Why Half An Hour’s Silence in Heaven?


readingtorahAfter the seventh seal is opened on the scroll in the Book of Revelation, there is “silence in heaven for half an hour”. (Rev 8:1)

So many people have commented on this fact, and there are so many suggestions about its meaning, that it’s bewildering. I too used to ponder on its meaning… until…

I had decided to explore the idea of the Book of Revelation being arranged within the framework of a Jewish Feast, Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement (which seems apt, since the contents of the Book are about the final redemption.)

Knowing that John of Revelation was either a Priest himself, or at least was well acquainted with the Temple Priesthood and its inner workings, made me wonder if he had seen the events in Heaven laid out as a heavenly version of Yom Kippur.

Turns out I was right. The more I explored the celebrations, prayers, sacrifices and daily events of Yom Kippur (the Temple service, the one which John knew), the more I saw their reflection in the heavenly events of Revelation.

Mysteries Solved

Some events in Revelation hardly make sense outside the context of a temple service. For instance the “martyrs under the altar” (Rev 6:9 – and why is there a sacrificial altar there at all?).

These things only make sense if we understand that, in the Temple, the “members” or limbs of the sacrificial animal were reverently laid around the base of the altar of sacrifice, awaiting the moment in the ceremony when they would be offered on the fire at the top of that altar.

altar of sacrifice

In John’s account, the members were slain Christians who had died on earth for their faith, but who had arrived prematurely (ahead of the major persecution to follow). They were the representation of the morning sacrifice, made before the main ceremony began, and who had to “wait” for the moment of their full recognition and recompense.

The smoke and fragrance of the slain members could not rise to God and become answered prayer before the incense was offered within the Inner Temple.

The Temple of God in Heaven

After my extensive research, it is obvious to me that what John sees in Heaven is the genuine Temple of God, a model or pattern of which was given to Moses. It is now plain that John is entering through the great gates of that Temple when he ascends to Heaven, and what he sees comes to life as integral to that Temple and its angelic services.

Below I list some passages in Revelation that relate to the Temple and its ceremonies:

  • The appearance of Jesus as High Priest 1:13
  • The seven golden candlesticks 1:12
  • The Book of Life 3:5
  • The 24 elders in white garments 4:4
  • The harps and golden bowls of incense 5:8
  • The white robes 6:11
  • The great multitude worshipping with palm branches 7:9
  • The trumpets Chapter 8
  • The golden censer of incense upon the altar 8:3-4
  • The ‘new song’ sung by the 144000 Chapter 14
  • The sea of glass 15:2
  • The tabernacle 15:5
  • The seven bowls 15:7

We note the peculiar fact that Heaven has an Ark of the Covenant and its own Tabernacle (Chapter 15:5).

These objects, and the actions of the angels in blowing silver trumpets, pouring out incense and so forth all lead one to believe John is seeing events as the prophetic outworking of the “Day of the Lord”, the Day of Redemption, or just THE DAY as it was known.

Indeed, he said as much in Revelation 1:10. He was in the Spirit on “The Day of the Lord” (which isn’t a reference to Sunday since that wasn’t the meaning given to it in the earliest days of the Church.)

To John, the phrase en teé kuriakeé heeméra (“on the Lord’s day”) and its Hebrew or Aramaic equivalent would imply what is called in the Old Testament “the Day of the Lord,” the time of the coming destruction that climaxes in the return of Christ (Isaiah 13:6, 9; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; Amos 5:18; etc.).

In the introduction to E.W. Bullinger’s Commentary on Revelation, he explains definitively that the “Lord’s day” in Revelation 1:10 is not talking about the first day of the week:

Let us notice the latter expression, “the Lord’s Day.” The majority of people, being accustomed from their infancy to hear the first day of the week called the Lord’s Day, conclude in their own minds that that day is thus called because that was the name of it. But the contrary is the fact: the day is so called by us because of this verse.

In the New Testament this day is always called “the first day of the week.” (See Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2 2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:2.). Is it not strange that in this one place a different expression is thought to refer to the same day? And yet, so sure are the commentators that it means Sunday, that some go as far as to say it was “Easter Sunday,” and it is for this reason that Revelation 1:10-19 is chosen in the New Lectionary of the Church of England as the 2nd Lesson for Easter Sunday morning.

There is no evidence of any kind that “the first day of the week” was ever called “the Lord’s Day” before the Apocalypse was written.

But in particular this (connection to Yom Kippur) solved to my own personal satisfaction the mystery of the half-hour silence.

I remember the day I discovered this, and how I skipped joyfully into the kitchen, shouting “YES, I’ve found it!” in my own Eureka moment. My husband simply smiled patiently – he’s used to me being like this when I’m researching.

What did I discover? I’ll have to give the context beforehand so this makes sense.

It is the day of Yom Kippur, and the Priests are ministering in the Temple. The preliminaries of The Day have been performed, and the most solemn moment is coming.

The altars and lamps have been readied and the priests, suitably dressed in white linen and ritually pure, have been allotted their tasks for the day. The lamb (regular morning sacrifice) has been sacrificed and laid at the base of the altar.

Now the “time of incense” has come – that special event in the Temple service when all the people would gather for prayers. (Luke 1:10)

The priest chosen for the honoured task of offering the incense inside the Holy Place, with another priest as his helper, would gather fire from the altar of burnt offering in the Priests’ Court along with a vessel of incense and they would then approach the vestibule of the sanctuary.

Offering Incense in the Holy Place

The two incense priests mount the twelve steps that lead to the Sanctuary building and they enter the Holy Place.

Offering_Incense

At a signal from the Overseer, the priest gently places the incense on the altar, “like sifting grains of flour” and as the Holy Place fills with smoke he prostrates himself then leaves the Sanctuary.

All those outside are waiting in a reverent hush, just as they did when the father of John the Baptist delayed his exit from the Sanctuary.(Luke 1:21)

And right at the same place in proceedings, in Chapter 8 of Revelation we see the silence in which the multitudes await the emergence of the incense priest, in this case the angel.

“In the Jewish Temple, musical instruments and singing resounded during the whole time of the offering of the sacrifices, which formed the first part of the service. But at the offering of incense, solemn silence was kept (“My soul waiteth upon God,” Psalms 62:1 ; “is silent,” Margin; Psalms 65:1 , Margin), the people praying secretly all the time.” [Matthew Henry’s Commentary of Revelation.]

The Mystery of the Half Hour of Silence

Revelation 8:1 “When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.”

The great multitude of ordinary worshippers has assembled in the outer court to join in the daily service. As far as the people in the Temple are concerned, activities are progressing behind the thick wall dividing their Court and the Priests’ Court, but apart from their knowledge of the scriptures and familiarity with the Temple services, they are not sure of the exact timing.

They have been alerted to the incense priests entering the Sanctuary, but they need to WAIT in hushed silence for their prayers (the incense) to be offered to God and accepted.

The Exact Timing of the Incense Offering

It is a recorded fact of the Temple service that the whole process of collecting the fire from the altar, offering the incense, and re-emerging from the Sanctuary took THIRTY MINUTES.

During all this time, the musical and vocal praises in the Temple ceased, and the people stood in an awed silence! For half an hour.

“In Exodus 30 we find the detailed specifications of all each priest had to do twice a day. The time usually allocated for that rekindling of the coals, and refilling the incense spread on the coals was 30 minutes. So in Revelation 8 we are seeing an allusion to the prayers of the saints illustrated in the Tabernacle Incense Offerings”. [Source]

“Some scholars believe that this passage is a reference to the length of time it took for the High Priest to take the fire from the bronze altar that is in the outer court of the Temple and then to enter the Holy Place and to use the altar fire to burn incense on the golden altar in front of the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant had been kept and then to return to where the people were assembled to give them the priestly blessing. The whole procedure took about 30 minutes. (Lev. 16:13-14; Lk 1:10, 21). [Source]

