the summary of the idea that the Rapture could take place on Tisha B’Av – perhaps even today, August 7, 2022. By way of disclaimer, allow me to emphasize that neither of these men are setting a date for the Rapture, which “of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36). We cannot know the exact day or the hour; however, we can observe the signs and the season so that we should be ready. Therefore, Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:13). How can we watch if we do not know what to watch for?

We already see many of the signs of which Jesus spoke[8] taking place: Israel reborn, wars and rumors of wars, famines, and pestilences, economic collapse, worldwide hatred of Israel, the formulation of the Gog of Magog alliance,[9] [10] etc. These “labor pains” are increasing in number and frequency alerting us to the soon return of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. However, before that happens, the Church must be removed, and that is where the idea of the Rapture on Tisha B’Av comes to play.

Here is the idea in a nutshell. When Solomon dedicated the first temple, the glory of God filled the Temple to the point that the priests could not minister in the Temple.[11] Several hundred years later, the Prophet Ezekiel records seeing the glory of God depart the Temple.[12] The Babylonians then entered Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple of God on Av 9, 586 BC.

After 70 years of captivity, the Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon and Cyrus allowed the Jews to return and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. There is no record that this second temple enjoyed the filling by the glory of God. It was not until the time of Christ that the Temple experienced the presence of God in the form of Jesus Christ. Recall how at the cleansing Jesus declared, “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:13, emphasis mine). Of course, we know what happened later. The Jews rejected and crucified their Messiah during Passover, 30 AD (or 33 AD, the exact year is debatable). As a result, the Romans destroyed the Temple on Av 9, 70 AD.

The First Temple enjoyed the presence of God the Father. The Second Temple enjoyed the presence of God the Son. There is yet a Third Temple that enjoys the presence of God the Holy Spirit. Where might that Temple be? “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). The Holy Spirit resides within believers, the Church, the Bride of Christ. This Temple restrains Satan’s forces on earth and must be removed in order for God’s judgment to come upon the God-rejecting world. “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now [restrains] will [restrain], until he [i.e., the Holy Spirit] be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, emphasis mine). When the Holy Spirit is taken “out of the way,” He will take His Temple with Him. This is what we understand as “the Rapture” of the Church.

So, since God does not do things arbitrarily or at random, it makes sense that the “Third Temple,” belonging to the Holy Spirit should also be removed, like the first two, on Tisha B’Av. If not today, then next year, or the next.

No man knows the day or the hour when Jesus will call His Bride home. As His Bride, we should be prepared daily for Him to call us home. It does not necessarily have to be on Tisha B’Av. It could be on Rosh HaShanah, or perhaps on Pentecost or any day when we least expect it. The point is to be ready and watching daily. We have work to do, and when our Lord calls us home, we want Him to find us working to increase His kingdom.

Are you ready to meet Jesus? If not, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  “Rosh HaShanah” — https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/10/03/rosh-hashanah/

[2]  Read the book of Esther.

[3]  Read the apocryphal books of the Maccabees.

[4]  Numbers13:25-14:12

[5]  https://www.raptureready.com/2021/07/15/the-ninth-of-av-tisha-bav-by-jeff-van-hatten/

[6]  “This B’Av Rapture?” — https://www.rev310.net/post/tish-b-av-rapture

[7]  “A Pattern with a Hole” — https://www.alittlestrength.com/articles/2022/2206-pattern.htm

[8]  Matthew 24

[9]  Ezekiel 38-39

[10]  “Magog, Tubal, and Persia” — https://erniecarrasco.com/2022/07/24/magog-tubal-and-persia/

[11]  2 Chronicles 5:11-14

[12]  Ezekiel 9:3; 10:18

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