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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Knowing “the day and the hour”?

– Matthew 24:36


When Jesus was asked by His disciples about the end of the age He proceeded to speak about the times and the events leading up to the end of the age. He spoke prophetically in what is called “The Olivet Discourse” of the destruction of the Temple and a time of Tribulation in the future that would culminate with His Second Coming which would take place at the end of the age (Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21). For the Jewish disciples, the thought of the destruction fo the Temple was shocking. That alone would cause them to ask questions. And so, His disciples inquired about when the end of the age would come. They said, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3).

Your Kingdom Come. Jesus had taught His disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Therefore, they were probably wondering about whether or not Jesus would establish His Kingdom. The reestablishment of the Kingdom was a theme of the Old Testament; something every Jew was looking forward to (e.g. Psalm 2). They accepted Jesus as the promised Messiah (Greek Christos or anointed One – Matthew 16:16-18). When other disciples found Jesus’ teaching too much of a challenge and left Him, they remained faithful to Jesus. “But Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also, we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68-69).

The accepted understanding of the day among Jews is that when Messiah came He would free them from their bondage and establish the Kingdom of God (e.g. Isaiah 2:2-4; 9:6-7; 11:1-9; 32:1; 33:20; Amos 9:14-15; Micah 4:1 – 5:5; Zechariah 2:10-12). But Jesus spoke not of a triumphant establishment of the Kingdom being the objective of His first coming. He spoke of going to the cross to atone for the sins of the world (Matthew 16:21; 26:26-30). This baffled the Jewish disciples. They didn’t understand that Jesus would come twice; the first time to make atonement for sin; the second time to establish the promised Kingdom of God on earth.

The Seventieth Week of Daniel. The Olivet Discourse of Jesus is a description of a prophecy of Daniel. Daniel had prophesied of the first coming of Messiah and that there were 70 weeks (periods of seven years) of prophetic events to be fulfilled pertaining to Israel (Daniel 9:24-27). Jesus first coming fulfilled the first 69 weeks of this prophesy. The Seventieth Week of Daniel’s prophecy is yet future. Jesus described it in His Olivet Discourse.

The Church Age. There is a gap between the 69th and 70th week of Daniel. This gap is the age of the Church. The Church was a mystery to first century Jews because there was no definitive prophetic word of it in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament the Apostle Paul was inspired to explain that the Church was God’s plan to unite Jew and Gentile together by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ (i.e. Ephesians 2). You are in the Church if you have experienced a second birth, a spiritual birthing by the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus. You must be born again to be a member of this Church (e.g. John 3).

The time of Israel. When the Church Age ends, the final week of Daniel’s prophecy concerning Israel will be fulfilled. The Church Age ends with the Rapture of the Church. Jews, for the most part, are now under a spiritual blindness. God provokes them to jealousy to draw them to Himself through the blessing of the Church. Paul was inspired to write, “For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Romans 11:25). God in His sovereign determination has set a limit on how long He will give people to accept Jesus as Savior. He desires that none perish and that all come to repentance and faith in Christ (2 Peter 3:9). But He will not wait forever. And when the last Gentile accepts Jesus as Savior, when “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in,” He will send Jesus to come get His Church, His Bride, those who have been born again through faith in Jesus Christ.

So, do I have your attention? When Jesus answered the disciple’s question about the destruction fo the Temple and the end of the Age His disciples must have been in awe. The idea of the Temple being destroyed was so shocking to these Jewish disciples that it was almost natural for them to inquire about the end of the age. They probably thought, If the Temple were destroyed, it must mean the end. And so, they inquired, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your Coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3).

Signs from God to guide us. From the beginning God has built into His revelation the idea of prophetic signs; signs He would send to guide His people. As early as Genesis 1:14 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years.” The term “signs” (Hebrew ‘ot pronounced like “oath”) means a signal, a flag, a beacon, a monument, an omen, evidence, a mark, a distinguishing mark. The term “seasons” (Hebrew mo-ed) means an appointment, a fixed time, an appointed time, divine appointments. Therefore the “lights in the firmament” are signs of His coming at appointed times.

Jesus therefore, in His Olivet Discourse spoke of:

·         Luke 21:11, 25-26 – “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. . . . and there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Jesus speaks of signs associated particularly with His Second Coming (Matthew 24:29-30), but there are also signs in the heavens of other aspects of the End Times.

In the Olivet Discourse Jesus speaks of a number of developments associated with the end of the age. He speaks of great deception, wars and rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, natural disasters, persecution, lawlessness, the Gospel preached worldwide, and the desecration of the rebuilt Temple, false christs and false prophets (Matthew 24:4-28). And what will make this end time distinctive is the magnitude, the frequency and intensity of these events. Jesus said, “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

The day and hour. The end of the age as described by Jesus sounds frightening. And it will be a terrible time. It will be a time of God’s outpoured wrath on a Christ-rejecting world. It will be a time when God is preparing the world for the return of His Son Jesus as King of kings and LORD of Lords to rule and reign on earth for a thousand years (Revelation 19-20). But what added to the fearsomeness of Jesus words about the end of the age were His words, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matthew 24:36). To hear of such cataclysmic events and then that they wouldn’t know when they would occur, just added to their anxiety.

