The New Gentiles, Part 4, The Priesthood of the Wild Card Anointing

This is the final part of a four part series. See also: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

We said before that David lacked the ability to pass on the Melchizedek anointing. While it clearly remained over his lineage (for Jesus certainly had it on him), it surfaces and disappears again for generations. It pops into view on David’s descendants like Daniel, Zerubbabel, and Malachi, but for the most part it lays dormant in David’s bloodline, awaiting the Messiah.

So where did this Melchizedek anointing reside during the centuries between David and the Christ?

We said before that there were only three kings who ever ruled over the entire nation of Israel: Saul, David, and Solomon. During Solomon’s reign, he began taking wives from all kinds of nations around the world. Since many of these nations did not worship the God of Abraham, they brought with them all of the idols they worshiped and began setting them up in the temple in Jerusalem.

Because of this, God split the nation of Israel into two houses after the reign of Solomon. The southern kingdom, consisting of the tribes of Judah, Benjamen and Levi, would be called the kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom consisting of the remaining tribes.

One day Jeroboam was walking down the road out of Jerusalem. Ahijah the prophet of Shiloh, wearing a brand-new cloak, met him. The two of them were alone on that remote stretch of road. Ahijah took off the new cloak that he was wearing and ripped it into twelve pieces. Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten of these pieces for yourself; this is by order of the God of Israel: See what I’m doing – I’m ripping the kingdom out of Solomon’s hands and giving you ten of the tribes. In honor of my servant David and out of respect for Jerusalem, the city I especially chose, he will get one tribe. And here’s the reason: He faithlessly abandoned me and went off worshiping Ashtoreth goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh god of the Moabites, and Molech god of the Ammonites. He hasn’t lived the way I have shown him, hasn’t done what I have wanted, and hasn’t followed directions or obeyed orders as his father David did. Still, I won’t take the whole kingdom away from him. I’ll stick with him through his lifetime because of my servant David whom I chose and who did follow my directions and obey my orders. But after that I’ll remove the kingdom from his son’s control and give you ten tribes. I’ll leave one tribe to his son, to maintain a witness to my servant David in Jerusalem, the city I chose as a memorial to my Name. But I have taken you in hand. Rule to your heart’s content! You are to be the king of Israel. If you listen to what I tell you and live the way I show you and do what pleases me, following directions and obeying orders as my servant David did, I’ll stick with you no matter what. I’ll build you a kingdom as solid as the one I built for David. Israel will be yours!”

I Kings 11:29-38

Notice here that Ahijah is a prophet of Shiloh—a descendant of Ephraim in the tradition of Samuel the prophet. Jeroboam is also of the house of Ephraim, descendant of the tribe with the firstborn, Melchizedek anointing.

Although this anointing has been injected into the house of David to work with the Levitical priesthood, it is finding it’s rightful home again among the house of Ephraim. The northern kingdom with its 10 tribes becomes the kingdom of Ephraim. Jeroboam sets up rule in the city of Samaria and immediately begins to set up idol worship.

In fact, all of the kings of Ephraim are idol worshipers. God grows tired of their wickedness and removes the entire house of Ephraim from the face of the planet. The Assyrians come and wipe Ephraim clean.

There is no captivity with a remnant like Judah went through with Babylon where God restores them. All 10 tribes are gone. Nearly every Jew that you read about after the fall of Ephraim is from either Judah, Benjamen, or Levi. There is no other remnant left.

The interesting thing is that Ezra, in I Chronicles 5:2, tells us to pay attention to the house of Ephraim even though this was written hundreds of years after Ephraim was wiped off the face of the earth. How are we to follow this lineage if the Ephraimites are all gone?

For that, we need to do a little more research. After Assyria had killed off the entire kingdom of Ephraim, there was all this vacant land. He decided to fill it up.

The king of Assyria brought in people from Babylon, Cuthah, Avva, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and relocated them in the towns of Samaria, replacing the exiled Israelites. They moved in as if they owned the place and made themselves at home. When the Assyrians first moved in, God was just another god to them; they neither honored nor worshiped him. Then God sent lions among them and people were mauled and killed.

II Kings 17:24-25

Eventually, these Gentiles who lived in the area of the Northern Kingdom came to realize that something was up with all of this. They began to ask around. They found a few stragglers of priests who knew about the God of Abraham and who taught them how to worship him.

The Gentiles that lived in the Northern Kingdom also set up rule in the city of Samaria, the old capital of the Northern Kingdom. As such, they became known as Samaritans. This group was among the most hated by the Jews and for one reason: They worshiped God outside of their established order.

So that we do not miss this, Jesus told us a story.

Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?” Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill – I’ll pay you on my way back.’ “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

Luke 10:25-37

Many call this story “The Good Samaritan.” I call it, “The Bad Levites,” to highlight what’s going on behind the scenes.

What we miss that would be obvious to Jesus’ Jewish listeners is the phrase “leaving him half-dead”. This would have triggered a memory in his listeners of the Jewish law.

Each and every one of Aaron’s descendants who has an infectious skin disease or a discharge may not eat any of the holy offerings until he is clean. Also, if he touches anything defiled by a corpse, or has an emission of semen—a person who touches any such thing will be ritually unclean until evening and may not eat any of the holy offerings unless he has washed well with water.

Leviticus 22:4,6

If the Levite or the priest (also a Levite) were to have touched the man and he died, they would have been ritually unclean. As such, they would’ve been prevented from performing their temple work. “We have important work to do for the Lord,” they would’ve said. “Someone else will come along to help him.”

They were so caught up in “doing the Lord’s work” that they missed their opportunity to actually do the Lord’s work. This is the perfect picture of the Pharisees and Sadducees in the time of Christ. By contrast, the Samaritan, whom the Jews would’ve considered unclean, was the one who stopped and actually did the work of the Lord, and, interestingly enough, would’ve made the wounded man unclean in the eyes of the religious leaders.

On another occasion, Jesus took a trip to Samaria and met a woman there at Jacob’s well (a symbol that the Melchizedek anointing from Jacob was still in this place). This was in the village of Sycar.

