Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - March 14, 2017

Today's Reading:

Matthew 15:1-20

Leviticus 24-25

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11

Listen to the Bible








Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In today's reading from Leviticus, we find the mention of Sabbatical Years and Jubilees. This is a very important, highly misunderstood, and hotly debated topic, which I would like to prayerfully address today.
In Biblical times, an ancient city was protected by its massive walls and its alert watchmen. The watchmen’s duty was to sound the alarm if anything threatening to the city’s safety was sighted outside the city walls. But the watchmen had another responsibility as well. It was the watchmen’s job to know what time it was. Throughout the night, citizens could call out to the watchmen, “Watchman, what of the night?” This question meant, “What time is it?” And a good watchman would always be able to faithfully tell the time. Spiritually, we are all called to be watchmen. This means that we should know what time it is, prophetically speaking. Discerning the times requires an understanding of Yahweh’s holy Appointed Times, Sabbatical Years and Jubilees.
Isaiah 21:11 - “He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night (which means, what time is it?)?”  

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 - “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.  For yourselves know perfectly that the Day of Yahweh so cometh as a thief in the night...  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that Day should overtake you as a thief.  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us WATCH and be sober.”

We have all heard the Bible prophecy warning that the Day of Messiah’s Return will come as a great surprise—like a thief in the night. But what isn’t as well known is the fact that our Heavenly King’s Arrival shouldn’t come as a shock to His people. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 makes it plain that only those who are in spiritual darkness will be caught unawares by the timing of Christ’s Return. What prophetic key do the people of Yahweh possess which enables them to watch and be sober, knowing the time of their King’s Return?

The keys, which allow God’s people to be good watchmen, discerning the hour of the night, are the TIMES and SEASONS.

Paul’s reference to times and seasons in 1 Thessalonians 5:1 is translated from the Greek words chronos and kairos. According to the Strong’s Concordance, kairos refers to “set times”. And since the context is clearly refering to Yahweh’s people who walk in light and not darkness, these “set times” must be Yahweh’s Appointed Times. But the Greek word meanings are somewhat vague, as compared to these same terms in Hebrew. The Old Testament (which is translated from Hebrew) references to “times” and “seasons” are much more clearly defined.

What are the TIMES and SEASONS, which Reveal the Timing of Messiah’s Return? 

SEASONS—as it appears in Genesis 1:14—is translated from the Hebrew word mô‛êd (Strong’s Concordance # 4150). This word means:
“An appointment... a fixed time or season; specifically a festival... solemn feast... (set) time.”
The Feasts of Yahweh, set in place by Him at Creation (Genesis 1:14), are listed in Leviticus Chapter 23. There are seven annual Sabbaths, as well as annual holy days, which are not listed as Sabbaths (ie: Passover, First Fruits, and the days between the first and last days of Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles.) God’s Feasts are shown on this wheel:

What do the Feasts of Yahweh (the Lord) have to do with the Saviour’s Return and the End of the World? The same Hebrew word (mo’ed, #4150), which is translated as “feasts” (Leviticus 23) and “seasons” (Gen. 1:14), appears in Daniel 8:19 and in Daniel 11:35. In both of these cases, the Hebrew word mo’ed is translated as “Time Appointed” and specifically references the “end of the world”.
Daniel 8:19 - “...Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last End of the Indignation: for at the Time Appointed the End shall be.”
In plain English, God told us, through the prophet Daniel that the world would end (and Christ would return) on a Feast Day—specifically the first Day of Tabernacles, which prophetically points to the time when God dwells with man. Clearly, our Heavenly Father's Appointed Times do indeed pinpoint the Day of Yahshua’s (Jesus's) Return. But what about the year? 

One must know the year also, if Yahshua’s (Jesus's) Return is not to come as a surprise.
Actually, God has appointed far more than annual Holy Days alone as set times for prophetic events. Yahweh has given us a cycle of Sabbatical Years and Jubilees. Since ancient times, it has long been known that our King will come on the final Jubilee. Thus, if one can pinpoint the year of the final Jubilee, one can rightly identify the year of Yahshua’s Return.

Before we proceed on this, we must first address the question of whether or not we should know the year. This is especially difficult to deal with because most of us have been deeply ingrained with the idea that we can’t know the timing of His Return. Yet, the Scriptural prophecy in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 clearly tells us that we not only can know it, but we will know it, if indeed we are children of the Light. Not only is it plainly stated that we will know the timing of Messiah’s Second Coming, it is also indicated in the prophetic types.

