A Feast to Remember

March 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Dianne E. Butts –

Thanksgiving is perhaps the most famous feast in America. As we prepare to celebrate our American feast, you might be interested in a little history and information on the Jewish Feasts. God gave the Jews seven feasts to observe. These feasts are both historical and prophetic, meaning they both remind the Jews of their history with God and point to future events prophetically.

Now, I have called them the Jewish feasts because God gave them to the Jewish people in the Old Testament, however they are actually meant for all people, which is why they are really called the Feasts of the LORD.

Speaking prophetically, the first four Feasts have occurred. Three occurred very close together, then a gap of time before the fourth. Then a larger gap of time passes to the (yet-unfulfilled) remaining and final three in our future. Here are the Feasts of the LORD:

1. Passover occurs in the spring of the year and lasts one day. On the Jewish calendar it is the 14th of Nisan. It corresponds to the Christian Easter, except that Easter is always on Sunday which is why it seems to move around our calendar. Historically, for 1,500 years, from the time of the first Passover in Moses’ day, the Jews killed the Passover lamb on Nisan 14. Prophetically: Jesus, the ultimate Passover Lamb, was crucified on Passover.

2. Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on Nisan 15 and is seven days long. At the first Passover, God instructed the Jews to make bread without leaven. Historically, in the Bible leaven almost always represents sin and Jews spend time in the spring cleaning the leaven (sin) out of their lives and homes. Prophetically: Jesus was the bread that feeds the world without leaven (sin).

3. Feast of First Fruits: begins on Nisan 18, literally within the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Historically it celebrates the first harvest of barley after God brought His people into the Promised Land. Prophetically: Jesus was raised on the third day, the first fruits of the harvest.

4. Feast of Pentecost is the Feast of Weeks, seven weeks of seven days after Passover. Pentecost is on the 50th day. Historically it remembers the Law coming down from God to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Prophetically: Jesus, who paid the death-penalty for the breaking of God’s Law, ascended to heaven on the fortieth day after His resurrection. The Holy Spirit descended upon the church on Pentecost.

5. Feast of Yom Teruah, also known as Rosh Hashanah, is the Feast of Trumpets. This is the first of the three feasts in the fall of the year. Historically, this day is known as “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble,” “The Day of the Awakening [Trumpet] Blast,” “Yom HaDin” (The Opening of the Books”), and “Yom HaKeseh” (The Hidden Day). Prophetically: This is the next feast to be fulfilled on God’s prophetic calendar, and many believe the Tribulation will begin on this day in some coming year.

6. Feast of Yom Kippur.  Historically celebrates The Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for those people who believe in, trust in, and love God. Prophetically: Israel calls upon Messiah.

7. Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of Succoth or Booths. Historically the Jews built booths of sticks to “tabernacle” or live with God. Prophetically: When God/Messiah will come to “tabernacle” or live among us.

The Jewish holidays Purim and Hanukkah also appear on the calendar, but these are not original, prophetic Feasts of the Lord. Purim remembers the near slaughter of the Jews in the book of Esther. Hanukkah remembers the re-taking and purification of the Temple by Judas Maccabaeus in about 164 BC.

This article has been re-posted with a correction: Jesus did not ascend to heaven on Pentecost as the article stated, but 40 days after His resurrection.

Here Comes Harold Camping’s October 21, 2011!

February 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Dianne E. Butts –

Last spring, Harold Camping made national news when he predicted the Rapture would occur May 21, 2011. What’s the Rapture? It is an event that many Christians believe will occur during the “End Times,” which we talked about a little in my column last month.

One of the foundational beliefs of Christianity is that Jesus will return to earth—as an adult, just like when He died, alive and powerful. We believe this because Scripture tells us so in many places. Here are just couple:

  • Jesus Himself talked about His coming. Three of the four gospel writers recorded this conversation: Matthew in his book’s chapter 24, Mark in chapter 13, and Luke in 21. Jesus talked about many things that would happen just before He comes, including wars, earthquakes, and natural disasters that would increase in intensity and frequency like a woman’s birth pangs.
  • Also, as the resurrected Jesus was ascending into heaven, two angels appeared suddenly and said, “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

Some Christians believe that just before His second coming, the Rapture will take place. The Rapture is when all true Christians are suddenly whisked away, taken out of the world to meet the Lord. This belief is based on Bible verses like 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, which says in part, “…we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.”

The Bible describes the “End Times” as the last seven years of human history as we know it, known as the great “Tribulation.” This seven year period is divided into two halves of three and a half years each. Some Christians believe the Rapture will occur at the beginning of the seven years, as sort of a kick-off event. Others believe it will take place at the halfway point.

Harold Camping said he’d done some calculations (I don’t know what) and that the Rapture would occur on May 21, 2011. But on May 22 we were still here. Quickly afterwards media reported he said he had miscalculated or that God was giving us another five months—until  October 21, 2011.

Since May, I’ve heard Harold Camping called a false prophet. And that is true, because a true prophet of God can’t be wrong. If a “prophet’s” prediction does not come true, it was not from God and so he or she is a false prophet.

However Mr. Camping sure had people talking. And I think that’s a good thing. I heard one radio talk show on a mainstream (meaning not “Christian”) radio station with a host that was Jewish. He was asking questions about the “Rapture” and Christians were calling in explaining what that meant. The host just kept saying he was blown away by how well-informed the Christians were!

Only nineteen days after Mr. Camping’s failed prediction, on June 9th, he suffered a stroke from which he is still recovering. I found myself wondering if Harold Camping would live to see October 21, 2011, or if his own personal “rapture” would occur by then. Whether his stroke was a judgment from God or not I’ll let you decide.

But I believe God can use even false prophets for His glory and I hope even more people are talking and thinking about God this October. And I hope Christians will continue to talk about what they know, because there are people out there who are curious, are listening, and are taking note.

Remember September 11th – About the Muslims – Part 2

December 13, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Dianne E. Butts –

Continuing from last month, as we mark the tenth anniversary of the attack on America on September 11, 2001, here are two more Questions and Answers excerpted from Dear America: A Letter of Comfort and Hope to a Grieving Nation (still available on Amazon.com):

Q: Muslims say they worship the same God as Christians and Jews. Does the Allah of Islam differ from the God of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible? 

A: Yes. Here are three big differences:

1. Muslims believe Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus were prophets, but Mohammed was the final and greatest prophet. Islam lowers Jesus to just another prophet and just another man equal with Abraham, Moses, and the others. But Jesus was not just a prophet—Jesus was and is the Son of God!

2. Muslims believe each person is attended by two angels, one to record their sins and one to record their good deeds. The good deeds are weighed against the bad to determine a person’s eternity. But the Bible clearly teaches that even one sin brings about the consequence of death. No amount of good deeds can “undo” our sin. The only way to eternal life after sin is to accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

3. In the days following the Attack on America, I heard a Muslim gentleman call in to a radio talk show and explain that his religion is “The Third Great Religion.” He said the Jewish faith was the first great religion, Christianity was the second, and Islam is the third, implying that religion “evolves” and older religions become outdated and are replaced. Muslims believe their Koran is the holiest book and supersedes all previous revelations of God (meaning the Koran supersedes the Bible).

However, when Jesus hung dying on the cross…, his final words were “It is finished” (John 19:30). There is nothing left to be done or said or written.

Judaism sets the stage for Christianity. Christianity fulfills Judaism. There is no “Third Great Religion.” There isn’t even a “Second Great Religions.” There is only one true religion, and that is Judaism fulfilled in Christianity.

End of story. It is finished.

Q: Was the Attack on America part of the “End Times” Christians talk about? And why do Christians get so excited about those dreaded “End Times”? 

A: I don’t know if September 11 was specifically a part of the “End Times.” But in a sense, everything that occurs is leading us to and moving us toward that time.

The “End Times” refer to the final seven years of human history described in the Bible in books such as Daniel and Revelation. This will be the most dreadful time, “For then there will be great distress, unequaled form the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” (Matthew 24:21). But Christians, as crazy as it sounds, get excited about the End Times for several reasons:

–  The End Times culminate with the return of Jesus Christ.

–  The End Times is the final battle between God and evil, and God wins!

–  Following the End Times, God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). That’s a lot to look forward to! But the only people who will enjoy this eternal peace in heaven with God are those who choose to trust him, love him, and follow him here in this life. Are you among us?

Remember September 11th – About the Muslims – Part 1

November 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Dianne E. Butts –

Next month will mark the tenth anniversary of the attack on America on September 11, 2001. In the days following September 11th, many of us were looking for answers. And we had a lot of questions.

We knew little about Muslims, what they believe, or the religion of Islam. I set out to find answers to some of my questions. And in the days following the attacks, as a writer what could I do but write? I ended up with my small book, titled Dear America: A Letter of Comfort and Hope to a Grieving Nation (still available on Amazon.com).

One chapter is a Q&A section. This month and next I’ll share some of those questions and answers.

Q: Everyone claims their religion is the true religion. How can we know what is true? 

A: The Bible actually proves itself. How? First God tells us what he is going to do, then he does it.

For example, in Ezekiel, God promised to restore Israel as a nation saying, “I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD” (Ezekiel 27:14, emphasis mine).

God tell us what he will do before he does it for two reasons: 1) so that we will know he is the one who did it, and 2) so when we see things going on around us, we won’t be afraid because we know God is at work bringing about his promises.

Another example is in Genesis 3:15 where God promised to send a man (the offspring of the woman) who would crush Satan. This promise was fulfilled when Jesus was born, died on the cross, and was resurrected from the dead destroying Satan’s death grip on us and paying the penalty of death for sin.

A third example is the birth of Jesus Christ being foretold in Isaiah 9 and his death being described in great detail in Isaiah 53. But here’s the kicker—the prophet Isaiah lived and wrote more than 700 years before the birth of Christ!

Only the True God can foretell these things and then see them through to completion.

Q: Who are the Muslims? 

A: Muslims are the descendants of Ishmael and those who follow the religion of Islam.

God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham promising him several things: a son and countless descendants, that he would be the father of many nations, he would be given a land (the “Promised Land,” Israel), and God would bless all the people of the earth through him.

When Abraham and his wife, Sarah, remained childless, Sarah, according to ancient customs, gave Abraham her maidservant to bear him an heir. Hagar bore him Ishmael.

However, Ishmael was not the son of the promise. Later, Sarah bore Abraham a son, Isaac, and God made it clear that Isaac, the son with Abraham’s wife, was the son of the promise (see Genesis 17:18-21). Abraham’s descendants through Isaac are the Jews, God’s chosen people.

The Muslims, however, believe they are God’s chosen people descended through Ishmael, and cite their own book, the Koran. Can you now see why there is such a great conflict between these two peoples?

Q: Where did the religion of Islam come from?

A: Around 570 AD, Mohammed was born near the city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. When he was 40, Mohammed claims he had a vision of the archangel Gabriel in a cave near Mecca. Mohammed wrote down the instructions he received and these writing form the basis of the Koran (also spelled Quran).

The word “Islam” means “submission,” indicating submission to Allah, the Muslim’s word for God.

Whatever Mohammed saw and received, though, was not from the True God if it does not lead followers to the True God—and Jesus Christ is God come “in the flesh.”

Independence Day Brings Echoing Strains of Taps

September 19, 2019 by  
Filed under Faith, Faith Articles

By Dianne E. Butts –

The Fourth of July brings many images to mind as we celebrate our independence and the founding of our beloved country. The rocket’s red glare. Bombs bursting in air. Or today’s edition of those images: fireworks.

American flags fluttering from houses. Parades. Veterans. Everything patriotic. God and country.

Not far from our thoughts are many, many veterans who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. If we are still and listen carefully, we can hear echoing through time or our thoughts or a not too distant cemetery, the familiar strains of “Taps.”

A lone bugler stands over a funeral and puffs out the song perfectly. Military personnel stand at attention. A flag is draped over the casket. Hands cover hearts. A tear comes to every eye.

We’ve all heard it. We may even sing along the familiar tune and the first few words: Day is done. Gone the sun…

But beyond that, do you know the words? Did you know there are actually several verses to “Taps”? Here are the surprisingly comforting words to this familiar “funeral song”:

“Taps”

Day is done, gone the sun,

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;

All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

 

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,

May the soldier or sailor, God keep.

On the land or the deep, Safe in sleep.

 

Fading light, dims the sight,

And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.

From afar, drawing nigh, falls the night.

 

Thanks and praise, for our days,

‘Neath the sun, ‘neath the stars, ‘neath the sky;

As we go, this we know, God is nigh.

 

Sun has set, shadows come,

Time has fled, Scouts must go to their beds.

Always true to the promise that they made.

 

While the light fades from sight,

And the stars gleaming rays softly send,

To thy hands we our souls, Lord, commend.

 

(As found on http://www.countrygoldusa.com/taps.asp, May 28, 2007.)

Next Page »