Why would Jesus lay out in such detail the things that would occur during the Tribulation so that His disciples and future saints could prepare for it, and then say no one know the day or the hour it will occur? The answer to that question may be found in Paul’s letter to the young Thessalonian church. Paul was inspired to tell them, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2.). What was it that Paul was so certain these Thessalonian believers knew so ‘perfectly” (Greek akribōs - meaning exactly, circumspectly, diligently, perfectly)? It was something about “times and seasons.” “Times” (Greek chronos) refers to a space of time, a fixed special occasion, a particular period. Seasons” (Greek kairos) means an occasion, a set proper time, a season. Then Paul also uses the phrase, “the day of the Lord.” The “day of the Lord” is a phrase used in scripture to point to an intervention by the Lord in the affairs of this world. It refers to a specific event of God. I believe Paul is alluding here in these verses, to the set Feast Days of the LORD. These were times God ordained for His people to come together and worship Him and remember certain truths. If this is the case, it’s important that we too pay close attention to the Feasts of the LORD so that we too can be “perfectly” informed and ready to follow God’s revelation. It’s important to look at Jesus’ words in light of the set Feasts of the Lord.

These words of Jesus, contrary to our common interpretation, may very well have a clue about when these events will occur. Remember, Jesus teaching in the Olivet Discourse was directed at Jews. The disciples were all Jewish with a Jewish upbringing and a Jewish understanding of scripture. The Olivet Discourse is not about the Church, it is about the last seven years of prophesy as it pertains to Israel and its fulfillment. And in Jesus words, to a Jew, there contained an interesting idiomatic clause that would speak to their heart.

Idioms. An “idiom” is defined as “a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.” The American Dictionary of the English Language by Noah Webster (1828) defines an idiom as, “A mode of expression peculiar to a language; peculiarity of expression or phraseology, . . . peculiar to a nation or language.” In other words, an idiom is a phrase that implies a meaning that goes beyond the mere words of the phrase in its translation.  The sense of meanings of idioms can sometimes be lost in a translation from one language to another. Think of how a someone foreign to or just learning English would respond to the following idioms from our culture:

·         “A chip on your shoulder” – doesn’t mean you have a wood chip on your shoulder but that you are holding a grudge.

·         To be “high as a kite” doesn’t mean you are floating in the air, but that you are drunk or on drugs.

·         To be “sick as a dog” doesn’t mean you are sick like a dog would be sick but that you are very ill.

·         To “rub someone the wrong way” doesn’t mean you are a bad massager, it means you annoy or bother someone.

·         To “jump the gun” doesn’t mean you jump over a gun, it means you do something too early.

·         To “pay the piper” doesn’t mean you actually pay a piper, it means you face the consequences of your actions.

·         To “have the blues” doesn’t mean you are painted blue but that you are depressed.

·         For something to happen “once in a blue moon” doesn’t mean you are doing something by a lunar calendar but that something happens rarely (a blue moon is the second full moon in a month).

·         If something happens “out of the blue” it means something happens unexpectedly.

These are idioms that if heard by someone just learning the language or coming from another culture or time would not be able to readily understand their meanings.

When we look at the idioms used in other countries or cultures we too may have difficulty understanding. For instance:

·         In Norway, they use the idiomatic expression “walking around hot porridge” to convey the idea of not getting to the main point. We might use the idiom “beating around the bush.”

·         In Italy or Turkey someone who says they are “hungry as a wolf” if famished. We might say we’re “hungry as a horse.”

·         We might describe heavy rainfall as “raining cats and dogs.” In Africa they would say, “it’s raining old women and clubs.” In Norway they would say, “It’s raining female trolls.” In Ireland they would say, “it’s throwing cobblers knives.” A common idiom is to describe heavy rain as “raining buckets.”

So, Idioms are a nuanced part of language that should be considered so that meaning is not lost in translation.

The added meaning of the idiomatic phrase can come from how the phrase is used in a different context. An idiomatic phrase gets its meaning from how it is used in a particular context known to those using it. There are in scripture certain Hebrew idioms that would be known and accepted amongst those with a Jewish background but maybe missed by those who aren’t from a Jewish background. That is what I believe is going on in Jesus’ words, “But of that day and hour no one knows.”  Let me explain.

The Seven Feasts of the LORD. In Leviticus 23 God determines seven Feasts which His people were to celebrate each year:

1.      Passover

2.      Unleavened Bread

3.      First Fruits

4.      Pentecost

5.      Trumpets

6.      Day of Atonement

7.      Tabernacles

These Feasts were not merely opportunities for His people to have a party. We may think “food” when we hear the word “Feasts.” But the Feasts are far more than that.

The opening words of Leviticus 23 states, “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts” (Leviticus 23:1-2). The Feasts were therefore, announcements of the Lord’s working in some way. They are designed to prepare us for His coming; for the coming of Messiah. Feasts don’t mean food, they mean divine appointment, they belong to God, they are convocations or dress rehearsals, and they are to be proclaimed.  That’s what we are doing here; we are proclaiming the Feasts to help God’s people prepare for His return.  

The Feasts were Holy Days to commemorate things God had done in history. The Feast Days were to help God’s people to remember His mighty works. But when we come to the New Testament we find that there is more to these Feast than meets the eye initially. There are Spring Feasts and there are Fall Feasts. When we look at the ministry of Jesus we find that Jesus fulfills the Feasts prophetically. Each of the seven Feasts speak prophetically of different aspects of the ministry of Jesus the Messiah.

