Promise of Jesus Coming: What He wants us to know (C1).
Here is a Question: Why does Jesus say that the Day of His coming will be like the day of Noah and the day of Lot? If you understand the similarities and the differences between these days, you will understand if and when the Rapture will happen and why there is so much confusion in this area.
This is a book that my uncle, Ken Schwebel, wrote. He has authorized me to edit and publish this book. It is a work that he spent at least 20 years working on. He wrote it to help God's people understand prophecy, the rapture, the second coming of Christ, and what it means for us. Let's face it, there is much confusion in this area. But God promised that His people should not be caught by surprise in His coming for them.
I Thessalonians 5:4 "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."
My uncle has put together some things from God's Word that no other prophecy teacher has taught, but not because it is of him. For these things are clearly laid out in God's Word. God's people in the end of the Church Age will understand.
Is it possible for us to know God's plan for the Rapture and the Tribulation?
Simple premises will guide us thoroughly, clearly, and Biblically.
You’ll be blessed by insight into Jesus’ promises.
An irenic spirit of healing and Biblical unity can only rest on truth.
Regarding these promises,
Believers who love God more than tradition can become one as God is One.
JESUS WANTS US TO KNOW
“Tell ye, and bring them near: yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? have not I the Lord? and there is none beside me; a just God and a savior; there is none beside me.” (Isa. 45:21)
God wants you to come “near.”
Bring your friends, “Take counsel together.”
See how His ability to “declare this from ancient time,”
His work as “Savior,”
Proves that He alone is God.
That same Savior-God wants you to know His plan for you.
Your tender Shepherd has spoken about His plan. He offers Believers one hope of our calling. His flock hears His voice. They are safe in His care. They are born again by the Holy Spirit. They are distinguished by their love for the members of His “One body, and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling” (Eph. 4:4)?
Which is the hope has He called us to: pre-Trib, mid-Trib., partial Rapture, pre-Wrath, or a post-Trib. Rapture? Or is it Amillennialism? While God offers “One Blessed Hope,” professed believers dispute His Word from beginning to end, from creation to the Blessed Hope. Wrong theology saddens Him today, as it did when He came to die for us at the ultimate Passover.
Six days before that Passover, Jesus was in the Bethany home of Simon the healed leper (Jn. 12:1,2). Martha was serving supper. Her brother Lazarus sat with Jesus and others around the table. His followers were unaware that Lazarus’ resurrection a few days earlier had filled the Pharisees with fear. They had no such power of life. So, they plotted for Jesus’ death (Jn. 11:44-53).
Suddenly Martha’s sister, Mary, poured a pound of precious ointment over Jesus’ hair. Jesus said she was preparing Him for burial (Jn. 12:7,8). Judas scorned the waste of funds. These people who were closest to the Lord needed God to give them insight, for even they were confused and slow to believe some of what He wanted them to know.
For a few days Jesus taught huge crowds in the temple as He delivered MillennialKingdom parables and confounded the Jewish leaders. Each night He moved His class to the east, across the Kidron valley and up the Mount of Olives toward his friends’ home in Bethany (Lk. 21:37). There He taught His inner circle about the Seventieth Week of Jerusalem (Mat. 24:3) and the promised Kingdom.
The Jewish springtime date of Nisan 10 was the day the Passover lambs were selected. We now call this day “Palm Sunday.” On this date, the Lamb of God mounted a donkey’s colt. A palm-waving crowd already surrounded Him as they crested the Mount of Olives coming from Bethany. People crowded down from Mt.Olivet, across the Kidron valley, and on to the restored temple at the edge of Jerusalem.
While Herod the Great’s restoration of the Temple was not complete, it was still an astounding marvel. Much of its polished white marble was gold overlaid. With other gold and precious gemstone ornaments, everything was stunning. The first century historian, Josephus, said that seeing the Temple was like looking at snow in the sun. Yet Jesus’ attention was not on the temple. He surveyed the hearts of the people along the way.
Jewish records say 256,500 lambs are slain this year. Allowing that only five persons per family ate each entire lamb, multiplied by 256,500, would mean that over three million Jews are in Jerusalem for this Passover. Residents and travelers astonish each other with gossip about Lazarus. His death was sure. Some recount the smell of decomposition at his tomb. People claim to be witnesses. After three days, a carpenter’s son named Jesus called Lazarus out of his grave. He is alive. The crowd is electrified. As our modern minds burn still with the image of an exploding space shuttle, do their minds burn with a glimpse of this Jesus, coming to the Temple?
