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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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Then Came Sunday

Empty Tomb

And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun … And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. (Mark 16:2, 4)

The story of mankind is brief and straightforward despite the naturalistic stories invented by evolutionists. God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:26). God created man to enjoy fellowship with Him, but man erected a barrier between himself and God by his disobedience to God’s only command: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17). That disobedience brought the curse of death – separation from God who is life and the giver of life. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:25-26). Holy God cannot abide sin. “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?” (Psalm 94:20).

From that time on, innocent blood has been shed to cover or atone for the sins of man “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Starting with that first sacrificial lamb slaughtered by the Lamb of God (Genesis 3:21), the innocent pay the penalty for the sins of the guilty. So the sacrificial system began carried on by Abel (Genesis 4:4), Noah (Genesis 8:20) and the law delivered by Moses. But the practice failed to bridge the chasm rived by sin “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4).

This hopeless situation required a better and permanent solution. This was mankind’s problem and the responsibility fell upon man for resolution. But Holy God cannot be satisfied with anything less a perfect, sinless sacrifice. Only the blood of a perfect, sinless man would do. Where could such a man be found? For, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one … They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10, 12). Such a conundrum was no puzzle for an omniscient God. “[He] made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8). “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). So, God in human form died in the stead of His human creation, and He took upon Himself the penalty that was due to each one of us individually. This is an awesome thing! In all the world religions of man, man sacrifices himself to his god, but the Bible teaches that God sacrificed Himself for man. Is that not incredible!

So Jesus died on the cross at Passover. He became the sacrificial Lamb of God to atone for the sins of mankind. He took on the crushing blow of the curse of death. In His final words He declared, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), and He died. Death took its greatest prize, but then came Sunday! The curse of death was broken. “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life” (Romans 5:18).

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

(“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” – Isaac Watts, 1707)

His death on the cross covered our sins once and for all. His resurrection bridged the chasm of death separating sinful humanity from Holy God. He has made the way for you and for me. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). After all He has done for you, the least you can do is follow the way He has prepared. “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!”

 

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The Triumphal Entry

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26)

The Sunday before Resurrection Day (I dislike the term “Easter”[1]) is traditionally known as Palm Sunday. This is the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem presenting Himself as the long-awaited Messiah. Daniel predicted this presentation[2] to the exact day, and on the following Wednesday evening[3] (not Friday), Messiah was “cut off.”

The Prophet Zechariah foretold of the presentation like this: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9:9). All four Gospels record this event (Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19).[4] Many Bibles insert the title “The Triumphal Entry” before the passage. As one ponders the events that followed that week ending in His crucifixion, one wonders, “Where is the triumph?” In those days, conquering kings entered the conquered cities on a white steed amidst a grand procession of his conquered armies followed by his conquering troops. Jesus entered His city on a young donkey colt cheered on by humble peasants and followed by His bewildered disciples. Just a few days later the same crowd jeered at Him as He hung dying on a Roman cross while all His disciples, save one, were nowhere to be found.

We count His resurrection three days later as a triumph over death, from which we rest assured that our eternal life with Him is secure. But His entry into Jerusalem that fateful week was no triumph. Jesus Himself wept over the event. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37)

It is a misnomer to call His presentation on that Sunday a “triumphal entry.” That day yet awaits His return![5]

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:11-16)

When Jesus returns to reign on earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that will be His Triumphal Entry. On that day, He will enter on a white steed followed by a great host of His followers who will not retreat. “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7). That day is coming soon. Are you prepared to meet the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? If not read my page “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  “Easter’s Wrong” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2016/03/20/easters-wrong/

[2]  “Daniel 9:26 Commentary” by Precept Austin – https://www.preceptaustin.org/daniel_926

[3]  “Three Days, Three Nights” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2014/07/13/three-days-three-nights/

[4]  “Jesus’ Last Days” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2018/03/25/jesus-last-days/

[5]  “The King Is Coming!” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2017/04/09/the-king-is-coming/

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Limited Patience

For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. (Jeremiah 4:22)

Jeremiah prophesied at the time just before, during and after the Babylonian captivity of Judah. As I read the first chapters of Jeremiah, I recognized the United States in the litany of charges God leveled against the nation of Judah. I mourn as the words on the page ring true as applied to the nation that I love.

