The Next Homecoming
One wonderful day you receive a delivery by special messenger. It is an invitation to attend something called “The Homecoming of the Lamb” that’s being held in the New Jerusalem. You and your family are honored guests. Enclosed is a check for $15,000 to cover expenses. Preached as a Guest September 9, 2001.
Rev 19:1-9 - 1. Hear this text orchestrated and sung - download a great EloHymns rendition.
AFTER THIS I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our Elohim, 2. for his judgments are true and just; he has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he has avenged on her the blood of his servants." 3. Once more they cried, "Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever." 4. And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped Elohim who is seated on the throne, saying, "Amen. Hallelujah!" 5. And from the throne came a voice crying, "Praise our Elohim, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great." 6. Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunderpeals, crying, "Hallelujah! For Yahweh our Elohim the Almighty reigns. 7. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; 8. it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure"-- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. 9. And the angel said to me, "Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb." And he said to me, "These are true words of Elohim.
(This message was preached at the homecoming service of Wesley Chapel UMC September 9, 2001, just before the tragic terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. It deals with certain signs of the return of the Messiah in our times, and especially those signs that have manifested in the last seven years.)
(Optional) The last homecoming I remember attending was at Salem church in May of 1994. It was an unusual Sunday morning. Normally there were only a handful of the faithful in church on Sunday, if you don’t count the giant black and red grasshoppers over there. But this special Sunday, there were a bunch of people, and they’d come from all over the place. Some of the men looked ancient, dressed in their best wool suits, preserved from the 1920s or 30s, so it seemed. The women, too, were dressed to kill. I met a German man there with whom I remember having a lively conversation. Of course, Lonnie and Dock and Mrs. Lipham and the three sisters and brother Adcock and the rest were there. I think Rev. Stanley Crawford was there. There were about ten children. Are children were in from Florida, too. Maybe you were there in May 1994.
I recall that there were flowers everywhere. Sometime during the service, the children took the bouquets to the gravesites. I remember the kids dashing as fast as they could go. A couple of our grandchildren had the opportunity to participate. I heard someone say that slaves were buried out there; he wanted to make sure there were flowers for them, too.
I preached about the great homecoming banquet in the New Jerusalem to come and encouraged the folks, some who had not been in church since last homecoming, to examine their lives and turn to the Savior, so that they might participate in the final homecoming of Elohim. Afterward, there was a meal on the grounds. The picnic tables were all covered with clean linen tablecloths and everybody brought something to the table. There was a lot of home-fried chicken and a couple buckets from Hardees. One prophet informed me, “Hardees' chicken’s what the preachers like t’eat.”
Toward the end, I surveyed the whole scene and recognized how privileged I was to be there. I told my family to “Look around and remember what you see. You may never witness anything like this again. Cherish the memory.” I’m glad you folks are still celebrating homecoming. “Some things never change.” Some things are good and should never change.
Time Has Been Accurately Recorded
I came to share something important that I learned a few years ago that made a tremendous impact on how I think. I want to tell you about it because I love you and hope you will get as excited about it as I am. And no, it’s not Amway.
Both Old and New Testaments mention that, in prophecy, a day is as a thousand years (Ps 90:4, 2 Pe 3:8). We know that the creation was completed in seven days. And also that each week is composed of seven days, the last day, the seventh, is the Sabbath, the day of rest. The story of creation and the way Elohim created the week of seven days are models for all of salvation history. The Bible deals with seven thousand-year days – seven thousand years altogether. It says very little about time before Adam or time after the Kingdom comes. We know that Yahshua was born, died and was resurrected on the fourth day –four thousand years after Adam. We also know that the last prophetic day, the thousand-year Sabbath, is reserved for Yahshua’ reign on earth. This final thousand years of Bible history is known as “The Millennium” from Rev 20:4. Yahshua returns to earth sometime at the beginning of the Millennium.
