Traversing The Triuniverse: Prophetic Parallels And Role Reversals
lthough Scripture says we see through a glass darkly, as we approach the finale of human history, the picture is increasingly coming into focus – and this emerging perspective answers numerous, age old questions. Over the last couple of decades, the LORD has revealed that our sojourn in this sphere of existence is divided into twin timelines, roughly enumerated in the Old Covenant, and the New Covenant.
The high point of history is the cross of Jesus Christ, which divides not only the timelines, but also splits the Spiritual realm from what Revelation metaphorically renders as the Sand and the Sea.
“I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea….” (Revelation 13:1).
The primary division exists between the finite, and the infinite – or the creator, and the created. The finite is invariably characterized as divided, split into two, or symbolically presented as having two parts, whereas the infinite God is singular, and one.
“And Jesus answered him, the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29).
This division is articulated throughout the Scriptures, but mankind, in his fallen, physical state, has difficulty in hearing the things of the Spirit.
“For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not” (Job 33:14).
It’s useful to envision three constructs, with the first seen as the literal Old Testament era, characterized by rigid, physical existence, wherein Israel was periodically physically challenged, and preserved from, or given over to, their enemies, based on their standing with the LORD. The second would be JESUS CHRIST, who pre-existed as God, but split His nature to become physically incarnated as God and man, in order to meet man at his own level.
Since Christ was both Spirit and “flesh and blood” (Hebrews 2:14), He came to move us from the physical, to the Spiritual plane – the place of His eternal heavenly abode. Thus, His intercession was to mediate between God (Spirit), and man (flesh and blood). He did not come to redeem man from one physical condition into another physical state, as His mission was designed to catch us up into the glorified state which awaits those He has chosen (I John 3:2).
This means the entire New Testament era is set apart for the believers to “strive to enter in at the strait gate” (Luke 13:24), which opens into His kingdom in the Spiritual realm. The total history of the last two millennia (with men and women still in physical existence, while simultaneously seated in the Spiritual realm in Christ), documents that struggle.
This threefold reality, wherein there are two parts which are finite, juxtaposed with the singularity of salvation and eternal life, has been previously described as the Triuniverse.
“…in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them…they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Behold the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee” (Zechariah 13:8-10).
People of faith who fail to grasp the fact that God speaks to His creation in a supernatural form of metaphor, are in the untenable position of rejecting the methodology which He selected. Thus, insisting on literal fulfillments in many prophetic texts, guarantees deception will occur.
It is not, for instance, random chance that the Old Covenant consists of the law and the prophets, for the singular salvation revealed in the New Covenant flatly states it is superior, to the two-fold nature seen before Christ:
“On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40).
These two components of the Old Testament were superceded by the singular glory of God presented in Jesus Christ, and His superb sacrifice for the sins of all those who will receive Him:
“But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator [singular] of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them [plural], he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah” (Hebrews 8:6-8).
Notice how it is one covenant, which is made with two parties: the house of Israel and the house of Judah.
One of the great controversies of the Gospel is related to how a large body of believers recognize the Spiritual nature of the kingdom of God, while another large body gravitates towards a more literal, and physical approach to prophetic sequence. This is illustrated in the conflict between the “spiritualizers,” and those who see a literal fulfillment of prophecy, complete with the idea of Israel being physically re-gathered in the end times, a rebuilt temple, the tribulation, a literal Antichrist, and so forth.
Long ago, the latter view was characterized by the interpretive approach known as pre-millennialism – a term suggesting that after the much prophesied time of tribulation, Christ will return to set up a literal kingdom in Jerusalem, where He will reign on the earth for one thousand years. Another camp of thought was called amillennialism – a term representing the idea that, after His resurrection, Christ’s reign is now underway in the Spiritual realm, and the Scriptural descriptions of the millennium, in which He reigns for a thousand years, are symbolic, and descriptive of the life in Him throughout the age.
Amillennial thought, which was prevalent for many centuries in the Christian era, was predicted to diminish, and a more literal perspective would gain ground. Hundreds of years before there was a return of the Jewish people to their ancient homeland, the brilliant 17th century mathematician and scientist (and Christian thinker) Isaac Newton, predicted this would occur.
“About the time of the end, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamor and opposition” (Sir Isaac Newton, 1642-1727).
Both perspectives have merit, but both have severe deficiencies. For example, a literal perspective of the premillennial view would have us believe that, after Christ’s return, the nations must keep the Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles, or the LORD will refuse them rain:
“…every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem, to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain”(Zechariah 14:16, 17).
This requirement of observing an Old Testament feast runs directly contrary to numerous New Covenant tenets, which points towards an internalization of such predictions. The New Testament repeatedly tells us the aforementioned law and the prophets were “shadows”
(Colossians 2:17) anticipating the eternal grace in Christ and, once the “substance” (Hebrews 10:34) of the LORD is revealed, the Old Covenant, now fulfilled in the life of Jesus, fades away:
“He taketh away the first [the Old Covenant], that he may establish the second [the New Covenant]. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away”
(Hebrews 10:9, 10; 8:13).
The Salvation Of Israel
In the literalist paradigm, believers are widely taught that those who see prophecies Spiritualized are short on faith, even as such fervently teach that God will yet perform all that He has promised. However, the New Testament Scriptures repeatedly tell us that God has already performed the great deeds which He promised, and in spite of the fact that we frequently fail to perceive how these things were fulfilled, this occurred in the life and times of Jesus Christ.
In fact, Zacharias, the priest of Israel (and father of John the Baptist), upon realizing that Mary was carrying the Christ child, jubilantly declared that God had kept His promise to redeem Israel:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David…to perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant” (Luke 1:68, 69, 72).
In fact, the idea that God has not yet kept His promises (tempered with the assurance that the performance of His promises are still to come), is overwhelmed with the mountain of instances where the Word of God tells us Christ did something which fulfilled a prophecy from the Old Testament:
“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord by the prophet” (Matthew 1:22).
In fact, well over 50 times, we find statements in the New Testament, which say that Jesus fulfilled that which was written of Him:
“And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulcher. But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 13:29, 30).
Such doctrinal statements sound suspiciously similar to the system known as Preterism – from the Latin praeter, meaning past or previously – but Preterism is an aberrant subset of non-millennialism (the previously mentioned amillennialism), and such perspectives are largely characterized by the fatal flaw that Preterists commonly teach, when they assert the tribulation prophecies were exhausted with the siege in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Worse yet, some Preterists blasphemously claim Christ returned at the conclusion of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple.
Second Verse, Same As The First
One of the more critical failures of believers is in recognizing the Christian era is a parallel of the Old Testament era. In a staggering role reversal, the Spirit of God dwells within the redeemed in the Christian timeline, whereas the Spirit of the LORD moved externally in old Israel’s timeline – and of course, in between these two parts is Christ Himself:
“And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people” (Leviticus 9:23).
“…the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”
(Colossians 1:26, 27).
Since Christ ascended into heaven after finishing His magnificent redemptive work, the pattern is clearly for the body of Christ to progress via this split existence between the physical and the heavenly – with Christ the firstfuits of salvation, followed by the larger body of those He has chosen.
“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming” (I Corinthians 15:23).
What many have missed is how the evil found in unregenerate flesh and blood continues to fight back. This introduces the concept of sequential recapitulation, where the chronological pattern seen in the fleshly Old Testament kingdoms is enigmatically re-manifested in parallel, in the Christian timeline.
For over 20 years we’ve shown how the six ancient kingdoms in the Old Testament era were repeated (or sequentially recapitulated) in the New Testament era. Where old Israel interacted with Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and pre-Christian Rome, New Israel interacted with the Holy Roman Empire, Catholic Spain, Britain, Russia, Germany, and America. These prophetic parallels are striking, but few recognize the prophet Daniel provided us with a glimpse into these principalities, via the identification of the “prince of Persia” (Daniel 10:2), followed by the “prince of Grecia,” and the “prince” of Rome (Daniel 9:26).
The fact is, the LORD has revealed the six angelic “principalities and powers” (Colossians 2:15) of antiquity re-emerged in the six Christian era kingdoms, through the leadership of the “princes of this world” (I Corinthians 2:8), and their character traits are exposed as they feature uncanny similarities. And that’s only the tip of the prophetic iceberg.
Space constraints preclude another rehearsal of these identities, but ample materials have been produced tying Daniel 7’s kingdoms (lion, bear, leopard, diverse beast) to the latter four of England, Russia, Germany, and the USA – which are also seen in the four horsemen of Revelation 6 (White, Red, Black, and Pale Horses).
These facts are steadfastly resisted, largely because they prove, to the consternation of the non-millennialists, that Scripture does speak in a futurist venue of events during the so called “church age.” Unfortunately, the pattern of predictive prophecy revealed in Scripture in a future context has been marred by the literalists, who forecast a futurist worldview of Jewish primacy, which is inconsistent with the New Covenant.
What is particularly intriguing is how prophecies which should be recognized as fulfilled in a celestial fashion, can also be convincingly reversed out to a physical sequence, with the identities inverted 180 degrees. Perhaps the leading example of this is found in the Gog and Magog prophecies of Ezekiel. In the run up to the incredible finale of events, we see the two entities (remember Zechariah’s “two parts” which are to be cut off), therein dubbed “Gog and Magog,” attack the chosen of the LORD in a final desperate battle in which the LORD destroys the offenders.
In the incredible accounts leading to the two key chapters (Ezekiel 38 and 39), we find Old Covenant Israel scattered and judged by the LORD, via the Babylonian captivity. In these key sequences which immediately precede Gog and Magog, are extensive prophecies of the coming Messiah, and how He will be associated with “David,” as the texts sublimely record how He will retrieve that which was lost, when he sets the “captives” free:
“I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick…And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I will make a covenant of peace…And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen…Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 34: 16, 23, 25, 28, 30).
The Kingdom Of God
Jesus is obviously the “one shepherd,” so this prediction just preceding Gog and Magog is definitely fulfilled with the work of Christ – as opposed to the last days. Note also how those who truly belong to this “good shepherd” (John 10:11), will “know” that they are “the house of Israel…my people,” when this occurs. Thus, because the Israel which is born again in Christ is miraculously constructed through the Spirit of God, it matters not if the flesh and blood recipient of this “marvelous work” (Isaiah 29:14) was originally a Jew or a Gentile.
Following these predictions, through Ezekiel, the LORD says he will gather this “Israel” from all the lands, and He will “sprinkle clean water” on them – once again, a momentous Spiritual event, manifested in the “living water” dispensed by Christ:
“For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries….Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols…A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and will take away the stony heart out of your flesh…And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes…In the day that I have cleansed you from all your iniquities…” (Ezekiel 36:24-27, 33).
As the amazing panorama progresses, we find Ezekiel’s prophecy of the “dry bones” in his 37th chapter (the prior chapter to the introduction of Gog and Magog), and the LORD tells of how he will gather Israel from the valley of death, and revive them. Again, this is accomplished, not in the last days, but when Jesus arrives, telling all who will hear His voice, that He has life freely given from the Father:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
When Ezekiel says that God calls to the “wind” to breathe life into those “dry bones,” it is readily apparent this was fulfilled at Pentecost, when the breath of God – witnessed as a “rushing mighty wind” – was poured out upon His disciples. Further, when Ezekiel is told to take the “two sticks” representing the divided houses of Israel and Judah, and press them together, signifying the reunification of the Kingdom of God (where there is one king who “shall be king to them all”), that king is again associated with the house of David (Ezekiel 37:24), so the kingship of Jesus Christ was clearly in view.
This is the kingdom which Christ established and, as soon as it is “set up” (Daniel 2:44) as described in Ezekiels’s vivid descriptions, we learn the Spiritual demonic hordes, led by the celestial entities Gog and Magog, launch their ferocious assault on the Kingdom of God.
One of the amazing “lying wonders” (II Thessalonians 2:9) predicted to occur, is how the Spirit of the Age, emulating the true Spirit of the LORD, is able to move the nations into position wherein the physical alignment of military powers resembles the place/names recorded. Thus, the modern state of Israel, which is actually the Little Horn of prophecy, is erroneously identified as the chosen of God.
This means that when undiscerning believers assert the Jews are the elect of the LORD, and the Gog and Magog powers are identified as Moslem states (which will inevitably attack Jerusalem en masse), the “literalists” have reversed the roles, and replaced “the Israel of God” (which is the Spiritually constituted body of Christ) with the Antichrist – the modern political state of Israel.
The “False Prophet,” which teaches the believers to follow the first beast of Revelation (Antichrist Israel), is the “Church” of our hapless generation. Thus, there are two parallel, simultaneously occurring, sequential streams of identification. One shows the kingdom of God to be within you, and the Israel of God is comprised of those seated now in the heavenlies, in Christ. The other, reverses the roles, and claims the Christ rejecting nation will soon be saved – and they are supposedly still “chosen” – even though Israel plainly exhibits all the characteristics of the long prophesied Antichrist power.
The believers, those who are journeying through the metaphoric valley of decision (Joel 3:14), will hopefully make the right choice of whom they will follow (Ezekiel 34:11, John 10:27). This valley is filled with “strong delusion” (II Thessalonians 2:11), and our entire generation is deeply ensnared in it. There is, of course, no middle ground (Revelation 3:16), so, in the words of Joshua
“…choose you this day whom ye will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14).
-- James Lloyd