Where We Are in Prophecy--Part 3
Mar 17, 2008
In the first two parts of this series, I focused mostly upon the Babylonian system in prophecy. One might say that this is the "bad news" side of what is going on today, though certainly the fall of Babylon should be viewed as good news from a biblical perspective. But now it is time to turn to one other major development that God has been doing--and IS doing--in the world. It is in relation to the Church and the Kingdom of God.
First, there is a difference between the Church and the Kingdom of God. There ought not to be a difference, perhaps, but there is. The Church is supposed to be--and is called to be--the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on the earth. Unfortunately, it has fallen short, even among genuine believers. I include myself, of course, as one of those "genuine believers" who falls short of the Kingdom of God. Yet there is no need to wallow in guilt or self-pity, but simply press on to the high calling of God, knowing that God has already imputed righteousness to us, calling what is NOT as though it were (Rom. 4:17).
The first Church was what Acts 7:38 calls "The Church in the Wilderness." It was established under Moses. The Greek word for Church is ecclesia, which means "called-out ones." That first Church was called out of Egypt--a type of the world or the world system. This Church was established at Passover when Moses began to lead Israel out of Egypt. This Church ended at Passover 1480 years later when Jesus died on the cross.
The biblical time frame for the Passover Age was 1480 years, because that is the numeric value of "Christ" in Greek. The Greek phrase for "His Kingdom" also carries a numeric value of 1480. In addition, this number is linked to Passover, because the Hebrew words for "blood" and "Passover" each carry a numeric value of 148, which is 1/10 of 1480.
God never intended for the Church to receive the promises by the power of Passover, nor could they. Passover was sufficient to give them justification and impute righteousness to them by the blood of the Lamb, but Passover was insufficient to fill them with the Spirit and glorify (transfigure) their bodies.
So 1480 years later, God called a second Church out of the first one. It was the Pentecost Church. It was only fitting that the Passover Church be the first to hear that call to come into Pentecost, but most of them rejected it, being satisfied with their current religious system. Then the call went to other nations as well. By the empowerment of Pentecost, the Gospel of Christ went out into the world, not only to justify people, but also to sanctify them by the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
For the next 2,000 years, Pentecost reigned. However, Pentecost also proved to be insufficient to bring the Kingdom of God into the earth. When the people--and in particular, the Church leaders--lost the power of the Holy Spirit, they reverted to the carnal methods of the Passover Church and even of the world itself. Fear became a substitute for faith. Swords replaced the Sword of the Spirit. Crusades were called to occupy holy real estate and shrines, but the true "holy ground" was neglected. I speak, of course, of our bodies, which are the temple of God and of the true "Canaan" that is our Promised Land needing redemption.
The end of the Pentecostal Age came on May 30, 1993. That was Pentecost of that year, and it was the 40th Jubilee of the Pentecost Church since the Holy Spirit was given in Acts 2. The number pattern given to Pentecost was forty. Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness between their first Passover and their entry into Canaan. King Saul, crowned on the day of wheat harvest (Pentecost), was given 40 years to reign over Israel.
And so, since May 30, 1993 the Pentecostal Age began to come to an end, and God began to call a new Church into being. This new Church is the Tabernacles Church, based upon the third and final feast day of Israel that was established under Moses.
The story of King Saul's death and the accession of David to the throne gives us a few important details about the transition from Pentecost to Tabernacles. When Saul died, David was given the throne of Judah, a single tribe, while Saul's son, Ishbosheth, ruled the rest of Israel for two years (2 Sam. 2:10). Then Ishbosheth was assassinated, and Israel remained without a king for the next 5-1/2 years, while David continued to reign in Judah.
The house of David became stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker (2 Sam. 3:1). Finally, representatives of all the tribes came to Hebron in Judah, where they crowned David king over all Israel. David thus became the full king of all Israel after reigning in Hebron 7 years and 6 months (2 Sam. 5:5).
David's first course of action was to conquer Jebus, the old city of Salem that had once been ruled by Melchizedek (Shem). He renamed it according to its original name, the City of Salem (i.e., Jeru-Salem).
This "Hebron" transition of 7-1/2 years after the death of Saul was prophetic of the time from May 30, 1993 to Nov. 30, 2000.
Many things have occurred in recent years to show the parallels between the biblical events and what I myself have witnessed since the end of 1981. I will speak further of these next time. But the bottom line is that God has been calling out a new body of people from Pentecost to Tabernacles, even as He called out a new church in the book of Acts.
This is not to say that anyone ought to leave their church fellowship. That is not the point. What is important is that we are able to catch a vision that goes beyond Passover and Pentecost. We must not be content with wilderness life in Pentecost. We must have the faith to enter the Promised Land that is before us, even if it means leaving behind those we love who do not share this vision. Many faced this problem in the book of Acts, and the old order at that time persecuted those who wanted to move forward into the revelation of the newly-formed Pentecost Church.
Those of the old order simply did not understand what was happening. They thought that their temple, priesthood, and system of worship was permanent, because it was established by God through Moses. In their view, it was the "true religion." They could not comprehend the idea that God would establish an Old Covenant that was inadequate or which was a mere transition into something better under Pentecost.
The same is happening today. They quote Jesus saying, "Upon this rock I will establish My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it." But their view is based upon an inadequate understanding of the feast days which prophesy of the progression of the Kingdom.
The Church, then, must progress through three stages of development on a historic level. The three main feast days of Israel prophesy not only of our individual development as believers, but also historic development of Church Ages. These are: the Passover Age (1480 years), the Pentecost Age (40 Jubilees, or 1,960 years), and the Tabernacles Age (1,000 years, the cubic volume of the Most Holy Place).
The first two Churches are inadequate and imperfect, simply because they are not fully what God intends to establish. Hence, Pentecost gives us a mere "earnest" of the Spirit (Eph. 1:14; 2 Cor. 1:22, 5:5), but only Tabernacles can grant to us "the full measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13).
There have been men and women from all past ages who have had the vision of something greater. Abraham himself looked for a city and a better country (Heb. 11:10, 16). This is our vision as well, if we can see beyond Pentecost into the new thing that God is now doing in the earth.
This is the third part of a series titled "Where We Are in Prophecy." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones