Abraham’s wife was dead at the age of 127 years old. As it was the costume of those days for the parents to find spouses for their children, Abraham trusted his servant, Eliezer of Damascus, who ruled over all he had, to get his son a wife from his own relatives. So, it was that Eliezer by God’s providence found his son a wife, who was Abraham’s brother Nahor’s granddaughter and his grandniece. The Bible relates a beautiful picture of Isaac and Rebekah meeting at her arrival: It was at the time when Isaac went out to meditate and bow down [in prayer]. He looked up and saw that, behold, the camels were coming. And Rebekah looked up and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel, for she [had] said to the servant, Who is that man walking across the field to meet us? And the servant said, He is my master. So, she took a veil and concealed herself with it. And the servant told Isaac everything that he had done. Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s ten, and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus, Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death (Gen. 24:63-67). Isaac was then forty years old. They were married twenty years and without children. Isaac prayed much to the Lord for his wife, because she was unable to bear children; and the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah, his wife, became pregnant (Gen 25:21). God’s timing plays a very important role in the fulfilling of His promise, no matter how long it will take for it to be fulfilled. In the case of Abraham, it was not until twenty-seven years later, when he was then one hundred years old, that the Lord blessed him with the son of the promise. God blessed Rebekah with twin boys- a double blessing she did not expect. However, wanting to know why such a struggled within her, she went to inquire of the Lord. He revealed to her that two nations were in her womb, and the separation of two peoples had begun in her body; the one people shall be stronger than the other, and the elder shall serve the younger (Gen. 25:21-23). There, in His presence, she found the answer for her dilemma. Understanding the problem, her burden was not as heavy on her soul. As Rebekah experienced the lifting up of her burden in the presence of the Lord, we too can enjoy the relief of our troubles in His presence. It is there that we will experience peace, joy and healing. Psalm seventy-three shows the frustration the psalmist struggled with in relationship to the prosperity of the wicked. He said, But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well-nigh slipped, for I was envious of the foolish and arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked… But when I considered how to understand this, it was too great an effort for me and too painful, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end. A prayer away, is all that will take to understanding and relief from our struggles.
(Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9)
The great tribulation is a period of seven years reserved for the Jewish nation, when God will refine and redeem Israel. Daniel 9: 24-27, Zachariah 12-13). The Bible registers the period of seven years of tribulation in chapter 12 verse 1 of Daniel: And at that time [of the end] Michael shall arise, the great prince who defends and has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of straightness and distress such as never was since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the Book.
One cannot refute neither change the Word of God spoken through His prophets of old, who faithfully warned of disasters coming for this nation. This prophecy against Israel was also uttered by Moses even before they entered the Promised Land. We read in Deuteronomy 4:30 the following: When you are in tribulation and all these things come upon you in the latter days you will turn to the Lord your God and be obedient to His voice. The Prophet Zachariah echoes the words of Moses when he prophesized the tribulation and deliverance of Israel. Zachariah 12 and 13). And in all the land, says the Lord, two-thirds shall be cut off and perish, but one-third shall be left alive; and I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined and will test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will hear and answer them. I will say, It is My people; and they will say, The Lord is my God (Zachariah 13:8-9). And I will pour out upon the house of David and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication. And they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as one who mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of [city of] Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megiddo [over beloved King Josiah]. And the land shall mourn, every family apart…(Zachariah 12:10-12a).
The purposes and reason for the great tribulation are found in Daniel 9: 24: Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, (Israel (Judah) and Jerusalem) to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity and to bring in an everlasting righteousness and seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. Seventy weeks have been decreed for Israel, which started from the time of “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem until [the coming of] the anointed One, (YAHSHUA) a Prince, shall be seven weeks [of years] and sixty-two weeks [of years]; it shall be built again with [city] square and moat, but in troublous times (found in the history of the Jews when they returned from exile in the book of Nehemiah and Esdras). After the sixty-two weeks [of years] shall the Anointed One be cut off or killed and shall have nothing belonging to Him. (YAHSHUA died in the period of the sixty-ninth week [of years] which was the week of years before the final week of years of seventy weeks of years reserved for the Jewish nation) (Daniel 9: 24-26).
Faith, a thing that moves mountains, a thing that compels us to do the impossible, a thing that transforms and directs a life that embraces it, it is a thing that conquers the world. Faith is the assured feeling embed in hope and belief of the reality of things not seen, as if they existed. Faith is the force that keeps us persevering through it all in our pilgrimage on this earth. YAHSHUA, the Author and consummator of it, has given us a measure of it to uphold His promises for now and for the future. Our hope in Him is by faith that springs out from belief. There are many heroes and heroines of the faith that are suffering persecutions and many who have died for the faith in the true God. They have understood beyond doubt the true meaning of following the Savior, YAHSHUA. Their lives were and are true living sacrifices unto God, as they confessed and confess to the world that theirs is the heavenly citizenship. As those heroes and heroines of ancient times, today’s heroes and heroines of the faith, have provided the way for us to follow, carrying the torch of faith that will never be snuffed out, lightening the way for all to see beyond earthly stuff. It is a matter of our heavenly citizenship. Paul said, But our citizenship is in heaven, and from there we eagerly wait the Savior, the Lord YAHSHUA Messiah (Phil. 3:20). As patriots, we love our mother land. It is a natural thing to get attached to it, for it is where our ancestors’ roots are established. We die for it in times of war; we measure no sacrifice to display the love we have for our country. It is an emotion that goes deep into our soul. However, our permanent home is in heaven, where life after death will continue forever in a sphere of holiness and beauty, one we have never experienced before, but long for. Our love for heaven then should be of greater esteem and devotion with readiness to give our life for it.
Music is the most effective relaxing method available to the troubled soul, because it scares evil away from the mind and heart. One example of this is found in the life of King Saul. When the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented and troubled him, Saul’s servants said to him, Let our Lord now command your servants here before you to find a man who plays skillfully on the lyre; and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play and you will be well. One of the young men said, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who plays skillfully, a valiant man, a man of war, prudent in speech and eloquent, an attractive person; and the Lord is with him. So, Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, Send me David your son, who is with the sheep. and David came to Saul and served him. Saul became very fond of him and he became his armor-bearer; Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David remain in my service, for he pleases me. And when the evil spirit from Gpd was upon Saul, David took a lyre and played it; so, Saul was refreshed and became well, and the evil spirit left him (I Sam. 16:14,16,18-19,21-12).
What does the tower of Babel of yesterday have in common with the one world order of the future? Simply answered, all nations as one.
The Bible gives an account of the history of the flood and its consequential events in the timeline of Noah’s life and the history of the generations of his sons, specifically Ham, the father of Cush. Cush, the Bible says, became the father of Nimrod; Nimrod, was first to be a mighty man on the earth. His kingdom included Babel and several other cities in the land of Babylonia; he went forth into Assyria (today’s Iraqi) and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-Ir, Calah, Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; all these [suburbs combined to form] the great city (Gen. 10:9-12). In chapter eleven of Genesis we read that in those days the whole earth was of one language and of one accent and mode of expression; To exercise power and sovereignty against God’s purpose to fill the earth, 339 years after the flood, Nimrod came with the plan to build a city and a tower to reach the sky; a name for themselves lest they be scattered over the whole earth. But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, Behold, they are one people and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from that place upon the face of the whole earth, and they gave up building the city (Gen. 11). That was in a small scale, the first idea of one world order.
YAHSHUA tells a parable of comparison illustrating the kingdom of heaven to ten virgins: five wise and five foolish. This parable not only is a warning consisting of preparedness, but it also reveals who will be taken and who will be left behind when YAHSHUA comes to meet His bride on the air.
The kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom (vs. 1). “The numberten is the number of testimony. It stands for responsibility and its judgement or reward. Man was responsible under the Law to keep the commandments and bear a testimony for God.” (Dr. Ed F. Vallowe). The ten virgins were identified as carrying their lamps with the purpose of meeting the bridegroom. Let’s imagine that these virgins were Christians who Sunday after Sunday worshiped together in some church. They lived their life of faith in a way that indicated they had a relationship with God. Perhaps they were involved in activities of their church, as in Sunday School teaching, pastoring, visitation, perhaps they were deacons and leaders in some capacity in church. These were not only women, but men also. The tittle bride of Christ applies to all professing Christians. They had some knowledge concerning the return of the bridegroom and prepared themselves as they saw fit. Five followed the Word of God and the other five simply followed what they thought to be right according to the interpretation of men, but empty of God’s truth. Nevertheless, they had one thing in common: to meet the waited for bridegroom.
For that trip they needed their lamps to be filled with oil, for the wait could be long. Five of them were prepared with extra oil in case the bridegroom was tardy coming. The other five, however, had insufficient quantity of oil for the journey. They were the ones who lived their spiritual lives quenching the Holy Spirit to satisfy their fleshy desires. The oil remaining in them was not enough to take them to meet the bridegroom. To quench means to overpower, to extinguish and to put out. That’s the difference that separated them. Oil speaks of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the true believer’s life. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, confirms this truth when he wrote: In Him you also who have heard of your salvation, and have believed, were stamped with the seal of the long-promised Holy spirit; He is the guarantee of our inheritance, an anticipation of its full redemption and our acquiring possession of it – to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13-14).
The cries of Lamentations’ writings detail the sufferings of Israel’s people when taken away as captives by Babylon. “How solitary sits the city that was full of people!… all Zion gates are desolate… all her people groan and sigh seeking for bread; should and shall women eat the fruit of their own bodies, the children whom they have tended and swaddled with their hands?” (Lamentations 1,2).
Calamity had come to the city of Jerusalem-Judah and its people for their sins were grave before the Lord. Israel had been warned by Moses when yet in the wilderness of the consequences if they deviated from obeying the commandments of the Lord. The prophets also warned them of the coming judgment if they continued in their idolatry. But Israel’s heart was hard toward the Lord. “Jerusalem has grievously sinned; therefore, she has become an unclean thing and has been removed…her filthiness was in and on her skirts; she did not consider her final end (1:8a,9a).
In 589 BC Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege to Jerusalem; In 587 BC the culmination of the destruction of the city and temple happened. The Jewish people were then deported to Babylon, including Daniel and his friends, who God used mightily to change the heart of the King; He used Daniel to serve as prophet for the Jewish nation. God, in His love and mercy, allowed seventy years of captivity for the Jewish nation for having failed to keep seventy Sabbath years. It is written in the book of Leviticus that a Sabbath year comes every seventh year: But in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord, you shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap and the grapes on your uncultivated vine you shall not gather, for it is a year of rest to the land…and you shall number seven sabbaths or weeks of years for you, seven times seven years, so the total time of the seven weeks of years shall be forty-nine years (Lev. 25: 4-8). The number seventy is embed in the prophecy of Daniel chapter 9:24: Seventy weeks [of years, or 490 years] are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city to finish and put an end to transgression, to seal up and make full the measure of sin to purge away and make expiation and reconciliation for sin to bring in everlasting righteousness… When the disciples asked YAHSHUA how many times should one forgive, He gave them the answer found in the period of 490 years given the Jewish people in the prophecy of Daniel, illustrating the validity of Daniel’s prophecy’s time frame given them for forgiveness.
So also as it was in the days of Lot [people] ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the [very] day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed [them] all. That is the way it will be on the day of that the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17: 28-30).
When the Lord told Abraham to move away from his family, Abraham took his nephew Lot with him. Lot, as his uncle, had flocks, herds and tents; therefore, there was not enough room for their herds and flocks. For that reason, there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdsmen of Lot’s cattle. Abraham suggested Lot to separate from him. Lot decided to move to the Jordan Valley, a place well-watered; it was like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt (Gen. 13:7-11). The beauty of the place however, did not represent the evilness of the people who lived in that place, as the Bible described them to be wicked and exceedingly great sinners. Sodom and Gomorra were located, that is according to the Torah, on the plans of the Jordan River, in the southern part of Canaan.
Lot’s choice of land concentrated only on its outer beauty. We don’t know how long it took before he felt uncomfortable with Sodom’s life style. But in time he realized the consequences of his choice, as Peter describes it this way: Lot was greatly worn out and distressed by the wanton ways of the ungodly and lawless, for they tortured Lot’s righteous soul every day with what he saw and heard of [their] unlawful and wicked deeds (II Peter 2:7-8). What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah then that caused the Lord God to rain His judgement over the city? Sodom and Gomorrah were plagued with the sin of homosexuality and with all those sins rooted in it. The Prophet Isaiah describes it as shameless sin, Jeremiah as adultery and lies; Ezekiel compares Jerusalem to Sodom and Gomorrah for their sin of arrogance, unconcerned and haughty. The sin of homosexuality comprises of many roots; this is only a demonstration of concealed evil in the human heart. The term sodomy came to be used to represent all evil practiced by those people. God condemns the practice of homosexuality in the pages found in Leviticus 18: 22: You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination. It is obvious to see that the main reason for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was the sin of homosexuality and its roots.
(II Thessalonians 2)
The word departure carries the meaning of finality in some cases. It is sometimes one of no return; one that brings tears of emotion when a loved one moves away for whatever reason. When the departure of a loved one is through death, nothing will comfort the heart of those left behind. The departure of the spirit from the body is final in the eternal destination of mankind. Life on earth is as if an opportunity to prepare for the eternal, where either heaven or hell awaits us. Some people have had many years of opportunities to make the eternal decision; others, not so long, but nevertheless, they all had the opportunity, with the exception of babies and young children. Death is the departure that will take the span of our entire life lived on earth preparing for. Every chance and opportunity are counted for eternity. As much preparation is needed for our physical departure, it will be needed for the departure to eternity in different aspects. The Apostle Paul lost focus of this world, when he desired to depart from this world and be with the Lord. His close relationship with God gave him the ultimate goal of his life, which was to live for Christ; but his ultimate desire was to be with YAHSHUA. He said, For me to live is Christ and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21-23). It is of greater gain to be with the Lord in eternity, than to be on earth. The joyous and peaceful life we will experience in heaven in the presence of our Lord and Savior- YAHSHUA is not to be compared to this earthly temporary joy and peace. Since the world is not our home, and since we are not citizens of it, shouldn’t we desire to depart from this earth to go home? That should be the outmost desire of every believer, for the Bible confirms, We are citizens of the state which is in heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await the Lord YAHSHUA the Messiah, Savior, Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself (Phil. 3:20-21). The longing for heaven is a sign that we are walking close with the Lord our Savior. Nothing in this world should replace our desire for heaven.
(Luke 9: 9-10, 13-17, 18, 23-26)
YAHSHUA well knew that His days on the earth were approaching when He was to fulfill His Father’s will. Soon or later He was to take His position as the Lamb of God Who was to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. He had accomplished much in a short time of His ministry which was to last three years. Nicodemus, the Pharisee who came to see Him sometime in the past, said, “No one can do the things that You do unless God is with him”. The disciples had witnessed, but they had never experienced the power of God to do the miracles YAHSHUA had performed until He called them apart and gave them power, authority over all demons and (power) to cure disease (Luke 9:1). Power and authority must be given together for the work of God to be done successfully. No, they did not need to spend years in seminary studying, but just a few hours being taught and directed by the Son of God. At that time, they were sent to the house of Israel, announcing, preaching the kingdom of God, and bringing healing to those in need of. YAHSHUA instructed them not to take anything extra for their journey. Nothing was to interfere with God’s provision while on the mission. No walking stick, nor wallet, no food, no money, no more than one garment or tunic, not even moving from place to place. God’s faithfulness and power were to be witnessed through His provision, even in the necessities of life.