At His approach, anticipation bursts into praise. The trilling sound of rejoicing flows across the Kidron valley, and surmounts the Temple walls to assault the ears of the Jewish leadership. The Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees sputter indignantly as the uproar overpowers the bleating of these lambs. “The whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen”(Lk. 19:37).
A few in the ecstatic crowd see sunlight glisten off of Jesus’ cheeks, tears of joy, no doubt! No, Jesus weeps. He knows that these religious people, His cheering people, really look for a political leader.
Israel has waited 400 years since Zechariah, the prophet, was slain in the temple. It was 300 years since Judas Maccabees (known as “the hammer”) defended Israel like a “Robin Hood.” Now they crave another warrior of power. Just think . . . A king who can raise the dead can surely devastate the Roman sword!
The freedom most of them desire is not from sin, but from Rome.
Some Pharisees (the fundamentalist leaders) rush down from the Temple, down from their Passover preparation responsibilities. They piously demand that Jesus silence the praise of His disciples. Remember how Jesus recently wept at the unbelief that surrounded Lazarus’ tomb? Now, He weeps again at the blindness of Israel’s leaders in the city of God’s Peace, Jeru-Salem. Only a few, like Mary, understand the impending death of the Prince of Peace (Lk. 19:29, 41-44).
Everyone here knows that The Temple had been destroyed during those 400 “silent” years since Zechariah wrote the last of the Books. (This was how they appear in the Jewish Old Testament, the Tenach. Zechariah is last, not Malachi.) Herod the Great began the Temple restoration years before he slaughtered the children in Bethlehem. He died during Jesus’ childhood. His son, Herod Antipas, now reigns.
We follow Jesus toward the Eastern Gate. Crowning the corner above the temple wall to our left, a lookout tower rises. Below that, the foundation of the temple nests the housing for the Roman Legionnaires who are stationed in barracks (called the Roman Antonia) built into the temple foundation. The tower pierces the sky like a Roman scepter of oppression.
No Gentile can enter the Jewish center of the Temple platform, not Roman soldier nor king. Still, Herod and Pilate have a “bird’s eye view” from their tower. For reasons of military control and personal curiosity, observing is exactly how they are spending much of the Passover season.
The outside Temple wall near that tower is probably where Satan took Jesus to see the entire region around. There he encouraged Jesus to leap. According to Josephus, the drop would have been about 400 feet.
We follow Jesus in, through the Eastern (or Golden) Gate. He keeps the appointment of the ages. Jesus ascends the familiar staircase, threading up the passage within that wall, and emerges on the first and largest of the magnificent courtyard platforms. Herod the Great expanded this area to 35 acres of marble grandeur, with several terraced courtyards surrounding and rising to the Temple itself.
Our Lord steps from the landing at the center of the Eastern wall, onto the part of the Temple platform called Solomon’s Porch. This lowest level of the top, where Jesus now stands, places us at the bottom-center of a U shape. It extends to our left and right (toward the north and south walls). Then the platform stretches westerly, back to the farther western wall. The back of the actual Temple building is centered, and nearly against the back, of that western wall. We are facing the front of the actual Temple, and we can see that it is reached by ascending those smaller, terraced courtyards. Each platform rises about thirty inches. The very outside court where Jesus is standing is accessible to the Gentiles. It is the court of the Gentiles. Toward the center of this court, a low fence surrounds the exclusively Jewish platforms, which rise from the lower Court of the Gentiles. Notices along the fence warn of death to any Gentile who enters the central Jewish platforms.
In front of our Lord, across Solomon’s Porch, the fence breaks for a set of broad steps, giving access up through the Gate Beautiful to the Court of the Women. Other courts and stairs rise toward the highest platform with the Altar of Sacrifice where burnt offerings are made. Also there is the gigantic brass Laver of water where the priests wash their hands during sacrificing. That huge bowl is filled daily with 16,000 gallons of water.
Behind that, the actual Temple glitters, centered along the Western wall and facing east. This is the focal point of Jewish worship. Gold and precious stones embellish the exterior with such a magnificent false front that it is said that any person who has never seen the temple, has never seen a truly beautiful building. The interior of it is the same size as Moses’ Tabernacle in the wilderness was; a mere 10 feet wide and high; and 30 feet long. Herod the Great was not allowed to tamper with those interior dimensions.
