GOD'S PURPOSE (A PREFACE)
Before I start this quite detailed blog series about the fulfilled end-time events and where we are in the prophetic timeline, I feel the need to put everything into two perspectives with some context. I was originally going to write this blog by listing all of the fulfilled prophesies and just leave it there. After much thought and consideration, I came to the conclusion that none of prophecy really matters or is believed unless you address the two perspectives on God, Jesus, and The Bible.
I'll be focusing on Jesus as the main point within this blog part because everything in the Bible leads to Jesus Christ as one centralized story. We can't know God the Father without knowing God the Son. (Matthew 11:27). If God the Son (Jesus) never existed and then all the events in the Bible become made up stories, no future prophecy holds weight and everything within the Bible fails. The two perspectives are:
1. Nonbelief: If you don't believe in the God of the Bible, all of this will fall into the "coincidence" category.
2. Belief: If you do believe in the God of the Bible, you need to understand that He is a God of purpose and not a God that deals with coincidence. He is also a God of pattern and His patterns are made known time and time again throughout the Bible.
Let's examine the two perspectives more in depth so you have a better understanding of why we can accurately determine these signs we are seeing today:
---- NONBELIEF ----
Example: A plane hit one of the world trade centers - a very unfortunate occurrence. A few minutes later, another plane hit the other trade center - odd but possible/coincidental. A few minutes later, another plane hits the Pentagon - intentional and we found out it was a terrorist attack that was sophisticated and planned. So we usually see three or more things that originally appear as "accidental" but now "intentional" after several things happen together and have connection to each other.
The best and surest way to confirm God's existence is through fulfilled prophecy. I'll touch on this more within the blog series and how history, science, math, and celestial signs can confirm these events.We said above that three "accidental occurrences" are usually the sign that something was intentional or planned. Were you aware that the Bible - which has 66 books, 40 authors, written in 3 different languages, written on 3 different continents, and over a 1,500 year span - has 28% of its scripture about prophecy? Let that sink in for a minute. In order to not be considered a false prophet, one would have to predict something and it doesn't come to pass, correct? What do you think the odds would be of any of those prophecies, being written by 40 different people at various times in history, majority not knowing each other, being 100% accurate and fulfilled after it was written? There has to be some of those fulfilled, right?
The law of averages - which states: the law that a particular outcome or event is inevitable or certain simply because it is statistically possible - and mere coincidence means that somewhere in the future, some of these had to happen as it was stated by pure chance.
I'll agree with that stance. However, did you know that Jesus alone fulfilled around 300 specific prophecies that were written about Him thousands of years before He was born? - to the "T"
Circumstances such as his birthplace, lineage, and method of execution were beyond his control and could not have been accidentally or deliberately fulfilled but were specifically prophesied.
...so this was either by divine foreknowledge and purpose - or by what you would consider coincidence. Remember, it usually takes 3 events to consider something purposeful and with stated above, you have over 300 fulfilled prophecies.
The skeptic says "We all know that the Bible was written by man and cant trust if it's accurate, can we?"
Charlie Campbell of Always Be Ready ministries (website) puts it perfectly, "I like to gently point out that their conclusion doesn't follow their premise. Just because something was written by men doesn't mean it's not trustworthy. If that were the case, we would have to throw out encyclopedias, dictionaries, automobile manuals, etc - all written by men."
---- MATHEMATICAL EVIDENCE ----
Here are the odds from mathematicians for 1 man fulfilling these prophecies:
- 1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000
- 1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 in 10 to the 157th power (that's 157 zeros)
- 1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Only Jesus, the Son of God!
---- HISTORICAL EVIDENCE ----
The skeptic says "How do we know Jesus was a real person?"
Well, Jesus is mentioned by more than 30 historical sources outside of the New Testament, including Roman historians Cornelius Tacitus (Britannica), Suetonius (Britannica), Flavius Josephus (Britannica), The Jewish Talmud (Britannica), etc.
Regarding Jesus' 12 apostles and an excerpt from Always Be Ready Ministries (reference):
Flavius Josephus, Eusebius, Tertullian, and other independent extra-biblical sources record for us that many of Jesus’ earliest followers, including the apostles, suffered intense persecution and even death for their on-going belief and preaching that Jesus was Lord and was risen from the dead. We are told in these extrabiblical sources that all 12 apostles (13 including Judas - whom hung himself) died willfully in the name of Jesus Christ.
