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Prophecies of the Bible: Prophetic Snapshots

By Clovis Miller

(What are the Scriptures telling Us)

Quick Links

Romans 11:25"...blindness...until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in."
Jeremiah 31:31-32"...I will make a new covenant..."
Isaiah 53:2 "...he hath no form nor comeliness..."
Matt. 27:51-53 "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
Matt. 27:51-53 "the earth did quake and the rocks rent"
John 19:38-40 "...a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds."
Luke 21:37-40 "...stones would immediately cry out."
Matt. 24:37 "But as the days of Noah were..."
John 1:29 "Jesus: the Lamb from Bethlehem"
Matthew 24:22 "no flesh would be saved"
Matthew 24:30 "the sign of the Son of Man"
Rev. 12:14 "two wings of a great eagle"
More to be added

Matthew 24:22

"And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened."

What was Jesus telling His disciples when He made this statement?

We must understand that this occurance is tied to the placement of the Abomination of Desolation in the Holy Place (the temple in Jerusalem), as He previously stated (Matt. 24:15-16); and foretold by the prophet Daniel (Dan. 9:27, Dan.11.31, Dan.12.11). It is further expounded on in Rev. 13:11-18. In Matthew 24, Jesus made it clear that before the end comes, there would be many false christs, false prophets, numerous wars occuring (simultaneously). There would also be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes occuring at various places. All of these things, He called, "the beginning of sorrows". He also stated, in verse 21, that this would be followed by a period of "great tribulation", the likes of which the world has never seen, nor will ever again see. It would be a time of great persecution of those who believed in His name (verse 9).

Both of these periods: "the beginning of sorrows" and the "great tribulation", which Jesus spoke of, represent two halves of a total period of seven years (Dan. 9:27). The idea of a seven year period of tribulation is not unique to Christian eschatology. The Jewish Talmud also states that there will; be seven years of tribulation before Messiah comes to establish His Kingdom, although the Jewish people do not presently regard Jesus as that coming Messiah.

"A tradition relates: During the period of seven years in which the son of David will come, in the first year the verse will be fulfilled, "I caused it to rain upon one city and caused it not to rain upon another city" (Amos iv. 7).... In the seventh year wars will occur, and at the conclusion of this seven year period the son of David will come" (Sanh. 97a) (From: Everyman's Talmud, by Abraham Cohen. 1949. Reprint by E.P. Dutton. New York. Pages 349-350).

During the first half of the tribulation period (42 months, or 3 1/2 years), all of those things listed as a part of the "beginning of sorrows" will be brought to pass. It is also during this time, that the temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt and the daily sacrifices restored, through a covenant made between Israel and the antichrist (see The Structure of the Seven years of Tribulation). This covenant is what causes the 'beginning of sorrows' to commence. The second half (42 months, or 3 1/2 years), begins when the antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel and the daily sacrifice is taken away; replacing it with the abomination of desolation (i.e. the image of the beast (Rev. 13:14-15)). Thereafter the "mark of the beast" (Rev. 13:16) is implemented.

In Rev. 13:15 and Rev.14:9, we are told,

15) "He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed." (NKJV).

9) "...If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand,
10) he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in thepresence of the Lamb."

So, what we can understand from these verses, in context with what Jesus said in Matt. 24:22, is this:

Jesus was stating that if He did not return at the right time, everyone on earth would either be forced to receive the mark of the beast (which will come with the placing of the abomination of desolation), or they would be killed for refusing it. If Jesus were to delay His return until this happened, He would return to a world where all of the living would have the mark of the beast. Then according to Rev. 14:9-10, He would have to destroy all flesh. This would thwart God's plan for the earth to be posessed and ruled over by the "elect". In order for the plan of God to be carried out, the days of the great tribulation will be "cut short", otherwise the Antichrist would eventually track down eveyone and either kill them for refusing to receive his mark, or force them to receive it; that resulting in a situation in which "no flesh" could be saved.

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Matthew 24:30

"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

What was Jesus referring to when He spoke of "the sign of the Son of Man" which shall appear in heaven?

To start with, we must go back to the beginning of Matthew 24, where His disciples came to Him saying,

"...Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?" (verse 3)

The disciples were asking Jesus to give them something very specific to look for so that they would know with certainty that He was about to return to Jerusalem to judge the people. At this point, the disciples didn't understand that Jesus would die on the cross, ascend to heaven, and return much later. In all likelihood, they thought that He was going to leave Jerusalem shortly thereafter, and return at a later time to bring all these things to pass. To understand what this "sign" is and when it shall occur, we need to go next to Matt. 24:29 and leading into verse 30:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven..."

From this passage we learn that the end of the "great tribulation" will be marked, immediately, by a day of total darkness upon the earth. In other words, on day 2,520 (the last day of the seven year tribulation period), total darkness will fill the earth.

To fill in more details concerning that last day, when Jesus returns, we turn to chapter 14 of the Book of Zechariah. This chapter deals with Messiah coming to Jerusalem, and standing on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:10-12), from which He will go forth and destroy all those who have set their faces against Jerusalem (Zech. 14: 2-4).

When we get to verses 6-7 of that chapter, we read:

"It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; the lights will diminish.

It shall be one day Which is known to the Lord --
Neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen That it will be light."

On that day, when Messiah returns; first there will be total darkness upon the earth. Then there will appear an eerie unnerving light (the sign of Messiah's approach), a light perhaps as one would see at dusk, or the breaking of daylight, "...neither day nor night...". Then Messiah will burst forth upon the scene. In this dazzling display, "...every eye shall see Him..." (Rev. 1:7), and the Antichrist will be destroyed, "...with the brightness of His coming." (II Thess. 2:8). Total darkness is replaced with total light, in which there will be no hiding places for the enemies of God.

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Rev. 12:14

"But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent."

Some believe the "two wings of a great eagle", mentioned in this verse, is a reference to Exodus 19:4, where it speaks of God delivering Israel from bondage in Egypt, "...on eagles wings...". Others see this as more figurative, by saying that these two represent the Old and New Testaments, which bear witness to God's plan to redeem Israel.

A more likely reference however, can be found in Malachi 4:2, where we read, "But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings;..." The Hebrew word used there for healing (pronounced mar-pay') can also be translated as "deliverance", so as to read: "... the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with deliverance in his wings;..."

Malachi 4:4-6 ends by speaking of Moses and Elijah. Both healing and deliverance seem to be indicated in these verses. God will restore the Law and the Prophets to Israel through these two great men. By again receiving the Law and the Prophets, and realizing that they both point to Jesus, the Jewish people will receive a great spiritual healing. At the same time, they will also be physically delivered, from Satan's coming fury.

The "two wings of a great eagle" then, represents the two witnesses found in the book of Revelation, who will assist the Jewish people in their escape from the fury that is about to be unleashed against them by the Dragon (Rev. 12:15-17).

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The Lamb of Bethlehem

In John 1:29, John the Baptist, when referring to Jesus made the statement:

"...Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

His words take on added significance when we understand that John the Baptist was family (his mother being the cousin of Mary), and that he knew well the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. For instance, He knew that Jesus was born in Bethlehem {Micah 5:2}, and that He was wrapped in swaddling cloth and layed in a manger. He would also have known the prophecy of Micah 4:8,

"And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, To you shall it come, Even the former dominion shall come,The kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem."

Archeologist believe that the "tower of the flock" (pronounced Mig'dal A'der, in Hebrew) was located on the northern side of the city of Bethlehem, and on the road to Jerusalem. What is the significance of this? Lambs which were used in sacrifical duties in the Temple in Jerusalem were birthed at this place. The structure itself is first mentioned in Scripture in Genesis 35:19-21, when Rachael had died near Bethlehem, "... then Israel journeyed and pitched his tent beyond the tower of E'der". Interestingly, the name "Rachael" in Hebrew (Strong's Hebrew #7353) means, "ewe" (as in a female sheep). It brings to rememberance Matt. 2:17-18, when Herod ordered the death of all children two years and under in Bethlehem, in order to try to kill the Christ child. The Scripture states that, Rachael wept for her children and would not be comforted. The mother, whose name means: ewe, would not be comforted for the loss of her lambs (the children of Bethlehem). Only one is known to have escaped: the Lamb which was to later give up His life to take away the sins of the world.

