Discovering the Real Temple Mount, Pt. 2

While some may interpret the contents and conclusions of this article as anti-Semitic, this could not be further from the truth. Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry supports the nation of Israel and believes that the entire nation of Israel, including the traditional Temple Mount area, forthrightly belongs to the Jewish people. This article is only interested in the truth and how the facts impact Yahweh’s prophetic Word.

In this second installment on Discovering the Real Temple Mount we will focus on several critical aspects providing important clues as to where the temple originally stood, including biblical prophecies and historical accounts of the destruction of Herod’s temple and Jerusalem. We will also examine evidence for Fortress Antonia and the Roman Tenth Legion. However, before we begin our expedition of truth, here is a summary from part one:

  •  The ancient City of David, today a national archaeology site, is located south of the traditional Temple Mount and is synonymous with Zion, 2Samuel 5:7; 1Chronicles 11:5; Psalm 76:2.
  • Solomon expanded the ancient City of David by filling in the Millo and connecting the City of David with the Ophel, the biblical location for the temple, 1Kings 11:27. The Ophel, Mount Zion, and Mount Moriah are all synonymous, 2Chronicles 3:1.
  • Solomon’s Temple was built over the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite, 1Chronicles 21:15-30. A threshing floor requires a flat and hard surface. The rock underneath the Dome of the Rock does not meet these requirements and therefore likely not the location of Ornan’s threshing floor.
  •  During the 7th Century CE, 70 Jewish families from Tiberius relocated to Jerusalem and requested to be near the Pool of Siloam and the Temple.
  • The Gihon Spring is the only natural spring and major water source in Jerusalem. It’s located within the City of David, a third of a mile from the traditional Temple Mount.
  •  According to Aristeas (Alexandrian Jew, 2nd / 3rd century BCE) and Tacitus (Roman historian, 2nd Century CE) there was a spring-like reservoir gushing from the Temple precincts.

For additional information on the above summary, see part one of this article.

Not One Stone
Let’s begin our journey by considering one of the most important prophecies Yahshua the Messiah gave in the New Testament. “And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And Yahshua answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down,” Mark 13:1-2.

Mark 13, along with Matthew 24 and Luke 21, is known as the Olivet Prophecy. This passage begins with the disciples complimenting the stones of the temple. In response to this admiration, Yahshua responded by saying that these great buildings would be torn down with not one stone remaining.

It’s important to realize that Yahshua used the word “buildings.” Many who believe that the temple was located on the traditional Temple Mount will contend that Yahshua was referring only to the inner sanctuary and not to the entire temple complex. They do this to explain the remaining western wall, also known as the Wailing Wall.

This wall is the holiest site in Judaism. It’s believed that this wall was part of the outer western wall of Herod’s Temple. As a side note, there’s debate as to whether this wall was even built by Herod. Eli Shukron, an archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority, found a coin at the base of the Wailing Wall dating back to around 18 CE, 20 years after King Herold. Based on this, this wall was likely not built by King Herold, but by Agrippa II, Herold’s great-grandson.

Returning to the topic at hand, when Yahshua gave this prophecy, Mark 13 records that He and the disciples were on the Mount of Olives looking back to the temple. From this location, He would have viewed not only the inner sanctuary of the temple, but the entire temple precincts. With this in mind, along with the fact that He uses the word “buildings,” it seems unlikely that he was only referring to the inner sanctuary. It is far more probable that He was referring to the entire temple platform.

If He was referring to entire precincts, this would have most certainly included the outer western wall. And remember, He stated that not one stone would remain upon another. Based on this prophecy and the known facts, how is it possible that the Wailing Wall remains today? There is no good explanation. Either Yahshua exaggerated or the Temple Mount is not the location of the ancient temple and this wall belongs to something else entirely.

Antiquity Supports Destruction

Ancient site of Gomorrah

In addition to Yahshua’s prophecy, there is also evidence from antiquity to the destruction of the temple. Both Jewish and Christian sources confirm similar ruin to the temple. In fact, not only do they validate what Yahshua stated, but do so in a manner that verifies it was not only the inner sanctuary, but the entire platform, including the outer walls.

One of the most well-known accounts is from Flavius Josephus. Josephus lived between 37 and 100 CE and is one of the most renowned scholars and historians of the first century. He lived before and after the temple was destroyed. Therefore, this man provides invaluable firsthand testimony of this destruction.

Josephus in War of the Jews recounts, “I cannot but wish that we had all died before we had seen that holy city demolished by the hands of our enemies, or the foundations of our Holy Temple dug up, after so profane a manner” (Bk. VII, ch.8).

The reference to “profane” here verifies that the Romans had no reverence for the temple. Even more importantly, Josephus states the foundation stones themselves were dug up and removed. Based on this, it’s hard to believe that Rome would have allowed the foundation stones of the current Temple Mount and the Wailing Wall to remain.

Evidence for the destruction of the entire temple platform is also found from Epiphanius of Salamis, a fourth century bishop in Cyprus. In his work, On Weights and Measures, he testifies to this destruction. “It was the second year of his reign when he [Hadrian] went up to Jerusalem, the famous and much-praised city which had been destroyed by Titus the son of Vespasian. He found it utterly destroyed and God’s Holy Temple a ruin, there being nothing where the city had stood but a few dwellings and one small church,” pp. 17-18.

Epiphanius records the eyewitness account of Emperor Hadrian. He states that Hadrian visited Jerusalem two years into his reign, approximately 119 CE. When he arrived, he was amazed at the devastation the city suffered under the Roman General Titus.

He confirms that the temple was in ruin and that Jerusalem was utterly destroyed. Except for a few buildings and a small church, nothing remained. Considering this, is it reasonable to believe that Titus would have allowed the foundations of the temple mount along with a large portion of the western wall to remain? This is highly unlikely.

Another man who provides insight into the temple’s destruction is Eusebius of Caesarea. Eusebius lived during the fourth century and was a historian, scholar, and bishop of Caesarea Maritima. He is one of the most well-known historians of the early church.

In his work, Proof of the Gospel, he states the following: “Mount Sion was burned and left utterly desolate, and the Mount of the House of God became as a grove of the wood. If our own observation has any value, we have seen in our own time Sion once so famous ploughed with yokes of oxen by the Romans and utterly devastated, and Jerusalem as the oracle says, deserted like a lodge” (Bk. VI, ch.13, sect. 273).

Eusebius states that Yahweh’s House, referring to the temple, had become as a grove of woods, i.e., empty or without presence. He goes on to lament how such a place could have been so devastated that it was reduced to a plot of farmland where the oxen ploughed.

Considering this description from Eusebius, is it realistic to believe that the foundation stones along with the western wall of the current Temple Mount was intact after the invasion of the Roman army? As we saw from Josephus and Epiphanius, such a conclusion is nearly impossible to draw.

Later in this same work, Proof of the Gospel, Eusebius states, “The hill called Sion and Jerusalem, the buildings there, the Temple, the Holy of Holies, the Altar, and whatever else there was dedicated to the glory of God, [has] been utterly removed or shaken, in fulfillment of the Word” (Bk. VIII, ch.3, sect. 405).

Eusebius states here that the temple was “utterly removed or shaken.” And as we see here, he was referring to the Temple, the Holy of holies, and all that was considered holy. It’s probably safe to assume that Eusebius was referring to more than the inner sanctuary. He was referring to the entire temple complex, including the outer walls.

There’s one more account from Eusebius that we will consider. In Proof of the Gospel he astoundingly states that, “Their ancient holy place, at any rate, and their Temple are to this day as much destroyed as Sodom” (Bk. V, ch.23, sect. 250).

Eusebius compares the destruction of the temple to the devastation that Sodom suffered in the Old Testament. During our last trip to Israel we had the chance to visit what many believe is the ancient city of Gomorrah. As we know, Gomorrah suffered the same fate as Sodom. As you can see in the above image of Gomorrah, nothing remains of this ancient city. What was once a bustling city has been reduced to rubble. Except for ash and a few remaining sulfur balls, Gomorrah today is a wasteland.

Assuming that Eusebius was not exaggerating, is it possible that the Roman army left the foundation of the temple and Wailing Wall unscathed? Doubtful.

Jerusalem Itself Razed
In addition to the temple, Yahshua also prophesied a similar fate for the city of Jerusalem. “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another,’ Luke 19:41-44, NIV.

Historically, Yahshua’s prophecy here of Jerusalem’s destruction was fulfilled by Titus and the Roman army. It’s amazing how history validates the Bible. Archaeology and scholarship have overwhelmingly confirmed the accuracy of the Bible.

Similar to what Yahshua said about the temple, He says here regarding Jerusalem. He verifies that not one stone would be left upon another. And as we know through antiquity, Jerusalem’s destruction was so great that the city was hardly identifiable.

For instance, according to Josephus in Wars of the Jews, “And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor if anyone that had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again” (Bk. VI. ch.1).

According to Josephus, after Rome’s destruction of the city of Jerusalem it was unrecognizable. This once grand city had been reduced to rubble. He describes the city as “desolate.” Astonishingly, he goes on to say that even those who were familiar with the city would not have known it after Rome’s destruction.

Knowing that the temple was the central focus of Jerusalem, how is it possible to reconcile this description with the remaining foundation of the traditional Temple Mount and the western wall? Considering that these objects would have been well known and easily identifiable, how is it possible that even those who were familiar with the city before would not have recognized it afterward? Assuming Josephus is not exaggerating, such a conclusion is improbable.

Josephus also describes this destruction in book VVI, chapter 7, “As he came to Jerusalem in his progress, and compared the melancholy condition he saw it then in, with the ancient glory of the city with the greatness of its present ruins (as well as its ancient splendor). He could not but pity the destruction of the city … Yet there was no small quantity of the riches that had been in that city still found among the ruins, a great deal of which the Romans dug up; but the greatest part was discovered by those who were captives, and so they [the Romans] carried it away; I mean the gold and the silver, and the rest of that most precious furniture which the Jews had, and which the owners had treasured up under ground against the uncertainties of war.”
Not only was the city of Jerusalem completely destroyed, but much of the city was dug up. After Jerusalem fell to the Romans, the army began looking for valuables, including gold and silver. To hide many of these valuables, many Jews buried them. So not only was the city completely demolished, but they excavated the very foundation stones, including within the temple precincts, looking for plunder.

This confirms Yahshua’s prophecy that not one stone would remain, including the foundation stones. Based on this, it’s hard to fathom how anything substantial would have remained within the city or temple platform, especially considering the ornateness of the temple. It’s likely that the temple was ground zero for many of these Romans who desecrated the holy place for personal gain.

In addition to the Jewish historian Josephus, we also find evidence for Jerusalem’s destruction from the early church. Gregory of Nyssa, a fourth century bishop and Nicene Father, also gives an account of Jerusalem’s desolation, “Up to the time of the manifestation of Christ the royal palaces in Jerusalem were in all their splendor: there was their far-famed Temple, … [but now] no traces even of their Temple can be recognized, and their splendid city has been left in ruins, so that there remains to the Jews nothing of the ancient institutions; while by the command of those who rule over them the very ground of Jerusalem which they so venerated is forbidden to them,” Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 5, p. 940.

As Josephus before him, Gregory of Nyssa confirms that the temple was unrecognizable and the city was in ruins. He stated that there were no traces of the temple. We know that the Temple Mount foundation along with the Wailing Wall existed during the fourth century. How is it possible that such prominent landmarks were missed? How is it possible that no traces of the temple remained if large portions of the foundation and walls of the temple remained? The logical answer is, what we call the Temple Mount today is not the location of the temple.

Real Temple Mount

Avi-Yonah’s model showing Fortress Antonia just to the right of the Temple’s courtyard. This Proportionally inaccurate model could never hold upwards of 10,000 people of the Tenth Roman Legion.

The Remaining Monument
We find a clue as to what the Temple Mount was from Josephus in Wars of the Jews. He states, “And where is now that great city, the metropolis of the Jewish nation, which was fortified by so many walls round about, which had so many fortresses and large towers to defend it, which could hardly contain the instruments prepared for the war, and which had so many ten thousands of men to fight for it? Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? It is now demolished to the very foundations, and hath nothing left but that monument of it preserved, I mean the camp of those that hath destroyed it” (Bk. 7, ch.8).

Josephus here paints a dreadful picture of the ancient city of Jerusalem. He describes how the once crown jewel of the Jewish nation had been reduced to its very foundation and how only one monument remained, i.e., the camp.

What camp is Josephus referring to? From a historical standpoint, the only possible answer is Fortress Antonia. This was the Roman camp or fort that existed during the time of the Messiah and after the destruction of Jerusalem. So according to Josephus, the only substantial structure that remained after Rome’s demolition of Jerusalem was this Roman fort. Everything else within the city was demolished.

Based on this, where do you suppose Fortress Antonia was located? The only plausible answer is the traditional Temple Mount, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock are located. Again, Josephus confirms that the only remaining structure was the Roman fort and there is only one major structure that still exists today within the city of Jerusalem from that time period and that is the Temple Mount platform. This means that the current Temple Mount along with the Wailing Wall was not part of the temple, but of Fortress Antonia.

Now before we go any further with Fortress Antonia, let’s first review the Roman Tenth Legion.

Rome’s Tenth Legion Stationed There
From newhistorian.com we learn about the location and history of this important military power: “Bricks from the bathhouse were stamped with the name of the Tenth Roman Legion, which was part of the takeover of Jewish Yerushalayim. Its soldiers were garrisoned there until 300 CE. The Tenth Roman Legion (Legio X Fretensis) was created by Augustus Caesar between 41 and 40 BCE, specifically to fight in the civil war which marked the beginning of the end of the Republic of Rome. The tenth legion existed until at least the 410’s,” “Reminders of the Tenth Roman Legion Unearthed in Jerusalem.”

One of the most important facts we see here is that the Roman Tenth Legion was an actual legion, coming from the Latin Legio. We’ll see later why this is important. We also find here that the 10th Legion was established by Augustus Caesar between 41 and 40 BCE in response to the civil war within Rome. This source also verifiers that the Tenth Legion was stationed in Jerusalem until about 300 CE and existed until the 410s. So long after Jerusalem had been destroyed by the Romans, the Tenth Legion remained there for nearly 200 years.

A Legion Is Like a CityReal Temple Mount
Now what do we know historically about the actual size of a legion and a legionary camp? French author, Yann Le Bohec, verifies the number and complexity of a typical Roman camp: “With almost 5000 men, a legionary camp was the equivalent of a town. Consequently everything that was essential for the daily life of such a community — hospital, stores, workshops, baths, as well as public lavatories — was to be found,” The Imperial Roman Army, p. 160.

