...Was it a sign from heaven?
That's what Carrie Devorah wants to know after she inadvertently photographed some mysterious blue light images hovering heavenward while taking pictures of the lighting of the Chabad menorah on the first night of Hanukkah last night on the Ellipse in the nation's capital....
"...there is no building that tall to the right of the menorah where the two blue images are."...
Devorah says she took three photographs in sequence and the blue images the mystery lights are ascending in the sequence....
"Messiah? A sign? Blue angels?" she asks rhetorically. "All I know is it was fortuitous on a day I was needing to see ... one set of footsteps in the sand, a sign I am being carried."
Maybe. It looks like a cross to me. I don't see how ground-based lights could form the crosspiece.
Hanukkah (meaning dedication) is all about the consecrated oil, only enough for only one night, miraculously burned for eight days at the rededication of the temple after the successful revolt of the Maccabees. It took eight days to prepare a fresh supply of oil. This festival that starts on Kislev 25 is also called the Festival of Lights.
Eight means new order. If this Festival of Lights is a sign of the upcoming Rapture, new order would be fitting. The parable of the 10 virgins fits the Festival of Lights. The wise virgins had enough oil with them so their lamps would stay lit until the Bridegroom came (Mt. 15:1f).
Hannukah: 6 PM Kislev 25 to 6 PM Teveth 3, 5765 (6 PM Dec. 7, 04 to 6 PM, Dec. 15, 04). The first candle was lit the night of Dec.7. The last candle will be lit the night of Dec.14.
A sign of when the Bridegroom will come for the wise virgins? Hmmm. That's close. On our calendar, Hannukah lasts Dec. 8 through 15. The 2300th day before I expect the Second Advent on Nisan 1, 5771 (April 5, 2011) is the very next night, Dec. 16/17, 2004. I sure hope that night of will be the night of the Pre-Trib Rapture.
A rare and spectacular event will occur in the early morning hours of Tuesday, Dec. 7 when the brilliant planet Jupiter and three of its largest satellites pass behind Earth's Moon.
Astronomers refer to this phenomenon as an "occultation," taken from the Latin occultare, which means to conceal....
After 2004, there will not be another similarly favorable Jupiter occultation for most North Americans until Oct. 6, 2026....
What might have been the fabled Star of Bethlehem?
In his book, "The Star of Bethlehem, The Legacy of the Magi" (Rutgers University Press, 1999), Molnar says that an ancient Roman coin, minted in the historic city of Antioch holds the answer. Molnar became intrigued by the image of a ram looking back at a star.
After doing considerable research using astronomical, astrological and historical clues, he argues that the image of the star on the coin was Jupiter, while the ram looking back at the star was the zodiacal constellation of Aries, a star pattern that was also the symbol of Judea. "In Roman times," he adds, "astrologers claimed that the Moon enhanced the astrological influences of a planet during close conjunctions."
Ancient astrologers, such as the Magi, very likely believed that a new king would be born when the Moon passed in front of Jupiter - an eclipse that would herald the birth of Christ. And modern-day computer wizardry enabled Molnar to discover that while Jupiter was in Aries, it was occulted by a crescent Moon on April 17, 6 B.C.
Molnar believes that the Star of Bethlehem was not a singular occurrence, but was actually composed of an entire sequence of events, which also included Jupiter's appearance in the eastern sky within the sign of Aries. But the 6 B.C. occultation of Jupiter on April 17 was perhaps the most important component. He adds: "Writing during the reign of Emperor Constantine, Firmicus Maternus, a christianized pagan, claimed that these conditions in Aries gave rise to immortal and divine people! I believe that he was making a reference to the Star of Bethlehem."
But the upcoming Jupiter occultation differs from the one in 6 B.C. in that it will not occur in Aries, but within the constellation Virgo.
I recently received an email castigating me for teaching the words and sayings of a 'mythical historical figure', with the writer speculating that if it weren't for people as dumb as me, John Kerry would be president today.
According to my correspondent, Jesus wasn't a genuine historical figure, but was instead a composite of a number of historical figures from His era.
He dismissed what he termed "obscure references in Josephus," arguing that there is no genuine historical evidence for the life of Jesus outside the Bible.
And he thinks I'm dumb? The 'obscure' references by Josephus are not exactly 'obscure' -- and they are not exactly the only historical references to Jesus apart from the Bible.
Josephus was a historian who lived from 37 A.D. to about 100 A.D. He was a member of the priestly aristocracy of the Jews, and was taken hostage by the Roman Empire in the great Jewish revolt of 66-70 A.D.
Josephus spent the rest of his life in or around Rome as an advisor and historian to three emperors, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. For centuries, the works of Josephus were more widely read in Europe than any book other than the Bible.
They are invaluable sources of eyewitness testimony to the development of Western civilization, including the foundation and growth of Christianity in the 1st Century.
Josephus mentions Jesus in Antiquities, Book 18, chapter 3, paragraph 3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
Scholars argue that the phrase, 'He was the Christ' was added at some later time. But scholars agree the bulk of the passage is unchanged.
In any case, Josephus also mentions John the Baptist and Herod in Antiquities, Book 18, chapter 5, paragraph 2:
"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness."
Josephus mentions James, the brother of Jesus, in Antiquities, Book 20, chapter 9, paragraph 1: "Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done."
Those are not exactly 'obscure' references, as I noted earlier.
Then there is the testimony of the Roman historian, Tacitus. Reporting on Emperor Nero's decision to blame the Christians for the fire that had destroyed Rome in A.D. 64, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote:
"Nero fastened the guilt . . . on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome. . . "
Note several things here. First, the date. 64 AD was only a bit more than thirty years after the Crucifixion.....
Tacitus writes of 'Christus' (Latin for 'Christ') and notes His Crucifixion (Rome's 'extreme penalty'), dates it as taking place during the reign of Tiberius, references Pontius Pilate and confirms that Jesus was already a genuine historical figure of some notoriety Who spawned a 'superstition' so pervasive it had, only thirty years after His Death, already spread from Judea to Rome.
While Josephus was a Jew (albeit a Roman sympathizer), Tacitus was a Roman historian with no love lost for either Christus or Christians -- note he refers to Christian worship as 'abominations.'
It is no stretch to find in Tacitus' account an indirect testimony attesting to the conviction the early Church believed Jesus rose from the grave after His Crucifixion.
Tacitus' account of the 'evil of Christianity' is that of an unbeliever trying to explain the growth of a bizarre new religion based on the worship of a man who had been executed as a criminal by Rome -- within living memory of those who received his report.
Tacitus had no reason to 'invent' Jesus and even less reason to want to propagate His religion.
Then there is the written accounts of Pliny the Younger to the Roman Emperor Trajan in the early part of the 2nd century.
In one of his letters, dated around A.D. 112, he asks Trajan's advice about the appropriate way to conduct legal proceedings against those accused of being Christians.
Pliny says that he needed to consult the emperor about this issue because a great multitude of every age, class, and sex stood accused of Christianity
At one point in his letter, Pliny relates some of the information he has learned about these Christians:
"They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food--but food of an ordinary and innocent kind."
Pliny's account confirms the Christian practice of assembling to worship on a 'certain fixed day' where they sang hymns to Christ, 'as if He were a god'. Unlike other gods of the time, the worship of Jesus was the worship of a Man Who had once lived on earth.
Pliny's historical account, penned some seventy years after the Crucifixion, reflects Pliny's understanding that Christians were worshipping an actual historical person as God!
Pliny notes that Christians bound themselves by a solemn oath not to violate various moral standards, which find their source in the ethical teachings of Jesus.
In addition, Pliny's reference to the Christian custom of sharing a common meal likely alludes to their observance of communion.
There are even a few clear references to Jesus in the Babylonian Talmud, a collection of Jewish rabbinical writings compiled between approximately A.D. 70-500.
The rabbis of that era had every reason to argue AGAINST a historical Jesus -- they were trying to stamp out Christianity as a false religion.
A part of the Talmud composed between AD 70 and AD 200 recounts; "On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald . . . cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy."
'Yeshu' (or Yeshua') is Hebrew for Jesus. The Talmud says he was 'hanged' -- another term for crucifixion. Galatians 3:13 declares that Christ was "hanged", and Luke 23:39 applies this term to the criminals who were crucified with Jesus.
The passage also tells us why Jesus was crucified. It claims He practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy!
Since this accusation comes from a distinctly hostile source, (as with Tacitus or Pliny) it isn't that surprising that Jesus is described somewhat differently than in the New Testament.
What would be surprising, IF Jesus was NOT an actual historical Person, is that the Talmud would mention Him at all.
The passage references the miracles of Jesus, since the Talmud credits His practice of 'sorcery' to explain away what were evidently miracles too well attested to by eyewitnesses to be denied.
Lucian of Samosata was a second century Greek satirist. In one of his works, he wrote of the early Christians as follows:
"The Christians . . . worship a man to this day--the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws."
Note that Lucian confirms that 2nd century Christians worshipped a 'man' "who introduced their novel rites" confirms that He was crucified, and credits Him as 'their original lawgiver'.
In summary, then, we can learn seven critical pieces of information about the historical figure known as Jesus Christ, WITHOUT EVER CRACKING A BIBLE to do so.
First, both Josephus and Lucian indicate that Jesus was regarded as wise.
Second, Pliny, the Talmud, and Lucian imply He was a powerful and revered teacher.
Third, both Josephus and the Talmud indicate He performed miraculous feats.
Fourth, Tacitus, Josephus, the Talmud, and Lucian all mention that He was crucified.
Tacitus and Josephus say this occurred under Pontius Pilate. And THE TALMUD DECLARES IT HAPPENED ON THE EVE OF PASSOVER.
Fifth, there are possible references to the Christian belief in Jesus' resurrection in both Tacitus and Josephus.
Sixth, Josephus records that Jesus' followers believed He was the Christ, or Messiah.
And finally, both Pliny and Lucian indicate that Christians worshipped Jesus as God!
That is hardly the only historical evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ. There are also the lives of the Apostles, all of whom (except for John) were given the choice between denying their eyewitness testimony of Jesus, or face a horrible execution.
Since each of them were eyewitnesses, they would know whether or not their testimony was true.
And it is beyond comprehension that they would all willingly face a death as painful as that suffered by James, or Peter or Jude or Thomas -- if they knew it was a lie. (Or even if they had a slightest doubt, one might imagine.)
There was no honor or glory involved in being an Apostle. Being a follower of Jesus made them apostates to their own religion.
It meant being disowned by all family and friends. It meant economic hardship, homelessness and, most of the time, living the life of an outlaw on the run.
In short, there was absolutely no incentive for advancing the case for Christ (in the natural) and every reason in the world to deny Him.
Unless He WAS the Christ that they testified had healed the sick, raised the dead, and appeared alive three days after His crucifixion and was seen by upwards of five hundred witnesses.
1st Corinthians 15:6 reveals; "After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep."
Paul notes that, while some of those witnesses had died at the time of the composition of his letter to the Church at Corinth, the majority of them were still alive and able to confirm or deny his account.
And there is no credible record of any of those eyewitnesses ever recanting their testimony.
"We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:" (2nd Peter 1:19)
Jesus Christ was a real Person who made a real Promise to His Church.
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I WILL come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2-3) Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
I would sure be afraid to take it.
> > What if we dont accept the chip when they want to rid us of all paper money? Will we be able to buy, sell...?
No, but do you plan on being here then? I don't. I'm using I John 1:9, so all my sins since I accepted Christ will be under the blood of Christ. I want to be part of the Bride of Christ that will go with the Bridegroom when he comes at the Pre-Trib Rapture.
Mt. 25:1f shows us that the wise virgins have enough oil of the Holy Spirit. They go with the Bridegroom (Jesus). The foolish virgins do not have enough of this oil. So what can they do? Repent and confess their sins. They have been quenching the Holy Spirit instead of being filled with the Holy Spirit. I Thess. 5:19 says, "QUENCH NOT THE SPIRIT." Eph. 5:18 says, "BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT".
Believers just need to let Jesus wash their feet. John 13:8-10 says, "Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit".
About the mark of the beast, Rev. 13:17,18 says, "And that NO MAN MIGHT BUY OR SELL, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six." In those days, bartering will probably be used.
Rev. 20:4 says, "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and WHICH HAD NOT WORSHIPPED THE BEAST, NEITHER HIS IMAGE, NEITHER HAD RECEIVED HIS MARK UPON THEIR FOREHEADS, OR IN THEIR HANDS; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years."
> > It's hard to belive that 86% of americans belive in God and most of us will be tricked. How can I be sure I will not be tricked?
Why do you think that most believers will be tricked? You do not need to get tricked. Get ready. Be a wise virgin with enough oil in your lamp by confessing your known sins since you accepted Christ. I John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Then you will be ready. You will be wearing a white robe of righteousness.
Peter gave us a list of things to add to our faith "that by these ye might be partakers of the DIVINE NATURE" (II Peter 1:4). These things are: virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (lit., agape, God's kind of love). "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind (like the Laodiceans), and cannot see afar off (Heaven), and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins (i.e., when he accepted Christ). Wherefore the rather, brethren, GIVE DILIGENCE TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an ENTRANCE shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (II Peter 1:8-11). Agape
> > When we realize that the great earthquake in this passage most likely occurs in a close time frame to the defeat of Gog and Magog by God's hand, then we see that this is the start of the Great Tribulation and, therefore, the Rapture must have preceded this event. The key elements that can be recognized in this passage are the great earthquake and the raining down of plagues upon the inhabitants of the earth.
