Luke 4 records what happened after Jesus’ anointing for ministry at His baptism, “Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the Devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.”
Satan seizes the opportunity and tries to undermine Jesus’ identity through His flesh. “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answers with the Word of God. “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God’ ” (Deut. 8:3). Strike one, Satan.
So Satan tries to undermine Jesus’ calling. He takes Jesus up a high mountain and instantly shows Him all the kingdoms of the world. Needless to say, it must have been a mountain in the spiritual realm for all that to be seen at once. What is interesting is what Satan says next. “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
When was the authority of the nations of the world delivered to Satan? At the fall of mankind, when our human ancestors forfeited their position as God’s representatives on the earth, and Satan became the god of this age. Jesus boldly answers, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Strike two, Satan.
Satan’s third and final temptation has to do with Jesus’ supernatural power and the power of God’s written Word. Satan takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple—God’s meeting place—and dares Jesus to throw himself down to test God’s Word that the angels would protect Him. Once again, Jesus responds with Scripture. “You shall not tempt the Lord your God” (Deut. 6:16). Strike three, Satan.
The temptation is over, that is, until another “opportune time.” Satan’s sinister plan backfired big time. Verses 14-15 records, “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding regions. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.”
The Chronos Lesson: 2 Cor. 4:4 confirms that Satan is the god of this age and has blinded many to the truth of the good news of the gospel. The phrase “this age” is the age we are living in, the Church Age. While we are still in this age, we resist the devil as Jesus did, by answering his lies and temptations with the Word of God. It is a living and powerful weapon, “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
Our time on this earth is like boot camp. It’s how we learn to use the weapons of our warfare in the midst of the enemy’s territory. It’s how we learn to trust and stand on God’s truths. It’s how we learn to speak the Word to defeat the enemy. This is a vital skill because, as the immortal court seated in Heaven, we’re going to be called upon to use this two-edged sword to speak into being the Antichrist’s defeat. It’s how we will declare the downfall of Satan and his evil hierarchy from the heavenlies to earth.
It is also how we will join Christ in fulfilling a key aspect of His work. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Satan’s sinister ways are one of the reasons that the earth is groaning. “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19). When are we revealed? In one sense during our boot camp training as we preach the Gospel with signs and wonders following as Jesus commissioned us. Yet we will be fully manifested at Christ’s second coming when we are raptured, seated as the heavenly court, and declaring God’s judgments against evil.
The law of the Sabbath was not limited to the weekly Sabbath, for every seventh year was designated as a year of rest for the land as well. Even further, God commanded the children of Israel to celebrate a year-long Sabbath following each complete cycle of seven Sabbath years (7 x 7 years = 49 years in all). This fiftieth year was called the Year of Jubilee.
The prophetic significance of this fiftieth year is unparalleled in Scripture. It is the Sabbath of all Sabbaths. The Year of Jubilee was a unique Sabbath in that it expanded the definition of rest to include such themes as redemption, liberation, and restoration. In the Year of Jubilee, debts were cancelled, bondservants were freed, and lost inheritances were redeemed.
The Year of Jubilee is also called “the Acceptable Year of the Lord” (Isaiah 61:2). Jesus deliberately chose this Acceptable Year as His text when He stood up to read in His hometown synagogue towards the beginning of His ministry. When they handed Him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, He unfurled it and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:16-21).
Luke’s account continues, “Then He closed the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.” It is significant that the Master did not remain standing but sat down before speaking any further. In an obvious posture of rest, He proceeded to announce, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing!”
It is equally significant that Jesus stopped mid-sentence in the text. The rest of the sentence in Isaiah 61:2 & 3 continues: “And the Day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
The Chronos Lesson: Jesus deliberately identified Himself with the Year of Jubilee from the onset of His ministry. Whenever we preach healing, liberty, recovery, and deliverance we are, in essence, preaching God’s Jubilee. The Year of Jubilee is the ultimate Sabbath, for in its ultimate sense and in its fullest expression, it speaks of none other than Jesus Himself. Truly, He is our Year of Jubilee!
Once again, however, this prophetic shadow doesn’t just tell us what Jesus would do, but when it would come to pass. Without going into tedious details, Scripture records that the first Jubilee was celebrated when the Israelites entered the Promised Land. More specifically, when the last trumpet, the 50th blast, brought victory against the fortress of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down, thus began the Jubilee cycles.