Judah abandoned God and turned to and worshiped demonic gods. They still went to the Temple and offered sacrifices, but it had become a meaningless routine. “To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me” (Jeremiah 6:20). They were going through the motions, but treating the LORD no different than any of the other gods they worshiped. By this point in their history, Judah had gradually fallen into idolatry in the course of 200 years or more. God had been patient with them sending prophet after prophet to warn them of the dangerous road they were on, but they did not listen. “Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it” (Jeremiah 6:19, emphasis mine).

God had it with Judah! On three separate occasions God told Jeremiah, “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jeremiah 7:16, emphasis mine). Imagine offending God so badly that He will not listen to the prayers of those who pray for you! This is how low Judah had sunk. “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble” (Jeremiah 11:14, emphasis mine). Judah had crossed the line. “Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them” (Jeremiah 11:11, emphasis mine). “Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good” (Jeremiah 14:11).

Judah’s list of sins was long and wicked. Not only did they worship idols fashioned after demonic gods, but they offered their babies as burnt sacrifices to these gods. They practiced sexual sins of all kinds. They took advantage of the poor and the widows. They listened to false prophets and rejected the prophets of God who spoke God’s truth like Jeremiah. This was no small thing and they breached the limit of God’s patience. Their rejection of God resulted in their demise at the hands of the Babylonians.

The warning God gave had both a short-term and a long-term application. The Babylonians carried out the short-term application and the Romans carried out the long-term application in A.D. 70 that lasted for almost 2000 years. However, God demonstrates His mercy in that He does not retain His anger forever. He also demonstrates His faithfulness in that He will not break His promise.

Although Israel and Judah were unfaithful to God with their idolatry, He determined to keep His word, not for any merit of this unfaithful nation, but because of His own integrity. He made a promise to Abraham long before Israel became a nation and the only collateral, He gave was His name.[1]God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19, emphasis mine).

As an object lesson, God instructed Jeremiah to go to the house of the potter. There, Jeremiah saw the potter working at the wheel forming a clay vessel. In the process, the vessel developed a flaw at which time the potter crushed it and started over until he completed a vessel that suited his liking. “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel” (Jeremiah 18:5-6).

We see the fulfillment of this prophecy today. For almost 2000 years the Jews wandered from country to country never having a homeland of their own. Linguists considered the Hebrew language a dead language. The Jews did not speak it, yet they maintained their identity as a people and carried on all of their traditions. They never assimilated into the cultures of the lands in which they lived. Then, on May 14, 1948 God brought them back into their Promised Land from all over the world, made them a nation once, and revived their dead language. No other people group in the history of the world had maintained their identity after such a dispersion. The Jewish people returning to their land and the rebirth of their nation is a miracle of God and a promise kept! Of this day the Prophet Isaiah said, “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Isaiah 66:8).

There is more to come for Israel. However, what is true for Israel is not necessarily true for the United States of America. We can see many parallels. Regardless of what revisionist historians say, America was founded on biblical principles giving glory to God for His providence. Four hundred years have gone by since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. For most of our History, God was central to our government and our nation, but slowly the leaven of humanism crept in and started eating away at our foundations. About 50 years ago, the cracks in the foundation became more obvious, until now they seem to have crumbled altogether.

One big difference sets America apart from Israel. God never made an unconditional promise to any one of our founding fathers, not even to George Washington. God made an unconditional promise to Abraham; therefore, Israel survives as a nation. We have no such guarantee. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12); but we, as a nation, have rejected God and made the earth our god. Unless we, as a nation, repent and return to God, no hope remains for our survival. I see no prospect of a national repentance. God’s patience is limited, and I fear we have breached the limit.

