Scott Clarke Prophecy Video Theories Debunked

The Prophecy Video Trend

I always enjoy answering emails from readers asking for help discerning prophecy theories. In the last couple of years I’ve been getting more and more requests from readers to take a look at a prophecy teaching on Youtube for them. In the past these videos were almost always the amateurish kind with text flowing on the screen slowly with distracting music. When you combine a shaky typical date-setting premise from the title with a tortuous deliver like that, I found them unbearable to watch.

Lately when I click the link, it turns out out to be a video on the eternalrhythmflow Youtube channel by the prolific pretribber Scottie Clarke. Thankfully, he does not torture you with text. Instead, he narrates various images and charts such as from an astronomy program. Yet, as a pretribber his main focus is continually looking for signs of the rapture or Jesus’ return (seven years later according to pretrib thinking). As these never pan out, he has a reason to keep producing videos with new theories.

Here’s the latest email I’ve received on one of this videos:

I was wondering if you thought about the findings of  Scott Clarke related to his Rev 12 ‘virgin birth’ event that perfectly correspond to astronomical alignments in 2017? Please view his video detailing this at “A 2017 Virgin Birth In SPACE?!”

Please view it with an open mind (ie ignore his conviction about what this “sign in the heavens” means for the rapture event). Rather, I’m curious what your thought is on how this very rare sign could mean to the sequence of events as detailed in your book? Like, what do you think the virgin birth event sign in the sky in Sept 2017 means? Could it simply say that 2023 is the right timing for our Lords return (and not 2030)? Are there any ‘events’ in your timeline around the 2017 or 2018 time period that could corrsepond to this ‘virgin birth’ sign in the heaven?

Tim,…I’m hoping you recognize how rare this “birth” sign is (ie the gestation period of Jupiter is 41 weeks, the 12 stars crowning her head is rare, etc). The Lord provided this sign to indicate something – if it is not what Mr Clarke suggests, then what could it be?

The Flawed Assumptions

As you can see from the underlined text in the email above, the underlying assumption of this video  is that heavenly signs such as eclipses and conjunctions are something we should be poring over. The more unique and rare these events are, the more significant they are supposed to be, to the point that it is assumed that it must be God’s doing in order to tell us something. Not surprisingly, Scott Clarke is a fan of the four blood moons theory and includes it in the above video. (I debunked that speculation when Mark Biltz came out with it and when John Hagee issued his version of it.)

The problem with these assumptions is that they rely upon taking verses out of context and building doctrines on them. Clarke, like Mark Biltz and John Hagee, uses Genesis 1:14 as his license to look for signs in the sky. But that verse does not say to look in the heavens for signs of the end times. In context it is talking about signs for seasons/festivals, days and years (Gen 1:14 HCSB). In other words, the regular events we set our calendar by.

They also use Joel 2:31 since it mentions a blood moon in the end times. But it also talks about a solar eclipse at the same time. And if you back up a verse, there is more happening than that. Wonders in the heaven and on the earth at the time of that blood moon / solar eclipse (Joel 2:30). This is parallel to the 6th seal (Rev 6:12-19) which gives even more events like a great global earthquake and shooting stars. It all points to a new cosmic object like a comet in close proximity to earth which explains the four trumpet impact disasters that immediately follow in sequence (Rev 8:1-13). Joel does not direct us to look for normal solar and lunar eclipses on the NASA table as a sign of the rapture or anything. It directs us to expect something new in the heavens interfering catastrophically with our very planet and all life on it.

Jesus Already Said What To Look For (!)

What people are missing who try to read prophecy into these naturally-occurring heavenly events is that Jesus already explained what the end time signs were exactly. He said nothing about singular eclipses, or four eclipses, or conjunctions of heavenly bodies.

In the Olivet Discourse and Revelation he described a few events that he called collectively the “beginning of sorrows.” They are unmistakeable events that have not happened, unlike eclipses and conjunctions that happen on a regular basis. In the Parable of the Fig Tree. Jesus said these are the signs of his coming. He also said that until you see these events, his coming is not near (Mt 24:6). To understand what these “beginning of sorrows” are and what causes them, it’s important to understand Wormwood.

What About The Virgin Sign?

Regarding the heavenly sign of the Woman in Revelation 12, it had to do with Jesus (the manchild’s) birth 2000 years ago. It has nothing to do with the end times. You can tell this because this sign happens before the manchild is taken up to heaven, referring to Jesus’ ascension. Likewise it happens before the dragon (Satan) chases the Woman who God helps for 3.5 times, speaking of Satan’s wrath in the Great Tribulation.

In fact, this “Virgin sign” is not even unique. The heavenly arrangement depicted by Rev 12:1 including the crescent moon, the sun, the woman (constellation Virgo) and the twelve star crown (“Berenice’s hair“) happen in the sky on a repeating basis. 2017 is not the first time it has happened and it won’t be the last. As this article explains, it appeared in the sky when Jesus was born, allowing us to pinpoint the exact time of his birth on the Day of Trumpets (not Tabernacles as many Messianics believe).

Unique Signs Sent By God?

However, even if a sign is unique, that does not make it sent by God or is a divine communication. Even unique conjunctions in the heavens are still just the result of the natural movements of the heavenly bodies. There are all manner of unique signs that have happened throughout history. Uniqueness does not make any of them signs from God, even if we can find parts of them described in the Bible in another context.

In the Bible, when a sign is meant to communicate something from God, it is announced by a prophet beforehand. He also gives the meaning at that time, rather than force you to speculate what it means after the fact. This article explains that in the context of another “unique” phenomenon: major natural disasters which prophecy buffs never fail to seize upon and pronounce to be prophetic after they happen.

Finally, when someone shares a discovery of a unique combination of events like this we have to remember the problem of confirmation bias. We all tend to see patterns or significance in disparate events that simply is not there. Our bias of ignoring information and aspects of these patterns that do not match our theory deceives us. When we hear someone else’s “the only way to explain this pattern is God!” theory, it’s hard to see all the things they left out that do not line up with their theory.

But we don’t have to. If we just remember that creating unique events in the heavens or on earth is not how the Bible shows God communicating with humanity, then we can safely ignore all speculation based on such things. The Bible already has specified how God talks to us: through certified, sign-working prophets like Moses and Jesus. What’s more, these prophets have already spoken on what the key events of the end times are. If you want to understand where we are in prophecy and if anything is near, learn and focus on those events, not the latest dazzling speculation on Youtube or anywhere else.

Pagan Holidays: Not Sin…But Still “Wrong” or Helping Enemy?

As a follow up to my comments about why celebrating “pagan” holidays is not a sin or something we need to avoid, I received this question:

I am not at all suggesting that this is a salvation issue…but how can it be a good or even “ok” thing to celebrate these pagan-based holidays knowing how it all plays in to the end time deception planned by Lucifer and his followers? I am referring to the whole Osiris/Apollo/ Nephilim etc etc agenda for the coming NWO (I am assuming with all of your researching regarding the tribulation and time of the end that you have come across this info.)

Isn’t it better to try to encourage our fellow believers to wake up and ‘take the red pill’ so to speak (obviously abiding by the biblical principal to be ‘ready to give a reason…’ as opposed to banging down a closed door) regarding the true origin and meaning of things including the man-made traditions that are now considered righteous and holy and “of the Lord?” So that they have a better chance of not believing the great delusion that will be offered at that time. To my husband and I, these traditions ingrained in the Christian “way” that are clearly not Bible-based but pagan-based are all part of a well devised and well executed master conspiracy authored by the father of lies and therefore, should be treated a little more seriously as such. Does that make sense?

I just value your opinion and appreciate the method you have used in the past to arrive at answers to biblical questions and was hoping to understand a little better what your view is on all this stuff.

Higher Standards and Judgment

I doubt many mainstream Christians can relate to the questions and concerns expressed above. Because I went through not only my Torah keeping and conspiracy theory phases, I understand it all too well.

I’m also familiar with the thinking that although something may not be sin, it could still be somehow “wrong” and need to be avoided. Some Torah keepers use this logic. They won’t claim that Torah is required today, but they will suggest that if you “know” that it’s the “ideal” that God gave to Israel, “shouldn’t you want to do as much of it as you can?” Those who don’t see it that way are viewed as not true or not serious servants of God, guilty of “picking and choosing” what to obey in God’s Word.

This judgment is usually not intentional or malicious. It is an effect of having high personal standards. We naturally think others should have the same standards we do in order to qualify as good people like ourselves. A naturally thin or exercise-loving person may view overweight people as lazy thinking that if he can keep himself thin, then everyone can and “should” do so, too (“should” is a word loaded with judgment). When it comes to instruction of the Bible, it’s easy to believe that its instructions are universal or God’s will for all men. Anyone opting out from any commandment of God must be disobedient.

What these people miss is that good, sincere, diligent people come to different conclusions on what the Bible says. There are typically good reputable scholars on either side of any doctrinal dispute. The Bible is just written that way that multiple reasonable interpretations are possible. Until one recognizes that fact and as long as one keeps insisting that “the Bible is very clear” we continue to consider those who do not maintain the same standards as we do to be disobedient needing “to repent” instead of seeing them as the like-minded brothers who seek to serve God that they really are in God’s eyes.

The Fallacy of Complicity and Negligence

In this case, the belief is that everyone should know that Christian holidays are of pagan origin and part of some end time conspiracy to deceive people and should want to avoid them. It is thought that if you do not avoid them when you know better, you are somehow complicit, or an accomplice to this terrible “plan of the enemy.” Again, as with the Torah keepers, the fear is that you will be held accountable by God for not acting on what you “know.”

Certainly the Bible teaches the principle of accountability for what you know. If you see your neighbor’s ox wandering astray, it is your duty to help and return it to him (Ex 23:4). Or if you know to do good and you do not do it, it is sin (James 4:17). But is this principle correctly applied when we consider those who celebrate pagan holidays as helping the “NWO?”

There are several differences in the topic at hand that make this principle inapplicable. First, when you see your neighbor’s ox wandering the street, you know it is out of place. You have the evidence; there is no disputing the fact. You must act or be guilty of negligence.

However, the same cannot be said if you change the situation to someone merely reporting to you that your neighbor’s ox is in the street. Are they telling the truth or correct in their identification? Hard to say. It would be considered hearsay in front of a judge to claim that someone else said they saw the ox. You are far less accountable for that.

Now take it a step further consider a situation where you are told that someone else is planning to open your neighbor’s gate so his ox can get lost. Not only hearsay, but this time hearsay about an intent to create a problem, rather than there being potentially an actual serious problem. This is more in the realm of rumor now. If you know the neighbor you might pass it along, but if they are just some stranger out there then it’s really not your concern. Chasing down wild rumors like that would not be a good use of your time.

And that’s what these reports about the NWO planning to delude the entire world by inventing and encouraging pagan holidays are like. We have never met them, we don’t know who they are, we don’t know where they are or what they plan to do exactly or when. How can we be complicit in their evil plans by celebrating a popular holiday when all we have is hearsay and rumors to connect the two?

Now, I concede that by not acting on even a rumor you might be considered negligent if it is regarding something serious enough, like someone reported to be conspiring to murder or physically harm others. For example, the Secret Service reportedly follows up on every single rumor of a threat against the President of the United States because of how important the president and his safety is.

Deception: Not the “End of the World”

However, what we’re talking about here is “only” deception, and deception on the topic of holidays, no less. Whether it is part of some grand conspiracy does not matter. As stated above, this cannot be proven, and even if it’s true 1. it does not matter what was “intended” by those who started a tradition, but rather what is intended by those keeping it, and 2. we can’t be held accountable for knowing the origins of and intent behind every old tradition we keep anyway, even if it mattered, which it does not. Celebrating a holiday is not a sin.

And truth be told, deception is not such a big deal either. We’re all deceived all the time thanks to Satan’s influence (Rev 12:9). We go in and out of deception as we study; picking up wrong information that stays with us until we discover it–if we ever do. Thankfully, we will be saved no matter how much false doctrine, tradition and beliefs we hold in our head and practice, even if those things are in alignment with the plans of evil people. Deception most often only hurts our pride, not our salvation.

For this reason, “waking people up” about the pagan origins of holidays or supposed NWO conspiracy plans is not the biblical equivalent of the Matrix’s “red pill” that it is made out to be by many. For some it is noteworthy and leads them to discover that Christianity is not teaching them the truth but is teaching tradition.  Yet they probably will remain Christian and keep believing the majority of the falsehood Christianity teaches contrary to the Bible. Adding or removing those beliefs of themselves does not change ones relationship with God.

The majority, however, will view conspiracy theories from fringe sources or a history lesson on the pagan origins of some Christian traditions as not things profitable to focus on or change their life around. Who wants to serve a God who would expect you to be accountable for rumor-level information and things done or intended by people long ago in history?

The Real “Red Pill” Awakening

I know some people deep into conspiracy theory research will probably not be helped by the reasoning above. They will find it hard to let go of the idea that this secret “information” is not important or that it can safely be ignored.

Perhaps it would help to know what the real “red pill” awakening is. It’s called the gospel of the Kingdom of God. When Jesus came this was the message he taught to the masses–not that he was the Messiah and people had to accept him as such to be saved. He taught them to repent because the Kingdom was being offered to those who do. Those who are called, chosen and faithful until the end will receive eternal life and entrance into the Kingdom where they will “inherit” and rule the earth for 1000 years. And not only that but blessings are promised in this life too (Mk 10:30).

How do you qualify for all this? All that is required is to love your neighbor as yourself for God (Mt 19:17-19). No need to have a religion, belong to a church, keep biblical holidays, avoid pagan traditions, study conspiracy theories and wake people up about them. Simple! (But not easy…)

If you still doubt the above, it might help to ask yourself why with all the warnings Jesus gave about avoiding things, he spent ZERO time talking about avoiding pagan influence and conspiracy of the Roman culture and powers of his day dominating his nation? Instead, he emphasized love as the focus, not avoiding all these traditions and inventions of men. You’re safest if you follow his teaching rather than the rantings of fringe sources on the internet today.

Why Animal Sacrifices? (Not For What Christians Think)

The following email brings up an important subject that is so misunderstand that I think you could ask 1,000 Christians to explain it and probably not get one who understands it correctly:


Something that has bothered me recently. What do Jews use now for a “sin offering?”  Since there isn’t a temple or animal sacrifices and the bible makes it clear in the Old Testament that these offerings (sin, grain, guilt etc.) are to be observed as a permanent law for the People of Israel and it must be observed from generation to generation.

Thanks, Gail

The subject this email brings up is what exactly was the purpose of the animal sacrifices commanded in the Torah to Ancient Israel? If you read the Torah itself, it gives you the idea that the sacrifices made atonement for ones sins in the same way that Jesus’ death on the cross did. Under this assumption, Christians see Christ’ death as the (Passover) Lamb of God as fulfilling all the sacrifices and bringing about their obsolescence. The destruction of the temple 40 years after Christ died on Passover, 30 AD seems to prove this. God didn’t want them doing it anymore. Christians even go so far as to state that any attempt to resurrect sacrifices would be an affront to Christ and his work on the cross.

Of course, it does not help that most Christians are not very familiar with the Old Testament. Because there we have some very clear prophecies of the coming Millennial Temple and the animal sacrifices that will be done there. Complete with the return of Levitical priests to administer them (didn’t Christ do away with that, too, when he became the high priest?). Just turn to Ezekiel 40-48 for endless details on the temple activities of the Millennium.

Ezekiel 40:42 (NIV2011) — There were also four tables of dressed stone for the burnt offerings, each a cubit and a half long, a cubit and a half wide and a cubit high. On them were placed the utensils for slaughtering the burnt offerings and the other sacrifices.

Jeremiah 33:15-18 also tells us that in the Millennium when Jesus “the Branch” is king, the Levites will make offerings again.

Jeremiah 33:15-18 (NIV2011) — 15 In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. 16  In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior. 17  For this is what the LORD says: David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of Israel, 18  nor will the Levitical priests ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.

All of this is literal as it makes sense literally fine.

So why does God bring the sacrifices back? The Book of Hebrews thankfully gives the answer. First, for what the sacrifices are not see the underlined verses:

Hebrews 10:1-2, 4 (HCSB) — 1 Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of those realities, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year. 2 Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, once purified, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

Hebrews plainly says the sacrifices never took away sin. That was not their purpose. What was their purpose then? Go to verse 3

Hebrews 10:3 — But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.

The sacrifices were an object lesson. Ancient Israelites under the Torah had to regularly give up something of value, something that cost them, to comply with the law. To put it dumbly, sacrifices were a sacrifice. You learned the dear price of sin by seeing them done by the priests regularly and having to make some out of your own wealth yourself.

This then is the key to why the sacrifices can come back and are coming back when the Kingdom of Israel is restored again (Acts 1:6). In the Millennium, the people we glorified saints rule will still be in the flesh. They will be the same slow learning, forgetful, flawed people that we all are today; people in need of constant reminders and helpful object lessons. That’s what they will get again thanks to the restoration of the animal sacrifices. Because they typify the sacrifice that Jesus made, they actually glorify him, rather than denigrate or insult him.

Sabbath & Feasts ‘Nailed To The Cross’?

Tim, I have been reading your site for a while now and now have a question i hope you could help me with. I was raised in a church that taught we are to keep all of gods holy days and Sabbath (WCG). I still believe in Sabbath keeping, but not sure about holy days. Are we still to keep them? or were they nailed to the cross?

I don’t belong to this church anymore, they have split into many different churches now. I am really confused about holy days if you have any way to explain this subject to me it would be very welcome. Thank You for your time.

Feasts Nailed To The Cross?

The “nailed to the cross” phrase is from Colossians 2:14. Paul used a metaphor of a debt note from the Roman culture. ESV Study Bible Notes explains:

In the Greco-Roman world, the “record of debt” (Gk. cheirographon) was a written note of indebtedness. Paul uses this as a word picture to characterize each person’s indebtedness to God because of sin. God himself has mercifully resolved this problem for all who put their faith in Jesus by taking this note and nailing it to the cross, where Jesus paid the debt. The image comes from the notice fastened to a cross by the Roman authorities, declaring the crime for which the criminal was being executed (see John 19:19-22).

Thus this “certificate of debt” illustration does not refer to the Torah. It refers to the guilt from sinning against God. Jesus came to cancel that debt, not to do away with Torah. Taking away the Torah would not remove the guilt it had already brought. To be sure, Jesus said he came to fulfill the Torah, not to destroy it (Mt 5:17). He could not destroy it as the Torah would not fade away until heaven and earth passed away (Mt 5:18). Before that time, when the Kingdom comes, the Torah would be required again and be taught by the rulers in the kingdom (Mt 5:19).

In other words, the Torah is prophetic. It must all be fulfilled. My site’s main article talks about this whole topic.

Sabbath And Not Feasts Required Today?

For the second question, it is important to remember that the Torah is an all or nothing proposition. It is not an “a la carte” cafeteria offering. When Israel and Judah were neglecting land Sabbaths and worshipping idols, God did not say good job on the 99% you do right, I’ll overlook the rest. He kicked them out of the land. James and Paul express this principle:

James 2:10-11 (HCSB) 10 For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of ⌊breaking it⌋ all. 11 For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder., So if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you are a lawbreaker.

Galatians 3:10 (HCSB) 10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written: Everyone who does not continue doing everything written in the book of the law is cursed.

The Sabbath is commanded first in Exodus 16. It’s later repeated in Exodus 20 in the Ten Commandments. The Feasts are in Leviticus 23. They are all part of the same Torah, even if Sabbath  is listed in the Ten Commandments and Feasts are not. Also, Leviticus 23 groups both the Sabbath and feasts together as “my appointed times”.

All or Nothing

This is where the problem comes in when people say you have to keep any part of the laws given to Ancient Israel under the Old Covenant such as tithing, Sabbath, feasts, unclean meats, etc. They are “all for one and one for all.” You cannot say one is required without acknowledging the rest as required.

I used to always wonder how the WCG could teach requirements of unclean meats, feasts, tithing and Sabbath but ignore the sacrifices, stoning of idolaters, witches and disobedient children, laws of niddah, wearing tassles, build sukkahs/tabernacles, and so many other laws. How did they know which ones were for today and which ones were not? Well, I see now they obviously did not know. They were picking and choosing and modifying where needed (hotels = temporary dwellings = sukkahs/tabernacles).

All this to answer your question: if you are convicted you need to keep Sabbath, then according to the Bible you should be convicted as well that you need to keep the annual feasts days.

This, I admit, may be not the kind of “help” you wanted as it opens up a can of worms! How are you going to do commanded sacrifices or tithe crops with no temple or Levites and priests around? Or how many men have the funds to travel to Jerusalem three times per year to keep the feasts in the one place where God “placed his name” (Dt 14:23; 16:2; 26:2)? The answers are: You can’t and indeed very few have the funds to keep Torah.

Anyway, this is what the Bible literally teaches on this question and it is up to each of us to determine for ourselves what to do with it. There are no prophets, judges, Levites or priests today with authority over us in these matters to guide us, unlike what Ancient Israel had as part of the Old Covenant to make Torah “not too difficult” (Dt 30:11-14).

New Jerusalem – No Gentile Gate? + Rom 11 Olive Tree – Israel?

If you eavesdrop on Messianics long enough, eventually you may hear a little ditty like this one (found at a Messianic site ) on the true significance of the 12 gates of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:2):

In Revelation 21, there are 12 gates to the New Jerusalem for the 12 Tribes of Israel. There are no gates for “Gentiles.” Hence, Messiah cannot marry any Gentile woman until she joins his tribe! Ruth is a prophetic “type” of the remnant in the “Gentile” Christian Church who join the House of Judah and then she was able… to marry Boaz who is a “type” of Messiah.

Those outside of the gate are “dogs” and Yahushua (sic) called the Cannanite woman a “dog” which is a nick name for a “Gentile.” So those outside of the gate are Gentiles/Dogs. You cannot inherit the Kingdom as a Gentile, you must be converted by the Jewish Messiah to become like him—-a Jew!

Yes, you heard that right. It is believed by some Hebraic believers that you cannot be saved as a Gentile but must join/become Israel to be saved. (Note: sometimes, like above, people refer to Israel as Jews or Jewish, but technically only Judah, Benjamin and Levi fit the term Jewish). They prop up this heresy (as it is labeled by Acts 15 and Galatians about gentiles being saved as is) with many side arguments. The 12 gates of the New Jerusalem is one of them. It’s based on this passage about New Jerusalem:

Revelation 21:10-12 (NIV) — 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

It’s an interesting theory about the purpose of the twelve tribal gates. It makes sense at first until you realized there is an assumption behind it that is neither provable nor sensible.

Wrong Assumption About Why the 12 Gates Are Named

The assumption is this: that each of the twelve gates is assigned to one of the twelve tribes for the exclusive passage of only that tribe and no one else. That’s quite silly if you imagine the scene that would play out:

“What tribe are you?


Oh, well you can’t pass here, it’s Naphtali. Go through the gate to the right, please. Next!”

Instead, it’s more reasonable that the twelve gates are named for twelve tribes to *honor* them since Israel was called first. As a matter of fact, we find if we keep reading in Revelation 21 we find another similar endowment for the twelve apostles:

Revelation 21:14 (NIV) The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

In other words, each gate for each tribe is sitting a top a different foundation with the name of the assigned apostle. Obviously these are named to honor the twelve apostles, each of whom will rule one of the twelve tribes (Mt 19:28). Perhaps their name will be under the gate for the tribe they rule.

But using the logic above, only the twelve apostles can pass beyond the gate their name is written under. For that is what the naming of the of foundation must mean…exclusive access, right? Wrong.

The real problem with accepting that we all must be assigned to one of the tribes to be in the Kingdom and New Jerusalem is the many places where it is emphasized that “there is neither Jew nor Gentile in the Kingdom” (Gal 3:27-29). If we all must “become Israel,” then why did Paul look forward to when we are “in Christ” instead of once we are “in Israel” as Messianics teach?

Is the Olive Tree We Are Grafted Into “Israel?”

After I saw all the verses contradicting this “Become Israel for Salvation” theology, I took another look at the Romans 11 Olive Branches grafting. This is another passage often cited as proof that we must become Israel. It is believed that there is one olive tree described that we are grafted into as Gentiles and it is Israel and therefore we become Israel by being grafted there. But does it say that?

If you look closely, you find out that there is more than one olive tree. Olive branches are among them based on keeping the “holy root” tree pure and righteous; not for the purpose of making wild branches natural or Israel branches. It never says or implies that. In fact, the first olive tree we are grafted into is called the “elect” (Ro 11:7) or “righteous remnant according to grace” (Ro 11:5) by Paul, not “Israel.” If the hardened unrighteous original branches of this remnant tree are removed and the righteous wild branches from the other olive trees are added, this means we can’t have that olive tree be the “Israel tree.” It’s the righteous remnant tree, a tree of mixed olive branches; some natural to that tree, and some wild or cultivated. However, all are remnant righteous branches only “by grace” and not by nationality or being or becoming Israel. The root of the olive tree that sustains the righteous branches is Christ, not Israel (Jn 15:5).


Gentiles are not called dogs in Revelation, the unrighteous are. Gentiles do not need to live in Israel or become Israel/House of Israel/House of Judah/Jewish/etc.  to be saved or blessed. They need to believe in the Word of God and do it just as Israelites need to (Lk 8:21; Gen 15:6). When they do, they are in Christ receiving his grace, and their Jewishness or Gentile-ness is not counted, as Paul said. In the New Jerusalem, all who have become righteous and have white clothing will be able to go through all the gates (not just “one gate” or “their own gate”).

Revelation 22:14 (NIV) “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.


Have You Committed the Unpardonable Sin (Without Knowing It)?

A reader sent me this question:

My question is in regard to the “unforgivable sin”. What is your perspective on that particular subject? I have to say personally that I wonder if I have done that myself. And that is half the reason why I get so confused and study so much.

Which of us have not read this verse and wondered the same thing:

Matthew 12:31 (HCSB) — Because of this, I tell you, people will be forgiven every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.

My Pastor’s Common Sense Answer

I remember the answer my pastor gave back in church during the 90’s to this question. He said that as believers seeking to serve God, “if you are worried you have committed this sin, then you have not done it.” In other words, the people who might commit this sin are the people who are enemies of God, not the ones worried about what God thinks.

This fits with the audience that the verse above was directed at, the Pharisees (Mt 12:24).  The Pharisees were doing everything they could to contradict, undermine, and trap Jesus, a man sent by God by their own admission (John 3:2). They saw him as a threat to their position, power and glory which was their primary concern, not serving God (John 11:47-48). In fact, Jesus plainly said that they did not serve God (John 7:17-19), but followed men and their traditions (Mt 15:3-9) because Satan was their father  (John 8:44). Their evil desires and animosity for Jesus caused them to commit many intentional sins and all could be forgiven—except blaspheming acts that were done by the power of the Holy Spirit.

As long as you have always been neutral or friendly towards God, you could not have possibly committed the unpardonable sin.

Understanding Accountability For Punishment

But what  if in the past you were acting as an enemy of God, much like Paul while he was a Pharisee before his Road to Damascus conversion? How do you know for sure that you did not commit the unpardonable sin then, especially when you did not know enough to realize what it was?

You can know for sure you did not because God is reasonable, fair, and just. He will not damn you eternally for a sin done in ignorance. A sin of ignorance may bring an immediate penalty or curse  for breaking his rules (such as the many curses that Philistines suffered after they captured and touched the untouchable Ark of the Covenant in 1Samuel 5 or the curses on Abimelech for unknowingly taking Abraham’s wife in Genesis 5), but not the ultimate penalty of the Second Death. For you to be accountable for that final punishment, you must first be fully informed in advance of the behaviors that would lead to that punishment. In other words, you must know you are doing it to be accountable for it.

Therefore it’s impossible to commit the unpardonable sin and not know it. You have to consciously be opposing God to commit it and also be aware of God’s will on the subject. The Pharisees, if they really were Satan’s seed as Jesus implied (John 8:44) , were already nonredeemable and had nothing to lose and everything to gain by making a blasphemous lie about the source of power Jesus used to cast out demons.  However, it is unlikely that any believer reading has knowingly blasphemed like that.

Unpardonable Sin Impossible To Commit Today

Besides the aforementioned knowledge prerequisite, a final consideration about this sin is the question of the situation needed for it to happen. Jesus was able to do “many signs” because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. There miracles (and his ministry) began when he was baptized in water by John the Baptist followed by the spirit descending on him like a dove. This was his own private “Day of Pentecost” event, if you will, filling him with the Holy Spirit.

From that day forward, he was able to do the signs he did because of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees witnessed this power repeatedly (along with his irresistible, wise and superior teaching from God’s word). He warned them they were in danger of the unpardonable sin because they knew where his power really came from and yet continued to attribute his power to the Devil instead of God. This same power was also seen in the the apostles and others present in Jerusalem at Pentecost and those who they then laid hands on. Jesus predicted this. He said “these signs shall surely follow” and they did as we can read all about in Acts.

However, today it’s different. Today there is nobody left who had hands laid on them by someone with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is not to say miracles and healings do not happen still. They do, but through the fervent prayer of faith by righteous men (James 5…I have personally received divine healed three times this way). Yet, we are not presently familiar with the easy or accidental miracles like those that Acts tells us constantly surrounded those full of faith and the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). For example, Acts implies that healings happened by Peter’s shadow passing over the sick in the streets or by receiving a clothing that Paul had worn. That’s the difference between being filled with Holy Spirit and miracles surrounding you constantly and merely being a faithful righteous person who prays to receive miracles and gets them a small percentage of the time.