Turning to His left, Jesus’ attention rivets on the sons of the priests, the money changers. On the Court of the Gentiles these moneychangers cheat the people with exorbitant exchange rates and outright deception. For example, Jewish law allows a Passover lamb to have no more than two black hairs. So, they often disqualify the lamb a traveler brings only to take it as a trade-in. They would then demand excessive money for a rare “acceptable” replacement. The cheaters would take the disqualified lamb away. Out of sight, they pluck the black hairs. Behold, it becomes qualified to be sold as the next scarce replacement at an inflated price.
Jesus’ righteousness smolders. Under the morning shadow cast by the Antonia, our Lord reaches for some rope halters by which lambs are led. He plaits them into a short whip (a scourge) to drive these money-changers out.
Now, He is teaching about His Kingdom as He stands in the court of the Gentiles. Whosoever will come has access here. He is in view of Israel’s apostate leaders (Lk. 19:41,47-23:39). From the Antonia’s tower, King Herod, Governor Pilate, and the soldiers watch. Jesus is in sight of Caiaphas the High Priest and of the Jewish leadership. On this Court of the Gentiles He is accessible to both Jew and Gentile as Jesus is spending His final days teaching Kingdom parables. Wisdom about His plans is available to everyone who is willing to believe.
His impending death will not end His Kingdom. He will be back. The promises will be rightly understood only by rightly distinguishing His ministry to Israel from that of the Church. The same is true of His future promises.
Both sets of precepts and lines involve coming promises to be fulfilled, and each Coming promise must be rightly divided. Jesus wanted them to know. He wants us to know. His future coming promises must again be distinguished.
Do you think that Jesus sorrows again today? His temple parables were filled with meaning about Jesus’ promises to come, yet many wrong prophetic views still exist. Does He weep for you? Yet we can get His promises right. The Holy Spirit wants to tutor us.
Around the outside of the chart, the blue frame of references is for times when Jesus “came” to people. The importance of these verses is that every one of them uses the exact same word (parousia) for every one of His appearances. God especially numbers some of them. Jesus’ fish breakfast with His disciples was His third after-resurrection coming. This will get interesting.
Inside that frame is another, giving some verses about those who do and those who do not understand prophecy. The innermost frame is for verses about how God uses and interchanges time.
DEVIATION IS DISASTROUS
False prophets have said some really dumb things about Jesus’ Coming promises. Link by link, they have forged chains of false expectations. They leave humanity in disappointment, making it popular to mock Jesus’ Coming.
For example, Charles Taze Russell was a founder of the Millennial Dawn Bible Society, later called the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society or the Jehovah’s Witnesses. He proclaimed that Jesus would return in October 1884. People who sold their homes and farms were devastated by his error. Unbelievers mocked, “Where is the promise of His Coming?”
Russell wrote a series of five volumes titled “Studies in the Scriptures.” These are long out of print, but volume 5 was titled, “The Time is at Hand.” There, he predicted a second date for Jesus’ return. Just to cover all his bases, he allowed that this time maybe Jesus would hover invisibly in the sky while His presence (Greek:A"D@LF4", Parousia) worked below.
Russell promised that however Jesus returned, by the end of October, 1914, all rebellion and sin would be put down and Christ would be King of all the Earth. Russell’s “proof” for this Coming was in a system that originated with William Miller of Pittsfield, MA. Miller interpreted prophecy based on the Great Pyramid of Egypt. Miller’s system used a concocted series of numbers based on “Pyramid Inches.” Pyramid inches, we must understand, were not any real unit of measure. They were invented by Miller to yield his desired results. When the Millennial Dawn Bible Society split, Miller was instrumental with the Seventh Day Adventist branch. The Jubilee cycles of Israel were also used by Russell to reach the same date. Russell concluded his prophecy by saying that he had been “given” these two lines of insight. If he did not have the answers right, he asked, then from what source came his insight?
“From what source was it?” That is a fair question, and we should ask it of every prophetic plan. There are only three options. Supernatural ideas given to us can only come from God, from our own potsherd ideas, or from satanic spirits. Russell was not right. His logic was not of God. If he was “given” these proofs, they were gifts of an ungodly spirit.
Russell started with wrong premises. As the rebellious son of a Presbyterian minister, he would tolerate no Trinity or hell or anything else that was too great for his mind. With his conclusions pre-determined, motive- driven theology resulted. It has hardened hearts against the “promise of his coming.”