For example, in the prophetic type of the watchmen, as we have already seen, the watchman must know the time. In addition, we are prophetically called to be Christ’s Bride. And what bride does not know the timing of her wedding? And then, of course, there’s the Jubilees. What would be the point of establishing the structure of the Jubilees if Yahshua (Jesus) didn’t intend to fulfill them with His Return?

So where did the idea come from that we couldn’t or shouldn’t look into the timing of Yahshua’s Return? Many have misunderstood Yahshua’s Words in Matthew 24:36:

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, but My Father only.”
Understanding the expression “No man knows the day or hour” is not possible
by simply taking the English translation literally. In his book Signs In the Heavens, Avi BenMordechai explains what “no man knows the day or hour” truly means from a Hebraic perspective. Rather than being a literal term, it is a figure of speech.

There are many figures of speech, also known as “idioms” in Scripture. For example, when the Word tells us that Yahweh owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalms 50:10), it isn’t intended to be taken literally. Does He not also own the cattle on the 1001st hill? Of course He does! The number 1000 is a Hebrew idiom. It means “complete, all-encompassing”. In other words, saying that our Heavenly Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills actually means that Yahweh owns everything.

In the same way, the expression “no man knows the day or the hour” cannot be understood correctly, if taken literally. So what does it mean?

The Feast of Trumpets takes place on the New Moon of the Seventh month. The timing of this Feast dictates the timing of all the Feasts of the Seventh Biblical month because the rest of them are calculated by counting from the Feast of Trumpets.

As Avi Ben Morchechai explains, the expression “no man knows the day or the hour” is an idiom referring to the Feast of Trumpets. Since one didn’t know which day this Feast would actually fall upon (without sighting the new moon sliver in the sky) this Feast came to be referred to in this manner. But it never meant that end-time watchmen shouldn’t study the timing of the King’s Return! Such a concept ignores huge chunks of Bible prophey—all for one terribly misunderstood verse!

By misunderstanding Matthew 24:36, we end up ignoring every other time prophecy in Scripture. In so doing, we lose our ability to be effective watchmen who know the hour of the night. It is appropriate to discern the prophetic times with respect to the Sabbatical Years and Jubilee Years cycle.

The next issue to address is: Is the Jubilee Cycle 49 Years or 50 Years? How Can We Determine the Timing of the Next Jubilee?
Leviticus 25:10 - And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a JUBILEE unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession,and ye shall return every man unto his family.” 
How does one go about calculating the next Jubilee? There are two issues which much be considered in order to correctly calculate the future Jubilee. First, one must know—beyond question—the year of at least one past Jubilee. The Jubilee Year which we will be using will be the year of Christ’s Crucifixion. We know that Messiah was Crucified in a Jubilee Year because of Luke 4:18-19. Here He read from Isaiah’s Jubilee prophecy proclaiming freedom to the captives. He concluded by stating, “This day is this fulfilled in your ears...” Once the Crucifixion year is nailed down, it is a simple matter of addition to arrive at any future Jubilee.

That brings us to the next issue: are Jubilees calculated by adding 49 years, or by adding 50 years to the date of a known Jubilee? The Book of Jubilees indicates that Jubilees are 49 years apart. This claim is because the Book of Jubilees makes the 50th year of the Jubilee cycle the first year of the next Jubilee cycle. But this cannot be the correct way to calculate Jubilees, as it is not the original way. The older way, according to the Encyclopedia Judaica, was in use when Solomon’s Temple (the first Temple) stood. Originally, Jubilees were calculated by adding 50 years to the last Jubilee date, not 49.

“Why are the Jews confused (about Jubilee timing)? Because they did not obey God. They admit that when the First Temple stood, full fifty-year cycles were used.”  
(Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol 2. pp 579-580)
As we can see from the statement above, the way Jubilees were calculated when Solomon’s
Temple stood was by adding 50 years—not 49. Since Solomon’s Temple was indwelt by God’s visible Presence (His Shekinah Glory), it is a fair assumption to believe that Solomon knew how to correctly calculate Jubilees.

Next, to determine the final Jubilee, we must nail down a past Jubilee, from which to add 50’s. There is a great deal of argument about which years were Jubilees. Some say the year of the Exodus was a Jubilee. Others claim that Israel’s first year of occupation in Canaan was a Jubilee. There is only one historical year that is known to be a Jubilee—without question: the year of Christ’s Crucifixion.

We know that Yahshua died in a Jubilee year because He had come to set the captives free, fulfilling the Jubilee prophecies (all but one). In addition, in Luke 4:18-19 we have the Saviour’s Own Testimony plainly stating that it was a Jubilee. In , we find the story of Yahshua standing up in the Synagogue on the Sabbath and reading from the scroll of Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1-2). The prophecy He read was regarding the “Acceptable Year of Yahweh”, which is a Jubilee reference. The Jubilee year was given the title of the "Acceptable Year of the Lord."

Christ read the portions of this Passage which pertained to setting the captives at liberty (a Jubilee promise) and being anointed by Yahweh to preach good tidings to the meek. But He stopped reading before finishing Isaiah 61:2. He did not read the part of the prophecy which foretold the “Day of Vengeance”. That portion of the Jubilee prophecy was not to be fulfilled in the year of His Crucifixion. That portion of Isaiah’s prophecy will be fulfilled in the final Jubilee, which will indeed be the day of setting the captives at liberty and the Day of Vengeance of our God.
Isaiah 61:1-2 - “The spirit of Yahweh GOD is upon Me; because Yahweh hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;  To proclaim the Acceptable Year of Yahweh, and the Day of Vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.”
But while most Bible scholars agree that Yahshua died on a Jubilee year, there is a tremendous amount of disagreement about pinpointing the precise year of His death. Some say the Crucifixion took place in 33 AD, others say it was 31 AD. At first, it appears that calculating Jubilees by the Crucifixion year will be impossible. But actually, there is a tremendous amount of evidence to show that 28 AD was the year of Yahshua’s Crucifixion
 —thereby pinpointing 28 AD as the Jubilee year, from which to calculate future Jubilee years.

Because Scripture tells us that John the Baptist was baptizing in the Jordan River in 27 AD (which was the 15th Year of Tiberius’ reign - Luke 3:1), and because most Christians believe Yahshua ministered for 3.5 years, the idea of 28 AD being the year of the Crucifixion seems impossible. But actually, as is well documented in Michael Rood's Chronological Gospels, and in my DVD series called Daniel's Prophetic Keys on Messiah, Yahshua ministered for 490 Days, which applied figuratively as years (Numbers 14:34) in the first fulfillment and literally as exactly 490 days in the life and ministry of Messiah. This was just as Yah foretold through His prophet Daniel:
Daniel 9:24-26 - “ Seventy weeks are determined upon Thy people and upon Thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity... And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off.”
The second prophecy to support a one year ministry of Messiah is the prophecy of the Passover Lamb. Every part of the shadow picture of the lamb was fulfilled in Christ. The lamb was without spot or blemish (Exodus 12:5) because our Saviour was sinless and without any impurity. The Passover lamb had to be male (Exodus 12:5), because Yahshua was a Man. The lamb’s blood was shed on the 14th day of Abib (Passover) (Exodus 12:6), because our Saviour’s Blood would be shed on this precise day.

Every part of the Passover lamb prophecy was fulfilled in Messiah. Yet, we often forget the age of the Passover lamb. According to Exodus 12:5, the Passover lamb had to be a male lamb of the first year (meaning it was not yet two years old). Yahshua fulfilled this part of the prophecy also—not in dying before the age of two years old, of course—but in holding the role of Passover Lamb for 490 literal days (which is under two years).

In other words, from the moment that John the Baptist proclaimed Yahshua to be the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” until the time of Yahshua’s Death, Yahshua was the Passover Lamb. This period of time was just a little over one year—fulfilling the 1 year part of the Passover lamb prophecy. Yahshua was 30 years old, of course. But His role as the Passover Lamb began with John’s pronouncement at His baptism. Yahshua’s role as our Passover Lamb concluded with His Death, literally just over a year later.
John 1:29 - “The next day John seeth Yahshua coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. ”
Josephus, Eusebius, and numerous other early Christian historians—and even the disciples themselves—wrote of Yahshua’s one year ministry and plainly stated that 28 AD was indeed a Jubilee year.  For the purpose of this article, several of these quotations are listed in the grey column on the right. Thus, we can definitively state that 28 AD was the year of Yahshua’s Crucifixion—and was unequivocally a Jubilee. We now have a point for calculation So, with 28 AD as the Jubilee in which our Saviour Died, and with the older calculation method of adding 50 for each Jubilee cycle, we are ready to calculate the next Jubilee. 
But before we lay that out plainly, we need to add one more vital detail to the picture. Actually, the next Jubilee is bigger than just being another Jubilee. The next Jubilee is the final Jubilee—the one which Isaiah foretold would be the Day of Vengeance of our God and the ultimate time in which the land (earth) would be restored to its original owner (Yahweh), as is foreshadowed in the Jubilee promises (Leviticus 25:3-13).

