The looming controversy
Nov 11, 2014
Jesus made it clear along the way to Jerusalem that the Kingdom was not coming any time soon. His opposition made it necessary for Him to appeal His case to the divine court of heaven in order to settle the conflict. He knew that He had been sent by God. He knew that He was the One chosen to rule. He knew He was the Heir of all things. But He also knew that when His authority was challenged, the verdict had to come from heaven. For this reason, He saw Himself as the “nobleman” who had to go to the “distant country to receive a kingdom for himself.”
The parable in Luke 19:12-27 was grounded in the knowledge that He would have to appeal His case to the courts of heaven. It was clear, then, that His arrival at Jerusalem would not be the start of His reign on earth, but of a conflict over throne rights. Even so, He had to present Himself to Jerusalem and the temple in order to allow the nation to make its choice. The disagreement had to surface fully before Christ could go to heaven to “receive the Kingdom.”
There is a clear distinction between having the lawful right to the throne and actually taking the throne. He had the lawful right to the throne in his first appearance, but only in His second coming does He actually take the throne. In the interim, He has given each of us (His servants) a measure of His possessions (pictured as minas), in order that we might prove ourselves worthy of ruling “cities” under Him.
The Pentecostal Age is the time in which Christ tests our worthiness to rule. In other words, the main focus is not simply to become a believer (servant, slave) but to become an overcomer that qualifies for the first resurrection. These “will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6). Their reign cannot begin until their “Nobleman” returns.
Did Christ Return at Pentecost?
There are some who teach that Christ returned on the Day of Pentecost, and that we are now to reign with Christ. By this view, the divine court only took ten days to hear the case, sort out the conflicts, and render its verdict. Jesus ascended on the fortieth day from His resurrection (Acts 1:3), the traditional date of Elijah’s ascension, and then sent the Holy Spirit to the Church on Pentecost (the fiftieth day).
However, the parable of the nobleman is better interpreted to mean that the Church was gifted with minas (spiritual gifts), and that they were expected to be productive during the Pentecostal Age while Christ was absent, appealing His case to the divine court. It is not reasonable that the servants of the nobleman were given just ten days to “do business.”
This view also fails to account for the time that the beast empires held the dominion mandate. The beast empires had been contracted to rule the earth for “seven times,” that is, 2,520 years. When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, only 639 years had passed (since 607 B.C.). There yet remained a long time ahead where Rome still ruled, and after Rome the “little horn” was yet to arise. God always honors His contracts, even with evil empires. So Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem could not result in His acceptance as King. It was too soon.
God’s Will and Plan
Here is an example of how God’s will and God’s plan synchronize. It was God’s will that the people accept Him as Messiah-King, but it was God’s plan that His rule be delayed until the contract with the beast empires had expired. This pattern was the same under Moses, when Israel was supposed to enter the Promised Land at the 50th Jubilee from Adam (Numbers 14). They refused to enter after ten of the spies gave an evil report.
Though it was God’s will that they enter, it was not God’s plan on account of Noah’s curse upon Canaan in Genesis 9:25-27. Noah put Canaan on Cursed Time, which is based on 414-year cycles. In this case Canaan received two periods of 414 years in which to repent and submit to God. Their time had not yet expired when the twelve spies gave their report. The time expired 38 years later when Joshua finally led Israel into the Promised Land. Only then could God’s will be done without violating the divine plan.
So we see a close parallel between the first Yeshua and the last. During the interim, Israel was “the church in the wilderness” (Acts 7:38). The time was supposed to be spent learning to be led by the Spirit. Those forty years set the pattern for the forty-Jubilee Age of Pentecost that the New Testament Church spent in its own “wilderness.” Even as the Kingdom could not be given to the Israel Church until their second opportunity, so also the Kingdom could not be given to the New Testament Church until the second coming of Christ (Yeshua).
Many do not understand the distinct purposes of the two comings of Christ, nor why it was necessary. We have already seen by the parable of the nobleman the legal necessity for the two comings insofar as the Jews are concerned. In the broader view that is seen in Paul’s writings, it is the controversy between the two Jerusalems, each competing to be the “mother” of the Kingdom and the seat of government. In Galatians 4:25, 26 we are told that the earthly Jerusalem is “Hagar,” which “is in slavery with her children.” Paul gives us a preview of the court settlement (taken from Genesis 21:10), as he says in Galatians 4:30,
30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.”
Paul says that the New Jerusalem will win this legal case, for it is “Sarah,” allegorically speaking.
The second controversy is between Saul and David. Because Saul was crowned on Pentecost (the day of wheat harvest, 1 Samuel 12:17), he became a type of the Church during the Pentecostal Age. He reigned forty years, the same amount of time of the church in the wilderness. Hence, he represents the Pentecostal Kingdom which would have to give way to the permanent Kingdom of David.
This established the prophetic type of the forty-Jubilee Age of Pentecost (from 33-1993 A.D.). That controversy was resolved according to the biblical patterns which I have written about for many years. Pentecost must give way to Tabernacles in order to provide a greater anointing necessary to finish the work in the Age to come.