Yet, even though the nation crumbles – that seems evident to me – God’s people will survive. While God still has His people here, it is incumbent on His people to carry on His work until Jesus comes to take us home. As God’s people, we need to remember that this world is not our home.[2] We are citizens of heaven[3] and we are ambassadors of the king[4] in this foreign land. Let us do the work of an ambassador until the Lord closes down our embassy and calls us home.

If you do not know God and are unsure of where you will spend eternity, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Genesis 12:2-3; 13:15-16; 15:18

[2]  John 15:19

[3]  Philippians 3:20

[4]  2 Corinthians 5:20

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Preach It!

Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them … And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee. (Jeremiah 1:17, 19)

Sometime before the new year, I determined to do my daily Bible reading in my Spanish Bible (Reina-Valera 1960). I completed reading through the New Testament and started reading the major prophets in the Old Testament. I finished reading Isaiah (Isaías) and started reading Jeremiah (Jeremías) this week. When I came to the passage above, I sent it to my pastor as a word of encouragement.

Jeremiah lived in a time when Israel (the Northern Kingdom) had been taken captive by the Assyrians and Babylon was threatening Judah (the Southern Kingdom). These invasions were God’s judgement on the nation for their idolatry. Judah retained a form of religion. They observed all the prescribed feast days and performed all the required sacrifices, but pagan worship and rituals crept into their religious life. Whatever worship they offered God was insincere and offensive to God. His patience exhausted, God said, “… I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands” (Jeremiah 1:16).

So, God assigned Jeremiah to proclaim His Word to the people with the assurance that they would not want to hear the message. God warned that they would fight against him, and indeed they did. Jeremiah was abused, beaten, and cast into a muddy cistern because he tried to warn the people of what was coming. However, God encouraged him, “be not dismayed at their faces … they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee … to deliver thee.” It seems strange that God warns Jeremiah that He will “confound” him if he is dismayed by the angry looks he gets from his audience. The Geneva Bible notes that “God’s vengeance is prepared against them who do not execute their duty faithfully, either for fear of man, or for any other reason.” In other words, God is telling Jeremiah to speak boldly, without fear, or God will allow him to look foolish before his audience.

We live in a time very much like that of Jeremiah’s day. Forget the secular crowd; they make no pretense of religiosity. The church crowd that has adopted the ways of this world and tried to put a religious spin on it will be our opposition. This is Super Bowl Sunday. Think of all the churches that have cancelled Sunday night services so their congregants can stay home and watch the Super Bowl at home. And even if services are not cancelled, how many “Christians” will skip Sunday night services so they will not miss one minute of the Super Bowl?

That is just a small example. What about the churches that have incorporated “critical race theory” and “wokeness” into their practices? How about those churches that for a long-time now have rejected biblical teaching against homosexuality and women pastors? Not only do they embrace the practice but they allow them in their pulpits to preach! If you speak up against such things you will be ridiculed and labeled as a bigot, a racist, a homophobe, intolerant, etc. They will come at you with a vicious vengeance. As God told Jeremiah, “they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee.” Do you believe that? God says, “gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee.”

Paul exhorted his young protégé, Timothy to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). This exhortation does not apply only to “preachers.” It is meant for every one of Jesus’ witnesses. Like it or not, if you claim Jesus as your Savior, if you claim to be a Christian, then you are a witness of Jesus Christ, for good or bad. We have a message to proclaim, in season and out of season. In other words, when it is convenient and when it is not convenient. Many will not appreciate the message, especially those who fancy themselves to be religious and are not. The adage is true that “the truth hurts,” and you can expect pushback when you deliver God’s Word (not your word or opinion). However, as God told Jeremiah, “I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.” God is faithful, and He will keep His promise. The question is, do you really believe that? We live in evil days and God does not want us to go into hiding, but to be bold and proclaim His Word in the midst of opposition. HE will deliver us. We need not fear. Preach it!

If you are unsure of where you will spend eternity, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

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