Monthly Archives: July 2020

How many dispensations are there?

HOW MANY DISPENSATIONS ARE THERE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Ignoring innumerable speculations and various contradictory views, we are most interested in what the Holy Bible says. In this, our special-edition Bible Q&A article #750, we provide a simple (non-exhaustive!) introduction to all the dispensations. “For what saith the Scriptures?”

FIRST THINGS FIRST

To begin, we need a reliable definition of the word “dispensation.” While often assumed and commonly taught to be a “period of time,” a better way to look at it is to consider its Greek equivalent—“oikonomia.” It literally means “house rules.” Almighty God, as the owner of the household of creation, establishes a set of directions that He expects people to believe and obey. In English, a “dispensation” is “a body of information God gives to mankind, or a segment of mankind, for his faith and obedience during an established time.”

Obviously, “dispensation” is the noun form of the verb “dispense” (distribute). God introduces various dispensations through a series of spokesmen over the course of human history. Again, a dispensation is not a time period, but it covers a time period, and that time spanned is an “age.” As a physician or pharmacist would dispense medication—what to take, when to take it, how much to take, for how long, and so on—so God issues dispensations. Another way to look at a dispensation is to view it from the perspective of Greek. Our word “economy” is derived from “oikonomia” (they even sound the same!). In this sense, we are referring to a careful management of goods or resources. Approaching the Bible dispensationally means we understand God’s words are being wisely revealed in an orderly fashion. There is no confusion or difficulty unless we fail to follow 2 Timothy 2:15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Always remember, God’s nature does not change. He changes His dealings with man because man changes. The dispensations change because man changes!

The word “dispensation” appears four times in a King James Bible:

  • 1 Corinthians 9:17: “For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.”
  • Ephesians 1:10: “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:….”
  • Ephesians 3:2: “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:….”
  • Colossians 1:25: “Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;….”

With these opening remarks covered, we now proceed to delineating and explaining the dispensations themselves.

DISPENSATION #1: DISPENSATION OF INNOCENCE

There most certainly had to be a dispensation applicable to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, as they lived under a special, nonrepeatable economy. We could call this “Innocence” or “Garden.” Adam had not yet sinned, so he and Eve were innocent. Creation was not cursed as of yet. There was one set of instructions for man to follow: the first and simplest dispensation also covered the shortest period of time.

We read the instructions in Genesis chapter 2: “[15] And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. [16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Of course, we use common sense. This is in the Bible, but it is not to or about us. We could “be Scriptural” here—and be completely out of the will of God! These are not His instructions to us.

In chapter 3, Adam and Eve disobeyed this dispensation. Listening to Satan’s lie, they ate the forbidden fruit! Therefore, another dispensation was necessary. Sin caused God to deal with Adam and Eve (mankind) in a new way. The Fall transitions to the next dispensation—Promise.

DISPENSATION #2: DISPENSATION OF PROMISE

The “promise” is a common theme of Scripture, and it starts immediately after man fell into sin. It will continue until Mount Sinai and the giving of the Law of Moses. Promise starts with Eve but ends up with the nation Israel. Once Adam sinned, God promised “the seed of the woman,” a Man who would reverse the damage Adam caused in creation. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). The bloodline of Messiah is established, and runs through Abraham (Genesis 17:7-8; Genesis 22:18), Abraham’s son Isaac (Genesis 26:1-3), Isaac’s son Jacob (Genesis 28:10-13), and Jacob’s 12 sons (Deuteronomy 1:8; Exodus 1:1-7). The 12 sons are the patriarchs of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Ultimately, the “seed” will be Jesus Christ Himself, born some 2,000 years after Abraham. See Galatians chapter 3: “[16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [17] And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. [19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”

As we can see, the “promise” given to Eve—that she would be the ancestor of the Messiah—was subsequently passed to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is the nation Israel’s establishment and subsequent proliferation in Egyptian bondage. Jacob’s son Judah will have a descendant, King David, and David will be an ancestor of Jesus Christ (see Luke 1:31-33, for instance). Messiah/Christ is the true seed of the woman, and it is only “in Him” will salvation from sins be. The Lord Jesus Christ will reverse all the harm Adam and Satan caused in creation. Since Israel refused to be the “seed of promise”—accepting God’s grace as found in the Abrahamic Covenant, this necessitates the Dispensation of Law.

DISPENSATION #3: DISPENSATION OF LAW

Israel was ungrateful when JEHOVAH God delivered her from Egyptian slavery. Instead of receiving His grace provisions given them in the wilderness—His splitting the Red Sea, His providing them water, His giving them manna to eat, His providing them with water, His blessing them with military victory, and His furnishing them with counsel (Exodus chapters 14–18)—they wanted to perform to get His blessings. Consequently, “the law was added” (Galatians 3:19)… that is, the Mosaic Law was “added” to the “promise.” By using a series of complex rules and regulations, God had to teach or prove to Israel that her religious performance—namely, the lack of absolute perfection therein—would not be the means whereby she would be His people. He would work to make her His people to bring about the Messiah or Saviour; like all sinners, she could not save herself!

The Dispensation of Law runs all the way through the Scriptures until the Apostle Paul’s ministry in Acts chapter 9. When Jesus Christ—the “seed” (Galatians 3:16)—was born and conducted His earthly ministry for three years, Israel rejected and crucified Him in unbelief! She was given a renewed opportunity of repentance to accept and believe on Him in early Acts, but she again rebelled against God’s purpose and plan for her. She obstinately refused to listen to the Holy Spirit preaching through Israel’s believing remnant, particularly the Apostle Peter and the other 11 Apostles. This results in Israel’s temporary spiritual fall in Acts chapter 7 (Stephen’s murder!), and her diminishing until Acts chapter 28. Acts chapters 7–28 comprise the transition to the Dispensation of Grace, with the “norm” established after Acts.

DISPENSATION #4: DISPENSATION OF GRACE

Here is the present-day. Read chapter 3 of Ephesians, paying close attention to verse 2: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: [7] Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

“[8] Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; [9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: [10] To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, [11] According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: [12] In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.”

As per the Dispensation of Grace, committed to the Apostle Paul’s trust, Israel is temporary fallen and salvation is going to the Gentiles without her national conversion (Romans 11:11-14). God is forming the Church the Body of Christ, of all believing Jews and Gentiles who will simply come to Jesus Christ by faith in the Gospel of Grace: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; cf. Acts 20:24). The Body of Christ is God’s heavenly people, whom He will use in the heavenly places in the ages to come. They sit in stark contrast to the nation Israel, God’s heavenly people, whom He will utilize in the earth in the ages to come. No matter how hard we try to force them to be the same, the Dispensation of Grace is absolutely not compatible with the Dispensation of Law! Romans 6:14-15 could not be clearer: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” God’s Word to and about us, God’s will for us, is found in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

One day, God will close the Dispensation of Grace. At an event commonly called the Rapture, He will take the Church the Body of Christ into the heavenly places (see 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, et cetera). This will allow the prophetic program to resume where it paused in the Book of Acts with Paul’s salvation. Once Satan and his evil angels are cast out of the outer space onto the earth, the Body of Christ will begin ruling and reigning in the heavenly places (Revelation 12:7-14). With the mystery program closed, the prophetic program can pick up, and God’s eternal purpose can be accomplished.

DISPENSATION #5: DISPENSATION OF FULNESS OF TIMES

Ephesians chapter 1 covers the last dispensation: “[8] Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

Father God’s ultimate purpose is to crown Jesus Christ as the Head of all governments of heaven and earth (see also Ephesians 1:20-23 and Colossians 1:16-20). Remember, Satan, and sinful man following him, caused chaos. However, they merely delayed God’s plans—not abrogated them! God in His wisdom will still have the last word.

After our Dispensation of Grace, there begins the seven-year Tribulation (also called Daniel’s 70th Week). This is the time of the Antichrist, when God purges Israel of all unbelievers. The LORD God wants a pure nation, what He desired back with Abraham before Israel messed it all up. He desired an unadulterated earthly people—what He intended back with Adam and Eve before they fell into sin too. Jesus Christ will return at His Second Coming to destroy the Antichrist and his followers, and set up His own earthly kingdom. He will rule the earthly realm through believing Israel, just as (by this time) He is already ruling in the heavenly places through us the Body of Christ. However, during that 1,000-year Kingdom (Revelation 20:1-6), Jesus Christ will reign on the earth with unbelievers being born: “The LORD will send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies” (Psalm 110:2).

These rebels will be punished at the end of the Millennium, when they gather to destroy Jerusalem (Revelation 20:7-15). Finally, the New Heaven and New Earth of chapters 21 and 22 are in place. We have at last reached the “norm” of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. In other words, the Tribulation and the 1,000-Year Kingdom increasingly transitioned into this last dispensation. Fulness of Times is divided into a series of ages (see Ephesians 2:7). Also, unlike the previous four dispensations, it is open-ended—it goes on forever!

CONCLUSION

While there are various and sundry explanations, this author believes it is easiest to consider the Bible as a timeline covered by five dispensations—unique sets of Divine instructions given to man for a particular time for his faith and obedience. These dispensations are:

  1. INNOCENCE – Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, before they sinned (the Fall transitions to #2)
  2. PROMISE – God’s efforts to establish a bloodline for the seed of the woman, culminating in the seed of Abraham and the nation israel (the wilderness experiences of Israel immediately-post-Red-Sea transitions to #3)
  3. LAW – added to the Promise because of transgressions, it began with Moses and Israel at Mount Sinai, although we are careful to note Law accentuates not cancels God’s ultimate reason for Promise (the Book of Acts transitions to #4)
  4. GRACE – God’s current dealings with man began with the Apostle Paul’s ministry in Acts chapter 9, forming the Church the Body of Christ, and running all the way until the Rapture (the Tribulation and Millennium transition to #5)
  5. FULNESS OF TIMES – Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman and the seed of Abraham, is appointed Head of all governments in Heaven (Body of Christ) and Earth (redeemed Israel), to be preceded by the Tribulation and 1,000-Year Reign, respectively – God’s purpose in creation increasingly and finally achieved!

Again, this was not meant to be an exhaustive article on the subject of dispensational Bible study. More could have been written, but this work would have been overwhelming to you the reader. You are therefore highly encouraged to refer to the related articles linked at the end of this study.

SUPPLEMENTAL #1: WHAT ABOUT SEVEN DISPENSATIONS?

Over a century ago, Dr. Scofield, in his eponymous study Bible, popularized a seven-dispensation system. Undoubtedly, it is the most common chart or timeline among dispensationalists. Actually, this author grew up with that understanding, which can be summarized thusly: (1) Innocence, (2) Conscience, (3) Human Government, (4) Promise, (5) Law, (6) Grace, and (7) Kingdom. As the reader will notice, the only difference between this and the five-dispensation summary laid out in our article here is the removal of dispensations #2 and #3.

Having dealt with the reasoning behind our five-dispensation view, let us consider the reasoning behind the seven-dispensation scheme. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, they were to live according to their “conscience” (knowing good and evil—the result of eating the forbidden fruit). However, there is a blunder here. It is quite improper to restrict “conscience” to one segment of human history, for even now do we have a “conscience” that accuses or excuses our actions (Romans 2:13-16). Conscience should not be considered a dispensation for this obvious reason. It encompasses the Dispensation of Promise, the Dispensation of Law, and the Dispensation of Grace. The nuances of the Bible’s dispensational layout are therefore hidden!

As for “Human Government,” the five-dispensation proponent contends God judged the world with the Great Flood because mankind failed to live up to Conscience. That is, the Dispensation of Human Government replaced the Dispensation of Conscience after Noah exited the ark and received Divine instructions to be fruitful, multiply, and enforce capital punishment concerning murderers (Genesis 9:1-7). Again, not only is this faulty (see our “conscience” remarks above—namely, conscience cannot be a dispensation), it undermines the fact humans multiply and govern themselves today. Once more, the sharp contrasts between Dispensation of Promise, the Dispensation of Law, and the Dispensation of Grace are all blurred!

If we eliminate the Dispensation of Conscience and the Dispensation of Human Government, which form a meticulous system, we have something far more understandable. What is called “Conscience” and what is called “Human Government” can be combined to form one enormous dispensation—a dispensation even the seven-dispensation proponents already know. In other words, we simply incorporate them into the Dispensation of Promise! Now, this is much easier to grasp. As soon as man lost his innocence and fell, God instituted Promise—and Promise carries all the way through to Mount Sinai (Law). The LORD promised a Redeemer back in Eden (grace) but Israel preferred works, and that brought about the Dispensation of the Law. Man’s pervasive sins in Noah’s day before the Flood, the rebellion of the nations at the Tower of Babel after the Flood, the subsequent call of Abraham, and the ultimate formation of the nation Israel are all elements of the Dispensation of Promise (both God’s works and Satan’s counterefforts). God in His wisdom still outsmarts His Adversary!

SUPPLEMENTAL #2: DID OUR DISPENSATION OF GRACE BEGIN DURING THE BOOK OF ACTS, OR AFTER?

Sadly, this is a rather confused issue, and it need not be. Even in dispensational circles, people have had such great difficulty comprehending Paul’s strange “Acts” ministry. Why did our Apostle heal the sick, raise the dead, water baptize converts, speak in tongues, cast out devils, observe the Sabbath, and so on? If these activities do not belong in our dispensation, then why did Paul engage in them? Some have even gone so far as to suggest Paul’s ministry actually spans two dispensations—the imaginary so-called “Dispensation of the Covenants of Promise” (Acts), and the other “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (post-Acts). They claim Paul was working in Israel’s program. Like denominationalists and church traditionalists, all they have done is complicated the Bible further, destroying the beautiful layout of dispensational truth!!!

Let it be clearly understood! Paul’s ministry always involved one and ONLY ONE dispensation—“the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2; Colossians 1:25). His very salvation unto eternal life depended on a new dispensation, not some weird “extension” of Israel’s program and the 12 Apostles’ ministry. Our dispensation began in Acts chapter 9, with Saul’s (Paul’s) meeting Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus.

Now, someone is bound to ask, “If Paul’s ministry covered just one dispensation, why did he behave so bizarrely in Acts? Why did he perform the tasks that do not belong in our dispensation?” Friend, simply put, he did it for Israel’s sake—so as to signal to Israel that her prophetic program had given way to our mystery program! Whatever God had been doing amongst the Jews (especially Christ’s earthly ministry, Matthew through John, and early Acts), He was now working amongst the Gentiles through Paul’s ministry. This is Paul’s “provoking” ministry to Israel as found in Romans 11:11-14, designed to cause unsaved Jews to convert to Jesus Christ through his Gospel and join the Church the Body of Christ. Israel “fell” in Acts chapter 7, and she is “diminishing” all the way to the end of Acts (chapter 28). Paul wrote Romans during that time. He is attempting to reach any lost Jews as well as any lost non-Jews. Of course, for sake of time and space, we cannot delve into this matter any further. Refer to our related studies below.

Also see:

» Click here for all our Dispensational Bible Study Articles

These dispensational articles are highly recommended:
» Was the Apostle Paul a false prophet?
» Can you explain Peter and the 11’s ministry from Acts chapters 7 through 15?
» Why does the Book of Acts end so abruptly?
» Did the Church the Body of Christ begin in Acts 2?
» When did the Church the Body of Christ begin?
» Why is there so little human history in Genesis chapters 1–11?
» Can you explain Paul’s ministry during Acts?
» Are we dispensationalists guilty of “limiting God?”
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?
» Are we Pauline dispensationalists anti-Jewish?
» How should we view dispensationalists of bygone days?
» If dispensational Bible study is true, how come so few believe it?
» Is prophecy being fulfilled in the Dispensation of Grace?
» What is Acts 9/28 Hybrid Theology?
» When Paul says “there is no difference,” is he referring to people outside the Body of Christ or in it?
» What is the greatest threat facing the Grace Movement?
» Are our mystery program and its promises better than Israel’s prophetic program and its promises?
» Have I blasphemed against the Holy Ghost?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?
» What do you mean—“the prophetic program” and “the mystery program?”
» Did not God send messengers to Gentiles prior to Paul’s apostleship?
» When did Paul know about Israel’s fall?
» Who is Judas’ replacement—Matthias or Paul?
» Was Israel’s fall a secret?

» Are we merely interested in breaking up churches?

Who were “the sons of the prophets?”

WHO WERE “THE SONS OF THE PROPHETS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The title appears nine times in the Authorized Version (King James Bible)—once in 1 Kings, and the others in 2 Kings. A synonym is “children of the prophets,” a word found once. Usually, they are associated with the Prophet Elisha’s ministry—about 800 years before Christ. They mysteriously appear in the record of Scripture, and disappear just as inexplicably.

Notice:

  • 1 Kings 20:35: “And a certain man of the sons of the prophets said unto his neighbour in the word of the LORD, Smite me, I pray thee. And the man refused to smite him.”
  • 2 Kings chapter 2: “[3] And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace…. [5] And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace…. [7] And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan…. [15] And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.”
  • 2 Kings chapter 4: “[1] Now there cried a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets unto Elisha, saying, Thy servant my husband is dead; and thou knowest that thy servant did fear the LORD: and the creditor is come to take unto him my two sons to be bondmen…. [38] And Elisha came again to Gilgal: and there was a dearth in the land; and the sons of the prophets were sitting before him: and he said unto his servant, Set on the great pot, and seethe pottage for the sons of the prophets.”
  • 2 Kings 5:22: “And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.”
  • 2 Kings 6:1: “And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.”
  • 2 Kings 9:1: And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead:….”

The likely explanation is that “the sons of the prophets” refers to men who had studied under the Old Testament prophets/preachers themselves. Someone would wonder about the priests and other Levites in Israel. Were they not to teach the Word of God to the Jewish people? Indeed! “And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses” (Leviticus 10:11; cf. 1 Samuel 12:23; Ezra 7:10,25; Malachi 2:7). Alas, many apostates existed in Israel’s religious leadership—like a good many so-called “Christian” preachers today! The Priest Eli and his sons Hophni and Phinehas are three prime examples of corruption prior to Samuel’s ascension to the office of Prophet-Priest-Judge (cf. 1 Samuel 2:12-36; 1 Samuel 3:1-14). The LORD directly chose Samuel to replace Eli and his perverted household.

One idea is that Samuel himself established Bible schools throughout Israel’s land about 1,000 B.C. Although not explicitly stated in Scripture, this may be the origin of “the sons of the prophets.” They were Jewish men trained in the Law of Moses and other Divine (Scriptural) teachings. Dr. Scofield refers to them as “theological students”—although we certainly do not want to confuse them with modern seminary graduates who are oftentimes religion/philosophy students instead of Bible students!

Also see:
» How did Eli honor his sons more than he honor God?
» Can you explain 2 Kings 2:23-25?
» Is there a geographical error in 2 Kings 2:2?

Why did Jesus tell Israel they do not know the date of His return?

WHY DID JESUS TELL ISRAEL THEY DO NOT KNOW THE DATE OF HIS RETURN? HAVE NOT SPECIFIC DATES BEEN GIVEN IN THE PROPHETIC PROGRAM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

If Israel’s prophetic program revolves around a series of dates Scripture already specified, how could the Lord Jesus tell His audience they would not know when He would return? This will get technical, but if we are willing to listen to the Holy Spirit teach us through His Word, the Holy Bible, it is easy to grasp!

To begin, consider these verses:

  • But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only…. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come(Matthew 24:36,42).
  • “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh (Matthew 25:13).
  • But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is(Mark 13:32-33).

Now, turn to Daniel chapter 9: “[24] Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. [25] Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two [that is, sixty-two (62)] weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. [26] And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. [27] And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Israel’s prophetic program indeed runs on a detailed timetable. As evidenced above, the LORD God provided exact dates for them, particularly concerning Daniel’s 70 Weeks (490 years). Those 490 years are divided into a 49-year period (7 weeks/septets of years), followed by a 434-year period (62 weeks/septets of years), followed by a 7-year period (one week/septet of years). The first 49 years sit between Nehemiah chapter 2 (rebuilding of Jerusalem’s city wall) and Malachi (close of the canon of the Old Testament Scriptures). After that, 434 years span the time between Malachi’s ministry and Calvary. To wit, exactly 483 years of Daniel’s 490 years were fulfilled before Christ died on the cross. All that remains is one seven-year period—commonly called the Tribulation (future from us). At the end of those seven years, Christ’s Second Coming ushers in the Millennial Kingdom. So, based on Daniel chapter 9, we understand there is a 490-year period separating Nehemiah chapter 2 and the Second Coming. Could not these specific dates enable Israel to determine the time of Christ’s return? Yes… and no.

Again, followers of Jesus Christ in the A.D. first century knew His death marked the end of 483 years of Daniel’s 490-year prophecy (9:25-26). Thus, they understood His return was seven years away. He had been rejected, so the Millennial Kingdom was delayed. What complicated the matter was Him dying between the 69th Week and the 70th Week—as opposed to dying during one of them. In other words, while most of Jesus’ earthly ministry covered the final three years of the 69th Week, the ending of His ministry (Calvary) was after/outside the 69th Week. Furthermore, God did not immediately commence the 70th Week. Whereas the previous 69 weeks came in instantaneous succession, the 70th Week is isolated. The 70th Week would be delayed by at least one year—Israel being given a renewed opportunity of repentance in the first seven chapters of Acts.

Luke chapter 13: “[6] He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. [7] Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? [8] And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: [9] And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.”

Did you see how national Israel was unresponsive during Christ’s three years of earthly ministry? In His goodness, the LORD God gave them an additional year to convert to Him—the sermons of Acts chapters 1–7. Alas, they further rebelled and fell (blaspheming the Holy Spirit and killing Stephen). Therefore, Jesus Christ turned to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul’s ministry, which is where we are today. Our Dispensation of Grace is a mystery gap, and it further lengthens the space between the 69th Week and the 70th Week. Also, after our dispensation ends at the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ, there is an undetermined period of time that must run before the Antichrist arises and signs a covenant to start those final seven years (Tribulation).

Since this is an intricate topic that takes much studying and contemplation, we will pause to summarize thus far. While Daniel’s 70 weeks reveal there are 490 years between Nehemiah chapter 2 and Jesus Christ’s return to establish His earthly kingdom, these 490 years have three major interruptions. Firstly, Christ died “after” 483 years (cf. Daniel 9:26)—namely, between the 69th Week and the 70th Week. Daniel’s 490 years were not operating in the last few days before the cross. Secondly, as we saw in Luke 13:8, there is a one-year period inserted between the 69th Week and the 70th Week. That is Israel’s renewed opportunity of repentance in the first seven chapters of Acts—something the Holy Spirit did not reveal to Daniel but is nevertheless part of the prophetic program. Daniel’s 490 years are paused here as well.

Thirdly, our 2,000-year-long Dispensation of Grace was not revealed to Daniel either. That 70th Week is postponed even now because of this our mystery program. Even after our Dispensation of Grace expires, and the prophetic program resumes, several kings must arise in the Middle East and numerous wars must be fought there before the Antichrist enters the scene. Those monarchs and their battles are found in Daniel 11:5-20. In verse 21, the Antichrist comes to power and signs the seven-year covenant. Verse 22 is the actual start of the seven-year Tribulation; verses 5-21 describe what happened in the gap between the Rapture (our departure) and Daniel’s 70th Week. The length of that gap is also unclear. (That gap continues the gap of early Acts, as our Dispensation of Grace interrupted the prophetic program back in chapter 9. In order to fully grasp Israel’s prophetic program here, with no interruptions, we must imagine our Dispensation of Grace removed.)

Once the Antichrist confirms the seven-year treaty, the Jews will know Christ’s return is only seven years away. Assorted verses allow Israel to divide this seven-year period into two halves—42 months each, or 3½ years each, or 1260 days each (Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7; Revelation 11:2-3; Revelation 12:6,14). These divisions are significant, as distinct events mark them off.

A Biblical year is 360 days, with 30 days a month. Therefore, the seven-year Tribulation will span 2,520 days in totality. Daniel 8:14 says Christ will return exactly 2,300 days after the Antichrist’s Jerusalem Temple is constructed and begins operation. Using simple subtraction, we know the Antichrist’s Temple will be assembled during the first 220 days—roughly seven months—of the seven years. So, once the Jews see the Antichrist’s Temple completed, they will understand Christ’s return is exactly 2,300 days away (just under 6½ years). Once completed, that temple will become more and more corrupted.

Read Daniel 12:11: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” The Antichrist’s perverted religious system continues 1,290 days following his causing animal sacrifices and oblations to cease in his Temple (cf. Daniel 9:27). Of course, 1,290 days is 43 months—one month longer than 3½ years (42 months). The Antichrist will defile that temple just before the halfway mark of Daniel’s 70th Week… and 43 months later Christ returns to cleanse Jerusalem of that pagan idolatry. Again, Jews will be able to use this information to establish the date of Christ’s coming.

At this point, someone will surely inquire, “Well, if all these dates are given in Scripture concerning Christ’s return, why can we not date the Second Coming?” We are in the mystery program, and the Apostle Paul’s ministry and epistles (Romans through Philemon) are separate from the prophetic program. The Church the Body of Christ has absolutely nothing to do with Daniel’s 70 Weeks—especially the 70th! You will recall (?) Daniel 9:24 opens, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city….” This is clearly Daniel’s people (Israel) and the city of Jerusalem!! There is nothing in those 490 years about us the Church the Body of Christ, the Dispensation of Grace, and so on!!!

With that settled, another question surfaces. “Well, if all these dates are given in Scripture concerning Christ’s return, why can Israel not date the Second Coming?” (Remember the Lord’s words in Matthew chapters 24–25 and Mark chapter 13.) The precise date they need—the key date that unlocks the entire puzzle—has been deliberately withheld. God in His wisdom never gave an exact day, month, or year as to when the Antichrist will sign the covenant into effect. That is, they do not know the length of the gap between Calvary and the Antichrist ratifying the seven-year covenant. Once the seven-year agreement is made, then, of course, Christ’s return is exactly seven years away. However, none of that will happen in our Dispensation of Grace, so we should not look for any of it either!!

For the last 2,000 years, Christians (genuine and counterfeit) have so carelessly handled the Scriptures regarding date-setting. They have made themselves to look like fools—announcing their so-called “prophetic” knowledge of when Christ will come (either at the Rapture or the Second Coming) and then the dates passing without event. Unfortunately, they have given ammunition to unbelievers and Bible scoffers—and the mockers have gleefully taken it in their crusade to “overthrow” the Scriptures! Careful to approach the Bible dispensationally, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), let us not confuse ourselves in the mystery program with Israel in the prophetic program. Until Israel in her prophetic program witnesses the Antichrist sign the seven-year treaty into effect, the Lord Jesus is correct, they cannot date His return to bring in their Kingdom.

Also see:
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?
» What about a six-year Tribulation?
» How are the days of Matthew 24:22 “shortened?”

What distance is “a stone’s cast?”

WHAT DISTANCE IS “A STONE’S CAST?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

In Luke 22:41, we read of the Lord Jesus Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of His betrayal and arrest: “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,….” Exactly how far is “a stone’s cast?”

Various and sundry definitions exist, but we can begin by establishing two simple rules of interpretation. Firstly, it basically means how far one can throw (cast) a stone. Of course, this is rather vague, as the size of the stone and strength of the thrower greatly influence the final distance. Secondly, we appeal to other verses for enlightenment. Matthew records it as: “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed…” (26:39). Mark’s version reads like this: “And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that,…” (14:35). Scripture twice delineates a “stone’s cast” as “a little” distance.

The precise physical space between Jesus and His three Apostles (Peter, James, and John) does not matter, since the Holy Spirit did not provide an exact measurement. One final comment we can make is Jesus was likely praying within earshot—that is, He was close enough for them to hear Him praying. After all, He encouraged them to pray with Him. “And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:40-41).

Also see:
» Did Judas Iscariot have to betray Christ?
» Why did Jesus select evil Judas Iscariot to be an apostle?
» How did Satan “take” the Lord Jesus during His temptations?

At what age did Jesus Christ die?

AT WHAT AGE DID CHRIST DIE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Holy Bible provides two methods for establishing Christ’s age when He died on Calvary’s tree for our sins.

Firstly, He was approximately 30 years old when He began His earthly ministry: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,…” (Luke 3:23). His ministry lasted just three years, according to Luke chapter 13: “[6] He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. [7] Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? [8] And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: [9] And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” Therefore, we conclude Jesus was about 33 years old when He died.

Secondly, John’s Gospel Record uniquely provides a schedule of yearly Passover feasts held during Christ’s earthly ministry. Chapter 2 (verses 1-11) relates Jesus’ first miracle—transforming water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana. This was near the first Passover (verses 13,23). A second Passover seems to be implied in John 5:1, although it is not explicitly named in Scripture like the others. Chapter 6, verse 4, is another Passover. Finally, John 11:5 onward (12:1; 13:1; 18:28,39; 19:14) is the fourth and last Passover—the one during which Jesus dies. In other words, we find three years among these four annual Passovers.

We can finetune our answer. If we date Christ’s birth in late September—the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, as opposed to December 25th—that adds a little more insight into His final age. (See our related study linked below.) Passover was held in the Jewish month Abib (or Nisan), roughly equivalent to our April (technically, it covers the latter half of March and the first half of April). To wit, if Christ died in April, and He had just turned 33 the previous September, He was an extra half-year old at His death. Therefore, He would have been executed at age 33½ years. Quite young indeed!

Also see:
» Was Jesus really born on December 25th?
» How long was Christ’s earthly ministry?
» Was Jesus Christ really crucified on Friday?

What about the “wrath and doubting” of 1 Timothy 2:8?

WHAT ABOUT THE “WRATH AND DOUBTING” OF 1 TIMOTHY 2:8?

by Shawn Brasseaux

First Timothy 2:8 closes most curiously: “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” What is the “wrath” here? What about the “doubting?” Commentators often provide little light. Let us “search the Scriptures”—especially the context—to explain this verse.

“[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. [8] I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

The “wrath” of verse 8 sits in contrast to the “quiet and peaceable life” of verse 2. In other words, if we pray the “Pauline way” (as laid out in Romans through Philemon, “the Dispensation of the Grace of God;” Ephesians 3:2), we will not have an attitude of bitterness and hostility toward leaders. In today’s wild world, even professing Christians are increasingly entertaining the idea of anarchy (lawlessness) or sedition (overthrowing) as touching governmental powers. There is nothing wrong with exposing the corruption of politicians. We should certainly speak out against error of all forms—religious, political, economic, social, et cetera. However, the festering anti-government sentiment increasingly besetting our society is absolutely not God’s Spirit working in people. It is sinful flesh “doing its own thing,” no different from Adam and Eve refusing to submit to God’s instructions in Eden.

Romans chapter 13: “[1] Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. [2] Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. [3] For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: [4] For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. [5] Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. [6] For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. [7] Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” (Never forget the evil Roman Empire governing at the time that was written!)

Unless human government encourages or commands us to violate the principles laid out in the Holy Bible, we should submit to leaders. Notice the Apostle Peter’s answer in Acts chapter 5: “[27] And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, [28] Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. [29] Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Even though Israel’s corrupt religious leaders ordered the Apostles not to preach Jesus Christ, God’s servants did it anyway. We can also compare this to Daniel chapter 6, when the Prophet Daniel broke the Median-Persian law that forbade him to pray to God. Daniel was ultimately thrown into the lions’ den, but God delivered him through a miracle. Here are two instances where Christians should certainly disobey human government. However, the fact remains, a lot of anti-government sentiment today is rarely grounded in any Bible truth anyway.

As for the “doubting” of 1 Timothy 2:8, the context has already established it. Let us go back to the beginning of the chapter: “[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. [8] I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

“Doubting” is the refusal to accept the Apostle Paul’s special ministry and message (verse 7). When claiming to be a preacher, an apostle, a teacher of the Gentiles, Paul was accused of lying. Therefore, the Holy Spirit caused him to insert a rebuttal in parentheses: “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

Concentrate on 1 Timothy 2:3-8 now: “[3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. [8] I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

In this the Dispensation of Grace, God’s will is twofold. Firstly, He wants all men “to be saved.” (“Men” is a generic noun for all people—men, women, boys, and girls.) Secondly, He also wants all humans “to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” The first part of His will is that people believe on His Son alone as their personal Saviour: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is “the Gospel of the Grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Consequently, Paul writes: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Through His finished crosswork on Calvary, Jesus Christ acts as the Mediator between us and Father God. Once we trust Him, we are redeemed, forgiven, sanctified, and so on. Now, remember, being saved unto eternal life—justification—is only one part of God’s will. The second part of God’s will is for all people “to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” This goes beyond justification. It involves understanding why God invented the plan of salvation and chose to save us in Christ. Now that we are Christians, having believed on His Son, what is His purpose in forming the Church the Body of Christ? How will He use us now and in the ages to come? What does He want to do in and through us? Unless we come to the knowledge of the truth, we do not know!

Once, the merits of Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary were restricted to the nation Israel. Isaiah 53:8 says “for the transgression of my [that is, Isaiah’s] people was he stricken.” Matthew 20:28 reads thusly: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Compare that “many” with Paul’s inspired “all” in 1 Timothy 2:6: “[Christ Jesus] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Verse 7: “Whereunto [To what purpose] I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Now, with Paul’s ministry—Paul being the “due-time testifier” or preacher (verse 7)—we learn Christ died for all men! Calvary is available to anyone and everyone—whatever one’s nationality, religious background, economic situation, et cetera. That is the special message the Lord Jesus Christ gave directly to the Apostle Paul. Now, with all this said, let us return to our original question and all will become clear.

In this the Dispensation of Grace, we know through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message that Jesus Christ died for all people, in order to save all people from their sins. All people would include governmental leaders—the very individuals often despised (and, considering their regular perversion, this is easy to understand). However, sinful human nature rebels against any and all authority (especially God’s). This anti-government sentiment will then be useful to Satan’s policy of evil to destroy the local church’s testimony. So as to guard against this, the Holy Spirit encourages Christians with one simple exhortation in 1 Timothy chapter 2: “[1] I exhort therefore, that, first of all [most importantly!!!!!], supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; [2] For kings, and for all that are in authority [!!!!]; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

Carefully considering Pauline doctrine (Romans through Philemon), we as members of the Body of Christ are encouraged to pray for governmental leaders instead of hate them with a passion. Here is how we “pray without wrath”—the purpose or intent being “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” While it may be hard to believe, God wants to save them from their sins too! Christ died for all, remember. Since this “all-man” message is unique to the Apostle Paul, and highly controversial (offensive), it is therefore usually questioned. Therefore, God the Holy Spirit says to “pray without doubting.” “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

Friend, for more information, you are strongly (!) encouraged (!) to consult the following supplemental Bible studies below.

Also see:
» Does God choose our governmental leaders?
» Should Christians support the death penalty?
» How would God have us view veterans?
» Is it “un-Christian” for a country to have border walls?
» Who are the “Scythians” and “Barbarians?”
» How can I have an effectual prayer life?
» How should I pray?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?
» Should I raise my hands in “worship?”

What is “leasing” in the King James Bible?

WHAT IS “LEASING” IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The word “leasing” is found twice in the Authorized Version. Both occurrences are in the Book of Psalms. “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah” (4:2). “Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man” (5:6).

We often think of “leasing” in terms of finance or business—that is, renting, or paying to use another’s property. Of course, if applied to the Scriptures above, this sense is nonsense. “Leasing,” in the Bible, is something spoken (Psalm 5:6). Let us try using the context to understand what is going on here. Scanning Psalm 4 is of no help, but Psalm 5 says in verse 9: “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.” Anything spoken that is not faithful is something not worthy of our faith or trust. In other words, it is a lie. As you might have guessed, our English term “leasing” (in the Bible sense) is derived from an Old English word “leasung,” from “leasian” (“to lie”), itself from “leas” (“false”).

The Hebrew word is “kazab,” and was rendered “lies,” “lying,” “deceitful,” “false,” and “liar” nearly 30 times in our King James Bible (Judges 16:10,13; Psalm 40:4; Psalm 58:3; Psalm 62:4,9; Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 14:5,25; Proverbs 19:5,9,22; Proverbs 21:28; Proverbs 23:3; Proverbs 30:8; Isaiah 28:15,17; Ezekiel 13:6-9,19; Ezekiel 21:29; Ezekiel 22:28; Daniel 11:27; Hosea 7:13; Hosea 12:1; Amos 2:4; Zephaniah 3:13).

Also see:
» Is “corn” a mistake in the King James Bible?
» Why does the King James Bible say, “pisseth against the wall?”
» Is “rooms” a King James Bible mistake in Matthew 23:6?

What are “the secret chambers” of Matthew 24:26?

WHAT ARE “THE SECRET CHAMBERS” OF MATTHEW 24:26?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In Matthew 24:26, we read: “Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” To whom is this referring, and what are “the secret chambers?”

To gain the context, glance back at the previous verses: “[4] And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. [5] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…. [23] Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. [24] For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. [25] Behold, I have told you before.”

As touching prophecy (beyond our day), if someone tells Israel to go and see “Messiah” in “the desert,” they are to refuse. Also, they should not believe anyone who says “Messiah” is in “the secret chambers.” Both are counterfeit Messiahs, false Christs (verse 24). When Israel’s Messiah does arrive, it will be Jesus at His Second Coming. The Lord Jesus will not arise in some private or secluded way. Rather, He will be seen entering Jerusalem from the east. See Ezekiel 43:1-5. Signs in the heavens will precede that Second Coming (Matthew 24:27,29-30). It will be a public, noticeable, stunning return in power and great glory!

What is so special about “the desert” and Messiah? Isaiah 40:1-3 said this 700 years before Christ: “[1] Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. [2] Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins. [3] The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Matthew 3:1-4, Mark 1:1-4, Luke 3:1-6, and John 1:23 apply this to John the Baptist conducting his ministry in the wilderness of Judaea in order to introduce Messiah Jesus to Israel. “And the child [John the Baptist] grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel” (Luke 1:80). As Jesus went out to John in the desert, so false Messiahs and false prophets will, evidently, abide in the desert to appear to be fulfilling Bible prophecy.

Exactly what are “the secret chambers?” When Herod’s Temple was operating in Jerusalem 20 centuries ago, it had special rooms (lodgings) where traveling prophets could spend the night. According to the Lord Jesus, during the end-times, false Messiahs would be introduced after first entering one of these rooms. While Herod’s Temple is no longer present (the Roman troops destroyed it in A.D. 70), we can think of the future as involving false Messiahs claiming the rights and privileges of a prophet, which would again counterfeit the real Christ (Jesus).

Moses, speaking in Deuteronomy chapter 18, says of Messiah: “[15] The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;… [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. [19] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.” According to Acts 3:22-23, Jesus fulfilled this (cf. John the Baptist’s refusal to be called “that prophet” in Jn. 1:21,25). Beyond our day, false Messiahs—especially the Antichrist—will surely attempt to apply this passage to themselves. They will claim to be genuine prophets.

As with those in the desert (see earlier comments), those in the secret chambers will appear legitimate. Jesus said told His audience not to believe either individual because they are all part of that massive deception surrounding the Antichrist’s ascension to power (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

Also see:
» How are the days of Matthew 24:22 “shortened?”
» What about a six-year Tribulation?
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?

“Ye have the poor always with you?”

“YE HAVE THE POOR ALWAYS WITH YOU?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Sometimes, the Lord Jesus Christ is perceived to be callous or insensitive as touching the poor and destitute. After all, in Matthew 26:11, He said, “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.” What should we conclude here? Was Jesus really being unsympathetic?

Come to Matthew chapter 26: “[6] Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, [7] There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. [8] But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? [9] For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. [10] When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. [11] For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. [12] For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. [13] Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.”

