Archive for Eschatology 101

The Gospel in the Stars: Part 3

By on March 17, 2012

The twelve major constellations along with their sidereal sidepieces present the original drama of the ages in the form of what I call a Three-Act play. Act One is presented through the first four constellations — Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. It begins in Bethlehem with the birth of the “Seed” of the woman, and establishes His conflict with and victory over Scorpio — the “seed” of the serpent. Act Two is presented through four constellations — Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces and Aries. They represent the Church Age and New Testament Christianity, whose astronomical symbol is a fish. The last four constellations, along with their sidereal sidepieces, represent the concluding act in the great drama of the ages — The Tribulation Period followed by the Second Coming of Christ. It is presented through the constellations Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, and Leo.

Taurus

The sign of Taurus opens Act Three, showing us the coming of the Judge of all the earth. Taurus is pictured as a raging bull, coming furiously. Only the front half of the bull is depicted in the constellation. Where the back end of the bull would normally be drawn stands the constellation Aries, the Lamb — as if the bull is coming out of Aires. It is a magnificent picture of Christ who came the first time as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world, but will return one day bringing judgment upon the wicked.

Taurus is unlike domestic bulls. It was probably an animal that is now extinct — a ferocious relative of domestic cattle, called “Rimu” in the Hebrew Scriptures. Rimu is translated “unicorn” in the King James Version of the Bible and was thought to be a mythological, one-horned creature. However, it was more likely a large wild ox. Famous for its size and ferocity, it may have survived until the times of the Roman Ceasars, but is now extinct. The wild bull, or Rimu, was a symbol of power and rule.

Balaam, described the power of Jehovah on behalf of Israel in Numbers 23:22 when he said, “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn” (Rimu).

Taurus is the sign of coming judgment. It is the “day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:20). It is a “day of wrath” (Rom. 2:5) from which we shall be delivered for “God hath not appointed us to wrath” (I Thes. 5:9). Taurus means “governer, captain, or leader.” In the shoulder of Taurus is a group of stars known as the Pleiades, meaning “congregation of the judge.”

Auriga

One of three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of Taurus, is the constellation Auriga. It is the picture of the Great Shepherd. He sits calmly above the rushing bull, holding a mother goat that has just given birth to a pair of kids in his lap. In the heart of the goat is a brilliant star called Capella, meaning “she goat.” A small triangle of stars near Capella is called Haedi, meaning “the kids,” and marks the two offspring of the mother goat in the lap of Auriga. It is an ancient picture of the great shepherd protecting his people from the day of wrath.

There is a bright star in the foot of the shepherd called Elnath, meaning “the wounded.” It reminds us that the coming Judge is the one who was “wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). Elnath reminds us that our Savior was to be wounded in the heel, as predicted in Genesis 3:15.

Orion

The second sidereal sidepiece is Orion, which is said to be the most spectacular and wonderful sight in the night sky. Orion is pictured as a mighty hunter with a club in his right hand. In his left hand, he holds the skin of a lion that he has killed. Orion is mentioned twice in the book of Job and once in the prophecy of Amos. Orion means “coming forth as light.”

The brightest star in the constellation is Betelgeuse, meaning “the coming of the branch.” Another star in his foot is Rigel, meaning “the foot that crushes.” In the shoulder of the constellation is a star called Bellatrix, meaning “quickly coming.” In his leg is a star called Saiph meaning, “bruised.” Again, as in every other case, we are reminded of Christ crushing the head of the seed of the serpent. Orion is obviously a picture of Christ coming in power and great glory.

Eridanus

The third sidereal sidepiece is Eridanus, the “river of fire,” flowing from the raised foot of Orion. It represents the method by which Christ will crush the head of the seed of the serpent. Josephus tells us that Adam received a prophecy that God would destroy the world twice — once with water and once with fire. Eridanus represents the judgment of fire. It runs across the heavens toward the south. In the river are several named stars: Archernar means “the afterpart of the river;” Cursa means “bent down;” and Zourac means “flowing.” This is a magnificent prophetic message found in the constellation Taurus. It opens the final act in this great drama of the ages flowing out upon a starlit stage — the panarama of the night sky.

Gemini

The next major constellation is Gemini. In the star chart, it is pictured as a pair of twin boys. However, in the ancient Denderah Zodiac of Egypt, it was depicted as a man and a woman. In the coptic language, Gemini was called Pi-mahi, meaning “the united.” I believe it represents the Savior and His bride.