Given that you are unlikely to find a person filled with the Holy Spirit today, you are not going to see a real miracle that was clearly and obviously done by the Holy Spirit for you to blaspheme. Thus, you cannot commit the unpardonable sin today even if you wanted to.

Hebrews confirms that the presence of the Holy Spirit is a necessary prerequisite of a sin you cannot repent of:

Hebrews 6:4 (HCSB) — For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit

This passage is not talking about generic salvation as salvation of itself does not make you “a companion of the Holy Spirit.” The laying on of hands is what gives that gift (1Ti 4:14; 2Ti 1:6). That was the special situation of the First Century. People had “enlightenment” or the Holy Spirit as their “companion” because of the laying on of hands (Acts 19:1-6). The passage is saying that if they then fall away after tasting such a level of intimate understanding with God’s way and power (or “enlightenment”) then they were accountable for knowing better if they then abandoned that way. This differs from the accountability people have today without the spirit filling them. We are generally in confusion and doubt on even what the Bible says when we attempt to read it. Such as, for example, what the Bible teaches on what sins you can never be forgiven for =).


There is no need to worry about being guilty of the unpardonable sin and not knowing it. In Scripture God’s enemies are the ones who are in danger of it. Further, it probably has been impossible to commit this sin ever since soon after the First Century. Unlike then, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not poured out on all believers so that you can witness many signs done by the spirit and then blaspheme it. If you still do catch yourself worrying about having committed it, then that might be the best evidence one can point to that you have not done so.

How Long Was Jesus’ Ministry?

A friend asked:

Tim, where do you come down on Jesus ministry being only One year in length and not three years ? Is there a source I can read more about it ?

The length of Jesus’ ministry is not a topic most Christians wonder about. They are universally taught that it was 3½ years long. What they do not realize without personal investigation is that this is only one traditional teaching of several possibilities ranging from 1 – 3 years in length.

I, too, did not realize this for decades as a believer…until meeting Michael Rood. He was teaching a ministry of Jesus of only about a year, or 62 weeks to be exact (70 if you include Jesus’ work up until Pentecost as a glorified man appearing intermittently). This fell in line with what Daniel 9 says about the Messiah being cut off after 62 weeks (Dan 9:26). While the weeks are traditionally interpreted as groups of seven years, not literal weeks of days, in prophecy, there often are dual fulfillments. This allows for both weeks of years and (normal) weeks of days to be intended by the passage. In other words, Jesus died after exactly 62 weeks in ministry as the ministering servant Messiah (from the day John baptized him when he was baptized by the Holy Spirit descending as a dove).

Origins of the 70 Week Ministry

When I asked Michael where he got this theory, he told me about a conference he went to where a couple scholars were teaching it. They claimed that the oldest Greek manuscript fragment for part of the Gospel of John had a different reading than most Bibles follow. I think it was John 6 which in most Bibles has:

John 6:4 (HCSB) Now the Passover, a Jewish festival, was near.

However, in this oldest fragment that the Critical Apparatus of the Nestle Aland had for that chapter, that verse was missing. If the oldest fragment preserved the original, then that verse was not original to John but added later by some scribe.

Michael Rood was intrigued but thought at the time that these scholars were just trying to be controversial to make a name for themselves. Later when he tried to resolve difficulties in The Chronological Gospels (his next book), this bit of trivia came in handy to resolve there being huge gaps in the narrative.

The gaps occurred because certain verses in John inserted extra Passovers without any account of Jesus observing them nor the other of the intervening three annual pilgrimage feasts which the Torah required all males to attend (Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles). If these Passover accounts were accurate, then Jesus would be breaking Torah which he said he came to fulfill and not to destroy. It would also simply be inconsistent with all the other festivals we see recorded that he always attended like the obedient Jew that he was.

Michael found that two of the four Passovers ascribed to Jesus’ 3½ year ministry were not defensible. John 6:4 did not exist and John 5:1 generic festival reference was not Passover as is normally assumed, but another festival. This left two Passovers, the one soon after the start of his ministry in John 2:23 and the one he died on. Thus, rather than a ministry of over three years, Jesus had a ministry of just over one year (62 weeks) just as some Church fathers had already said.

Why Getting Jesus’ Ministry Length Right Matters

Like Michael, I was not looking for an alternative theory for Jesus ministry either when I encountered it. It just fell into my lap and I accepted it as superior to the 3½ year ministry theory on that merit alone. I did not realize then how key it was that I learned this.

Years later in other research I found compelling research for the correct years of Jesus birth and death: Fall 3 BCE and Spring 30 AD, respectively. These years only leave room for a life span of 31 years, not the 33 years that you need to make a 3½ year ministry beginning at age 30 fit. Only a short one year ministry works. If I still believed the 3½ year ministry at the time of the discovery of those two data points, I probably would have rejected one of this as wrong when all along it was the 3½ year ministry that was wrong. (Note: when you find the difference between 3 BCE and 30 AD be sure to subtract 1 for no year zero! And another 1 because Jesus died six months before his birthday that year. If you don’t, you’ll end up with an age at death of 33 or 32 instead of 31.)

This year of 29 AD for the start of Jesus’ ministry was later confirmed when I discovered that Jesus’ ministry must begin in a Sabbath year. This is derived from his public reading of Isaiah 61:1-2, a declaration of a Sabbath year in Luke 4:18-20 at the start of his ministry. When I researched Sabbath year records, I found the best-supported theory had a Sabbath year fall from Spring 28 to Spring 29 AD (documented in my book). This Sabbath year cycle is the basis for all the many possible years of fulfillment of the 70th week on, since Jesus must return in a Sabbath year, the final year of the 70th Week. (In this way, his two comings are parallel. Both come in the Sabbath year end of one of the 70 Prophetic Weeks: the 62nd or 69th and the 70th respectively.)

If you want to learn more on Jesus one year ministry, check out Michael Rood’s Jonah Code.

Did the Chilean Earthquake fulfill “Unless Those Days Were Shortened” (Mt 24:22)?

The powerful 8.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Chile killed more than 700 people and triggered tsunamis. NASA scientists say that is not all it did. It also affected the earth’s axis, speeding up the rotation a little. In other words, the quake shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds. (That’s not one thousandths of a second, but millionths of seconds.)

Many readers have forwarded this news to me probably with the same thought in mind. Could this be what Jesus referred to when he said the following in the Olivet Discourse?

Matthew 24:22 (KJV) — And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

One reader phrased it this way:

If we interpret Scripture literally, can we say that the event in Chile has to do when Jesus said days are going to be shortened? What do think? Is it possible ? I know that PX will cause something similar too…but this earthquake literally shortened days according to a scientist … this is getting better ! we are heading to end times…

This question highlights the ambiguity with what Jesus said as it is rendered in the antiquated KJV English version. It can either be understood figuratively or literally. The more common figurative meaning of “those days being shortened” signifies that the length of the tribulation is going to limited by God. The strictly literal reading of it would mean that the literal length of our 24 hour day will be shorter. So which was intended by Jesus?

The reader is leaning towards literal. But is he on the right track? The question also highlights confusion on what “literal interpretation” means. Let’s get to the bottom of it using to approaches.

Approach 1: Think It Through Logically

First a clarification. Some of my students might choose literal because I’m known to teach taking the Bible literally. But this is constantly misunderstood. It does not mean to read everything in the Bible literally even when there are figures of speech, idioms, parables, allegories and metaphors being used. The literal method follows the cues in the text that tell us how to read it. This is instead of deciding to allegorize it without such cues and despite the fact that our reading breaks Scripture (John 10:35) just to suit our preconceived doctrinal positions.

Literal interpretation is really just same way we attempt to understand people everyday. If someone tells us that “I’m dying of thirst!”, do we take it literally and rush them to the hospital for an I.V. drip because we “always wanted to do this” (i.e. be a hero)? No, if we want to stay out of trouble we stop and look at them, see they look fine, think a moment and recognize the person used as a common hyperbolic expression. We process it as such and offer them a drink.

In other words, some common sense thinking is required to go along with proper interpretation. You can solve many questions yourself this way if you just ask yourself questions on what the ramifications are of the interpretation to the surrounding thoughts. Question does it fit or not?

In this case, how does a literal shortening of a 24 hour day prevent the implied extinction of the human race? It makes no sense. On the other hand, the figurative shortening of those days read as the curtailing of the Great Tribulation makes perfect sense as a reason that genocide would be prevented. Satan wants to enslave or destroy the human race and God must step in to prevent this.

Approach 2: Compare Multiple Bible Versions

I realize that we sometimes cannot always see the forest for the trees. We cannot think of the questions ourselves that would lead us to the right answer. (This is why I love the questions I receive by email. They powerfully provoke me to thought on the Bible everyday.)

But sometimes the answer can come through another method. One of the best practices I share constantly is that of checking multiple versions on any passage you are having trouble with. We are very blessed to have the myriad English translations of the Bible we have. If you saw how few Bible versions there are for Spanish speakers, you would feel pity for them.

In this case, checking other versions indeed comes to the rescue. A simple check of a more modern and accurate version like the HCSB produces:

Matthew 24:22 (HCSB) — Unless those days were limited, no one would survive. But those days will be limited because of the elect.

That is clearly a vote for the figurative rendering that the days of the Great Tribulation will be limited. The Greek for this passage means “cut short” which can be rendered as “shortened” like the KJV or “limited” like the HCSB depending on the context. Here, as demonstrated above, the context is talking about limiting the Great Tribulation, so “limited” is best for giving a reader the right idea without them having to go through the mental gymnastics of Approach 1 above.

Does this work all the time? No, sometimes it is no help. But it is always worth a try, especially for people who primarily use the KJV. I cannot tell you how many times people have asked me about a verse in the KJV reading that I answered just by showing them it in the NIV. It’s time for people to update their Bibles and read them through again in the new version. You’ll be amazed at what you can finally understand in the Bible.

But is the Chilean earthquake in any way a sign of the End Times being nearer? Stay tuned for when I address Matthew 24:7 “There will be famines, and earthquakes in various places.”…