The Old Testament ends with the books of the prophets. That last prophet to be heard from is Malachi. His words sound so, so, familiar. He begins by reminding the Jewish people of God’s love for them, which they seem to have forgotten. Instead, they are complaining to the Lord about their situation—which they brought on themselves! Their sacrifices are corrupt. And the priests offering those sacrifices are corrupt. God goes so far as to compare their response to Him to infidelity.
Whether or not Malachi knew that he was the last prophetic voice of the Old Covenant, he relays God’s message: “ ‘Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:1).
The reference is a familiar one from Isaiah 40, declaring a way-preparing prophet of a different sort. The next prophetic voice that the Jewish people will hear is that of John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, ministering out in the wilderness, preparing the way for Jesus of Nazareth. Even though there is a major shift in the works, God assures His people that the mystery-plan is still in place. Despite their covenantal unfaithfulness, He declares, “For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob” (Mal. 3:6).
As with so many of the Old Testament prophecies, Malachi then offers yet another picture of the Great Day of God, the Day of Christ, the Day of the Lord, the Last Day. “ ‘For behold, the Day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the Day which is coming shall burn them up,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘that will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the Day that I do this,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 4:1-3).
Apparently, God is a fan of puns. For the Sun of Righteousness is none other than His Son, the Morning Star. In the not too distant future, we shall see a coalition of armies under the “little horn”—a.k.a. the Antichrist—invade Israel. God shall use these oppressors as His weapon of indignation for Israel’s decision to follow their own ways. A third of the city will be taken, along with a third of the people. And then the celestial lights will go out as the final sign before Christ’s return.
When the veil covering the spiritual realm is rolled back, the tide will suddenly change when the Jews have a change of heart. Their “Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord” declaration and 3rd Day revival will enable God to join the battle on their behalf. Needless to say, the odds of who is going to win this final world war will change dramatically!
Malachi even clues them in on the fact that God the Father “will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Mal. 4:5-6).
Once again we get a tongue-in-cheek-reference to Jesus’ two-Day earthly ministry. He will come initially to His own people, and then open the door to another aspect of the mystery-plan. That is, offering salvation to the Gentiles as well. This extension was foreshadowed when Jesus took a two-day time-out to travel to Samaria to preach the Gospel. You may recall that Assyria had transplanted some of their own in Israel when they occupied the territory. Their descendants ended up mixing with the Jews, leading to what the Israelites viewed as an inferior half-breed. So much so that they would go out of their way to avoid taking the shorter route from the north to Jerusalem in the south to avoid entering that territory.
The Chronos Lesson: Throughout Church history, God has restored lost truths at the appointed time. The transition has not always been easy. In fact, the move of God has generally come from outside the established church setting. So often these comforting messages of restoration come from outside the camp, like a voice crying in the wilderness.
In order to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming, the landscape of people’s hearts need to be changed (Is. 40:3-5). The “highways” of man-made views that have left people in the desert need to be exalted back to God’s truths. Every unbiblical “mountain and hill” must be brought low. The “crooked places” of biblical terms that have been redefined need to be straightened out again. This allows the rough patches of misunderstanding to be evened out.
This is the ministry God called us to through Chronos Ministries. He called Jeff to teach His people about Christ’s return, with a message of comfort, hope, and victory. The crucial element of the message is the restoration of God’s mystery-plan in terms of God’s predetermined times. That is why our name emphasizes the chronos—the chronological passing of the set times from the beginning to the end.
It is our experience that once people see the completed prophetic puzzle from the Scriptures, void of any gaps or pieces forced into place, they rejoice. It seems so obvious that they wonder why the Body of Christ didn’t see it sooner. And once they truly see it, they can’t unsee it. Now is the time for the fullness of these truths to be seen.
We still have work to do before we transition to the time of the end. May we rejoice in the hope that is ours while we endeavor to respond to those around us with a merciful warning of what shall be and cannot be changed.
Micah, a so-called minor prophet, offers a confirming witness to what we saw in the last blog concerning Israel’s choices. Not surprisingly, it begins with a warning. But the warning isn’t just for the wayward Jews. “Hear, all you peoples! Listen, O earth, and all that is in it! Let the Lord God be a witness against you,the Lord from His holy temple. For behold, the Lord is coming out of His place; He will come down and tread on the high places of the earth” (Micah 1:2-3).
