God’s Time Matrix
1. Some problems have simple and quick solutions.
“Our patient in the hospital was a big, burly former officer. Just after surgery, and still half out of it, he became agitated and confused, tearing at his IVs and trying to escape his bed. The nurses gamely attempted to keep him calm, but were losing this battle. That’s when my old Air Force training came in handy.” "Colonel!" I commanded. "At ease."
And with that, the colonel fell back to sleep. (from Reader’s Digest)
2. But so many of God’s dealings are in simple when looking at the broad brush rendition, but especially complex when looking at the detail.
Main Idea: God’s plan to restore the Kingdom to Israel and to bring in Millennial righteousness has been partly fulfilled but will be completely fulfilled in God’s times.
I. The END Times (1-3)
➢ The simple picture of the rising, shining sun
Daniel Habben wrote, “The 17th Century czar of Russia, Peter the Great, lived in a palace filled with exquisite artwork. Yet whenever he saw a sunrise he wondered why many did not awaken early enough to view one of the most glorious sights in the universe. “They delight,” he said, “in gazing on a picture, the trifling work of a mortal, and at the same time neglect the one painted by the hand of the Deity Himself” (Joel Pankow). There can be no denying that the dynamic colors and grandeur of a sunrise is more stunning than anything man can put on canvass.” (source: Sermoncental)
2b read, “And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.”
➢ Like the Sun which can either scorch and burn or warm and make cozy, the Messiah will do both – depending upon whether one has come to know Him or whether one has not come to know Him.
A. The JUDGMENT Furnace (1)
1. Furnace = pottery kiln (not the modern furnace used to heat homes)
2. Of the lost in Matthew 13:42, “and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
3. –not necessarily speaking of “hell” in this context, but judgment
4. Of believers in I Corinthians 3:11-15, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
B. The HEALING Messiah (2)
The sun sends out sun beams which are its “wings.” But this passage was understood in a double way. The Sun is the Messiah and the wings are the fringes of his prayer shawl.
“As the [prayer shawl] was placed over the head, it formed its own tent. WINGS of the garment were formed when the arms were held out. For this reason, the corners of the prayer shawl are often called "wings." During the first century there were several traditions associated with the tzitzit [fringes]concerning Messiah. One was that these knotted fringes possessed healing powers. Certainly the woman with the issue of blood knew of these traditions, which would explain why she sought to touch the hem (the wings) of Jesus’ prayer garment. The same word used in Numbers 15:38 for corner is used in Malachi 4:2 for wings. With this understanding in mind, an ancient Jew under the prayer shawl could be said to be dwelling in the secret place of the Most High and under His wings (Ps. 91:1-4). The lady with the issue knew that if Jesus were the promised Messiah, there would be healing in His wings (fringes). That this was the opinion of many other people is revealed by the crowd who sought his healing powers, ‘that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole,’ Matthew 14:36.” [http://www.hopeofisrael.net]
➢ Like a freed calf who, in the morning when the sun is shining, is released to the pasture, so those who are captive will be set free when the Messiah shines upon them.
C. The VICTORY of the Righteous (3)
➢ “’Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
➢ This is reminiscent of the spiritual conquest Christians now experience; this does not mean that the literal people of Israel will not fulfill the literal aspect of this.
➢ Luke 10:18-20, “He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’"
➢ As Christians, God wants us to experience victory over the enemy, but “the enemy” does not refer to people, but the tri-fold enemy of the world, the sin nature, and the devil
➢ That’s why spiritual growth is important; it is our training…
II. The CURRENT Times (4)
A. Remember the LAW
Joshua 1:8, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
One constant between Israel in the OT and the church in the NT is the emphasis upon the Word. I believe the devil’s greatest trick to emphasize almost everything in church life except the Word. Good things displace the priority of Scripture.
But what about seasoned Christians? Doesn’t it get old? It certainly can! We must also deepen our interest in Scripture, or our reading and studying will become boring.
About 15 or 20 years ago, a pastor called me and asked if I had any books about the Feasts of Israel, because he was planning on preaching about them. I told him no, I didn’t. But I thought, “Why would anyone want to preach on that?” Then, a few years later, I fell in love with the subject and preached one of my best series ever.
B. For ALL Israel
1. One of the devil’s myths is, "Only church leaders need to study the Bible. Then they can tell us what to do." Once this myth takes hold, even the church leaders no longer study Scripture! That’s exactly what happened in church history, and it is beginning to happen now.
2. But also note that the purpose of studying was to help nurture and deepen the soul, with a consequence that the student of Scripture increases in his/her obedience to the Scripture. Studying is an important step to conforming, but conforming is the goal.
III. Elijah’s RETURN Near the End (5-6)
A. The Great STATURE of Elijah in Judaism
B. The TIMING of his Return (5)
C. His MINISTRY (6)
Was John the Baptist Elijah?
1. Yes . Matthew 11:13-14, “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.”
2. No. John 1:21, “They asked him [John], "Then who are you? Are you Elijah?"
He said, "I am not."
3. Kind of. Luke 1:16-17, “Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
4. Conclusion: John was an Elijah substitute because in the plan of God it was not yet time to set up His Kingdom; had the Jews received their Messiah, John fulfilled the Elijah prophecy enough to allow this (but this was not God’s plan). Elijah, not John, appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration, and he will probably be one of the two witnesses of Revelation (Revelation 11:3).
5. David Guzik writes, “It is significant that in these closing words of the Old Testament, God makes reference to both Moses and Elijah. They both met God at Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:1; 1 Kings 19:8-18). They also both met Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-5). They are probably the two witnesses of Revelation 11.”
6. For more about this and other related subjects, please log onto: www.highlandpc.com/studies/parafulf.php
D. The idea of restoration seen in the year of Jubilee
-----The concept of “restoration of hearts ---
1. The Jubilee Year
"Some critics have scorned the concept of a Jubilee year as being impossible to implement, however archaeologists have found records of deeds from the late biblical period containing references to it being in operation.
The first Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rav Kook, taught that the basis for the Jubilee, Yovel, was spiritual rather than economical. God intended that it should restore a sense of unity to Israel, in the understanding that all are equal in His sight. Thus people would be encouraged to value and respect one another. Also, it would restore self-respect to the person who had sunk into poverty.
Just as the weekly Shabbat offers the opportunity to re-orientate oneself and see oneself in non-economic terms, so the Shmi’tah every seven years and the Jubilee year every fifty (after 7x7) would enable the entire society to put aside economic competition in order to realize the true inner value of each person." (Keren Hannah Pryor)
2. The tensions between fathers and sons are particularly notable; God wants the bond between them to be unhindered and cleared; this can be difficult because we men do not understand how we hurt our sons. They appear to be tough, but our discouraging and critical words alienate them from us.
3. God here is telling us that we must check this in ourselves, apologize and make changes when we do this. It is part of a truly repentant heart.
E. The Curse: The destruction of Israel until the end times because they did not adequately respond to the ministry of John the Baptist (the Elijah drop-in)
1. Our lives have End Times. Sometimes our ministries have End Times. Our parenting responsibilities have End Times.
2. But God is Sovereign.
3. Just as He is in control of world history, so He is in control of your history.
4. And He takes the details of your life to weave them into His complex tapestry.
5. As the Psalmist said in Psalm 31:15, “My times are in your hands.” Do you believe that?