by Paul Benson
…and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. -Jesus to the Church at Smyrna
Let me start by saying I am not really a big numerology buff. Many Christians are. And some take it to such extremes that they are seeing (and hearing) things I believe are not really there!
When we start searching for ‘revelations’ we desperately want to see, rather than searching for the voice of God to speak what he wants to say to us personally, we are opening doors that might be better left closed. Without the leading of the Holy Spirit we are likely to get distracted, or worse yet out-right deceived. And I actually feel straying too far into numerology can lead to a sin akin to seeking guidance from the stars. (I am speaking of astrology.)
I sometimes get lengthy e-mails so full of numbers, symbols, and disjointed thoughts trying to tie them all together that it is impossible to make heads or tails of what the person is trying to communicate. It sounds like: ‘When you add this to that and divide it by this you get so and so; and when that is compared to this number added to that one, and now related to all these other numbers, you MUST come to this conclusion!’
And I have to sit back and go: ‘Lord, is there anything you are trying to say to me through this jumbled up mess?’ And not very often do I get any ‘quickening’ from those lengthy treatises! Not to offend anyone but I see so many go out into la-la land over numbers and sequences of numbers that it has kind of turned me off to deeper exploration of this topic.
But in this matter, as well as all things, we must be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. And we should realize that at times God certainly does speak through various numbers in the Bible. I view the number 10 as being one of those prominent numbers. Let’s look at that number in relation to end-time events.
Ten In Scripture
In the Scriptures the number 10 does seem to carry a great significance. Many theologians have clearly tied the number 10 not only to God testing and trying certain people (or peoples) in the Bible, but also as a number expressing fullness or completion in relation to God’s dealings with man.
I considered doing a write-up on the significance of 10 throughout the Scriptures, but Tricia Tillin on her Birthpangs Blog has already done such a terrific job in doing so. I thought I would just link to her work if any are interested in studying out 10 in the Bible in a more thorough manner. You can find that article here:
As I said in a previous article the number 7 has been given much attention for its role in Bible prophecy, and rightly so, but I feel we may be shorting ourselves by ignoring the role of the number 10 in the end-time events. I think exploring how 10 relates to eschatology might grant us some deeper enlightenment, and possibly even help clear up some misconceptions.
Does God Test And Purify His People With Trials And Tribulations Today?
The minute you raise the issue of the time of great tribulation being a time of trial or testing for the Body of Christ many folks (mostly pre-trib rapture promoting) start squawking and stomping their feet! God does not need to purify his people! We are already pure in his sight! You are denying that Christ’s blood makes us sanctified in God’s sight!
I have heard it ALL – believe me!
Though this ‘God does not need to purify the Bride of Christ by putting her through tribulation because she is already pure in his sight’ idea sounds quite lovely from the pulpit, and plays well to itching ears, it is not in accord with the true teachings of the Scriptures.
It is just part of the way the narrative must be twisted and altered to promote the pre-trib deception. They act like God would be doing something unrighteous by allowing the Church to have to endure the hardness and persecutions of the time of tribulation. Even going to the extreme of saying this would make Jesus a *wife-beater!
* Please allow me to once again voice my amazement at this ridiculous claim. Since Dispensational theology (incorrectly) teaches God has two brides (The Church for Christ, and Israel for the Father), if Jesus would be a wife -beater for leaving her on Earth for the tribulation, what does that say about the Father? They (incorrectly) say the tribulation is the wrath of God. SO… Jesus rescues his Bride from the supposed wrath of God; but the Father pours out that wrath upon his? That kind of reasoning only makes sense in Crazy-Town; and I truly hope you are not living in that zip-code!
But when all their indignant screeching stops, and all the dust settles, it remains without a doubt true the Word of God clearly teaches God tests and purges his chosen ones. In his dealings with Israel in the O.T., as well as his dealings with the Body of Christ in the N.T., we have much Scripture showing that, through the hardship of trials and tribulations, the Lord tests and even chastises his children!
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 2Thessalonians 1:4-5
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Acts14:22
Not only does the Scripture detail God viewing persecution endured as making us worthy of his kingdom; it also clearly details God chastising his disobedient children to bring them back into a righteous state!
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 1Corinthians 11:31-32
And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Hebrews 12:5-8
So then, seeing that God certainly DOES put his children through times of testing and tribulation, and also seeing that (as Tricia Tillin so aptly explained) the number 10 is truly associated in the Bible with trials, testing, and the fulfillment of God’s purposes, should we not expect to see this number somehow clearly expressed in the end-time scenario? I think we should!
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Revelation 2:10
Here is one usage of the number 10 in association with tribulation. I don’t think we should read anything into the verse that the Holy Spirit is not speaking; but I think it would be foolish to ignore this usage of the number of testing (10) in regard to tribulation suffered by the Church.
I am not stating dogmatically that I believe the time of tribulation is going to last for ten years; but I think the notion is quite worthy of consideration. Jesus spoke of a ‘beginning of sorrows’ followed by ‘great tribulation’; and as I have shown in my last article ‘How Long Will The Prophesied Time Of Great Tribulation Last?’ this period of tribulation CANNOT coincide exactly with either a 7 year or 3 ½ year time frame ending with the destruction of Antichrist. Neither Daniel’s 70th week nor the 42 month reign of Antichrist is concurrent with the great tribulation. It just does not fit!
And we must consider that many of the chaotic events (sorrows) of the last days will prime the world to welcome Antichrist and his supposed solutions. Therefor it is not only possible, but also quite probable, that this time of tribulation starts much earlier than the seven years in which the Abomination of Desolation will manifest in the middle (3 ½ year point) of.
FOOD4THOUGHT: Why do so many people insist that Revelation 3:10, which speaks of a time of testing (the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.) is in regard to the last days, but completely disregard Revelation 2:10 which also speaks of a time of testing to be endured? I’ll tell you why. Because you cannot stuff Revelation 2:10 with the pre-trib hoax that says Christians will not be around to endure the persecution of the Devil in the final years! Once again they are ignoring any piece of the puzzle that does not further their fable. But how can one perceive the full counsel of God with such selective vision? You cannot!
The Types And Shadows
One of the most over-looked aspects of eschatology (the study of end-time matters) is the prophetic nature of the types and shadows found in the Old Testament.
There is good reason for this.
Much preaching on the end-times, and the Coming of Christ for the Church, is totally out of accord with the truth! While the types and shadows of the Bible are given as additional witness to the truth, they are of little use to any theory that runs contrary to the pattern they show.
For example: the Exodus. If we contrast the delivery of God’s chosen from the land of Egypt to the final delivery of God’s people at the time of the end (as shown in Revelation and the other end-time prophecies), we can see a distinct overlay which is purposely ignored by the pre-trib crowd as it presents a pattern that runs contrary to the one they are trying to pawn off on us. Here is a quote from a former article of mine ‘The Exodus Is NOT A Picture Of A Pre-Trib Rapture!’:
One of the most glaring rebukes of the claim that this Exodus story supports their pre-trib theory is the fact the children of Israel did not leave Egypt before God poured out the Judgments on that nation. For this story to support their position they would have surely departed prior to the plagues. But they did not; they were right there divinely protected from the judgment of those days!
There is a very striking similarity between the ten plagues God poured out upon Egypt and the Judgments we see poured out in the final few years as shown in the book of Revelation. And as Moses and Aaron were two witnesses against Pharaoh, there will again be two witnesses who pronounce the final plagues. Of the ten plagues (water into blood, frogs, lice, flies, dead animals, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and death by divine judgment) we see eight of those clearly listed in Revelation. And remember, some of the end-time events in Revelation (the Seven Thunders) are withheld from us, so these other two (lice and flies) may very well manifest at this time also. It would not surprise me a bit.