The Spring Feasts. These Feasts begin in the first month, the month of Nisan on the Jewish calendar (our March-April). The Feast of Passover was fulfilled by Jesus as He presented Himself as the Lamb of God who came to take away the wins of the world (John 1:29). Paul was inspired to refer to Jesus as, “Christ, our Passover, [who] was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). The Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by Jesus as He was buried in the tomb. The Feast of First Fruits (celebrated 3 days after Passover) was fulfilled as Jesus is the first fruit of those risen from the dead (e.g. 1 Corinthians 15:20). It was on the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (celebrated 50 days after Passover) that the Church was birthed (Acts 1-2).

An orderly fulfillment of the Feasts. Now notice something very important here. The Feasts were all fulfilled by Jesus IN ORDER. Jesus fulfilled them in the order God gave them to be celebrated. He fulfilled the first four Feast at His First Coming. Therefore, we should expect Jesus to fulfill the remainder of the Feasts in an orderly fashion. He will fulfill the last three Feasts in His Second Coming.

The Fall Feasts. These Feasts begin in the seventh month, the month of Tishri (our September-October). Jesus has fulfilled the first four of the seven Feasts in order. The last three Feasts (The Feast of Trumpets, The Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur, and The Feast of Tabernacles) will therefore be fulfilled by Jesus in order. These three Feasts are associated with the following future prophetic events of Jesus:

·         The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah) – The Rapture of the Church from earth by Jesus (e.g. Rev. 4).

·         The Feast Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) – The Second Coming of Jesus (e.g. Rev.19).

·         The Feast of Tabernacles – The Millennial Reign of Jesus on Earth (e.g. Rev. 20).

It is the next Feast, the Feast of Trumpets associated with the Rapture of the Church, that I would like to focus on for the rest of this study.

The Feast of Trumpets. This Feast is also known as Rosh Hashanah or This Feast is also known as Rosh Hashanah or Yom Teru’ah (cf. Leviticus 23:23-25; Numbers 29:1; Deuteronomy 11:12; Psalm 47:5; 89:15; Zechariah 9:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16. Matthew 24:31). This is the next Feast to be fulfilled on the prophetic calendar.

The first mention of the Feast of Trumpets is found in Leviticus where it states:

·         Leviticus 23:23-25 – Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of the trumpets, a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.”

This was a Feast ordained by God to rest from daily routines and work. They were to blow trumpets and come together and present an offering to the LORD. This was a memorial day. It was the beginning of the High Holy Days.

A Day worth remembering. The word “memorial” (Hebrew zikron) means a memento, a memorable thing, remembrance, a marked day, a reminder. The Feast Days were to be marked days to help God’s people remember certain things God felt were important to remember. The Feasts Days were important to the LORD and He wanted them to remind His people of certain important events on His calendar; His prophetic calendar.

In the Gospels Jesus speaks of those the LORD will not remember as “workers of iniquity” (Luke 13:27). When you don’t remember someone, it speaks of distance and not belonging. If we aren’t remembered by the LORD we are not His. And if we don’t remember Him, He doesn’t belong to us (cf. also Matthew 7:21-23). The person not remembered by the LORD is a person who He has rejected. If we don’t remember the LORD, we have rejected Him.  Remembering is important!

A day of blowing; blowing trumpets. In the book of Numbers, it states the following:

·         Numbers 10:9 (NKJV) - “When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.

When the trumpets were blown on the Feast of Trumpets, it was a way of calling God to remember His people and to help them in battle.

Jewish tradition states that Jacob offered Isaac on Mount Moriah on the day commemorated by the Feast of Trumpets (cf. Genesis 22). It’s believed that when God hears the trumpets blown on this Feast that He moves from a position of judgment to a position of mercy toward His people. Blowing the ram’s horn reminds God of His mercy. That’s why there were nearly 100 blasts of the shofar on this Holy Day. It was known as a “day of blowing” (cf. Numbers 29:1 – “blowing” is translated from the Hebrew Teruah).

A day of shouting. The word Teruah also means shouting like those shouting as they go into battle. It’s important that we know and differentiate the shouts that are made (e.g. 1 Corinthians 14:8). Psalm 47:5 states, “God had gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.” This should remind us of what the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians when he said, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). When Jesus returns at the Rapture He will descend from heaven to the clouds and shout for His people to “Come up here!” (cf. Revelation 4:1). Then the dead will rise first and will be followed by us who are still alive and we will be forever with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Praise the Lord for that! This is why some believe that the Rapture of the Church will occur some year on the Feast of Trumpets.

A dress rehearsal for a future event.  The word “convocation” (Hebrew miqra) means, a public meeting, an assembly, calling, convocation, a dress rehearsal. The idea of these Feast Days being a dress rehearsal implies being prepared for something in the future. This was a Day ordained by God for His people to come together and perform a dress rehearsal of what would take place in the future.

A lunar calendar. Now it’s important to understand that the calendar of the Jews was a lunar calendar. And as such, the Feast of Tabernacles was to begin on the first New Moon of the month of Tishri (our September). When the New Moon was sighted, trumpets would be blown to indicate the Feast Day had started.

Why the blowing of Trumpets? We see examples of this early in scripture (cf. Numbers 10:1-3). The use of trumpets is found throughout the Old Testament (e.g. Leviticus 23:23-24; Joshua 6:4-13; Judges 7:8, 18-22; 2 Kings 9:13; Psalm 98:6; Revelation 8: 1, 2, and 6). The word “trumpet” is found 46 times in the Bible.