[The Samaritan woman said,] “Well, tell me this: Our ancestors worshiped God at this mountain, but you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place for worship, right?” “Believe me, woman, the time is coming when you Samaritans will worship the Father neither here at this mountain nor there in Jerusalem. You worship guessing in the dark; we Jews worship in the clear light of day. God’s way of salvation is made available through the Jews. But the time is coming – it has, in fact, come – when what you’re called will not matter and where you go to worship will not matter. 24 God is sheer being itself – Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.”

John 4:20-24

The village of Sycar was at the foot of Mt. Ephraim. “This mountain” the woman referred to would’ve been Mt. Ephraim. Evidently, the Samaritans had kept up worship in the exact place where it had been originally established in Ephraim all those centuries ago.

And so, from the time of David, there were two worship centers: one in Judah and one in Ephraim.

The Two Witnesses

One of the most discussed points in all of the Bible is the identity of the two witnesses in Revelation 11.

Meanwhile, I’ll provide my two Witnesses. Dressed in sackcloth, they’ll prophesy for one thousand two hundred sixty days. These are the two Olive Trees, the two Lampstands, standing at attention before God on earth.

Revelation 11:3-4

To understand this, one simply has to go back to the only other time two witnesses are mentioned in the scriptures.

God spoke to Moses: 2 “Send men to scout out the country of Canaan that I am giving to the People of Israel. Send one man from each ancestral tribe, each one a tried-and-true leader in the tribe.” 3 So Moses sent them off from the Wilderness of Paran at the command of God. All of them were leaders in Israel, one from each tribe.

After forty days of scouting out the land, they returned home. They presented themselves before Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the People of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. They reported to the whole congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told the story of their trip: The only thing is that the people who live there are fierce, their cities are huge and well fortified. Worse yet, we saw descendants of the giant Anak. Amalekites are spread out in the Negev; Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites hold the hill country; and the Canaanites are established on the Mediterranean Sea and along the Jordan.”

Numbers 13:1-3, 25-29

Ten of the witnesses swore to the report of fear that came from Canaan. Only two of the witnesses brought back a good report. The names of these two witnesses were Joshua and Caleb. Caleb was from Judah and Joshua from Ephraim.

And so we see the two priesthoods from the time of Moses onward: The Melchizedek priesthood represented by the tribe of Ephraim, living on through the Samaritans, and the Levitical priesthood, represented by the tribe of Judah. Both priesthoods existed until the time of Christ. But God had a different plan.

God’s Message came to me: “You, son of man: Take a stick and write on it, ‘For Judah, with his Israelite companions.’ Then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph – Ephraim’s stick, together with all his Israelite companions.’ Then tie the two sticks together so that you’re holding one stick.

“When your people ask you, ‘Are you going to tell us what you’re doing?’ tell them, ‘God, the Master, says, Watch me! I’ll take the Joseph stick that is in Ephraim’s hand, with the tribes of Israel connected with him, and lay the Judah stick on it. I’ll make them into one stick. I’m holding one stick.’

“Then take the sticks you’ve inscribed and hold them up so the people can see them. Tell them, ‘God, the Master, says, Watch me! I’m taking the Israelites out of the nations in which they’ve been exiled. I’ll gather them in from all directions and bring them back home. I’ll make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and give them one king – one king over all of them. Never again will they be divided into two nations, two kingdoms. Never again will they pollute their lives with their no-god idols and all those vile obscenities and rebellions. I’ll save them out of all their old sinful haunts. I’ll clean them up. They’ll be my people! I’ll be their God! My servant David will be king over them. They’ll all be under one shepherd. They’ll live in the same land I gave my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their grandchildren will live there forever, and my servant David will be their prince forever. I’ll make a covenant of peace with them that will hold everything together, an everlasting covenant. I’ll make them secure and place my holy place of worship at the center of their lives forever. I’ll live right there with them. I’ll be their God! They’ll be my people!

“’The nations will realize that I, God, make Israel holy when my holy place of worship is established at the center of their lives forever.’”

Ezekiel 37:15-28

The New Gentiles, Part 3, The Age of the House of Judah

Caanan in the time of Joshua
Caanan in the time of Joshua

This is the third part of a four part series. See also: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4.

Joshua began the conquest of Canaan at the fortified city of Jericho. The reason that Jericho was equipped with the walls it had was because it was in the middle of a river plain. This was a horrible spot to be defending yourself in case of an attack.

Once God demolished the walls of the city, there was no refuge for the Israelites. Joshua had hundreds of thousands of women and children grouped up like sitting ducks awaiting a counter-attack from one of the seven nations occupying the region of Canaan.

So Joshua does what any good commander would do. Immediately, he begins moving this vast people to higher ground. He heads north and west and settles in the area of Shiloh on top of Mt. Ephraim. This becomes his headquarters for the conquest of Canaan.

Here, the tabernacle is deployed and Shiloh is now the center of worship for all of Israel. Shiloh is firmly in the middle of Ephraim’s territory, and the home of God’s worship remains there until after the birth of king David. Later Saul screws up and the ark of the covenant ends up at the house of Obed-Edom in what would later be the northern kingdom of Ephraim.

During David’s reign in Israel, he moves the center of worship for the first time into Jerusalem in the territory of Judah and sets up the ark of the covenant there on Mt. Zion. Now David, flowing out of the Melchizedek side of his anointing, builds a temporary home for the ark of the covenant out in the open behind his palace and everyone in Israel has access to God’s presence for the first time in the history of Israel.

But David lacks the spiritual “sperm,” if you will, to pass on the Melchizedek side of his nature. He places Solomon on the throne, and one of Solomon’s first acts is to put the presence of the Lord in a box (the temple) and re-institute placing a man (the priest) between the people and God.

Because “Judah is my lawgiver” (Psalms 60:7, KJV), the house of Judah is forever tied with the Levitical priesthood and anointing. You see this as you read through the history of the kings of Israel in I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, and I & II Chronicles. Every time you read of a strong king, he is joined by a strong Levitical priest. Every time you read of a strong priest, he is joined by a strong king.

