WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2010
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up TOGETHER WITH THEM in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord [1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17].
I'm not PREDICTING anything.
We are in the final days of the Feast of Hanukkah in the Hebrew calendar.
Hanukkah means "Dedication".
It was during the Feast of Hanukkah, in the 10th chapter of John's Gospel, that Jesus talked about the catching away of His Church [John 10:22]:
[I've edited out certain portions of the chapter for the sake of space and continuity].
1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the porter opens; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.
4 And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice...
7 Then said Jesus to them again, Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep...
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture...
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15 As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father...
22 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication [Hanukkah], and it was winter.
23 And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch...
26 But you believe not, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and my Father are one.
The reasons we know He's referring to the Rapture are:
1)"THE OPEN DOOR" (that no man can shut) [Revelation 3:8; 4:1] is mentioned repeatedly.
2) The sheep "HEAR HIS VOICE" - is stated over and over. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 "for the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven WITH A SHOUT [voice], with the voice of the Archangel and the Trump of God"...
3) OTHER SHEEP: [verse 16] "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd".
This could only be "the Church", since it didn't exist yet when Jesus spoke that parable.
4) ONE FOLD - "There shall be ONE FOLD" can only refer to when we are ALL gathered together unto Him [2 Thessalonians 2:1-3].
When ALL the dead IN CHRIST rise first, then we are caught up TOGETHER WITH THEM to meet the Lord.
Lord knows, we're NOT "one fold" yet, even as we speak.
5) Verse 28 "they shall NEVER perish" can only refer to those who NEVER DIE because they're changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye from mortal to immortal[1 Corinthians 15:50-55].
6) Verses 28 and 29 where He says TWICE that "no man can PLUCK THEM out of my hand".
The Greek word for "PLUCK THEM" IS HARPAZO. Harpazo means "to snatch, or seize suddenly".
Interestingly, HARPAZO is the exact same word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (the anchor verse quoted above) "then WE WHO ARE ALIVE AND REMAIN SHALL BE CAUGHT UP [harpazo] in the clouds to meet the Lord"...
So, He's saying that once He "harpazoes" us, no one else can "harpazo" us.
Curiously, the first person to EVER be "raptured", in all of history, was Enoch [Genesis 5:24].
Enoch, is Hanokh in Hebrew.
It means "DEDICATED" AND COMES from the same Hebrew root as "Hanukkah", the feast of DEDICATION.
As I shared in yesterday's message:
The feast of Hanukkah celebrates the CLEANSING AND DEDICATION of the TEMPLE which had been desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes. That's EXACTLY what happens to the human temple at the Rapture.
The temple is cleansed, the mind renewed and DEDICATED ENTIRELY to God, as it was before they [Adam] sinned.
It's that renewed mind, filled with God's Manifest Presence [Shekinah] that will cause our transformation from mortal to immortal.
Hanukkah ALSO commemorates the re-lighting of the menorah, the 7-branch CANDLESTICK in the temple.
And WHAT WAS THE VERY FIRST SYMBOL THAT JESUS SHOWED John WHEN he WROTE REVELATION?
The 7-branch menorah. And He said it symbolized THE CHURCH:
"And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the middle of the seven candlesticks [menorah] one like to the Son of man"... [Revelation 1:12,13].
"The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks [menorah] which you saw are the seven churches" [Revelation 1:20].
Seven, of course, being the number of completion.
As for the oil lasting 8 days, what did Jesus say in the parable of the 10 virgins? [Matthew 25:1-12] That ONLY THOSE WHO HAD OIL IN THEIR LAMPS got to go into the marriage feast.
So, the parallels between this Feast and the catching away of the Church are truly amazing.
Do you HAVE OIL? Have you received the ANOINTED ONE, the Giver of Oil, into your heart?
If you haven't, DON'T WAIT ANOTHER SECOND.