Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Passover: Foreshadow of the Two Witnesses & the Rapture

Passover: Rapture Foreshadow

If you have been to an Easter Sunday service, the chances are you have heard about the correlation between Christ and the Passover Lamb when God’s people fled Egypt. As I spoke with the Lord about the Passover message for this year, He pointed out that it was also a foreshadow of what is to come. There many parts of Passover that are a direct foreshadow of one aspect of the Tribulation.
  1. The Setting
  2. The Job
  3. The Climax
  4. The Payment
  5. The Reward
  6. The Rapture
These six things were echoed in the life of Jesus and the life of the two that will come to proclaim His return and the rapture itself.


1. The Setting

Moses and Aaron

Moses didn’t think himself able to speak to Pharaoh, so he and Aaron addressed Pharaoh. They were coming against the biggest ruling power in their time: Egypt. This ruling power was set against God and His people.

Jesus 

He came to battle the spiritual authority over this world, Satan. When Adam and Eve chose to listen to Satan as he operated through the form of a snake, they gave authority over Satan. This can be seen in these two scriptures:
In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not… (2 Corinthians 4:4)
Satan had power in this word. Jesus came to get it back. This was the real battle. It was for the ownership of the Earth.
Know you not, that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey; (Romans 6:16)
When we obey either God or Satan, we become servants to them. This meant Jesus would have to only obey God and never sin in order to take back power over this world. Our Lord resisted all temptation and was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. This is why when Jesus rose, ALL authority was given to Him; He was victorious!

The Two Witnesses 


There is a final battle with evil that is coming: the Tribulation. Satan will try to take over once more, using a man the Bible refers to as the Antichrist. Anti means opposite. This man will be doing the opposite of what Christ did. He will come into power and be a world, backed by a false prophet. During this time, God will send two witnesses to oppose him.

2. The Job

Moses and Aaron 

These two men spoke what God told them to say and He moved.
In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. (2 Corinthians 13:1)
It was their agreement and the words they spoke that allowed God to move against Egypt so that His people could be set free. Moses and Aaron declared God’s judgement and His will, and it was done. They irritated Pharaoh when they called down ten plagues upon Egypt, the nation and people who had set themselves against God. There is no Biblical information about how long they did this job before the grand finale.

Jesus 

Jesus only did what He saw His Father doing. When He spoke, people became free of sickness, disease, and all manner of demonic oppression and infirmities. This was coming directly against the powers of Satan as He healed people and set them free from the enemy’s power. The spiritual authorities of Jesus’ time were greatly irritated by the miracles He did which clearly shows what side they were on.

The Two Witnesses 

All of the Jewish nation was waiting for Elijah because it was prophesied that he would come and prepare the way for the Messiah. They set an extra plate with a cup of wine at every passover for Elijah. Despite this fact, many of God’s people failed to recognize that John the Baptist was wearing the mantle of Elijah, he was the fulfillment of the prophecy.

John was born as a man and had a ministry which concluded as Jesus moved to the center stage. The two witnesses described in Revelation may carry the mantles of Moses, Elijah, or Enoch, however, just like John, they will be born on this earth and have a ministry before the final conclusion spoken of in Revelation. There is no doubt that these two will begin to set people free long before the final three years.

Like Moses and Aaron, there is no telling how long this prequel to the finale will be. They will come against the powers of the age, declaring what God tells them to. This is to get people ready for the final return of the Lord.

3. The Climax 

Moses and Aaron 

This dynamic duo achieved one of the main goals God had for their destinies as the last plague was pronounced over Egypt: it is known as Passover. Every first-born child would die unless they had the blood of a lamb to cover their house, which was a sign for the angel of death to passover that family. God commanded His people to always remember that final moment in a feast called Passover.
In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house…  And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening… (Exodus 12:2 & 6 AKJV)
Notice the feast starts on the tenth and ends on the fourteenth. That is four days. We need to examine two things to find out how this foreshadows Jesus and the two witnesses: Feast guidelines and the Hebrew calendar.

Hebrew Calendar

God’s people count time by a lunar calendar. This is much different than the Roman calendar most people use today. Hebrew months are not constant according to the system much of the world uses. They also begin their days at sunset instead of sunrise. This means the Hebrew 10th day of the month would begin at sunset on the 9th.

Passover Feast

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats… (Exodus 12:5)
God tells His people to select a sheep or goat that is without blemish. That would be hard to do without a lamp. Evenings in a Jewish household are usually for dinner and prayer. Logic indicates that the lamb would enter after dawn the following day.

This lamb will be killed in the evening of the fourteenth to be prepared for that evening’s meal. This means that most likely the lamb will be in the house for more than three days but less than four. This was the climatic finishing to the job of freeing God’s people.

Jesus 

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph… (Luke 3:23 AKJV)

Jesus began His ministry at the age of 30 and the Book of John notes three Passovers that were celebrated. Together with other facts about Jesus’ life and ministry, it is believed that His ministry lasted 3.5 years.

Our Lord, the Passover Lamb for all humanity, spent three and one-half years ministering to God’s household on this earth!

Two Witnesses 

During a three and a half year period, these two witnesses will be empowered to call down the plagues of both Moses and Elijah (Elijah - halting rain, Moses - 10 plagues) as they give testimony against cities which infuriates the Antichrist.

And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days (3.5 years), clothed in sackcloth... These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. (Revelation 11:3 & 6) 

Jesus’ ministry upon the earth lasted three and a half years as will the climatic testimony of the two witnesses.

4. The Payment

… and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses… And the blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:6-7 & 13)

Moses & Aaron 

All throughout God’s word we see that the blood of an animal could atone for sin. At Passover, the blood of the most innocent of creatures, a lamb was used to redeem the firstborn of God’s people. Because of the blood, death passed by the houses of Israel.

Jesus

This is why we refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God. He was completely innocent, untainted by sin in any way. He was obedient, even unto death to ransom us back from the fall of Adam and Eve. With this one act, Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law. Curse is singular, it is the curse of the Law of Moses which sends us to Hell for our sins without an animal to take our place each year. Because of His perfection, we only need this one sacrifice for all men for all time. 

The Two Witnesses

And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:6) 

For three and a half years the job of the two witnesses will cause the Antichrist to pursue them.

When the two witnesses have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will wage war with them, and will overpower and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)

When that job is over, they will be sacrificed and the enemy is allowed to overpower and kill them. Why are there two and not one? That is a big topic and we will discuss that next year as God releases me to speak about the Book of Revelation. For now, I will ask that you be open to the fact that one will be a Jew and one will be a Gentile, one will be a man and one will be a woman, representing a sacrifice for the entire Body of Christ.

5. The Reward

and now let us go, we beseech you, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. (Exodus 3:18)

Moses & Aaron

The Passover lamb achieved the release of God’s people for three days. The word of God is very specific about the time: Pharoah released them at night. However, he didn’t count time as the Jews did, so he would begin counting three days from the next morning, giving God’s people three and a half days.
And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people… (Exodus 12:31)
This journey was hard: through the dry and dangerous wilderness. God miraculously supplied food, manna, and water for His people. It was a time when they needed God and He showed up in big ways!

Many Bible scholars have been perplexed over the fact that God told Moses to ask for three days. Why only a three day head start? Why not a week? God is all-knowing: He did this so the foreshadowing would be easily seen.

Jesus

Now from the sixth hour (noon) there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour (three o’clock). (Matthew 27:45 AMPC)

It is well known that Jesus lay in the tomb for three days. Again, we must look at the details the Bible provides to see the fullness of what God is saying. Jesus died at 3 PM. He was placed in the tomb that evening and three days later He rose. Technically He was dead for more than three days but less than four.

This was a time of great testing and sorrow for the disciples. They didn’t understand what  was happening because they expected Jesus to conquer their enemies and begin His earthly reign. Many left for their homes where Jesus would have to retrieve them later.

The Two Witnesses

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. (Revelation 11:9)

The two witnesses will be dead for three and a half days. There is great meaning in the “half” day, but we will save that for next year when we speak in greater detail about what is coming. The foreshadowing is clear: just as it was for Jesus, Moses and Aaron, it will be a time of great testing and trials where we will need to lean on God for our provision.

6. Rapture

The word “rapture” refers to a time where Christians will be “caught away” instantly delivered from the enemy. The word alone is enough to cause a hot debate among many Christians. Before we connect the rapture to these events, I want to be very clear: What we believe about the rapture doesn’t matter. I agree with the daughter of Pastor Roland Buck, the author of the anointed book, “Angels on Assignment.” She writes:
“...when Jesus comes, He is not going to look in people's minds to see what position they hold on this. He's just going to look in their hearts to see if He's living inside.”
If you don’t see this the way I do, that is okay. The truth will come out in the end and it won’t matter a bit what we believe about it. Just consider this food for thought.

Moses & Aaron

After the three days, Pharaoh pursued God’s people and overtook them. They were trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army. God’s parting of the Red Sea can be seen as a type of rapture. A river is an obstacle that must be crossed or overcome. According to all Hebrew records, the parting happened instantly as a path to the Promised Land was opened.

Jesus

And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many. (Matthew 27:52-53)

When Jesus rose from the grave, so did many saints. It was the release of those who had been waiting for Him. This was a “rapture,” a sudden deliverance for those who had been faithful to God.

The Two Witnesses

And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell on them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying to them, Come up here. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them (Revelation 11:11-12)
Many Christians are expecting a “rapture:” A sudden evacuation and escape from the wrath of God. Doesn’t this sound familiar? The two witnesses will be raptured out in an instant. Here are a couple of places in the New Testament where the “rapture” is revealed:
...for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Thessalonians 4:15)
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:52)
In both cases the dead are raised first, then those that are alive. This means the two witnesses would be raised before those living. Both of these verses mention a trumpet, but Jesus tells us a bit more:

Truly, truly, I say to you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:25)
This is Jesus talking. He was talking about the rapture to Jews who didn’t know about it yet. Perhaps the dead will hear “come up here” as the trumpet sounds? The witness would be among the dead who rise at the rapture. Then the living will rise.

This perfectly completes the foreshadow demonstrated by the Passover. It is the completion of the salvation of our Lord. He paid a high price for our freedom and I look forward to seeing it fulfilled in every way.

The two witnesses are the only part of the Tribulation that is connected to definite events. Everything else is open to interpretation. There is an amazing amount of information about the two witnesses, if you know where to look. But that is a topic for next year.

As I said, whether you believe in a rapture at all makes no difference to the Lord at all. After we finish discussing the important topic of how to meet with God face to fact, we will look at what is coming. Until then, focus on the Lord and finding your destiny with Him: this is what really matters.

If our relationship with Jesus allows us to be led and guided by Him, He will provide for us like He did the Jews in the wilderness. One meal may feed 5,000 or manna will appear from Heaven. Whatever comes, if our relationship with Jesus is strong, He will see us through it.

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