History demonstrates that claims of the past that are proven to be untrue have never been from the Holy Spirit. God’s premises knit together in perfection while falsehoods that are blamed on God still damage God’s testimony. They are still served on those “tables of vomit.” “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” (Deu. 18:22)
MODERN VERSIONS OF DATE SETTING HAVE KILLED PEOPLE
The year 2000 became scarred on March 16 by the deaths of nearly 500 members of a Ugandan cult that were soaked with gasoline and burned inside their church. Bodies from another location indicate beatings and shootings were also involved. The “Restoration of the Ten Commandments” group was wrong from day one, going back to works as their key to salvation. They were looking to the Law instead of Grace. And their suicides were supposedly triggered by Jesus “failure” to end the World by Dec 31, 1999. (St. Petersburg Times, March 20, 2000 "Cult’s fiery end horrifying.”)
God’s program for the church was not put into action at the Birth of Jesus. A simple measure of 2000 years from Jesus’ birth is based on horribly weak logic for the time of His coming, not to mention the end of the world. First, are we even positive that Jesus was born in the year 1A.D.? Furthermore, technically speaking 2000 years has not even passed until 2001.
The true Church came with a new message given to the Apostle Paul. With the Restorationists’ wrong precepts and lines turning back to the 10 commandments, their shameful action speaks of a counterfeit of Christianity. It was not the real thing.
On October 28, 1992, some South Korean churches expected the return of Christ. Did they “occupy until I come?” Many sold their homes. Others deserted their families, and a few carried out their own suicide or “sacrifice as martyrs”—supposedly to join the 144,000 Jews as the Raptured of the Church! They did the wrong THING at the wrong TIME to join the wrong GROUP. (St. Petersburg [Florida] TIMES, page 1, “S. Koreans await end of the world,” September 2, 1992.)
David Koresh’s understanding of the Book of Revelation burned along with his deceived followers. To supposedly serve the Prince of Peace, the Branch Davidians bought automatic firearms and “psyched” themselves to battle their government. Even the lost people of the world (who are racing for hell themselves) shuddered at those flames. The world grins knowingly and chants their chorus again, “Where is the promise of His Coming?”
Is there a difference between the Church and Israel?
CONFUSION ABOUT HIS PROMISES TO COME—HINDERS FAITH
Let’s imagine a debate. We mix Believers with differing prophetic views. Each has certain terms they feel passionately about. We invite some “pre-Tribulationists” who expect to be in Heaven during the seven-year Tribulation. Advocates of the new “Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church” come, saying that there will only be a 3-1/2 year long “Tribulation.” “Mid- Tribulationists” say the church is Raptured 3-1/2 years into the seven-year Tribulation, while Partial-Rapturists say only a deserving portion of the Church gets to go whenever their partial Rapture happens. “Post-Tribulationists” put the Rapture near, or at, or just after Christ’s return to complete the Tribulation.
Confusion reigns. Some even suggest that God will do ALL of the above. You supposedly will get whatever you expect??? How can Believers have so little in common? The Holy Spirit doesn’t teach this.
To our illustrious debate, a distinguished representative of each position brings huge bags of Scripture-feathers (collected from previous doctrinal “pillow fights”). Some of the invited media, of course, gladly bring hot tar. They mock these fundamentalists who disagree on fundamental questions. Each debater sincerely roars forth his version of God’s plan, as the observers quietly wonder, “What kind of God would lead His people into conflicting truths?”
There is only one set of true answers, God’s set. The Holy Spirit was given to teach God’s answers to the true Church. He cannot teach against Himself. Ideas which appear to be sincere, yet conflict with the Bible, must come from other sources.
As the evening wears on, these defenders of smorgasbord theology eventually face the media’s cameras together. They wear smears of tar, ruffled feathers, and bruised smiles. They have agreed on no decisive way to prove one theory over another, but they do want to agree on one thing.
They want to advise Believers to “agree to disagree” about their differences, even though the final part of God’s plan of salvation is involved. As a substitute for biblical unity, they want to project to the world a pretense of harmony.
GOD WANTS CLEAN DOCTRINE
Such “harmony” contrasts with Jesus. He was one who taught with authority, and not as the religious leaders. The world has no respect for champions of truth who agree to compromise basic doctrine for a supposed “unity.” Neither does God. In the introduction, we saw how severely God condemned doctrinal error. As God vividly described their erroneous, stumbling judgment, He likened it to the impairment of other unthinking spirits, spirits of strong drink (Isa. 28:7).
Prophecy rests on Jesus’ testimony. Isaiah gave us God’s perfect formula, His solution for cleansing doctrine. God’s detergent is found in having God’s wisdom and knowledge, as we understand His Word. “For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak unto this people. To whom He said, This is the rest . . .”(Isa. 28:11,12a).
“This people” was clearly Israel. Not a pretty Israel, nor a spiritual one, but a literal, disobedient Israel that God described as eating from spiritual tables covered with vomit. Someone would witness to Israel.
Who did God describe as the “other” people? Who are those with stammering lips and another tongue who must speak to “this people”? The truly born-again members of the body of Christ have already entered God’s rest. We are the ones that have told Israel about that ancient promise of rest that still awaits them. The term “Israel” was used for God’s Old Testament chosen people, while we know that not every person in Israel was a part of true, believing Israel. So also, the true Church is a spiritual body of spokesmen for God. We still stammer in witnessing to broken Israel. The Bride of Christ is the grafted-in new “chosen people,” (Eph. 1:4). We still feel uncomfortable speaking to descendants of the historic “chosen people” (Ps. 33:12) who became the adulterous wife of God (Isa. 54:6).
DOUBLE “PRECEPTS” AND “LINES,” “HERE AND THERE”— FIT THESE DOUBLE CHOSEN PEOPLE!
Both groups are saved by faith (salvation is always and only by faith) and the saved of both groups will enter into the rest of God. Being born again by the Holy Spirit is unique to the sons of God. We are members of the true Church who have entered that rest (Heb. 4:3). Isaiah’s “this people,” Israel, have yet to enter His rest.
Isaiah 28:13 continues God’s comparison by showing Israel’s response. Israel thought that no other people could ever teach them! They responded like a clay vessel, formed for service. That vessel begins to slide across that table which is slippery with the vomit of false teaching. It “goes” to fall “backwards” away from the grasp of the owner, and it is “broken.” Then God mixed His metaphors. He developed His description of the fallen vessel as though the pieces were alive and wild. The fragments of potsherd theology need to be captured. Wild things are snared along the trails they follow. God says these broken pieces must be hunted down, “snared and taken.” Israel understood God’s message, and rejected it. They embraced the wild ideas rather than believe the prophecy. God could never use the stumbling words of Gentiles to remind Israel about her promises. Though to Israel then, we were still a secret, the church is the recipient of the second set of precept and lines. Although they understood the precepts and lines, they would have nothing to do with the expectation of being corrected by Gentiles. “But the Word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little, that they may go and fall backward being broken, snared, and taken.” (Isa. 28:13).
To correct the error which God knew men would imagine, those double precepts and double lines reveal His plans for two groups. To Isaiah, Israel was “here.” The other nations (out of which the true Church would come) were “there.” The days of Isaiah were “here.” The Coming of Messiah was “there.”
In their ancient “here,” Israel despised any idea that God had a future for the Gentiles. In modern “there,” now, some Gentiles make the identical error, thinking they have appropriated the promises of Israel. They claim Israel’s promises for “their church.” No, God’s path to understanding prophecy begins with Israel and the Church having individual sets of precepts, individual sets of lines, individual places in time and geography. Yet both groups are promised the same rest in Him. Even when the HolyCity comes down from God out of Heaven, the foundation will rest on the Apostles while the 12 tribes of Israel form the gates.
God says that scornful rulers have refused to understand His twin precepts and lines. Scornful rulers have told His people lies.
“Wherefore, hear the Word of the Lord, ye scornful men that rule this people who are in Jerusalem. Because ye have said [a list of evil deeds and lies] . . . therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone . . .” (Isa. 28:14-16).
The twin patterns for Israeland the Church are both founded on the stone in Zion, on Jesus (v.16).
This is God’s analysis. Leaders who will not understand His twin precepts serve filthy doctrine and lies to His people. God’s answer begins with how He hid His program for the Church in the Old Testament. The true Church’s precepts must be discerned from Israel’s.
A modern computer analogy might be that God wrote the perfect program for His plans, a sinless couple. Sinners keep “fixing” it by introducing viruses. It started when Eve changed God’s words to, “and neither shall we touch it.” God offers the most expensive “patch” imaginable, the life of His Son, so people can be born again. Still, some people prefer their virus.
Their argument is with God, for God’s opinion gives no options. Theories which do not fit within God’s doubled design of twin precepts and lines for Israel. They do not fit the twin elements for those who would witness to Israel. Those theories are like fragments of potsherd doctrine, fallen from filthy tables. Broken, those theories are become as living beasts needing to be snared.
Dear reader, have you ever heard this Biblical explanation of the twin precepts of Isaiah 28:10 before? The double precepts, double lines, “here” and “there” are for Israel and for the witnessing church. Knowing this truth is God’s prerequisite for knowing doctrine. If this has not been understood and taught, then the primary reason for confusion stands on display.
Jesus is the antidote. Our motive is not to wound confused people, but to understand the truth. Then we can offer a balm, an ointment compounded by Christ Himself. He is the foundation for God’s twin precepts. He is the physician. What He has commanded for those twin precepts, what He measured out, and bound together, heals erroneous ideas of prophecy.
Prophetic teachers usually present the great chapter of Matthew 24 as the Bible’s premier outline of the promise of His Coming, but that isn’t the foundation of this promise. Other teachers have tried to “unify” the patterns which Jesus separated for the Church and for Israel! No wonder they produce confusion!
If you have never seen the Upspringing (Rapture) of the Church hidden in Matthew 24, you have missed one of God’s delicious secrets. Both patterns are critical to understanding, and both patterns are there!
Believers need to begin thousands of years earlier than New Testament prophecy, to find Jesus’ foundation. We need wisdom and knowledge about God’s timing and about both of His chosen people. Do some think that the Church has inherited Israel’s promises so that we are now the only people-group with whom God will yet deal? Such thinking is exactly the kind of mistake Israel made in thinking the Gentiles were excluded.
Isaiah 28 and 45 both address the Church and Israel. God told Isaiah that He revealed His plans for Israel and the nations from a time that was “ancient” before Isaiah (Isa. 45:21). Where is that very ancient revelation? It is where Jesus pointed. It is in Noah and Lot.
SCRIPTURE IS PROFITABLE
Thousands of references are given in this book to establish the Biblical foundation for these ideas. “Problem” passages really will give us answers.
This book began with writing out each verse, every time it is used. It became huge. Instead I moved critical chapters to the Scripture appendix, and seasoned the book with many references. Your Bible will give you the context and you can check what you need quickly and clearly.
God’s Word has been compared to the anvil, that mighty mass of iron in a blacksmith’s shop. Other metal, white-hot from a trial by fire, is held against the anvil and beaten with a hammer (as the world beats the Christian). The metal takes its shape as it is conformed to the anvil. Gradually many hammers are worn out, just like those who beat against God’s Word and His people. As the anvil remains strong, so God’s Word remains undamaged. Trials conform Believers to the Word, forming them into useful servants.
CONFUSION IS DISPELLED
A nationally televised preacher, noted for his teaching, boasted that he knows nothing about prophecy. “And I don’t want to.” Why would he not want to know Jesus’ testimony? Does he even know that prophecy is Jesus’ testimony (Rev. 19:10)? If even spiritual leaders despair of getting this right, what hope does the precious, simple, child of God have to understand it?
What hope? God’s promises! God is delighted by honest inquiry! Jesus spent his final days teaching everyone who wanted to hear. We need to progress as carefully and clearly as possible.
Religious leaders in Jesus’ temple audience stubbornly clutched their potsherd theology. They ordered Him to silence His disciples’ praise. Jesus condemned them.
Other religious leaders, like Nichodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea, risked everything in their world to claim His body. In spite of their social, religious, and occupational positions, they committed themselves to Him even though they did not yet know He would rise from the dead.
Every one who is exposed to God’s ideas needs to act on the truth God reveals to them.
By understanding God’s double precepts and lines, you have learned God’s secret to vital end-time truth. The Holy Spirit uses His people to declare His truth (1 Cor. 12:28). He is eager for us to tell others what we have seen. Understanding Jesus’ Coming will excite us about our Blessed Hope.
GOD DESIGNED A GREAT ON-GOING EXPERIMENT FOR US
God offers proof that He tells the truth. While science has no adequate test for the unknown past, God offers prophecy as His great continuing experiment. It reaches to the present and beyond.
Prophecy is His testimony. Prophecy allows modern Believers to see how God documented, from ancient times, events that are still on going today. God is qualified to speak about the otherwise unknowable past and unknown future. This is because His truth has been and still is being verified repeatedly. Historic fulfillments demonstrate His knowledge and power. “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” (Isa. 42:9)
No single Bible passage totally reveals everything about God’s future plans. However, He does offer discernment and a proper understanding of His precepts and lines. But this is only to those who are really willing to listen to Him and rightly divide between the pieces. “Here a little, and there a little” (Isa. 28:10).
THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS
To distinguish Himself from dead idols, God filled His book with Jesus’ prophetic testimony. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10). The heart of true prophecy is that it requires perfect fulfillment. Every interpretation that conflicts with God’s ultimate intended fulfillment, conflicts with God.
The richness of the milk of God’s Word prepares Believers for spiritual meat. Yet some people pride themselves in believing in Jesus without bothering with doctrine. They say, “Just give me Jesus because doctrine stirs up differences. So, don’t talk to me about doctrine.” How sad. They are like babes nursing on their own fingers. True nutritious knowledge and doctrine is based on Jesus!
Believers must separate God’s revelation from human opinion and yield themselves to true doctrine.
If a truth is so vital that God expressly said He established it on Jesus Himself, then false programs are an insult to Jesus.
At God’s fullness of time, Believers should know and look for God’s program.
Dr. John MacArthur said, “It is not unkind to analyze doctrinal differences in the light of Scripture. It is not necessarily factious to voice disagreement with some one else’s teaching. In fact, we have a moral imperative to examine what is proclaimed in Jesus’ name. We must expose and condemn false teaching and unbiblical behavior. The apostle Paul felt it necessary at times to rebuke people by name in epistles that were meant to be read publicly (1 Tim. 1:20, 2 Tim. 2:17). John was the apostle of love. He wrote a scorching condemnation of Diotrephes, a church leader who was ignoring the apostles’ teaching (3 John 9-10). As his second epistle shows, John’s view of real love was inextricably bound with truth. In fact, love apart from truth is nothing more than hypocritical sentimentality. That sentimentality is running rampant in evangelicalism today.”
Those words are true and wise. Prophetic ideas that don’t fit the pattern of God’s ancient revelation of His plans are wrong. Biblical love responds by shining God’s Word on darkened teaching.
Of course, the process of sincerely struggling to understand God’s promises is commendable! Angels and prophets have well sought through the ages to grasp God’s end-time plans (2 Pet. 1:10). The problem is in those who bend Scripture to fit human schemes. When their predictions have been proven false, the error of their principles is revealed.
So, why should we be more successful than Believers through the ages?
To His glory, God has targeted one final generation to fully get these end time precepts right.
While the precepts and lines for the Church are different from Israel’s, His plans for both begin in Genesis. Both will weave back into His same promise of rest to many people in Israel. They will finally (and nationally) believe that they can rest from their works. They will also rest on Jesus’ finished work (Heb. 4:3).
The true Church has already turned from trying to gain salvation by works (Eph. 2:9) to enter God’s rest. At every junction, we rest in Him. We must not blend these double precepts, but distinguish them. This is why Jesus offered two patterns in Noah and Lot. These patterns separate the Tribulation events as revealed in His end-time plans for both, the Church and Israel. Established in Genesis, the Biblical accuracy of these patterns offers us a new sense of harmony and understanding.
GOD’S TEMPLATE HOLDS BOTH PRECEPTS
A template is a very precise outline. God’s template is like the architect’s plans for a two-story house. We need to understand at the same time both “floors,” both plans.
There is a template in a child’s first puzzle. The permanent border controls the options of where every piece can fit. So, does God’s template. His Word establishes precepts and lines that frame the pattern and establish the limits of His plans.
Envision such a frame for the prophetic “Day of His Coming.” To prophesy about that time, God prepared “puzzle-pieces” illustrating all the essential features. When God’s puzzle pieces are found (here a little, there a little) they form the shape of God’s template. Once the place of each piece is discovered, the layout of the whole suddenly takes shape.
When we understand the whole picture, for Noah and for Lot, then no wrong pieces can fit. Likewise, neither can any right piece fit in a wrong place. I believe that this template for the chart, “Noah, Lot, and the Son of Man’s Day” represents God’s template for His precepts and lines.
The frame is actually double deep, two storied. It contains one layer of God’s program for Israel, and also contain a second layer for the Church. The borders of the template must be thought of as deep enough to contain two separate layers, doubled precepts. For clarity on a flat sheet, though, the two layers are presented here as separate layers.
The chart, “Noah, Lot, and the Son of Man’s Day” expresses these layers so we can see how each relates to God’s plan. The pieces within each layer can only fit in exactly the right layer and in the right position.
On the chart we represent Lots’ and Israel’s’ events over a light green, that represents their hope for an Earthly kingdom. Noah’s’ and the Church’s events are over a sky blue for the hope of being lifted up and taken to a prepared place.
God’s whole plan can only be seen when both layers of His puzzles are correctly assembled for Israel or the church and yet both layers can be ALLIGNED to cover the same time frame.
The key chart in this book presents the layers one above the other. Both fill the template across the period of time that surrounds Jerusalem’s 70th week.
The fulfillment of both will occur within the prophetic “days” and “day” of Jesus’ Coming promises.
GOD’S PLAN WAS CONCEALED FOR AGES
“It is to the glory of God to conceal a matter and to the honor of kings to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2). God did not speak in secret, but He did conceal truth to be searched out. How did Israel’s search for God’s truth do? Corrupted leadership produced false doctrine that “goes,” and “falls backwards,” and is “broken” and “snared” and “taken.” Remember the result of Israel’s leaders’ potsherd teaching in that same chapter of Isaiah 28. “Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men that rule . . . Because ye have said . . . [your lies] . . . Therefore I lay in Zion for a foundation stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation.” (Isa. 28:12b-16).
When Israel refused to build doctrine on God’s foundation, they fell and were broken. Isaiah had to ask, “Who will believe our report (about Jesus)?” (Isa. 53:1). God’s solution was that believers would come. His mystery was that the fullness of the Gentiles, the future Church, would believe (Rom. 11:25).
These twin principles lead us to understand His plans. Jesus is the Cornerstone of His double-patterned plan. The Coming promises are part of the plan for the whole house. Jesus gave specific directions to recognize His patterns. That template establishes God’s design for Jesus’ prophetic testimony and His parameters for truth about the end.
In industry, it is common to use “GO”/”NO-GO” gauges to inspect a critical part. Parts within acceptable tolerances fit the “GO” gauge, but will not fit the “NO-GO” gauge. Likewise, God’s twin precepts test every theory about Jesus’ Coming promises. What does not fit is not right, for Scripture establishes God’s template. Come, take counsel. Test this template by His Word.
Every Believer needs to feast on the fruit of such study. We can strengthen what remains by knowing the reason for the Blessed Hope of His Coming. The reason is the accuracy of prophecy resting on Jesus. Our Blessed Hope has this reason. We can trust it because God’s nature is to remove His own, like Noah, before the week of developing wrath begins. That principle rests on Jesus Himself.
The very testimony of God rests on His perfect fulfillment of His promises. Does the body of Christ, as God’s spiritual nation, bear a witness ripe with the fruit of Godly unity about this specific Blessed Hope? We absolutely should. (Tit. 2:13-15)
THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING IS IN HIS WORD
It’s time to get it right. God’s template has a place for His answers to many questions which have long confused Believers. Once we understand God’s two sets of precepts, and how they fit within His template, every theory about God’s plans for Israel and the Church can easily be tested by how it fits God’s patterns. God hangs His reputation on the “Coming” promises of our Redeemer. The Holy Spirit wants to teach our hearts, now.
About 760 B.C., God told Isaiah that God alone accurately predicts the future. Some of what God described to Isaiah has still not been understood. One reason for Israel’s blindness is that Israel refused to recognize that a people with stammering tongues would be so favored by God, as to be able to instruct them. One reason for the Church’s blindness is because the Church has not followed Jesus’ directions to the days and day of Noah and of Lot, to reveal the days and day of His Coming. God still has some secrets from Genesis to reveal in the last days.
In the double “precepts” passage of Isaiah 28:9-12, God predicted how the Church would witness to Israel. He already forecast both Church and Israel in Isaiah 45, where God first described:
(1) TheChurch’s Upspringing (Isa. 45:8),
(2) God’s opinion of potsherd theology (Isa. 45:9-12),
(3) God identified when Israel will find life in the Tribulation (Isa. 45:17), and
(4) BetweenIsaiah’s predictions of Upspringing and Tribulation, in the exact context of His future plans for His Coming, God revealed the primary cause of confusing end-time theology (Isa. 45:9-11).
What did God declare about the Blessed Hope, from times ancient even to Isaiah? What, about Israel’s 70th week? Isaiah twice associated God’s plans for the Church and Israel with warning about prophetic error. The Lord God knew we would encounter potsherd teachers who would mix Israel and those who would speak to Israel. Genesis contains specific details that predict the events of His Revelation so we can understand.