In verse 4 Micah describes Jesus’ literal coming to the Mount of Olives, when His presence causes an earthquake that splits the mountain to make a way of escape for the Jewish remnant from the Antichrist’s armies. “The mountains will melt under Him, and the valleys will split like wax before the fire, like waters poured down a steep place.” While their deliverance comes, Micah reminds the Jews of why they are in this time of trouble. “All this is for the transgression of Jacob and for the sins of the house of Israel.”
In chapter 4, Micah echoes what Isaiah foretold about the Mountain of the Lord’s House—God’s kingdom (Is. 2:2). “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Micah 4:1-2).
Isaiah recognized that the Seed would bring forth a new work, yet it would be based on the first work. In fact, the Seed would fulfill the Law on behalf of all mankind. “As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one says, ‘Do not destroy it, for a blessing is in it,’ so will I do for My servants’ sake, that I may not destroy them all. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there” (Is. 65:8-9).
Micah goes on to tell us that the “One to be Ruler in Israel” shall be born in Bethlehem. He is the One “whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). In verse 3 Micah prophesies as to why the Jews they shall be torn and stricken for two great Days. “Therefore He shall give them up, until the time that she who is in labor has given birth; then the remnant of His brethren shall return to the children of Israel.” This labor and birth are recorded again in Revelation 12, with the same result. It is the rapture of the Male Child, the Body of Christ. It leads to the Jews’ 3rd Day revival.
The Chronos Lesson: Micah 5:4-5 describes the glorious end result when the great Shepherd returns. “And He shall stand and feed His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God; and they shall abide, for now He shall be great to the ends of the earth; and this One shall be peace.” Once God’s vengeance against evil is complete via the wrath of that Day, the rest of Christ’s millennial reign over the earth from the throne of God in Heaven will be great. Yet it is not the end of the story!
Micah’s prophecy is yet another plea for repentance. “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). The Lord who never changes is certainly consistent in His message. Over and over He reminds His people of their rebellious ways, yet assures them of a hopeful end, if they would just turn back to Him. Also, over and over again, the prophetic books provide the prophetic puzzle pieces of that fateful Day of the Lord that shall come as a thief in the night and as a snare on the world.
Malachi’s prophecy heralds the end of the early Days and points us to the last Days. He affirms the New Testament truth that Jesus Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, is the rightful Heir of God’s Mountain. In other words, He is the Heir of God’s kingdom.
The passage, though, reveals even greater mysteries when it refers to the elect—the called-out ones. The House that Jesus would come to build will not only inherit the Mountain Kingdom but will share in the hope of His calling also. All who will eventually become the children of the kingdom will not share this unique calling. Instead, this heavenly calling is restricted to a specific time in God’s plan—between Jesus’ first and second coming—in which His Son is calling out His Church, His Body, and His Bride.
This time-specific invitation to be a joint-heir will soon be closed. People will still be able to join the family of the redeemed during the last Day. But then even that invitation will be closed at the end of that Day.
When the Israelites secured the Promised Land, Joshua gathered all the elders and people of the tribes at Shechem to present themselves before the Lord. “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15).
Emboldened by their victories, the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods…we also will serve the Lord, for He is our God” (Joshua 24:16, 18b). In effect, Joshua was echoing the same choices his predecessor, Moses, put before the people just before he died. Moses laid out the curses and blessings in great detail in Deuteronomy 28-30. He then summarized their choices.
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them” (Deut. 30:19-20).
The prophet Isaiah gives us their status report. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,’ Says the Lord. ‘But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word...Just as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, so will I choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them; because, when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear; but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight’ ” (Is. 66:1:1-4).
The Chronos Lesson: From what we’ve seen so far, we would have to give their performance a mixed review. But in all honesty, is this unlike our own performance review? Thankfully, we are not under the Covenant of the Law, but under the Covenant of grace. Paul, a Jew himself, explained the purpose of the Law: “It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made” (Gal. 3:19). In other words, it was given to show God’s standard of right living, a standard that no fallen human could attain. James 2:10 confirms the standard of the Law: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”
But before we call God unjust, we need to remember that Abraham was called by faith. “Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— just as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham’ ” (Gal. 3:5-9).
In hindsight, we now see that all the nations would be blessed through Abraham’s lineage—the promised Seed who would make reconciliation with God possible. Yet as we’ve also seen, God has not written off the Jews. Like Jeremiah and Daniel, Isaiah foresaw their future.
“For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns. The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name…I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and give Him no rest till He establishes And till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth” (Is. 62:1-2, 6-7).
This promise will unfold when the Jewish remnant are revived at the start of the Day of the Lord, when they see Jesus coming in clouds of glory and finally accept Jesus as the Savior and Messiah.
When the Antichrist and his coalition of armies are crushed at the end of the first 3½ years of that final 1,000-year Day, this prophecy will be fulfilled. As promised in Deut. 28:13, the nation will become the head and not the tail. That is, they will be set as the natural head of the nations on the earth, under the direction of the heavenly court. They will indeed become the praise of the earth, as all the nations must acknowledge God the Father, Jesus the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit.
The Old Testament book of Esther is the other book that does not directly refer to God. Unlike the Song of Solomon, it is an historical book. The documented past events chronicled in the book foreshadow the future events that will take place during the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. That is, the first 3½ years of the Day of the Lord.
In the shadow, Christ is typified by King Xerxes, the king who sought a wife to replace the former queen. His former queen, Vashti, refused his invitation to a banquet. Vashti is a type of the apostate Jewish nation. Christ’s Bride is typified by Esther, the queen whose timely intercession foils the plot of the wicked Haman, a type of the Antichrist.
Not surprisingly, the similarities between the shadow and what Revelation shows us about our heavenly calling are remarkable. In the shadow, Esther completes two equal periods of beauty preparations before being called to the palace. In the revelation of the mystery-plan, the Church must fulfill two great Days of preparation (Today and Tomorrow) on the earth before being called to appear before the King.
Esther is taken to the king’s palace in the seventh year of his reign. The Bride is taken to Heaven on the 7th Day of God’s prophetic great Week. On the third day, Esther puts on her royal robes and stands in the inner court of the king’s palace, wherein she finds favor and is offered half the kingdom. Similarly, on the 3rd great Day, the Bride of Christ will be clothed with immortality and caught up to stand in the inner court of Heaven, wherein she will find favor and become a joint-heir with Christ.
In Esther, the wicked Haman devises a plot to destroy all of her people (the captive Jews) throughout the Persian kingdom. Soon after Esther is selected to become the king’s wife, she learns of Haman’s plot to annihilate her people. Talk about going from a great high to a tremendous low! . In Revelation, the Devil conspires with the Beast to destroy God’s people.
All at once Esther has a decision to make. Does she hide her identity or risk her life by pleading her case before the king? To approach the king without being summoned is punishable by death, queen or not. Remember, she is the new replacement for the previous queen. The king had no qualms about getting rid of his former wife. Remember, too, that all of this is happening in the context of the Jews in captivity. In the natural, it looks as if God has given up on His people. But we know better!
Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, reminds her: “perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this.” Her timely intercession inside the palace foils the plot of Haman and saves her people. Likewise, now seated before the throne as joint-heirs and co-rulers with Jesus, we sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb in Revelation, which directs the seven angels to pour out God’s wrath to take away, consume, and destroy the dominion of the Antichrist.
The Chronos Lesson: On one level, the book of Revelation was given to confirm the truths revealed by the apostles in the New Testament. On another level, the vision was given to reveal another great truth, the story within the story. That is, how the King and His heavenly Esther will intercede to thwart the plot of the Beast.
The events portrayed in the book of Revelation are the counterpart of the events in Esther. Esther is a mirror image of the heavenly Bride and the role she must fulfill at the end. The events portrayed in the book of Revelation are the end-time realities or objects that cast the ancient shadow of Esther.
In this sense, the book of Revelation portrays the intercession of the heavenly Esther: how she is prepared and selected, how she is taken to the heavenly palace to become the King’s wife, how she receives half of the kingdom, and how her timely appearance before the throne and intercession on the sea of glass contributes to the destruction of the Beast and the deliverance of her people.