A lot of time has passed since Adam ruled Eden. The question is, “How close are we to the beginning of the last thousand years, the Millennium?” Did you know that Elohim’s people have been accurately keeping time since Adam, and some folks today can trace their roots clear back to the first man? Year after year since the beginning, the people of Elohim have kept track, because Elohim kept them at it. He thinks it should be important to us. For example, Yahshua was born in year 4000 of the Jewish calendar, four thousand years from creation.
[240 Years] Intentional Human Error in Time Keeping
There was only one time in all of history when the timekeepers got off track. In the year 4133, 133 years after Yahshua was born, a military leader arose in Israel. His name was Simon Cosiba and he won several decisive battles against the Romans in Israel. He even won back Jerusalem for a time. The chief rabbis, who were in charge of Elohim’s timetable, declared that Simon Cosiba was the Messiah. To support Simon, they decreed that all Jews in the world must subtract 240 years from the calendar. They did this so that their year of 4133 would appear to fulfill Daniel’s seventieth week prophecy of Messiah’s coming (9:24-27). One day it was 4133. The next day it was 3893 again. Before long, Simon Cosiba lost Jerusalem and was defeated. Although Simon was proven false messiah, the rabbis refused to change the year back to 4133! As far as they were concerned, what was done was done. And to this very day, the Jewish calendar falls 240 short of Elohim’s time.
More on the 240 years
With this in mind, we look to today’s edition of the Jerusalem Post. The Post reflects the actual number of years since the creation minus the 240-year reduction. The Post today says it ‘s the year 5761. If we add the 240 years back on, we know exactly how many years have passed since creation. What is 5761 + 240? 6001! We are now in the year 6001 from creation. According to our Roman calendar, we are also in year 2001 from Yahshua’s birth.
A Riddle - Are We In the Millennium?
Friends, sometimes we have a tendency to overlook the obvious. Isn’t this true? Now listen you mathematicians: here’s a riddle! The solution could change your life. If 2001 years have passed since Messiah and 6001 years have passed since Adam, and if there are 7000 years all told in Bible history and the last 1000 years is the Millennium, could it be that we are now one year into the Millennium? The Feast of Trumpets, October 1, 2000, marked the end of six thousand years of Bible history and the beginning of the last thousand, which we know as the Millennium. This is year 6001 of 7000. Could it be so simple? Instead of interpreting beasts and trumpets and signs and horsemen and Bible codes, could the calendar be the greatest, simplest and most obvious sign of all? What a straightforward way for Yahweh to tell us what time it is – that it’s not Miller time after all; it’s Millennium time! And if there is any possibility of this being true, if there is even the slightest chance of this being the case, isn’t it a powerful motivator for making lifestyle changes? It certainly is. We may be in year one of the Millennium. Think of it. Does this mean something to you? While this sinks in, I’ll talk about signs.
Signs in the Sky
In the seven years since we’ve seen you, while the days have come and gone mostly uneventfully at home, the world has experienced subtle but monumental changes that we might even call “birth pangs of a new age.” Our ancient creation, distressed and broken, is crying out for the coming of a Savior. I want to review a few prophetic signposts that have come to pass since 1994.
Yahshua and the prophets warned us that there would be signs in the heavens. The month after we left the J. C. Adams Circuit for Pensacola, the world witnessed the most incredible astronomical sign every recorded in human history. On the fourth of July 1994 the mammoth Shoemaker-Levy comet crashed into the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. Over the course of the next several months, anyone with binoculars could witness the greatest show in the universe as these comet fragments made indelible, moon-sized impressions deep into the surface of the great planet. At no other time in all history have people seen anything even resembling this phenomenon. And not even scientists could predict such a thing until one day it happened. If Yahweh rules the universe as the Bible says, then this was the greatest atmospheric sign from Elohim in human history and a sign of the coming Millennium. You didn’t miss this sign, did you? Of course you didn’t.
Two years later (1996) scientists examined a meteorite that had fallen to earth from Mars. They identified Martian life petrified in the rock. The organism found resembled microbial life on earth. Other reputable scientists speculate that Mars was teeming with water, oxygen and earth-like life at one time. They conclude that a huge meteor crashed into Mars 13,000 years ago and destroyed it all, making it barren today. Could it happen here? These discoveries lead a believer directly to the prophecy of
Rev 8: 8. The second angel blew his trumpet, and it was as though a great mountain blazing with fire was hurled into the sea: a third of the sea turned into blood, 9. a third of all the living things in the sea were killed, and a third of all ships were destroyed.
A comet or asteroid is a flying mountain. We saw a comet crash into Jupiter. We learned that an asteroid destroyed life on Mars. These are facts from science and warnings from Yahweh. We read in prophecy that it will happen on earth. While writers and moviemakers sell stories about the aftermath of an asteroid collision here, let us believers fervently pray that it will not come to pass!
These past seven years have also been termed “the Decade of Earthquakes,” as the most significant earthquake in prophetic history hit on August 17, 1999 centered in Turkey, right where the seven churches of Revelation 2-3 are located. The initial quakes and aftershocks registered nearly 8.0 on the Richer scale with a strong compensating quake on the other side of the earth, in Colombia. At the same time, there were both solar and lunar eclipses that occurred over 2/3 of the earth. Many reported that the moon turned blood red during the lunar eclipse. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed, missing or displaced by the quake. Thousands are still perplexed. Recall the words of
Rev 6:12. When the Lamb broke the sixth seal, there was a violent earthquake and the sun went as black as sackcloth; the moon turned red as blood … 15. Then the whole population… hid in caverns… 16. They said to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us … 17. For the Great Day of his retribution has come, and who can face it?"
This happened 3 years ago and they are still finding people buried in the rubble. If Yahweh has power over the earth as we say he does, then this is certainly a sign of the coming Millennium. You didn’t miss this sign, did you? Of course you didn’t.
Signs on the Earth
In the last few years among the nations of the earth we’ve seen many of the classical signs of the coming of coming Messiah fulfilled to completion. One I am sensitive to is the persecution of the saints.
Rev 6:9. When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar all the people who had been killed for the Word of Elohim. 10. They shouted in a loud voice, "Holy, true Master, how much longer will you wait…?" 11. …They were told to be patient a little longer, until the roll was completed of their fellow servants who would die as they had.
Since we left here in 1994, 1,218,000 believers who have died for the Word. More people were killed for Yahshua in the last seven years than were even on earth in his day. Oh, there have been a few martyrs here in the US, but in the Islamic world, an average of 500+ believers are killed every day, day after day. When the cup of the martyrs is full, then the Messiah will come (Rev 6:11).
Other prophecies about Messiah’s coming and the Millennium deal with primarily three geographic areas: Europe, Arabia and Israel. The Bible tells us that the final sign before Messiah returns with his saints is a war on the soil of the Israeli nation. It says that Israel will be fighting for its land against its traditional Arab enemies teamed up with the revived Roman Empire, and that the battle will be over the ownership of Jerusalem. When this happens, the Messiah, commanding heavenly armies, will descend and put an end to it in one day.
In the last seven years, all countries of the former Holy Roman Empire have officially united. This new Roman Empire is called the European Union, or EU. The first Beast of Revelation 13 is thought to be Europe, with Rome as its spiritual head. The other Beast, or ‘False Prophet,’ consists of the ancient foes of Elohim, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Syrian and the rest, united by their false religion Islam. Every day we hear religious leaders of Islam calling for a Holy War against Israel, Great Britain and the United States, “The Great Satan.” Revelation also tells us that these beasts will join against Jerusalem in the final war.
The Jerusalem Post reported September 5:
“Europe must take on a larger role in [Israel] (the region), the Syrian government newspaper … demanded today. There is a need to ‘curb the Israeli brutality and halt the extermination war’ ‘The European Union [is] seeking an effective and important role in this delicate region in order to compensate for the absent US role.’”
It is the policy of the US to allow Israel to run its own affairs; we have pulled out of the so-called ‘peace process.’ But Europe has rushed into the vacancy, exactly as the Bible predicts, allying itself with the Arab federation. Both beasts want to take Jerusalem. It’s no secret that Arabs hate Israel. Neither is it a secret that the European army of today is full of German Nazis. Soon we may see the prophecy of Zechariah 14 come to pass:
2. I shall gather the nations to Jerusalem for battle. The city will be taken and the houses plundered. Half the city will go into exile … 3. Then Yahweh will sally out and fight those nations… 4. When that day comes, his feet will rest on the Mount of Olives. 1.b and the spoils taken will be shared out among you.
Note that the war in Israel terminates when the feet of Yahweh are planted on Mt Olive. Considering the violence of these last few months in Israel, we know Yahweh is watching closely.
Speaking of wars: our troubled world is in a constant state of war; children are by far the greatest casualties. Since we last preached from this pulpit, 2 million children have died in wars, 1.5 million have been disabled and 12 million have become refugees. You’ve heard me mention here that 35,000+ additional children die of malnutrition every day. This is not because there is a shortage of food in the world; wars and famine are caused by the gluttony of those who have but won’t let go. When Yahweh plants his foot upon Mt. Zion, these evils will be rectified according to Rev 18:17.
My time for speaking is about at an end. If you want to hear more on prophecy, then visit tonight. (I promised to get back to the fond memories of homecoming.) This entire message, the discovery of where we are in time, the signs in the sky, the symbols on the earth, are all mentioned in order for us to get to the next homecoming. I’m here to tell you, the next homecoming will happen soon because time is up. Six thousand years, or nearly so, have passed, and now we are here together, on the very verge of the realization of our eternal hope, but we are not together for the last time. No other generation in history has lived to see the signs that our Father has boldly declared to us regarding the soon return of his Son, and we will get together again when he appears.
Watch Jerusalem. Let me tell you what I believe with my whole heart. When war breaks out there, Yahshua returns in a great space vehicle known as The New Jerusalem, 1400 cubic miles big, now hovering over the holy city. It is powerful enough to disable every war machine on earth. Yahshua comes and stops war cold. Then Scripture tells us that Yahshua takes the world away from the devil and locks him and his cohort away in a pit, lock, stock and barrel. That’s the end of that. With the devil incarcerated and the machines of war disabled, with evil kings overthrown and evil empires subdued, Yahshua re-introduces himself to the world. In short order, the nations become the Kingdoms of Elohim and his Messiah, ruled with a rod of iron. Believers on earth rejoice. We can hardly believe what’s happened! All our hopes are fulfilled in his return. And we know it is He, because we see him as he is!
Rev 21:4. [Then] all who refused to worship the beast come back to life; they reign with Messiah for a thousand years.
Suddenly, saints who have been dead long years come back to life. Folks you knew who were heroes of the faith appear here and there. Long gone relatives who loved Yahweh come knocking at your door. And believers have the means to be hospitable. You see J. C. Adams in the pew at Wesley Chapel one Sunday morning in 2003. Stan Crawford and Joe Bell show up at Salem soon after. The saints of all ages start popping up all over the place, and you are so happy to be of service to them.
One wonderful day you receive a delivery by special messenger. It is an invitation to attend something called “The Homecoming of the Lamb” that’s being held in the New Jerusalem. You and your family are honored guests. Enclosed is a check for $15,000 to cover expenses. In the jet on the way over, you realize that you’re living now on a new earth with a new sky; you just hadn’t noticed it before! And now that Elohim is ruling earth, things are better and you’re happier than you’ve ever been. Your whole family loves Yahweh and you have been able to lead several of your neighbors to him, now that there is no evil hindrance remaining. It’s so hard to believe – all the churchgoing of a life time, all the sacrifice you’ve made, all the persecution you’ve endured – but now everything is all right, for He has come back, just like he said, and now you are going to see him and the saints of all ages face to face at the great homecoming in the New Jerusalem.
All of a sudden, you have a feeling that you’re not going away, you’re coming home. Then you remember, “That guy who preached the homecoming service in 2001 was right on.” Ha. Ha. Friends, The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!" Let everyone who listens answer, `Come!" Let all who are thirsty come.