The blowing of trumpets was used for the following reasons:

1.      Trumpets were blown to awaken you; to get your attention; to make an announcement – Ezekiel 33:4; Zephaniah 1:14-15.

2.      Trumpets were blown to warn of danger – Amos 3:6

3.      Trumpets were used to call Moses up to the mountain top – Exodus 19:19-20

4.      Trumpets were used to call the congregation to war – Judges 3:27; Numbers 10:9

5.      Trumpets were blown to mark the beginning of the Jubilee year – Leviticus 25:9

6.      Trumpets were blown at the coronation service of a new king – 1 Kings 1:34

7.      Trumpets were blown to bring the dispersed Israelites together – Isaiah 27:13

8.      Trumpets were used to announce the new moon and the feast days – Numbers 10:10

9.      Trumpets will be blown at the coming of Messiah – Zechariah 9:12; Revelation 1:10

A trumpet is associated with the close of the Church Age and the Rapture of the Church from the earth to Jesus in the clouds. This trumpet blast will also mark the regathering of Israel to the Land. The Rapture of the Church is the “blessed hope” of all true Christians (e.g. Titus 2:13).

The Rapture of the Church. There are three pivotal portions of scripture which speak to us about the Rapture event of Jesus: John 14:2-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; and 1 Corinthians 15:51-55.

John 14:2–3 (NKJV)

In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 (NKJV)

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.


1 Corinthians 15:51–55 (NKJV)

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55   “O Death, where is your sting?

O Hades, where is your victory?”

These are not the only portions of scripture which shed light on the Rapture. But these are prominent in relation to the doctrine of the Rapture.

In John 14:2-3 Jesus speaks of receiving us His Church to Himself. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16 it speaks of Jesus descending from heaven with “the trumpet of God” and calling the Church to be “caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). In 1 Corinthians 15:52 it speaks of the Rapture in association with “at the last trumpet.”

Why is the Rapture important? Jesus repeatedly tells us to “watch” for His return. The Apostles did the same. The testimony of scripture exhorts us to take the Rapture very seriously. Paul wrote the Thessalonians about the Rapture and then concluded, “Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). There is not one problem that the Rapture wouldn’t solve. When you think about it, the Rapture would solve every problem related to illness, every problem related to persecution, every problem related to anxiety and fear, every existential problem is solved by the Rapture. The Rapture literally resurrects the saints out of this world to Jesus leaving all their problems behind. That is very comforting. To that we should say, “Hallelujah!”

The last Trumpet? It’s important to recognize that “the last trumpet” spoken of by Paul in 1 Corinthians is not the last of seven trumpets mentioned in the Book of Revelation 8-11. The Church is not on earth during the Tribulation period described in Revelation 6-18. The “last trumpet” spoken of by Paul is last in the sense that it marks the end of the Church age.

The Feast of Trumpets is called Yom Teruah or day of blowing or shouting. And in the seventh month, on the first day of the moth, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work. For you it is a day of blowing the trumpets” (cf. Numbers 29:1). The word “month” (Hebrew chodesh) means a new moon, the first day of the month, the lunar month. A “trumpet” in Hebrew is shofar. Yom Teruah is the Biblical name for this Feast. Yom means day, time or a year. Teruah means an acclimation of joy, a battle cry, blowing of an alarm, blast to call to march.

Therefore, what we see here is that in our month of September, at the beginning of the month as marked by the new moon, there is to be a Holy Convocation, a Feast of Trumpets marked by the blowing of trumpets. When the new moon is sighted in this month of September, trumpets are to be blown to mark a Holy Day.

The unique Feast. The Feast of Trumpets is different from the other six Feasts in that it was not assigned a specific day, date, or time but is marked by the sighting of the new moon; a sign in the heavens as per Genesis 1:14. It began based on the sighting of the new moon.

The Feast of Trumpets is also unique in that it is a two-day Feast but it is a two-day Feast in which both days are counted as one; two days are counted as one long day. This extended period of time was to make allowances for Jews of the diaspora who had been dispersed in other parts fo the world who would be learn of the start of The Feast of Trumpets by burning fires on mountaintops. The two days treated as one day was to allow for all the Jews to celebrate the Feast together.

No one knows the day or the hour. The Jewish Talmud records that this feast day began when two witnesses saw the first indications of a new moon. The witnesses would then run to the Temple and announce their sighting to the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin would then go through a ritual to verify and determine where in the sky the witnesses saw the new moon and if it were a valid sighting.  If accepted as a true sighting of the new moon, trumpets would be blown to mark the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets. This process connected with the Feast of Trumpets became known by a common idiom as the Feast at which NO ONE KNEW THE DAY OR THE HOUR in which it would begin.  You could estimate about when this Holy Day would begin by watching the moon, but no one knew exactly when the Feast would begin until the Sanhedrin validated it had begun.

Imminence. Could Jesus have been referring to the Feast of Trumpets when He said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only”? (Matthew 24:36). We can’t be dogmatic about it, but such a possible idiom usage, if that was His intent, makes the connection with the Feast of Trumpets and the Rapture of the church very interesting. It’s important to understand that the return of Jesus to Rapture His Church is imminent. No event can be said to precede the Rapture so that it must occur before the Rapture. The Rapture could occur at any time. But if we take into account the idiom that may have been used by Jesus that refers to the Feast of Trumpets and that He has fulfilled the four Feasts preceding the Feast of Trumpets in order, it makes for interesting and exciting speculation about the Rapture of Jesus. And it should also be noted that while we could connect the Rapture of the Church with the Feast of Trumpets, we still do not know the exact “day and hour” of its occurrence.