That Rev. 6:12-17 is at the "start of the Great Tribulation," i.e., Mid-Trib, doesn't seem possible to me. At 6 PM, the Day of God's Wrath begins. That is the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of the Lord.
I think the 6th seal is broken on the Eve of Trumpets. In the night of the feast, the Pre-Wrath Rapture takes place (Rev. 7). After that, the 7th seal is broken (Rev. 8). The wrath of God hits Earth at noon on the feast day (Zech. 2:3-5). The reason God's wrath comes up in his face that day is because Gog's army is attacking Israel (Eze. 38:18-20). When the asteroids of Rev. 8:8 and 10 impact Earth, the worldwide earthquake of Eze. 38:20 takes place. Every wall will fall. Agape
I have not seen them, but this week both Newsweek and TIME magazines have cover stories about Jesus. The Newsweek writer and editor has been interviewed on several TV shows. He says he is Episcopalian, but his article is apparently not a ringing endorsement of the inviolate truth of the Scriptures. He would not defend the exact historicity of the gospel account, such as the virgin birth.
Sadly, many in mainline denominations do not understand that for God to have become flesh, He had to be conceived by the Holy Spirit. Also, it takes perfect blood to perfectly cleanse us. And perfect blood can only come from a divine conception. It He did not have divine, perfect blood, we are still in our sins. It is so simple.
I suspect that many who purport to believe in Jesus really do not understand that He was God in the flesh -- God in human form -- which means they are probably not saved. The footnote to Romans 10:9 in the NIV Study Bible, "Jesus is LORD," explains that the Greek word for "LORD" is from the Hebrew YHWH, God's revealed personal name in the Old testament. This means that Jesus was actually YHWH in human form -- the profound truth of the Bible, the confession of which, along with the belief that He was raised from the dead, are necessary for salvation, according to Romans 10:9.
(Jesus is the Anglicized short form of the Hebrew Yehoshua, which means "YHWH is salvation," or "YHWH saves." Even His real name confirms His deity.)
One thing interesting is that radio and TV personality and crank Don Imus noticed that the articles in both magazines began on page 48. He thought that was odd. Me too. Modern Israel was born in 1948, a major end-time sign. Hmmmm. Jim
Maybe we won't 'see' it coming. As you have pointed out, recent 'discoveries' have occurred literally moments before potential or actual impacts. A Tunguska like impactor may be inconsistent with Revelations; too tenuous (possibly cometary obect) exploding in the atmosphere. A comet of sufficent size and trajectory would be quite devastating for what it may lack in mass is more than made up for by velocity, being a squared component of the kinetic energy, as comets are generally moving much faster than NEO asteroids.
But comets 'announce' themselves with glowing tails. Will there be such an 'advance' warning? I do not know, yet it just doesn't seem to fit. In the days of Noah, there was no 'evidence' of an impending flood. So I agree an asteroid is more fitting. And one NOT yet charted!
Today I had a great teaching on Hebrews 11:1
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
I KNOW a 'mountain' will be hurled into the sea because YHWH said so. Noah did not have scripture to read, so he got the Word directly from YHWH. Actually, we have it easier! We have personal letters, LOVE letters from G-d that tell us how to live and what to expect.
Once I read of a travelling Pastor's account of the great Leonid Meteor Shower of 1833. He commented that for a short while, some may be motivated to attend church, but the event would have no lasting effect on non believers. An evil generation, it seems, demands a sign, then rationalizes it away.
The 'bow shot' you refer to is a wake up call for believers, but has little or no effect on those who do not search for the Truth, but revel in the ways of the world.
We are being 'signaled' with unmistakable stirrings from Heaven of the imminent return Yeshua! Baruch Hashem!!! Let he who has ears that can hear, hear, let he with eyes that can see, see.
The beauty of His Word is beyond OUR words. It's depth infinite. Yet it requires us to be like children!
YHWH sets before us Life and death, then He urges us to Choose LIFE. Amen! For we who choose Life, the terrible day of the L-rd is like a mighty hurricane ravaging destruction all around us, while we are 'caught up' in the eye of the storm. In complete Shalom. For His Rod and His Staff comfort us.
And we shall dwell in the House of the L-rd forever!
Shalom Aleichem, His bondservant
Jer. 23:18-20 says, "For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider (biyn, understand) it perfectly." Agape
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