It should not surprise us, then, that thirty cycles later signaled another prophetic event in God’s timetable. It happened, not coincidentally, when Jesus was 30 years old—He was anointed for ministry at His baptism. It coincides with the beginning of His earthly ministry in a range of years from 26 to 30 AD (based on the window of years for Jesus’ birth).
According to the biblical chronology, the 70th Jubilee is projected to occur in 2028, which just so happens to fall within the window of time allotted for the beginning of the 7th great Day from Adam. This means that the 7th great Day and the 70th Jubilee will start at the same time! As we might expect, the fifty-year cycles associated with the Year of Jubilee relate to Christ’s first and second appearances.
There was a total of 30 Jubilees until His first appearance; and apparently, there will be another 40 Jubilees until He appears again. Just as Jesus was in the wilderness for forty days in preparation for His earthly ministry, so the Church must spend 40 Jubilees in the wilderness of this world in preparation for our millennial ministry in which we will co-reign with Christ from above in Heaven.
When we are seated as the heavenly court, our ruling declarations will release the trumpet and bowl judgments that constitute God’s vengeance against evil. The primary target of this vengeance? “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thess. 2:8).
As part of the Law, the Israelites were not only instructed to observe a weekly Sabbath rest, but also the sacred holy days associated with the seven Feasts of the Lord outlined in Leviticus 23. These sacred festivals differ from our own secular holy days (holidays) for two reasons. First, they were not placed on the calendar by men, but by God Himself, as they were given to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Second, these Feasts were not designed to commemorate some event from the past, but future events concerning the coming Messiah. God’s Holidays are prophetic shadows of things to come in God’s mystery-plan. They spoke of the Messiah’s mission, ministry, and the chronos of His return. The first four Feasts—Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost—were fulfilled at Christ’s first coming. The three remaining Feasts—Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles—will be fulfilled when He comes again.
The Chronos Lesson: The integration of the element of prophecy with the concept of holidays was a clear invention of the One who “declares the end from the beginning.” It yielded, in effect, a prophetic calendar available for all of mankind to inspect and consider, particularly as certain “Holy days” began to be fulfilled. Furthermore, these Feasts not only prophetically predicted what would be accomplished, but when things would be fulfilled as well.
It has long been understood that the Sabbaths speak of the redemptive work of Christ in bringing rest to mankind. This rest has nothing to do with being tired, but of a completed work—one that is thoroughly finished and that cannot be improved upon. Thus, we can enter into His rest by partaking of the benefits provided by His finished work on the cross. Truly, He is our Sabbath rest in every sense (1 Thess. 5:23)—spirit, soul, and body!
Concerning the mystery of Christ and His Body, Paul wrote: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Cor. 15:51-52). Our 3rd Day resurrection will complete our transformation such that we will be fully conformed to Christ’s image—spirit, soul, and body. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29).
In general the Church has recognized how the feasts foreshadow Jesus’ ministry and what He would accomplish. Sadly, however, the revelation that the Sabbaths also depict the chronos timing of His return has not been as apparent. The Sabbath not only speaks of rest, but of a designated time for the end as well. It is the seventh and final day in terms of our earthly week. It does not occur until six days of equal duration have transpired first. Therefore the law of the Sabbath prophetically marks the last great Day of God’s Week of Redemption. It points to the coming millennial Sabbath when Jesus Christ will reign over the earth for a thousand years.
Therefore, the prophetic shadows cast by the Sabbath mark His return in terms of the chronos times—that is, on the 7th great Day from Adam. The Sabbaths help us understand what Jesus has done. Yet they also cast a predictive shadow upon our calendars in that they tell us when He will come. For instance, He will return at the sound of the trumpet at the Feast of Trumpets. Stay tuned for more prophetic significance around the Sabbath of all Sabbaths.
When the Seed had grown and was manifest at His baptism, the apostle John wrote: “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him” (John 1:10-17). Needless to say, the mystery of lawlessness was already at work in the world. So when Jesus came to His own people (the Jews), they did not receive Him. He didn’t fit their image of a Messiah. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
John went on to explain that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
The Chronos Lesson: Near the start of His earthly ministry, Jesus affirmed, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). Only Satan and his lawlessness seeks to destroy. The Old Testament Law was designed to distinguish between corrupted ground and sacred ground. The Law was given to highlight how living according to God’s kingdom ways separates us from the corrupted ways of knowing evil.
The Law could not make mankind perfect. That could only happen once the Perfect Seed could be planted into the earth and pay the penalty of death on behalf of mankind. But the Law could provide a model of living that would foreshadow the Standard that would come as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Christ’s earthly ministry showed us the loving and merciful nature of God the Father. Jesus revealed Heaven on the earth. In this sense, He became the sacred ground in which every believer would be planted and thereby experience that Life in us.
The Law showed us that no fallen human could meet the standard. We know evil. Our spirit was corrupted by it, separating us from the Most Holy One. The amazing truth Jesus revealed to us is the power of grace and truth over the inability of the Law and works to perfect us. While we were yet fallen and sinful, His sacrificial love made it possible for us to be reconnected to God the Father (Rom. 5:8). That is, if we acknowledge our need for a Savior.
The Spirit was given to seal our spirits from corruption, and as a seal or guarantee of our future complete redemption at the rapture, including our bodies. Until that glorious moment, we “house” the Spirit and are therefore containers of holiness. We are to learn to walk in that reality as we learn to be lights as He is the Light. This is why continuing to walk in sin is so detrimental to the life of a believer—that sin casts a shadow over our light.
Even more amazing—if that is even possible—we were born into such a time as this that we should be called sons of God and inherit the firstborn blessings of His Son. This blessing not only sustains us in this age and empowers us to fulfill our earthly assignment to preach the Gospel and be lights—albeit imperfect ones. It shall invest us as the immortal government of Heaven over the earth at Christ’s second coming. It shall be our 3rd Day perfection!
John 10:10 tells us that the thief—Satan—comes to steal, kill, and destroy. So it should not surprise us that the forces of evil are working overtime to steal our unity in the Church, in nations, and in the human race. The Creator gave life to just one race of earthly beings—the Adamic race. All human beings are made in the image of God, as spirit beings with a soul and a physical body comprised of the elements of this earth according to a unique genetic design.
Within that human design are all sorts of variations in ethnicity, personality, and talents. All humanity faces the same repercussions of our human ancestors’ choice to disobey God and eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That is, a spirit that is disconnected from God. Every person is capable of doing good and every person is capable of committing evil. What has restrained evil throughout history is a sense of something greater than any one individual. It is the acceptance of the greater heavenly truths encompassed in justice, mercy, and the value of life. It is the nature of lawlessness, sponsored by Satan, to undermine these truths.
The Chronos Lesson: When the Son of God was given to redeem the human race, Ephesians 2:11-16 describes the overcoming power of that first coming. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (vs.13). Jesus willingly sacrificed His perfect life on behalf of the imperfect human race, thereby overcoming the death sentence from the Fall of mankind. By overcoming death, Christ diluted the significance of our fleshly labels.
Certainly the distinguishing traits of our being remain, such as male/female, extrovert/introvert, nationality, ethnicity, talents/abilities, and occupation. In addition, every person who has accepted Jesus as the Savior likewise carries the distinction of the Holy Spirit abiding within him or her and being members in His Body. It is the Spirit who empowers us to gain intimate understanding of the realities of being in Christ and being servants of God. Whether Jew or Gentile, we are no longer afar off from God. We are no longer aliens to the New Covenant relationship with the Godhead.
This is why Paul could boldly declare: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39). No matter what lawless things or perilous times or persecution rises up against us, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
The only critical truth we need to know about our race is that God created every person, whether or not they acknowledge it. God loves each person perfectly, whether or not they accept it. He longs for every person to be saved. No one aspect of our being, including the color of our skin, condemns a person as being inherently evil—or for that matter, inherently good. For every one of us falls short of the glory of God seen in Christ’s earthly ministry.
Of course it is important to seek justice and try to come against evil, but not as the fallen world defines it. For it is the nature of lawlessness to call that which is evil good, and that which is good evil. At the end of the day and the end of the Days, the one and only distinguishing human trait that matters is if we are “in Christ” and therefore our name is in the Book of Life.
“For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:10-12).
Isaiah 9:6-7 summarizes the full ministry of the Messiah. The first part of the prophecy covers Jesus’ first coming. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…”. The second part of the prophecy covers Jesus’ second coming. “…and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase [greatness] of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Ephesians 1 goes into more detail. Verse 9 tells us that having made known to us the mystery of His will through the Scriptures, according to God’s good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, in the fullness of the times God would bring forth the Son to “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven and which are on earth—in Him.” All things. Old and New Covenant, Jew and Gentile alike, the heavenly hosts and His heavenly government.
When Jesus openly declared the purpose of His ministry in His home synagogue, He quoted from the prophet Isaiah. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…” (Luke 4:18). Then He closed the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.