Le Bohec verifies that a Roman legion consisted of about 5,000 men. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include the support staff. According to some, support staff would have added several thousand more. We also see here that a legionary camp would have been equivalent to an average town, including various stores, workshops, baths, and many other conveniences.

As a secondary witness to the number of a legion, the Cyclopedia of Biblical Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature states, “The legion appears to have originally contained about 3000 men, and to have risen gradually to twice that number, or even more. In and about the time of Christ it seems to have consisted of 6000 men, and this was exclusive of horsemen, who usually formed an additional body amounting to one tenth of the infantry,” Vol. V, “Legion,” p. 329.

Based on this and the previous reference, a Roman legion consisted of about 5,000-6,000 horsemen. Again, support staff would have likely added many more. In all, a typical Roman legion could have had as high as 10,000 people.

Now why is this number important? It verifies that the current model of Fortress Antonia as shown by scholarship could not be right. As seen in the model of Fortress Antonia as displayed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem (see image on pg. ?), it would be impossible to fit more than a few hundred troops.

So how does scholarship explain this discrepancy? Many claim that the Roman Tenth Legion was not a legion, but a cohort, containing about 600 men. There are two issues with this: (1) the Tenth Legion was not a cohort, but a legion, coming from the Latin Legio X Fretensis, meaning, “Tenth legion of the Strait.” And number two, a typical legionary camp or fortress was the size of a city. Therefore, based on this evidence, the traditional model at the Israel Museum is likely incorrect.

Fortress Antonia
Besides the inaccuracies we have already seen, Josephus, an eyewitness to this Roman fortress, provides several important facts that modern scholarships seems to overlook.

First, here’s what Josephus states in Antiquities of the Jews, “Now on the north side [of the temple] was built a citadel, whose walls were square, and strong, and of extraordinary firmness. This citadel was built by the Kings of the Asamonean race, who were also High Priests, before Herod; and they called it the tower…But for the tower itself, when Herod the King of the Jews had fortified it more firmly than before, in order to secure and guard the temple, he gratified Antonius; who was his friend, and the Roman ruler; and then gave it the name of the tower of Antonia” (Bk. XV, ch.11).

Josephus further provides somewhat of a lengthy but crucial description of Fortress Antonia in War of the Jews: “Now as to the tower of Antonia, it was situated at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the Temple; of that on the west, and that on the north. It was erected upon a rock of fifty cubits in height, and was on a great precipice. It was the work of King Herod, wherein he demonstrated his natural magnanimity. In the first place, the rock itself was covered over with smooth pieces of stone, from its foundation, both for ornament, and that any one who would either try to get up or to go down it might not be able to hold his feet upon it. Next to this, and before you come to the edifice of the tower itself, there was a wall three cubits high; but within that wall all the space of the tower of Antonia itself was built upon, to the height of forty cubits. The inward parts had the largeness and form of a palace it being parted into all kinds of rooms and other conveniences, such as courts, and places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps; insomuch that, by having all conveniences that cities wanted, it might seem to be composed of several cities. By its magnificence it seemed a palace. And as the entire structure resembled that of a tower, it contained also four other distinct towers at its four corners; whereof the others were but fifty cubits high; whereas that which lay upon the southeast corner was seventy cubits high, that from thence the whole Temple might be viewed, but on the corner where it joined to the two cloisters of the Temple, it had passages down to them both, through which the guard (for there always lay in this tower a Roman legion) went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals, in order to watch the people, that they might not there attempt to make any innovations; for the Temple was a fortress that guarded the city, as was the tower of Antonia a guard to the Temple, and in that tower were the guards of those three. There was also a peculiar fortress belonging to the upper city, which was Herod’s palace, but for the hill Bezetha, it was divided from the tower Antonia, as we have already told you, and as that hill on which the tower of Antonia stood was the highest of these three, so did it adjoin to the new city, and was the only place that hindered the sight of the Temple on the north.” (Bk. 5, ch.8).

We learn a great deal of information from these two accounts from Josephus. As a help to provide the information succinctly, below is a summary highlighting the major or crucial points:

  • Fortress Antonia was originally a fortress built by the Hasmoneans, i.e., Maccabees.
  •  Herold further fortified the fortress to protect the temple and gave it the name “Fortress Antonia” in honor of Mark Anthony.
  • The temple and Fort Antonia were connected by two cloisters, i.e., covered bridges, (Wars VI, 2, 144 confirms this distance at 600 feet).
  • A typical Roman fortress contained all kinds of conveniences (e.g. courts, places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps), similar to an actual city.
  •  Fortress Antonia had four distinct towers at its four corners measuring 50 cubits (75 feet), except for the southeast corner, which measured 70 cubits (105 feet) high, from which the temple could be viewed.
  • Fortress Antonia housed the Tenth Roman Legion, approximately 6,000 horsemen.
  •  As the temple was to guard Jerusalem, Fortress Antonia was to guard the temple.
  • Fortress Antonia was located on the highest of the three hills.
  • From the north, Fortress Antonia obscured or blocked the view of the temple.

There are several points here that are inconsistent with the model at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Missing Connectors and Hills
Josephus mentions two covered bridges that connected the temple and Fortress Antonia. No such bridges exist in the model at the Israel Museum. Also, the description of the fort resembling a city and housing a 6,000-man army does not fit the current model, as it is far too small. We also find inconsistencies with the towers. The towers depicted on the model have four equal length towers, while Josephus clearly states that the tower overlooking the temple was 25 additional cubits. He also stated that the fort obscured or blocked the view of the temple coming from the north. This is certainly not depicted by the model. Another major problem between the model and Josephus’ account is the fact that the fortress was on the third highest hill.

These last two points are critically important to understand, as again neither one is depicted by the model at the Israel Museum. However, if the temple was within the City of David on the Ophel and Fortress Antonia on the Temple Mount or the Haram esh-Sharif, everything falls into place. When you survey the City of David, the Ophel, and the Temple Mount area, the Temple Mount area is on the third highest hill and also obscures the Ophel and the City of David coming from the north.

Roman Fortress at Neuss, Germany

Roman Fortresses Built Alike
Another indication for the traditional Temple Mount being the location of Fortress Antonia is the fact that it shares similar dimensions with other legionary camps. The Temple Mount platform is 36 acres in size with the eastern wall measuring 1,541 feet, the southern wall measuring 918 feet, the western wall measuring 1,601 feet, and the northern wall measuring 1,033 feet. While the Temple Mount resembles a rectangle, it is in fact a trapezoid.

This shape is again similar to other Roman forts. For example, there is a Roman fortress in Caerleon, Wales, dating to 75 CE. It measures a total of 50 acres. It is believed that this particular fort housed the Second Roman Legion, approximately 5,500 men.

There is another example in Neuss, Germany, dating to 80 CE. The size is 59 acres and possibly housed the Nineteenth Roman Legion. There are remains of a Roman fort from Haltern, Germany, with a total size of 85 acres. It’s thought this fort housed two Roman legions.

As can be seen here, the size and shape of these Roman fortresses strongly resemble the area known as the Temple Mount. Could this only be coincidence? It is highly doubtful. It is far more likely that these similarities offer additional evidence for the Temple Mount platform being the location of Fortress Antonia. One fact is for certain: the model at the Israel Museum does not fit the description from Josephus or what archaeology confirms regarding a Roman fort or legionary camp.

The Paul Dilemma
A final piece of evidence for the Temple Mount being the location of Fortress Antonia comes from the 23rd chapter of Acts. “The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks…Then he called two of his centurions and ordered them, ‘Get ready a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at nine tonight,’” vv. 10, 23, NIV.

Due to a dispute caused partially by Paul, the Romans were forced to fetch Paul from the temple to the barracks, i.e., Fortress Antonia. Notice that the men who retrieved Paul came DOWN from the barracks to the temple. This shows that the Roman fortress was of a higher elevation than the temple and verifies Josephus’ account that Fortress Antonia was on the highest of the three hills.

We also see here that Rome provided two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to escort Paul from Jerusalem to Caesarea, a total of 470 men. Again, some theorize that the Tenth Legion was not a legion, but a cohort. In other words, they claim that instead of 6,000 men, Fortress Antonia housed only 600 men.

Knowing that Rome provided Paul with 470 men, is it reasonable to assume that the Roman Tenth Legion consisted of only a cohort? If true, this means that they gave 78% of their military force to escort one man and leaving only 22% to guard the entire city of Jerusalem. This is highly improbable! However, assuming that the Tenth Roman Legion was an actual legion consisted of 6,000 men, 470 men is possible, especially knowing that Paul was a Roman citizen.

Prophetic Impact
While this theory is not salvational, it is a belief that may hold a crucial key to future prophecy. The Bible is clear that a third temple will be rebuilt before Yahshua’s coming.
Yahshua in Matthew 24:15 states, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:).” The phrase “holy place” is an allusion to the Holy of Holies within the temple.

Paul also describes a temple in 2Thessalonians 2:3-4: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called Elohim, or that is worshipped; so that he as Elohim sitteth in the temple of Elohim, shewing himself that he is Elohim.” Paul clearly states here that the son of perdition or Anti-messiah will sit in a temple exalting himself as elohim or as a god to be worshiped.

As a final reference, John of Patmos in Revelation 11:1-2 records, “And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of Elohim, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” John not only confirms here a temple, but also describes the outer court.

Based on this and the two previous accounts, there is little doubt that a third temple will be rebuilt prior to the return of Yahshua the Messiah. Assuming that the temple was originally located within the City of David, as indicated by the evidence, and Jewish scholarship accepted this conclusion, this could radically change and impact future prophecy.

We hope you enjoyed the teaching: Discovering the Real Temple Mount, Pt. 2

Also, check out part 1 of the series Discovering the Real Temple Mount , Pt. 1

Be sure to check out our YouTube channel for many other interesting videos!

Prophecy

Accuracy in Prophecy

Accuracy in Prophecy

From the Mount of Olives in Yahshua’s day to the Internet age, man has always been fascinated by prophecy of the last days. Entire church movements and denominations have been built on their own interpretation of prophecy.

Yahshua’s disciples were also very curious about His Second Coming and the end of the age. Their question about his return in Matthew 24 sparked Yahshua’s Olivette discourse:
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Yahshua answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you,” vv. 3-4.

Yahshua’s overriding concern was that we not be deceived. “For there shall arise false Messiahs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” Matthew 24:24. Clearly some elect could be deceived.

Verse 10 adds, “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” “Offended” is skandalizo in Greek and means to entrap, trip up, apostasy and entice to sin.

 

False Messiahs Running Amok

Two main causes will drive the end-time deception:

• false messiahs and false prophets will appear and
• false signs and wonders will be performed.

Paul uses similar language with a similar warning in referring to the last days: “Let no man deceive you by any means.”

A time of deception is coming, says Paul, The spiritual deception to which Yahshua referred will involve rank unbelievers following false Messiahs and false prophets.

Apostasy will also plague the Body of Messiah: “For that day [of the Master] shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin [Antimessiah] be revealed, the son of perdition” (2Thess. 2:3).
Although it’s unlikely that a strong, faithful believer will fall away from Messiah, the prospect is great for the weaker believer.

Paul adds to Yahshua’s warnings with, “Do not be deceived into thinking that apostasy won’t come.” Surely Paul would not say this unless in the last days the view would be to reject the idea of apostasy itself. This could happen if churchianity is so wishy-washy about doctrinal standards that apostasy won’t even matter to the majority.

The departure from the truth will be spearheaded by workers of miracles. The delusion will be made possible when personal experience becomes more important than doctrine. Paul says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (2Timothy 4:3).

Once sound teachings of Yahweh’s Word no longer matter, there is nothing left but man’s imagination to follow. The substance has been stripped out and the Bible becomes a shell that one can stuff anything one wants into it.

 

‘Prophets’ with Rotten Fruit

In Matthew 7:22-23 Yahshua warned: “Many will say to me in that day, Master, Master, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

These charlatans will pretend they have the power of the Spirit and the Truth, but are in fact bogus. Their lives are not guided by Yahweh’s laws. You will know them by their fruits, Yahshua said, and their fruits show who and what they are.

This passage tells us that miracles will be performed. Demons will be exorcised. Amazing works will be manifest and manifold.

Yahshua doesn’t deny that these phenomena will be accomplished. He simply says they will not be of Him. He will have no part in them. He doesn’t know these transgressors who perform these miracles because they don’t follow sound doctrine.

This means there are other unholy powers that can accomplish miracles. We see a glimpse of such in Revelation 13 with Satanic capabilities granted to the man of sin. Just because someone can heal the sick, make a statue speak, turn a stick into a snake or change water into blood does not prove that Yahweh or Yahshua is behind the miracle.

At this point it is clear in Bible prophecy that doctrine won’t matter to many. The Truth will be irrelevant to them. Impressive signs and wonders will matter most to millions.

Knowing the Truth and being obedient to it is the very anchor that will keep you not only in Yahweh’s favor but also from being taken in by a deceiver in the last days. Does the person obey Yahweh in every command that Yahweh gives? If not, it doesn’t matter how much fire he can call down from the sky because he is backed by the evil one.

by: Alan Mansager

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Lost Temple Mount FOUND? Pt. 1

Many assume today that the Temple Mount within the old city of Jerusalem is where the Jewish or Old Testament temple originally stood. However, what if this was not the case? What if the temple were located elsewhere?

There is a theory that is gaining popularity that places the temple not on the traditional Temple Mount, but instead within the city of David. In our last trip to Israel, Elder Don Esposito with the Congregation of YHWH, Jerusalem, was gracious enough to help coordinate and serve as our tour guide. While there in Israel, he introduced the group to this theory.

While I was hesitant to believe this theory, it was difficult to refute. After returning home in November of 2016, I sought every reference I could find supporting this theory, including: The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot by Ernest Martin and Temple by Robert Cornuke. I also considered the counter-evidence. In all, I spent several hundred hours reviewing this theory.

Important, but Not Salvational

Before launching into the evidence supporting the temple as being located within the city of David, let us consider the importance of this theory. While this is not a salvational belief, it is a belief that may have far-reaching impact on prophecy.

The traditional Temple Mount contains the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Both of these buildings are sacred to Islam. For this reason it’s impossible today for the Jews to build a third temple on the Temple Mount. As a side note, Muslims call the Temple Mount the Haram esh-Sharif, meaning “the Noble Sanctuary.”