“Slowly the incensing priest and his assistants ascended the steps to the Holy Place, preceded by the two priests who had formerly dressed the altar and the candlestick, and who now removed the vessels they had left behind, and, worshipping, withdrew. Next, one of the assistants reverently spread the coals on the golden altar; the other arranged the incense; and then the chief officiating priest was left alone within the Holy Place, to await the signal of the president before burning the incense. It was probably while thus expectant that the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias (that is, Zechariah – Luke 1:8-11). As the president gave the word of command, which marked that ‘the time of incense had come,’ ‘the whole multitude of people without’ withdrew from the inner court, and fell down before the Lord, spreading their hands in silent prayer. It is this most solemn period, when throughout the vast Temple buildings deep silence rested on the worshipping multitude, while within the sanctuary itself the priest laid the incense on the golden altar, and the cloud of ‘odours’ (5:8) rose up before the Lord, which serves as the image of heavenly things in this description.” Alfred Edersheim “The Temple: Its Ministry and Services”, page 167.

Other Astounding Revelation & Yom Kippur Similarities

In brief, I found that so many activities in Revelation had a direct relationship to the Yom Kippur Temple Service that I cannot now see them in any other way. To me, it’s conclusive, and explains SO much.

For example, that God put His Name upon the forehead of the 144 thousand; that the service cannot begin until the Morning Star be seen in the sky; that all participants wore white robes; that precisely seven trumpets were blown through the day; that exactly 24 representatives of the Nation of Israel (elders) were permitted to enter the inner court to witness the priests at work; that the songs of praise and prayers recorded in Revelation all have their counterpart in the Temple proceedings – and much more.

But this blog entry was simply to point out ONE of those events, the half-hour silence in Heaven, and to explain that it can hardly be understood outside the Temple Service!

Knowing that, opens up a whole new and exciting way of understanding Revelation, and adds to earlier research without contradicting it. Thank God for His opening of the books in these last days.

35 thoughts on “Why Half An Hour’s Silence in Heaven?

  1. I’m very pleased to find this site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have you book-marked to see new things in your web site.

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  2. My husband and I are doing the late dear Dr Chuck Missler’s Revelation study for the third time, and I had forgotten the 1/2 hr of silence in Heaven meaning, and I just found your writing and felt the surge of overwhelming JOY at understanding what you explained from the Holy Spirit! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!! GOD BLESS YOU!!!!! <

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  3. Very interesting article. I was unable to verify your sources, and you may have them in your other notes. If so, would you post them here? I question Zachariah’s vision having been at Yom Kippur. The multitude outside during the hour of prayer could have been on a Sabbath. He was at the Golden Altar as the angel stood next to it and not in the Most Holy Place where the foundation stone was located (Ark was lost at the time of the Babylonians). His priestly division could have been any of the feast cycles: Passover, Pentecost, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot. Who knows, with having to calculate the leap years, and the diaspora so many times, etc. It is curious that the sixth month is mentioned in Luke 1:26 and again in verse 36. Would that be counting from the New Year at Rosh Hashana or from Nissan. It all can be confusing.

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  4. One half hour of silence in heaven is symbolic of 6 months on Earth like 6 numbers on a clock of 12 and 6 months on a calendar of 12. In 6 months famines eliminates all the wicked on Earth as they struggle to find food after the world economy (Babylon the Graet) has fallen.

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    • while studying prophecy it is important to apply YEAR DAY PRINCIPLE
      ACCORDING TO BIBLE :- Numbers 14:34. The Israelites will wander for 40 years in the wilderness, one year for every day spent by the spies in Canaan.
      Ezekiel 4:5-6. The prophet Ezekiel is commanded to lie on his left side for 390 days, followed by his right side for 40 days, to symbolize the equivalent number of years of punishment on Israel and Judah respectively.
      Daniel 9:24-27. This is known as the Prophecy of Seventy Weeks. The majority of scholars do understand the passage to refer to 70 “sevens” or “septets” of years—that is, a total of 490 years.
      1 Day = 365 days
      24 hours = 360 days
      12 Hours = 180 days
      6 Hours = 90 days
      3 Hours = 45 days
      1 Hours = 15 days
      1/2 Hours = 7 days
      time taken from the time jesus leaves heaven and and till the time Righteous enter into heaven.

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  5. I think it’s quite simple…
    It’s because no one is there! They are all down on earth.
    7th seal = 7th trumpet = 7th bowl

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      • Half an hour of silence means that there is a great shift taking place on the earth. This relates to a Kingdom transition for the Remnant to have their corporate throne room encounter. It is all about the church getting prepared for the birthing of the Man-Child in Revelation 12:5.

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  6. This is from the Apocalypse of Victorinus
    1. “And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” Whereby is signified the beginning of everlasting rest; but it is described as partial, because the silence being interrupted, he repeats it in order. For if the silence had continued, here would be an end of his narrative.

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    • On a deeper spiritual and prophetic level it also means the below.
      When the High Priest takes the burning coals from the Bronze Altar and the spices from the Golden Altar of Incense (Ketoret) through the veil into the Holy of Holies. This silence speaks of silencing or a complete shutting down of the carnal thinking and nature (the Adam within). In other words, there will be no more enemy of our minds.
      It is a transfer from darkness into the light of the dawn of Kingdom of Heaven dominion.

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      • The “Half an hour silence in heaven” is a prophetic sign that kick-starts the manifestation of the Sabbath rest by the saints in the earth. The silence is symbolic of a huge spiritual shift or Kingdom of Heaven reorganisation. The Remnant is doing this.

        You may have noticed that there is an unusual Jesus awakening in the earth. There has also been a recent shift among Church leadership. The prayer movement has also gone exponent.

        I hope that this clarifies the terminology.
        Blessings

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      • You making this up in your head while you type ? Think I’ll stick with Trisha’s explanation & the scriptures. There is indeed a great awakening thanks to (a play on words -) the last Trump.

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      • Generally speaking, mainstream Christianity does not spend much time connecting the dots between the OT and NT counterparts. They only focus on the gospels and epistles.

        I have personally studied Temple Theology for a very long time. There are quite a few non-denominational churches that dive very deep into what Tricia studies. Here is an example: http://www.forerunnertv.com and you can also check some spirit-filled Messianic churches.

        Enjoy your spiritual walk.

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  7. Your essay is so helpful… and may I humbly say, duh. I mean that with deep respect. Why would the temple in heaven be significantly different from the earthly pattern? I did not see it before, no one has told me this before, but as soon as I read you, my heart jumped for joy!
    Debs in Everett, Washington, doing a daily on Revelation 8
    Thank-you!

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  8. That’s an amazing thing that I cannot believe I haven’t seen before, but of course, I’m not Jewish. Thank you. However, you didn’t really say what you thought actually happened during that time in this revelation. It is definitely linked to the same 30 mins during temple ritual, as you say. But, this is more than likely the “original” and the temple was a foreshadow of this “thing to come”. Please comment on this. I myself believe it was a foreshadow of this event that John saw in his vision which was the 33 years (about the space of half an hr) that Jesus (God) was sacrificing himself on Earth as he walked the Earth. Does this match what you have studied? Thank you.

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    • Hi, I didn’t see it as a prophecy of anything, except that the sequence of events in Revelation was following closely “The Day” as it is called. I’m sorry that I can’t be more specific.

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  9. Pingback: Heavenly Silence – Seal 7 | Red Moon Rapture

  10. Hi Tricia,

    I hope you do not mind me pointing out that the “RAPTURE” is a 100% false doctrine. It has put the church into deep spiritual deception, slumber and utter lukewarmness. The majority of believers thought/thinks that they can live as they wish under a false grace and they will be taken away or will fly out from the earth on the day of the wrath of the Lord.

    The Church never leaves the earth. What heretical theologians call the “RAPTURE” is an elevation of the mind, it is a profound spiritual ascension or the transformation of the carnal mind into the fullness of the Mind of Christ. It is the pleroma or fullness of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is very clear that only a Remnant will be the Man-Child empowered with the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

    The Remnant is the first-fruits of the barley harvest, the first-born, Melchizedek priesthood that acquires the full Birthright (the dominion mandate and the SEED multiplication mandate), this is the double-portion of the first-born. This is the reason Jacob fought for it and Elisha asked a double-portion from Elijah. This is not easily acquired. Most Christians are confused between their born-again encounter and true Sonship, the better resurrection.

    The Remnant becomes the Ark of the Covenant, we become the Golden Jar of Hidden Manna, we have the rod of the overcomer in our hands to rule the world, we are the tablets of Mitzvot of commandments (Epistles in the flesh).

    The rest of the Church will not acquire this position because she has abandoned the spiritual Mitzvot (613 Mosaic Laws or commandments). Of course, the Mitzvot are only spiritual to the Church, not a long list of legalistic rituals.

    After the Church gives birth to the Remnant, she goes into deep purification (Law of Purification after childbirth, Leviticus 12). Only the Remnant (Man-Child of Rev 12:5) will partake of the first resurrection, (Paul calls it the Prize of The High Calling of God or ex-anastasis, the outer or better resurrection) before the 1,000 years Millennium begins. The rest of the Church will be found in the second resurrection with the unbelievers at the Great White Throne judgement.

    THE MOST SERIOUS AND HOLIEST DAY – Yom Kippur is all about being sealed. The Apostolic Church teachings say that the residue of the carnal nature of the righteous will be taken from them and put upon the believers who never made an effort to allow their Christlike nature to lord over their carnal man or beastly nature. This is the reason one group is offered unto the Lord (only a purifies priesthood can be offered to the Lord), the rest is given to Azazel. The carnal believers will become more carnal. This is what the thief in the night means. Jesus is the thief who will take the little bit of the Word the carnal believers have and will give it to the ones who crucified their beast or Philistine within. It will happen suddenly.

    We can also see a similarity in the parables of the talents. Talents mean divine revelation. In the Strong Concordance, talent is translated as money because revelation is the currency of the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who do not chew, ruminate on the SEED of Yah, who do not refine the revelation (fine flour) will have their talents (revelations) taken from them and the talents will be given to the believers who have dug really deep into the secret mysteries/Hidden Manna to fellowship and to be intimate with the Lord.

    The Remnant will remove the dung from the Word of God, the wormwood doctrines, the grapes of Sodom teachings, the poisonous cucumber prophecies, and they will crush the serpent seed by teaching the MEAL of the Messiah. This is called THE GREAT REVERSAL, back to Eden, the orchard of delight.

    I would really like to stay in touch with you. It is very rare to meet a believer who dives as deep as you do.

    Blessings,
    Brigitte

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  11. Hi Tricia,

    You have done so much research on your blog. I spent much time reading your whole study. I am only halfway through it. This is my input.

    There are many symbolisms in the brazen laver:
    The water is the Word (by the washing of the water of the Word),
    It is the daily Mikveh or baptism for the soul,
    The twelve oxen are the apostles, the foundation of the revelatory Word,
    The Word of God is a mirror, we see our true reflection and where we are at in God when we read the Word. The Word is our benchmark.

    G286 is used to describe the person of Jesus as the Lamb of God “AMNOS”. The word “AMNOS” is not found in the Book of Revelation, only G721 “ARNION” is used. On Yom Kippur, “ARNION”, the corporate lambs (Believers) open the seals.

    This also applies to the word for TEMPLE. G2411 “HIERON” is the most common word used to describe a temple or sanctuary building. This word cannot be found in the book of Revelation, only the word G3485 “NAOS” (the soul of the saints) is found. “NAOS” is also in verse 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

    There is also a bit of confusion between the trumpets (shofarim) and the bowls or vials. The trumpets are the prophets or prophetic ministries warning the Church to get ready before it is too late.
    In Matthew 25, the word “cry at midnight” means screaming like an eagle. The Nesher is a bald eagle, this means they only receive their revelatory understanding from the Lord, not from human teachings (like Paul and Moses).

    The vials are ONLY released during the Feast of Tabernacles. The High Priesthood pours the wine of the Spirit, the prayers of the saints for 7 days, the best wine for last.
    This wine will be like plagues or wrath to the unbelievers.
    This wine will be the glory of God upon believers.
    Joshua 6:1-27 and John 2:1-11 become a reality.
    While the high priesthood or first fruits of the barley harvest emerge, the Gibeonites (righteous) will execute the seven sons of Saul (evil principalities).

    HOSHANAH RABBAH – A GREAT SALVATION
    The Spirit of Amalek
    GOG U’MAGOG (Babylon/Nimrod/Jericho/Jezebel) is completely destroyed on the 7th Day of The Feast of Tabernacles – Sukkot.

    ON THE 8th DAY OF SUKKOT
    The Assembly of The 8th Day or Shemini Atzeret
    The Governors and Rulers (the first-born) of the Kingdom are presented to the Father as a perfect offering.

    The Menorah has 22 cups, 22 flowers, 22 knobs = 66. There are 66 books of the Bible. The lamp, wicks, oil of Matthew 25 is the Menorah or Church as a corporate body and our soul on the individual level.
    The Menorah has the shape of a rib cage, this is the reason Eve was built from Adam’s rib. Eve is symbolic of the Church who is the breath of God on the earth.

    Sapphire is blue, blue is symbolic of divine revelation or from heaven.

    The martyrs who are crying under the altar are the saints who are asking when they will receive their glorified immortal bodies.
    Revelation 11, verse 2 “But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.”
    This is prophetic of Christians who remained babies in the faith, the lukewarm and asleep, spiritually neglectful and careless, they do not have enough anointing to go through the gate into the Kingdom. They will not acquire their glorified bodies of immortality. They will miss out on the Birthright of the first-born.

    The crystal sea is a picture of the purified Word of God. The Elijah and Elisha ministries will remove every false theology, doctrine, teaching and belief from the Word. It will be transparent to all. This is the reason the “Remnant” will become transparent as pure gold. The last impurity from gold is silver. Gold is transparent when purified.

    Thank you for the effort you invest in your articles.
    Blessings,
    Brigitte

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  12. It is an absolute pleasure reading this article. I sincerely do not know how so many Christians can preach or teach the Book of Revelation without studying the OT Priestly and Temple Service. You are absolutely correct.
    Thank you

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  13. Dear tricia, how awesome to have read your blog on this! The Lord had given me this revelation also! I love studying His Word. I bought the book on the temple by edersheim back in the early 90’s. Would love to stay in touch with you.

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  14. Truly exquisite and saying exactly what myself and my friends were finding in our fellowship together, after doing an extensive study of the law and ordinances. God has packed in so much meat for us as His people, but also, the book of Revelation has brought a whole new revelation as far as how God views and demands our worship…praying continually, the same way the altar of incense would be burnt each morning and at twilight. Not offering up vain prayers, just like God’s forbidding of offering up unauthorized incense.

    There are so much things to unpack in Revelation beyond the signs of destruction in the world which so much modern day pre-trib “Left behind” type theology misses and completely skews as far as where the emphasis lies. Thank the Lord for opening the eyes and ears of our heart to receive this amazing blessing for us His people!

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  15. Thank you for this enlightening and enriching research, Tricia. No more mystery. The Jewish feasts reveal so much about what God’s Word is REALLY saying. I’ve been learning over a number of years that the westernised understanding of Christianity is a far cry from the truth on many issues.

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    • I thought you might be interested to know that the feasts were never Jewish. They have always been called The Feasts of The Lord so they are His feasts and ALL Israel were invited to them – all 12 tribes (Judah – The Jewish people are one tribe and there are 11 non Jewish tribes) And also to the foreigner. Foreigner became as native born by simply following and worshiping the same God – the God of Israel. So if you belong to God, you belong to Israel and the feasts along with their blessings are for all of us to take part in 🙂

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