Through the miracles, signs, and wonders that Jesus performed during His 3½-year earthly ministry, He certainly fulfilled all those objectives. Of course, at the time, His followers had a different idea of what being set free from oppression entailed. They might have wondered at the reference to the acceptable year of the Lord, which is the Jubilee year that comes every 50 years because it wasn’t the specified time. But Jesus was describing a release from debt and a restoration of another sort—the debt of sin and a reborn spirit reconnected to God.
Strangely, though, Jesus stopped mid-sentence in quoting Isaiah 61:1-3. The rest of the sentence continues, “…and the Day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
His listeners must have wondered why Jesus would not bring vengeance against evil, as well as the rest of the promised glory. The reason had to do with the second half of the Messiah’s ministry as quoted in Isaiah 9. That is, the never-ending Kingdom. What the listeners didn’t understand from the 70 Weeks Prophecy in Daniel 9 is that the divine to-do-list would entail two separate comings. God’s Day of Vengeance against evil would not happen until Christ would return at the start of the last Day in God’s prophetic great Week to complete the to-do list.
The Chronos Lesson: The Messiah’s anointing for ministry at His baptism when He was 30 years old marked the pivotal point in the mystery-plan: separating the early Days from the latter Days. When counting from Adam, the early Days were Days 1, 2, 3, and 4; the latter Days would be Days 5, 6, and 7. Jesus’s baptism happened exactly 4,000 years after Creation, equaling four great Days.
His ministry would cover the first 3½ years of the 5th Day. His Body, the Church, would continue His earthly ministry for two Days, Days 5 and 6. We are now closing in on the end of the 6th Day. Scripture calls it the end of this age—the end of the Church Age.
In Luke 13:32-33, Jesus offered His own prophecy concerning the latter Days. It is one of those passages where using 24-hour days doesn’t make sense. Such regular days don’t fit Jesus’ description of the timing. So we know He was referring to God’s great 1,000-year Days. “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures Today and Tomorrow, and the Third Day I shall be perfected.’ Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.”
The first part of the prophecy—Today and Tomorrow—covers the earthly ministry of the Head and His Body, the Church. On the 3rd Day He shall be perfected. That is, He shall be completed, when the Head and the Body are together in Heaven. That happens when His Body, His Bride, is resurrected at the rapture, at the start of the 3rd Day.
Today, Tomorrow, and the Third Day Perfection coincide with the last half of the prophetic great Week. The only difference is that these Day focus on the New Covenant, so they count the Days starting with Jesus’ baptism and anointing for ministry.
At His first coming, Jesus began to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. The word gospel means “good news.” Luke 16:16-17 records Jesus setting the record straight. “The law and the prophets were until John [the Baptizer]. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for Heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the Law to fail.” In other words, Jesus’ life would perfectly fulfill every aspect of the Law. The good news is that it would be fulfilled on behalf of all of mankind.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
This is the essence of Jesus’ message: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The Seed prophesied way back in Genesis 3 had not only been planted, but it had also sprouted and was producing fruit!
The story of the Old Testament and the cycle of disobedience, repentance, and falling away again can be traced back to the Garden and the two Trees—the Tree of Life (in God) and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why is knowing good connected to knowing evil? Good is settling for less than God’s best. The problem with settling for less is that it doesn’t end there. Once you settle, it’s easier to settle again. And again, and again. That is the lesson of the Old Testament. But it is not the end of the story.
Each time we settle, we are inevitably disappointed with the results. A myriad of emotions can overwhelm us—frustration, a sense of inadequacy, even disillusionment with God. That is what happened to the divided kingdoms as the Assyrians closed in on them. Because they did not honor their covenant with God, Isaiah declared, “He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem” (Is. 8:14).
God still had a plan for His people—if they would only have ears to hear and eyes to see this time around. “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame” (Is. 28:16). Jesus, the chief cornerstone, would go first to the synagogues, but many would not believe.
Perhaps this is why Peter encouraged believers to “desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:2-5). Did you catch that? We are living stones, built up as the House of God, a Living Temple.
The Chronos Lesson: During Jesus’ earthly ministry, “He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father” (Eph. 2:17-18). The Jews who believed in Jesus would become part of the sanctuary, along with the Gentiles who were far off. The gift of salvation was extended to any and all who would receive it. Sadly, many of the Israelites stumbled over the Stone, a rock of offense—Jesus of Nazareth.
Part of the mystery of Christ is that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become members of His household. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22).
