Blog Scripture Readings for 10-11 Through 10-17-20

Aside

Parashat B’reisheet — Genesis 1:1 – 6:8
Haftarah — Isaiah 42:5 – 43:10 | 1 Samuel 20:18-42**
Prophets — Joshua 1:1 – 7:26
Writings — Psalms 1:1 – 10:18
Testimony — Matthew 1:1 – 6:34

Our new annual Scripture Reading Schedule for 2020-2021 with daily readings that begins this week is now available to download and print. The link to the previous 2019-2020’s Scripture Reading Schedule will still be available on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links” into next year. If you are using a mobile device or tablet, the link may be below, meaning you’ll need to scroll down instead.

Most of this week’s blog discussion points will be on these passages. If you have general comments or questions on the weekly Scripture readings not addressed in a blog post, here’s a place for you to post those. Just use the “leave a reply” link or the “share your thoughts” box below.

The full “Read Through The Scriptures In A Year” schedule, broken down by each day, can be found on the right sidebar under “Helpful Links.” There are 4 sections of scripture to read each day: one each from the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and from the Testimony of Yeshua. Each week, the Torah and haftarah readings will follow the traditional one-year reading cycle.

** A different Haftarah is read when it is a special sabbath in Jewish tradition. This week it is Shabbat Machar Chodesh on the traditional calendar. Otherwise, Isaiah 42:5 – 43:10 would be read.

Weekly Blog Scripture Readings for 10/11 through 10/17/2020.

 

Happy End of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret 2020!

As we close out this year’s Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) and Shemini Atzeret (the Eighth Day), our family would like to wish you and glorious rest of the year as we enter into the dark winter season in preparation for a new feast season next biblical year starting with Passover.

By the way, please feel free to share with us your praise reports and testimonies of how you were blessed this year at Sukkot. You can do this in the comments section of this post.

The Nathan and Sandi Lawrence family gathered together on the Shemini Atzeret after a Bible study.
Sunset of Sukkot on the Deschutes River a couple of blocks from temporary home.
Shemini Atzeret morning on the Deschutes River with a gentle rain falling to wash the dust off of everything, to water the land, and to clear the forest fire smoke out of the air. This coming year, may the gentle rain of the Holy Spirit and the water of YHVH’s Torah-Word clean and refresh us and water the ground of our hearts, so that we can bring forth a bountiful spiritual harvest for our Heavenly Father. Amein.
 

My Notes on Revelation Chapters 20–22 on the Millennium and Eternity

Revelation 20

Revelation 20:1, Bottomless pit. (See notes at Deut 32:22; 2 Pet 2:4; Rev 9:1. Also see notes at Isa 14:18–21.)

Revelation 20:4, A thousand years. This is but one of six references in the Bible to the Millennium lasting for one thousand years. The other references are found in the surrounding verses (vv. 2, 3, 5, 6, 7). Even then, some biblical students still question the idea of the Millennium and categorize it as a NT concept only and, therefore, feel they can relegate it to the realm of the allegorical. An understanding of the prophetic implications of the seventh day Sabbath should settle this question once and for all. In traditional Jewish thought, the seven days of creation picture the time man will be on this physical earth. Six days (for six days or six thousand years) man does his own work, while on the seventh day (or one thousand years) he rests and fellowships with Elohim. This is a picture of the millennial rest, which the Jewish sages have long called the Messianic Era, which is yet to come. The Millennium is not uniquely a Christian or NT concept, but is rooted in Judaism going back before the Christian era. For example, the writer of Hebrews juxtaposes the Sabbath and the Millennium in Hebrews chapter seven when he compares Joshua taking the Israelites into the Promised Land with Yeshua taking the saints into the Sabbath, millennial rest of our spiritual inheritance.

Revelation 20:5, The rest of the dead. This phrase is a parenthetical thought. Before and after this phrase, the author is discussing those who will be part of the first resurrection, which occurs at Yeshua’s second coming. Later in the same chapter, John goes on to discuss what happens to the rest of the dead (vv. 12–13).

Revelation 20:7–21:1, Events after the Millennium. The events in these verses appear to be chronological and occur after the Millennium. In Rev 20:2ff John seems to be receiving a pre-millennial flashback vision. (See my discussion on these verses.)

Revelation 20:8, The four corners. These rebels who will inhabit the millennial earth have removed themselves as far as possible from Jerusalem, which is the seat of King Yeshua’s rule and is at the center of the earth.

