He is Risen

Note: Because of Easter day, I will continue with the series “The End of the Age” in two weeks.

Happy Easter, but is it actually Easter? I read an article yesterday by Mark Biltz [1], titled Christians celebrating Easter on the wrong day. His thesis was that Christians should get on God’s (biblical calendar), arguing that Christians’ abandonment of the biblical calendar has led to a strange situation in 2016, as believers will actually be celebrating Jesus rising from the dead almost a full month before the anniversary of His crucifixion [2]. Pastor Biltz asks “Why do believers celebrate the Resurrection of the Messiah before his actual death? [3]”

That’s a great question Pastor.

Has anybody really ever tried to figure out the actual dates of any occurrence according to the Bible? For example, we actually celebrate Christmas on the wrong day as well, but that’s another issue. In terms of Easter, consider this, how many actually celebrate what Christ told us to remember and celebrate? Check out Matthew 26:17-19. This is the Last Supper and was a Passover meal. Jesus said at the Passover seder, “. . .this do in remembrance of me.”

v24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
v25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. –1 Corinthians 11:24-25 KJV

What Christ was referring to was the Passover [4]. Most Christians do not celebrate Passover but simply celebrate the resurrection, and then we do it on the wrong day. Easter [5] this year is March 27. So, if this is the wrong day, what is the right day? Well, it depends on what calendar we use.

The world’s standard calendar today is the Gregorian calendar, where January is the first month of the year. However, the biblical calendar starts on the Jewish month of Nisan. Leviticus 23:5, says Passover should be on the 14th day of the first month [6]. According to the biblical calendar, this year, Passover, or Nisan 14, occurs at sundown on April 22. Therefore, Christ’s resurrection is on the 24th of April.

The biblical calendar does not go by a solar year, but by a lunar year. The problem with strictly lunar calendars is that there are approximately 12.4 lunar months in every solar year, so a 12-month lunar calendar loses about 11 days every year and a 13-month lunar gain about 19 days every year.

The trouble here is that the lunar year drifts. However, that’s not a problem. Therefore, to compensate for this drift, they occasionally add an extra month of Adar. The month of Nisan would occur 11 days earlier for two or three years, and then would jump forward 29 or 30 days, balancing out the drift. Then there is Leap year.

Although the first month of the year starts on Passover, Nisan, the regular Jewish New Year starts on Tishri, the seventh month of the biblical calendar. The U.S. New Year starts in January, but the new school year starts in September. Businesses and governmental new years has a fiscal start. The Jewish calendar has different starts for different purposes.

Are you totally confused now? To tell you the truth, it’s too complicated for me. Is March 27th looking pretty good right about now?

Wait a minute though, is the specific day really important? I am in the camp of celebrating Passover and the Resurrection on the appropriate days. If you are of the opinion that the 27th of March is OK, that’s fine. We can still be friends. No problem. Next week, I’ll explain why.

Until then, I pray that you all have a wonderful Easter remembering our Lord Jesus Christ and what He has personally done for you. After all, remembering, celebrating, and thanking are the important things.

v24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
v25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
v26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. –Numbers 6:24-26

[1] El Shaddai Ministries in Tacoma, Washington
[2] Direct quote from his article on WND
[3] Direct quote
[4] The Gospels declare that Jesus Christ died on Passover. Matthew 27:57; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:31
[5] The Resurrection
[6] Nisan

The End of the Age

Part Three of Four: The Day of the Lord Is Coming

Along with false prophets, false Christ’s presumably coming in His authority, diviners, and just flat evil and corrupt people, the end times will be a time of great confusion. Many of these things below are happening as we speak and a few are yet to happen. . .but they will.

The world has been in the last days, also known as the age of grace or the church age by some, for 2000 years ever since the Cross. The age of the giving of the Law ended at the Cross in great pain and started the age of the last days. The last days will end at the rapture of the church [1]. This will bring in the age of the tribulation.

The tribulation will only last for 3.5 years, but we will not concern ourselves with this, as we will not be here, (remember the rapture?) The age of tribulation will last about seven years. Anyway, in 2 Peter 3, Peter prophesies of the end times and what we might expect in part. He reminds us of Old Testament prophets who prophesied of the end of the age and how there will be scoffers/mockers who will make fun of the truth, of believers, and of the Christian religion. Anyway:

v3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
v4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. –2 Peter 3:3, 4 KJV

The Greek word for scoffers is empaiktes, which is one who derides, is a false teacher, a mocker, or someone who ridicules or jeers. In the last of the last days, the mockers will deride believers by laughing and jeering at them. They will scorn and show contempt at Christians and at Christ hoping to minimize Christ’s power and making Him of no affect or effect in our lives. They will say things like, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created [2].”

The reason behind the scoffer’s question is that the last days have lasted for such a long time, approximately 2000 years to be more accurate, that unbelievers cannot help but question His promised coming due to that length of time. The world is falling apart and there is still no Christ. Christ is waiting for that last person who wants to become a believer so he or she is not lost. (Maybe He’s waiting for the person that you are supposed to lead to Christ. So if someone is on your heart, go see them right away. The Bible says that today is the day for salvation.)