Migdal E'der was originally built as a military watchtower, and later used as a watch post for the special flocks of sheep to be used by the priest in Jerusalem. Shepherds who attended flocks in this immediate vicinity, such as those to whom the angel appeared announcing the birth of the Saviour {Luke 2:8-18}, were specially trained, and kept their flocks for the purpose of providing the Temple with the sacrificial lambs and sheep, needed to carry out the commands of Scripture.

In Luke's account, the shepherds, after receiving the news of the Saviour's birth, went speedily to where the child was born.

"And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger..."

Swaddling cloth, was originally a type of binding used from ancient times to wrap newborn children, especially the children of Royal Families. It was believed that tightly binding the limbs of the infant, for a brief time after birth, would promote its limbs to grow straight, and actually cause the child to have a healthy life.

In the context of where this event occurred (Bethlehem), the reference to swaddling cloth used in conjunction with a manger, surely led the shepherds to the one place in the area where such things were used together: Migdal E'der (the tower of the flock). How else could the shepherds have found the Christ Child so quickly, in the night, except for the "sign" given to them by the angel, "...a babe wrapped in swaddling cloth, lying in a manger". No doubt, there were many stables in Bethlehem, even at that time. Most homes would have had one. The obvious place to seek such a child was certainly not at the local Inn, but at the place they were all familiar with: the same place where swaddling cloth, to bind the new born lambs, and a manger were used together; the tower of the flock.

When the birthing season for lambs came, these special shepherds brought their ewes to Migdal E'der. It is said that, the lower part of the tower was used to carry out this process. Writings, somewhat after the time of the birth of Jesus, state that He was born in a cave. It is also believed that the tower of E'der was built on top of a cave. When the lambs were born, they were immediately wrapped in strips of swaddling cloth. This was because lambs used in the Temple had to be perfect, without blemish or injury. In order to prevent the lambs from injuring themselves they were wrapped in the cloth and layed in a manger until they calmed down. Strong's Concordance (Greek #5336) says a manger (pronounced fat-nay, in Greek) is: "... a crib (for fodder):- manger, stall".

So there is a good possibility that the Lord Jesus, was born in the birthing room (or cave) at the base of Migdal E'der, as the prophecy indicates, being the Lamb, which John the Baptist said would take away the sin of the world. He was born at Bethlehem, and sacrificed at Jerusalem, just like all of the lambs before Him; when the Priest there gave Him up to be crucified. Caiaphas, the High Priest, prophesied of Him, saying:

"...You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish."
Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation."

Early Jewish writings state that Messiah would appear at Migdal E'der at the end of days, as a fullfillment of Micah's prophecy.

Even the name: tower of the flock, can be prophetically applied to the Lord Jesus, who continuously stands watch over the sheep (the flock of the children of God). As He said, "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep and am known by My own." {John10:14}

Jesus: the Lamb from Bethlehem

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Matthew 24:37

"But as the days of Noah were so shall the coming of the Son of Man be"

In the brief passage given here in Matt. 24, Jesus is referring to the story of the days of Noah and the Ark, as found in Genesis chapters 6-7. In that account, God declared that, because of the rampant wickedness and violence in the world, He would destroy all flesh. Noah and his family however, found grace in the eyes of the Lord and would be spared. They were commanded to build an ark in which they would take refuge from the coming judgment. When the family finally entered the ark, Scripture says that God Himself shut the door. The destruction of the wicked was now set. God however, did not destroy the wicked on that same day in which Noah and his family entered the ark. He waited yet seven more days before bringing the destroying waters upon the earth (Gen 7:4). This can be compared to Jesus taking the church up to heaven in the rapture (catching up of the church I Thess. 4:15-17 ; I Cor. 15: 51-54 ). After seven days (years), and at the revelation of Jesus, the wicked will be destroyed; not by water this time, but rather by "flaming fire: ( II Thess. 1:7-10).

