Monday, August 21, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - August 21, 2017

Today's Reading:

John 5:1-18

1 Chronicles 18-19

Zechariah 7

Listen to the Bible







Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading   

In Zechariah 7, there is an interesting reference to a set time of fasting, which is a bit mysterious, at first. It refers to fasting in the fifth Biblical month. The fifth month of the Biblical year was called the month of Av. According to Zechariah 7:3-5, the practice of fasting during the Biblical month of Ab had continued among the Children of Israel for seventy years!
Zechariah 7:3-5 "And to speak unto the priests which were in the house of the Lord of hosts, and to the prophets, saying, Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I have done these so many years? Then came the word of the Lord of hosts unto me, saying, Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month, even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me, even to me?"
From the context in Zechariah 7, we can quickly discern that this period of fasting had become nothing more than a meaningless formality to the people. Thus, it lost its spiritual value and potency. But, the question which really fascinated me was: how did the habit of fasting in the fifth Biblical month get started? In Leviticus 23, where all the holy days, both weekly and annual, are listed, there is no mention of a set time for fasting in the fifth month.

The answer is one that I found most fascinating... And it even relates to the big event from today - the solar eclipse... Let me start at the beginning.

As we shared in our January-March, 2017 news magazine issue, todayon August 21, 2017—which is the last day of the fifth biblical month—we witnessed a total solar eclipse the likes of which will not be seen again for many years. This was an event so rare and noteworthy that hotels along the pathway of totality were sold out for more than a year in advance.  And it was much more than just an amazing sky event. It was a prophetic sign... 

Let's begin with a look at the total solar eclipse, which folks living in my home-state of Oregon, were able to see this morning. This footage includes people saying some curse words, so you can turn off the sound and watch the footage of the eclipse. 

The first factor, when determining this eclipse’s prophetic significance, is its timing. But the timing of this 2017 solar eclipse has left many Bible students scratching their heads. It doesn’t appear to be occurring at a prophetically significant time. Unlike the notable blood moons which fell on the spring and fall feasts of 2014 and 2015, the August 21st solar eclipse doesn’t occur on a Sabbath, nor on an annual Sabbath. Considering this, some have wondered if maybe this coming solar eclipse is just a sky event—not a prophetic sign. 

But actually, August 21 is the last day of the fifth Biblical month, known as Av. Av is not a month which contains an annual Sabbath. But it is a very significant biblical month nonetheless.

Leviticus 23 doesn’t list any Feasts in the Fifth Month, But it is still a spiritually significant Biblical Month. Notably, there are significant events to support the connection between the month of Av and God’s Judgments. Here are a few events, which fell within the sobering month of Av:
  • The faithless report of the Ten Spies took place in the month of Av, resulting in Israel being sent back to wander in the Wilderness for many more years.
  • The first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians (587 BC) in the month of Av.
  • The second temple was destroyed in Av by the Romans (70 AD).
Because of the repeating pattern of Divine Judgments and enemy attacks which fell, notably, in the fifth month, it became a biblically noted time of fasting by the Hebrew people. They fasted at this time every year, even though God had not commanded them to do so.  The prophet Zechariah refers to God’s people fasting in the solemn month of Av, as is recorded in Zechariah 7:5. 

So commonly did Divine Judgments fall within the month of Av in Bible times, that Israel actually established an extra time of fasting and prayer during Av, as is recorded in Zechariah 7:5. This practice was carried on for so long that it eventually became a meaningless ritual, as was the case in Zechariah:
Zechariah 7:5 "Speak unto all the people of the land, and to the priests, saying, When ye fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh month(s), even those seventy years, did ye at all fast unto Me, even to Me?"  
Notably, on the first of Av in 2008, 2009, and 2010, there were total solar eclipses, three years in a row! And now, on August 21, 2017—the last day of Av—there was another total solar eclipse in that same Biblical month. But this one was far more significant than the prior three, being characterized by Tech Insider and others as “incredibly rare”.

Not only did the fifth biblical month (Av) stand out as a time of Judgment, in Bible times, the pattern has continued into modern times as well. For example:

  • King Edward I of England signed an edict expelling all Jews from England in the month of Av (1290 AD).
  • Jews were expelled from Spain (1492 AD) resulting in the famed voyage of Columbus, in this month.
World War I began in the month of Av (corresponding to August 1st that year) – 1914.
  • Notably also, there was solar eclipse on August 21st of 1914, which served as a sky-omen portending the doom of war. This solar eclipse took place on the very same day as the soon-coming eclipse in 2017.
On the right, you can see an ominous depiction of the path of
totality from a newspaper of the day, provided from a private collection.
It is notable that the graphic depicts Europe in flames and adds in the foreboding description of omen faustum, a telling title which shows that even the newsmen of the  day considered the possibility that the eclipse was an “auspicious omen…”—a heavenly sign with prophetic significance!

The caption on the above image, which appeared in a U.S. paper on August 21, 1914, read as follows: “...At the very moment, when all Europe is joined in the clash of battle, the world will witness Nature’s most awe-inspiring phenomenon—which in olden times when men were ‘dismayed at the signs of heaven’—struck terror into all hearts. Today (Friday) there will be a total eclipse of the sun... the greatest phase occuring at 11 minutes after noon. The portion of the earth upon which the penumbra will fall includes the area involved in the Great War. In Germany and Austria (omen faustum?) the eclipse will be nearly total.

Not only is the timing significant, bearing a warning of divine Judgment, the location among the constellations is significant. The August 21st eclipse actually took place in conjunction with one of the stars in Aryeh (the lion constellation, which is called Leo today). Aryeh is the constellation associated with the tribe of Judah. 

This constellation and its decans (the three supporting constellations which are part of its star “family”) tell the story of final Judgment and the end of sin. 

Furthermore, this entire sky event, and the lion constellation in which it took place, was one which Jacob foretold would herald the coming of “Shiloh”—our returning King!  

The star that was conjuncted during the eclipse is between the lion’s feet (Regulus, the king star). According to Jacob’s prophecy, this star would shine steadily “until Shiloh come...”. In other words, a sky-event which causes Regulus to become invisible, such as the coming solar eclipse, is what Jacob foretold would herald the soon-coming of Shiloh—a title for Yahshua!

The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 conjuncted with Regulus, the “scepter” or “king” star, causing it to visually depart from between the lion’s paws, fulfilling Jacob’s prophecy of Genesis 49:10:

"The sceptre (the Hebrew name of the star now called Regulus) shall not depart from Judah (the Lion of the tribe of Judah, called Aryeh), nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."
It is quite clear that the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 is not only a portent of the King’s Return, but also a warning of soon-coming Judgment. This eclipse is the first of two “great wonders” which will appear in the heavens this year. The second “great wonder” was given this title in Revelation 12:
Revelation 12:1 - “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.”
On the Feast of Trumpets, September 22, 2017 (and extending into September 23, 2017) the “Great Wonder” of Revelation 12 will take place in the sky. The woman (the constellation anciently known as Bethula, but now called Virgo) will be “clothed with the sun” and the seventh new moon (of the Biblical year) will be under her feet.

The woman’s “crown” is the lion constellation (Aryeh, now called Leo). Aryeh was known as her “crown” from ancient times because the Lion (Christ) is born of the woman. Normally, there are nine visible stars in Aryeh. But, in ancient times, planets were called “wandering stars”. Counting these, there will be 12 “stars” crowning Bethula’s head (in Aryeh) on the Feast of Trumpets this year. This is because the planets Venus, Mars, and Mercury will be positioned in Aryeh (the lion) making a total of twelve stars.

In addition, since November of 2016 Jupiter, the “King” planet has been passing through the woman, in a “birthing” position. It concluded this “delivery” on August 8, 2017 (in the month of Av).

A similar sky-event took place on the Feast of Trumpets, in 3 BC, heralding our Saviour’s Birth. But on that instance, Jupiter (Tsedek) conjuncted Regulus (Shebet). Mars and Mercury were not involved.

Now, on September 23, 2017, Revelation 12 will once again take place, only this time, Mars and Mercury (whose original Hebrew names heralded coming war) will from the 12 stars of Leo (Aryeh), giving the woman a full crown of 12 stars. While similar to 3 B.C., this exact configuration occurs only once in 7000 years.