While it may not be possible for the Jews to rebuild a temple on today’s Temple Mount, nothing would hinder them from rebuilding within the city of David. However, for this to occur the Jews would also have to acknowledge that the current Temple Mount is not the location of the temple. Considering that the Temple Mount and Wailing Wall, which is believed to be the outer western wall to the ancient temple, is the holiest site in Judaism, such acceptance would not be easy.

For the Jews to accept that the temple was not on the Temple Mount, but instead within the city of David, evidence would have to be found so conclusive that even the most ardent Jew could not reject this realization. While this may never happen, considering the current excavations occurring within the city of David, the thought of such evidence being found is within the realm of possibility.

Reviewing the GeographyTemple Mount

As seen in the graphic, we can see several important geographical features, including the Mount of Olives, the traditional Temple Mount, the Kidron Valley, the Central Valley, the Gihon Spring, and the current site for the city of David. Below is additional information on each these locations:

The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge on the east side of the city of Jerusalem. At one point, it had olive trees covering its slopes. Today there is a Jewish cemetery with approximately 150,000 graves. This mountain ridge was a significant location during Yahshua’s ministry. It was the place where He delivered His Olivet Prophecy and where He retreated hours before His death, i.e., the Garden of Gethsemane.

The traditional Temple Mount is where many believe the Jewish temple once stood. Again, Muslims call this place the Haram esh-Sharif, translated as, “the Noble Sanctuary.” Both the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and the Dome of the Rock reside on the traditional Temple Mount.

The Kidron Valley separates Jerusalem, including the city of David and the traditional Temple Mount, from the Mount of Olives. This valley continues east through the Judean Desert and toward the Dead Sea.

The Central Valley, also called the Tyropoeon Valley and the Valley of the Cheesemakers, is a rugged ravine on the west side of the City of David or the ancient city of Jerusalem and marks its western boundary, as the Kidron Valley does on the east.

The Gihon Spring is along the Kidron Valley near the ancient City of David. The name “Gihon” comes from the Hebrew gihu, meaning, “gushing forth.” It is one of the world’s largest intermittent springs and made life possible for ancient Jerusalem. While the water from the spring was used for irrigation in the Kidron, it was also central to temple worship. We will explore the Gihon further in this article.

The City of David is the location for the ancient Jebusite City that David conquered and renamed to the City of David or Jerusalem. It is approximately 12 acres in size. It begins at the Millo (i.e., a ravine that separated the City of David from the Ophel, which Solomon filled in during his reign) and extends southward.

Today the City of David is an Israeli national park and a major archaeological site. Archaeologists have discovered many subterranean tunnels, reservoirs, and possibly an ancient room that was used for animal sacrifices. Also discovered underneath the City of David is Hezekiah’s tunnel and the Gihon Spring. On the southwest side of the city is the Pool of Siloam.

City of the David = Zion

We begin our investigating for the real temple mount by turning to the Bible. As with so many other truths, Yahweh’s Word holds the key in unlocking the truth as to where the original temple stood. Following is a compilation of Scripture confirming that the city of David and Mount Zion (i.e., the location of the temple) are synonymous:
“Nevertheless David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David,” 2Samuel 5:7.

This passage clearly states that Zion and the city of David are the same. This point is critically important, as Scripture also shows that Mount Zion was the location of the temple.

“And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David,” 1Chronicles 11:5.

As noted in the previous passage, 1Chronicles 11 confirms that Zion is also the city of David. The word “castle” here comes from the Hebrew matsuwd and refers to a place of defense. Because Jebus was located between the Kidron and Central valleys, it was a well defensible area.

“In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion,” Psalm 76:2.

The word “Salem” derives from the Hebrew shalem. Strong’s states that this word is “an early name of Jerusalem.” This passage is critically important, as it shows a connection between the ancient city of David, the temple, and Zion and offers indisputable evidence for the temple being located within ancient Jerusalem and not on the Haram esh-Sharif.

Remember that the old City of David only included the 12-acre plot of land between the Kidron and Central valleys. It did not include the 36-acre Temple Mount located a third of a mile north. As we will explain in part two of this article, the current Temple Mount platform was developed much later.

Using only the Bible as a roadmap and knowing the location for the ancient city of David, a strong case can be made for the temple being located within the City of David and not on today’s Temple Mount. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

The Akra, Millo, and Ophel

When it comes to the location of the temple, there are three terms to understand – the Akra, Millo, and Ophel. The Akra was another name of the City of David. The Millo was a ravine that King Solomon filled in. And the Ophel is where the temple was originally located.

In 2Samuel 5:9 we find a description of the boundaries of ancient Jerusalem during the reign of King David: “So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward.”

The word “fort” refers to the impregnability of the City of David. This was due to its location between the Kidron and Tyropoeon valleys. We see that David built his city from the Millo inward. Tis ravine separated ancient Jerusalem from the Ophel.

Scripture records that Solomon later filled in this ravine: “And this was the cause that he lifted up his hand against the king: Solomon built Millo, and repaired the breaches of the city of David his father,” 1Kings 11:27.

The word “repaired” here comes from the Hebrew cagar and is a primitive root meaning, “to shut up,” Strong’s. By filling in the Millo, Solomon shut up the ravine known as Millo. In doing so, he also connected the City of David with the Ophel.

This is why Psalms 122:3 describes Jerusalem as a city “compact together.” The word “compact” comes from the Hebrew chabar and according to Strong’s means to “join.” When Solomon filled in the Millo, he enlarged the City of David by joining it with the Ophel.

Now what connection do the Millo and Ophel have to the temple? According to 1Maccabees 13:52 the Ophel is the location of the temple. The KJV with Apocrypha reads, “…Moreover the hill of the temple that was by the tower he made stronger than it was, and there he dwelt himself with his company.” As a secondary reference, the Catholic Study Bible states, “…He also strengthened the fortifications of the temple mount alongside the citadel, and he and his people dwelt there.”

Even though Maccabees is not considered inspired or part of the canon of Scripture, it still offers invaluable historical insight during the time of the Maccabees and Hasmoneans.

As seen in the above citation, the biblical temple mount or “temple hill” was located alongside the tower or citadel. As 2Samuel 5:9 shows, the “fort” or “citadel” refers to the City of David: “So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David….”

This provides conclusive evidence for the temple being located on the Ophel and alongside the City of David. This also places the biblical temple mount approximately a third of a mile south from the traditional Temple Mount.

Ornan’s Threshing Floor

Temple mount

Rock under the Dome of The Rock

Another biblical clue to the location of the temple is the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. This threshing floor is found in 2Chronicles 3:1, “Then Solomon began to build the house of Yahweh at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where Yahweh appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.”

Scripture records that Solomon built the Temple on Mount Moriah and over the threshing floor that David purchased from Ornan the Jebusite. The mention here of Mount Moriah and Zion is important. It shows that these locations are synonymous, as is also the City of David and Zion.

The threshing floor where Solomon built the temple belonged to a Jebusite. This fact suggests that it was likely within the borders of the Jebusite city. If true, this would place the threshing floor within the City of David and not on today’s Temple Mount. Remember that what they call the Temple Mount today is a third of a mile from the ancient Jebusite city.

What is a threshing floor? This was an area where farmers would separate the grain from the straw and husks. This required a surface that was flat, smooth and hard. The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (ISBE) states,

The threshing-floors are constructed in the fields, preferably in an exposed position in order to get the full benefit of the winds. If there is a danger of marauders they are clustered together close to the village. The floor is a level, circular area 25 to 40 ft. in diameter, prepared by first picking out the stones, and then wetting the ground, tamping or rolling it, and finally sweeping it. A border of stones usually surrounds the floor to keep in the grain. The sheaves of grain which have been brought on the backs of men, donkeys, camels, or oxen, are heaped on this area, and the process of tramping out begins. In some localities several animals, commonly oxen or donkeys, are tied abreast and driven round and round the floor. In other places two oxen are yoked together to a drag, the bottom of which is studded with pieces of basaltic stone. This drag, on which the driver, and perhaps his family, sits or stands, is driven in a circular path over the grain.”

The surface of a threshing floor had to be flat, smooth, and hard. This allowed the oxen to tread the grain. It must also be in a location where there would be sufficient wind to separate the grain. This is key as it pertains to the temple.

Most believe that Ornan’s threshing floor was under the Dome of Rock on the traditional Temple Mount. The problem is, as seen in the image below, the surface underneath the Dome of the Rock is not flat. This fact alone makes it highly unlikely this area served as a threshing floor.

Since the Temple Mount location is the highest of the three hills, i.e., when compared to the City of David and Ophel, many claim that the wind conditions would be better suited on the Temple Mount. While it’s true that the elevation of the traditional Temple Mount is higher than the City of David and Ophel, such elevation is not required.

Another issue with the threshing floor being located on the traditional Temple Mount is that threshing floors were prone to robbery. ISBE states, “Threshing-floors are in danger of being robbed (1 Sam 23:1). For this reason, someone always sleeps on the floor until the grain is removed (Ruth 3:7). In Syria, at the threshing season, it is customary for the family to move out to the vicinity of the threshing-floor. A booth is constructed for shade; the mother prepares the meals and takes her turn with the father and children at riding on the sledge,” “Threshing-Floor.”

With this in mind, does it make sense that Ornan and his family would place their threshing floor a third of a mile from the “fort”? Keep in mind that during this time the traditional Temple Mount contained no walls or defense. It was completely open to attack. It is far more likely that Ornan’s threshing floor was within the confines of the old Jebusite city and not on an unguarded hill a third of a mile away.

The Gihon Spring

One of the most compelling reasons for the temple’s being located within the City of David is the location of the Gihon Spring. This spring sets along the Kidron Valley near the ancient City of David. The name “Gihon” comes from the Hebrew gihu, meaning, “gushing forth.” It is one of the world’s largest intermittent springs and made life possible for ancient Jerusalem. While the water from the spring was used for irrigation in the Kidron, it was also central to temple worship.

The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary speaks to the ancient and modern history of this famous spring, “The intermittent spring that constituted Jerusalem’s most ancient water supply, situated in the Kidron Valley just below the eastern hill (Ophel). This abundant source of water was entirely covered over and concealed from outside the walls and was conducted by a specially built conduit to a pool within the walls where a besieged city could get all the water it needed. ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find abundant water?’ the people queried in the time of Hezekiah (2 Chron 32:2-4). Hezekiah’s Tunnel, 1,777 feet long, hewn out of the solid rock and comparable to the tunnels at Megiddo and Gezer, conducted the water to a reservoir within the city. From the top of Ophel the ancient Jebusites (c. 2000 B.C.) had cut a passage through the rock where waterpots could be let down a 40-foot shaft to receive the water in the pool 50 feet back from the Gihon. Early excavations at Jerusalem by the Palestine Exploration Fund under the direction of Sir Charles Warren (1867) resulted in finding the 40-foot rock-cut shaft. It is now known as Warren’s Shaft. Conrad Shick in 1891 discovered an ancient surface canal that conveyed water from the Gihon Spring to the old pool of Siloam, located just within the SE extremity of the ancient city. Isaiah seems to have alluded to the softly flowing waters of this gentle brook when he spoke poetically of ‘the gently flowing waters of Shiloah’ (Isa 8:6),” “Gihon.”

As stated, the Gihon is Jerusalem’s most ancient water supply. Without the Gihon there would have been no Jebusite city for David to conquer. Jerusalem today would likely not exist without this spring.

The location of the Gihon Spring is just east from the Ophel, which joins the ancient city of David. Again, this is one-third mile from the traditional Temple Mount. Knowing that the Gihon is the only major water source in Jerusalem, does it make sense that Israel would have built their temple a third of a mile away from their only water source on the traditional Temple Mount?

This is especially perplexing considering the thousands of animals that Israel offered on the Sabbath and annual Feast days for which thousands of gallons of water are needed.

History says that Rome built aqueducts from Bethlehem to the Temple Mount. While this theoretically could have provided a water source for Herod’s temple, it could not have for Solomon’s. So while there is evidence of ancient reservoirs underneath the traditional Temple Mount dating to the time of Rome, there is no evidence of a water source prior to Rome’s rule. This presents a real problem for the traditional Temple Mount site.

Ancient Witnesses to Temple Location

History speaks of 70 Jewish families who relocated from Tiberius to Jerusalem in the 7th century CE. Tiberius is located in northern Israel along the Sea of Galilee. Reuvin Hammer, in his book Jerusalem Anthology, describes this relocation: “Omar decreed that seventy households should come. They agreed to that. After that he asked: ‘Where do you wish to live within the city?’ They replied, ‘In the southern section of the city, which is the market of the Jews.’ Their request was to enable them to be near the site of the Temple and its gates, as well as to the water of Shiloah, which could be used for immersion.

This was granted them by Omar, the Emir of the Believers.”

Omar was the companion of Mohammed and the second caliph or Islamic leader within Islam.

Several important points need to be made here. These Jewish families insisted on the southern section of the city, near the Pool of Siloam. There is only one section of Jerusalem that is in the southern portion and contains the Pool of Siloam and that is the ancient city of David.

According to these Jewish families, this was also the area where the temple once stood. This is hard evidence for the temple location within the city of David and not on the traditional Temple Mount.

This author also states that the water from the Pool of Siloam could be used for immersions, which would have included ceremonial washings. What was the water source for the Pool of Siloam? This was the Gihon Spring.

In our expedition to Israel several in the group walked through the Gihon Spring channel underneath the City of David to the Pool of Siloam.

The fact that water from the Gihon could be used for ceremonial purposes verifies that not all water was equal. It also adds credence to the importance of the Gihon for temple worship. Again this begs the question why the Jews would have built their temple a third of a mile from their only water source. Such an idea seems completely preposterous.

A Gushing Spring

The smoking gun for the temple as it relates to the Gihon Spring is eyewitness testimony of a spring-like reservoir within the temple precincts. Two men provide evidence for this.

The first eyewitness to confirm this fact is a man named Aristeas, a Jew who lived during the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. Eusebius, the 4th century church historian, records his account.

“There is an inexhaustible reservoir of water, as would be expected from an abundant spring gushing up naturally from within; there being moreover wonderful and indescribable cisterns underground, of five furlongs, according to their showing, all around the foundation of the Temple, and countless pipes from them, so that the streams on every side met together. And all these have been fastened with lead at the bottom of the side-walls, and over these has been spread a great quantity of plaster, all having been carefully wrought,” Eusebius’ recording of Aristeas, chapter 38.

Aristeas was an eyewitness to the temple location from the 2nd or 3rd century BCE. It’s important to realize that this was not Herold’s temple, but the temple of Ezra and Nehemiah. Aristeas said that there was an “inexhaustible reservoir of water, as would be expected from an abundant spring gushing up naturally from within.”

The only spring within Jerusalem is the Gihon. If what this eyewitness said is true, the only possible location for the Temple would be within the City of David and above the Gihon Spring.

Remarkably, Aristeas is not the only eyewitness of a spring-like reservoir within the temple area. Tacitus, a Roman historian dating to the 2nd century CE, describes a similar account. He states, “The temple resembled a citadel, and had its own walls, which were more laboriously constructed than the others. Even the colonnades with which it was surrounded formed an admirable outwork. It contained an inexhaustible spring; there were subterranean excavations in the hill, and tanks and cisterns for holding rainwater. The founders of the state had foreseen that frequent wars would result from the singularity of its customs, and so had made very provision against the most protracted siege.”

Before describing what Tacitus saw, it should be noted that this man lived nearly 400 years after Aristeas and was not a Jew, but a Roman. He would have also been referring to Herold’s temple and not to the temple during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. However, even with these differences, both men refer to an inexhaustible spring within the temple. Again, the only spring they could be referring to is the Gihon. This is the only spring and major water source within the ancient city of Jerusalem. Tacitus also describes subterranean excavations or tunnels in the hill along with cisterns for holding rainwater. This provides additional credibility to the ancient City of David and not the traditional Temple Mount. From firsthand experience I can attest that there are many subterranean tunnels and cisterns within the City of David. The sheer size and number of tunnels are astonishing.

Along with these eyewitness accounts, Joel 3:18 provides a prophetic description of the future temple and shows similar evidence of a spring. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of Yahweh, and shall  water the valley of Shittim.”

This is a future prophecy of the temple within the millennial Kingdom. Joel confirms here that a fountain will spring forth from underneath the temple, i.e., house of Yahweh. So not only do we see ancient eyewitness testimonies that the temple contained a springlike reservoir gushing up from underneath the temple precincts, but a similar account is provided from the prophet Joel as it pertains to the future temple.

Again, these facts present a real problem for those who claim that the temple was on the traditional Temple Mount. The only way to reconcile the accounts from Aristeas, Tacitus, and the Book of Joel is to relocate the temple from the traditional Temple Mount to the Ophel, near the Gihon Spring.

In part two (Coming soon!), we will continue exploring the evidence that the temple was located within the ancient City of David. We will review biblical prophecies and historical documents on the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, along with an in-depth look at Fortress Antonia and the Tenth Legion.

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Antimessiah

Could The Antimessiah Be Islamic?

Could the Antimessiah Be Islamic?

How close are we to the return of Yahshua the Messiah and to the end of the age? While this ministry is not one to set times and dates, it’s safe to say that many of the signs in the Word are coming to pass.
The Messiah in His Olivet Prophecy warned about an increase in deception, war, natural disasters, and sin. We’re witnessing many of these signs in our day and age and we’re not alone in this belief.
In an article by the Huffington Post entitled, “How Many U.S. Christians Believe Christ’s ‘Second Coming’ Will Happen Soon?”, almost half of all Christians believe that Yahshua’s Second Coming will occur within the next 40 years.
“The ‘Second Advent,’ as it is sometimes called, is a divine event that is said to mark the end of the world as we know it – a time in the future when Christ will return to Earth to judge both the living and deceased. Many Christians in the United States believe this ‘Second Coming’ will occur sometime in the next 40 years – and the percentage of believers may surprise you.
“According to a 2010 Pew Research Center survey…nearly half of U.S. Christians believe that Christ will ‘definitely’ (27 percent) or ‘probably’ (20 percent) return to Earth in or before the year 2050. Conversely, 38 percent believe that Christ will definitely [not] or probably not return within the next four decades.”
Yahshua warned in His Olivet Prophecy that He would return in a time most will not expect. He said many times to watch for the fulfillment of end-time prophecy.
Today’s rise of Islam likely will play a key part in end-time events. Several striking parallels exist between the Antimessiah and the final Imam. This article will review seven of them. Before we consider these signs, let’s take a brief overview of the Antimessiah and the final Imam.
Bible prophecy indicates that the Antimessiah will come against or in place of the Messiah before Yahshua’s Second Coming, which are the meanings of “anti.” He will rise to power through the workings of Satan to become a worldwide despot and dictator. He will persecute the saints and force everyone to worship him alone.
According to Islamic belief, the final Imam will be the spiritual and political successor to the prophet Muhammad. He will come at the end of this age to establish Islamic rule and law to this world. This man is also called the al-Mahdi.
In addition to the Bible, we will refer here to a book entitled, God’s War on Terror: Islam, Prophecy and the Bible, by Walid Shoebat. The author was born to an Islamic father and Christian mother and was in raised in an Arab community in Bethlehem. As a young man he embraced Islam and even considered himself an Islamic terrorist. Like his father, he married a Christian woman who later challenged him to examine Christianity. In 1993 he converted to Christianity. Since then he has devoted much time to the study of biblical prophecy from a Middle Eastern or Islamic standpoint.

Beast Denies Yahshua
The first similarity between the Anti-messiah and this Islamic ruler is the rejection of Yahshua the Messiah as the Son of Yahweh.
We read in 1John 2:22-23, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Yahshua is the Messiah? He is antimessiah, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”
A denier of Yahshua the Messiah is one meaning of Antimessiah. We can view this prophecy as a general rejection of Yahshua’s relationship to His Father and as an actual prophecy referring to the person of the Antimessiah. We also see here that those who deny the Son also deny the Father.
It’s important that we as believers recognize the absolute need for main-taining faith in our Savior. Revelation 14:12 defines a saint as one who keeps the commandments of Yahweh and has faith in Yahshua the Messiah. If we neglect either one we disqualify ourselves as believers in the New Testament. This is why this first sign is vitally important; without Yahshua we have no Savior and no redemption from sin.
According to Walid Shoebat, while Islam accepts Yahshua as a prophet, they deny His relationship to the Father. He states, “Doctrinally, Islam and the Antichrist are in perfect agreement because both deny…the Divine Sonship of Christ.” He goes on to say, “Regarding those who do not convert to Islam, the Qur’an states that [Yahshua] will be a witness against them on the Day of Judgment: There is not one of the people of Scripture (Christians and Jews) but will believe in him before his death, and on the Day of Resurrection he will be a witness against them. (Qur’an 4:159). Muslim scholars explain that the phrase ‘will believe in him before his death’ means that Christians and Jews will ‘confirm that he is alive and has not died and he is not God or the Son of God but His (Allah’s) slave and Messenger, and Isa [Yahshua] will testify against those who had called him the Son of God,’” ibid, p. 59. This former Muslim says that according to the Quran Yahshua never died and that He was not the son of Yahweh. According to Islamic tradition, when Mohammad returns Yahshua also will return to confirm Islam. Talk about blasphemy and a contradiction of Scripture!

Of Mideast Origin
Another parallel between the Antimessiah and the Al-Mahdi is the geographic location from which they will arise. According to Islamic tradition, the 12th Imam will come from the ancient territory of the Ottoman Empire. Bible prophecy indicates that the Man of Sin may also come from this same area.
Before we consider this, however, Daniel 8 provides a clue that many miss regarding the place of origin for the Man of Sin. “And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power. And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up,” verses 21-23.
The king of Grecia here represents Alex-ander the Great, while the four horns symbolize his four generals who inherited His kingdom after his untimely death. As we note in the Restoration Study Bible, those generals and their kingdoms were: “Seleucus (Syria and Babylon), Lysimachus (Asia Minor), Ptolemy (Egypt), and Cas-sander (Macedonia and Greece)” (note on Daniel 8:8).
The last king holds the key to the Man of Sin or the Antimessiah. What’s intriguing to note first is that the Man of Sin will arise from somewhere in Alexander’s empire. It’s important to note that this ancient territory never included Rome or northern Europe, but did include much of the Middle East, Asia, and Africa.
We have firm support that the Man of Sin will come from one of these areas and not Rome, as so many have believed.
There are two other passages in the book of Revelation that indicate that this evil man will arise from the Middle East, particularly the Ottoman Empire, which includes Turkey. The first clue is found in Revelation 13:3: “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”
Many believe that this “wound” per-tains to the person of the Antimessiah. Is it possible though that it symbolizes something different from a literal injury to the Man of Sin? According to Revelation 17:9-11, not only is this possible, it’s likely:
“And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.”
Here John of Patmos sees a Beast (Antimessiah) that sits on seven mountains, symbolizing seven heads. Some claim that these seven mountains represent seven hills of Rome. For example, the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary states, “As nature shadows forth spiritual realities, so seven-hilled Rome is a representative of the seven-headed world power, of which the dragon is the prince.”
However, it’s more likely that these mountains symbolize seven kingdoms or nations. Here’s why.
Micah 4:1 prophesies that in the mil-lennium Yahweh’s “mountain” will be established on the top of the mountains: “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of Yahweh shall be established in the
top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.”
Mountains in Scripture symbolize Kingdoms. Yahweh’s Kingdom coming to earth will be established above all other kingdoms or nations. From Revelation we also see that these seven mountains are connected to seven kings, representing seven kingdoms.
John prophesied that five of these kings had fallen, one was, and one was yet to come. From explanations in Daniel 2 and 8, the fallen kingdoms that ruled the Middle East, including Israel, were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece. The king that “is” or existed when John received this prophecy was Rome. Only one other enduring kingdom historically connected to the Middle East was the Ottoman Empire, the prophesied kingdom “to come.” No other kingdom fits the criteria as does the Ottoman or Turkish Empire, which is the seventh kingdom, and out of the seventh comes the eighth king, the Antimessiah.
What comes to mind when most think of the Roman Empire is the western region, represented by its capital in Rome. The fact is, the Roman Empire had two capitals, one in Rome and the other in Constantinople, which was established by Emperor Constantine in 330 CE. Constantinople is now Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey.
This realm was also known as the Byzantine Empire, which at its peak controlled parts of southeastern Europe, southwestern Asia, the northeast corner of Africa, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, Egypt, eastern Libya and Turkey. This empire would exist for 1,000 years until its overthrow by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 CE. Constantinople would come to overshadow and replace Rome as the capital.
After the defeat of the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire existed for over 600 years until it was vanquished in 1922. At its peak, this empire controlled Southeast Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Both Alexander’s kingdom and the Ottoman Empire share a key trait: neither one controlled Rome and both conquered much of the Middle East, which includes today’s Turkey (the ancient territory known as Anatolia).
Why exactly is this important? According to Daniel and Revelation, the Man of Sin will arise from the Mideast and specificaly from Alexander the Great’s empire. Alexander conquered what became the eastern leg of the Roman Empire or Turkey, which was later engulfed by the Ottoman Empire.
The 17th chapter of Revelation con-firms that the Beast or the Antimessiah is the eighth ruler and is “of the seven” or of the seventh kingdom. In other words, the Antimessiah will come from the prophesied seventh empire.
Mr. Shoebat also attests to this likeli-hood, “…the Empire of the Antichrist will not be a new empire; rather it will be the revival of a previous great empire that will have suffered what the Bible calls a ‘fatal head wound’ (Revelation 13:3).This empire is the Islamic Ottoman Empire which replaced the Roman Empire after the fall of its remaining Eastern section,” God’s War on Terror, p. 81.

He’ll Show Signs and Wonders
Another parallel with the Man of Sin and the Mahdi is that they are both prophesied to display great signs and wonders. Yahshua in Matthew 24:24 states, “For there shall arise false Messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
This is one of the three accounts of Yahshua’s Olivet Prophecy. The two others are in Mark 13 and Luke 21. Our Savior prophesies here that there will arise false Messiahs and false prophets showing great signs and wonders. The word “signs” comes from the Greek semeion. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines this as, “…an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature.” Similarly, the word “wonders” comes from the Greek teras and refers to miracles.
Yahshua confirms here that the Antimessiah along with the False Prophet will be miraculously empowered to perform impressive miracles that man will not explain through the laws of nature or science. Because of this, the world will follow these men and if possible, they would even deceive the very elect.
The reference to the “elect” is to convey the gravity of this deception; it’s likely they will not be deceived. This is not to say, however, that all those baptized into Yahshua’s Name will be spared. The reality is, just because we’re baptized into the Messiah’s Name doesn’t make us part of the chosen or the elect. This is something that comes from sincere devotion and a faith second to none.
Where does the Man of Sin receive his power? The answer is in Revelation 13:2: “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
The dragon here symbolizes Satan the devil and will be the source of the Antimessiah’s power and authority. This is why his signs and wonders will be beyond the explanation of the natural laws of nature or science. The power behind them will be supernatural and demonic.
If this occurs in our lifetime, nothing we have ever seen will prepare us for what will come from the Beast and his false prophet. Scripture states that the false prophet will rain fire from heaven and give life to a lifeless image, Revelation 13:14-15. The signs and wonders that these apocalyptic figures will show will be beyond explanation or reason. This is why it’s important that we understand the prophecies and know the signs of Yahshua’s Second Coming.
Similar to the Antimessiah, according to Islamic belief, this last successor of Muhammad will also show great signs and wonders: “Allah will give him power over the wind and the rain, and the earth will bring forth its foliage. He will give away wealth profusely, flocks will be in abundance, and the Ummah (Empire of Islam) will be large and honored,” God’s war on Terror, p. 83.
According to Islamic belief, this 12th Imam will receive power from Allah over the wind and rain. Like the Antimessiah, this man will be given the ability to perform great signs and wonders and will be able to deceive this world.

He’ll Change Times and Laws
In addition to being able to perform great wonders, both the Bible and Islamic tradition state that these men will think to alter worship and the system of law. Daniel in the seventh chapter states this regarding the Man of Sin: “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time,” verse 25.
The word “times” is from the Aramaic zeman and refers to seasons or appointed occasions. Similarly, the word “law” derives from the Aramaic dath and refers to commandments, edicts, or statutes. In essence, the Antimessiah will seek to institute a whole new system of worship and law.
According to the eleventh chapter of Daniel, this man will not honor the “Elohim of his fathers.” This phrase appears an additional four times in the Hebrew text (2Kings 21:22; 2Chronicles 21:10; 28:25; 33:12) and in all references refers to Yahweh, the Elohim of the Hebrews. No doubt, part of this worship will include the abomination of desolation and the image to which the False Prophet will give life (see Matthew 24:15 and Revelation 13:15).
We also find here the duration of this man’s rule. Daniel prophesies that he will rule until a time and times and the dividing of time. This phrase refers to the three-and-a-half years of the Great Tribulation and is also found in Revelation 12:14. According to Yahshua in His Olivet Prophecy, this will be the worst time this earth has ever and will ever see. It’s going to test the faith of Yahweh’s elect like nothing before.
Now not unlike the Man of Sin, we find that this final Imam will also seek to change times and laws. “The Mahdi…will attempt to change the law by instituting Islamic Sharia law as far as he is able to do so…This activism already exists in every nation of the world. Behind all the masks, they all desire to replace non-Islamic legal systems with Islamic Sharia law and replace every constitution with the constitution of the caliphate” (ibid, p. 85).
Amazingly, we’re beginning to see a push for Islamic law today even in America. An article dated July 29, 2013, from the Huffington Post entitled, “Sharia Law in the USA” reported, “North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday (July 24) approved a bill to prohibit judges from considering ‘foreign laws’ in their decisions, but nearly everyone agrees that ‘foreign laws’ really means Shariah, or Islamic law. North Carolina now joins six other states — Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee — to pass a ‘foreign laws’ bill. A similar bill passed in Missouri, but Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it, citing threats to international adoptions. “The bills all cite ‘foreign laws’ be-cause two federal courts have ruled that singling out Shariah — as Oklahoma voters originally did in 2010 — is un-constitutional.”
An ongoing effort by many Islamic organizations is to include Sharia law within the United States. We also see this same pattern in many European nations. As believers, we should be vigilant as we see decline and corruption in this nation’s legal and judicial system.

Seven-year Covenant
Another striking parallel we find between the Antimessiah and the 12th Imam is a seven years covenant or peace agreement. Daniel 9:27 says that the Man of Sin will make a seven-year covenant or peace treaty with many nations. The Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts (Lamsa) reads, “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for seven weeks and half of seven, then he shall cause the sacrifice and gift offerings to cease, and upon the horns of the altar the abomination of desolation: and the abomination of desolation shall continue until the end of the appointed time; the city shall remain desolate.”
The “seven weeks” represent seven years and refer to the seven-year covenant or treaty that this man will confirm with the nations of this earth. As we see, though, this treaty will be short lived. In the middle of this seven-year treaty the Antimessiah will nullify the covenant and stop the sacrifices and oblations.
As an aside, the reference here to stopping the sacrifices may indicate a previous form of Hebraic worship and may offer an explanation how believers, even those in the Messiah, could be led astray by this imposter.
When this man brings an end to the agreement he will set up the abomination of desolation, which will stand in the holy place of the temple until the coming of Yahshua the Messiah (Matt. 24:15). At this point, he will force all of mankind to worship him and him alone.
According to the Apostle Paul in the second chapter of 2Thessalonians, he will exalt himself above all that is called a mighty one. It reads, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called Elohim, or that is worshiped; so that he as Elohim sitteth in the temple of Elohim, shewing himself that he is Elohim,” verses 3-4.
The Man of Sin will become the ultimate dictator and despot over the entire world. No one will be able to openly oppose or defy him. According to Islamic tradition, the final Imam may also form a similar agreement.
“One Islamic tradition places the ascendancy of the Mahdi at the time of a final peace agreement between the Arabs and the Romans (‘Romans’ should be interpreted here as referring to Christians, or more generally, the West). Although this peace agreement is made with the ‘Romans,’ it is said to be mediated spe-cifically through a Jew from the priestly lineage of Aaron. The peace agreement will be made for a period of seven years,” God’s War on Terror, p. 114.
Just as the Man of Sin will make a seven-year agreement, the final Imam may do the same. Interestingly, according to author Shoebat, this treaty will be between the Mahdi and the western world, including Christianity and Judaism. Intriguing also is the mention of a Jew from the priestly line of Aaron, which will help facilitate this agreement.
Such circumstances may provide an explanation as to how an agreement might form between the Jews and Arabs. In recent decades there has been an ever-increasing effort by America and other western nations to form a peace treaty in the Middle East. Most of these attempts have ended in failure or are short-lived. However, both Bible prophecy and Islamic tradition states that such a scenario will be a reality in the future, possibly in the near future.

Ten Sycophantish Kings
Another fascinating parallel with these men is the belief of ten kings. John of Patmos in the 17th chapter of Revelation provides insight into the purpose of these kings. “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast,” verses 12-13.
Notice first here that these ten kings have not yet received their kingdoms or positions. It says that they will receive power as kings for one hour with the beast. This likely represents the time of the Great Tribulation. What purpose do these ten kings serve? They will empower and strengthen the Beast. In other words, they will be pawns that the Man of Sin will leverage to strengthen his political power.
Now before we examine the possible identity of these kings, let’s consider how this prophecy may correspond to Islamic tradition.
“In 2002 a plan for the reestablishment of the Caliphate was written by…the Guiding Helper Foundation entitled, The Plan for the Return of the Caliphate. According to the plan, the Caliph would be assisted in his rule by a ten-member council of “Assistant Caliphs.” These assistants, or council members, are similar to ministers in many of today’s governments” (ibid, p. 91). Just as Bible prophecy foretells, Islamic tradition states that there will arise ten leaders or caliphs who will support the Caliph or the last Imam. The similarities here between the Bible and Islamic tradition are quite amazing.
Regarding the 10 kings that Revelation describes in the seventeenth chapter, Psalm 83:3-8 may very well offer a key to unlock their identity.
“They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee: The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot.”
Notice here that there are 10 kings mentioned and that they form a confederacy for the sole purpose of destroying the nation of Israel. Two questions are crucial: 1) is this passage historic or prophetic and 2) do we know the locations of these kingdoms today?
Let’s take the first question. According to many scholars, there is no historical tie to this passage. The HarperCollins Study Bible states: “There is no particular historical moment with which such a grouping of nations against Israel can be associated.” The Wycliffe Bible Commentary agrees, “The occasion cannot be identified with certainty, because at no period in Israel’s history has such a confederation of nations existed.”
Based on this fact, it’s reasonable to conclude that this passage can only be prophetic. While there is some debate, the locations are generally assumed to be the following (list from the Restoration Study Bible):
• Edom – Southern Jordan
• Ishmaelites – Arabs
• Hagarenes – Egypt
• Gebal – Lebanon
• Ammon – Northern Jordan
• Amalek – Sinai Peninsula
• Philistines – Gaza Strip
• Tyre – Lebanon
• Assur – Syria and Iraq
• Children of Lot – Jordan
Amazingly, every nation listed in Psalm 83 is located in the Middle East and today are Islamic. Some might say that this is only a coincidence, but the evidence says otherwise.

Who Rules by Force
The last parallel is the use of military force or aggression. According to the Bible and Islamic tradition, both the Antimessiah and the final Imam will be men of war. Daniel 7:23 reads, “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.”
This fourth kingdom represents the Antimessiah and his empire. The Bible states that this kingdom will be different from all others before it. Daniel confirms that this final kingdom will devour the whole world.
It’s a historical fact that no kingdom or empire has ever managed to conquer the entire world. In addition to global rule, this man will also tread down and break this world in pieces.
In addition to Daniel, Revelation also prophesies that this man will rule by war: “And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” We see again here that the Antimessiah will receive power from the dragon, representing Satan the devil. The power that this man will possess will be supernatural and demonic.
Notice the last part of this verse, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” This is a rhetorical question confirming that no one will be able to resist or defy the Antimessiah. He will rule over this earth as the ultimate dictator and despot. For three-and-a-half years this man will have complete control and seek to destroy all those who believe in the Bible and in Yahshua the Messiah.
Like the beast of Revelation, Islamic tradition verifies that the Mahdi will also rule by force. “The Mahdi is portrayed throughout the Islamic tradition as being the military leader of the Islamic ‘world revolution’ that will defeat all the other religions and political systems” (God’s War on Terror, p. 93).
Just as the Antimessiah will rule through aggression and violence, Islamic tradition conveys that the final successor of Muhammad will do the same. He will rule by complete force without regard to human life or continuance.
To summarize, we find the following seven parallels between the Antimessiah and the final Imam:
• They will both deny Yahshua as the Son of Yahweh
• They will arise from the Middle East.
• They will show great signs and wonders.
• They will change worship and system of law.
• They will form a seven-year covenant or peace treaty with many nations.
• They will receive strength and support from ten kings.
• They will both rule by aggression and through warfare.
Only time will settle questions sur-rounding the identity of the Antimessiah and the impact that Islam will have on end-time prophecy. For now, it’s important that we have an open mind and consider all possible scenarios. While the majority of Bible believers are looking to Europe and Rome as the fulfillment of the Man of Sin and this final empire, it’s far more likely that this last kingdom will arise from the Middle East, being that Yahweh always centers prophecy on Israel and its surrounding neighbors.

May we heed Yahshua’s words in Luke 21:36, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”

We hope that this article “Could the Antimessiah be Islamic?” has been a help in your search for truth. For more on this subject read our booklet: The Prophecy of the Beast and the Ten Toes

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four horsemen of apocalypse

The Four Horsemen of Revelation

Turn on the television or browse the Internet and you will find many signs pointing to the fulfillment of end-time prophecy. Even false prophets are in the news lately.

Yahshua in His parable of the fig tree explained how we could use indicators as a gauge to His Second Coming. “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, you know that summer is nigh. So likewise, when you shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matt. 24:32-33). Just as nature’s changes reveal the coming of the seasons, prophetic trends reveal the timing of His return.

Two specific collections of prophecies tell us much about the tribulation predicted to precede Yahshua’s coming: the Olivet Prophecy and the prophecy of the Four Horsemen. These two mirror and expound on one another and foretell the events of the first three-and-a-half years of the seven-year covenant that the Antimessiah will establish (Dan. 7:29).

Widespread Deception

A key trait of both prophecies is deception: “And Yahshua answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Messiah; and shall deceive many… For there shall arise false Messiahs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matt. 24:3-4, 24).

Yahshua warned that if it were possible, even the elect could be led astray. The events of the end will require complete faith in and devotion to the One we worship. If we are deceived by a false prophet or false messiah into forsaking Yahweh, we will forfeit our eternal salvation (Rev. 14:9-11).

This is the reason our Savior began His prophecy with a warning about deception. He knew that this sign would be the most pernicious. As believers in Messiah we’re to be cautious about being deceived. We’re to obey the commandments and hold to the faith of Yahshua the Messiah, our Savior (Rev. 14:12). Anyone claiming to be a prophet and teaching that Yahshua is not the Messiah is to be avoided. (See article, “False Prophets 101” on p. 3 of this issue.)

Now we may think that we could never be hoodwinked by a man claiming to be a either a prophet or the Messiah Himself. Don’t forget what Yahshua said; these false prophets and false messiahs would show great signs and wonders and if possible, deceive the very elect of Yahweh. For this reason all believers should put on the whole armor of Yahweh, including the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16), to avoid this deception.

First Horseman – Antimessiah?

In Revelation 6:2 we find the first horseman: “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.”

Debate swirls among scholars as to what this horseman represents. Some attribute him to the Messiah; however, a far more likely interpretation is to deception and by extension, the Antimessiah. One reason why this view is favored is the parallel between Yahshua’s Olivet Prophecy and the Four Horsemen.

Yahshua began in Matthew 24 with a warning against deception, and we find the same message here in Revelation. Let’s consider some of the attributes of this horseman. The rider travels upon a white horse, comes forth conquering, and wears a crown, indicating kingship.

While this horseman resembles the Messiah, he also bears a striking resemblance to the Antimessiah. The Antimessiah will go forth conquering (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:4) and rule this earth as the ultimate despot (2Thess. 2:4; Rev. 17:12-13). Also, the fact that this horseman carries a bow with no apparent arrows is another indicator of the deception by the Antimessiah or the first beast of Revelation 13:1.

An Atmosphere of War

Along with deception, Yahshua also warns about wars and rumors of wars. “And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom” (Matt. 24:6-7a).

An increase in war is also the hallmark of His coming. He said specifically that nation would be against nation and kingdom would be against kingdom. The word “nation” comes from the Greek ethnos and means a race or tribe. Yahshua prophesied that we would see civil and racial wars before his return. Since 1550, over 100 civil wars have been fought throughout this world. At present, Colombia, Afghanistan, Uganda, Somalia, Yemen, Chad, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, and Syria are experiencing civil conflict.

In addition to civil war, Yahshua also prophesied that we would see war between kingdoms. The word “kingdom” is derived from the Greek basileia and refers to sovereign territories or nations.

According to the website GlobalSecurity.org, Algeria, Angola, China, India, Israel, Pakistan, Turkey, and the United States are presently engaged in war (note: this and the previous list contain only a sample of nations at war).

Because of conflict, millions have suffered and countless others have lost their lives. It’s reported that in the last decade over 2 million children have died as a result of these engagements (www.care.org).

Besides ongoing wars, our Savior said that we would hear of potential conflicts. Today the Middle East is abuzz with conflict, especially those nations influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, as can currently be seen in Egypt and other nations on the Mediterranean coastline.

Blood of War

In Revelation 6:3-4 we find another horseman in this prophecy: “And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.”

This red horse likely symbolizes the blood of war. According to the Strong’s Concordance, the word “power” is not found in the original text; howbeit, based on the context, this can be assumed. This horseman is given authority to cause death through the act of war, which is symbolized by his great sword.

As we find in the Olivet Prophecy as well as here, before Yahshua’s Second Coming this earth will suffer horrific conflict. The timeframe is the first three-and-a-half years of the Tribulation, also known as Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7).

This war will likely provide an opportunity for the Antimessiah to bring peace (Jer. 6:14) and unite all nations under him for the last three-and-a-half years of the Great Tribulation. Prophecy also indicates that as Israel suffered through the first four plagues in Egypt that the saints will suffer from the activities of these four horsemen.

Parallels with Old Testament Israel beome important in studying New Testament prophecy.

War Brings Famine

Another phenomenon common to both the Olivet Prophecy and the Four Horsemen prophecies is famine, just Yahshua prophesied in Matthew 24:7. The word famine comes from the Greek limos and means a scarcity of food. Before tribulation there will be a shortage in foodstuffs. It will be partly the result of war. According to worldhunger.org, “Despite some large-scale repatriation movements, the last three years have witnessed a significant increase in refugee numbers, due primarily to the violence taking place in Iraq and Somalia. By the end of 2008, the total number of refugees under UNHCR’s mandate exceeded 10 million. The number of conflict-induced internally displaced people reached some 26 million worldwide at the end of the year.”

According to Bread for the World, a not-for-profit religious organization  with the purpose of ending world hunger:

• [In] 2008, nearly 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. One third of these deaths were directly or indirectly related to hunger and malnutrition. Malnutrition is not having enough nourishing food, with adequate amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals and calories to support physical and mental growth and development. Children who survive early childhood malnutrition suffer irreversible harm—including poor physical growth, compromised immune function, and impaired cognitive ability.

• Around the world, 178 million children under 5 are stunted in their growth, 90 percent of whom live in just 36 countries, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Central Asia.

• Despite years of progress against hunger, in 2010 it is estimated that 925 million people suffered from hunger. This is the result of a sudden spike in global food prices and the onset of a world-wide economic crisis (United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization).

Even though most in the United States enjoy an overabundance, the plague of famine is real, killing millions every year.

This plague is also seen in the third horseman of Revelation: “And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Rev 6:5-6).

Barnes’ Notes reveals about the balances, “This word properly means a yoke, serving to couple anything together, as a yoke for cattle. Hence it is used to denote the beam of a balance, or of a pair of scales-and is evidently so used here.”

These balances indicate the shortage and scarcity of food. The word “penny” refers to the denarius, a Roman coin worth about one day’s labor. A quart of wheat or three quarts of barley is considered the rations for one man, specifically a soldier. Consequently, famine will be so severe that it will require an entire day’s wage to purchase the rations for one man. Where will this leave families with children and those tending to the needs of others?

Now, why is this horseman told not to hurt the oil and wine? This passage has led to several interpretations. Some point out that these represent items typically reserved for the rich. While bread, represented by the wheat and barley, will be scarce, these luxury items, which are not able to sustain, will be plentiful.

Plague of Pestilence

The last plague is death brought by pestilence. In Luke 21:11, a parallel to Matthew 24, Yahshua prophesied, “…and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” The word “pestilence” comes from the Greek loimos and means a plague or disease. Before Yahshua’s coming, diseases will increase. One of the worst plagues in our modern age is the AIDS epidemic. Ironically, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the leading means of transmission is homosexuality and drug use; both are diametrically opposed to Yahweh’s Word. Homosexuality is defined as an abomination (Lev. 18:22; Rom. 1:27; 1Cor. 6:9).

Other serious maladies include: cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In addition to these are ominous diseases of recent note, including the Avian flu and Mad Cow disease. These and others are also seething below the surface waiting to emerge with greater vengeance. Then we will see new infections, such as the Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli bacteria outbreak recently in Germany.

A parallel to this sign is found in the fourth horseman. “And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” (Rev 6:7-8).

The word “pale” is the Greek chloros and means greenish (Strong’s Concordance Greek Dictionary). Some scholars attribute this pale-greenish color to sickness and disease. The rider on the horse is called Death, which is the ultimate result.

The word “hades” simply means the grave. In addition to this horseman’s representation of pestilence, it likely also refers to the cumulative death that will befall mankind during the Tribulation. This horseman is given power to bring death by sword, by famine and by disease. In essence, this horseman symbolizes the consequences of the previous three.

Saints to Endure Tribulation

As Israel again had to endure the first four plagues of Egypt, it appears that the saints may suffer hardship from these Four Horsemen. Consequently, it is imperative that believers remain strong in Almighty Yahweh and Yahshua the Messiah. We must place our trust in the one whom we worship. If we falter in faith, we may lose the very hope that we treasure.

While some may become filled with fear and worry about events in the world, Yahshua gave us hope in Matthew 16:25, that should any lose their lives for His sake, that they would be rewarded with life in the coming Kingdom.

John in Revelation 2:10 wrote Yahshua’s words: “Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days: be faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Although this was written to the assembly in Smyrna, the message also applies to the last days. There is not a greater promise in Yahweh’s Word. No matter what we may suffer in this life, all of it is inconsequential compared to the promise of Yahweh’s Kingdom.

Prophecy is written not so that we can anticipate every event before it happens or to glory in our understanding, but so that we will be prepared spiritually when we see these happen.

ten virgins parable

10 Virgins and Their Lamps

At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:1-13

Yahshua the Messiah spoke this parable to His disciples as He discoursed on the time of the end. He wished to impress on them the need to be wise, prompt, and ready rather than foolish, late and unprepared. As end-time seekers of truth, it is of utmost importance that we understand the deep meaning of this prophetic parable and apply that meaning to our spiritual well-being.

 The Kingdom of Yahweh

Like many of His other parables, Yahshua likens this one to the Kingdom of Yahweh. The message of His coming Kingdom is in fact what Yahshua’s ministry was all about. We see this expressed clearly at the very inception of His ministry.

“After John was put in prison, Yahshua went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of Yahweh. ‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of Yahweh is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15)

The Kingdom of Yahweh was near then and is even nearer now. The message to repent and believe is as important now as it was then. With this thought in mind, we must ask ourselves are we ready for Yahweh’s Kingdom to be established upon this earth? Does our life reflect the Kingdom way of life? Or, are we unprepared for what is ahead?

Yahshua has told us that if we make the kingdom our priority in life that we will have little to worry about. Consider what He said inMatthew 6:33-34, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Those who fall in the category of being wise have set the priorities of life in proper perspective. They are seeking the Kingdom as their number one priority of life. They do not worry about tomorrow. They know that Yahweh’s Kingdom government will ultimately be established on this earth when Yahshua returns. And they live the Kingdom way of life now in anticipation of that moment when Yahshua returns.

 What Is the Kingdom of Yahweh?

Yahweh’s Kingdom is His government. That government is encompassed by Yahweh’s Torah Law. As described in Isaiah 2, the mountain of Yahweh’s government shall reign supreme over all others.

“This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of Yahweh’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, And all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, Come, let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. The law will go out from Zion, the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of Yahweh” (Isa. 2:1-5).

Our Savior has told us that we should constantly pray for Yahweh’s Kingdom to come. “This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” Matthew 6:9-10.

The wise live their lives in anticipation of Yahweh’s government by establishing the Kingdom way of life now. They walk in the light of Torah (Ps. 119:105). Keeping the commandments is in fact one of the identifying characteristics of end-time true worshipers. “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey Yahweh’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Yahshua,” Revelation 12:17. “This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey Yahweh’s commandments and remain faithful to Yahshua,” Revelation 14:12.

From the context of these verses it is apparent that the wise virgins are end-time true worshipers who keep the commandments of Yahweh. They possess both love (1John 5:3) and respect (Prov. 9:10) for Almighty Yahweh. Now that we have proven the end-time importance of this parable let us examine its meaning.

 Virgins Spiritually Undefiled

A physical virgin is generally viewed as a female who is sexually pure and undefiled. In the figurative sense the term may relate to either sex—male or female. Spiritually speaking sexual impurity represents idolatry.

The term virgin in a spiritual context is used to represent those who are pure and spiritually undefiled by idolatry. The Apostle Paul used similar terminology to describe his desire for the Corinthian believers. “I am jealous for you with a righteous jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Messiah, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him” (2 Cor. 11:2).

Ultimately, in the time of the end pure spiritual virgins will be manifested as the ones known as the 144,000. We see this group first in Revelation chapter 6 where they are being sealed with the Name of Yahshua and Yahweh. They are seen again in Revelation chapter 14 after the sealing is complete. There they are on Mount Zion with Yahshua the Messiah when He returns. They are spiritually pure and undefiled. They are pure from idolatry.

“These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to Yahweh and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless” (Rev. 14:4-5).

The woman that the 144,000 were not defiled with refers to the false religion of Babylon (the great harlot) and her daughters (Rev. 17). The five wise virgins who are prepared for the time of the end fall into the same category as the 144,000.

On the other hand, even though the five foolish virgins are pure, being virgins, they are unprepared for what is ahead and therefore they will be excluded. We can therefore conclude that if we are going to be accepted into the Kingdom of Yahweh we must be more than just spiritual virgins. We must be spiritual virgins who are properly prepared to inherit the Kingdom.

 The Meaning of Oil

These ten virgins took their lamps (the Word of Yahweh, Ps. 119:105) and went out to meet the bridegroom (the Messiah,John 3:27-30). The five foolish virgins took no additional oil for their lamps. The five wise virgins took their lamps and they took extra oil along in a jar or vessel. They were prepared for a lengthy wait.

Oil is at the center of understanding the meaning of this parable. It represents several significant things. First of all, it represents holy consecration. This can be seen in the passages dealing with the Tabernacle and the priesthood.

“Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy. Then anoint the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils; consecrate the altar, and it will be most holy. Anoint the basin and its stand and consecrate them. Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water. Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest. Bring his sons and dress them in tunics. Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so they may serve me as priests. Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue for all generations to come” (Ex. 40:9-16).

The oil was used to consecrate or sanctify people and things for a holy purpose. If you are not continually setting yourself apart for a sanctified purpose through living the precepts of Scripture, then your oil of consecration needs refilling.

Secondly, the oil represents the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was given to King Saul after he was anointed with oil.

“Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, Has not Yahweh anointed you leader over his inheritance? The Spirit of Yahweh will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person” (1Sam. 10:1, 6).

We see that David also received the Holy Spirit upon being anointed with oil. “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of Yahweh came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah. Now the Spirit of Yahweh had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh tormented him” (1Sam. 16:13-14).

And finally Isaiah 61:1 speaks prophetically of Yahshua when it says: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Yahweh is on me, because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”

In all three of these instances the Holy Spirit is represented by oil. It should be noted that according to the Apostle Peter inActs 5:32 the Holy Spirit is only given to those who obey Almighty Yahweh.

Lastly, we see that the oil represents the Name of Yahweh. “Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; Therefore the virgins love you” (Song of Solomon 1:3, NKJV).

This parable teaches us that it is not enough to be consecrated. It is not enough to have the Holy Spirit. And, it is not enough to know Yahweh’s Name.

If we are to gain the Kingdom we must have extra oil stored back for our lamp so that we are prepared to light the way for the bridegroom. Where there is no oil, there is no light. Where there is no light there is insufficient truth to be prepared to meet the bridegroom.

 Understanding the Parable

Now that we have defined the key words in this parable, we can fully comprehend the message that Yahshua taught. For nearly two thousand years the pure spiritual virgins of true worshipers have waited for the bridegroom Yahshua to return. Their once brightly burning lamps of the Word of Yahweh have gone out for lack of oil. Only the wise virgins have the extra oil of sacred consecration, the Holy Spirit, and Yahweh’s Name.

Because of the long wait all the virgins become drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight (the darkest hour) the cry rang out to meet the bridegroom. All are awakened and trim the wicks of their lamps (Yahweh’s Word). However, the foolish virgins have no oil; they have lost their consecration, the Holy Spirit, and Yahweh’s Name.

The wise tell the foolish to go and buy their own oil. While the foolish virgins were away getting oil the bridegroom comes.

The wise virgins were ready. They entered into the wedding banquet with the bridegroom and the door was shut.

Upon their return, the foolish virgins who have apparently bought oil, ask to enter in. “But he replied, I tell you a truth, I don’t know you.” The conclusion of the parable is in verse 13, “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

It is evident to all True Worshipers that we are living in the time of the end. The signs are all around us. Midnight is very near.

Soon the cry will ring out to come meet the bridegroom. Are you spiritually pure and undefiled? Do you have the extra oil to fill your lamp and let your lamp shine before the bridegroom? Are you consecrated? Do you have Yahweh’s Holy Spirit? Are you sealed with Yahweh’s Name?

If you answered yes to these questions then you are a wise virgin who is ready to meet Yahshua when he returns.

If you did not answer yes to all these questions then the time has arrived for you to become a spiritual virgin who possesses extra oil. Remember, watch and be ready! Yahshua will only recognize the wise virgins when He returns to establish Yahweh’s Kingdom on this earth.

by Elder Bob Wirl

False Prophets 101

Modern “prophets” are highly predictable.

A self-appointed pro-phet garners national attention by prophesying the end of the world, pinpointing a precise date and even a specific hour when the Messiah will gather His elect. The news whips many into a frenzy. The prophet’s followers sell their possessions, believ-ing they won’t need them anyway.

As the anticipated day comes, then goes, the false seer wipes the egg off his face while unapologetically admitting to a miscalculation. Still, he holds to his belief that the Second Coming is imminent. The bogus prognosticator follows up with a new and improved date and his prophetic fables gain new traction with his gullible audiences.

Fraudulent prophets are a dime a dozen. Yahshua’s first response when asked about the final days of man’s rule said, “Don’t be deceived.” When the real treachery appears in the form of the Man of Sin, the charlatans will look like pikers. Millions will swoon in adoration when the False Prophet performs eye-popping miracles on the world stage.

False Prophet Begins a Movement

The religious spectrum has been beset with so-called prophets for millennia. It has been prophesied in Yahweh’s Word and also by Yahshua the Messiah for thousands of years. This fact should be a red flag to the gullible.

One such error-plagued prog-nosticator was William Miller. The nineteenth century Baptist preacher is considered one of the fathers of the Adventist movement. Miller predicted that Yahshua was returning (hence “advent”) sometime between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844, basing his belief principally on the rabbinic Jewish calendar and the prophecy of Daniel 8:14: “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Miller assumed that the cleansing of the sanctuary meant the Earth’s purification by fire at Yahshua’s Second Coming.

Calculating the time by using the “day-for-a-year” formula, Miller started with the year 457 BCE, the year of the decree of Artaxerxes I of Persia to rebuild Jerusalem. Simple arithmetic produced 1844 while the Jewish calendar gave him March 21. But when that date came and went, Samuel S. Snow, one of Miller’s pro-tégés, presented a correction that became known as the “seventh-month” message or the “true midnight cry.” In a discussion based on scriptural typology, Snow presented his con-clusion (still based on the 2300 day prophecy in Daniel 8:14), that Yahshua would return on “the tenth day of the seventh month of the present year, 1844.”

Using the Karaite Jews’ calendar for the Day of Atonement that year, the date was determined to be October 22, 1844. He had studied the feasts of Israel and discovered that the major events in Yahshua’s life occurred on “Jewish” feasts. He observed that Yahshua died on the Passover, he rose on the day of waving of First Fruits, and the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost. So he assumed Yahshua would come on the Day of Atonement. Being mathematically inclined, he calculated this day to be Oct. 22, 1844.

Followers sold their possessions, stood atop haystacks, looked sky-ward…and waited…and waited, What followed became known as the Great Disappointment. On the heels of his own disappointment Miller rejected the seventh-day Sabbath and died five years later.

Another Prophetic Dud

Edgar Whisenant, a self-ap-pointed prophet and former NASA engineer, announced to the world in the late 1980s that the rapture would occur at the Feast of Trumpets, 1988. He even gave 88 reasons why. Almost 5 million copies of his little book were distributed. His famous line was, “Only if the Bible is in error am I wrong; and I say that to every preacher in town.”

Here was a man claiming to know more than the inspired Scriptures. Even more than Yahshua Himself! Trinity Broadcast Network was so convinced he was right that regular programming was interrupted to provide special instructions on preparing for the Rapture.

Whisenant, like so many before him, said he simply miscalculated and followed up with still more prophecies predicting the return in 1989, then 1993, followed by 1994 – all the way up through 1997.

False prophets are legion, and we will see them coming out in droves in the years just ahead of us.

Throughout the New Testament we find warnings against both false prophets and false Messiahs, and believers are cautioned to be vigilant and not fall to their devices.

Yahshua told His disciples in Matthew 7: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruit…Not every one that says unto me, Sovereign, Sovereign, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven,”15-16, 21.

He warned that false prophets will come looking like the real thing; even appearing to be true prophets and wanting just to warn people. But they will have a hidden agenda, a desire for personal gain.

Distinguish the Fruits

How can we distinguish the true prophet? First, by his fruits. He does Yahweh’s will. He calls on Yahweh’s Name and keeps biblically commanded days of worship and other laws ordained by our Father in heaven. The false prophet, on the other hand, does not observe Yahweh’s commands, which is defined as sin, 1John 3:4. Why would Yahweh bless with divine revelation an individual who can’t even align his life to the basics of True Worship?

Again, Yahshua gives us instruction on this point. “Many will say to me in that day, Sovereign, Sovereign, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity,” Matthew 7:22-23.

Whom does Yahweh bless with “inside” knowledge and understanding? The prophet Amos in 3:7 answers, “Surely the Sovereign Yahweh will do nothing, but He reveals His secret unto his servants the prophets.”

His prophets are those who serve Him. They follow closely His teachings. “Servants the prophets” means those who serve Him in all things.

Another key passage distinguishing a true prophet from a charlatan is 2Peter 1:21: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of Yahweh spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” It is the Holy Spirit that transmits prophecy.

The problem is, a man who doesn’t obey Yahweh and His laws doesn’t have the Spirit. He’s not inspired. Yahweh is not with him. What he says is only his own imagination. Yahweh’s Spirit is what bestows accurate understanding. And His Spirit is given to the obedient.

Acts 5:32 is clear: “And we are his witnesses of these things [Yahshua’s activities], and so is also the Holy Spirit, whom Elohim has given to them that obey him.”

A man’s (or woman’s) charis-ma, attractiveness, or artful com-munication prove nothing. Fruits are the key. The individual could be the most charming, silver-tongued orator ever, who makes his prophecy highly convincing and flawless. But ask yourself, does he honor Yahweh in his private life? Does he obey the One he claims to speak for and worship?

In sum, prophesying is a work of the Spirit and you don’t get the Spirit by leading a life apart from Yahweh.

A Prophet Leads a Pure Life

Does a supposed prophet meet all the qualifications of a scriptural leader? The prophets of old certainly did, as did the New Testament prophets, 1Timothy 3, Titus 1. Does he live a clean, praise-worthy life? Are his children under his control? Is he spoken well of by outsiders? True prophets of Scripture led impeccable lives. Further, they had no ulterior motives and nothing to gain or desire personally. Most suffered for their prophecies, even losing their lives for them.

Suppose an alleged prophet uses the sacred Name and even casts out unholy spirits. Should we believe his prophecies? Here is what Yahshua said, “Many will say to me in that day, Sovereign, Sovereign, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity,” Matthew 7:22-23.

A litmus test of a prophet has nothing to do with his prophecy. Iniquity is the condition of being without law, without obedience to Yahweh’s commands. It happens either because you are ignorant of them or because you deliberately, openly and wantonly violate them.

Yahshua said many will flock to bogus prophets in our day, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many,”Matthew 24:11. Their pronouncements will be all the buzz on the Web and in the news. Back in 1844 prognosticators drew so much press that they even spawned new church movements! And all they did was claim to reveal the date of Yahshua’s return, which they are commanded not to do.

Of Spiritual Treachery

In one of their early stops after being ordained, Paul and Barnabas encountered a false prophet named Elymas on the island of Cyprus. “And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, [the capital] they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-Yahshua [he probably gave himself that name]: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabah and Saul, and desired to hear the word of Elohim. But Elymas the sorcerer, for so is his name by interpretation, withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of Yahweh? And now, behold, the hand of Yahweh is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand,” Acts 13:6-11.

Here is a man publically identified as a false prophet. By dealing in black arts, he obviously was not a true prophet. This account shows that anyone only partly involved in false worship is tainted by that error.

More Ways a Prophet Proves Phony

In Deuteronomy 13 and 18 we find another requirement of a true prophet. “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder. And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto you, saying, Let us go after other elohim, which you have not known, and let us serve them; You shall not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for Yahweh your Elohim proveth you, to know whether ye love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after Yahweh your Elohim, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and you shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he has spoken to turn you away from Yahweh your Elohim, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust you out of the way which Yahweh your Elohim commanded you to walk in. So shall you put the evil away from the midst of thee,” 13:1-5.

In the same way if a “prophet” invokes spurious words in Yahweh’s Name or prophesies in the name of other deities he falls under condemnation just as one who does not obey the Word.

“But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other elohim, even that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which Yahweh has not spoken? When a prophet speaks in the name of Yahweh, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which Yahweh has not spoken, but the prophet has spoken it presumptuously: you shall not be afraid of him,” Deuteronomy 18:20-22.

Specifically, can anyone know the day and hour of Yahshua’s return?

Here’s what He Himself said: “But of that day and hour knows no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only,”Matthew 24:36.

Some have twisted what He said to mean that the people of Yahweh will know because they are of Him. To which we respond, then why didn’t Yahshua Himself know? Why don’t the angels know? He specifically told His followers, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in his own power.” The word for seasons is kairos and means “a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for.”

If an individual comes on the scene teaching truth but with a failed prophecy, don’t believe him. If his prophecy proves true but it leads to false doctrine or he teaches false doctrine, don’t believe him. First and foremost, that individual must be a true follower of Yahweh, using His Name, and obedient to the One he claims to worship. And then his prophecy must prove totally accurate. The Holy Spirit doesn’t make mistakes.

Bible holy days

Prophetic Days of Worship Part I

One of the most striking truths we find in Yahweh’s Word pertains to His days of worship. Not only do these days serve a practical purpose, but they also reveal Yahweh’s plan for mankind; each day represents a significant part in Yahweh’s design for His Creation. Those who disregard these days suffer a two-fold loss.

Choosing not to observe Yahweh’s set-apart days not only relinquishes the natural and spiritual blessings, but also forfeits the prophetic insight that these days offer. It is the intent of this article to show in detail the prophetic truths in the observances found within Yahweh’s inspired Word. (All references are taken from the Restoration Study Bible (RSB)

The Apostle Paul states, “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Messiah,” Colossians 2:16-17.

Some have understood Paul to say here that we should not be judged for ignoring or dismissing the Old Testament days of worship. However, a close examination of Paul’s words will show the opposite to be true; Paul is admonishing New Testament believers not to allow the disobedient world to judge or condemn them for their faithful obedience to the days that Yahweh established.

In verse 17 Paul states that these days are a shadow of things to come. Some modern translations render this as, “were a shadow.” The correct word is “are,” placing the context in the present and future. The phrase, “shadow of things to come,” points to the prophetic nature of these days. As noted, these are not only days of worship, but also days of future importance.

Within the Word we find seven appointments that Yahweh established for His people: Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread, Feast of Weeks (Pentecost), Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, Feast of Tabernacles, and the Last Great Day. The first three of these observances have been fulfilled in both Old and New Testaments, with the latter awaiting future fulfillment. Let’s begin with Passover.

Passover’s Release

In Exodus 11:4-6, Yahweh revealed to Moses what would happen on Passover evening. “And Moses said, Thus saith Yahweh, about midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.”

When the death angel went through Egypt on the 14th of Abib at midnight, all the “unprotected” firstborn of Egypt died. Those spared were those who did as Yahweh commanded through Moses; those who placed the saving blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their homes were spared. As the root word for Passover expresses, the death angel “passed” or “skipped over” those homes. As such, Passover for the Israelites will always be remembered as the night that Yahweh released Israel from Egyptian bondage.

In the Old Testament the Passover lamb was a token of salvation. Through its blood Israel was saved or spared from the wrath of the death angel. In the New Testament we find another Passover lamb. Paul, in 1Corinthians 5:7, identifies this lamb as Yahshua the Messiah: “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Messiah our passover is sacrificed for us.”

Yahshua, through his own death, fulfilled the role of the Old Testament Passover lamb. The Old Testament lamb brought to Israel freedom from the death angel and their later release from the sin of Egypt. Yahshua did the same spiritually. When Yahshua died and shed His blood, He justified, or freed us, from our previous sin; he removed the shackles of death by purging our iniquities. Yahshua’s death was the prophetic fulfillment of the Passover or the shadow that was to come.

Week-long Lessons from Bread

The next observance in the Biblical calendar is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This celebration immediately follows the Passover, beginning on the 15th of Abib: “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto Yahweh: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein” (Lev. 23:6-8).

Unlike the Passover, which is a one-day memorial, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven-day observance. Another difference between the Passover and this Feast centers on agriculture, as most of Yahweh’s Feast Days are agriculturally based. This truth must be understood if one is to comprehend the significance of these days.

This Feast commemorated the barley harvest, which was the first grain harvest of the year. During this Feast the priest would wave the omer offering of barley, representing the firstfruits of the harvest, to Yahweh. Leviticus 23:9-11 explains this process:

“And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When you be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.”

There are different views on what is meant by “Sabbath.” Some interpret this as the first high-Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and others as the weekly Sabbath. The word “Sabbath” in verse 11 is shabbath and refers exclusively to the weekly Sabbath (except for Atonement). For this reason, the Sabbath mentioned here most likely refers to the weekly Sabbath.

This places the waving of the sheaf on the first day of the week within the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Once the sheaf was waved, Israel could commence with the barley harvest, again depicting the agricultural im-portance of this observance.

In the New Testament we find that Yahshua fulfilled this Feast through offering up of Himself as the Firstfruits. Before we consider this, however, it is expedient to review the timing of his death. Luke 23:50-56 offers a chronology of this event: “And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of Elohim. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Yahshua. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”

Let’s review the events in chronological order. On Wednesday evening, Joseph took Yahshua’s body and laid it in a new tomb, vv. 50-54. The next day, Thursday, was the Sabbath or first high-Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, v. 54. On Friday, the women prepared the spices and ointments and on the next day rested on the weekly Sabbath, vv. 55-56. Luke 24:1 states, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.” According to the RSB: the word “‘week’ is a mistranslation of the Greek te mia ton sabbaton, and should have been rendered ‘first day of the Sabbaths.’

Leviticus 23:15-17 shows that this ‘first day’ is the first of the Sabbaths in the count of the seven Sabbaths to Pentecost. On this day, therefore, the ‘Savior’ became the firstfruits of ‘Yahweh’s’ resurrection harvest…” (p. 1376). Based on this explanation, the day that the women came back to the tomb was the same day that the priest sacrificed the omer offering.

From John’s evangel, Miriam saw Yahshua on this day: “And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Yahshua standing, and knew not that it was Yahshua. Yahshua saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away” (John 20:14-15).

Why would Miriam suppose that Yahshua was the gardener in this passage? The answer may be that he was waving the firstfruits to Yahweh. Yahshua became the firstfruits of those who would be resurrected. “But now is Messiah risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1Cor. 15:20).

Feast of Weeks (Firstfruits)

The latest Feast to be fulfilled in both Old and New Testaments is the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. According toLeviticus 23:15-16, this day was observed fifty days from the wave sheaf offering: “And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto Yahweh.”

The Feast of Weeks is exactly seven complete weeks plus one day or fifty days from when the priest waved the omer offering. Since the sheaf was waved on the Sunday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks is always observed on the first day of the week. Similar to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, this Feast commemorated the wheat harvest. As wheat was more valued than barley, this was an important harvest for Israel. On this day Israel was told to make two loaves with fine flour or wheat and have the priest wave them before Yahweh, analogous to the omer offering: “Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto Yahweh…And the priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits for a wave offering before Yahweh, with the two lambs: they shall be holy to Yahweh for the priest” (Lev. 23:17, 20).

While there is much debate as to what these two loaves represent, it’s been suggested that they may symbolize Jew and gentile. In addition to the agricultural connection, it is also speculated that at this time Moses received the Law from Sinai. Exodus 19:1 offers indication of this event: “In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai.”

Israel was at Sinai in the third month, the same month as the Feast of Weeks. Based on this, it is probable that Moses received the commandments on this Feast. In addition to Scripture, Jewish tradition also holds to the law being delivered on this day.

Furthermore, almost all major events in the Old Testament were connected to a Feast observance. It would seem rather strange or out of place to find no connection with the giving of the Law at Sinai and an Old Testament Feast.

Assuming that the commandments were received on the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost, an interesting parallel is found in the New Testament.

In Acts 2:1-4 we find the outpouring of Yahweh’s Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost: “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Yahweh’s Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost or the Feast of Weeks. As confirmation of this momentous event, through the Spirit those gathered received the gift of tongues or the ability to speak in other languages. As a matter of fact, it was through this Spirit and gift that led to the saving of the 3,000 souls in verse 41.

It is important to note that the Holy Spirit completes the Law. While the law defines the morality and truth of Yahweh, the Spirit helps believers to distinguish and rightly apply the Law. The two complement one another. From the evidence it is reasonable to conclude that the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost was fulfilled through the Old and New Testaments by the giving of the Law at Sinai and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Jerusalem. As seen, the two loaves may also depict the grafting in of the gentiles with Israel, see also Romans 11:11-24.

In part 2 in this series, we will ex-plore the remaining fall feasts, which foreshadow events connected with Yahshua’s Second Coming, Yahweh’s Millennial Kingdom, and the Great White Throne Judgment.

Don’t Be Left Out

Don’t be left out, it is not too late. Make plans now to join Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry for these prophetic days of worship! Your life and your Bible understanding will never be the same as you receive Yahweh’s blessings for your obedience.

 

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Biblical holy days

Prophetic Days of Worship Part II

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh” (Lev. 23:24-25).

The Jews call this day by many names, including Zikhron Teru’ah (a memorial of blowing of trumpets), Yom Teru’ah (day of the awaking blast) and Rosh Hashanah (head of the year). While the first two names are rooted in Scripture, the third is not. Rabbinical teachings state that the Feast of Trumpets begins the civil year. Such a conclusion cannot be supported by Scripture. The Word speaks of one year and that is Abib (Deut. 16:1), which occurs in springtime and is determined by the early barley.

