Explanation of the court case, Part 3
Aug 17, 2015
The third set of testimonies that were presented to the divine court on August 4 was the testimony of the Bride, the Heavenly Jerusalem. The Bride is identified in Revelation 21:2 as the Jerusalem coming down from heaven, not the earthly city. The heavenly city thus had a voice in the court proceedings, because we were called to present the case for the New Covenant, not the Old.
With this verse, we find that Jerusalem is to be called “The throne of the Lord.” Hence, it was necessary to point out which city it is. The Hebrew name for Jerusalem is plural, or more accurately, a dual. Plural words generally end in im, while duals end in ayim. The city is Ierushalayim, a dual which means literally “two Jerusalems.”
Unfortunately, the Old Testament prophets never point out the difference between these two cities. They speak of both cities by the single name. It is not until we come to the New Testament that the difference between the two cities is explained to us. In Galatians 4:25, 26 Paul tells us that the two cities are Hagar and Sarah, who represent the Old and New Covenants. Paul also tells us that the true inheritors of the promise are the “Isaac” company—the children of Sarah.
“Ishmael” include the adherents of Judaism who consider the earthly Jerusalem to be their “mother.” To this we may now add much of evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity and Christian Zionism, which teach that the earthly Jerusalem will be the capital of the Kingdom of God in the age to come. Their faith is in the Old Covenant city, and hence many have taught that Christ will revive the Old Covenant practice of animal sacrifices in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem in the coming age.
In fact, their view of prophecy focuses almost entirely upon the glory of the earthly Jerusalem, and they do not believe Paul when he says that their mother city will be cast out (Galatians 4:29, 30).
In the book of Revelation, John quotes passages from Isaiah in regard to Jerusalem. But whereas Isaiah says “Jerusalem,” John applies his statements to the New Jerusalem, not the old city. Isaiah 62:4, 5 says that God will marry Jerusalem. Revelation 21:2, 9, 10 identifies God’s bride as the New Jerusalem.
Isaiah 60:19, 20 says that Jerusalem will not need the sun or moon to give it light. John applies this to the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:23.
The two cities have very different destinies, because they represent different covenants. Even as the Old Covenant was broken and made “obsolete and growing old” and “ready to disappear” (Hebrews 8:13), so also is the old Jerusalem obsolete and ready to be cast out. Jeremiah prophesied its utter destruction in Jeremiah 19:10, 11.
Not knowing the difference between the two cities has caused much confusion among prophecy teachers today. This has caused large portions of the church to think that the earthly city will be established as an “eternal city,” and so they have claimed it as their spiritual mother. This has caused them also to place their faith in the Old Covenant in the matter of salvation, for they claim that their vow to God has saved them. In fact, it is God’s vow to us that saves us. Most Christians do not really understand the difference between the two covenants.
So we were led to present Jeremiah 3:17 to the divine court as evidence that the New Jerusalem was to be the throne of God and of Christ. We presented the evidence for the Judge to consider, in order to give the true Bride a voice giving testimony in the case for the Restoration of All Things.
The Bride’s testimony here says that “they shall be His people.” This is part of the fulfillment of God’s New Covenant vow in Deuteronomy 29:13, “in order that He may establish you today as His people.”
This is Paul’s testimony regarding the true Bride, which we have already explained. The old Jerusalem is a bondwoman and is incapable of bringing forth the inheritors (“Isaac”).
Isaiah 2:2, 3, 4
The testimony of Isaiah is that the law will go forth from the New Jerusalem, not the old city. Isaiah, however, does not distinguish clearly between the two cities, so we were required to clarify his words before the divine court. We pointed out that the law goes forth from God’s temple, located in “the mountain of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:3). Later, in Isaiah 56:7, the temple is said to be “in My holy mountain.”
This testimony declares that God’s temple will be “a house of prayer for all the peoples.” We presented evidence that this is a heavenly temple (Revelation 15:5), because it is the temple of the New Jerusalem. While the earthly temple came to be outfitted with a dividing wall to keep out non-Jews and women (Ephesians 2:14, 15), Jesus abolished that wall so that all people might have equal access to their heavenly Father.
The Voice of Finance
Dr. Henderson wrote also that finances (offerings) have a voice in the divine court. I do not like to talk about money or offerings, so I might have missed this testimony had it not been for Henderson’s book. As we prayed, the Father confirmed this by reminding me of the three gold coins given to me on July 9, 2015. I wrote about it here:
Once we made this connection, it became apparent that God had set up this offering ahead of time so that we would know its place in these divine court proceedings.
Exodus 34:20, 21, 22, 23
The Israelites were commanded to appear before God three times a year at the three main feast days, and they were not to appear “empty-handed.” Many did not realize that God was not really interested in their money but in their hearts. There were times when most of the people stopped giving these offerings. In fact, they often stopped keeping the feasts. King Joash of Judah had to fix this problem (2 Chronicles 24:6, 7, 8). Soon the temple was largely abandoned once again, and King Hezekiah had to fix this lack of temple finances (2 Chronicles 31:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).
The value of offerings is determined by men to be in its quantity of silver or gold. But to God its value is measured by the faith in the giver. Old Covenant believers give because they have to. New Covenant believers give because they want to. One gives out of duty; another out of gratitude. Gratitude is an attribute of faith, because God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says,
7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
The three gold coins were given with exceptional cheerfulness under no compulsion. Their value, then, was greatly increased beyond their gold content, although at the time, we did not know how God would use this as a voice of faith in the divine court.
Jeremiah 34:20, 21, 22, 23
Judah had not kept any rest years or Jubilees during its time in the land of Canaan. No doubt some individuals kept the rest years in the best way they knew, but as a nation they did not. By the 38th year of King David, they owed God 62 rest years and 8 Jubilees, or a total of 70 years. So God brought judgment upon the land, a plague which killed 70,000 Israelites (2 Samuel 24:15).
Even then, Judah never kept a rest year or Jubilee after that, and so once again a “debt” to sin built up to another 70 years. This time, God sent Judah to Babylon for 70 years to pay off that debt (2 Chronicles 36:20, 21). For a more complete explanation of this, see my book, Secrets of Time, chapter 7.
As the Babylonian army approached, Judah’s final rest year was at hand. Jeremiah urged them to keep that final rest year and told them that if they would hear the word of the Lord, God would cancel the entire debt of 70 years. At first they thought this was a good idea, so they released their bondservants according to the law in Exodus 21:2.
However, the rich and powerful soon discovered that they had to do all of their menial tasks themselves. It was not long before they induced the king to decree that all of the servants had to return to their bondage. As a result, the word came to Jeremiah that the city had lost its divine protection and that it would come into bondage to Babylon.
The lesson in this story shows that a single rest year that is kept by faith (hearing the word) has great value in the sight of God. Its faith value increased to cover the entire debt of 70 years that Judah owed God insofar as rest years and Jubilees were concerned. Faith increases the value of everything.
We presented this precedent as evidence in the divine court to show that the value of the three gold coins could be increased in like manner. The entire debt of offerings that the world owes God since the beginning of time cannot overwhelm the value of a single offering that is given by faith from a heart of gratitude. Thus, we asked the Judge to consider the three coins to pay the entire debt that the creation owed God for not keeping the three feast days: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
Passover is the feast of justification by faith. Pentecost is the feast of sanctification, or obedience. Tabernacles is the feast of the glorified body given to the sons of God. The creation has not kept any of these feasts as a whole, though many individuals certainly have done so. The three coins were thus applied to the debt of all creation, which included the church but was not limited to the church.
The trumpet was to be blown over the offerings as a “memorial” before God in the divine court. This was a legal act, showing that the offerings were given a voice in court, causing God to “remember” (legally speaking) the offering. God never forgets anything, as we know, but in a court scene it is necessary to present evidence in order for the Judge to “remember” it in a legal sense. (For example, see Leviticus 26:42; Jeremiah 31:34.)
Deuteronomy 26:16, 17, 18, 19
This is a chapter on tithing. It gives the blessings that the people were to expect when they presented their tithes to God. Their finances gave voice to their offerings in the court. This became our petition as well, as we asked for God’s blessing upon all of creation on the basis of the offering of the three coins.
It is written that Cornelius, the Roman centurion, received his answer to prayer based upon two things: “your prayers and alms have ascended as a memorial before God.”
These two things “ascended as a memorial” in the divine court. Their testimony was remembered in a legal sense, written down in the books, and his petition was granted. As a result, the angel of God came to Cornelius, telling him to find a man named Simon (Peter) in a town called Joppa.
Meanwhile, God had given a vision to Peter as a witness that he ought to go with them back to Caesarea and to preach the gospel to Roman soldiers. This was the vision of the unclean animals, which God said not to call “unclean” (Acts 10:14). Peter then understood that he “should not call any man unholy or unclean” (Acts 10:28).
It is clear from this that offerings (and alms) carry weight in the divine court and trigger God’s remembrance in a legal sense. So this is the voice of the testimony of finance that we presented in the divine court on August 4, 2015.
Dr. Stephen Jones