FIRST POSTED ON 1 AUGUST 2020.
Shalom Aleichem and welcome to my Shabbat blog!
In our opening session, we had briefly mentioned an “Eighth Day” Sabbath that Jews celebrated after the end of the final seven-day Feast of Tabernacles prophetic of Christ’s Millennial Rule. According to Jewish tradition, after the Feast of Tabernacles, God invites His people to stay on for another day/Sabbath for a more intimate celebration.
The “Eighth Day” Sabbath marks the end of Creation and Time as we pass from this life into eternity. Here, the special Sabbath and Closing Assembly that is held is a picture of our eternal rest and communion with God as the heavens, earth and time itself give way to the New Heaven and Earth and a New Jerusalem in eternity, spoken of in the final two chapters of Revelations. If we recall from our opening session, the spiritual realm is timeless and eternal. God gave us time when He created the physical realm of the heavens and the earth. Now, as we return to eternity, what we know on earth as the beginning and end are one again in God, who is the “Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev 22:13). In Him, everything is now made complete, perfect and at rest (Shalom). God invites us to stay on for another “day/Sabbath” - which is none other than eternity itself - to have intimate communion and fellowship with Him forever.
The Simchat Torah (or rejoicing of the Torah, the first 5 books of the Bible) is also celebrated by Jews on that day to mark the end of the Torah public reading cycle. It is a picture of how the speaking out of God’s Word at set times - in other words, God’s cycle of Rhema and Kairos - will eventually end. From that point on, we will forever be in God’s presence and every moment (if we can even speak of moments in eternity) is Rhema and Kairos.
Realising how close we are to the edge of time and how we could fall into the eternity of God’s presence at any moment is what we want to look at next as we reflect on the often misunderstood idea that Christ could return at any moment and hence we cannot know when He is coming.
Some of you - especially if you believe in a sudden rapture and return of Christ - may object that since we already know when Christ will return based on the Seven Days of Creation, His coming is no longer imminent - no longer something that can happen at any moment. Let me try to answer you in terms of how the physical and the spiritual, time and eternity, Rhema and Kairos - how they intersect in our lives:
First, Christ’s coming can be said to be imminent because we will meet the Lord the instant we die and we do not know when that will happen - even on our deathbed, God can miraculously heal us, or for that matter, He can even choose to resurrect us after we are dead! But the moment we truly die, we are taken out of Chronos time and instantly transported into God’s presence - for those who are part of the First Resurrection, they will “time-jump” to that Kairos moment where they will meet the Lord in the air prior to the Millennium; for the rest of us, we will be taken out of Creation and Time completely to stand before the Throne of God at the Final Judgment.
Second, we already learnt how - on this Sixth Day of Creation that we are living in now - the spirit of this age is not the Holy Spirit of Truth but the lying spirit of the Antichrist. There is so much deception around us and in the Church that many will not be able to recognise - or even if they do, they will not believe - the signs of Christ’s coming. It was the same as with the Jews in Jesus’ day, who could not recognise the Messiah even when He was standing right before their eyes. Yes, Christ will indeed come suddenly, unexpectedly, to those who are spiritually blind.
Thus far, we spoke about God’s Rhema and Kairos for His people so that they understand the times and know what they should do. What God wants to say to us can be discerned from the Bible when seen through the perspective of the Seven Days of Creation. But there is also an Eighth Day Kairos - that split second instant that separates us from God’s very presence in eternity - which is called “Today.” And His Rhema for us in this Kairos Now is, “Today, if you hear his voice (Rhema), do not harden your hearts.”
The choice is ours to make … Today. For tomorrow may be too late.
Jesus said, “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.”
Are we ready? Have we done what we need to do to be confidently expectant of Jesus’ return? We may be called to meet Him anytime; but perhaps even more worrying, we may not be called to meet Him yet - and in the meantime, we need to trim our lamps and make sure our oil is filled so that when Jesus finally shows up, we are not left in the dark and blind to His presence.
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