Here we can also see a definite parallel between Noah protecting for his family, and Jesus protecting His Family (the Church). While the passage in Matt. 24 primarily points to the second coming of Jesus and His judgment of the wicked, we can see a certain order that was established in the Genesis account which is quite revealing. In Gen. 6:14, God told Noah to build the Ark with rooms in it. In John 14:2 , Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many mansions." Some versions of the Bible translate the word "mansions" as "rooms". When the Ark was finished, Noah took his family into it and God shut the door. Again, in John 14:2 , Jesus said, "...I go to prepare a place for you..." When that place is ready, then He will come and receive His church unto Himself and take it there, "...that where I am you may be also..." So, in John we are seeing an Ark of safety being prepared. When the church is take into it God will shut the door (Matt. 25:10); unparalleled violence and wicked will then engulf the earth (the seven year tribulation period), only to conclude with the destruction of the wicked at the revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev. 19:11)

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Luke 19:37-40

"Stones would immediately cry out"

In this passage, Jesus was making His triumphal entry into to Jerusalem just days before He would be crucified. As He, and others, arrived "at the descent of the mount of olives..." (opposite the temple mount), the crowd began to cry out, "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven and glory in the highest." In the other gospel accounts, it was recorded that the people were shouting, "Ho-san'na to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Ho-san'na in the highest." Matt. 21:9 ; Mark 11:9-10 ; John 12:12-13.

Upon hearing the multitude of people proclaiming these things, some of the Pharisees spoke to Jesus and told Him to rebuke the people for saying such things and make them be quiet. Jesus responded by saying, " if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out."

It occured to me, as I was studying this passage, that the area where this incident took place was on the west side of the Mount of Olives. In that area (the side of the Mount of Olives opposite the temple mount) there is a massive cemetery, containing an estimated 150,000 graves. Some of the graves located there are said to date back 3,000 years, to the time of King David, and include some of the prophets of Israel. The "tomb of the prophets", near the top of the Mount of Olives is the traditional site for the burial of Malachi and Haggai.

The Jewish Virtual Library. org, has this to say:

"The large number of burial sites and tombs in Jerusalem dating from the Second Temple period (second century BCE - first century CE) have been the subject of intensive and continuing investigation. Hundreds of tombs, elaborate and simple, were hewn into the slopes of the hills surrounding the city, mainly on the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus."

Temple Mount and lower Cemetery as seen from Mt. of Olives
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) 1

Why did the area become such a hugh cemetery? It's mainly related to a prophecy given by the Prophet Zechariah concerning the coming of the Messiah:

Zech. 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 cleve in the midst thereof towards the east and towards the west..."

Because of this verse, Jewish people believe that when Messiah does come, and his feet touch the Mount of Olives, it will split open and the resurrection of the dead will take place. According to this belief, those buried there will be among the very first to be resurrected. Zechariah gave this prophecy more than 400 years before the birth of Jesus, so it is likely that there were many graves there by the time this incident occurred, as indicated by the Jewish Virtual Library quote above.

Tomb of Zechariah (right side) - lower part of Mount of Olives
(In existence in Jesus' day)
Photo courtesy of Holy Land

"The Tomb of Zechariah (by tradition the Prophet Zechariah or, by another tradition, the father of John the Baptist) is a monolithic monument cut from the surrounding rock. It is a square structure of 5 x 5 m., decorated with Ionic columns and crowned by a pyramid. It probably served as nefesh for the tomb below it." (From: Jewish Virtual Library. org.)

Tomb of Absalom - located just North of Zechariah's Tomb
(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) 2

So, it's very possible that the stones to which Jesus was referring, were not just simple field stones of the earth, but rather the tombs, or carved stones marking the graves of saints, buried on the slope of the Mount of Olives, who were awaiting the footsteps of the Messiah. Jesus appears to have been telling the Pharisees, that if the people kept quiet, those very stone of the people buried there would cry out as if to say, "don't stop the Messiah from completing His mission, lest we, and you, never rise up again."

On that day however, the prophecy of Zechariah was not to be fullfilled, for the feet of Messiah, didn't touched the soil of mountain, as He made His first trimphual entry through the area riding upon a donkey to begin the final phase of our redemption. It is quite possible that at least some of the graves opened ("...and the rocks [stones] rent...") at His death (Matt. 27:51-53) were located on the Mount of Olives.