Yahweh gave a powerful prophecy in Genesis 6:3. Prophecies have literal and figurative levels of fulfillment. Most have understood Genesis 6:3 in a literal application. But this prophecy also applies figuratively, in numbering the Jubilee cycles.
Genesis 6:3-“My Spirit shall not always strive with man. His days shall be one hundred and twenty.”
Luke 17:26-“And as it was in the days of Noe (Noah), so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.”  
“Noah preached to the people of his time that God would give them one hundred and twenty years in which to repent of their sins and find refuge in the ark; but they refused the gracious invitation.” RH, October 20, 1885
Since with Yahweh one day is as a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8), 120 Jubilee cycles brings us to a total of one week of Yahweh’s Time:

50 (years in a Jubilee cycle)
x 120 (total Jubilee cycles) = 6000 (years)
6000 years = 120 Jubilees
7000th year = Sabbath—The Millennium, in which the land rests

Here are some more interesting ways the Jubilees group together:

40 Jubilees—from Adam to Abraham
40 Jubilees—from Abraham to Yahshua
+ 40 Jubilees—from Yahshua to the Final Jubilee
= 120 Jubilees

Paul refers to the groupings of Jubilees, labeling each epoch. The first 50 Jubilees, from Adam to Moses, Paul called the Reign of Death (Romans 5:12-14 & 17-21). And the final 70 Jubilees, from Moses to the End of the World, Paul called the Reign of Grace through Righteousness unto Eternal Life. This yields the following Jubilee groupings:

50 Jubilees from Adam to Moses (
“The Reign of Death”)
+ 70 Jubilees from Moses to the Final Jubilee (“The Reign of Grace Through Righteousness unto Eternal Life”)
= 120 Jubilees                      
What is most exciting about this is not just the realization that Yahweh has appointed a total of 120 Jubilee cycles to mankind (during the time of sin) but also that there have been already exactly 119 Jubilees since Adam! This means that the next Jubilee is the 120th, or last Jubilee, in which our King will return! 
So when is the next Jubilee? Calculating 50-year cycles from 28 AD (the year of the Crucifixion) brings us to 2028 (see the grey panel on the left).

There is one more powerful time prophecy to consider, which only adds verification to this very exciting picture. The prophet Hosea referred to the time when Yahshua would die. He also foretold that from that point, it would be two days more and then, in the third day, we would dwell in Yahweh’s Sight. Remembering 2 Peter 3:8—which tells us that a day = 1000 years— 2028 is two thousand years (2 days), precisely, from the year of the Crucifixion. And in the third “day” we truly will dwell in His Sight! The prophecy is found in Hosea 6:1-3.

Hosea 6:1-3 - “Come, and let us return unto Yahweh: for He hath torn (Yahshua took our stripes upon Himself at Calvary), and He will heal us (by His Stripes, we are healed); He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His Sight...”
This amazing time prophecy fits in perfectly with Daniel 9:24-26, which foretells that Messiah would be cut off in the midst of the week. This happened literally, and prophetically, in that the history of earth including the final millennium is one week of Yahweh’s time (1 day being 1000 years). It also fits the time prophecy of Habakkuk as shown in the table below: 
 There is one detail more to fit into this prophetic picture, if indeed we will be the time-aware watchmen Yahweh is calling us to be. We need to consider the Sabbatical-year cycle, which is part of the Jubilee cycle. In the time of Joseph, Yahweh’s Sabbatical-year cycle was a big factor in the story of the 7 years of preparation followed by the 7 years of dearth / famine.

In the cycle of Jubilees, Yahweh has established seven periods of seven years. The seventh year in each cycle is a Sabbatical year, called a Shemittah year in Hebrew. When seven cycles of Sabbaticals are complete, 49 years will have transpired. The fiftieth year, which is the Jubilee, follows the final Shemittah year (49th year) of the cycle.
Leviticus 25:8-10 - “And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years...  And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a Jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession...”
If indeed 28 AD was the Crucifixion year, than 2028 is the 120th Jubilee. This means that we are currently in the 7 years of preparation, foreshadowed in the time of Joseph. Unless we are prayerfully preparing now, the terrible time of dearth (years shown in red above) will come upon us catching us unprepared. So, we ask you, “Watchman! What of the night?” The hour is late!