  • David and Zadok
  • Solomon and Zadok & Abiathar
  • Josiah and Hilkaih
  • Zerubbabel and Ezra
  • Nehemiah and Ezra
  • And many more…

This marriage of the line of Judah and the Levitical priesthood continues until completed by Jesus upon his arrival on earth. To continue this tradition, he needs to be joined by a powerful priest.

During the rule of Herod, King of Judea, there was a [Levitical] priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Zachariah. His wife was descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God. But they were childless because Elizabeth could never conceive, and now they were quite old. It so happened that as Zachariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, working the shift assigned to his regiment, it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense. The congregation was gathered and praying outside the Temple at the hour of the incense offering. Unannounced, an angel of God appeared just to the right of the altar of incense. Zachariah was paralyzed in fear. But the angel reassured him, “Don’t fear, Zachariah. Your prayer has been heard. Elizabeth, your wife, will bear a son by you. You are to name him John [the Baptizer].

Luke 1:5-13

All of this was to wrap up the Levitical anointing.

Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures – either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama.

Matthew 5:17

And so, Jesus did.

But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last. At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces.

Matthew 27:50-51

And once again, as had only happened once before in back of David’s palace, the people had direct access to the Holy of Holies, to the very presence of God. The Levitical priesthood had ended. There was a new priesthood in charge. This is the next chapter.

On to Part 4.

The New Gentiles, Part 2, The Priest, the Prophet, and the King

This is the second part of a four part series. See also: Part 1, Part 3, and Part 4.

There once was a man who lived in Ramathaim. He was descended from the old Zuph family in the Ephraim hills. His name was Elkanah. (He was connected with the Zuphs from Ephraim through his father Jeroham, his grandfather Elihu, and his great-grandfather Tohu.) He had two wives. The first was Hannah; the second was Peninnah. Peninnah had children; Hannah did not. Every year this man went from his hometown up to Shiloh to worship and offer a sacrifice to God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Eli and his two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, served as the priests of God there.

I Samuel 1:1-3

And so begins the next chapter of our story. We see the family of priests Eli and his two sons ministering in the tabernacle in a place called Shiloh. There are references here to the “temple” but the temple is still nearly a hundred years from being built. For now, some temporary structure, probably some oft-repaired version of the tabernacle built by Moses, houses the ark of the covenant and the other items of worship.

This is the scene where something quite extraordinary is going to happen. A minor upset in the way of things that’s going to have impact for centuries to come.

Eli, as with all of the priests, is a Levite, a descendant of Jacob’s son Levi. These were selected from all Israel by God himself to belong especially to him as a replacement for the first born, which belonged to God.

This was because the final plague in Egypt, as you may recall, was the death of all the firstborn. To protect themselves, the Israelites had to take blood from a lamb and sprinkle it on the door posts of their houses. When the angel of the Lord passed by to slay the firstborn, they would see the blood on the door and “pass over” the house. This is the origin of the feast of passover.

Consecrate every firstborn to me – the first one to come from the womb among the Israelites, whether person or animal, is mine. You are to set aside the first birth out of every womb to God. Every first birth from your livestock belongs to God. You can redeem every first birth of a donkey if you want to by substituting a lamb; if you decide not to redeem it, you must break its neck.

When the time comes and your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you tell him, ‘God brought us out of Egypt, out of a house of slavery, with a powerful hand. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, God killed every firstborn in Egypt, the firstborn of both humans and animals. That’s why I make a sacrifice for every first male birth from the womb to God and redeem every firstborn son.’ The observance functions like a sign on your hands or a symbol on the middle of your forehead: God brought us out of Egypt with a powerful hand.

Exodus 13:2,12-16

As a result, God claimed the firstborn of every womb, the people and the livestock both, for himself. But God knew that this was going to be disruptive, so, instead of the firstborn, he claimed the Levites.

God spoke to Moses: “I have taken the Levites from among the People of Israel as a stand-in for every Israelite mother’s firstborn son. The Levites belong to me. All the firstborn are mine – when I killed all the firstborn in Egypt, I consecrated for my own use every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They belong to me. I am God.”

Numbers 3:11-13

The Levites then ministered to the Lord and served him as a proxy for the firstborn. It was always the firstborn’s place, but the Levites stood there for them.

And so Eli ministered in the house of the Lord as a Levite. He offered the sacrifices and trimmed the oil lamps and ran the team of Levites that were responsible for taking care of the place of worship in every way.

But things were changing. Troubled by her barrenness Hannah cried out to God.

Crushed in soul, Hannah prayed to God and cried and cried – inconsolably. Then she made a vow: Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain, If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me By giving me a son, I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you. I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.

1 Samuel 1:10-11

God gives Hannah a child as she requested and she names him Samuel. After she weans him she bring him into the temple and leaves him to grow up as a priest before God.

Also, something was happening with Eli as well.

Eli’s own sons were a bad lot. They didn’t know God and could not have cared less about the customs of priests among the people. Ordinarily, when someone offered a sacrifice, the priest’s servant was supposed to come up and, while the meat was boiling, stab a three-pronged fork into the cooking pot. The priest then got whatever came up on the fork. But this is how Eli’s sons treated all the Israelites who came to Shiloh to offer sacrifices to God. Before they had even burned the fat to God, the priest’s servant would interrupt whoever was sacrificing and say, “Hand over some of that meat for the priest to roast. He doesn’t like boiled meat; he likes his rare.” If the man objected, “First let the fat be burned – God’s portion! – then take all you want,” the servant would demand, “No, I want it now. If you won’t give it, I’ll take it.” It was a horrible sin these young servants were committing – and right in the presence of God! – desecrating the holy offerings to God. In the midst of all this, Samuel, a boy dressed in a priestly linen tunic, served God. The boy Samuel stayed at the sanctuary and grew up with God. A Hard Life with Many Tears.