1 & 2 (used under GNU Free Documentation License)

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John 19:38-40

"...a mixture of myrrh and aloes about a hundred pounds"

One point of interest concerning the burial of Jesus is: that Nicodemus brought 100 pounds of spices for use in the burying of the body of Jesus. I have read that this was enough spices to have buried 200 people. Small amounts of myrrh and aloe were used as a normal part of the burial process; primarily to inhibit the onset of the smell of decay, should the tomb need to be reopened within a first few days. So, why the excessive use of myrrh and aloes for this burial? Normally, the natural process would have been allowed to begin, whereby the body would start to decay. After a year, or so, the tomb would be re-opened; the bones of the deceased collected, cleaned and placed in an ossuary (bone box), as was the custom in ancient Israel. The box would then be set aside somewhere within the tomb. The tomb itself, would then be ready to be used for another family member. Such tombs were often used by families for generations.

Was the large amount of spices used because Joseph and Nicodemus remembered, understood and believed Jesus' statement that He would rise again at the conclusion of "...three days and three nights."? {Matt. 12:40} With such a large amount of spices, it is evident that they intended to preserve the body of Jesus for as long as possible. No doubt, they were also familiar with the prophecy stated in Psalm 16:9-10, and repeated in:

Acts 2:26-27:

"Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."

(Emphasis above is mine)

Both the Greek and Hebrew words for "corruption", as used in the verse above, refer to the decay of the flesh. The components used in the Lord's burial (myrrh and aloes) were of an antiseptic and preservative nature. Myrrh was a key ingredient used in mummifying of the bodies of the Pharoahs in ancient Egypt. By using an excessive amount of the spices, the body of Jesus, which had been so brutally beaten and otherwise damaged, could be preserved from bacterial decay, while the Lord's Spirit was absent from it. The prophecy above indicates that it was important that His body should not see physical corruption or decay. Remember, that it was also in John's account, that the prophecy concerning the bones of Jesus not being broken, was remembered {Ex. 12:46 ; John 19:33-36 }. This seems to go hand in hand with the prophecy of His flesh not being subjected to decay.

We may also ask the question: If the women had known that such a hugh volume of spices had been used in the burial of Jesus, why would they have brought even more to the tomb on that Sunday morning? It may be because, they had left the tomb before the burial process was completed: Nicodemus not arriving with the spices, until after their departure . In the synoptic gospels, there is no mention that Joseph used spices in the burial of Jesus. Only the Gospel of John mentions that Nicodemus brought spices to the tomb. Possibly unaware that He had received a proper burial, the women went to the tomb expecting to find the burial of Jesus yet unfinished, because of the hurried fashion in which it was carried out, on the preparation day of the Passover. What ever the case may have been, the extra spices were not needed, because by the time they arrived, the Lord was already risen!

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Matt. 27:51-53

"...the earth did quake and the rocks rent.."

Is there prophetic significance to the earthquake which occurred at the very time Jesus died on the cross? There are at least two things of importance which readily come forth as we study these events. First, in Hebrews 10:19-20 we are shown that the veil in the Jerusalem Temple, which was torn in two imediately before the earthquake, was representative of the body of Jesus. When Jesus died, that veil, which had seperated ordinary men from God's presence, was torn in two "from top to bottom". Note in the Scriptures, that when the spirit left the physical body of Jesus, the veil of the Temple (symbolic of His position as mediator between God and man) was rent, signifying that He had opened the way for man to come directly into God's presence. No more would men need a priest to approach God, but were free to come before Him on their own. This gives further emphasis to the statement made by Jesus that, "no man cometh unto the father, but by me."{John 14:6}. Even the High Priest, on the Day of Atonement, had to go through the veil (the symbolic body of Jesus), to enter into God's presence in the Holy of Holies.

We can visualize the veil tearing from top to bottom; and when the tear reached ground level, the earth began to quake, going forth from the Temple outward towards the crucifixon site, where there were at least some graves (the Roman Centurion and others saw the graves opened). The stones covering the openings of some of those graves were opened (or at least cracked). We are told in Matt. 27:52-53, that many bodies came out of the graves, and went into the city, "...after his resurrection...". Why the delay? That was because Jesus was appointed to be the "firstborn from the dead" {Col. 1:18}. That brings us to the second thing which was readily apparent from these events. The death of Jesus occurred at Passover. During Passover week, another festival would be celebrated, which is "Firstfruits" {Lev. 23:10-11}, wherein it was customary for the priest to go out before hand and mark, by tieing up bunches of grain, which would be cut on the "morrow after the sabbath". On that day, the High Priest would enter the Temple and offer before God, the firstfruits of the grain harvest.