The third controversy is really two controversies bundled together in a single case. Overall, it is the controversy between Jacob and Esau over the birthright. Because Jacob deceived his blind father and even lied outright to obtain the blessing, Esau had legal cause against Jacob in the divine court. Hence, Isaac blessed Esau, saying, “when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his [Jacob’s] yoke from off thy neck” (Genesis 27:40, KJV). In other words, Jacob would have to give up the “dominion” at some point in order for Esau to prove himself unworthy. Only then could the birthright be taken from Esau according to the law of the hated son (Deuteronomy 21:15-17).
This controversy is one of the major themes of Scripture throughout history. It appears again in Ezekiel 35, 36, where we find that the descendants of Esau-Edom (or Idumea) coveted the land and rejoiced when Israel and Judah went into captivity. Divine judgment is thus pronounced “against all Edom, who appropriated My land for themselves as a possession” (Ezekiel 36:5).
Isaiah 34:8, KJV, calls it “the controversy of Zion,” speaking of divine judgment against Edom. Historically, about 126 B.C. the Judean leader, John Hyrcanus, conquered Idumea (Edom) and forced them to convert to Judaism. Josephus wrote about this and concluded by saying, “they were hereafter no other than Jews” (Antiquities of the Jews, XIII, ix, 1). The Jewish Encyclopedia says “from this time the Idumeans ceased to be a separate people,” for they were absorbed into Jewry. This meant that the prophecies of Judah and Edom were bound together.
Malachi 1:1-4 prophesies of this controversy, showing the Zionist motives of Esau. Verse 4 says,
4 Though Edom says, “We have been beaten down, but we will return and build up the ruins”; thus says the Lord of hosts, “They may build, but I will tear down; and men will call them the wicked territory, and the people toward whom the Lord is indignant forever.”
This is a prophecy of modern Zionism in the past century. The spirit of Edom has worked within world Jewry, saying, “we will return.” God does not refute this, but says only that “I will tear down.” If Edom had not returned and rebuilt the ruins, God would have nothing to tear down, so the establishment of the Israeli state was inevitable.
The establishment of the Israeli state was the fulfillment of Isaac’s blessing upon Esau, for at that time Esau received the dominion and took the birthright name Israel for itself.
The second half of this controversy involves the remnant of Judah to whom the Edomites were united forcibly in 126 B.C. This turned out to be the “evil fig” (Jeremiah 24) company which remained in rebellion against God. They rejected Christ and usurped His throne, as we have already shown. Jesus then cursed the fig tree (representing the nation), but later prophesied that this fig tree would again come to life and bring forth leaves (Matthew 24:32). Leaves, of course, were the very reason why the fig tree had been cursed earlier (Matthew 21:19). Jesus came looking for fruit, but only found leaves—a show of righteousness.
The evil figs of Judah later found common cause with the Jewish Edomites. The Zionist prophecies of Edom matched the prophecy of the cursed fig tree coming to life and producing more leaves. Together, the result was Zionism and the state of Israel (so-called).
From a genealogical standpoint, neither the Jews nor the Edomites were Israelites, as defined by the prophets. Most of the prophets wrote of Israel after the kingdom had been divided, and so they wrote about Israel and Judah as two separate entities. In my view, the regathering of the lost House of Israel has been fulfilled in a different way and through different people, as I explained in my book, Who is an Israelite?
The point is that in the past century “the controversy of Zion” has been appealed to the courts of heaven. Who is Israel? Which group is the inheritor of the birthright? I believe that this controversy will be settled at the time of the second coming, when Christ comes as the Heir of Joseph, to whom the birthright was entrusted. A complete study of the controversy between Jacob and Esau can be read in my book, The Struggle for the Birthright.
Christ’s first coming raised the dispute over the throne rights that were given to Judah in Genesis 49:10 and later to David in 2 Samuel 7:16. When this right was disputed, the controversy was referred to the divine court. But God waited until the second half of the dispute should arise—the controversy over the birthright of Joseph. This controversy is now approaching 70 years (since 1947-48), when perhaps God may resolve this.
When Jesus came the first time, He came from the tribe of Judah. But Joshua was an Ephraimite, a descendant of Joseph (Numbers 13:8), and when he died, he was buried “in the hill country of Ephraim” (Joshua 24:33). Jesus could claim throne rights through Judah, but He could not lead us into the Kingdom except as an Ephraimite, because the birthright itself was given to Joseph (1 Chronicles 5:1, 2). He must come the second time, then, as the Heir of Joseph. It is for this reason Revelation 19:13 says,
13 And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God.
Joseph is the only man in Scripture whose robe was dipped in blood, for Genesis 37:31 says,
31 So they took Joseph’s tunic, and slaughtered a male goat, and dipped the tunic in the blood.
And so the Church had to remain in the wilderness during the Pentecostal Age, awaiting the time of the end of beast rule and the start of the Tabernacles Age. We are now at that time. God’s contract with the beast empires expired October 16, 2014 on the eighth day of Tabernacles.
We are now transitioning into the Age to come, and at the appropriate time, Christ will return to give authority to the overcomers.
This is the 102nd part of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Luke." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones