God's Governmental Ages
Dec 06, 2018
When Darby developed his idea of Dispensationalism in the 1850’s, he seemed to know little or nothing about the feast of Tabernacles. For this reason, his idea of the “rapture” was based on his partial knowledge of Scripture. He understood that Christ was returning, but he missed Christ’s real purpose in returning as well as the manner of His return.
Further, Darby had an understanding of Passover and Pentecost insofar as their personal applications were concerned, but he did not see the feasts as representing specific ages in the history of the kingdom. What he called the Age of Law (from Moses to Christ) is actually a Passover Age, beginning with that first Passover that set Israel free from Egypt, and ending with the Passover where Christ died on the cross.
Darby contrasted the age of “Law” with the age of “Grace,” as if men ought to cease obeying the law after the cross. That was a serious misperception that has justified sin in the church, because “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). The truth is that the cross ended the Passover Age, wherein God had established the Kingdom under the partial anointing of Passover.
After a short interim of seven weeks, that age was replaced by a Pentecostal Age, wherein believers were given greater power and authority to establish the Kingdom with a greater anointing. There is no question that the disciples received something on the day of Pentecost that they had not enjoyed earlier. Neither was it just a matter of performing miracles, for the disciples themselves performed many miracles even prior to the day of Pentecost.
The Passover Kingdom
The Passover Kingdom was established in the days of Moses at Mount Horeb, when God organized the first Kingdom government and set forth a fuller revelation of the laws of the Kingdom. We know from Old Testament history that this first Kingdom was flawed, not because the law was imperfect but because the law was imposed upon them from the outside. The people (that is, their carnal minds) were rebellious, and even though Israel saw many revivals in their history, the people always fell away in the next generation.
In the end, the Passover Kingdom ended in failure when Israel was destroyed and sent into captivity in the Assyrian territory known as Gamir (Ghomri, or Gomer). Judah was likewise taken to Babylon for 70 years. However, Judah had to return in order for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem 600 years later. Judah, then, was the remnant of that Passover Kingdom, not truly independent as a nation, but yet not fully destroyed until 70 A.D.
Judah’s final sin of rejecting the Messiah (John 1:11) ended the Passover Kingdom and set the stage for the next phase, the Pentecostal Kingdom.
The Pentecost Kingdom
King Saul had been crowned king on the day of “wheat harvest” (1 Samuel 12:17) and that this was the day the priest offered the first fruits of wheat as a signal that the people could now harvest their wheat. In later years the day was known by the Greek name, Pentecost, “fiftieth day,” because this feast day in Israel occurred on the fiftieth day from the wave sheaf offering (Leviticus 23:16). By understanding that Saul was crowned on Pentecost tells us that the Age of Pentecost was characterized governmentally by the reign of “Saul” on a prophetic level.
This strongly implied that there was yet to be an age that was greater, one that would characterize the reign of David. It would also tell us that even though Pentecost was more powerful than Passover, it was not yet perfect. Likewise, since Saul was of Benjamin, he was not even of the ruling tribe, for Judah had been given the scepter in Genesis 49:10. Hence, Saul was doomed to fail in the end, even though theoretically he might have ruled perpetually, if he had not become rebellious (1 Samuel 15:23).
The Roman Church, of course, has never understood this, and their ignorance of Scripture has caused them to teach that its reign will never end. The fact is that the Church in the Pentecostal Age was most certainly going to fulfill the entire pattern of King Saul, starting out good but falling into rebellion, and ending in witchcraft (witch of Endor). The corruption in the Roman Church and in other denominations as well are easily explained and understood by comparing church history with the reign of Saul.
Applying the feast days beyond the personal applications allows us to see how God is working in the world at large to establish His Kingdom. His Kingdom certainly begins in the hearts of men and progresses as we grow to spiritual maturity; but the Kingdom is also a nation having a form of government in the earth. The object of such Kingdom government is to restore Christ’s rule as the One called as King of Creation.
The Tabernacles Kingdom
The third manifestation of the Kingdom is characterized by the feast of Tabernacles. Tabernacles is often called “the lost feast,” because so few Christians knew of it during the Pentecostal Age. It was not really until the time of the Latter Rain Movement (1948-1952) that it was given as a revelation to the church, and even then, most denominations closed their ears to that truth.
In October 1995 God gave me revelation of the three churches. I was shown that the feast days represented three successive ages, three successive phases of the Kingdom, and that these could also be seen as three churches. Acts 7:38 KJV speaks of “the church in the wilderness” (under Moses), and so Scripture describes the Passover Kingdom as a “church.” From the New Testament we understand the nature of the church under the anointing of Pentecost. But these two churches imply a third church in the Tabernacles Age.
Each church is called out of something for the purpose of gathering as an assembly. The first church was called out of Egypt to assemble at Mount Horeb (or Sinai). The second church was called out of Judah to assemble at Mount Sion (Hebrews 12:22 KJV). We read in Deuteronomy 4:48 that Mount Hermon was called Sion.
Sion is not Zion. Zion was where David set up His government. Sion (Mount Hermon) was where Jesus was transfigured, manifesting His glory as the Son of God. Sion represents the government of the heavenly Jerusalem. It is the capital of the Tabernacles Kingdom, which will be ruled by the sons of God when they experience the same sort of transfiguration that changes them, perfects them, and gives them full immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51, 53).
The Fulfillment of the Feast Days
Most Christians are aware that Jesus died on the cross to fulfill the feast of Passover and that He was raised from the dead to fulfill the wave-sheaf offering. Not many know that Pentecost was a feast day established under Moses to commemorate the giving of the law at Mount Horeb. Neither do they understand that in later years Saul was crowned on Pentecost as a prophetic type of the Pentecostal Church.
Jesus fulfilled the first set of feasts (Passover to Pentecost) in His first coming. The second set of feasts, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles, prophesy of Christ’s second coming. Yet hardly anyone seems to understand this. Certainly, Darby and Scofield did not know this, and their ignorance of the feast days caused them to misunderstand many things about the second coming of Christ. Their “rapture” theory was based on a very partial understanding of the Word.
Darby’s idea of Dispensationalism was that Christ was to return at the start of a seven-year period called The Great Tribulation. The dead were to be raised and church was to be “raptured” to heaven so that the true believers could escape this Tribulation, while the Antichrist ruled the earth. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit would be removed from the earth, essentially making it impossible for anyone on earth to become a believer. During those seven years, the Jews would remain on the earth, and 144,000 of them would preach (unsuccessfully) to those in tribulation.
At the end of this Tribulation, Christ is said to return to rule the earth with His saints.
Others disputed with Darby and Scofield, modifying their views to suit their own understanding. Some thought that this “rapture” would occur in the middle of the seven-year tribulation, while others believed in a single return of Christ at the end of the Tribulation. Hence, Bible colleges debated these theories without questioning the foundations of the “rapture” theory itself.
I do not question the fact of Christ’s return, of course, but I believe we ought to conform to the revelation of the feast days in our understanding of eschatology. The feast of Trumpets marks the day of resurrection “at the last trumpet” (1 Corinthians 15:52). I believe the resurrection will occur in some (unknown) year at the feast of Trumpets, even as Christ died on Passover and the Holy Spirit was given on Pentecost.
Trumpets was established in Numbers 10:2, 3, 4 shortly before the Davy of Atonement, when the 12 spies gave their report (Numbers 13, 14). If the people had agreed to enter the Kingdom at that time, and if they had believed the report of Caleb and Joshua, they would have fulfilled the feast of Tabernacles. I believe they would have conquered Canaan in a single week. But such a conquest would have required more faith than they had at the time. In fact, because they had already rejected the Pentecostal word at Mount Horeb (Exodus 20:19), it was a foregone conclusion that they would lack sufficient faith to enter the Tabernacles Kingdom.
The point is that Trumpets is the day of resurrection and is the first event on the prophetic calendar to be fulfilled. “The dead in Christ will rise first,” Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. The second event on the calendar is the Day of Atonement, where those who have sufficient faith will blow the trumpet (shofar, not silver trumpet) for the Jubilee, reversing the evil report that caused the Israelites to refuse to enter the Kingdom in Numbers 14:4.
The Israelites had turned that Jubilee into the Day of Atonement, a day of mourning and fasting for refusing to enter the Kingdom. The overcoming sons of God at the second coming of Christ will reverse that decision and turn the Day of Atonement back into the Jubilee.
Trumpets comes on the first day of the seventh month. The Day of Atonement (or Jubilee) is held on the tenth day of the same month. Tabernacles begins five days later on the fifteenth day of the month, and this is the day where “we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Darby used this verse to describe the “rapture,” that is, the catching away (to heaven).
I maintain that this is a Tabernacles experience, where the overcoming sons of God are to be transfigured, or “changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51) into the image of Christ. Once changed, they can then come into full unity with those who were raised from the dead two weeks earlier at the feast of Trumpets, so that together they may become one perfected body.
Then all that is lacking is a Head to perfect the body and make that body of saints eligible to be presented to God in heaven on the eighth day of Tabernacles. John 7:14 suggests that Christ will come in the middle of the feast of Tabernacles.
The law demands that the sons of God be presented only on an eighth day (Exodus 22:29, 30). Those “sons” are born on the first day of Tabernacles and by law must be presented to God on the eighth day.
By not taking into account the feast days, Darby did not understand the timing of each event in regard to the second coming of Christ. Instead, he threw them all together as if all of these events were to take place in a single moment of time. The dead would be raised first, and as they shot skyward, the living saints were to be right behind them, tickling their feet (as I was told) on the way up to heaven.
The feast days, however, set the timing of each event in its proper sequence. The feast days are the appointed times. The resurrection occurs on the first day of the seventh month; the Day of Atonement comes nine days later as the Decision Day; the transfiguration of the living saints comes on the fifteenth day of the month, which is the first day of Tabernacles.
Then Christ must return between the first and the eighth day of Tabernacles, so that the Head is joined to the body, making the body complete, and making the body eligible to be presented to God. The presentation must occur on the eighth day of Tabernacles. Then this collective “Son” will return the same day to be manifested to the people on earth.
I have discussed these events more fully elsewhere with biblical proofs. This is only a short summary, and if this is new material to any reader, I suggest that he or she should pursue this study to learn the details.
My point is to show that Darby’s Dispensationalism, which is now mainstream evangelical eschatology, needs to be revised considerably to take into account the revelation of the feast days revealed in Scripture. Studying those feasts give us a clearer view of prophecy and establishes the order of timing, both the Ages and the actual events that fulfill those appointed times.