Revelation 20:9, Fire came down from heaven. If the New Jerusalem, the seat of Yeshua’s millennial government, is hovering over the earthly Jerusalem during the Millennium, then this is the source of the fire or Yeshua’s judgment against the rebels who dare to defy his divine governance.

Revelation 20:10, The devil…lake of fire. (See notes at Deut 32:22; 2 Pet 2:4; Rev 9:1.)

Tormented forever.The devil as a spirit either can only be contained, but not destroyed meaning Elohim is not all-powerful, or, more likely, Elohim will allow the devil to exist, though in a place of torment, as an on-going example and testimony to his sovereign greatness and power over evil.

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Lawrence Family Fun at Sukkot

Moses overlooking the Promised Land? Well not quite, but a happy thought nevertheless. It is Nathan overlooking the high mountain desert of Central Oregon atop Smith Rocks—Oregon’s “Mount Sinai”—where he and his family are celebrating Sukkot/the Feast of Tabernacles 2020.

Hello everyone. Hope you’re having a great Sukkot wherever you may be.

My first Sukkot was in 1960, and I’ve been privileged to celebrate Sukkots in various places in the U.S., in Canada and in France. I’ve been apart of Sukkot gatherings with thousands of attendees, and in many with only small groups of hundreds, tens or just my family as is the case this year.

For our family and since I was a little child, the Feast of Tabernacles has always been the highpoint of our year. And it well should be because of what this biblical feast represents in Bible prophecy—a coming time called the Millennium when Yeshua has returned, and has destroyed the New World Order which the Bible refers to as Mystery Babylon the Great with all of its Satan-worshiping and Elohim-hating cast of character. During this time, which some forward-thinking people have referred to as “the world tomorrow”, Yeshua will establish his world-ruling kingdom and rule with his resurrected and glorified king and priest saints teaching the physical humans on this earth the ways and Truth of YHVH Elohim. At this time, Satan will have been bound and placed in the abyss for 1000 years and the world will be at peace as the glory of YHVH covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. It is this paradisiacal time that Sukkot prophetically portrays.

Each year at Sukkot, traditionally my family and I have vacated the city where we live (our “Babylon”) for some beautiful and idyllic place on earth where we can enjoy a small foretaste of Yeshua’s millennial kingdom. This is also why we colloquial refer to Sukkot simply as “the Feast,” for it is a time to rejoice in YHVH Elohim and the blessing he has lovingly and graciously bestowed on us during the past year. Sukkot also represents and points to the marriage feast of the Lamb of Elohim.

In preparation for this “vacation,” we save our feast tithe (or a biblically mandated “vacation fund”) as Scripture commands to help finance our time “away from it all.” During this time, we follow Scripture and use our money to bless others, and to buy whatever our hearts desire and to feast joyfully including with “wine and strong drink.” As we read,

You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses.  And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before the LORD your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and your new wine and your oil, of the firstborn of your herds and your flocks, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, when the LORD your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which the LORD your God chooses. And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the LORD your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you. (Deuteronomy 14:23–27)

Now some more Hebraic-minded saints declare that it’s impossible to keep the biblical feasts including Sukkot exactly how the Torah commands, and so they take the minimalist approach to scriptural obedience and use this as a justification for not doing the feasts at all. Over the years I have directly confronted this mindset and shown from Scripture how YHVH favors and desires a heart that is inclined to serve him “the best we can” regardless of our location or circumstances. Instead of finding reasons and excuses why we can’t obey him by keeping his feasts, I prefer to look for every reason why we can obey him. This shows him that our hearts are inclined toward obedience and we are endeavoring to love him in so doing. If we fall short in our obedience, his grace covers us. This is a better approach and heart and mind orientation than that of looking for any excuse not to obey him. And truthfully, YHVH has blessed our family immensely both physically and spiritually as he have endeavored to obey him the best we can as imperfect as it may be.

So some of you may be wondering what we do during Sukkot. For the 18 years Sandi and I pastored a local congregation, we sponsored regional Sukkot gatherings where dozens up to a couple of hundred feast-goers came and celebrated. During this time, we scheduled daily meetings, teachings, praise and worship gatherings, family events and activities, group meals and much more. Needless to say, this kept Sandi and I busy organizing, setting up, tearing down, and overseeing and leading. It has been a couple of years since we “retired” from that, and after we did, it all died since no one was willing pick up that mantle and carry on that work. It was a lot of hard work that few were willing to help us with. Since then, because we have no congregation or group to meet with, we simply gather together as a family, which is our own personal tribe where I am the “patriarch.” During Sukkot, on the high holy day Shabbats, I lead my family in prayer, Bible study and music as we endeavor to rest and keep the sanctity of the day. During the rest of the week, we do our best to keep our hearts and minds on the meaning of Sukkot while, at the same time, building family relationships by engaging in fun activities.

So why am I sharing all of this with you? Simply for this reason. Perhaps our example of how we celebrate Sukkot will inspire you and yours to do the same and to find the blessing therein even as we have. We have found that whenever we obey YHVH, there is always a blessing to be found including temporally vacating spiritual Babylon, meeting with Elohim at his appointed times, building relationships with family and friends, and inspiring ourselves to look upwards toward him and toward a future better world that is coming soon where Yeshua the Messiah will be the King of kings.

HalleluYah! Maranatha!! Yeshua come quickly. The grace of our Master Yeshua the Messiah be with you all. Amein

Nathan at Lava Cast Forest standing in a hole made as lava flowed around trees thousands of years ago.
Our daughter Lucy, Sandi and Charlie the dog out for a hike in the mountains.
Nathan playing stick with Charlie our grand-dog.
Jared, Lucy with Charlie.
Smith Rocks State Park—Oregon’s Mount Sinai. Jared and I started a the bottom and did the Moses thing and hiked to the top.
Nathan at the top of Smith Rock, our local “Mount Sinai.”
Natana and his sons doing a very guy and American thing at a local shooting range.
Nathan trying out Aaron’s AR-15.
Aaron and Jared at the shooting range being politically correct with their Covid-masks. Although they may look like Antifa terrorists, they’re very anti-Antifa and all the wickednesss that it represents.
 

A Quick Summary of the Final Events in the Book of Revelation

What happens after the return of Yeshua to this earth — after he has put down all of his enemies in battle (Zech 14:1–3; Rev 17:14; 19:11–21)? This we know. He shall set his feet on the Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4) even as he ascended from the same place (Acts 1:9–12), and YHVH-Yeshua shall become king over the earth (Zech 14:9). He shall be King of kings (Rev 17:14; 19:16) and rule with a rod of iron over the whole earth (Rev 12:5; 19:15) for one thousand years (Rev 20:2, 3, 4, 6, 7). This is commonly referred to as the Millennium. This is the earth that Yeshua declared that the meek would inherit (Matt 5:5).

A Quick Overview of the Millennium

What will the 1000 year-long Millennium be like? The Scriptures give us some insights into life on earth during this time.

  • Elohim will live with his people. (Ezek 37:26–28)
  • David will rule as King over Israel (Ezek 37:24–25)
  • YHVH’s annual feast will be kept by all people (Ezek 46:3–6; cf. Col 2,16–17)
  • YHVH’s government will be established on Mount Zion in Jerusalem: Torah will go forth from Mount Zion and the nations will go up to Mount Zion to worship YHVH in the house (temple) of YHVH (Mic 4:1–2)
  • A Highway of YHVH, or a highway of holiness will lead to Zion. (Isa 35:8–10)
  • Whether literal or spiritual, living waters will flow from Jerusalem and Yeshua’s throne. Water was flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (Ezek 47:1; Zech 14:8)
  • On the bank of the river there were very many trees on each side (Ezek 47:6–9)
  • People will live to a very old age. (Isa 65:20)
  • Crowds of people will flock to Jerusalem. (Zech 2:1–4; Isa 49:14)
  • The temple in Jerusalem will be rebuilt. (Zech 6:15; 14:20–21; Hag 2:6–9)
  • The Messiah will be king over the whole world. (Zech 6:9–13; Isa 11:1–5; Rev 20:6; 5:9–10)
  • The nations which do not want to serve and obey YHVH will be destroyed. (Isa 60:12; Zech 14:16–19; Isa 9:5–7)

What Happens After the Millennium?

After the thousand years is completed, Satan the devil who has been bound in the bottomless pit (Rev 20:1–3) will be released briefly to test those on earth as to their faithfulness to King Yeshua (verses 7–8). The devil will then be cast into the lake of fire forever (verse 10).

Next is the final judgment day — commonly called the great white throne judgment. At that time, all the dead, and any others who have died in Yeshua and have yet to receive their reward of eternal life, will be raised from the dead to stand before the Almighty. Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:11–15).

As discussed earlier, I believe that the New Jerusalem will come into view at Yeshua’s return where it will be hovering over the earth during the wrath of Elohim period and during the 1000 year-long Millennium. However, the Scriptures speak of a new heavens and new earth (Isa 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1).

Before this happens, something very dramatic must first happen.

The Heavens and Earth to Pass Away; Arrival of New Heavens and Earth

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Enjoying a Restful Sukkot in Sunriver, Oregon

So far, Sandi and I have been enjoying a joyously restful Sukkot in Sunriver, Oregon with the snow-covered Cascade points to the west and the pine, juniper and sagebrush high desert to the east.

Our days have been filled with resting, relaxing with three of our four children and the spouses of two of them. On the first high holy day Shabbat, we had a Bible study and our daughter and her husband in another state joined us via FaceTime through a laptop computer. We prayed, waved our lulavim and sounded the shofar. We will do the same thing on the last high day Shabbat along with singing songs accompanied by our son who plays guitar. At our home, we’re having a little Sukkot-oriented Bible study each day to help us to keep our upward focus on YHVH. For myself, I start out each with prayer—often a walk or bike ride by the river along with a Bible study. Of our course, I’m privilege to interact with some of you through this blog as well and to hear how your are doing at this season of our joy. I’ve also had the privilege of speaking with some scattered Feast-keeping friends in different states via phone. The rest of the time, we are filling our days with feasting on good food, and fun indoor and outdoor activities with our family.

Along the way, we’ve had the chance to visit with several of my less Hebraic-minded cousins who are also celebrating the Feast here. At one time many decades ago, four generations of our family (more than 30 of us) would celebrate Sukkot together when we were all in the same church. Over the years, after church splits, and churches coming and going, many of my family members have either died, abandoned their faith, or are now in different churches or none at all (like Sandi and me). After all of this, a few of us who are left have kind of gotten together when we can to socialize a bit. Tonight we’ll host a couple of our cousins over for a barbecue dinner, and on Friday I’ll be going to lunch with two of my older guy cousins who I grew up with and who now are grandfathers.

Wow, it’s hard to imagine how much water has flowed under the bridge over past 60 years of my life. We all have our own stories to tell of the good, the bad and ugly, so to speak. My head spins in amazement of all that I have seen in this time. But through it all, I give praise and thanksgiving to YHVH Elohim who, for some reason, has kept me on his straight and narrow path, and kept me seeking him. To be sure, I am an and inexorable “God-chaser!!! I just can’t help myself, for it has been my destiny since I was a child. To YHVH be all the glory.

Nathan and Sandi enjoying a walk along the river.
A quiet moment of reflection in YHVH’s outdoors.
Deer regularly stroll past our backdoor.
 

What Is the “Day” of YHVH’s Wrath?

The Day of YHVH’s Wrath

There comes a time in the chronology of end times events that accompany the return of Yeshua when YHVH will pour out his wrath upon rebellious men. The Bible refers to this as “the day of YHVH” or “the day of his wrath” — a phrase which occurs more than two dozen times in prophetic writings of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Zephaniah, Zechariah and Malachi. What is this day? 

Is the “day of YHVH’s wrath” a literal day, or a time period, since the Hebrew word for day (Heb. yom)can mean both? The prophet Isaiah may give us a clue. In several places, he mentions “the day of YHVH’s vengeance” (or words to this effect). This is the time period when YHVH will judge the nations including Babylon the Great, which is in existence at Yeshua’s second coming (see Rev 17, 18 and 19). In three places, Isaiah indicates that the day of YHVH will last for one year (Isa 34:8; 61:2 and 63:4). Interestingly, in Isaiah 63:4, the prophet couples the idea of the day of YHVH’s vengeance being a year long with the jubilee year — “the year of my redeemed has come.” This occurs as the Messiah (the subject of Isa 63:1–6) judges the enemies of Israel (notably Edom) as he is at the same time about to redeem (i.e. regather and return scattered Israel to its Promised Land inheritance.) It appears that while Yeshua is judging Israel’s enemies at his second coming, he will at the same time begin regathering the lost and scattered 12 tribes of Israel in a major way. Yeshua seems to allude to this in Matthew 24:31

What Is the Wrath of YHVH/Elohim?

In the Book of Revelation, the term wrath of God/Elohim or similar language is found ten times in reference to YHVH’s fierce judgments against unrepentant and rebellious sinners. It is my belief that these judgments are yet to occur and are connected with the end times just prior to the return of Yeshua the Messiah.

But in the context of the full counsel of YHVH’s Word, what specifically is the wrath of Elohim/YHVH?

The term “the wrath of Elohim” or similar language is used in numerous places in the Scriptures, and refers to YHVH’s bringing severe judgments against men for their wickedness. Listed below are all the instances in the Scriptures where the phrase “the wrath of Elohim” or similar language is found.

  • The wrath of Elohim came upon the children of Israel when they rebelled against YHVH (Ps 78:31).
  • All those who are ungodly will experience the wrath of Elohim eventually (John 3:36; Eph 5:6; Rom 1:18; 2:5–8; Col 3:6).
  • YHVH’s wrath was evidenced at various times against the ancient Israelites (2 Chron 24:18; 29:10; 2 Chron 30:8; 2 Chron 36:16; Ezra 5:12; Ezek 5:13; 7:19; 8:18).
  • Elohim’s wrath came against the nations at various times for their wickedness (Jer 10:10; Nah 1:2; Jer 25:15; Mic 5:15; 2 Pet 2:9).
  • YHVH’s wrath was expressed against Jerusalem at its fall (Isa 51:17, 20).
  • YHVH’s wrath was expressed against Edom (Isa 63:3, 5, 6; Ezek 36:5–6).
  • YHVH’s wrath was expressed against the nations for their wickedness toward Israel (Deut 32: 41,42; Mic 5:15; Zec 8:2).
  • YHVH’s wrath will be poured out in end times against his enemies (Isa 66:15).
  • The seven trumpets of the Book of Revelation are the wrath of Elohim (Rev 6:16–17).
  • The seven bowl judgments of the Book of Revelation are the wrath of Elohim (Rev 11:18; 14:10; 15:1, 7; 16:1,19).

As we can see from the evidence, the Bible records numerous “wrath of Elohim” events at various times throughout the long time span of biblical history. Whenever YHVH intervenes in the affairs of men and brings judgment against the wicked, this is the wrath of Elohim. In this study, we are dealing with the wrath of Elohim in the last days prior to the return of Yeshua as prophesied in the Book of Revelation.

When Does the Period of YHVH’s Wrath — the “Day” of YHVH Begin?

As noted earlier in this study, the end times wrath of Elohim occurs after the great tribulation. This we know from Matthew 24:29 where Yeshua describes events that will occur “immediately after the tribulation.” These events (the sun be darkened, the moon not giving its light, the stars falling from heaven, and the powers of heaven being shaken) occur at the sixth seal, which describes identical cosmic disturbances (Rev 6:12), and this event is described as the beginning of the day of YHVH’s wrath (verse 16).

At this time, Yeshua will be coming in the clouds of heaven (Matt 24:30) in the midsts of great heavenly signs and wonders (verse 29; Rev 6:12–14), and he will gather his elect from the four corners of the earth (verse 31; Rev 7:1–16). But the Scriptures still don’t say that he has “touched down” on earth yet. All eyes will see him in the earth’s atmosphere (Matt 24:30). They shall all see “the face of him who sits on the throne” and will know that the time of “the wrath of the Lamb” has come (Rev 6:16). Where else do we see the throne of Elohim and the Lamb together? The Book of Revelation records several instances where this occurs (Rev 5:1, 6, 13; 7:10,17; cp. 21:23; 22:3). Revelation 21:23 and 22:3 tie the throne of Elohim, the Lamb (Yeshua), the temple of Elohim with the New Jerusalem. They are together. What can we make of this? Fasten your seat belts! The answer may surprise you. It is very likely that when Yeshua appears in the clouds, he will be accompanied by the New Jerusalem, the heavenly temple and the throne of Elohim. In other words, in a certain sense, heaven will “descend” into the earth’s atmosphere, and will come into view just after the great tribulation and at the sixth seal. It seems very possible, if my analysis is correct, that the New Jerusalem may be hovering in the earth’s atmosphere (where the clouds are) for all humans to see with their natural eyes!

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