I Samuel 3:12-18, 21b

Eli was not a bad man, but he had grown old and fat and blind with age. His sons were bad men and were running rampant. The remainder of the Levites was falling apart. Many people teach that the time of the Levitical priesthood lasted until Jesus, but it did not. The High Priest line ended with Eli. It was time for this priesthood to be replaced with a priest from Ephriam.

But the boy Samuel was very much alive, growing up, blessed by God and popular with the people. 27 A holy man came to Eli and said: “This is God’s message: I revealed myself openly to your ancestors when they were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. 28 Out of all the tribes of Israel, I chose your family to be my priests: to preside at the altar, to burn incense, to wear the priestly robes in my presence. I put your ancestral family in charge of all the sacrificial offerings of Israel. 29 So why do you now treat as mere loot these very sacrificial offerings that I commanded for my worship? Why do you treat your sons better than me, turning them loose to get fat on these offerings, and ignoring me? 30 Therefore – this is God’s word, the God of Israel speaking – I once said that you and your ancestral family would be my priests indefinitely, but now – God’s word, remember! – there is no way this can continue. I honor those who honor me; those who scorn me I demean. 31 “Be well warned: It won’t be long before I wipe out both your family and your future family. No one in your family will make it to old age! 32 You’ll see good things that I’m doing in Israel, but you’ll see it and weep, for no one in your family will live to enjoy it. 33 I will leave one person to serve at my altar, but it will be a hard life, with many tears. Everyone else in your family will die before their time. 34 What happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be the proof: Both will die the same day. 35 Then I’ll establish for myself a true priest. He’ll do what I want him to do, be what I want him to be. I’ll make his position secure and he’ll do his work freely in the service of my anointed one.

I Samuel 2:26-35

Samuel grows up in the presence of the Lord and becomes the final Judge of Israel—a prophet of the Lord most holy and honored, from the tribe of Ephraim.

Samuel grew up. God was with him, and Samuel’s prophetic record was flawless. Everyone in Israel, from Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, recognized that Samuel was the real thing – a true prophet of God. God continued to show up at Shiloh, revealed through his word to Samuel at Shiloh.

I Samuel 3:19-21

The Israelites came to Samuel and demanded that the Lord give them a king so they could be like the other nations. After warning them what this would cost them, God tells Samuel to anoint Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin to be king over all of Israel. Saul was everything you’d want in a king—tall, handsome, charismatic, and powerful.

Also, many people don’t realize that there were only three kings that reigned over all twelve tribes of Israel and Saul was the first of the three. But even though God chose Saul, he wasn’t the one God wanted to be king. Saul was there to set the scene for another king, one that would come from the house of Judah.

You, Judah, your brothers will praise you: Your fingers on your enemies’ throat, while your brothers honor you. You’re a lion’s cub, Judah, home fresh from the kill, my son. Look at him, crouched like a lion, king of beasts; who dares mess with him? The scepter shall not leave Judah; he’ll keep a firm grip on the command staff until the ultimate ruler comes and the nations obey him.

Genesis 49:8-10

Saul wasn’t a bad man, but the hand of the Lord had appointed a replacement for him because Saul had obedience problems. He wasn’t exactly disobedient, but he had a knack for just missing the mark of what God wanted him to do.

Instead, God appoints David to be king—David of the house of Judah—David the eighth son of his father Jesse.

Wait a minute! How can God appoint the eighth born son to be king? The firstborn belonged to him. Why wasn’t David’s oldest brother appointed king? How can this be?

Think back to what we’ve already learned. When Jacob bought the birthright from Esau, he bought it for all time. I call this birthright “the wild card anointing” because it doesn’t appear to obey any of the rules. Issac wasn’t the firstborn either, but was the younger brother of Israel. And yet, this Melchizedek anointing was passed through him, for “Your descendants will come through Isaac” (Genesis 21:12).

That birthright Jacob passed on to his grandson, Ephraim. I Chronicles 5 tells us that that birthright stayed in the line of Ephraim. This anointing was for the Chief Ruler. Keep in mind that, when we’re discussing these things, David and Jesus are interchangeable.

For the Messiah to come, his bloodline had to be established with the proper anointing. To ensure this, David was anointed king three different times.

God addressed Samuel: “So, how long are you going to mope over Saul? You know I’ve rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your flask with anointing oil and get going. I’m sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I’ve spotted the very king I want among his sons.” Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel. Samuel was blunt with Jesse, “God hasn’t chosen any of these.” 11 Then he asked Jesse, “Is this it? Are there no more sons?” “Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.” Samuel ordered Jesse, “Go get him. We’re not moving from this spot until he’s here.” 12 Jesse sent for him. He was brought in, the very picture of health – bright-eyed, good-looking. God said, “Up on your feet! Anoint him! This is the one.” 13 Samuel took his flask of oil and anointed him, with his brothers standing around watching. The Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind, God vitally empowering him for the rest of his life. Samuel left and went home to Ramah.

I Samuel 16:1,10-13

After all this, David prayed. He asked God, “Shall I move to one of the cities of Judah?” God said, “Yes, move.” “And to which city?” “To Hebron.” So David moved to Hebron, along with his two wives, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David’s men, along with their families, also went with him and made their home in and around Hebron. The citizens of Judah came to Hebron, and then and there made David king over the clans of Judah.

II Samuel 2:1-4

Then all Israel assembled before David at Hebron. “Look at us,” they said. “We’re your very flesh and blood. In the past, yes, even while Saul was king, you were the real leader of Israel. God told you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel; you are to be the ruler of my people Israel.'” When all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, David made a covenant with them in the presence of God at Hebron. Then they anointed David king over Israel exactly as God had commanded through Samuel.

I Chronicles 11:1-3

God has a plan for everything he does. The three anointings of David were each to inject him with a different portion of God’s anointing.

  1. Anointing from Samuel, representative of the tribe of Ephraim. From this anointing, the blessing that Abraham received from Melchizedek was injected into the House of David.
  2. Anointing from Judah. The authority to rule given to Judah prophetically by Jacob in Genesis.
  3. Anointing from Israel, almost certainly given by the Levites. Injection of the Levitical anointing for carrying out of God’s law.

David was the first to be anointed prophet (by the prophet Samuel of the Melchizedek line), priest (by the Levitical priesthood), and king (by the house of Judah, the royal line established by Jacob). So with this triple anointing, God has set the stage for the coming of the Messiah. The bloodline is ready. Now lets see what David does with this triple anointing.

On to Part 3.

The New Gentiles, Part 1: Jacob’s Birthright

This is the first part of a four part series. See also: Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.

Jacob’s Birthright

Joseph took [his sons] from Israel’s knees and bowed respectfully, his face to the ground. Then Joseph took the two boys, Ephraim with his right hand setting him to Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand setting him to Israel’s right, and stood them before him. But Israel crossed his arms and put his right hand on the head of Ephraim who was the younger and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, the firstborn. Then he blessed them: “The God before whom walked my fathers Abraham and Isaac, The God who has been my shepherd all my lifelong to this very day, The Angel who delivered me from every evil, Bless the boys. May my name be echoed in their lives, and the names of Abraham and Isaac, my fathers, And may they grow covering the Earth with their children.” When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim’s head, he thought he had made a mistake, so he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s, saying, “That’s the wrong head, Father; the other one is the firstborn; place your right hand on his head.” But his father wouldn’t do it. He said, “I know, my son; but I know what I’m doing. He also will develop into a people, and he also will be great. But his younger brother will be even greater and his descendants will enrich nations.” Then he blessed them both: Israel will use your names to give blessings: May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh. In that he made it explicit: he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.

Genesis 48:12-20

For many years I have read this scripture and always thought Joseph’s behavior here a bit odd. He is going to see his sick father with his own children and then he suddenly bows to the ground and presents his children to Jacob in a formal way after they had been sitting casually on his knees.

Remember for a moment the stories of Jacob and Esau. Esau, as firstborn, had a privileged spot in his father’s house. The firstborn son was nearly always given what was called the birthright. This was the head of household status. The largest portion of the inheritance of his father was given to him and it was his responsibility to take care of his brothers and sisters and nurture them into adulthood. As such, this was the most honored position in a house and the oldest brother was the most deeply respected.

Jacob’s name means “heel.” This is because he and Esau were twins. Rebekkah noticed that while she was carrying them there was a lot of turmoil in her womb.

Isaac prayed hard to God for his wife because she was barren. God answered his prayer and Rebekah became pregnant. But the children tumbled and kicked inside her so much that she said, “If this is the way it’s going to be, why go on living?” She went to God to find out what was going on. 23 God told her, Two nations are in your womb, two peoples butting heads while still in your body. One people will overpower the other, and the older will serve the younger.

Genesis 25:21-23

When they were born, Esau came out first and Jacob followed immediately holding on to his brother’s heel. That’s how he got his name.

His whole life, he hungered for the position of Esau, although not always honestly. Nevertheless, because of the prophesy we just read, we know that this desire came from the Lord.

As you may know, Esau came in starving from hunting one day and Jacob had made some stew. Esau asked for some. Jacob said he’d give him some in exchange for his birthright. Esau agreed saying, “what good will it do me if I starve to death.”

And Jacob makes good. Instead of just handing him some stew, he actually sits Esau down and waits on him, bringing him bread and wine as well.

Later in his life, he and his mother, Rebekkah, cook up a deception. They go before Issac, who is now blind, and tell him that it’s Esau and Issac gives Jacob the blessing to go along with the birthright.

I’ve heard many a preacher stand in the pulpit and condemn Jacob for being a deceiver. Interestingly enough, though, the scriptures never do. The scriptures all condemn Esau for thinking so little of his birthright in the first place.

Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite.

Hebrews 12:16

And so Jacob, under less than honorable circumstances, obtained the blessing and the birthright that the Lord had wanted him to have. He took the place of the firstborn in his father’s house.

The Tradition of the Birthright

I am an American and land has never been an issue in our country’s history, because there’s always been plenty of it. In the East, though, they came to realize that 100 acres was a nice piece of land, but if you had 10 sons, and gave them each an equal share, they each got 10 acres. Not so good. One more generation and you’re down to 1 acre a piece.

So how do you fix this problem?

They came up with the concept of the birthright. In their tradition, the firstborn would be set up to rule the house in place of his father. Each of the other sons could not be dis-inherited, but all of them had their inheritance as part of the oldest brother. All the sons had rights, but the house would be ruled by the firstborn.

But Jacob’s desire wasn’t after his father’s lands and other possessions. We know this because the first thing that happened after he stole the blessing from Esau was that he fled in fear of his life and left all of that behind. Esau ended up with his father’s possessions. Everything Jacob got, he had to earn himself from his Uncle Laban.

So what was it that Jacob wanted so desperately?

For that, we have to look at some family history.

Jacob received the birthright and blessing from his father Issac. Issac, in return, received it from his father, Abraham. So Jacob wanted the same blessing that Abraham had.

Where did Abraham get it from?

The Battle of Kings

Then this: Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim went off to war to fight Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, that is, Zoar.

The four kings captured all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, all their food and equipment, and went on their way. They captured Lot, Abram’s nephew who was living in Sodom at the time, taking everything he owned with them.

A fugitive came and reported to Abram the Hebrew. Abram was living at the Oaks of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and Aner. They were allies of Abram. When Abram heard that his nephew had been taken prisoner, he lined up his servants, all of them born in his household – there were 318 of them – and chased after the captors all the way to Dan. Abram and his men split into small groups and attacked by night. They chased them as far as Hobah, just north of Damascus. They recovered all the plunder along with nephew Lot and his possessions, including the women and the people.

Genesis 14:1-2,11-16

As you may remember from Sunday School, Lot was a righteous man, but had chosen to live in Sodom and Gomorrah. When four armies attacked, they captured these cities along with several others and led them off in captivity.

When Abraham learned of this, he got all 318 men in his house and went after them. Keep in mind that Abraham wasn’t a solider and that these 318 men were servants and so forth in his house. They are chasing down four armies with kitchen knives and pitchforks.

Amazingly, Abraham defeated them and wiped them out. This day, Abraham is the king of war. He has with him the kings he has allied with—the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, kings of wickedness.

But this isn’t even the best part. That happens next.

After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and his allied kings, the king of Sodom came out to greet him in the Valley of Shaveh, the King’s Valley. Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine – he was priest of The High God – and blessed him: Blessed be Abram by The High God, Creator of Heaven and Earth. And blessed be The High God, who handed your enemies over to you. Abram gave him a tenth of all the recovered plunder.

Genesis 14:17-20

Ephraim and Manasseh

And so we come to the story now of the next generation. There’s been a problem in Jacob’s house. His firstborn son, Reuben, has slept with one of Jacob’s concubines and has disgraced his father as a result. Everyone knew that Reuben had now forfeited his birthright in the same way as his uncle Esau had. So, then, who was Jacob going to choose to receive this birthright and blessing?

As he’s sitting with Joseph and his two sons, Jacob tells Joseph that he wants to make his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, equal to Reuben and Simeon, and Joseph suddenly realizes that he wants to pass on the blessing and the birthright to them.

This is the reason for the abrupt mood change. Joseph suddenly realizes something very special is about to happen. He grabs his two sons who’ve been sitting on their grandfather’s knee and sits them in front of him in the traditional way to receive the blessing—the oldest, Manasseh, on Jacob’s right and the youngest, Ephraim, on Jacob’s left.

Then Jacob does something that surprises and annoys Joseph. He crosses his arms and places his right hand on Ephraim. When Joseph tries to correct him, he says, “I know what I’m doing,” and proceeds to pass that same blessing and birthright down on to Ephraim.

God has selected Ephraim, not one of Joseph’s brother, to receive the birthright and the blessing for the house of Israel.

Many teach that the replacement for Reuben was Judah, since that became the ruling line, but the Chronicler, probably Ezra, makes it clear:

The family of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Though Reuben was Israel’s firstborn, after he slept with his father’s concubine, a defiling act, his rights as the firstborn were passed on to the sons of Joseph son of Israel. He lost his “firstborn” place in the family tree. 2 And even though Judah became the strongest of his brothers and King David eventually came from that family, the firstborn rights stayed with Joseph.

I Chronicles 5:1-2

In place of King David, the King James says “the chief ruler” because he wasn’t just talking about David, but about the Messiah, Jesus, as well. Jesus was of David’s royal line and, as such, a descendant of the house of Judah.

And so, something amazing has happened. Instead of one of his sons, Jacob adopts Joseph’s first two sons as his own and passes the birthright down to his grandson Ephraim. This is extraordinary. This also sets the stage for thousands of years of God’s plan that leads to the present time and into our future as well.

On to Part 2.

How to Lose your Salvation

One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was the prophet I thought he was, he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.” Jesus said to him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Oh? Tell me.” “Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.” Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.” Then he spoke to her: “I forgive your sins.” That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!” He ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Luke 7:36-50

I heard a story about a week ago that has caused me to lose a couple of nights sleep. It reminded me of a woman I met about a dozen years ago who had come to an encounter with the Lord after decades of hard partying. The woman was extremely critical and judgmental against anyone with the smallest weakness in her life.

Jesus taught us in this passage, though, that anyone who is forgiven much, will love much. Yet, neither of these people showed the least grace or mercy towards Christians with weaknesses in their lives, or towards unbelievers.

All of us have, in our walk with the Lord, encountered the Pharisee Christian. These are the ones who probably grew up in a Christian home and who never sinned very much. They toe a harsh line and demand that same harsh line out of everyone they encounter. Their self-righteousness causes them to judge others with little grace or mercy.

These Pharisee Christians meet the rule Jesus spoke here to another Pharisee. These have been forgiven little and so love little. Because of the small amounts of grace and mercy needed to redeem them, they have not come to an understanding of the depth of God’s grace and mercy. They fulfill the rule.

Then what of these people we encounter, rare though they be, that have been forgiven truckloads of sins, and yet they are harsh taskmasters when it comes to forgiving others? It has cost me many hours of sleep, but I have finally come to a shocking conclusion:

RIGHTEOUSNESS IS NOT A FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT!!!!!

Jesus gives to us the acid test of identifying a believer: “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:16)” Paul identifies for us what these nine fruit of the Spirit are:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Did you notice that righteousness is not on the list? In our culture, much importance is placed on living a “good life” and being a “good person” and yet, there’s nothing about that in this list, or, rather, this list defines what a “good person” is.

Jesus never said that you would recognize his servants by their morals or their ethics or by their ability to obey the ten commandments. You would know his servants by these nine fruit.

So where does that leave us with these people who appear to have cleaned up their lives and yet judge others so harshly?

If those who have been forgiven much, love much and these people love little, then the only remaining conclusion is that they haven’t been forgiven at all. They may have come to the Lord and ask for help and the Lord may indeed have cleaned up their lives, but the forgiveness is gone. How is this possible?

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”

Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven. “The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market. “The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt. “The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’ “The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid.

When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king. “The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”

Matthew 18:21-35

The servant in this story had already been forgiven his debt. Yet, because he was unwilling to walk in grace and mercy, the grace and mercy he’d been given had been retracted. There was no more forgiveness for his sins.

This, then, is the unpardonable sin. You blaspheme the Holy Ghost, the one who forgives, by not showing grace and mercy on other sinners.

Learn to walk in grace and mercy and forgiveness. The soul you save will, in fact, be your own.

Saint Judas

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Matthew 19:24-30 (NIV)

Let me ask you a question: How can eleven apostles sit on twelve thrones? It’s not possible. Yet this scripture clearly shows us Jesus talking to his twelve apostles and saying they would be rewarded for their work by them sitting on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. How is this possible unless Judas was going to be amongst them?