It thus becomes quite clear that the purpose of the earthquake at the time of the death of Jesus, was to mark before hand, certain saints by opening their graves, These would be resurrected (cut, so to speak) on the day of Firstfruits. The purpose of this Resurrection? That Jesus, who would ascend to heaven, that Sunday, "the morrow after the sabbath", {John 20:17}, and as our High Priest, present these resurrected saints as the true firstfruits unto God; at the very time the High Priest in the Jerusalem Temple was offering the firstfruits of the field. Jesus thus, literally fulfilled the Old Testament types of both the substitutionary slain Passover lamb {Ex. 12:5-6}; and of firstfruits which is stated in Leviticus 23, which pointed to the redemption of saints, not to the offering of field grain to the Lord.

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Matt. 23:38

"Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."

With regard to the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD, there are within the writings of the Jewish Talmud, indications which point to some unusual occurances which took place during the forty years preceeding that event (i.e. beginning about 30 AD: the time period during which Jesus died).

Four things of note are listed in the Talmud:

Talmud, Yoma 39b

"...Our Rabbis taught: During the last forty years before the destruction of the Temple the lot [‘For the Lord’] did not come up in the right hand; nor did the crimson-coloured strap become white; nor did the westernmost light shine; and the doors of the Hekal would open by themselves, until R. Johanan b. Zakkai rebuked them, saying: Hekal, Hekal, why wilt thou be the alarmer thyself?

I know about thee that thou wilt be destroyed, for Zechariah ben Ido has already prophesied concerning thee:

Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars..."

...the lot 'For the Lord'...

This is a reference to the Day of Atonement, which occurs every year during the Fall season. In Temple times, on the Day of Atonement, two male lambs (of goats) were brought to the Temple, to be offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of the nation, in accordance with Lev. 16:7-10. Two lots were drawn: a white one, "For the Lord"; and a black one for the Scapegoat. The lamb for the Lord would be slain and its blood applied in the Holy of Holies. Afterwards, the High Priest would lay both hands on the head of the scapegoat, confess all the sins of Israel upon it, and it would be led away into the wilderness, bearing the sins of the nation. In selecting the lambs, the High Priest would put his hands in the container having the lots. If the lot, "For the Lord", came out in the right hand of the Priest, the people felt that they had the approval of the Lord for that year. If the lot for the scapegoat came out in the right hand, it was considered a bad omen. Prior to the forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the drawing of lots was mixed between the two goats. However, according to the Talmud, from about 30 AD until the destruction of the Temple, the black lot, for the scapegoat, was drawn out, in the right hand of the High Priest, for forty consecutive years. Its been computed that the odds against that happening are more than one in one trillion.

...the crimson-coloured strap...

Once the goat was selected for sacrifice, a scarlet colored ribbon was attached to the head of the other (the scapegoat). A part of that ribbon was also tied to one of the Temple doors, before the goat was led into to the wilderness.The people waited anxiously to see if everything went as desired. It was said that when the duties concerning the scapegoat were carried out, the scarlet ribbon tied to the Temple door would miraculously turn white in fulfillment of Isa. 1:18, signaling that the atonement for the people, for that year, had been accepted. Again, prior to forty years before the Temple was destroyed, this didn' t fail. Afterwards, however, it was said to change colors in some years, and remain the scarlet color in others.

...the westernmost light...

This pertained to the Lampstand in the "Holy Place" of the Temple. Before the start of the forty year period, the lights of the lampstand would burn continuously. Afterwards, the priest could not maintain the western most flame (nearest the Holy of Holies), no matter how meticulous they were in tending to it. The center flame represented the presence of God with the people.

...doors of the Hekal would open...