Ancient Jewish idioms. The Feast of Trumpets was often referred to in ancient Judaism as The Feast that no one knew the day or hour of. Jesus teaching in the Olivet Discourse are not aimed at the Church. The Church will be removed from this world before the Tribulation period which Jesus describes in His Olivet Discourse. However, in Matthew 24:36 when Jesus appears to make reference to this idiom He may have been speaking to future saints of His Church who would be interested in when such end of the age events would begin. Jesus describes a time of false christs, wars and rumors of wars and then comments, “but the end is not yet” (Matthew 24:6). He speaks of “the beginning of sorrows” (Mark 13:8b). He says, “But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately” (Luke 21:9).  This means the Tribulation is not yet in full gear. Since the Church will be Raptured out of the world prior to the Tribulation, she can gauge or estimate the season when Jesus will return to Rapture them by noting the events marked by Jesus as leading up to the seven-year Tribulation period. So that makes the idiomatic information relevant to Christians today as it is possibly pertaining to the season or general time when the Rapture will occur in connection to the Feast of Trumpets.

The Feast of Trumpets is known by some other Hebrew idiomatic phrases. These are:

The Hidden Day – The Feast of Trumpets was known as The Hidden Day because of it being celebrated during two days that were counted as one. The Feast begins at the sighting of the new moon in the month of Tishri. Therefore, it was believed God could hide the first sign of the new moon until He wanted it to be seen.

Satan’s attempt to confuse the calendar. The Feast of Trumpets was also believed that this Day was hidden from Satan because he couldn’t calculate when it would occur. Some have speculated that Satan has purposely attempted to confuse God’s calendar with a Solar calendar. The Antichrist is described as one who will try to “change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). This may be an attempt to confuse those who are looking for the signs God has put forth in His Feasts. Satan doesn’t want God’s people to be ready for Messiah’s return. Satan had a measure of success at Jesus’ first coming. Hopefully God’s people will be ready when Jesus returns at His Second Coming.

“But My Father only” – This idiom may be referred to by Jesus in Matthew 24:36. This is an idiom connected with the Jewish marriage ritual. When a couple was engaged the groom would then go to prepare a place, a home for himself and his bride. It would be built as an extension of His father’s house. Only the father could determine or say when the new abode was complete releasing the groom to go fetch his bride. Jesus may have been making use of such an idiom. In His words from John 14:2-3 we see a close possible connection with the idiom. This would also be in line with the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7).

“As a thief in the night.” Another Jewish idiom that is relevant for our study is “as a thief in the night.” We find this phrase in 1 Thessalonians 5 where it states, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2). Jesus also used this phrase in his letter to the dead church at Sardis warning, “Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore, if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Revelation 3:3). Jesus uses this idiom a second time later in the book of Revelation saying, “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).

This last case becomes vividly clear that Jesus is very likely speaking in idiomatic terms. The phrase “as a thief in the night” is believed to have referred to the Captain of the Temple guards or the High Priest who would move from post to post in the Temple checking to see that those on guard we awake and not asleep. If he found a guard asleep on watch he would take a torch and light the sleeping guards garments on fire to wake him up. The Captain of the Guard or High Priest in this came to be referred to as “the thief in the night.” This is important because, as Jesus taught, His return would not catch those off guard or asleep for those who are watching for Him, only those who aren’t watching for Him will be burned (e.g. Matthew 25:1-13). Just as there are negative consequences when a thief comes and catches you unprepared, there will be negative consequences when Jesus comes if we are unprepared for His return.

The last trumpet.” We find this phrase in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 where it states, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” The Feast of Tabernacles was characterized by the blowing of trumpets. The shofar was blown 100 times during this Holy Day. When it came to the end of the Feast the last blowing of the trumpet was referred to idiomatically as “the last trump/trumpet.” This final trumpet blast, known as the Tekiah Gedolah, the last trump, was to awaken the listeners from their slumber and call them to repentance in light of the coming judgment. The last trumpet blast will signal Christ’s Rapture call to the Church. But it will also indicate that the world is in the final stages of existence leading up to God’s Judgment Day for them.

The names for the Feast of Trumpets. There are numerous names used to refer to the Feast of Trumpets. And these names give us insight into the meaning of this Feast. These names are:

1.      Teshuvah – Repentance

2.      Rosh HaShanah – New Year; The Head of the Year; Birthday of the world.

3.      Yom Teruah – The Feast of Trumpets; the Awakening Blast. It speaks of resurrection as when the blast sounds it calls the dead back to life.  The Rapture is a resurrection of sorts.

4.      Yom HaDin – The Day of Judgment.

5.      HaMelech – The Coronation of kings occurred on this day. It assumed that the coronation of Messiah would be on a future Feast of Trumpets.

6.      Chevlai shel Mashiach – The Time of Jacob’s Trouble; birth pangs of the Messiah. Perhaps the Seven Year Tribulation will begin at some Feast of Trumpet day (e.g. Daniel 12:1f.; Zephaniah 1:14-16; Matthew 24:7-8).

