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Moons, Stars and Festivals

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Yesterday I had a great opportunity to discuss the book Holy Land Key by Pastor Ray Bentley, of Maranatha Chapel, San Diego, California. For those unaware, Maranatha is my home church and Pastor Ray is my pastor, so not surprisingly, Ray and I have discussed issues raised in his book on several previous occasions.

Three topics have been of interest to my blog readers: the Gospel in the Zodiac, Blood Moons and the role of Israel’s 7 festivals in relation to God’s plan of the ages.

1. The Gospel in the Stars.

Let’s be really blunt: this has nothing at all to do with astrology or any kind of star worship or horoscopes. The Gospel IS in the stars. We know that the heavens declare God’s glory, attributes and even wrath. We also know beyond dispute that God has used the stars to proclaim Christ’s first advent and that the stars will also announce his second advent.  Further, from Adam to Moses there was no written revelation and it is perfectly reasonable to believe that God ensured the continuity and accuracy of the oral tradition by enabling what was said to be tied to what was seen. In other words, the signs of the Zodiac were something like God’s great PowerPoint in the sky. Yes, the symbolism and meanings of the constellations did devolve into something pagan later, but God created the constellations and declared them good.  Just as we are still in the image of God while being corrupted by sin, so also a later sinful exploitation of the constellations does not mean they didn’t serve God’s purpose originally. And besides, as Pastor Ray observed, we know the Gospel from God’s Word but that doesn’t mean we can’t see it reflected in God’s creation.

2. Seven Festivals of Israel.

I think I always knew Christ was crucified during the Festival of Passover and that the Church was born on the Festival of Weeks (Pentecost), but only recently and from Pastor Ray did I learn that Jesus lay in the Tomb during the Festival of Unleavened Bread and was raised on the Festival of First Fruits.  As for the latter, I had no excuse because Christ’s resurrection is even called the First Fruits by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.  Knowing this has been edifying and even helpful in teaching because, for example, 1 Cor. 5 refers to the Jewish practice of removing yeast from your home, refers to Christ in the next sentence as “our Passover” and then refers to our celebrating the Festival of Unleavened Bread by getting rid of the old lump of dough and starting fresh with a whole new lump.

More recently our church has focused on the three fall festivals: Festival of Trumpets,  Festival of Atonement and the Festival of Tabernacles.  I have learned a great deal about these feast days and regret that I was a Christian for 30+ years in complete ignorance of them.  A year ago I could not have even named them. Now I am on a journey of discovery with these holidays. Personally, I am not prepared to make any prophetic predictions based on the dates of these festivals, and I can attest that Pastor Ray has not made any predictions either.  Some people (who maybe read too many blogs ) will inevitably succumb to the temptation to set dates and time tables for Christ’s Second Advent, but that should not deter us from celebrating and learning. Paul said in Colossians that we should not let anyone judge us on the basis of a Sabbath, festival or new moon. To celebrate them, whether you are of Jewish or Gentile background, is a matter of Christian liberty.

3. Blood Moons.

The Blood Moons issue has become extremely popular and has produced hundreds of “me too” self proclaimed prophecy gurus making all kinds of outrageous claims.  But I can say emphatically that Ray Bentley’s book (which has one chapter on blood moons) does not fall into the trap of making predictions based on the lunar eclipse schedule. Rather, Pastor Ray’s statements and book are measured and cautious.  One must not paint all with a single broad brush. That said, Pastor Ray and I don’t agree on every minute detail involving tetrads and historical events over the last 2000 years. But we do agree that God can, has, does and will use moons and the Sun and stars to get us to watch, wait, warn and worship.  These blood moons currently may be viewed as God’s traffic lights. The lights are changing from Green to Yellow to Red: we need to stop, look and listen.

So as is often the case,  members of one body will agree more than they disagree. Let’s remember that.

2ND BLOOD MOON ALSO NOT VISIBLE IN ISRAEL

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Click the link below to see where the October 8 lunar eclipse is visible. Can it be a sign to Israel if it can’t be seen in Israel?

October Blood Moon

October Blood Moon

SHEMITAHS?

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Recently a lot of attention has been focused on the fact that 2015 is a SHEMITAH year, that is, the Sabbath Year which falls on the seventh year of the Jewish Calendar. It is on this year when debts are to be forgiven and farm fields left uncultivated. The 70 year captivity of the Jews in Babylon reflected the 490 years that the Jews had ignored the Sabbath Year.