Finally, during the forty years before the destruction of the Temple, it was reported that the massive doors of the Hekel (Sanctuary of the Temple), which took many men to open and close, would mysteriously open by themselves. This, as with the other occurances, was seen as an evil omen; that the Spirit of the Lord had, or was about to depart from the Temple.

The very fact that these things were written about in the Talmud, by non-believing Jews, is a testimony that mysterious events began to take place in Temple activities about the same time as the death and resurrection of Jesus occurred.

As far as Israel's future is concerned: God will allow them to rebuild the Temple and resume the sacrifice of animals again. The sacrifices however, will not be accepted by Him, because complete atonement has already been perfected through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. For God to accept such sacrifices now, would refute the full and eternal atonement established through the death of Jesus. There is no going back to the covenant which existed before His death, although Israel will attempt to do that very thing!

The likely scenario is: When the sacrifices resume, the effect will be essentially the same as in the forty years before the destruction of the Temple. That, or a similiar sequence of events, will probably continue through for the first three Days of Atonement which will occur during the seven years of tribulation. The Talmud itself, declares that there will be seven years of tribulation before Messiah comes.

" Our Rabbis taught: in the seven year cycle at the end of which the son of David will come - in the first year, this verse will be fulfilled: And I will cause it to rain upon one city and cause it not to rain upon another city; in the second, the arrows of hunger will be sent forth; in the third, a great famine, in the course of which men, women, and children, pious men and saints will die, and the Torah will be forgotten by its students; in the fourth, partial plenty; in the fifth, great plenty, when men will eat, drink and rejoice, and the Torah will return to its disciples; in the sixth, [Heavenly] sounds; in the seventh, wars; and at the conclusion of the septennate the son of David will come." (Talmud, Sanhedrin 97a)

Counting of time, would initially begin on the day following a future Day of Atonement (i.e., Tishri 11). Then, about six months into the fourth year (Nissan 10), God will use the Antichrist to put a permanent end to the sacrifices. He may well point out, that God in Heaven has rejected the sacrifices of Israel: an odd thing that such a person should deliver this truth to Israel. His intentions however, are anything but that of being the holy messenger of God. After putting an end to the sacrificial system, originally institued under the leadership of Moses, he will set up a new system: which will be centered around an image of himself (i.e., the "image of the beast"). This would be followed by three and a half years of great tribulation (Jacob's trouble). At the end of that period (on the Day of Atonement, which ends the seven years); the people, in the face of anihilation by the Antichrist {Zech. 13:8-9}, will finally realize that the atonement which Israel had longed sought after, had been truly made for them through the death of Jesus. God has declared that He will not return to them until they acknowledge their offense (rejecting the atonement made for them through Jesus), and seek Him early {Hosea 5:15}. When they do so, their Messiah (Jesus, or Yeshua in Hebrew), will be revealed from Heaven, destroy the Antichrist, and "...all Israel shall be saved." {Rom. 11:25-26}.

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Isaiah 53:2

"...he hath no form nor comeliness..."

What did the real Jesus look like? Was he the tall, stately and handsome, blue eyed man we are all familiar with in the movies. As the foster son of a carpenter; surely He was a perfect physical specimen that we would all strive to be like. Was He looked up to, and well respected among men? You may be surprised to find out that such a protrayal of Him is not at all what is presented in Scripture. If you want a true picture of what He really looked like, you need only to read the prophecies of Isaiah 53, which paints a totally different; and fully accurate picture of what He was like.

Isaiah begins by saying (verse 1),"Who hath believed our report?". It's a question which may be posed even in our own day and time. Who has believed what was revealed concerning the Savior of the World, through the prophet Isaiah; and who has believed what the world says about Him. Isaiah's protrayal of the Redeemer is central to the message which Jesus actually presented during His time on earth.

"...a root out of dry ground..."

Here, let's think in terms of planting a seed, and then watering it sparingly, as one that grows "...out of dry ground...". When it springs up, and begins to grow; it will, due to the lack of moisture in the soil, become a spindly plant. Not one which is physically strong, but slender and rather fragile by normal standards.

"...he hath no form nor comeliness..."

This phrase is often looked at as pertaining to Jesus on the cross: a bloody and gruesome picture of someone scarecely recognizable. While this can be applied to that event; there is every reason to believe that Jesus was a very ordinary looking man. This is amplified by the statement:

...And when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him..."