Who could deny the similarities to the 10 plagues which befell Egypt and those detailed in Revelation? Or the link between the two witnesses (Moses and Aaron) that engaged the Pharaoh and the Two Witnesses that will speak forth the judgments of the last days? Or the fact that the deliverance of God’s people which came AFTER the tribulation that befell Egypt goes right along with Jesus’ words in Mark 13?
But in those days, after that tribulation… …shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Mark 13:24-27
The pattern shown by both the Exodus and the prophecies of the last-days is that of a time of tribulation (great persecution and oppression of the righteous coupled with great judgments upon the wicked) followed by the deliverance of God’s people into the land of Promise. Tribulation then deliverance! Why is that so hard to grasp?
But many will say: ‘You cannot use Israel as a type of the Church. They are completely different entities!’ (Dispensational preaching forces this ‘Separation Theology’ mindset.)
But I say, ‘If you cannot see God’s dealings with Israel as a type and symbol of his dealings with the Body of Christ you are engaging in willful blindness!’ The ‘called-out’ Church was absolutely foreshadowed by Israel! Just look at the comparisons the Prophets and Apostles gave:
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. Exodus 19:5-6
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 1Peter2:9
And just as God’s dealings with his Elect in the O.T. were a type and shadow of his dealings with his Elect Church in the N.T. so also were the signs and wonders, judgments and plagues by which he wrought Israel’s deliverance from Egypt a fore-runner of the events that will precede our deliverance from this evil age at Christ’s Return!
Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live? 34 Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? Deuteronomy 4:33 -34
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: Act 2:19-20
The signs and wonders that brought such great fear upon the Egyptians, and the (10?) Judgments that decimated their nation, are prophesied to repeat prior to the final Exodus of God’s people. And once again God will be glorified in the midst of his people (Exodus 8:22), just as he was in that day! It may not play out exactly word for word or line upon line but that is the pattern given!
Contrary to the rapture-speak lying to us from countless pulpits this pattern will NOT be broken. We are given many prophetic patterns in the Word (Christ the Firstfruits, then we that are his at his coming. 1Cor.15:23 etc. etc. etc.) to give second witness to the truth. We need to recognize these prophetic biblical patterns and adjust our theology accordingly!
The Feasts of the Lord
Besides 10 as the number of testing, and the ten plagues of the Exodus repeating in Revelation, is there any further indication of 10 in the end-time picture? Yes, I believe there is – in the prophetic imagery of the Feasts of the Lord. If you have never studied the Feasts of the Lord and their prophetic fulfillment in Christ I would highly recommend it. It is an amazing area of biblical prophecy.
Here is a short video by Gavin Finley I liked because he places the emphasis on the Day of Atonement as typifying the day we are awaiting rather than a supposed pre-trib rapture on the Feast of Trumpets. I believe this focus is key to proper eschatology.
Please understand I do not claim to have a clear and precise picture of how the Return of Christ will fulfill the fall Feasts. And I don’t want to engage in overmuch speculation. But I did want to point out a few things I do see as worthy of consideration.
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) falls on the 10th day of the seventh month (Tishrei) in the Hebrew calendar, and is regarded as the ‘Sabbath of Sabbaths’. The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah – also referred to in the Torah as Yom Teruah) begins on the first day of that month. It is observed over a two day period with seven days between it and the Day of Atonement. So we basically see these two feasts book-ending this seven day span.
The main points I want to emphasize here are:
(1.) The Days of Awe.
There are 10 days of Awe (introspection/repentance) observed from the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets to the Day of Atonement on the 10th day of Tishrei. This time of repentance is a vital part of the fall Feasts; it was a prerequisite to atonement! The Day of Atonement is the day the High Priest would place the blood of the sacrifice on the altar and REDEEM the people from the consequence of their sins.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. Romans 8:23
The people of God were called to a period of repentance prior to the atoning of their sins. The idea of a pre-trib rapture (supposedly typified by the Feast of *Trumpets) ignores this call to repentance, and puts our Atonement (the redemption of our body) before The Days of Awe. The biblical pattern is not followed .
*Yes, the Bible does associate the blowing of the trumpet with the catching away of the believers. And, yes, the Feast of Trumpets is chock full of trumpet calls. BUT.. what many fail to recognize is that there is also a trumpet that sounds on the Day of Atonement on the 10th day! (Again, 10 signifies completion or fulfilment of a time of testing.) This long loud trumpet blast is (not surprisingly) often referred to as the last great trump. Go figure!
(2.) The Year of Jubilee.
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. Leviticus 25:10
For the children of Israel every fifty years was to be a year of Jubilee. Slaves freed. Debt forgiven. Families reunited. A new beginning full of liberty. The Jubilee was a type or forerunner of what it would be like living under the reign of our Messiah. His reign will be one continual Jubilee. The Jubilee was a type and shadow of life in the Millennium for the people of God.
Please note: The Jubilee does not begin until the Day of Atonement on the 10th! It does NOT begin at the Feast of Trumpets as pre-trib teaching claims. Here is a quote from C.H. Spurgeon that wonderfully speaks to this:
QUOTE: I have now an interesting fact to tell you, and I am sure you will think it worth mentioning. Turn to Leviticus xxv. 9, and you will read: “Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.” So that one of the effects of the atonement was set forth to us in the fact that when the year of jubilee came, it was not on the first day of the year that it was proclaimed, but “on the tenth day of the seventh month.” Ay, methinks, that was the best part of it. The scapegoat is gone, and the sins are gone, and no sooner are they gone than the silver trumpet sounds,
“The year of jubilee is to come, Return, ye ransomed sinners, home.”
On that day sinners go free; on that day our poor mortgaged lands are liberated, and our poor estates which have been forfeited by our spiritual bankruptcy are all returned to us. So when Jesus dies, slaves win their liberty, and lost ones receive spiritual life again; when he dies, heaven, the long lost inheritance is ours. Blessed day! Atonement and jubilee ought to go together. Have you ever had a jubilee, my friends, in your hearts? If you have not, I can tell you it is because you have not had a day of atonement. END QUOTE Excerpt from A Sermon (No. 95) Delivered on Sabbath Morning, August 10, 1856, by the REV. C.H. SPURGEON At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
Even pre-trib theologians will confess truly that the Day of Atonement typifies the day of the Second Coming of Christ; they just believe the rapture takes place 7 years before that day.
And they also properly teach that the Resurrection of the Dead and our gathering together unto Christ begins our time of liberty and restoration typified by the Jubilee. It is the day we receive our inheritance and begin eternity living in a glorified state.
But the Scriptures clearly teach the Jubilee year starts on the Day of Atonement! And for the life of me I cannot understand why they cannot see they err having folks entering Jubilee long before the Day of Atonement. To place the entering into the year of Jubilee at the Feast of Trumpets is a complete departure from the biblical pattern!
I think we need to take a closer look at how well does our eschatology line up with the prophetic pattern shown in the Feasts of the Lord! Obviously, with all the varied teachings we hear on this matter somebody is not ‘getting it right’! And why should we look anywhere other than the pattern shown in Scripture for a foundation for our beliefs?
And again, let me say I don’t yet have all the pieces of the puzzle in place; I am still merely a student of eschatology. And I am not saying dogmatically that we will see a 10 year tribulation (a time of sorrows followed by great tribulation); but I do certainly see more evidence in favor of that scenario than I do a 3 ½ or 7 year tribulation.
And why should we not expect to see the number the Bible uses in reference to trials, testing, and the fulfillment of God’s purposes as a piece of the end-time puzzle? I think it has a much greater role than we have given it credit for!
I hope you have found this article thought-provoking. Blessings to all who love our Christ;
I welcome your input!
If you have comment or criticism please use the section below. Overly long comments may be edited for length.
Thank you for visiting my site.