Unlike Rosh Hashanah, the first two names are biblically grounded and speak both to the meaning and fulfillment of this day. The first, Zikhron Teru’ah (as found in Lev. 23:24), refers to this day as a memorial of blowing trumpets. In ancient Israel the trumpet or shofar held special significance. It was used to gather the assembly for travel, war, and worship (Num. 10:1-10). In the context of this Feast, the trumpet was used for the calling together of worship.

In addition to the Old Testament meaning, this name also expresses the likely prophetic fulfillment of the Messiah’s Second Coming. At this time Scripture speaks of trumpets sounding. Paul in 1Thessalonians 4:15-18 provides a description of this momentous event:

For this we say unto you by the word of Yahweh, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Master shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Master himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Master. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Yahshua’s return will be announced with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of Elohim. Such a declaration will not go unnoticed.  Once the trumpet sounds, Yahshua will descend from heaven and the saints will be resurrected to be “caught up” with Him in the air.

Many theologians claim that this passage refers to the rapture. As noted in the Restoration Study Bible, “This phrase is derived from the Greek harpazo and means, ‘to seize or catch away.’ It does not refer to a rapture, but to the Second Advent of Yahshua the Messiah (1Thess. 5:2)…The word ‘meet’ is apantesis and is used only three times in the NT (Matt. 25:1,6; Acts 28:15). It means ‘to join with and continue on to the destination,’ not reverse course and go back where one came from….”

The mention of the trumpet here and in other passages, e.g. 1Corinthians 15:51-21, offers strong evidence that Yahshua’s Second Advent will occur on the Feast of Trumpets. As described by the Hebrew Yom Teru’ah (day of the awaking blast), this day will offer a deafening wakeup call to mankind.

The Day of Covering

Next Feast is the Day of Atonement or as it is often called, Yom Kippur (day of covering). “And Yahweh spake unto Moses, saying, Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before Yahweh your Elohim. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.  It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath” (Lev. 23:26-32).

On this day Israel was commanded to abstain from work and to afflict their souls. The word “afflict” is from the Hebrew ‘anah and means, “to browbeat or depress.” The Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon defines ‘anah: “to afflict, to oppress, to humble, to be afflicted, to be bowed down.”

From the many examples of Scripture, e.g. Psalm 35:13; Daniel 10:2-3; Jonah 3:5-7; Ezra 10:6; Luke 5:33; and Acts 9:9, we find that this word conveys fasting, i.e., complete abstaining from food and drink.

In addition to these prohibitions, this was a day of dealing with the people’s sins, as found in Leviticus 16. On Yom Kippur the high priest selected two goats, one for a sin offering and the other for a scapegoat (Heb. azazel). The sin offering was for atonement for sin.

While many biblical commentators apply the scapegoat to the Messiah, it is more likely that this goat symbolizes the father of lies. To understand this view, one must carefully consider the roles of the two goats and the parallels between the Azazel in Leviticus 16and Satan in Revelation 20.

Azazel Not Messiah

For starters, it was not the Azazel goat but the goat of the sin offering that atoned for Israel’s sins, a role that befits  the Messiah and no other. Another reason for this inference is found in the many parallels to these passages. Leviticus 16:21-22 provides the necessary building blocks for understanding:

“And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.”

Why does the high priest lay his hands on the other live goat and confess the sins of Israel again? As representative of our own High Priest, Yahshua, who took all our sins away by becoming sin for us (2Cor. 5:22) so the Israelite high priest took the collective sin and dispensed with it on the head of the Azazel.

Why didn’t the other goat of the sin offering obliterate the sin? Because Hebrews 10:8 says the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sin, only cover it. It takes the blood of Yahshua to eliminate it. Yahshua, who does take away sin, will return it back on the head of father of lies and originator of sin.

After Aaron confessed and transmitted Israel’s sins to the live Azazel goat, that goat was not sacrificed but taken alone into the wilderness by a “fit man.” The word “wilderness” comes from the Hebrew midbar and refers to a pasture; by implication, a desert.

The primitive root of midbar is dabar, which means, “to arrange; but used figuratively (of words), to speak; rarely (in a destructive sense) to subdue” (Strong’s Concordance). By placing debar into the proper context we learn that the fit man subdues the live goat by taking it into the wilderness or desolate place.

This last point again makes it unlikely that the live goat or the Azazel symbolizes the Messiah. Yahshua offered atonement only through the shedding of His blood, not through His removal to a forgotten place. It is much more plausible that this goat refers to Satan the devil.

In Revelation 20:1-3, John of Patmos provides an ominous description of Satan’s defeat: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”

Now we can compare the similarities between Leviticus 16 and Revelation 20. Both passages depict a being that is taken by a “fit” being; in the case of the Azazel, it was a fit man, while in the case of Satan, it will be a powerful angel. Also, as the live goat was taken without harm, Satan will likewise. Lastly, as the Azazel was taken to a desolate place, Satan will suffer a similar fate.

It is for these reasons that the scapegoat probably depicts the defeat of Satan and the transference of the world’s sins back to their originator — haSatan. In addition, it should also be noted that Messiah’s death and atonement is symbolized in the Passover; removing the need for a second fulfillment through the Day of Atonement.

Also, if the Feast of Trumpets symbolizes the return of Yahshua, then the fulfillment of this day must occur after this event. In the instance of Satan’s defeat, this immediately follows the Messiah’s Second Coming.

The Coming Kingdom

The next Feast on the biblical calendar is Tabernacles: “And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field” (Ex. 16:23).

As the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of Weeks marked the two grain harvests, the Feast of Ingathering or Feast of Tabernacles marked the end of the agriculture cycle by the gathering in of the fall crops. It is imperative to recognize the agricultural significance. Not only does this impact our basic understanding of Old Testament worship, but also the theme and culture that continued into the New.

Many of Yahshua’s parables were agriculturally based, including those pertaining to the resurrection of the saints. For example, inMatthew 13:24-30 Yahshua provides the parable of the wheat and tares: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.”

In verses 36 to 43 Yahshua explains the meaning of this parable. The one who sows the good seed represents the Messiah; the one who sows the tares represents Satan the devil; the reapers represent the angels of heaven; the wheat represents the resurrected saints; and the tares represent the sons of the Evil One. Yahshua again illustrates the first resurrection through agriculture.

It is important to note that while Tabernacles does not specifically symbolize the resurrection, it is through the resurrection that Yahshua will establish the Millennial Kingdom.

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of Elohim and of Messiah, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).

The Bible speaks of two resurrections. We find the first mentioned here. Scripture promises that those who are found worthy of the first resurrection will rule with the Messiah for a thousand years.  This time is called the Millennium (from the Latin mille, thousand, and annus, year) and is the fulfillment of the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles.

The last annual Feast is the Last Great Day. Ironically, many believers gloss over or combine this with the Feast of Tabernacles. It is a separate Feast in its own right. In the law this single day marked the end of Yahweh’s annual Sabbaths: “…on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahweh: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein” (Lev. 23:36).

As this marked the end of Yahweh’s sacred season, it is likely that this time prophetically symbolizes the end of an era through the Great White Throne Judgment.  This prophetic event is the final judgment for mankind.

“And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before Elohim; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and the grave delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

At the end of the Millennium all of mankind will be judged based on their works. The word “works” is from the Greek ergon, referring to the actions and deeds of man. Those who lived a life of virtue will have an opportunity for everlasting life. Howbeit, those who purposely defied Yahweh will face judgment and eternal destruction (which is different from eternal torment).

It is for this reason that the Last Great Day symbolizes the end of one era and the beginning of another. Immediately following the Great White Throne Judgment, there will be a new heaven and a new earth with the coming of New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-2).

Yahweh’s Plan Revealed

From the death of the Messiah through the completion of an era, Yahweh’s annual Sabbaths clearly reveal His plan of salvation for mankind. It is not enough to simply understand this truth. To recognize the fullness and receive the blessings of these days, one must embrace and observe them as we find in the Old and New Testaments.

Yahshua the Messiah kept the Feasts while He walked this earth. He is our example. So did His apostles, including the Apostle Paul. These days commanded Israel of old continue to be in effect today and will be observed on into the coming Kingdom.

We welcome you to join Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry in honoring our Heavenly Father through obedience to His appointed days of worship! No other annual days are commanded in the Scriptures for His people.

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Final Judgement of the Last Great Day

Today is “law school” for the future judges of the Kingdom, who will see Deuteronomic law administered in the Millennium as well as in the final White Throne judgment.

Imagine a celebration pointing to a time when everyone will have their chance to become a citizen in the Kingdom of
heaven. Where could one find a more joyful event to honor?

Believe it or not, many are already observing such a day. It comes at the end of the Biblical calendar, and is known as the Last Great Day. It immediately follows the Feast of Tabernacles in the Scriptural seventh month (autumn).

Man’s holidays all commemorate past events. But Yahweh’s appointed days (Heb. moedim) not only have a historic focus, but also foreshadow the future salvation of the people of Yahweh. No unrewarding, worldly celebration can even begin to compare with the significance of Yahweh’s days.

Return to the Country

To understand the Last Great Day is to understand Bible prophecy. All of Yahweh’s Feasts have a prophetic basis. That is one important characteristic that sets them far apart from the days the world observes. Man tries to give his own significance to the days he celebrates, while the Creator Yahweh Himself gives meaning to the appointed times He gives to His people.

The Feast of Tabernacles is a joyous, seven-day observance that pictures the millennial reign of Yahshua, who will govern with His saints on the earth (Rev 5:10). Notice:

“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 Yahshua, and for the word of Yahweh, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Messiah a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4).

The earth will return to an agrarian economy in a rural setting as people are scattered and cities are left desolate by the returning judgment of Yahshua. The prophet speaks of this: “Behold, Yahweh makes the earth empty, and makes it waste, and turns it upside down, and scatters abroad the inhabitants thereof” (Isa. 24:1).

The cities and their dwellings will be uninhabited: “The city of confusion is broken down: every house is shut up, that No man may come in” (Isa.24:10),

Just as Israel left the cities of Egypt, so will those remaining on earth in the Millennium leave the cities to dwell in the countryside, even as Yahweh’s faithful do at the Feast of Tabernacles each year. In fact, during the Millennium He says He will cause the people to dwell in tabernacles (ohalim, tents) “as in the days of the solemn feast,” Hosea 12:9. In the Millennium they will come up to Jerusalem to learn Yahweh’s laws and way of true happiness.

“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of Yahweh shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, and to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of Yahweh of hosts has spoken it” (Micah 4:1-4).

At last the world will learn the ways of peace and security. The rat race of today’s culture will be replaced by the serenity that comes with a return to the land as it was in Eden. Yahweh’s laws will be enforced worldwide, and wars will finally cease.

After the Millennium, What Then?

But what happens when this thousand-year reign of Yahshua and His saints is completed? To understand, we must go to the final Feast day, the Last Great Day.

In John 7:37-58, after observing the Feast of Tabernacles, Yahshua the Messiah made this statement on the Last Great Day: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Yahshua stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”

Judgment and the Throne

This concluding Last Great Day pictures the final judgment of man on earth, the Great White Throne judgment. It is the last opportunity for those who lived in ignorance of Yahweh’s Name, Sabbaths, Feasts, and laws the past 6,000 years to accept the ways of Yahweh before He completely cleanses and renews this earth and establishes His throne at New Jerusalem.

Having missed the first resurrection, the rest of the dead will come alive again for the Great White Throne judgment. If they are found guilty of unrepented sin and of having rejected the truth of their Savior, they will be destroyed in the lake of fire. If they never knew the truth, this is school time.

The prophet Isaiah tells us that those in the Millennium will be allowed a 100-year life span to learn of Yahweh and the laws He expects all to follow: “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that has not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed” (Isa. 65:20).

Conceivably, the same opportunity will be given to those in the second resurrection under the White Throne Judgment. We note that in Revelation 20:13 that those in the second resurrection are judged “by their works.” They must be given time to prove themselves.

Hundreds of millions will be resurrected to learn Yahweh’s truth for the first time. True understanding was purposely withheld from them in this life (Matt. 13:11). Only a select few “firstfruits” have been allowed to understand Yahweh’s plan of salvation, and, if they accept Yahweh’s covenant terms and follow them now, will be in that preferred first resurrection to rulership.

Daniel explains more about this Great White Throne Judgment: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (Dan. 7:9-10).

These “books” are mentioned in Revelation 20:12 as well, also speaking of this White Throne Judgment:

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before Elohim; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

These previously unsaved people who have never been given the opportunity to learn the true Good News and to keep the renewed Covenant originally made with Israel, will now have their chance. They will be taught and judged by Yahshua, helped by the saints who came up in the first resurrection.

But by what standard will their “works” be judged? It won’t be by pleasant feelings of their hearts, by the nice thoughts they had, or by an occasional kind deed. Both Daniel and Revelation say they will be judged out of what is written in the “books.” One of the books is identified as the Book of Life. The rest can be nothing other than the books of the Bible — and the books of the law therein (“books” is biblos in Greek, from which we get the word Bible, Strong’s No. 976).

This is the same standard of judgment by which Israel of old was judged. Notice that they are judged “according to their works” in conjunction with the standard of the law found in Yahweh’s Word: “For the word of Elohim is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).

Only those who were found written in the Book of Life will be in the first resurrection. So why would the Book of Life be opened if not for the purpose of entering new names into it of those found worthy?

Saints Are Judged Right Now

The criteria for righteousness and judgment are the same today. “That you might walk worthy of Yahweh unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of Yahweh” (Col. 1:10). Also, “For not the hearers of the law are just before Elohim, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13). The prophetic Psalm 96:13 says, “For He comes to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His Truth.” The standards of the Bible were in force from the beginning and are the law by which humanity is and will be judged.

John wrote, “Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard from the beginning” (John 2:7).

The law of Scripture, especially the Book of Deuteronomy, was the constitution of the ancient Israelites. Notice: “And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before Yahweh your Elohim in the place which he shall choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing” (Deut. 31:10-11).

The year of release and the Feast of Tabernacles picture the Kingdom coming to earth. All the earth will comply with Yahweh’s laws — or else! “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shines in his strength” (Rev. 1:16). “And many people shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem” (Isa. 2:3).

His laws will be Constitution of the coming Kingdom. What a wonderful thought to know that we can learn about His laws and obey them right now, for salvation’s sake.