The Bible says that Christ is longsuffering and is not willing that one person should perish and that all should come to repentance. The NLT says it like this: The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent [3].

Peter’s Final Words
17 You already know these things, dear friends. So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen. –2 Peter 3:17-18 NLT

* * *

v1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. –Psalms 1:1 NLT

[1] Christ WILL come for our spirits at the rapture (Harpazo) but being caught up is NOT the second coming because the Bible says that Christ will NOT come to Earth but will meet us in the air 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18. The second coming is when Jesus comes with ten-thousands of His saints Jude 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:51; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 19:11-16.
[2] 2 Peter 3:4 NLT
[3] 2 Peter 3:9 NLT

The End of the Age

Part two of Four: The Beginning of Sorrows

As Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives the disciples confronted Him to show Him the Temple [1]. Christ told them, “See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down [2].” The disciples thought that the Temple was so massive they couldn’t believe that its destruction was even possible let alone to think of it as imminent. They then asked Jesus three questions, the first of which concerned the Temple and the remaining two concerned the signs of His coming and the end of the age [3].

Since Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives at the time He declared the destruction of the Temple, their questions may have reflected the Old Testament prophecy found in Zechariah 14:4. “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” So when the disciples asked Christ about the sign of His coming and the end of the age, it was logical to them. Christ’s answer was complete and forthcoming in chapters 24 and 25.

Usually the most important thing to someone that they want to discuss will be the first point they bring up in a conversation [4]. Listen to Jesus’ response,

v4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
v5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. — Matthew 24:4-5 KJV

What Christ was saying to the disciples according to the Greek was this, Behold. . .beware, and let no one, no man, not anyone whatsoever [5], seduce you or cause you to go astray or to wander away from me [6]. Because, a great deal of, or large amounts of men will show up in my authority and name [7] and will lead plenty astray [8]. This is very important to Christ because seducers are a more dangerous enemy to the church than persecutors.

The sign that Christ mentioned more than any other in Matthew 24 concerning the end of the age, was an epidemic of false Christs. There are many false prophets of today who are coming in His name and authority [9]. This is why it is so important that we not only read God’s Word, but study it to show ourselves approved [10] for our own sake and for a witness to the people.

I could, as any Christian author could, write a book on these two chapters explaining what God meant according to the Greek translation. However, because of the length of these sayings of Christ, we’re only covering the most important first mention verses to Christ, and that is verses 4, 5. God is the only true God [11] and He will not share His glory with any man [12]. God is also a jealous God [13].

We are in the last days and have been for a period of 2000 years. The age of the last days will end at Harpazo (the rapture of the church). This age is ending, as in all ages of God’s dealing with man. . .in pain [14]. We are in the beginning of sorrows about which Matthew 24:8 talks. The world is going through birth pangs as we speak and is the English translation of the Greek word sorrows [15].

We study the end of the age to prepare ourselves for what is coming, not to worry about or fear what is coming. If we focus on the end times or any other aspect of the Bible more than Christ then it is a wrong focus. Therefore, may I exhort you to please study the end times, but focus on Jesus Christ because it is all about Him. Let’s obey His last command and Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone [16] and take as many with us as we can.

Next week: We will go over 2 Peter 3:3. If anyone would like further study on Matthew 24, the end times, please email me and give the Matthew 24 verses on which you would like me to expound. Thanks for your support and readership. God bless each and every one of you.
[1] Matthew 24:1
[2] Matthew 24:2
[3] Matthew 24:3
[4] Matthew 24:4, 5
[5] The Greek word for “heed” is blepo, which means beware, behold, look on, look to, perceive, regard, see.
[6] The Greek word for “deceive” is Planao, which means to cause to, roam from safety or truth or virtue, to seduce, to wander.
[7] The Greek word for “name” is onoma and is a literal or figurative name or surname, character, or authority.
[8] Again the Greek word for “deceive” is Planao as above and is also lead astray.
[9] such as Sun Myung Moon, Sergei the Vissarion Christ, and Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda a Puerto Rican, who literally claims to be Christ. Then there is Benjamin Crème, Lord Maitreya, and David Koresh who claimed to be the Lamb of God. Do you remember Marshall Herff Applewhite of Heaven’s Gate who convinced 39 people to evacuate Earth on a Hale Bopp comet, or the infamous Jim Jones cult who convinced 918 people to drink a cyanide based Kool-Aid poison? Three-hundred of those deaths were children.
[10] 2 Timothy 2:15
[11] John 17:3; Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 2 Samuel 7:22; 2 Kings 5:15; Plus a couple dozen more.
[12] False prophets and those coming in His name. (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11 and others.)
[13] Deuteronomy 4:24
[14] Matthew 24:4-8
[15] The Greek word for “sorrows” is Odin, which means birth pang, sorrow, travail, pain.
[16] Mark 16:15 TLB