The theory that the SHEMITAH years are a pattern of God’s blessing and punishments are the focus of a new book by Jonathan Cahn, author of the Harbinger, which claimed parallels between 9/11 and Isaiah chapter 9. Cahn asserts all of human history can be understood with this mystery unveiled.

I attempted to calculate the 7 year intervals from 587 BC (the beginning of the 70 years) and starting the 7 year cycle anew when the 70 years were complete. The result was a completely different set of SHEMITAH years than those used by Cahn. I researched the issue in Jewish sources to learn that after the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, after apparently a long period of ignoring SHEMITAH and the Jubilee years, the rabbis determined that the Jubilee year was no longer in effect but the 7 year SHEMITAH cycle was restarted in 71 AD. This starting date delivers the rabbi-accepted SHEMITAH years used by Cahn.

Below is a timeline showing each (thus adjusted by the rabbis) SHEMITAH years in the last 115 years. Only US History events are included, because that is the focus of Cahn’s book.

I overlayed the top 10 stock market crashes, the starts and endings of US wars and also threw in some of the other events cited by Jonathan Cahn in his book, The Mystery of the SHEMITAH.”

SHEMITAHs years are in bold.

The years are in doublets because the Jewish civil calendar year begins in the fall, such that the SHEMITAH for 1973 actually begins in the fall of 1972 and ends in the fall of 1973.

There are 17 SHEMITAHs in this 115 year period. Five of them roughly correspond to stock market crashes and wars, etc. 12 of the SHEMITAHs have nothing happening. Meanwhile, just counting stock market crashes and wars, there are 16 events that are of the same nature which did not happen on SHEMITAHs.

So of all 17 SHEMITAH years since 1900, 12 had no reportable event and there were 16 reportable events on other, non-SHEMITAH years. I fail to see any pattern here.

1900
01
02
1903

04
05
06
07
08
09
1910

11
12
13
1914 WWI STARTS
15
16
1917

1918 VICTORY IN WWI
19
1920
21
22
23
1924

25
26
27
28
1929 CRASH
1930
1931

32
33
34
35
36
1937 RECESSION
1938

39
1940
41
42
43
44
1945 A BOMB VICTORY IN WWII

46
47
48
49
1950 KOREAN WAR STARTS
51
1952

53 KOREAN WAR ENDS
54
55
56
57
58
1959

1960
61
1962 CRASH
3 VIETNAM WAR STARTS
64
65
1966

67
68
69
1970
71
72
1973 ROE V WADE
S. VIETNAM COLLAPSE

1974 OIL EMBARGO
75
76
1977 ENERGY CRISIS
78
79
1980

81
82
83
84
85
86
1987 CRAS
H
88
1989 CRASH
END OF COLD WAR
1990 CRASH
91
1992 CRASH
93
1994

95
96
97
98
99
2000 CRASH
2001 9/11

2002 CRASH
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007 BEAR MARKET
2008
FIN CRISIS
2009
2010 CRASH
2011 CRASH
2012
2013
2014
2015

2016
2017
2018
2019

Interesting post on Blood Moons Theory

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http://messiahsmandate.org/blood-moons-and-prophetic-confusion-by-avner-boskey/#sthash.bjgdCtv3.dpbs

Challenging post about Blood Moons on Ron Cantor’s blog, Messiah’s Mandate.

About.com takes on Blood Moon theory

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:

http://christianity.about.com/od/whatdoesthebiblesay/fl/Blood-Moons.htm

Is Heaven For Real?

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At this link is a good book review of Heaven is For Real.

http://www.challies.com/book-reviews/heaven-is-for-real

Blood Moon Chronology

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The 1493-94 blood moon “tetrad” came after, not before, the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain and the discovery of the Americas.

The 1949-50 blood moon “tetrad” came after, not before, the 1948 creation of the nation Israel.

The 1967-68 blood moon “tetrad” came after, not before, the recapture of Jerusalem in the Six Day War.

Consequently, for the pattern to be repeated it, there should have been a major event affecting the Jews comparable to what happened with the previous three tetrads BEFORE last night’s blood moon eclipse. Note also that the Arab Israeli war in 1956, the Yom Kippur War in 1973 and the Lebanon Conflict of 1981 were not signaled by lunar eclipses and so one would have expected something more significant than these to have happened before last night’s eclipse.

If nothing has happened of comparable significance to the creation of Israel or the capture  of the Temple Mount, than the only conclusion that can be reached is either there is no pattern of history signified by lunar eclipses.

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