7.      Kiddushin/Nesu’in – The Wedding Ceremony. The wedding of Messiah will take place on the Feast of Trumpets.

8.      Natzal – The Resurrection.

9.      Shofar HaGadol – The Last Trump: 1 Corinthians 15:52. Turning corruptible into incorruptibility.

10.  Yom Hakeseh – The Hidden Day. Isaiah 26:19-21.

11.  The Opening of the Gates – cf. Revelation 4:1.

There are many things the Feast of Trumpets is associated with, but we should keep in mind that there can be multiple fulfilments on these Feasts. They can have these aspects be fulfilled over time.

The Opening of the Gates. This last name is significant in light of Revelation 4:1 where it states, “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” This verse is a pivotal point in the book of Revelation. In chapter 2-3 we have seven letters of Jesus to seven churches. The church is mentioned nearly 20 times in these two chapters. Revelation 2-3 represent the Church Age. It’s significant that after Revelation 2-3 the Church is not mentioned as being on earth from Revelation 4-18. The Church is nowhere to be found on earth. When did the Church depart from the earth? Revelation 4:1 marks this transition and is likely the point of Rapture of the Church by Jesus. Revelation 4:1 refers to the Rapture. The next time we see the Church she is returning with Her Groom Jesus at the Second Coming (Revelation 19).

“The opening of the gates,” is an intriguing idiom used for the Feast of Trumpets. There’s a good amount of circumstantial evidence. Revelation 6-18 describes a time of seven years of tribulation on earth. It is “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). It is the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy pertaining to Israel (Daniel 9:24-27). It is the “Tribulation” as described by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse. It should be noted that scripture doesn’t indicate that the Tribulation starts directly after the Rapture of the Church.

Lastly, who will blow the trumpet to call the Church home? We don’t have to wait for a Jewish Feast of Trumpets ritual blowing of the trumpets to have Jesus Rapture the Church. Indeed, in Zechariah 9:14 it states, “Then the LORD will be seen over them, and His arrow will go forth like lightening. The Lord God will blow the trumpet, . . .” It’s possible that God Himself will blow the trumpet from heaven, not trumpets blown on earth.

In the Psalms it states, “Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! [Hebrew Teruah] They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance” (Psalm 89:15). Will you be ready to hear the joyful sound of the shout of our Savior Jesus?

Are you ready for the return of Jesus to Rapture His Church? Will the Rapture occur on some future Feast of Trumpets? It’s certainly possible. But what if we’ve miscalculated? What’s the only fail safe in being ready for the return of Jesus? While it is important to take note of and be aware of Hebrew idioms and how they might be playing out in scripture, it’s important not to weigh them too heavily. I don’t mean to speak out of both sides of my mouth. There is tremendously exciting evidence in these idiomatic considerations. And Jesus has fulfilled four of the first seven Holy Feasts of God in His first coming. And He has fulfilled them in the order the Father gave them in the Old Testament. However, we must leave room for the possibility that the Rapture of the Church by Jesus will not come in conjunction with the Feast of Trumpets. We may have miscalculated. That is a possibility. We simply need to prayerfully weigh the evidence and always wait expectantly for our Rapture by Jesus. The only fail safe and sure way to assure being ready for the return of Jesus is to live wholeheartedly for Him all the time. Let’s pray for God to light us on fire with a holy passion that will burn away sin in our lives. Let’s life with an eye always looking for the return of Jesus and an ear always listening for the trumpet of God. [1]

[1] For excellent presentations of this topic see the YouTube video at and . Cf. Also The Feasts of the LORD DVD set by Mark Biltz.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Stringing Pearls from Storms

In rabbinical tradition rabbis have an idiomatic saying called “stringing pearls.” “Stringing pearls” is when a teacher strings together a number of scriptures to make a point. Today I’d like to string some pearls of scripture together that have to do with storms. I do this in light of the series of storms hitting our nation at present.

Hurricane Harvey had unprecedented rainfall. Hurricane Irma is being spoken of as a storm like no other in severity. Hurricane Jose has yet to hit. The storm season is young; there may be others.

There are other types of stormy weather. For the purpose of this article a “storm” is something that comes into the life of a region, a nation, a community, an individual person’s life that causes upheaval and loss. When a storm hits it threatens and causes fear. A storm causes us to ask, “What in the world is going on?”

For instance, in addition to the hurricanes, we have terrible brush fires on the West Coast that are being eclipsed by the onslaught of hurricanes in the South East. There was also a recent 8.1 earthquake in Mexico. We are also told by seismologists that a huge volcano in the South West is likely to blow in the relative near future. They say when it does blow that there will be destruction in a 500-mile radius and effects worldwide. Then there are the man-made storms such as the rioting and hateful divisive conflict and chaos in our country. There are the immigration and border issues. There is the threat of nuclear conflict with North Korea. There’s the threat of global economic collapse. There is the constant tension in the Middle East.

Finally, on top of all of this there are the personal storms in our individual lives. Arguments that escalate to fighting and then broken relations; separation; divorce; bitterness and resentment. There are sinful abuses both verbal, physical and sexual. The world is trying to deal with these problems with personal “safe spaces.” But in reality, there are no safe spaces in this world. No, the only safe way to deal with the storms of life is to go to God and His word and string pearls of His wisdom and revelation together to find understanding and comfort. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).

Jesus said that the only way to weather the storms of life was to build on His word: “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was found on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall” (Matthew 7:24-27). Building on God’s word can turn a storm into a sacred experience. God is able to bring good even from storms. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). I know people who found God because of a storm. I have seen God use a storm to get people’s attention and draw them to Himself in a saving eternal relationship through faith in Jesus Christ.  Yes, God can even use the storms of life, no matter their form, to accomplish His purposes. Let’s string some pearls of scripture.

Pearl #1 – God speaks to us in the storms of life.

God spoke to Elijah out of a whirlwind (1 Kings 19:11-18).  Elijah had just been used by God for a mighty victory. But after the victory he became depressed. That often happens after we’ve been mightily used and expended great energy. But in his depression God brought a storm out of which He spoke to Elijah with a still small voice. God spoke from the storm to calm and encourage Elijah. When you get down and discouraged get alone with God and His word. Don’t make Him have to use a storm to get your attention. If He has to, God will speak through a storm of life.

Jesus told us that leading up to His return there would be “sorrows” or birth pangs that would consist of various stormy activity in the world (Matthew 24:4-8; Luke 21:7-19). The signs we see are an indication, a warning of the times in which we live. Jesus said it would be so. Storms in life are often a shout out from God to get ready because Jesus is on His way. Do you see the storm activity around us? Are you listening? Are you ready for Jesus’ return?

Pearl #2 – God uses storms to get our attention and put us in our place.

Sometimes God will use a storm to shock us into silence. When we’ve been ranting and raving against Him, He will bring a storm or allow a storm to shut us up. In the book of Job, he and his four friends argue for 35 chapters of a 42-chapter book about the cause of Job’s hardships and loss. If they would have prayed before they spoke perhaps God would have lifted the veil of the first two chapters which give us the true source of what is going on. But proceeding without prayer leads to presumption. They have it all wrong. Therefore, God breaks into their conversation with a storm. It’s an incredible and terrible display of natural power by the LORD. In reality God fires for effect targeting the self-reliant confusion and delusions of these humans. And God hits the target dead on. God breaks into the life of Job and his friends with two chapters of pure undiluted power. “Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: ‘Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me” (Job 38:1-3; cf. also 38:4 ff.). Have you needed a storm to shut you up? Have you been railing at God? Maybe it would be better to prayerfully look into God’s word for answers before you indulge in accusations against God. Otherwise, a storm may very well be headed your way.

Pearl #3 - Storms are not always from the LORD.

Insurance companies limit their coverage based on what is and isn’t an “act of God.” Disasters and storms of destruction are attributed to God and therefore not covered by their policies. While God is Sovereign and All-Powerful and He determines whether or not a storm in life is allowed, He is not the Author of all storms. In the book of Job, we see that Satan uses “the fire of God” and a “great wind” to bring destruction on Job to test the quality of his faith (Job 1:13-22). So, keep in mind that storms are not necessarily generated or Authored by God. Sometimes they are a spiritual attack of the enemy. We need to put our spiritual armor on to weather the stormy spiritual attacks fo the enemy (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Pearl #4 – God uses storms to correct us.

Jonah is a case in point here. Jonah was commanded by God to go and preach to Nineveh to give them one last chance to repent of their horrific sins. But Jonah hated the Ninevites. He wanted them smoked. He wanted the LORD to stomp them out. Jonah wanted God Almighty to storm against that heathen people. Jonah didn’t want to heed God’s call and go and preach repentance to the lost Ninevites. He knew if he went and preached to them that because of God’s great grace and mercy He would forgive them and revive them if they repented. Jonah wanted none of that. He wanted pure unadulterated justice in the form of Divine retribution and judgment.

This prophet put his foot down and marched off in the opposite direction to what God had directed him to go. Jonah boarded a ship to Tarshish believed to be the furthermost place away from where he was. He bought a ticket and boarded the ship (evidence that just because a door opens to us, it doesn’t mean it is the LORD’s will.) But God sent a storm of correction to stop Jonah in his tracks. God also sent a fish to swallow Jonah. After three days and nights in the fish-belly, Jonah relented, repented, and returned to Nineveh, preached God to them, and they repented in one of the greatest revivals of all time. Sometimes, unless God intervenes, we can miss out on tremendous blessings. Sometimes God sends a storm of correction to keep us on course.

Pearl #5 – God uses storms to protect us.

Noah lived in terrible times. So bad and deep in sin was the world in his day that God determined to judge the world and press the restart button. A man like Noah who was righteous and holy was in great danger in such a corrupt world (Genesis 6:1-4). He needed protection. The instrument of God’s protection was a worldwide rain storm of global proportions. God destroyed the sinful threat with a storm. And so, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8). He looked into the eyes of God while the storm was building and found grace in God’s face. When was the last time you looked into the eyes of God?

So, if your TV or computer or phone blows up in a stormy blast, well, it may be a storm of protection from the LORD. If your car wont’ start maybe God is delaying you to protect you from and accident. If a dating relationship falls through, maybe God is sparing you greater pain and sorrow. If you don’t get that job you’ve applied for, maybe God has something better for you. Sometimes God sends storms of protection.

Pearl #6 – God uses storms of direction.

In the final chapters of the book of Acts, the Apostle Paul is arrested and transported to Rome by ship. During the course of sailing to Rome a great storm hits the ship and threatens to capsize it. This was really no big deal for Paul. He wasn’t afraid to die. Indeed, he looked forward to meeting His LORD (Philippians 1:21). But on his way to Rome God had some other business for the Apostle to attend to. The storm provides a perfect environment for the unsaved to see God’s peace that surpasses understanding operating in the life of Paul. Furthermore, the storm blows Paul “off course” so that they ship wrecks near the Isle of Crete where they are able to swim to safety. None of those on board perished, just as Paul had prophesied. The unsaved saw the power of God in the life of the Apostle (Acts 27:14-44). In this stormy process Paul was able to practically demonstrate to the unsaved crew and passengers, the value of faith in God to maneuver through the storms of life. And then finally, Paul is able to preach to more unsaved people on the Isle of Crete, demonstrating in a mighty way how not even a venomous snake bite is able to stop God fulfilling His plans in and through Paul. Sometimes God sends storms of direction. When He does, keep attentive to how God might want to use you.

