Tag Archives: Heavenly host

Victorious Entrance

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)

This Sunday, March 28, celebrates Palm Sunday when we commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in the final week of His earthly ministry. We term this event as the “Triumphal Entry,” but in many respects, the term is a misnomer.

Daniel predicted the event to the very day of its occurrence. “Seventy weeks [70 x 7 years, or 490 years] are determined upon thy people [Israel or the Jews] and upon thy holy city [Jerusalem], to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness [beginning with the Millennial reign of Messiah], and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy [Messiah]. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem [decreed by Artaxerxes Longimanus, 444 BC] unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks [7 x 7 or 49 years], and [plus] threescore and two weeks [62 x 7 or 434 years; 49 + 434 = 483 years]: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 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 9:24-26, emphasis mine). Daniel divides the 490 years (70 weeks) into three segments of 49, 434, and 7 years. The first segment began when Artaxerxes Longimanus issued the fourth decree to rebuild Jerusalem with its walls in 444 BC, and ended in 395 BC when the project was completed – 49 years.[1] The next segment encompassed the 400+ “silent years” until Jesus, Messiah, entered into Jerusalem. Four hundred eighty three (483) years were fulfilled at that time and the final segment of seven years remains to be fulfilled. At the end of the 483 years, to the very day, Jesus, Messiah, was “cut off” at the cross.

The prophet, Zechariah, predicted that the Messiah would present Himself riding on a donkey. “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, emphasis mine). All four Gospel writers record this event from their unique perspectives.[2] Most Bibles that use sub-title divisions of chapters title this event as the “Triumphal Entry.” However, Jesus did not enter Jerusalem as conquering king. He presented Himself as the Melek Shâlêm, the King of Peace. A conquering king would have presented himself with great pomp and ceremony,[3] riding on a white charger followed by his conquering armies, parading the spoils of his conquests.

Jesus entered humbly as the King of Peace. His week would end with a tortuous, humiliating death on a Roman cross. From a human perspective, that hardly qualifies as a triumph. However, the following Sunday, the earth shook[4] as Jesus ripped apart the chains of death and conquered man’s final enemy.[5] “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). Yet, we still die physically, but our spirit lives on. “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). One day, even physical death will be lost even to the memory. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death” (Revelation 20:14). Our present bodies (whether alive or dead) will be transformed into eternal bodies like the body of the resurrected Christ. “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we [who are living at the time] shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:50-53, emphasis mine).

Jesus conquered death at His resurrection, but He has yet to enter Jerusalem in triumph. Our starting verse above, Revelation 19:11-16, describes His real Triumphal Entry. He will enter Jerusalem from His departure point on the Mount of Olives riding on a white horse – not a donkey this time. He will be followed by His heavenly hosts (angelic armies) and by the spoils of His victory, His saints, all riding white horses and dressed in white robes – no weapons in hand. When His foot touches Earth, the Mount of Olives will split in two,[6] half to the north and half to the south. From there He will travel north to the Jezreel Valley, for the Battle of Armageddon. That too is a misnomer, because it will be no battle at all. “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” (Revelation 19:15, emphasis mine). That “sword” out of His mouth is His Word. He will speak and the “battle” will be over. “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).

Now, that is a Triumphal Entry!

The current events of our world signal that the time of Jesus’ Victorious Entrance is soon approaching. He will come for His Bride, the Church, at any moment; although we do not know when. However, if the signs indicate that His return is near, that means the catching up of His Bride is even closer. Soon after that, Daniel’s final week, the last seven years known as the Tribulation, will begin. Those who are not snatched away by Jesus will remain on earth to suffer through the judgments of God like at no other time in world history. If you are not sure where you stand with Jesus, you can escape that awful time by putting your trust in Him as your Savior. Read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  John F Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary- Old Testament, (SP Publications, 1985), p.1363.

[2]  Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19

[3]  “The Triumphal Entry,” — https://erniecarrasco.com/2019/04/14/the-triumphal-entry/

[4]  Matthew 28:2

[5]  1 Corinthians 15:26

[6]  Zechariah 14:4

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A Loving God

Bible-God Is Love

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)

In my last post, “An Angry God,” I tried to perhaps shock readers back into an awareness of the awesomeness of God, by calling attention to the wrath He is capable of displaying. However, He more often restrains His anger because of His mercy.

It is said that familiarity breeds contempt, and that is exactly what happens when all we consider is the kinder, longsuffering, patient and loving side of God. We put Him on a shelf until we need something from Him, and then we plead with all of our heart for Him to answer our prayers. We live our lives no differently than the rest of the world so that an uninterested observer can see no difference between the Christian and the pagan.

God is not someone to be trifled with. Indeed, if He were to confront us, we would be overcome with fear, and we would shake and fall down as dead men (Matthew 28:4). The prophet Isaiah came face to face with the living God (Isaiah 6:1-5). He saw Him high, and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. He was surrounded by angels who continually chanted, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.” At the sight of it all, Isaiah’s strength departed, and he cried out, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (v. 5). When Peter recognized the power of Christ “he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord” (Luke 5:8). When John saw Jesus in all of His Glory, he said, “when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17). God should not be taken lightly or taken for granted. He is GOD!

creating_adamThat said, God is a loving God. It is no accident that we find his first loving acts in the creation account in the book of Genesis. In the process of creation, Genesis records that He called all things into being only by His spoken Word. But when He created man, He made him in His own image. Not only that, but Chapter Two provides added detail telling us that “the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). The English word “formed” is the Hebrew word yâtsar which means to mold as a potter might mold a lump of clay to his liking. God took extra care in designing a body like the one He would one day inhabit.

ExpulsionFromEden

Later after the man sinned by disobeying God’s only prohibition, instead of carrying out the prescribed sentence – “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, emphasis added) – God spared their lives and provided for future redemption: “And I will put enmity between thee [Satan] and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

When Cain murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4), instead of killing him on the spot, God put a mark on Cain to protect him from a vendetta that might have been raised against him.

ark2Almost 1600 years later (Genesis 6-9) mankind had become so wicked and violent that God was ready to end it all. “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8), and God saved His prized creation in saving Noah and his family.

God is often criticized for His order to the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites including men, women, children and their animals. The Canaanites were vile, wicked people who practiced child sacrifice and included all kinds of sexual perversions including the use of animals (bestiality) in the worship of the demonic gods – all of which is abhorrent to God. But God did not destroy them all at once as He did Sodom and Gomorrah. Instead, he gave opportunity for the witness of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to have an effect as they sojourned in their land. God spoke to Abraham, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years … But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:13, 16, emphasis added). God allowed for the repentance of these pagans during the time that the Patriarchs were in the land, plus 430 years that Israel was in Egyptian captivity, and 40 more years as Israel wandered the wilderness. That was a total of around 600 years that they had to repent. It may be worth noting, that while God commanded that they wipe them all out to purge the land of their wickedness, Israel did not fully obey God in killing them all. Consequently, they continually struggled with the lure of idolatry, which eventually destroyed the nation. God demonstrates His love through the patience He shows toward sinners in giving them every opportunity to repent, but His patience has limits.

Much more could be said about the love of God, but in the words of the old hymn:

Could we with ink the ocean fill, and were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.
(“The Love of God,” Frederick M. Lehman, 1917.)

The greatest act of God’s love was demonstrated when He took upon Himself the form of man, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). God’s love is so great that He paid the death penalty in His own flesh to save us from the wrath to come. The wrath of God is nothing to be trifled with, but His love is extended to anyone who is willing to receive it.

 

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