- Matthew was slain with a sword in a city of Ethiopia
- Mark died in Alexandria, in Northern Egypt after having been cruelly dragged through the streets of that city.
- Luke was hung to death upon an olive tree in the land of Greece
- John was tortured and banished to the Island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9) - only apostle to die of natural causes
- James, the brother of John, was beheaded in Jerusalem (Acts 12:2)
- James the Less (as he’s called in Mark 15:40) was thrown from a pinnacle of the temple
- Philip was hung up against a pillar at Heiropolis in the province of Phrygia
- Bartholomew was flayed alive
- Andrew was bound to a cross, and left to die
- Jude was shot to death with arrows
- Matthias (the apostle chosen to replace Judas) was first stoned, and then beheaded
- Barnabas was stoned to death by the Jews at Salonica
- Paul, after a variety of tortures and imprisonments, was finally beheaded in Rome
- Thomas was run through the body with a spear in east India
- Peter was crucified upside down in Rome
- Judas hung himself after betraying Jesus
National Geographic reference: How Did the Apostles Die?
All 12 of them died for one man. Do you believe these men “made up a story” about Jesus and then spent years enduring persecution, imprisonments, and such, only to die these kinds of painful deaths. Nobody lies to get themselves into these kinds of predicaments! People lie to get out of these kinds of things! - Charlie Campbell
- Flavius Josephus, a historian that lived in Jesus's day, also recorded in his 20-volume historiographical work "Antiquities of the Jews" that not only was Jesus a real person, but was the Messiah and was crucified by Pontius Pilate. (Testimonium Flavianum)
- Mark 15:33 recounts a darkness falling over the land at noon when Jesus died, lasting for 3 hours. NASA even reports a partial lunar eclipse on the day Jesus died - April 3, 33AD...the umbral duration lasting 2:50. (NASA PDF).
The full duration of the eclipse around the earth lasted 5:32:50 - or 333 minutes. April 3, 33AD, with a 333 minute long lasting eclipse. Following the Jewish calendar and checking the year 33 AD, we see Passover fell on April 3, 33AD. (Jewish Calendar)
---- ARCHAEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE ----
In 1867, the Garden Tomb was discovered outside of Jerusalem and is believed to be one of two possible burial sites of Jesus til this day. In Matthew 27:33, it states that Jesus was crucified on Golgotha, which means "the place of the skull". In Hebrews 13:13, it states that Jesus suffered outside the city gate (of Jerusalem). In John 19:41, it states that there was a garden in the place Jesus was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had been laid. In Matthew 27:57, Jesus is said to be buried in the tomb of a wealthy man, Joseph of Arimathea - who had become one of his disciples. In Matthew 27:60, it states that the tomb had been hewn out of the rock.
There are several things to note here that are giving us some geographical and archaeological reference.
- Jesus was crucified in a place called "Golgatha" which means "the place of the skull". (Matthew 27:33). There have been many scholars in the past several centuries that have confirmed the picture below to be the most accurate place of where Jesus was crucified.
- Hebrews 13:13 states that Jesus suffered outside the city gate (of Jerusalem). Golgotha happens to be located right outside of the north wall
- John 19:41 states there is a garden that was in the place where Jesus was crucified. From the below picture, there is a garden that surrounds a tomb, located on Golgotha. There is a also a wine press within it and one of the largest water wells in Jerusalem, supporting that it was owned by a wealthy man.
- Matthew 27:57 speaks of a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, who had become one of Jesus' disciples. When Jesus was crucified, he asked Pontius Pilate for Jesus' body so He could be buried in his new tomb which he hewn out of rock. The chemical analysis of the soil in the tomb proved that there was no evidence that a body had decayed there, agreeing with the resurrection of Jesus as stated in Matthew 28:6. This tomb was also hewn out of the rock.
- Matthew 27:66 speaks of Pontius Pilate commanding soldiers that the tomb be guarded and as secure as best as they knew to do. "So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard." Below you see a fragment of an iron post within the wall, confirming the soldiers sealing the tomb as stated in scripture. This is a very abnormal practice for a random person who just died and was buried. No guards or mandate would need to be given for a seal and guards had that been the case so this tomb is "special".