Pearl #7 – God uses storms to perfect us.

To “perfect” means to be completed or brought to maturity; to be what God intended you to be. Storms strengthen us. Faith is like a muscle that needs to be strained under heavy weight in order to be built strong. We are told in the Gospel that one evening, after a long day of ministry, feeding and tending to more than 5,000 people, Jesus sent his disciples across Galilee while He went to recoup in some quite time with God the Father. When night fell a storm kicked up on the waters threatening to capsize the disciple’s boat (Matthew 14:22-32). Notice a few things about this incident.  

First, Jesus sent the disciples into the sea likely knowing they would encounter a storm. The storm was not a product of anything the disciples did. The storm was a part of life. They had obeyed the Lord and were now in a storm. Storms come even when we obey. This storm may have been an attack of the enemy. But Jesus sent them out anyway. Sometimes Jesus directs us into storms.

Second, Stormy waters required hard rowing. Hard rowing builds muscles. When you row with the arms of faith it builds character and spiritual depth.

Third, Jesus came to the disciples in the storm. Jesus didn’t have the disciples avoid the storm, He used the storm to guild their faith. We often seek to avoid the storms of life. Sometimes storms are part of God’s will, part of His overall plan and purpose. Jesus sometimes uses storms to perfect us. Be open to that.

Fourth, Jesus beckoned Peter to come out on the stormy waters with Him. Peter exerted faith and walked on water as long as his eyes were on Jesus. But as soon as he looked at the waters below, he sunk. There’s an important principle in this. Keep your eyes on Jesus in the storm. Just as Noah found grace in the eyes of God, we can find hope and strength in the eyes of Jesus. There is something about a storm that brings us closer to Jesus; deeper in our walk with Him.

Fifth, Jesus told the disciples to be cheerful and unafraid in the storm. With Jesus in the boat we can smile through the storm. When was the last time you responded to a storm with cheer? I’m not talking about a sadistic or masochistic glee that looks forward to pain. I’m talking about a grateful heart that looks at the storms of life as opportunities for God to be glorified.

Sixth, Jesus challenges us in the storm. Jesus challenged them and He challenges us, not to have “little faith,” not to “doubt,” but to have faith in Him to bring us through the storm. If it weren’t for storm sin life we wouldn’t be able to experience and prove the great power of Jesus. Truly If He brings you too it, He will bring you through it!

Pearl #8 – God uses storms to bring us close to Him.

In Psalm 107:23-31 the Psalmist is inspired to speak of how God uses stormy seas to get us to cry out to Him. “Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea. They mount up to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and for, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits end. Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” If you’ve ever watched an episode of Deadliest Catch you know how terrifying a stormy sea can be. Surely, I’m at my “wits end” just watching those waves on TV. I can’t imagine how seamen deal with such waters of the deep. But the fearsome storms lead us to cry out to God. We cling to the LORD in such storms of life. And ultimately such storms should move us to be thankful for the goodness and might of Almighty God who brings us through such terrible storms.

The Bible states, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a successful lawyer and business man. He invested greatly in Christian ministry. He was a close friend of D.L. Moody. Spafford was described as intelligent, refined, deeply spiritual and devoted to God’s word. In 1871, as a consequence of the great Chicago Fire, Spafford’s investments were completely wiped out. Just before this tragedy Spafford’s son died. He was going through a severe storm of testing.

Spafford was exhausted and thought it beneficial to take a break from his business practices and go to England to join D. L. Moody in an evangelistic campaign. So, he planned to take his wife and four remaining daughters by ship to England in 1873. Due to an unexpected business need Spafford was unable to take the voyage with his wife and daughters but sent them ahead in hopes that he would catch up with them later. On November 22, the ship his wife and daughters were on collided with another ship at sea. The ship they were on sank in twelve minutes. Days later having been rescued, Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband the words, “Saved alone.”

Shortly after the heart-breaking cable, Spafford made the voyage to England to join his wife. It’s believed that as he approached the location where the accident occurred, Spafford penned the words which would become one of the most well-known and God used hymns in history. Spafford was moved to write a hymn that has been used by the LORD to bring great comfort to those going through stormy waters in life. It is Well with My Soul is a timeless hymn to help us maneuver the storms of life.

As you read the lyrics to this great hymn, notice where Spafford places his emphasis. He doesn’t dwell on his loss, he focuses on the Lord and His redemptive work That is the right focus. Spafford looks away from the stormy seas and into the eyes of Jesus and finds great solace and strength to weather his storm.

It is Well with My Soul

  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.
    • Refrain:
      It is well with my soul,
      It is well, it is well with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

Maybe, just maybe, God is using the stormy weather to get the attention of our nation. Maybe, just maybe, these storms will be used by God to bring our nation, maybe even you, back to Him. Regardless, when the inevitable storms of life come, keep your eyes on Jesus. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” And remember, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:19). String pearls the next time a storm hits.