One reason I titled this book The Untold Story of Jesus is because most Christians do not realize Jesus is the God who spoke for and represented the Father throughout the Old Testament. Jesus walked with Enoch,1 walked with Noah and sent the flood,2 visited with Abraham and Sarah,3 and introduced Himself to Moses at the burning bush.4 He is the one who passed over Egypt at midnight,5 met with Moses on Mt. Sinai,6 and delivered Israel out of Egypt.7 Jesus spoke the Ten Commandments from the mountain on behalf of the Father.8 He spoke to and through the Old Testament prophets. Jesus is the God who interfaced with mankind and spoke for the Father! He is called the “Word”9 and the “Word of God”10 for good reason. He is the God of the Old Testament.
To demonstrate this, consider the following four passages and, notice the phrase, “the First and the Last”:
1. “When I saw him [that is, when John saw Jesus], I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades [the grave].’ ”11
2. “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not [see Romans 2:28, 29], but are a synagogue of Satan.”12
3. “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. . . .I, Jesus, have sent my angel [Revelation 17:1; 19:9-10] to give you [John] this testimony for the [seven] churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David [I am both the Creator and son of David], and the bright Morning Star [I have dethroned Lucifer who once was the morning star – Isaiah 14:12, now I am the bright morning star].”13
4. “This is what the Lord [Jehovah] says—Israel’s King and Redeemer [John 12:13], the Lord [Jehovah] Almighty: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; apart from me there is no God.’ ”14 Notice the English title “Lord” is used instead of “Jehovah.” This substitution exists throughout the Old Testament because early English translators wanted to substitute an English title for the Hebrew title “Yahweh or Jehovah.” The highest title in old English for someone having all authority is “Lord.” Today, we understand the Hebrew word “Yahweh” or “Jehovah” actually means, “self-existing, eternal God.” This is important to understand because Jesus and the Father are sometimes identified as “the Lord” in the Old Testament. Here are two instances:
- “The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord [Yahweh, Jehovah, the Father] and against his anointed [Jesus, His Son].”15 Clearly, in this passage, “the Lord” refers to the Father.
- Please read through the following passage several times and notice Jesus is given three titles: “The angel of the Lord [Michael],” “the Lord [Yahweh, Jehovah],” and “God [Elohim].”
“Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord [Jesus in the form of an angel] appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.’ When the Lord [Yahweh, Jehovah] saw that he had gone over to look, God [Elohim] called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.’ ‘Do not come any closer,’ God [Elohim] said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ Then he said, ‘I am the God [Elohim] of your father, the God [Elohim] of Abraham, the God [Elohim] of Isaac and the God [Elohim] of Jacob.’ At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God [Elohim].”16</a
The Title “Jehovah” Begins
Later on, “God [Elohim] also said to Moses, ‘I am the Lord [Yahweh, Jehovah, Sovereign God]. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord [Yahweh, Jehovah] I did not make myself fully known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners.’ ”17 This passage contains three points that need our attention:
First, progressive revelation is declared. God revealed a new title to Moses that was previously unknown. (Paul also observed progressive revelation in his day.18) The patriarchs before Moses usually called God, “Elohim,” or “El Shaddai,” (meaning the Almighty). Now that the time had come to deliver Israel from Egypt and knowing this event would mark the beginning of a relationship with the offspring of Abraham which would endure forever, Jesus introduced a new title, “Jehovah,” which means “self-existing, eternal, sovereign God.”
Second, the covenant established with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was unilateral. The Father promised them He would do certain things that would occur long after their death; therefore, His promise was one-sided. Bilateral (two-sided) covenants become null and void if one party is unfaithful or dies (marriage), but a unilateral covenant remains in effect until the party making the covenant dies.
Since the Father promised a unilateral covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the covenant cannot end until it is fulfilled because the Father lives forever. Do not confuse the unilateral covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with the bilateral covenant given to Abraham’s descendants. This bilateral covenant would become null and void if the descendants were unfaithful.19 In fact, the Bible teaches the Father terminated the bilateral covenant with Abraham’s biological offspring when Jesus was on Earth for that very reason.20 Afterward, through Jesus, the Father initiated a new bilateral covenant21 because His unilateral covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob could not be cancelled. As a result, the Father redefined the seed (sperm) of Abraham so all He had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be fulfilled: “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”22
Third, in Exodus 6, Elohim (God) told Moses He had appeared to Abraham and Jacob. Either Jesus or the Father actually appeared to these men. We must rule out the Father because Jesus said, “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.”23 Paul said the Father is invisible, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [the preeminent One] over all creation.”24 Paul also said of the Father, “who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see.”25 John added, “No one has ever seen God [the Father], but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”26
Therefore, to avoid placing the Bible in a state of internal conflict when reading Exodus 6:2, the God who appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the God who spoke to Moses was Jesus. You may think this is a distinction without a difference because the Father spoke through Jesus. After all, He is the “Word.” The distinction is warranted because the God who spoke to Moses is the same God who would later be born of Mary, the Holy One of Israel, Israel’s King and Redeemer.
If we did not have the New Testament, it would be easy to ignore some of the apparent conflicts in the Old Testament and conclude the God of the Old Testament is the Father. However, the Bible contains more than one testament because the Father had more to say, more truth to reveal. The Father sent Jesus to Earth to speak for Him. He wanted to reveal the God of the Old Testament to the Jews and to reveal another member of deity. Sadly, Israel did not want more truth. For the Jews, it was impossible, outrageous, and blasphemous that a mere man, a poor man, an unremarkable person both in appearance and education should stand before them and claim to be equal with God!27 Ultimately, Jesus was crucified for blasphemy. What does their response to Jesus say about the impediments we have when understanding the Godhead?
Israel’s King and Redeemer
Let us review what Isaiah wrote: “This is what the Lord [Jehovah] says—Israel’s King and Redeemer [John 12:13], the Lord [Jehovah] Almighty: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; apart from me there is no God.’ ”28
Consider these four impressive points the Lord declared:
First, Isaiah 43 reveals Israel’s King and Redeemer: “This is what the Lord [Yahweh, Jehovah] says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘For your sake I will send to Babylon and bring down as fugitives all the Babylonians, in the ships in which they took pride. I am the Lord [Yahweh, Jehovah], your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King.’ ”29
Second, Luke 1 reveals the Holy One of Israel: “ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’ ”30
Third, when Jehovah said in Isaiah 44:6, “Apart from me there is no God,” He was not speaking about the Godhead. If we are to keep from putting the Bible in a state of internal conflict,31 we must understand His declaration to mean He is the only God who interfaces with mankind on Earth. He is saying all other “earthly gods” are imaginary and have their origin in man’s imagination.
Fourth, seven hundred years after speaking to Isaiah, Jesus appeared to John and said: “I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!”32 Also, Jesus said to the church at Smyrna, “These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.”33
At the end of His visit with John on Patmos, Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. . . .I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.”34 Jehovah, King, almighty God, and Redeemer who is “the First and Last” in Isaiah 44:6 can only be Jesus.
Some people will say Jesus is speaking on behalf of the Father; others will say He is speaking about Himself. How can Jesus say He is “the First and the Last” if the Father and Holy Spirit were with Him in the beginning? This can seem confusing, I know, but there is actually a simple solution. The phrase “the First and the Last” could be understood in two ways: the singular or the plural. To state something in the singular, we could say, “the first child in line was a girl and the last was a boy.” In this example, a girl is first and a boy is last. If the phrase is spoken in the plural, we could say, “the first battalion of soldiers to arrive at the war front was the 75th Ranger Regiment and the last battalion was from the 25th Infantry. A battalion typically consists of 300 to 800 soldiers, so everyone in the 75th Ranger Regiment could say in this example that he was with the first soldiers to arrive at the front.
Because the Godhead consists of three deities, John says of Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”35 Each member of the Godhead can claim to be “the First and Last” because Elohim is plural. Three Gods existed before anything was created and each God will continue to exist should everything disappear! Tritheism does not put the Bible in a state of internal conflict.
Paul says that Jesus existed before anything was created: “He [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”36 Moses said of Jesus, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.”37
Jesus is a self-existing deity who has no beginning or end! “God [Elohim, Jesus] said to Moses, ‘I Am [from everlasting to everlasting, self-existing, this is] Who I Am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I Am has sent me to you.” ’ ”38
The Father Wanted Israel to Live With the God of the Old Testament!
A larger book than the one you are holding could be dedicated to the topic of Jesus, the God of the Old Testament. I have briefly touched on the topic in this book because the fact plays an important part in the untold story of Jesus. It was the Father’s original plan that Jesus, the God of the Old Testament, should come to Earth and permanently live among Abraham’s descendants. This is a truly fascinating story; here is the short version:
According to Genesis 1, Jesus created the Earth in six days, but contrary to what many people believe, He was not finished on the sixth day! He created another day–the seventh day–as a gift for man.39 He made the seventh day holy to ensure mankind would not forget or ignore it.40 This act made the Sabbath unlike the other six days of the week. By making the seventh day holy, the Creator put mankind on notice it was obligatory to observe the seventh day. At that time, God’s laws were written in the hearts and minds of Adam and Eve, not on stone. Nevertheless, God’s Sabbath was a special delight each week. After Adam and Eve sinned, God’s purpose for His Sabbath became even more important! Because the Father foreknew the natural hostility the sinful nature would have toward God’s authority, He codified Sabbath observance in the Ten Commandments.41
When Adam and Eve sinned, Jesus created three curses: one on the serpent, one on Eve, and one on Adam.42 Consider the curse on Adam, specifically the italicized portion: “To Adam he said, ‘Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.’ ”43 The ground was cursed because of Adam’s willful sin. It does not produce as it once did; in fact, it requires painful toil to keep “thorns and thistles” from ruining crops. Keep this curse in mind for the next few paragraphs.
Jump forward in time about two thousand years. When God called Abraham out of Ur, God had a glorious plan in mind–far greater than Abraham could imagine. To start, God needed a man of faith who was childless. He also wanted to use the man as an example. God planned to give the man a choice piece of land and bless him with many children. God wanted to use Abraham to establish a temporary “kingdom of God” on Earth!
God planned His temporary kingdom would be an ideal place to live until the time came to establish a permanent kingdom. His temporary kingdom would reduce “the painful toil” required to grow food because the territory would be a land that “flowed with milk and honey.”44 God’s temporary kingdom would have plenty of water and fertile soil, the curse of painful toil would be greatly reduced and, just as important, His kingdom would be a very safe place to live. “Jerusalem would be a city without walls!”45 The Father purposed to invite the whole world to come and live in His kingdom. All who loved God and trusted Him would gladly be accepted. However, I am a little ahead of the story.
When God called Abraham to leave home and live in Canaan, Canaan was filled with wicked and violent tribal nations. Since Canaan would later become the home of the “faith-full,” it was only appropriate the founder of God’s temporary kingdom on Earth be a faith-full man. The Father tested the depth of Abraham’s faith when He called Abraham to leave Ur. God did not tell Abraham where He wanted him to go. We can be sure Abraham was ridiculed, but, nonetheless, packed up whatever he could carry, left most of his family behind, and set out. Later, God revealed to Abraham His plans for Canaan. Paul makes His anticipation obvious: “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”46
God called Abraham to journey to an unknown place as an example for his descendants. Living by faith always consists of traveling into the unknown. Additionally, faith in God always comes with a price! However, with God, the higher the price, the greater the reward! (Consider the reward that will come to Jesus when the saints go marching in through heaven’s gates!) The land of Canaan had everything the Father needed for a temporary kingdom. It was strategically located between large nations to the north and south with natural boundaries for safety. The Mediterranean Sea lay to the west, vast deserts lay to the east and south, and the Euphrates River formed a natural boundary in the north. God wanted His kingdom to be a model kingdom–a testimony to the world. To save as many people as possible, the Father would provide a stark contrast between a government dedicated to righteousness and governments run by corrupt, self-serving people.
The Father did not plan to “steal” the land from the Canaanites when He called Abraham out of Ur; a righteous God does not cheat or steal. He does nothing in an underhanded way even though He is Sovereign and owns everything! The Father would work out His plan using principles consistent with the laws of love. Notice what Jesus said to Abraham: “As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.’ ”47
When dealing with nations, God follows a principle which I call “the full cup principle.”48 The idea behind the full cup principle is God gives all nations a measure of grace and when a nation becomes wicked and violent to the point that extended mercy has no redeeming effect, God destroys the nation. The Father loves oncoming generations the as He loves present generations; this is why He purged the Earth of evil people in Noah’s day. Therefore, when evil people become wicked and defiant, God protects oncoming generations from their influence and harm by destroying them. Over the course of four hundred years, the Amorites and other tribal-nations in Canaan were destined for destruction because they squandered the grace given them by doing evil.
After the Exodus, God gave this warning to Israel, “Do not defile yourselves [with sexual immorality] in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you [Israel] must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the foreigners residing among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.”49
Unfortunately, from the time of the Exodus, Israel’s constant rebellion and faithlessness frustrated God’s efforts to establish “the kingdom of God.” In fact, the very first generation made God angry and He sentenced them to death. They had to wander in the desert for forty years. God said: “For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ so I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”50
Notice this very important point! God referred to Canaan as His rest. God’s temporary kingdom on Earth was to be rest from “the painful toil” imposed on Adam’s descendants. God is all about rest. Night comes before light because God gave us rest before work. The first full day of life for Adam and Eve was the seventh day, a day of rest! Counting from the year of the Exodus, God set up every seventh year as a year of rest! Consider God’s generosity to Israel! “You may ask, ‘What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?’ I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.”51
After Adam and Eve sinned, the seventh day Sabbath became a weekly “prophetic signpost;” a day of rest pointing forward to the rest God would give His people in His temporary kingdom. This would point forward to the eternal rest coming with God’s permanent kingdom. After the Exodus, God became more emphatic about His plan to give His people rest from the painful toil that the curse of sin imposes. He established a seventh year rest and a Year of Jubilee as “prophetic signposts” pointing toward the establishment of the temporary kingdom of God.
The Father sent many prophets including Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah to encourage and nudge His rebellious people forward into His glorious plan and desire to establish His kingdom on Earth. Over and over, conditional promises and prophecies were given because God’s covenant with Israel was bilateral: If you will be My people, I will be your God,52 but Israel’s defiance and rebellion eventually terminated the Father’s covenant and plan. Because the Father had made a unilateral covenant (non-conditional) with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who was renamed “Israel” after wrestling with Jesus), the Father implemented a new bilateral covenant (conditional) when Jesus was on Earth. The new covenant ignores biological origin. This covenant is open to people of all nations who are led by the Spirit! “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.”53 Thus, when he is resurrected “at the last day,” Abraham will discover that through Christ, he is actually the father of many nations! “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”54
Plan A / Plan B
Contrary to what is widely taught and broadcast around the world by Christian evangelists, the Father’s original plan for Israel (Plan A55) was not, could not, and will not be fulfilled. When it became clear Israel had rejected the Son of God, by hanging Him on a cross and crucifying Him as a felon, the Father divorced Himself from the biological descendants of Abraham for their unfaithfulness. He did this because His covenant with Abraham’s descendants was bilateral (two-sided). Afterward, He created a new covenant in which every repentant sinner is counted as Abraham’s “seed” (Greek: sperma).56 This may be shocking to realize at first, but nothing is said in the Old Testament concerning a Second Coming except the book of Daniel, which concerns a coming in Plan B. There is a simple reason for this silence: A Second Coming was not needed under Plan A. Many pastors and scholars fail to understand this point and merge promises and prophecies that pertain to Plan A with promises and prophecies that pertain to Plan B. The result is endless confusion. Plan A is significantly different from Plan B and keeping them separated is imperative.
It was the Father’s original plan (Plan A) that when Jesus was sent to Earth, He would die for our sins and after His resurrection, Jesus would remain on Earth to establish God’s temporary kingdom. The Father planned Jesus would rule from David’s throne57 in Canaan until the time came to destroy the wicked and create a new heaven and a new Earth.58 Once a new heaven and a new Earth were created, the permanent kingdom of God would then be established on the new Earth.
Here is a brief sketch of Plan A to show how Scripture could have been fulfilled. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government [of the temporary kingdom of God] will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”59
It was not the Father’s plan for Jesus to die on a cross. Under Plan A, Jesus was supposed to die in the temple on the Altar of Burnt Offering.60 I believe the Lamb of God was to be sacrificed at the very same location and in the very same way Abraham was instructed to kill Isaac! Consider this point: Isaac’s death was necessary to transfer Abraham’s sin with Hagar to an earthly altar of burnt offering in the same way that Jesus’ death was necessary to transfer our sins to the Altar of Burnt Offering, “Then God said, ‘Take your son, your only son, whom you love – Isaac – and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.’ ”61
God called Abraham to give “his only son” up because the Father would have to give up Jesus, the Son He loved most! Moreover, God chose and directed Abraham to the exact place where Abraham built an altar for a burnt offering.62 Fifteen hundred years later, when the time came to build the temple, God directed King David to purchase a specific location on Mount Moriah for His temple.63 This is not a coincidence. God directed Abraham and King David to build altars for burnt offerings at the very same place on the same mountain!64
The Father wanted Israel to enthusiastically receive Jesus as its King and the Savior of the world when He was sent to Earth. The Father wanted to delight Israel with the fact the Messiah was the God of the Old Testament who actually spoke the Ten Commandments from Mt. Sinai; the same God who created Adam and Eve; the God who appeared to Abraham and talked with Moses from the burning bush! This is what the Father planned, but it did not happen because Israel was unfaithful.65 Israel did not become a nation of “born-again Abrahams” and the Father could not use that nation of rebels for His glorious purposes.66
Israel’s Priests Failed to Do Their Job
The Levites failed to prepare the nation of Israel for the kingdom of God in two ways. First, the priests failed to demonstrate the transforming power of God’s Spirit in their own lives. They had a form of Godliness, but were not repentant sinners. Second, they failed to educate the people the kingdom of God would only be open to those who were “born again!” Think about this: Who other than born-again people would be happy living in the kingdom of God where a sinless and righteous God is sovereign? Nothing is more annoying and grating on the sinful nature than being constantly rebuked. Can you imagine what politics would consist of in Washington D.C. if Jesus ruled as Sovereign King? Ever since the day Adam and Eve sinned, the sinful nature has depended on lies and accusations (political fig leaves) to cover its nakedness and shame. Jesus said, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”67
The Importance of “Sevens”
God’s measurement of time is based on “sevens.” At first, this is confusing because we do not measure time as God does. Basically, God counts a “seven” as a week of seven days. So, seven “sevens” amount to 49 days. The timing of the feast of Pentecost was counted from the Sunday following Passover.68 After seven “sevens” had passed, the feast occurred on the 50th day which was always a Sunday. God used this template for counting large spans of time. By making a day of the week represent one year in His Jubilee Calendar, a “seven” can represent “seven years.” Next, a Jubilee cycle consisted of seven “sevens,” that is, a period of 49 years. The Year of Jubilee (the 50th year) was counted as both the last year of the old cycle and the first year of a new cycle. This method of counting was used for Pentecost and the Year of Jubilee69 to ensure the weekly cycle of years was not broken. God’s Sabbath years always aligned with the year of the Exodus in the same way His seventh day Sabbath always aligns with the first day of Creation.70
Many Christians understand God gave Israel a second chance when He gave them seventy weeks after the Babylonian exile, but they do not understand why He gave them ten Jubilee cycles (490 years) of probationary time. Consider the following four reasons:
- The limit of God’s patience is sometimes summed up as “seven tens” or 70. For example, the Babylonian captivity occurred and lasted 70 years when Israel had violated 70 Sabbath years!71 Also, notice Jesus’ response to Peter: “Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’ ”72 I understand why translators say “seventy times seven,” but there is a better meaning and translation than 490 times. Jesus responded with an expression based on common knowledge at that time. Each Jew knew about the 70 weeks. Luke says at the time of Christ, “The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.”73 Their expectation was based on a prophecy in Daniel 9 which predicted the arrival of the Messiah in A.D. 27.74 When Jesus responded to Peter, Peter understood Jesus to say, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy weeks.” A literal translation of this passage reads, “Seventy Sevens.” A ‘seven’ was a common expression for a week. God had given Israel 490 years to repent after the Babylonian captivity and Peter understood Jesus to mean, “It is not about the number of times you forgive him, give your enemy time to repent.”
- At the Exodus, God required Israel to observe every seventh year and the Year of Jubilee as a Sabbath year. Israel obeyed the Lord for a while but over time the Sabbath years were largely forgotten. So, before Israel could violate the 71st Sabbath year, God raised King Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem. According to Ezekiel 4, the northern tribes75 violated God’s Sabbath years for 390 years and the southern tribes violated God’s Sabbath years for 40 years. Altogether, God saw Israel violate 70 Sabbath years because there are 70 Sabbath years in 430 years. This explains why the Babylonian exile was the 70 years God had promised at the Exodus: “[If you do not keep My laws and Sabbath years] Then the land will enjoy its sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the sabbaths you lived in it.”76 God’s promise was fulfilled. “The land enjoyed its Sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.”77
- The Father has deliberately placed special significance on “seven tens” which denotes “fullness or completion.” For example, the Day of Atonement, the most solemn day in Israel’s religious calendar, took place on the 10th day of the 7th month. The temple was cleansed of the record of sin on that day. This indicates completion. Additionally, the composite beast in Revelation 13:1 has “seven tens,” seven heads and ten horns. This beast represents a crisis government which will form during the Great Tribulation. There are seven religious systems in the world represented by the seven heads. During Lucifer’s rule over Earth, he will divide the world into ten sectors and appoint ten kings (ten horns) to rule under him.78
- Each “Great Day” within the Jubilee Calendar contains 70 weeks.79 It is no coincidence the 70 weeks in Daniel 9 happen to be the “Great Day of Tuesday.” From the Exodus to the dedication of Solomon’s Temple was 70 weeks. From the dedication of Solomon’s temple to the decree to restore and rebuild the temple was another 70 weeks. From the decree to restore and rebuild the temple until God’s mercy on Israel ran out was still another 70 weeks! Additionally, when we combine the genealogical record given in Scripture, Bible history, and the prophetic time periods given in Daniel and Revelation, the duration for sin appears to be “seven tens.” Seven “Grand Days” of ten centuries (7,000 years).
Sixty-Nine Weeks of Waiting
When the time drew near for Jesus to appear and begin His ministry, the Father raised John the Baptist to “prepare a people” for the Messiah’s arrival and to begin the process of “establishing God’s kingdom.”80 John the Baptist received Holy Spirit power to deliver a gospel of sanctification which is a very difficult gospel to preach because it is ever at odds with the desires of the sinful nature. John taught that membership in the coming kingdom of God required genuine repentance, a total commitment to God’s two commandments of love, and baptism.
Jesus said sinners have to make wrongs right before asking God for forgiveness because God wants to know if we love the person we violated before He will transfer our guilt! True restitution requires loving the victim. “And the second [commandment] is like it [the first]: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”81 We have to confess our sin to the person we wronged. James wrote, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”82 John wrote, “If we confess our sins [to our victims and to God], he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”83
John’s gospel tested his listeners with genuine repentance and they did not like it. “John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have [the righteousness of] Abraham as our father.” For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’ ”84
Like Jesus, John also called Israel’s leaders a “brood of vipers.”85 They were poisonous! They were attempting to nullify John’s gospel by teaching they were the offspring of Abraham, and did not need baptism because God had “credited righteousness” to Abraham.86 They reasoned if God regarded Abraham as a righteous man without baptism, the same applied to his offspring. This is why John said, “And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have [the righteousness of] Abraham as our father.’ ”
The “good fruit” John wrote about was repentance, reformation, and restitution. God requires all three because the restitution process is life changing.87 True restitution is based on sorrow for committing the sin and love for the victim. When a person becomes convicted of his guilt and the reality of the penalty for his sin (being thrown into the fire at the end of the age), and becomes convicted he should choose to love his victim as he loves himself, God requires action. A repentant sinner shows his love for the person he violated by humbling himself, asking for forgiveness, and providing restitution. Jesus said that before we ask God to forgive us, we have to ask our brother or sister to forgive us: “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar [that is, if you are offering a sin offering to God at the Altar of Burnt Offering for your sins] and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”88 This matter cannot be more plainly stated.
John’s gospel required baptism because baptism is a public declaration that an inner transformation has taken place. It should indicate a person has “crossed over” from a life dominated by the sinful nature to a new life dominated by the Spirit.89 However, in John’s day, the necessity for baptism created a huge problem. It made the threshold for entering the kingdom of God humiliating because baptism was beneath the dignity of a Jew.
Israel understood that as a nation, it was baptized with the “baptism of Moses”90 when it crossed through the Red Sea. However, since the Exodus, baptism was reserved for Gentiles. If a Gentile wanted to become a citizen in Israel, he/she had to be baptized. This act was even accompanied with a new date of birth! Baptism was necessary for the Gentiles because it washed away their sinful past. John’s baptism offered the same “washing away the past” and this requirement was offensive to the Jews. It made their traditions, the righteousness of Abraham, and the tenants of Judaism inferior. To be clear, John did not baptize Jesus to wash away His sins. He had none.91 Jesus was baptized to show that being a biological descendant of Abraham was not sufficient to enter God’s kingdom.
The Kingdom of God
When Jesus began His ministry, one of the first things He announced was the time had come to establish the kingdom of God.92 However, we now know the opportunity was not realized and the kingdom of God was not implemented. The God of the Old Testament—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel— was rejected, hung on a cross, and recalled to heaven! If Israel had cooperated with the Holy Spirit during the 490 years of grace and had become the nation which the Father wanted, there would have been enough “born-again” people to establish God’s kingdom in Canaan! If Jesus had established the “kingdom of God,” world history since that time would be vastly different.
Paul understood after Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah and Jesus returned to heaven, the temporary kingdom of God could not be established on Earth. He also understood how the temporary kingdom of God, the permanent kingdom of God, and God’s seventh day Sabbath are related. Carefully consider his words: “Therefore, since the promise of entering his [permanent] rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. . . .For somewhere [in Scripture] he [Moses] has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘On the seventh day God rested from all his works.’. . . There [also] remains, then, a [weekly] Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s [weekly] rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that [permanent kingdom of] rest, so that no one will perish by following their [our forefather’s] example of disobedience.”93
Why do we need to enter God’s rest? The curse of sin imposes “painful toil” on everyone. At the appointed time, God will establish a permanent kingdom of God and repentant sinners will live in a land of rest, flowing with milk and honey. Now that you have considered God’s plan, I am sure these words of Jesus will mean so much more: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”94
Plan A Details
There are a few details about the temporary kingdom of God which I would like you to consider. I believe these details were established when Jesus was on Earth. I include them so you can see how Plan A and the Old Testament align. Once you grasp the concept that Plan A pertains to the Israel that came out of Egypt and Plan B pertains to the Israel that is made up of repentant sinners, your appreciation for this topic will make the Bible clearer and more exciting than ever!
According to the Father’s original plan, Jesus would have remained on Earth after His death and resurrection, and established the kingdom of God on Earth. His headquarters would have been in Jerusalem and Jesus would have ruled from the throne of David. Isaiah 9 states the government would have been on Jesus’ shoulders. Consider what life in the temporary kingdom of God on Earth would have been:
“ ‘I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.
“ ‘They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they [be overrun by their enemies, My people will not] build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands. They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them.
“ ‘Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will [still] be the serpent’s food. They [serpents] will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,’ says the Lord.”95
After God’s kingdom was established, the twelve tribes would have carried the gospel of Jesus throughout the world. Christ’s kingdom would have grown and expanded.
“In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple [the temple is described in Ezekiel 40-45] will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’ The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”96
Under Plan A, there would come an appointed time for the end of the world. When that time arrived, a testing gospel from Jesus would be proclaimed throughout the Earth by the twelve tribes. The message would be very similar to the message given to Noah and Abraham! “Leave your homes, if necessary, leave your families, leave everything behind and come to Jerusalem for the Lord is about to destroy the wicked!” The honest-in-heart, repentant sinners would have heard the message. They would have obeyed the Holy Spirit conviction and left their homeland.
“At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the Lord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.”97
“On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter. The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.”98
“For this is what the Lord says: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant—to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will endure forever. And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.’ The Sovereign Lord declares—he who gathers the exiles of Israel: ‘I will gather still others to them besides those already gathered.’ ”99
After each person made his choice whether to leave home or not, the wicked would have been destroyed.
“I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south.”100
“Therefore, son of man [Ezekiel], prophesy and say to Gog [a title given to Lucifer]: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.”
“ ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “You are the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel. At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused,” declares the Sovereign Lord. “In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground.”
“ ‘ “I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains,” declares the Sovereign Lord. “Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.” ’ ”101
“ ‘And I, because of what they [Gog and the wicked] have planned and done, am about to come and gather the people of all nations and languages, and they will come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations.
“ ‘And they will bring all your people, from all the nations, to my holy mountain in Jerusalem as an offering to the Lord – on horses, in chariots and wagons, and on mules and camels,’ says the Lord. ‘They will bring them, as the Israelites bring their grain offerings, to the temple of the Lord in ceremonially clean vessels. And I will select some of them [foreigners] also to be priests and Levites,’ says the Lord.
“ ‘As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,’ declares the Lord, ‘so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,’ says the Lord. ‘And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.’ ”102
I hope these passages give you a framework for understanding Plan A. Unfortunately, these promises and prophecies did not, and will not, come to pass because the original covenant with Israel terminated for unfaithfulness.103 A new covenant (Plan B) which has parallels with Plan A, was implemented.104
Plan B Details
The kingdom of God is still coming; but, unlike Plan A, the kingdom of God under Plan B will be permanent. Consider these details:
- Plan B has a high priest from the tribe of Judah. Plan A had a priest from the tribe of Levi.105
- Jesus serves in the “true temple” located in heaven.106 Plan A no longer has a temple (and it never will) because the Lord sent the Romans to destroy Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Jesus gave temple mount to the Muslims to keep the temple from ever being rebuilt.
- Plan B’s capital city is the New Jerusalem. Abraham anticipated this city. Plan A’s capital city was Jerusalem until it was destroyed.107
- Plan B has nothing to do with Zionism or modern Israel. The kingdom which the saints will inherit is not located in the Middle East. Instead, it will be Earth made new. 108
- The requirements for repentant sinners under Plan B are unlike the requirements for those who lived under Plan A. (The Levitical code was abolished at the cross.) Those seeking to live under Plan A today cannot do so because there is no temple.109
- Paul says Plan B has a better set of promises and prophecies than those under Plan A.110
- According to the new covenant (Plan B), God considers repentant sinners as the seed of Abraham and heirs of the promises given him.111
- According to the new covenant, a Jew is neither a race nor a religion. “A person is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly [as the result of the circumcision of the flesh], nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.”112
Click on the numbers by the reference to go back to where you were reading.
1. Genesis 5:22
2. Genesis 6 & 7
3. Genesis 17 & 18
4. Exodus 3:1-6
5. Exodus 12:12
6. Exodus 33:19-23
7. Exodus 12
8. Exodus 20
9. John 1
10. Revelation 19:139.
11. Revelation 1:17-18, insertion and italics mine
12. Revelation 2:8-9, insertions and italics mine
13. Revelation 22:12-13, 16, insertions and italics mine
14. Isaiah 44:6, insertions and italics mine
15. Psalm 2:2, insertions and italics mine
a id="UntoldStChap9.html" href="#footnote-096-backlink">16. Exodus 3:1-6, insertions mine
17. Exodus 6:2-4, insertions and italics mine
18. Romans 16:25-26
19. Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28
20. Matthew 23
21. Luke 22:20; Hebrews 8:8; Ephesians 2
22. Galatians 3:29
23. John 6:46
24. Colossians 1:15, insertion and italics mine
25. 1 Timothy 6:16
26. John 1:18, insertion and italics mine
27. John 10:33
28. Isaiah 44:6, insertions and italics mine
29. Isaiah 43:14-15, insertions and italics mine
30. Luke 1:34-35, italics mine
31. Example, Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9
32. Revelation 1:17-18, italics mine
33. Revelation 2:8, italics mine
34. Revelation 22:13, 16, italics mine
35. John 1:1-2
36. Colossians 1:17, insertion and italics mine
37. Psalm 90:1-2
38. Exodus 3:14, insertions mine
39. Mark 2:27-28
40. Genesis 2:1-3
41. Exodus 20:8-11
42. Genesis 3:14-19
43. Genesis 3:17-19, italics mine
44. Numbers 13:27
45. Zechariah 2:4; Ezekiel 38:14
46. Hebrews 11:8-10
47. Genesis 15:12-16, italics mine
48. For more information on the full cup principle, see: wake-up.org/untold-story-information
49. Leviticus 18:24-28, insertions mine
50. Psalm 95:10-11, italics mine
51. Leviticus 25:20-22
52. Leviticus 26:3-12
53. Romans 8:14
54. Galatians 3:29
55. For more information on Plan A / Plan B, see: wake-up.org/untold-story-information
56. Galatians 3:29
57. Jeremiah 33:17
58. Isaiah 65:17
59. Isaiah 9:6-7, insertion mine
60. Zechariah 13:6; Zechariah 12:10-14
61. Genesis 22:2
62. Genesis 22:9-12
63. 1 Chronicles 21:18
64. Genesis 22:2-9; Deuteronomy 12:11
65. Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28
66. Exodus 19:4-6
67. John 3:19-21, italics mine
68. Leviticus 23:15-16
69. The 50th day is also the 1st day of the week.
70. To download these charts in PDF form, see: wake-up.org/untold-story-information
71. 2 Chronicles 36:21; Leviticus 26:32-35
72. Matthew 18:21-22, NASB, 1995
73. Luke 3:15
74. For more information on Timing in Daniel, see: wake-up.org/untold-story-information
75. Jeremiah 25:9-11
76. Leviticus 26:34-35, insertion mine
77. 2 Chronicles 36:21; Jeremiah 25:9-11
78. For more information on the 7 headed beast, see: wake-up.org/untold-story-information
79. For more information on the Jubilee Calendar, see: wake-up.org/untold-story-information
80. Matthew 11:10-11
81. Matthew 22:39, insertions mine
82. James 5:16
83. 1 John 1:9, insertion mine
84. Luke 3:7-9, insertion and italics mine
85. Matthew 12:34; 23:33
86. Genesis 15:6
87. Matthew 3:8
88. Matthew 5:23-24, insertion mine
89. Mark 1:14
90. 1 Corinthians 10:2
91. Hebrews 4:15
92. Mark 1:14-15
93. Hebrews 4:1, 4, 9-11, insertions mine
94. Matthew 11:28-30
95. Isaiah 65:19-25, insertions and italics mine
96. Isaiah 2:2-4, insertion mine
97. Jeremiah 3:17
98. Zechariah 14:6-9
99. Isaiah 56:4-8
100. Zechariah 14:2-4
101. Ezekiel 38:14-23, insertions mine
102. Isaiah 66:18-24, insertion mine
103. Matthew 23
104. For more information on Plan A / Plan B, see: wake-up.org/untold-story-information
105. Plan B: Hebrews 7:11-12 | Plan A: Hebrews 7: 13-21
106. Hebrews 8:1-2
107. Plan B: Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:2 | Plan A: Hebrews 11:8-10; John 14:2-3
108. John 18:36-37; Matthew 5:5
109. Plan B: Luke 22:20; Hebrews 12:22-24 | Plan A: Deuteronomy 12
110. Hebrews 8:6
111. Galatians 3:28-29
112. Romans 2:28-29, insertion mine, compare with Deuteronomy 30:6