The Father’s House is synonymous with the Mountain of His Kingdom. It has the shape of a pentahedron or a square pyramid. It has a square for a base and four triangular sides that meet at the apex. This means it has five corners, four at the bottom, and one at the top. This is significant because the number five stands for grace in the Bible. Thus, it is a favored structure built on grace.
At His resurrection, Jesus became the chief cornerstone of Father’s House. Over the two great Days of the Church Age—what Jesus called Today and Tomorrow—“living stones” have been and are being added. The fact that the same stone forms both the foundation and the apex or pinnacle of this structure speaks wonderfully of Christ. He is the foundation upon which all other stones are built. He is also the capstone—that which rests on top of the edifice and completes the pyramidal kingdom. In this sense, He is both the first and the last, the foundation and the summit, and the beginning and the end.
In Revelation 3:12, John was instructed to write, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven…”
In contrast, when God makes the new heavens and new earth, future nations will walk in the light of this Mountain and City, coming in and going out of its gates. As in Old Testament times, these future people will come and present themselves before the Temple. The overcoming Church, on the other hand, is the Temple. Can you see the distinction? While both groups partake of the blessings of that heavenly City, one group comes to visit while the other calls it home.
When will this Temple be finished? Jesus gave us a clue when He said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). In one sense, this Temple referred to His human body, which would be resurrected on the third day after being destroyed (crucified). In another sense, Jesus was referring to the mystery of a living Temple. The mystery of Christ implies that this living Temple will also be raised up on the third Day—that is, on the third great or thousand-year Day from when construction commenced.
The capstone has yet to be put in place. It cannot be placed until the House is complete. That will happen when His Body is complete and in Heaven with Him compliments of the rapture.
The pivotal point in the plan between the two covenants happened along the banks of the River Jordan. John is baptizing repentant Jews as a sort of cleansing ritual. John knew his calling concerning preparing the way for his cousin, Jesus. So when Jesus came to be baptized, John balked. As the sinless Savior, Jesus had no need to repent and therefore no need to be baptized. Yet Jesus insisted. Why?
As John baptized Jesus with water, God baptized—anointed—His Son with the Holy Spirit. He was anointed for ministry, for Jesus would operate on the earth by the Spirit just as would His disciples. When the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus, a voice came from Heaven that only He and John heard: “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”
To the Jews the concept of the Father having a Son was utter and complete blasphemy. God had revealed Himself in many ways throughout the Old Testament, but not as their heavenly Father. Their relationship with the Almighty was clearly defined when God brought them out of Egypt: “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God” (Ex. 6:7). For God to be your Father meant that you were a son of God. That was an outright claim to Deity, which is why they sought to kill Jesus.
Jesus continually asserted that He came forth from the Father and that He and His Father were one. Because of this the Jews, at one point, took up stones to stone Him, saying “we are not stoning you for any of these miracles, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:30-33).
Matthew 22:41-45 records the following exchange between Jesus and the Pharisees: “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?’ ‘The son of David,’ they replied. He said to them, ‘How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him [his own descendant] Lord?’ ” The Pharisees were probably thinking: When did David ever refer to one of his descendants as being God?
Then Jesus quoted Psalm 110 written by David: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’” The Pharisees recognized this prophetic, Messianic Psalm. The Old Testament prophecies were clear. The Messiah’s ancestry would trace back to King David. He would be the “son of David” and He would sit on the throne of David. The right to sit on David’s throne was reserved for the coming Messiah, and to no other.
As the religious leaders pondered the Psalm, Jesus posed the following question: “If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” The question exposed the very heart of the mystery. How could the Messiah be both God (David’s Lord) and man (David’s son)? The Pharisees were stumped. They could not explain it. Matthew’s account concludes with “no one dared question Him from that time forward.” Ya think! The mystery of Christ begins with the foundational revelation that God was manifested in the flesh—being both the Son of Man and the Son of God. Jesus was God robed in a flesh and blood body.
Jesus posed a similar question to His disciples, as recorded in Matt 16:13-19. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They responded with John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or perhaps one of the other prophets. His follow-up question went right to the point of the matter. “But who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Simon Peter made the connection. He glimpsed the first light of the hidden mystery. This Man standing before them was none other than the Son of God!
It was for this heavenly connection that Jesus was crucified. Jesus’ own disciples did not anticipate this turn of events when they first met Him. To grasp it required a revelation from above. So you can imagine how it must have startled the disciples when Jesus taught them to begin their prayers by saying, “Our Father, who is in Heaven…”
Jesus’ simple lesson on prayer highlighted another crucial part of the mystery: for if God so loved the world that He gave up His only begotten Son, how could there be other sons? How could His disciples, being mere men, dare approach God as their heavenly Father? Only a son can pray, “My Father…” Were they to become sons of God, too?
The Chronos Lesson: A prophecy in Zechariah 6:12-13 stated, “Behold, the man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the Temple of the Lord…He shall bear the glory and shall sit and rule on His throne.”
It was prophesied that this man would build the Temple of the Lord. Even though the disciples realized that Jesus was that Man, they had yet to discover that they would become that Temple. The earthly temple that they had so greatly admired would soon be destroyed; not one stone would be left standing upon another. The Branch, however, would build a new one. Only this time, with Living Stones!
The book of Hebrews was written primarily to the Jewish Christians. It summarizes the shift in God’s mystery-plan from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Heb. 1:1-4).
As we’ve seen in this series so far, the plan was spoken in times past through the prophets. But it was not seen fully. Even though covenants were common in ancient times and their significance was understood, the Jews did not stay true to the covenant. Let’s face it. No fallen human could. Which, of course, God knew before He even called Creation into being. That is why immediately after Adam and Eve’s disobedience, God spoke forth the coming of the Seed.
Now, after 4,000 years or four great Days, Jesus would come into our human world, just as Daniel foretold. God’s Son would minister for 3½ years before being cut-off mid-week. His earthly ministry would encompass the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week. It would bring a restful end to the sacrifices and cut a new covenant that would prevail for many.
The incarnate Christ—God in the flesh—would reveal the glory of the Father (Col. 1:15). He would show the people God’s heart and nature. Signs and wonders of healing and deliverance from the evil forces would confirm the truth’s Jesus taught, as well as the fact that He was the Anointed One.
What the people didn’t quite grasp yet was that the great Physician came to heal more than their physical bodies. He came to give them hearts of flesh—softened hearts instead of their usual hard hearts. He came to give them a new spirit that would reconnect them back to God. That reborn spirit could then transform their soul.
Jesus often spoke in parables, partly to paint a picture of the spiritual truths He was teaching. But it was also meant to change their focus. He wanted them to not only hear the words, but also have that aha-moment of seeing how those truths could change their lives and lifestyle. That is why He prayed that they would have ears to hear and eyes to see. He wanted them to pursue Him and search out the deeper truth.
Unfortunately, the physical eyes of the Jews were focused on the Romans who were oppressing them. Remember Nebuchadnezzar’s statue of the times of the Gentiles? Jesus was birthed into the time shown by the lower torso, before the Roman Empire divided into the two legs. This focus on their physical circumstances was understandable. They were suffering greatly. Corruption was everywhere.
To make matters worse, their spiritual eyes were focused on trying to fulfill every element of the Law. But that wasn’t all. The spiritual leaders had added many, many regulations in order to follow the Law in minute detail. It sapped their spirits. Legalism always does.
No wonder the Jewish people were looking for a deliverer as in the time of the Judges. They wanted someone to judge the Roman oppressors and drive them out of their land. They were looking for a military-minded king. As much as they appreciated the miracles, they wanted Jesus to get on with the task at hand.
The Chronos Lesson: In this series we have only pointed out the primary touch points of the mystery-plan so that you could see the power and surety of the plan. There’s so much more we could examine. Hopefully, as you have read these highlights, you also have had that aha-moment of seeing with the eyes of your understanding.
Sometimes, though, that moment can elude us because our eyes, like those of the Jews in Jesus’ time, are focused on our immediate circumstances. Or our eyes are looking for what we expect to happen and the way we want events to unfold. For the Jews, this state of affairs led to the majority of them missing the time of their visitation. Because they were looking for a deliverer to liberate them, they didn’t have eyes to see the One who would deliver them from a more sinister fate—bondage to sin and the wages of sin, which is death.
In Romans 7:6, the apostle Paul describes this pivotal shift in the plan. “But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” He goes on to describe every person’s struggle to do what they know to do, but don’t. If it weren’t for the “newness of the Spirit”—the possibility of receiving a new spirit by grace—our situation would be hopeless.
Paul’s teaching continues in Romans 8:1-2 with the good news of the Gospel of Christ. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”
In short, we can “go on to perfection [through Christ’s perfection], not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works [the Law and legalism] and of faith toward God” (Heb. 6:1).
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8)!
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.