One of the great errors that has entered Christian thinking is the villainization of Judas. And why not? Judas was an easy target. After all, he betrayed the Master, Jesus, to go to his death.

The problem you have with that is this little scripture here in Matthew 19, where Jesus says to the twelve apostles that they will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes for all of eternity. Is it possible that Jesus was wrong?

I don’t think so. It’s easier for me to believe that Judas was actually chosen to be a part of twelve apostles, just like the scriptures say. Judas then becomes the ultimate demonstration of God’s grace.

Better If He Wasn’t Born

In one sense the Son of Man is entering into a way of treachery well-marked by the Scriptures – no surprises here. In another sense that man who turns him in, turns traitor to the Son of Man – better never to have been born than do this!

Matthew 26:24

Many people will object to this teaching because they have been trained since childhood to believe that Judas would burn in hell for all eternity based on this scripture in Matthew 26. Let me ask you a question, though. What is the worst moment of your entire existence?

Many will answer about a car accident, or perhaps a death of a loved one or a child, but they are not seeing the whole question. The worst moment of your life is not something that happened in your past, but something that will happen to the eternal you.

You see, the Great White Throne Judgment (GWTJ) is not like most people believe, because they haven’t thought it all through. When Jeffrey Dahmer stands before God and beholds his unrighteousness fully, he will say, “You, God, are just in sending me to hell for I’ve earned every bit of it.” He probably won’t even bat an eye.

The ones who will suffer before God’s thrones are those of us that consider ourselves to be his servants. He will wipe every tear from our eyes because, on that day, we will be weeping our guts out because we will, for the first time, see our lives in the light of God’s real righteousness.

We will understand about the boy we went to high school with who we called “faggot” and “fairy” who shot himself on his 21st birthday because his parents found out he was gay. We’ll find out about the kid we made fun of and called stupid who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for throwing himself on a grenade for his platoon.

It’s not until we, who have God-given consciences stand before he who reigns forever, the righteous judge, that we will see the full extent of how wicked we really are. It’s at that point when we crumple in a heap before him as he opens the book of our lives and we’re ready to be banished from his presence forever, that we hear Jesus say, “I find no fault with this person, Father.”

Then, knowing there must be some mistake, we look at the book of our lives and see page after page of it blotted out with that rusty-red indelible ink that cost so much. It’s at that moment that we see not only how deep our wickedness goes, but how deep God’s grace goes. That will be the worst moment of our lives—the moment when we have a full, unblinking revelation of what the price was for our salvation. This is the moment that all of us will be, as my niece says, “very small.”

Now imagine that moment if you’re the one who personally betrayed the one who paid that price. Do you really think eternity in hell’s going to stack up to that moment in his life when he realizes that Jesus’ blood covered his sins too?

We must be careful about the judgments that we sling around so casually. If Judas is going to spend eternity judging Israel, who are we to judge anyone? In a sense, Judas is God’s masterpiece, the crowning achievement of Jesus’ life on earth.

We still have a lot to learn about serving the Lord.

The Seventh Trumpet

This is pretty cool. Thanks to Bruce for getting me started down this path.

To understand this, you first must answer a simple question. When was the kingdom of heaven established.

Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.”

Mark 1:15

Here, at the beginning of his public ministry, Jesus begins to declare that the kingdom of Heaven is here. The kingdom began to be established, then, at this point. It was fully established by his death, burial and resurrection. At his death, everything before was ended and the new realm of the kingdom began, which is why Hebrews 9:26 states that Jesus was “crucified at the end of the world. (KJV)”

If you don’t buy this, please e-mail me and we’ll discuss this in another writing.

Revelation 9 contains the fifth and sixth trumpets being sounded as part of God’s judgment during the tribulation. These trumpets are judgments from God by armies who slaughter millions of people—not at all unlike the great campaigns of the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans who conquered all of the middle east in the times before Christ.

What is interesting though is what we see in Revelation 10.

Then the Angel I saw astride sea and land lifted his right hand to Heaven and swore by the One Living Forever and Ever, who created Heaven and everything in it, earth and everything in it, sea and everything in it, that time was up – that when the seventh Angel blew his trumpet, which he was about to do, the Mystery of God, all the plans he had revealed to his servants, the prophets, would be completed.

Revelation 10:5-7

The word translated Angel here and throughout the New Testament simply means messenger. These messengers are in two forms. There is a whole kind of life form that God created to be his messengers and servants, these angels are like Michael and Gabriel, who are constantly around God’s throne.

The other type is anyone who is sent with the word of the Lord. This is why each of the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation are written to “the angel of the church.” This means the person who brings God’s word to a church. All of this is to say that just because someone in the book of Revelation is referred to as an “angel” doesn’t mean they’re not a human being.

This is the case here. The book of Revelation is the uncovering of the understanding of Jesus Christ. There are other actors throughout, but all of it is designed to reveal to us who Jesus really is. I believe this angel in Revelation 10 is another form of Jesus. Look at the similarities:

“The Angel…swore…that time was up.” Revelation 10:6.

Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here.” Mark 1:15

All the plans he had revealed to his servants, the prophets, would be completed.” Revelation 10:7

But if you read the books of the Prophets and God’s Law closely, you will see them culminate in John, teaming up with him in preparing the way for the Messiah of the kingdom.” Matthew 11:13

Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures – either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. I am going to put it all together, pull it all together in a vast panorama.” Matthew 5:17

So what we’re seeing in revelation form is Jesus’ public ministry here on earth. Once again, we find that Revelation is not a book of the future, but is a book of the history of the revelation of Jesus Christ, just as he told us in chapter one.

Notice also that all of this is tied to the blowing of the seventh trumpet. Let’s skip to chapter 11 and find out what happens when that trumpet blows.

The seventh Angel trumpeted. A crescendo of voices in Heaven sang out, The kingdom of the world is now the Kingdom of our God and his Messiah! He will rule forever and ever!…The doors of God’s Temple in Heaven flew open, and the Ark of his Covenant was clearly seen surrounded by flashes of lightning, loud shouts, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a fierce hailstorm.

Revelation 11:15, 19

So this comes back to when did Jesus establish his kingdom. The answer is, at his death. That’s why the last thing he says on the cross is, “It is finished.” At that moment, then kingdoms of this world became the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ and he shall reign forever.

And at that moment, there’s an earthquake and God’s temple in heaven flew open. When did this happen?

But Jesus, again crying out loudly, breathed his last. At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces.

Matthew 27:50-51

These events that happened at the death of Jesus are EXACTLY the same events as in Revelation 11. John is watching what is happening from a heavenly perspective, looking back across time. Let’s see what else happened at this time.

When they’ve completed their witness, the Beast from the Abyss will emerge and fight them, conquer and kill them, leaving their corpses exposed on the street of the Great City spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, the same City where their Master was crucified. For three and a half days they’ll be there – exposed, prevented from getting a decent burial, stared at by the curious from all over the world. Those people will cheer at the spectacle, shouting “Good riddance!” and calling for a celebration, for these two prophets pricked the conscience of all the people on earth, made it impossible for them to enjoy their sins. Then, after three and a half days, the Living Spirit of God will enter them – they’re on their feet! – and all those gloating spectators will be scared to death. I heard a strong voice out of Heaven calling, “Come up here!” and up they went to Heaven, wrapped in a cloud, their enemies watching it all. At that moment there was a gigantic earthquake – a tenth of the city fell to ruin, seven thousand perished in the earthquake, the rest frightened to the core of their being, frightened into giving honor to the God of Heaven.

Revelation 11:9-13

This passage is talking about the law and the prophets we read about in Matthew 5. Nearly all of the prophets of the old testament were martyred for the word they preached, just like what we just read. Their bodies laid in the city “where their Master was crucified.” And at the end of this, the people left behind who had had been stunned the earthquake and the resurrection gave glory to the God of heaven.

What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.) The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!”

Matthew 27:52-54

Here is the exact same event we just read about in Revelation chapter 11. This is the seventh and last trumpet that sounded at the crucifixion of Jesus—that heralded the establishment of the kingdom of heaven.

What’s more, this is not the only evidence in the New Testament about the events surrounding the last trumpet sounding…

The Master himself will give the command. Archangel thunder! God’s trumpet blast! He’ll come down from heaven and the dead in Christ will rise – they’ll go first.

1 Thessalonians 4:16

This scripture, often thought to be an example of the pre-tribulation rapture of the church, was fulfilled at Jesus’ resurrection following the final trumpet of God and the Archangel calling out “Come up here” as we just read in Revelation 11.

So what is the point of all of this?

The point is simply this. The rapture is not some future event that we await with bated breath. Many have already had their rapture. They are with the Lord now in their resurrected form. Enoch, Elijah, and, in my opinion, Moses, and John the apostle went there ahead of us without having to die. What are you waiting on? The word of the Lord has spoken.

Come up here!”

The Dreams of Nebuchadnezzar

While king, Nebuchadnezzar had two striking dreams that were prophetic in nature. In both instances, only Daniel could interpret them.

The Statue and the Rock

In the first dream, the king saw an enormous statue. The head of the statue was gold, its chest and arms of silver, stomach and thighs of brass, legs of iron, and his feet of clay mingled with iron. A great rock, cut without hands, then struck the feet of the statue and shattered the entire statue. The rock then grew into a huge mountain covering the whole earth.

Daniel gives the interpretation of this dream telling us that the head was the Chaldean empire under Nebuchadnezzar. The silver chest was another kingdom, which we now know would be the Medo-Persians. The bronze was the third kingdom, the Greeks under Alexander the Great. The fourth kingdom was iron, representing the Roman Empire. The fifth kingdom would be the Romans mixed with the weakness of men.

At the end of these empires, God would bring The Rock and set up an everlasting kingdom, not made of men, but God only and that this kingdom would level man’s government and fill the whole earth.

Its when we get to the second dream that things get interesting.

The Great Tree and the Heart of the Beast

A couple of years later, Nebuchadnezzar had a second dream. Here is the dream in his own words from Daniel 4:

“Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.

“I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: Let his heart be changed from man’, and let a beast’ heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.

“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”

Daniel 4:10-17

Now anyone that went to Sunday School as a child is familiar with this dream and what happens next. Daniel warns Nebuchadnezzar that the dream is about him. A year after having this dream, Nebuchadnezzar is gloating over his accomplishments.

“The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king’ mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying , O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

“The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers , and his nails like birds’ claws .

“And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.”

Daniel 4:30-37

The thing that I just came to understand when re-reading this is that the what happened to Nebuchadnezzar is really a parabalized form of what the dream is really about. In all actuality, this dream is about the same thing the first dream is about.

The key is the bands of bronze and iron placed around the stump. You will notice that there is not mention of these bands in Daniel’s interpretation. This is because these bands are there to match up with the metals of the statue in the first dream and indicate that there’s more going on here than first meets the eye.

The top of the tree is the same as the head of the statue. Cutting down the tree signifies that the head is going to be cut off, but the stump and the trunk are going to remain embedded in the earth. This stump will be given the nature of the beast and will continue to exist.

The bands of iron and bronze mean that this beast nature is going to continue in the earth through the descendants of the Greek and Roman Empires. That beast nature, then is going to rule the earth for seven times, the seven years of the great tribulation.

The Babylon/beast nature system is going to rule the earth through the leftovers of the Greeks and the Romans. All of our thinking, our science, is named for Greece. Our words science, biology, geography, are all Greek words. Most of our government buildings are modeled after Greek and Roman architecture, like the U.S. Capitol.

On the back of our money is mottoes in Latin, the language of the Romans. Our laws and medicine are fraught with terms from the same language.

What God is saying through all of this is that the beast nature still rules in the earth and will continue until the completion of the Great Tribulation. At the end, though, God will establish his kingdom made without hands.

“…that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”

Daniel 4:17