This explains why those who overcome keep reappearing throughout the Revelation vision. Their new song of intercession is emphasized in chapter 14, so that we can glimpse the truth that the heavenly trumpeters (the seven angels) and the singers (the heavenly Esther) will make one sound to be heard in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord, so that the glory of God can be manifested on the earth. By the seventh bowl, a loud voice is heard from the temple of Heaven, saying, “It is done!”
On a personal note, this revelation of our heavenly calling radically changed my perspective and life’s pursuit. It changed how I viewed the end-times. It got me really excited about my future. Of course I looked forward to my full sanctification. But now I see the higher purpose—pun intended—of being caught up. We have a part to play. We get to bring vengeance against our accuser—Satan—and all his despicable lies played out in the lawless culture around us. I don’t mind admitting that I love to win!
It likewise brought me comfort in that God chooses us and places us in our time for a reason. Even though things in my life didn’t turn out the way I expected, I now have great hope. I know that when I am finally perfected and conformed completely to the image of my Savior and Lord, I shall perfectly complete my assignment, along with my brothers and sisters in the Lord. It is the hope of our heavenly calling as the heavenly Esther—aka: the Church, His Body, His Bride!
Some believers are surprised when they learn that there are two books in the Bible that do not directly mention God. So why are they included in the Jewish Bible and in the canon of our own Bibles? It is because they cast a prophetic shadow on our prophetic time. The first such book is the book of Esther. It follows the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which cover the return of the Jews from captivity, and the rebuilding of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem that had been destroyed by the Babylonians.
The second such book is the book entitled the Song of Solomon or the Song of Songs. It follows Solomon’s other contributions in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. It closes out the “poetry and wisdom books,” which are followed by the last section of the Old Testament—the prophetic books.
It is a book like no other in the Bible. It is definitely poetic in nature; it is a not-so-subtle love letter that shouldn’t be read aloud to young children, if you get my drift. But we need not apologize for the over-the-top poetic love story, for it is our own story!
On the surface, it describes the love of a shepherd for a Shulamite woman. Scholars have tried to identify where the lovely woman comes from since the exact location is not found in Scripture. However, experts in the ancient languages have solved the mystery. The name actually means “Solomon’s girl,” the king’s beloved.
It is not clear if Solomon is the actual author or even if it is written about him. In reality, it doesn’t really matter because the book is an allegory. An allegory is a type of literature that uses symbols and figurative language to reveal truths about our human existence. In case you haven’t guessed it, this book symbolically reveals the love between Jesus the Good Shepherd and His beloved, His Bride, His Body, and His Church.
“He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love” (Song of Solomon 2:4). “O my love, you are as beautiful as Tirzah, lovely as Jerusalem, awesome as an army with banners!” (Song of Solomon 6:4). In Rev. 19:11-14, we are the ones who join the Faithful and True One in crushing the Antichrist and his armies with the sword of our heavenly declarations. In Revelation 21 we are called the heavenly Jerusalem, the City that descends to the new heavens and new earth.
When “the Beloved” seeks His lovely in chapter 6, we find Solomon’s girl walking in the garden. We are told that she is looking at the vines and the pomegranates to discern the season—to see if they have budded and blossomed. Hence Jesus’ parable about looking at the fig tree to know what season is at hand. Note what happens next in verse 12. “Before I was even aware, my soul had made me as the chariots of my noble people.”
The next verse informs us that Solomon’s girl is being caught up via the same transport service as Elijah. The women left behind cry out for her to come back so that they may look upon her. Apparently, her countenance has been changed, as if in a twinkling of an eye! Solomon’s girl declines. She is dancing with joy along with her angelic escorts. It is the dance of the two camps—the Mahanaim.
The Chronos Lesson: We last glimpsed this celebration dance when Jacob wrestled with the Godhead on his return to the Promised Land—when his name was changed to Israel. The Shulamite is so taken up at the sight of her Beloved—pun intended—that she is caught up by the power of His love. He has returned as promised to gather her to Him. He has come to take her back to His Father’s House, where she shall abide with Him forever.
This is a picture of the rapture, when we shall be united together with Christ, the two becoming One, the Head and the Body completed, as the marriage proposal is consummated at the start of the Day of the Lord. It is when the Morning Star comes for those who are His as that 7th Day dawns.
It is when we are “before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Rev. 7:15-17). No wonder Solomon’s girl declares, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. He feeds his flock among the lilies” (Song of Solomon 6:3), for lilies speak of resurrection.
But there is more to do before we can partake of the marriage supper. Rest assured, it will be celebrated at the end of that Day, when the Bridal City descends to the new earth. In the meantime, while we are still on this earth, we can share with others the power of His love for mankind. We can, however, look forward to a repeat performance of the dance of the two camps on the sea of glass before God’s throne once we are caught up to our Beloved.
Which brings me to one more important detail about this beautiful allegory. Notice the would-be bride’s expectation. She is earnestly looking for her Bridegroom. Jesus talked about this same sense of eagerness as we watch and await His coming in the clouds. Why would He tell us to watch if it did not matter, if it did not somehow affect our heart, our mindset, and our priorities?
As with so much in the Old Testament, Elijah’s timely snatching away foreshadows elements of the New Covenant. In this case, it foreshadows our timely rapture.
If you’re not familiar with Elijah’s tenure as God’s prophet, it’s recorded in 1st and 2nd Kings. In a nutshell, he was a Tishbite living in Gilead, a region of Israel. His not-so-pleasant job involved calling out the sin of the leaders during the divided time of the kings, in particular, that of King Ahab and his ungodly wife, Jezebel. King Ahab was responsible for turning the nation against God and worshipping false gods. When the king rejected Elijah’s rebuke, the nation experienced a dreadful 7-year drought. It ended with a dramatic showdown between Elijah and 850 pagan priests. Hopefully, you know who won!
Elijah called down fire from Heaven to devour the priests. He soaked down his own altar with water so that it could not be ignited naturally, and then called on God to bring fire from Heaven to ignite it—which did indeed happen. He also multiplied food for a woman during the drought, raised her only son from the dead, condemned Ahab for killing his neighbor in order to take the man’s land, and made a repeat performance of calling down fire on soldiers when the next king, Ahaziah, sent them to collect Elijah for speaking against him.
I would be amiss, however, if I did not also mention that Elijah had his low moments. He ran in fear and intimidation when he received word that Jezebel was planning to have him killed. Despite the afore-mentioned, astounding showdown, the prophet fled into the desert, cowered under a tree, and prayed that he would die first. Elijah felt sorry for himself and felt as if he was all alone in serving God. Of course God set him straight and then gave His servant new tasks. It seems God was not done with Elijah.
Like Enoch before him, Elijah did not die. Instead, he was snatched away at a timely moment—a moment that foreshadows our own God-ordained destiny for such a time as this.
The Chronos Lesson: You may have heard someone reject the chronos times and seasons because the word “rapture” is not in the original manuscripts of the Bible. That is like saying that the word Jesus is not in the Bible. “Jesus” is our Anglicized (English) transliteration of His Jewish name.
The original Greek New Testament word for the rapture event is harpazo, which describes a timely snatching away. It is often translated as caught up. “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17).
The Latin translation of this verse uses the word rapturo, which is where we get our English word, rapture. So the next time you hear this cop out, turn to this passage in 1 Thessalonians and ask the person whether or not it is in their Bible. You might also add that the foundational apostles often referred to the rapture as the “gathering” as in 2 Thessalonians 2:1.
Interestingly, this same idea appears in 2 Kings 2:1, when God is about ready to “take up” the prophet Elijah to Heaven by a whirlwind. The Hebrew word is ‘alah, which comes from the root word meaning to ascend. It has many variations: to arise, to be carried up, to fetch up, to get up, to exalt, to excel, to mount up, to be perfect, to put on, to restore—to name a few. I think you get the picture.
Also interestingly, the word is associated with the rising of the sun, at daybreak. In Rev. 22:16, Jesus refers to Himself as the Bright and Morning Star. Earlier in Rev. 2:28, He promises that to those who overcome, He will give the morning star. The apostle Paul described it this way: “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).