Upon first glance, Jesus seems rather cold-hearted. However, He in no way diminished the unfortunate plight of people disadvantaged and needy. Consider the background, and all will be clear. A woman anointed Jesus’ body with fine fragrance, so the disciples grew upset and exclaimed, “How she wasted that expensive substance!” They argued the aromatic herb could have been sold and the money used to help the poor. Jesus mildly corrected them for their confusion and mixed-up priorities. He would be alive for just a day or so more, so they needed to treat Him with respect while He was present with them. In the parallel passage (Mark 14:3-9), the wording is: “For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always” (verse 7). That is, “You will have plenty of other opportunities to help the poor, but you will not have another chance to do good to Me like this woman has just done!”

Indeed, He Himself had even spoken in Deuteronomy 15:11: “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” The Jews should help the poor, should be compassionate toward them, but they should never confuse the creature with the Creator (Romans 1:25).

Also see:
» Was God unfair in striking Uzzah dead?
» Was God unfair to punish us for Adam’s sin?
» Why did God judge Nadab and Abihu so strictly?

What about a six-year Tribulation?

WHAT ABOUT A SIX-YEAR TRIBULATION?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Several years ago, this author was first introduced to such a view when he heard a Sunday School teacher mention it. According to this brother, the future Tribulation period will be a mere six years long as opposed to the commonly-held seven. His argument is outlined thusly: Since one year elapsed between Acts chapter 1 and Acts chapter 7, just six years of the prophetic program now remain before Christ’s Second Coming. In other words, not only was the prophetic program operating when God paused it to save and commission Saul of Tarsus in Acts chapter 9, Daniel’s 70th Week was evidently ongoing too. As per that Sunday School teacher’s reckoning, this the Dispensation of the Grace of God splits Daniel’s 70th Week into a one-year period (history) and a six-year period (future). Is this a sound position to take? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Our main text is chapter 9 of Daniel: “[24] Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. [25] Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

“[26] And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. [27] And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Through the Prophet Daniel, the Holy Spirit outlines a period of “seventy weeks” that will run prior to Christ’s Second Coming. This word “week” in Hebrew functions like our English term “dozen.” Just as “dozen” is a set of 12, a “week” here is a group of seven. The modern English word is “septet,” but in obsolete English it is “hebdomad.” In summary, Daniel speaks of seventy septets, 70 times 7, or 490 items. What is the noun that corresponds to “week” here? Is it a week of days (as our common usage)? No. It is a week of years—a “week” is seven years. The “week” of Daniel 9:27 is a seven-year period, and it can be divided into 42 months and 42 months (Revelation 11:2), or 1260 days and 1260 days (Revelation 11:3; Revelation 12:6). Daniel 12:7 speaks of the latter half as “a time [1 year], times [+2 years], and an half [+½ year),” giving a total of 3½ years. You may also see Daniel 7:25, “a time [1 year] and times [+2 years] and the dividing of times [+½ year].” Revelation 12:14 says, “a time [1 year], and times [+2 years], and half a time [+½ year].” In totality, Daniel’s 70 weeks run 490 years—30 days per month, and 360 days in a year.

According to Daniel 9:25, there will be “seven weeks and threescore [60] and two weeks” between the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s city wall and Christ’s crucifixion. That equates to 69 weeks of years, or 483 years. The Bible divides those 483 years into 49 years (7 weeks of years) and 434 years (62 weeks of years). Christ dies between the 69th Week and the 70th Week. When Jesus rode the baby donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (Matthew chapter 21), the 69th Week expired that very day (cf. Luke 19:28-44, especially verses 41-44). He was crucified just a few days later, in perfect accordance with Daniel. That leaves one week of years—or seven years—to be fulfilled after the cross of Calvary. Have those seven years already begun? Did the first year come to pass in the early chapters of Acts?

Let us begin by asking a simple question. What exactly initiates Daniel’s 70th Week? Dear friend, all we have to do is read the Bible! Daniel 9:27 again: And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” The Antichrist (the “prince” of verse 26) will sign a seven-year peace covenant, and this is precisely the basis for Daniel’s 70th Week. We find no such man or event in the opening chapters of Acts. No one contracted any peace treaty with Israel between Acts chapters 1 and 7. The Bible is silent, so we would greatly err to start those final seven years during Acts.

We indeed agree the time elapsed during the first seven chapters of Acts was one year. In Luke 13:6-9, we read of a parable the Lord Jesus put forth: “[6] He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. [7] Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? [8] And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: [9] And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” For three years of earthly ministry, Christ sought spiritual fruit in Israel. He found none, for their works-religion could not give them a right standing before God. Therefore, He cursed the fig tree in Matthew 21:18-22 (see our related study linked at the end of this article).

After His three years of earthly ministry, Jesus gave Israel a one-year-long renewed opportunity of repentance. This is the early Acts period, when the Holy Spirit came down (chapter 2 onward) and preached to convert lost Israel through the Little Flock (Jewish believing remnant, especially the 12 Apostles). Apostate Israel responded by killing the Prophet Stephen in Acts chapter 7, thereby committing the final act of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, leading to her temporary fall (see Matthew 12:31-32). However, we should not consider the one-year period of Acts chapters 1 through 7 as part of Daniel’s 70th Week. After all, like Calvary itself, early Acts sits in the gap between the 69th Week and 70th Week.

It is better to see Daniel’s 70th Week—a seven-year period—as entirely future from our Dispensation of Grace. That 70th Week was not even partially fulfilled yet. One last note to mention. None of the previous 69 weeks were broken up. They were all whole weeks of years—intact seven-year segments—in every instance during those prior 483 years. How incongruous it would be to make the final week two sections! Nay, it is more Scriptural (and simpler) to leave it as the standard seven-year Tribulation being future from us.

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Why did Jesus curse the “poor” fig tree?
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?
» Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?