God works according to patterns. All through Scripture we find these templates, like rehearsals of scenes that are played out in the NewTestament. Paul calls them types, shadows, and symbols. (See Colossians 2:17, Hebrews 8:5, Romans 5:14, Galatians 4:23-25, etc.) By looking into these patterns we discover that they have prophetic meaning, God revealing His modus operandi with mankind. Moreover, Christ plays a role in every one of them, although hidden to Old Testament eyes.
The Bible gives us a panoramic view of man’s history, from beginning to end, in its unique way of writing history in advance by which the truth of the Word can be verified. Fulfilled prophecy is one of the most trusted ways to test the validity of the Bible’s message. Having said that, it is interesting to note that these patterns, types, and shadows are themselves prophetic messages, declaring future events in great detail.
Genesis is the seedbed of all major doctrines, certainly concerning God’s plan with us. God’s Word also confirms itself by giving us various passages in different places that, independently from one another, shares the same information. By studying these we can, for example, find ourselves on God’s calendar with great accuracy. Let’s take a look at some of them.
According to Genesis 1, God created the havens and the earth in six days, and rested on the seventh. Six days of labour followed by a day of rest. Peter, in his second epistle, gives us the key to unlock the prophetic pattern established in creation week:
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8
The verse above is of particular interest to us because it is in the context of Peter’s comments on the coming of the Lord. Looking at creation week, through the lens of Peter’s revelation, we make an interesting observation: from creation to Jesus is 4000 years, followed by the church age, now coming to an end after two thousand years. Six thousand years in total, or six prophetic days. After the church age comes the thousand years of peace on earth with Jesus as King — a “day” of rest for all.
Israel’s rejection of their Messiah
We find a confirmation of this pattern in God’s dealings with the Jewish nation. Two thousand years of the church age coincides with the time since the Jews rejected Jesus as their Messiah. Daniel chapter 9 tells us that the final seven years of the church age are reserved for God’s wrath to be poured out on those who rejected Jesus as Saviour — but especially the Jews, which is why Jeremiah calls it Jacob’s Trouble. (Jeremiah 30:7) Only a remnant of the Jewish nation will recognize Jesus as their Messiah at the end of the seven year period. Hosea is one of the prophets who spoke about it:
Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight. Hosea 6:1,2
As the verse above indicates, the Jewish nation was “torn apart” — scattered all over the world in exile for the past two thousand years — or two prophetic days. But there is this promise that God will raise them up on the third day, which is the same thousand years of peace on earth with Jesus as King.
The church age
Bear in mind also that the church was born on the Day of Pentecost, shortly after Jesus went back to the Father, somewhere between AD 31 and AD 33. (Scholars are not sure which year exactly) Counting two thousand years of the church age, starting when Jesus went back to the Father, brings us to a time between 2031 and 2033. However, counting back seven years of Jacob’s Trouble (or the Great Tribulation), takes us to somewhere between 2024 and 2026. This is six thousand years since creation — completing six prophetic days. We are this close to the Lord’s return!
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:11-3
Nobody knows the day Jesus will come, but we can know the season — and we are in it!
No matter how you look at it, we have arrived at the end of the present era.The signs the Bible gives us to recognize the final season can be seen all around us: Israel is back in their country, and blossoming; wars and rumours of war fill the daily news. Lawlessness abounds, the church is in full apostasy mode. Deception is rampant from government propaganda to pulpits around the world. These things always happened in the past, as some are quick to comment, but never at the same time as they do now. The stage is set for the ultimate control over every aspect of life; the road is being paved for the anti-Christ to make his entrance as the leader of a single world government.
The pressures of our broken world can already be felt in every aspect of our lives, such as widespread mental and physical health, broken marriages and families, division in churches and among friends, etc. The closer we get to the end, the tougher life can be expected to become. The last lap is always the most difficult to run.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Timothy 3:1-5
It is of the greatest importance that we do not succumb to these pressures, and quit the faith walk. The distractions are many as we deal with these things, but we must not lose sight of our redemption, now just around the corner. The exhaustion is real, as are the disappointments, disillusions, and the pain. Temptations to leave the straight and narrow road to make life more bearable, abound.
This is the fourth watch, the last hour, and the last lap of this race. It is the time we have set our sights on since the day we believed; our parents and grand parents looked forward to see what we see, and will experience soon. A bright new day is about to dawn, let us therefore draw encouragement from the promises of God, and gather all the strength we can, just as long distance runners do when they enter the last lap. Fix your eyes on the finish line, looking past the distractions around you.
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. Romans 13:11-13
This is a good time to do what you have to do; you might stand before the judgment seat of Christ sooner than you think. Set records straight, forgive, reconcile, pay outstanding debts of every kind, reach out, encourage; take no regrets with you to the Throne.
For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:36-38
Pretty soon we will look back with joy, grateful that we finished strong. May the final words of encouragement in the Bible spur us on to run this last lap with grace and honour:
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Revelation 22:12,13
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