Zion billboard: new year, treaties and blood moons

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by — Posted in Analysis, Israel

The flag of Jerusalem waves in front of the Old City wall.

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Yerushalayim; they will never fall silent, neither by day nor by night. You who call on ADONAI, give yourselves no rest; and give him no rest till he restores Yerushalayim and makes it a praise on earth. (Isaiah 62:6-7)

Jerusalem is certainly not a praise on the earth at this time. It’s one way we know we are not in the Messianic age. Still, Jerusalem is very much on the minds of many world leaders.

One of the Biblical names for Jerusalem is Zion, used 152 times. One meaning is a sunny or parched place. The other is signpost — we might say highway sign or even billboard.

One of the primary purposes of this blog is to monitor what the billboard says as we seek the LORD’s help in deciphering the message and understanding the times and seasons.

There is much flashing across the sign right now as Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resume after a three-year stall (check out Reuters’ timeline going back to 1991). So as talks restart, I want to share some points that have stood out to me as well as some points to consider and watch.

God’s calendar

Both sides have agreed to talk for at least nine months, according to AFP. Some from prophetic circles will jump at the pregnancy metaphor.

However, I wanted to know where we’ll be nine months from now on the Hebrew calendar. It’s the end of the month of Av now. Nine months puts us at the end of Nisan.

Nisan is the first month of the Biblical calendar. While Jews celebrate the new year — Rosh Hashanah — during Tishrei in the fall, God changed the first month of the year in Exodus 12 when He gave Moses the instructions for Passover. Passover is during the month of Nisan.

We should always be vigilant at the start of God’s year. If peace talks continue through Nisan and Passover, I suggest we be extra watchful for major prophetic shifts.

A coming treaty

Bible believers should be on their toes whenever negotiations restart and seem productive because one of the signs we are watching for is a treaty. Even before that, the rebuilding of the Temple is necessary if we are to take Daniel 9:27 literally as well as Jesus in Matthew 24.

In Daniel 9:27 the angel tells Daniel of a coming prince who will confirm a seven year treaty, a treaty that will be broken half-way through when this leader will stop Temple sacrifice.

We don’t know what this treaty is. It says a treaty with many. Still, the treaty is broken when this leader stops Temple sacrifice. It implies that the treaty is related to the Temple. Where was the Temple? In Jerusalem.

Coin of Antiochus IV who called himself Ephiphanes. The Greek inscription translates King Antiochus, God Manifest, Bearer of Victory. (Credit: Classical Numismatic Group via Wikimedia Commons.)

In Matthew 24, Jesus says one of the signs of Messiah’s (second) coming is the desecration of the Temple as spoken by Daniel in Daniel 11:31, 12:11. There is a note in Matthew: “let the reader understand.” Why? Because the “the abomination that causes desolation” had already happened. It happened when Antiochus Epiphanes erected an image of Zeus in the Temple and slaughtered a pig on the altar, according to Josephus. This episode and the ensuing Jewish revolt gives us the Chanukah holiday.

Jesus is telling us that the desecration of the Temple will happen again. Defiling, not destruction.

Right now, Muslims control the Temple Mount. When Israel reunited the Old City with the rest of Jerusalem, they allowed the Muslims to control the Temple Mount — with the Dome of the Rock shrine and al-Aqsa mosque — as a sign of goodwill. Now non-Muslims are not allowed to pray up there.

One of the biggest issues of the peace negotiations is the issue of Jerusalem. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem — including the Old City — as their capital. Netanyahu says the city will never be divided under his watch. (Watch Israel & the Nations for more on the recent history of Jerusalem.)

The nations are ready to give the Palestinians East Jerusalem. Still, if we are to believe Jesus and Gabriel’s word to Daniel, then the Temple needs to be rebuilt. I believe only a treaty that allows Muslims and Jews to share the Temple Mount will make that possible. Many Jews are ready to rebuild. They just need the land.

Blood moons

“The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and terrible Day of ADONAI.” Joel 3:4 CJB (Joel 2:31)

This passage is quoted in Acts 2, and the sign is listed in Revelation 6:12.

Blood moons happen during full lunar eclipses. NASA explains it nicely at Space.com. So blood moons are not uncommon. I shot a red moon in 2010.

What is striking is when NASA predicts the next two blood moons will occur:

  • April 15, 2014: Total Lunar Eclipse: Visible from the Americas, Australia and out in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Oct. 8, 2014: Total Lunar Eclipse: Visible from the Americans, Asia, Australia and in the Pacific Ocean. (Source: NASA)

If we look at the Hebrew calendar, April 15, 2014, is the first day of Passover. That’s significant especially as peace talks are slated to continue through that date. Still, that eclipse will not be visible in Asia, the continent on which Israel sits.

October 8, 2014, but after sunset is the first day of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. This eclipse will be visible in Israel.

Does that mean we’ll be seeing the sixth seal of Revelation opened next fall? I don’t know.

What I do know is that we must be paying attention during the LORD’s feast days in 2014.

Be sober and vigilant

With this word Peter closes his first letter. In his second letter he says “during the Last Days, scoffers will come … asking, ‘Where is this promised ‘coming’ of his? For our fathers have died, and everything goes on just as it has since the beginning of creation.'” Are we not living in such days?

I don’t purport to know when Messiah will return. I do believe the billboard of Zion tells us He is close.

  • Israel has been reborn.
  • Jews are returning to their homeland.
  • Many more Jews are recognizing Yeshua as the promised Messiah of Israel.
  • See Ezekiel 37, which speaks of these three signs.

I encourage you to study Daniel 9. It starts with reading the Word for God’s promises, praying for personal and nation repentance and ends with the revelation of the 70 weeks prophecy, which Chuck Missler calls the key to end-time prophesy. Using the prophesy, a reader could have calculated the day Jesus would ride in Jerusalem as Messiah. Instead, because they missed the hour of their visitation, Jesus told Israel they would lose Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44) and the Temple (Matthew 23, Luke 13).

Israel — steward of the Word — was and is responsible for knowing the promises, expecting them and having an idea of when. The responsibility for all Bible believers today is no less.

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