- Matthew 27:51 states that when Jesus died, the earth shook and the rocks split. In an article from the Huffington Post (Article), The International Geology Review investigated an earthquake that was said to have occurred the same date as Jesus’ crucifixion. Biblical citations combined with geological research suggest the date may have been Friday April 3, 33 A.D. Taken alone, geological research has identified a window from 26 to 36 A.D. The research confirmed that two major earthquakes hit the area specified, one during the period between 26 BCE and 36 CE, and could be the one referred to in the Gospel of Matthew. Below, you will see images of the cracked earth from Golgotha where Jesus was crucified.
Italian archaeologists found a piece of limestone, 82cm wide by 68cm high, in the ruins of a sports stadium in Caesarea, beside the sea. The stone bore his name, and much else besides. (Taken from Independent Article)
In 2002, archaeologists discovered an ossuary stone found in or near Jerusalem that states "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus"
(NY Times Article). After carefully studying and testing, it was found to be authentic and dated from B.C. 20 to A.D. 70. We know from Matthew 13:55 that Jesus had siblings, being the first born (or first fruits). This just lends more credence to Jesus being a factual person.
---- A PLEA ----
To the skeptic, I would hope common sense, rational reasoning, and factual evidence are thought of when looking at these things. If you don't believe in the supernatural, look to science and math which calculate the impossible odds of not only 1 man accomplishing these things but 300 prophecies that weren't partially accurate - they were 100% accurate. Throw on the historical and archaeological evidence, you paint Jesus in a realistic light. If you still have doubts, please take the time to read the rest of the blog series parts and hopefully I can inform you without a doubt that the God of the Bible is the Creator of this universe. The reason why there is so much prophecy in the Bible is for God the Father to be revealed through it when it comes to pass.
"No other book in the world is able to substantiate its claims with this kind of supernatural ability to rightly foretell human events. There are no fulfilled prophecies in the Islamic Quran, the Hindu Vedas, the Book of Mormon, or any other sacred religious writings. Not one. Fulfilled prophecy is something that sets the Bible apart from everything other religious book." - Charlie Campbell
Some final questions to the skeptic:
- Why are the names of God and Jesus the only ones used to curse?
- Why is the Christian belief the most persecuted in the world?
- Why are we taking Christianity out of our schools, workplaces, and government because its belief and people are considered offensive?
- Why are the lives of converted Christians so different from any other religious belief?
- Why is the Christian faith the only one that has fulfilled prophecy?
- Why is Christianity the only religion that teaches God came down to us? Every other religion teaches us we have to earn our way to God.
- Why is Christianity the only religion where you can have confidence in your salvation? All others are work-based and salvation is uncertain.
- And most importantly, why is Christianity the only religion that has an empty tomb? All other religions and writers of such are buried in their current grave.
---- BELIEF ----If you do believe in the God of the Bible, praise God! You need to understand that He is a God of purpose and not a God that deals with coincidence. He is also a God of pattern and His patterns are made known time and time again throughout the Bible.
There are at least 80 verses in the Bible that discuss God's "purpose" but i'll detail two of them for quick reference:
10. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ 11. From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.
The Lord Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen.
Other scripture references not only in Isaiah:
Psalm 135:6; Proverbs 16:4; Ephesians 1:11; Job 42:2; Jeremiah 23:20; Daniel 4:35; Revelation 17:17; Acts 2:23; etc. The list goes on.
I'm going to assume majority of you reading this knew God is a God of purpose. I'm also going to assume that most of you didn't know God has set appointed times or what is called in Hebrew "moadim's". For almost all of us, we have been raised on the Gregorian calendar that was created by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. This calendar (which is now the most widely used universally) would be based around the sun instead of the moon, 365 days instead of 360, and the Sabbath to Sunday instead of Saturday. By making these adjustments, we lost track of the Jewish holy days just as Satan planned. This is what I call the "Gentile" calendar and we need to adjust ourselves to the "Jewish" calendar in order to have God's pattern revealed.
We have all heard that no man knows the day or the hour at which Jesus will return (Matthew 25:13). We have also heard that we can determine his second coming by viewing the "seasons." (1 Thessalonians 5:1, Acts 1:7) Everyone has heard that, right?
I'm willing to bet most of you didn't know this is a two-meaning word. The word "seasons" doesn't actually mean Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter as we see them here in the United States. I think we could also agree that these 4 seasons have been hard to distinguish in the last few years giving credence to this being both literal and allegorical.
It actually translates into the Hebrew meaning "appointed time, place, or meeting" (Moed Definition). Not to jump down a rabbit hole but I believe most everything in the Bible has a two-fold meaning. A Gentile one (Seasons as in summer, winter, etc) and a Jewish meaning (appointed times, place, or meeting). Or in other terms, "first the physical, then the spiritual". I will discuss seasons more in depth within another part of the blog series for anyone that has questions on this topic so far.
Jesus also mentioned "no one knows the day or hour". This has both an allegorical and literal meaning. Did you know that The Feast of Trumpets is a 2-day feast where "no man knew the day or the hour." Til this day, its widely known as "The Hidden Day", "The day no man knows the day or hour", "A day of blowing the trumpet","The Day of Judgment", etc.
The feast would start at the sight of a new moon, something that two witnesses had to confirm and didn't know which of the days it would be sighted. It was widely known in Jesus' day that the idiom (or "saying of the day") he spoke of "no man knows..." regarded the Feast of Trumpets. When people today say, "Well, no man knows the day or the hour of when the rapture will occur...", its mostly false and simply a lack of knowledge regarding God's appointed feasts. The Feast of Trumpets is the next prophetic feast to be fulfilled by Jesus of the three remaining.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:52 that we will be caught up "at the last trump". Remember, The Feast of TRUMPETS is also know as "a day of blowing the trumpet". There are a total of 100 blasts that occur during this feast and in these 100 blasts, the first of three categories are combined back and forth until there is a total of 99 sounds. Then comes the 100th, the Tekiah Gedolah, a very long-sustained note – as long as the trumpeter had breath to hold it, and this is known as “the last trump.”
Why am I going into this now? It's to show you God's purpose, especially as it pertains to the end-times. I'll try to quickly touch on this subject since it pertains heavily to how the end-times scenarios play out but will also discuss it more in depth within another part of the blog series.
---- FEASTS OF THE LORD ----
In Leviticus 23, God has set 7 specific holy days for the Jewish people to recognize. These holy days (appointed times or Feasts of God) are to be recognized every year and celebrated. It's also the part of the Bible where we see God mandate the Sabbath (Saturday according to Jewish calendar, Sunday according to Gentile) as the weekly holy day of rest. (Leviticus 23:3) These 7 feasts are divided up into two seasons of the calendar year - the spring feasts and the fall feasts.
They are as follows:
- Passover (Britannica)
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Britannica)
- The Wave Offering of First Fruits (Britannica)
- Pentecost (Britannica)
- Trumpets (Britannica)
- The Day of Atonement (Britannica)
- Feast of Tabernacles (Britannica)
Again, why are these significant to prophecy? There is a saying by Saint Augustine that says, "The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed. The Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed." This means that much of what happens in the Old Testament will be revealed and repeated in the New Testament, more specifically by Jesus as they pertain to the above Feasts of God.
- Old Testament: The Jews put lambs blood over the door posts to prevent the angel of death taking their first born son
- New Testament: Jesus is the lamb who was slain and his blood was shed on the cross for our sins.
Both of these occurred on the Feast of Passover 1300 years apart
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread
- Old Testament: The feast of Unleavened Bread celebrates the journey of the children of Israel through the wilderness, when following Passover and the Exodus, they ate unleavened bread (bread without yeast) for thirty days which then was substituted by the manna (spiritual food) which Yahweh Himself provided for them for the rest of their journey to the promised land of Israel
- New Testament: Pointed to Jesus' sinless life (as leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible), making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus' body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.
Both of these occurred on the Feast of Unleavened Bread 1300 years apart
I could keep going about each of these feasts but the point is Jesus fulfilled them and in chronological order. The 4th and last feast that fulfilled was The Feast of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles in Acts 2:1. That means there are 3 more fall feasts that have to prophetically be fulfilled and based on Jesus' previous pattern, will most likely happen in chronological order. They are:
- The Day of Atonement
- Feast of Tabernacles
After studying extensively on these feasts, I believe the following and will explain how I determined these later in another blog part:
- The Feast of Trumpets
- This will be the rapture of the church
- The Day of Atonement
- When Christ will return for the second time
- The Feast of Tabernacles
- When Christ reigns for 1000 years
This puts some context and perspective regarding the two perspectives one would have viewing prophecy of the Bible. God has a very specific plan and purpose regarding everything He does but even more so as it pertains to His holy feast days. We are going to learn more about these feast days, celestial signs in the heaven, historical events as they pertain to these feast days, and much more in the next parts of the blog series.
To be continued...
Click here for Part 2
To be continued...
Click here for Part 2