In other words, Jesus didn't have impressive features that one might associate with a king or royal heritage. He came to serve as a lowly servant, and was so attire in His fleshly tent. A significant part of His mission on earth was to shine the light on the hearts of man, so they could see the true content within. The common people, for the most part, humbled themselves when made to understand their condition; but the hatred of religious leaders was only intensified when the Lord put the spotlight on them. Jesus loved the common people, but despised the hypocrisy of their leaders, who purported to be righteous.

It appears that God made Him to be of lowly stature on purpose, for a couple for reasons. First He was made that way, so as to be an approachable man; so that the common people would feel at ease in His presence. He didn't come as one weilding heavenly power, which would have caused the people to fear Him and draw back. Second, God knows the hearts of men: that we are quick to judge others, by sight or appearance, rather that the content of their hearts. The true content of our own heart is quickly revealed by how we view others. This is especially apparent when it comes to first impressions. The common people could easily see that Jesus, was one of their own; whereas the religious hierarchy, "in all of their glory" look upon Him as a low down man who couldn't possible be the promised Messiah. The more He showed the hearts of those people, the more enraged they became towards Him. The Scripture states that God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty {I Cor. 1:27}: the spindly unattractive plant to put to shame the glorified adornment of religious leaders.

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"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord." (Jeremiah 31:31-32)

These words, are also found in the book of Hebrews 8:8-9. We also learn from Jeremiah 3:14 that God was married to Israel and Judah, but both broke their marriage covenant with Him through their pursuit of other Gods. Israel, and Judah alike had corrupted their vows to the God of their fathers made at Mount Sinai through Moses. A new covenant became necessary to reconcile the Husband (God) and the wife (Israel). In Romans, chapter 7, the Apostle Paul is speaking to the Jews who knew the Law; and that a wife was bound through the Law to her husband as long as he lived. If he died however, she would be free to enter into a new covenant with another.

Israel was the wife of God; How is it possible for God (her husband) to die, that she might be free to marry another?

John 1:1, 14

1) "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...

14) And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us..."

God loved Israel greatly, but could not live with her unfaithfulness; so He manifested Himself in the flesh, that He might die to release her from the covenant which she had corrupted.

With the death of Jesus (God manifested in the flesh) the woman (Rom. 7:2-3) was freed from the old covenant; and was then able to enter into a new everlasting covenant with the resurrected Lord. The Appostle Paul states it this way:

4) "Therefore my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another - to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God."

Israel however, rejected the atonement which God had made to cleanse her from her sins. To this day, she still seeks to hold on to the old covenant, with the re-institution of sacrifices, to regain the favor of God. As a results of this rejection, salvation has been offered to, and accepted by, the Gentile nations (Rom. 10:20-21 ; Rom.11:11).

The old covenant, which was exclusively through Israel, has been replaced by the new covenant. Now, whosoever will come (either Jew or Gentile), is invited through the keeping of the new covenant, to become a part of God's new wife, which is called the Church. The bride of Christ is composed of both Jews and non-Jews: there is no longer a distinction made with regard to salvation; though there are still promises outstanding, that are exclusive to Israel.

God will fulfill His promise to Abraham, that through him all the Families of the earth shall be blessed (Acts 3:25).

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"For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." {NKJV}

Because Israel rejected the atonement made for her through the death of Jesus, all Gentiles (those who will come to faith in Jesus during the tribulation period) will be saved before the promised redemption of Israel will come to pass. This is what is meant by the phrase: "...until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." That event will not occur until the very end of the tribulation period, when that last Gentile on earth, who is going to be saved, is saved; then Israel, who will be on the brink of anihilation by the Antichrist, will finally accept Jesus as the true Messiah. At that point (probably on the Day of Atonement, at the very end the seventh year of the tribulation), He will appear (the second coming) and go forth to fight against, and destroy, the Antichrist and all of the enemies of Israel (Zech.14:3-4). Many believe that God has forever forsaken Israel, but He has not cast off Israel. In the future He will fulfill the promises which He has made to Abraham and "...all Israel will be saved.".

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