There are two stars, which mark the heads of the two people in Gemini — Castor and Pollux. These are Latin names. You may recall in Acts 28:11, the Apostle Paul traveled on a ship, “whose sign was Castor and Pollux.” Castor means “ruler or judge” and Pollux means “who comes to suffer.” Again, we are reminded of the suffering Savior who will come one day to be united with His bride. He is destined to rule over the Earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Canis Major

Like the other major constellations there are three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of Gemini. The first is Canis Major. It is depicted as a large dog and should be considered along with the second sidereal sidepiece, Canis Minor — a small dog. Over the centuries, these two constellations lost their original significance. The Greeks supposed them to be the hunting dogs of Orion when, in fact, the names of the stars in Canis Major and Canis Minor reveal that they were not originally dogs at all, but pictures of the Prince of Peace and Redeemer of the world.

The most significant star Canis Major is Sirius — the brightest star in the entire heavens. It is only nine light years away, making it one of Earth’s nearest neighbors among the millions of stars. Sirius is the most glorious star in the sky, meaning “the Prince.” It is the root word from which we derive the title, “Sir.”

Canis Minor

Canis Minor is represented as a lesser dog. It is a small group of stars just south of Gemini. Though the original meaning of Canis Minor has long since been obscured, we can easily determine its original meaning through the bright star Procyon, meaning “Redeemer or Savior.” That is the true meaning of the constellation. Long ago, the Egyptians called it Sebak, meaning “the conquering or victorious.” Both Canis Major and Canis Minor help to tell the story of the coming conquering Redeemer.

Lepus

The third sidereal sidepiece is Lepus. In the star chart it is depicted as a rabbit, but in the most ancient zodiacs, it was a snake. It is located just below Orion, the glorious prince who crushes the head of Lepus, the serpent. There is a star in Orion’s raised foot called Rigel, meaning “the foot that crushes.”

The brightest star in Lepus is Arneb, meaning “the enemy of him who comes.” There is another star called Nihal, meaning “the mad” and another star Sulya, meaning “the deceiver.” Yes, the major constellation Gemini, along with its sidereal sidepieces represents the coming Bridegroom as Prince of Peace, Savior, and Redeemer who will conquer the enemy trodden underfoot. He is coming to rapture the saints, thus keeping us from going through the Tribulation Period.

In Luke 21:25, Jesus said that the last days would be characterized by signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars. One day, our Savior will come to carry out those great prophecies found in the stars. When God created the heavens, He gave the stars certain names, the meanings of which tell the story of God’s great plan of the ages. God gave this story to Adam and his offspring. According to Flavius Josephus, Seth, the son of Adam, invented that “peculiar science which deals with the heavenly bodies and their order.”

Cancer

The eleventh constellation is Cancer. It is depicted as a crab and denotes that which is born of water. This reminds us of New Testament Christianity whose symbol is that of a fish, for we have been born of water — a type of the Holy Spirit. The crab has an unusual feature. Periodically, it sheds its outer skin and comes forth with what appears to be new life. The symbol represents Resurrection of those New Testament saints, who are a part of the Rapture and accompany the translated living saints to heaven.

According to E. W. Bullinger, in his book, The Witness of the Stars, the sign of Cancer was represented in an ancient Egyptian Zodiac as a scarab beetle, but the implication was the same. In ancient Egypt, the scarab would crawl under a rock. Later, the beetle would break open the shell of its body and emerge as a beautiful winged creature to fly away. Again, the implication is that of Resurrection.

According to Kenneth C. Fleming, in his book God’s Voice in the Stars the word Cancer comes from a root word meaning “to hold or encircle.” For that reason, Fleming believes the constellation refers to an ancient eastern inn where the animals were kept for safety. In another ancient Zodiac the constellation was called Klaria, meaning “cattle-folds.” If this is the meaning of Cancer, then it is a picture of heaven — where the Shepherd keeps His sheep! That is still in keeping with the overall concept of the Resurrection and Rapture.

There are several stars in Cancer. The brightest star is Tegmine, meaning “holding;” another star, Acubene, means “sheltering or hiding place;” Ma’Alaph means “assembled thousands;” Al Himarean means the “kids or lambs;” and a cluster of stars in the middle of the constellation, Praesepe, means “multitude.” It is a beautiful view of that day when we shall be transported into heaven to stand before our Savior.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions,” said Jesus. “If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3). What a magnificent promise!

Ursa Minor

There are three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of Cancer. The first attending constellation is Ursa Minor, known today as the Little Dipper. Before the constellation became a dipper, it was referred to as a bear. However, the bear does not appear at all in the old Zodiacs of Chaldea, Persia, Egypt, or India. Long before the constellation became a bear, it was pictured as a sheepfold. It represents heaven, the place where the Great Shepherd keeps His sheep.

There are seven bright stars in Ursa Minor, but a total of 24, which make up the complete constellation. The seven stars remind us of the seven lamps of fire which burn before the throne of God, and the 24 stars remind us of the 24 elders in Revelation 4, which are seated around the throne of God.

The most significant star in Ursa Minor is Polaris. It is called the North Star, and we are reminded of Isaiah 14:13, which indicated that heaven was pictured in the “sides of the north.” This does not mean that heaven revolves above the North Pole. It simply means that in the ancient constellations the north represented heaven, while the south represented hell.

The Greeks called Ursa Minor by the name Arcas, from which we get words like “arctic” in English. Arcas means bear, but the root meaning is “the stronghold of the saved.”

There is a star in the constellation called Kochab, meaning “waiting for the coming;” another star, Alkaid, means “the assembled;” and yet another, Alpherkdain, means “the redeemed assembly.”

Ursa Major

Another sidereal sidepiece is Ursa Major, which, along with Ursa Minor, seems to tell the same story. Though it is depicted as the Big Dipper, it orginally referred to “the assembled flock.” As in the case of Ursa Minor, there are also seven bright stars, which make up the constellation of Ursa Major. The brightest star is Dubeh, meaning “herd or flock;” Merach means “the flock purchased;” Phaeda means “visited, guarded, or numbered;” and Benet Naish means “the daughters of the assembly.”

It is a magnificent view of the vast assembly of believers who are reserved in heaven today awaiting the resurrection. Both Ursa Major and Ursa Minor compliment the constellation Cancer by representing the great sheepfold in heaven where the Shepherd keeps redeemed believers.

Argo

The third sidereal sidepiece to Cancer is a ship called Argo. It was the celebrated ship of the Argonauts. According to Greek mythology, its captain, Jason, recovered the Golden Fleece from the serpent. To do so, of course, he had to fight both a dragon and a giant. From the ancient mythological story we can glean the true meaning of the “old ship Zion thus sailing along.” I think it represents Heaven’s “clouds” — possibly the celestial transportation vehicles for resurrected and translated saints. Jason could have been an ancient story of the Redeemer; the Golden Fleece is a symbol of eternal life; the dragon is symbolic of Satan; and the giant could represent the largest of all earthly wars — Armageddon.

Of the stars in the constellation, the brightest is Canopus, meaning “the possession of him who comes.” Another star, Sephina, means “the multitude.” They appear to represent the ship of our salvation. Such is the story to be found in the great constellation of Cancer.

Leo

Now we come to the end of the circle. We began with Virgo, the virgin, and we shall end with Leo, the lion. No one who has followed our study can doubt that we have here the solving of the riddle in the Sphinx, for its head is Virgo, and its body is Leo. In Leo we reach the end of the revelation as inspired in the Word of God.

The constellation is depicted as a great lion pouncing upon its prey. It is a magnificent view of the “Lion of the tribe of Judah,” so beautifully described in Revelation 5:5. When our Savior came the first time, He came as the “Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). But when He comes the second time, He shall come as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” to establish His kingdom upon the Earth.

Hydra

Like the other major constellations, there are three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of Leo. The first is Hydra — the many-headed serpent. It is a huge constellation extending approximately one-third the distance around the circle of the heavens, reminding us that Satan’s “tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven” (Rev. 12:4). Hydra means, “he is abhorred!” It is composed of 60 stars — a multiple of the number six. The idea with Hydra is that when one cuts off its head, two grow back in its place. He is the great red dragon known as Satan.

Crater

The second sidereal sidepiece is called Crater and is represented as a cup, bowl, or vial of God’s wrath being poured out upon Hydra. I think it is significant that the constellation is made up of 13 stars, the number of “ill omen.” It reminds us of the story in Revelation 15 and 16 where seven angels take up vials of wrath and pour them out upon the kingdom of the Antichrist.

Corvus

Finally, the third sidereal sidepiece is Corvus. It is the view of a bird eating the flesh of Hydra. We are reminded of that day when the birds will come to eat the flesh of the slain on the battlefields of Armageddon.

Leo, the lion, is seen jumping on Hydra — ripping, tearing, and destroying him. Here is the conclusion of the whole matter. Here is the final triumph of the Son of God and the consummated victory of the “Seed” of the woman over the “seed” of the serpent.

So, there you have it. The constellations were named by our great Creator, and prepared to tell the story of redemption for fallen humanity. The message was given to Seth, the son of Adam. For 2,500 years, before the writing of Genesis, those early civilizations were able to study the message of God’s love and redemption. That is the message of those mysterious signs in the heavens.

The Gospel in the Stars: Part 2

By on July 17, 2011

Today, the average adult cannot tell the names of the stars or the constellations that map out our night sky. Some can point to the North Star and make out the Little Dipper, but that is about the extent of it. However, if we look back several generations, to a time when there were no streetlights and no TVs, we find that most ancient civilizations, including the Mayans, were very aware of the cosmos and its religious connotations.

What is remarkable about the constellations, is that they were virtually the same in every civilization. Few cultures went out on their own and proposed a group of stars under the symbol of a different animal. And when they did, it was only a minor change. For example, Cancer, seen today as a Crab, was once depicted as a Scarab Beetle in ancient Egypt. Libra, seen in most Zodiacs as a Scales, was depicted in ancient Babylon as a Lamp. Ancient China invented a few extra constellations, but for the most part, the constellations showed little change among the varied ancient civilizations. As the languages were changed, some names were changed, but there are still enough stars bearing the same names to show a single star chart for all nations. Though separated by thousands of miles, with no means of communication, Virgo was always a virgin and Leo was always a lion. This shows that at one time, all people lived together and saw continuity among the constellations.

Furthermore, no single group of people made up the constellations for all the other people on the planet. If so, then at least some of the constellations would be different. You’ve heard that if you get two theologians together, you have three opinions? Well, if men were given the task of mapping out the night sky, they could have never reached consent. The constellations as we know them had to be the product of Deity and imposed upon the population for religious purposes.
The fact that the constellations depict the Gospel story points back to the fact that God was definitely involved in preparing the symbols to conform to the Bible. Genesis 1:14 tells us, “God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs …” Notice that the verse is located in the very first chapter of the Bible. That makes the constellations very meaningful in the scheme of things. And, as we shall see in these studies, the story starts with Bethlehem and the First Advent of Christ; and concludes with Leo and His Second Advent.

The twelve major constellations, along with their thirty-six sidereal sidepieces, present the original drama of the ages in the form of what I call a three-act play. Act One is presented in the first four major constellations — Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius. It began in Bethlehem with the birth of the “Seed” of the woman, and established His conflict with Scorpio — the “seed” of the serpent.

Act Two of this great drama is presented through the constellations of Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, and Aries. These signs, together with their smaller constellations or sidereal sidepieces, explain not so much the person of the Redeemer, as the results of His redeeming work, particularly in relationship to the people who are redeemed, whose symbol is a fish.

Capricorn

The curtain rises with a very unlikely actor on the stage. It is a dying goat with the lively tail of a fish. This strange creature offers a profound message when we understand that the goat represents the sacrificial animal used on the Day of Atonement and the fish represents that body of believers who have received life out of the death of the great sacrifice.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the sacrificial goat and the lively tail of the fish represents the believers of the Church Age. It is important to note that the goat appears to be dying with its head bowed and its leg folded, while the fish is living and vigorous.

There are two stars in the head of the goat that tell the story. Daneb Algedi, which means “the sacrifice comes,” and Dabih, which means “the sacrifice slain.” Note that from the dying goat comes a living fish. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that Christ is the head of the Church while, in turn, the Church represents the body of Christ — thus the head of a goat and body of a fish. When Jesus appointed His first disciples in Matthew 4:19, He said, “I will make you fishers of men.”

Sagita There are three sidereal sidepieces that help to tell the story of Capricorn. First, there is a small but ancient constellation called Sagitta — the arrow of God’s judgment against sin. It represents that which pierced the Son of God when He became the sacrifice for the sins of the world. It depicts the instrument of divine justice on Christ who took the place of guilty man.

The Psalmist wrote about it in Psalm 38:2, “Thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.” Job spoke of a similar thing when he lamented, “The arrows of the almighty are within me” (Job 6:4). Every born-again believer can appreciate with deep feeling that “He was wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5).

Aquilla

The second sidereal sidepiece is Aquilla — the falling eagle. The ancient names for the stars in the constellation tell the obvious story. There is a star in the falling eagle called Al Okal, which means “wounded in the heel.”

Furthermore, the eagle is one of the symbols of Christ in the Bible. For instance, in Exodus 19:4, God spoke to Moses and the children of Israel saying, “I bear you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto myself.”

Kenneth C. Fleming, in his book, God’s Voice in the Stars, put it this way: “The eagle seen in this constellation is consistent with what we have noted in the whole sign of Capricorn. The slain goat of the sin offering is followed by the arrow of God’s judgment and the pierced and falling eagle.”

Delphinus

The third sidereal sidepiece is a constellation called Delphinus. It represents a dolphin, springing out of water. It is the picture of resurrection. Our Savior died to rise again. Furthermore, the dolphin is another creature born of water — and water is a type of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The resurrected dolphin represents eternal life given to all who believe.

Aquarius

The next major constellation following Capricorn is Aquarius — the great water bearer. Our Savior identified Himself as the fulfillment of Aquarius in John 4:14. He said, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Furthermore, we can see its fulfillment on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God was poured out upon believers. That is the message to be found in Aquarius. Throughout the Bible, water has been symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

The prophet Joel described it when he wrote, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).

The Apostle Peter repeated the message on the Day of Pentecost when he explained the “rushing mighty wind” and the “tongues like as of fire” that “sat upon each of them.” The message in the constellation Aquarius found its ultimate fulfillment through the Day of Pentecost.

Pisces Australis

The water bearer can be seen pouring out his water upon Pisces Australis, the Southern Fish — the first of three sidereal sidepieces. The fish represents that which was born of water and of the spirit — that great body of believers down through the ages.

Cygnus

The second sidereal sidepiece in the constellation Aquarius is called Cygnus — the Swan of the Northern Cross. The constellation reveals a beautiful swan flying across the heavens, but the stars form the shape of a cross. It implies the message of “going to and fro throughout the earth bearing the sign of the cross.” This represents carrying the Gospel message around the world. Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the Earth” (Acts 1:8).

Pegasus

The third sidereal sidepiece is a flying white horse named Pegasus. Its message is that of the returning Christ. Revelation 19 reveals the beautiful story:
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:11-13).

This is the message to be found in Pegasus. The dispensation begins with the pouring out of His Spirit upon all flesh as seen by the great water bearer. The constellation Pisces Austrinus represents that vast throng of believers who have received the water of life. During this dispensation, it is our responsibility to go to and fro throughout the earth bearing the sign of the cross ascanbeseenintheconstellationCygnus. Finally, the dispensation will end with the return of Jesus Christ in power and great glory on the back of a flying white horse as seen by the constellation Pegasus.

In the shoulder of Pegasus there is a bright star called Markab. It means “returning from afar.” For more than 2,500 years the world was without a written revelation from God. The question is, “Did God leave Himself without a witness?” We are told in the Scriptures that He did not. In Romans 1:19, it is written, “That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

But how was God known? How were His invisible things — His plans, His purposes, and His councils known since the creation of the world? We are given the answer in Roman 10:18. Having stated in verse 17 that “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” He asks, “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily.” And we may ask, “How have they heard?” The answer follows; “Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18).

What words? What instructions? Whose message? There is only one answer and that is the heavens! Long before there was a written Bible, there was a message written in the stars. Romans 10:18 refers to that message. It is a passage quoted from Psalm 19, the first part of which is occupied with the revelation of God written in the stars, and the latter part of the chapter with the revelation of God written in the word. This is the simple explanation of the beautiful Psalm 19:1-2:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. “Day unto day uttereth speech, and
night unto night sheweth knowledge.”

Pisces

In the ancient Mazzaroth, Pisces is shown as two fish with their tails tied together by a band. The constellation with its sidereal sidepieces represents a vast body of believers who have received the water of life down through the centuries. There are two fish, one horizontal and the other vertical. We should note that Pisces was the symbol of Israel and adopted by early Christianity. It is entirely possible that the horizontal fish represents Israel, the earthly Chosen People, while the vertical fish represents a heavenly people. The symbol of Christianity has always been the ish. The disciples became the first fishers of men and following them are the great soul winners of history.

In John 21, our Savior stood on the shore of Galilee early in the morning to inquire of the disciples if they had caught any fish. At His request, they pitched their nets on the other side of the ship and brought to shore 153 fish. The story appears to be a prophetic indication of Gentile Christianity gathered during the dispensation of Grace.

The Band

Pisces is represented by two fish that are bound together with an attending sidereal sidepiece called the “Band.” Note that the band is connected to the neck of Cetus, the sea monster. Believers are bound to this world system, awaiting the day when our Savior (as seen in Aries) will come to break the bands and set us free.

Andromeda

The second sidereal sidepiece to the constellation Pisces is Andromeda — the chained woman. It is the view of a woman with fetters upon her wrists and ankles. Andromeda means, “the assembly.”

She is fastened down so that she is unable to rise. It is the same picture as is given by the fettered fish. She represents that vast assembly of believers — the Bride of Christ. We await the coming of our bridegroom to break the fetters and set us free.

Cepheus

The third sidereal sidepiece is Cepheus — the crowned king. Cepheus is the figure of a glorious king wearing his royal robe and having on his head a crown of stars. On his right shoulder shines a star called Al Deramin meaning, “the quickly returning.” In the middle of the constellation shines the star Al Phirk, which means “the redeemer.” In the left knee is still another star called Al Rai, which means “the shepherd.” The word Cepheus means “the royal branch, the king.”
Pisces, then, with its three sidereal sidepieces tells the story of the Bride of Christ bound in the chains of diversity, awaiting that day when the King, our great Bridegroom, will come to set us free and take us home.

Aries

The whole story, however, cannot be found in Pisces alone. The next major constellation is Aries, which, along with its sidereal sidepieces, must be considered in order to fully understand the message found in Pisces. The band that holds the two fish together is attached to the neck of Cetus, the sea monster. At the same time, however, the leg of Aries appears to break the bands. Elnath, the brightest star in the constellation means “the wounded, or slain.” The name Aries means “chief” or “head.”

Andromeda, the chained woman in the constellation Pisces, is set free by Perseus, a sidereal sidepiece to Aries. Andromeda then becomes Cassiopeia, the enthroned queen in the constellation Aries, who is married to Cepheus, the enthroned king in the constellation Pisces.

Aries is the fourth major sign in Act Two of the great drama. The four major constellations of Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, and Aries, give a picture of the blessings of salvation. Capricorn represents Christ, the sacrificial head of the Church. Aquarius represents Christ who pours out His Spirit upon all who believe. Pisces represents that vast body of believers who receive the Water of Life, and Aries represents Christ as the Lamb of God that “… taketh away the sins of the world.”

Cassiopeia

The first sidereal sidepiece to Aries is Cassiopeia, pictured as a woman sitting upon a throne. With her left hand she is fixing her hair and with her right hand she adjusts her robes. She seems to be making herself ready for her upcoming marriage to King Cepheus who sits nearby upon his throne. She is the Andromeda whose chains have been broken to set her free.

Perseus

The second sidereal sidepiece is Perseus. He is pictured as a strong soldier with a helmet on his head and a great sword in his right hand. In his left hand he carries the head of Medusa (his adversary) dripping with blood. Medusa means “the trodden under foot.”

The principal star in its head is called Al Ghoul meaning, “the evil spirit.” Another star is called Rosh Satan meaning, “the head of Satan.” Each hair in the head of Satan is shown as a snake. The whole picture is that of Satan being wounded in his head.

Perseus is a picture of Christ, the great hero who comes to Andromeda, breaks her chains and sets her free. The word Perseus means “the breaker.” This is the same word used by Micah, the prophet, when referring to the future Messiah: “The breaker is come up before them … and their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them” (Micah 2:13).

Cetus

The final sidereal sidepiece to Aries is Cetus, the great enemy subdued and bound. Cetus is the largest of all the constellations in the sky. It lies to the south of the ecliptic, which places him on the hell side of the starry heavens rather than on the heaven side, for God sits in the “sides of the north.”

There is a star in the neck of the monster called Mira. It means “rebel” and fits very well the character of the constellation — picturing Satan as the enemy and first rebel against God. The brightest star in the head is called Menkar. It means “the bound or chained enemy.”

He is that Leviathan rising out of the sea in Revelation 13. Just as we are freed from this world system by a pre-tribulation rapture and resurrection, Cetus rises to establish the kingdom of the Antichrist.

Cetus, the sea monster, concludes Act Two of our three-act drama by being bound and chained. In Act One, our Savior is seen saving us from the penalty of sin. In Act Two, He can be seen saving us from the power of sin. As we shall see next month, Act Three will show the Savior saving us from the presence of sin.

The Gospel in the Stars: Part 1

By on July 17, 2011

Long before men perverted the message of the constellations and established ancient idolatry, God named the stars and set them in the heavens for signs:

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Genesis 1:14).

The book of Job predates the writing of Genesis. Though it is part of the Bible, it was written about a man who lived before Moses. Job had no written Bible. The Bible this ancient pilgrim read consisted of a series of constellations that appeared in the night skies high above the earth.

There are references to these constellations in the book of Job, along with an explanation of why they appear as they do in the heavens. Job 26 tells us that the “crooked serpent” is one of God’s leading characters in this drama of the ages and that these constellations — these “pillars of heaven” — make up the “parts” of God’s “ways”:

“The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.

“By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.

Lo, these are parts of his ways …  (Job 26:11,13-14).

These verses explain that the constellations were devised to teach early man about God’s plan for redemption. In the writings of his five famous books, Moses noted that the sun, moon, planets and stars were given for “signs” (Genesis 1:14).

In The Gospel in the Stars, Joseph Seiss wrote: “For ages this whole field has been almost entirely left to a superstitious and idolatrous astrology, which has befouled a noble and divine science and done immeasurable damage to the souls of men. But we here find it claimed to be a sacred domain laid out of God in the original intent of Creation itself.”

Cicero, in translating the account of the constellations by Aratus, says, “The signs are measured out, that in so many descriptions divine wisdom might appear.”

Dr. Adam Clarke says of the ancient Egyptians, “They held the stars to be symbols of sacred things.” It is well known that “astronomy was the soul of the Egyptian religious system. The same is equally true of the Chaldeans and Assyrians.”

Albert Barnes once wrote: “There can be no doubt that Job refers here to the constellations,” and that “the sense in the passage is, that the greatness and glory of God are seen by forming the beautiful and glorious constellations that adorn the sky.”

The constellations were known and studied as far back as the earliest civilizations known to exist. The Sphinx that guards the Great Pyramid of Giza, with its woman’s head and lion’s body, testifies to the ancient existence of the constellations. The Zodiac is part of every ancient culture – the Romans, Greeks, Babylonians and Egyptians. Yet, before them all, Job confirmed that God had garnished the heavens with “pillars” — including the “crooked serpent” — and that they represent the “parts of his ways.” 

The Characters in the Drama

The “serpent” mentioned in Job 26:13 is one of the leading characters noted in Job’s Mazzaroth (Zodiac). The various constellations that refer to the serpent are:

Draco – a dragon curled around the northern polar star and whose tail covers a third of the circle of the heavens.

Cetus – the Leviathan or sea dragon.

Scorpio – the seed of the serpent.

Hydra – the many-headed dragon, whose tail also covers a third of the ecliptic path of the sun.

The Hebrew term used for “crooked” actually refers to a “fleeing” serpent. Among the various serpent figures in the Zodiac, Hydra is the only one seen trying to get away from the lion, who pounces on his head; the bird, who eats his flesh; and the bowl of wrath being poured out upon him. Therefore, Hydra appears to be the “fleeing serpent” referred to in this most ancient of Old Testament books.

Job knew about the story God had placed in the stars. It is the story of the conflict between the Seed of the woman (Virgo) and Scorpio, the seed of the serpent. The son of Virgo is none other than the Son of God, while Scorpio points to the Antichrist.

Christ is depicted in the constellations in various ways. The first and last constellations tell the story of the Savior. They are Virgo – who bears the Son of God and Leo – the Conquering Lion who comes to destroy Hydra, the many-headed Dragon. The story begins in Bethlehem and ends with the King of kings returning to conquer the old serpent who brought such ruin to the human race.

Job does not give a detailed account of the Zodiac, but refers briefly to those constellations that deal with the final judgment. He is asked about certain objects in the constellation of Taurus. It is quite remarkable that the conversation lands on this particular series of stars and sidereal sidepieces in Taurus because this is the constellation that deals with the “Day of the Lord.”  Note that God refers to a group of stars called the Pleiades and the constellation of Orion, both found in and around Taurus. Then Job refers to Arcturus (KJV), whose name in Hebrew is Ash  “bear,” a clear reference to Ursa Major; and finally to the “chambers of the south”:

“Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.

“Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.

“Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number” (Job 9:8-10).

Before we look at these, let us note one other passage that deals with these same constellations. Note that the ancient star chart is called by its Hebrew term, “Mazzaroth,” rather than the modern term, Zodiac:

“Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

“Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? 

“Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? (Job 38:31-33)

This is a powerful statement that connects the last four constellations with a future designated time in which the mighty Orion returns to judge the world — as seen in the four concluding constellations of Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo. These are the “ordinances of heaven” that, evidently, Job did not understand.

The seven stars of Pleiades may be a reference to the seven churches of Asia. In ancient Greek mythology, Pleiades were seven sisters loved by Orion. Their astronomical positions in relation to each other are similar to the various locations of the seven cities of ancient Asia. The “sweet influences” may be a reference to the impact Christianity has had upon the world over the past two millennia.

The “bands of Orion” refers to the mighty belt of which he is invincibly girded, whose bands no one can loose. In the corrupted mythology of the Greeks, Orion walked on water; was stung in the heal by Scorpio; prepared a lake of fire for the god of fire; and out of love for the Pleiadic maiden, ridded the earth of all noxious beasts. Though corrupted, the original message is obvious. Christ displayed all of the attributes of Orion.

Taurus, depicted in the heavens as a raging bull, means “the Coming Judge.” Over a century ago, Joseph Seiss titled his chapter on Taurus as “The Day of the Lord.” The twelve major constellations, beginning with Virgo and ending with Leo, are divided into three groups of four constellations each. The first four, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius, present the First Advent of Christ. The next four, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, and Aries, tell the story of the Church Age. The final four, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, and Leo, tell of the Second Advent of Christ.

Like Job, however, we must admit ignorance when it comes to the question that God put to the ancient pilgrim: “Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?” (Job 38:33). We can only speculate. We know very little about these “ordinances of heaven.”

The Biblical View of the Constellations

David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God … Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” Obviously, there is a message in the heavens that we need to understand.

For centuries, astrologers have been prognosticating the future, using the zodiac and its series of planets, stars and constellations. Where did they get the idea for such a thing? What is Astrology? And, what possible connection does it have with the Bible?

We are reminded that astrology is a wicked and perverted religion. It was the idolatry of the Old Testament, and should rightly be regarded as satanic. Long before astrology was developed, however, there was an ancient astronomy that dealt with an altogether different message. Students of Eschatology need to understand that message. It is the original prophecy of the First and Second Advents of the Messiah.

If Christians could only understand the original prophetic message given in the ancient names of the stars and constellations, no one would become ignorantly involved with astrology. The truth would indeed set men free from that ancient idolatry.

According to Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian of the first century, Seth, the son of Adam, invented “that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies and their order” (“Antiquities,” Book I, Chapter 2, Paragraph 3).

Long before the development of astrology, God placed His intriguing message in the constellations. Every pagan religion throughout history is nothing more than a perversion of that original story. During the days of the Tower of Babel, wicked men perverted God’s original message and made the constellations to mean something quite different from that which God intended.

According to Genesis 1:14, God created the sun, moon, planets, and stars for four basic reasons — three of which, were to give the human race a method by which to measure time. For example, the days of our week are named after the sun, moon, and five planets.

Though the stars were basically stationary, these seven ancient wanderers were not. They moved through the heavens with precision. Sunday was named for the sun; Monday was named for the moon; Tuesday derived its name from an ancient Anglo-Saxon word for Mars; Wednesday, or Woden’s day, was named for the planet Mercury; Thursday, or Thor’s day, was named for Jupiter; Friday derived its name from an Anglo-Saxon word for Venus; And Saturday was named for Saturn.

There are twelve major constellations from which are derived the months in a year. The sun enters a different constellation each month. The moon was made to revolve for the counting of those months. In fact, the word “month” is a derivative from the term “moon.”

The stars were originally divided into 48 constellations — 12 major constellations, with 36 decans or sidereal sidepieces.

Furthermore, the stars were given certain names, many of which have survived throughout the course of history. In Psalm 147:4, we are told that God named the stars: “He telleth the number of the stars; He calleth them all by their names.” 

And again in Isaiah 40:26, the prophet wrote: “Lift up your eyes on high and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth.”

When David wrote, “night unto night sheweth knowledge” (Psalm 19:2), he must have been referring to meanings of the names of the stars. Though most people in our generation are not aware of those ancient names, David and his contemporaries were. In his native language of Hebrew, the names of the stars were commonly used in messianic prophecies.

Kenneth C. Flemming, in his book “God’s Voice in the Stars,” wrote, “God Himself is responsible for the names of the stars. He did not entrust this task to Adam, as He did in the giving of names to animals.

“During the first 2,500 years of human history, before writing became widespread, these signs in the night sky were of particular importance. They declared the glory of God as seen in the coming of the Savior” (page 23).

Where to Begin?

Since the great constellations tell the Gospel story, we must determine where our study should begin. In the idolatrous religion of astrology, the first constellation is considered to be Aries. Idolatry, however, is diametrically opposite to God’s great message of salvation. Therefore, the beginning constellation should be 180 degrees opposite from Aries. The Gospel in the stars begins with Virgo, the virgin and ends with Leo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

The ancient Egyptians designated the beginning of the heavenly series with Virgo when they constructed the sphinx, which stands to the east of the great pyramid of Giza. It shows a woman’s head on the body of a lion — indicating that the ancient star chart began with the virgin and ended with the lion. Prophetically, Virgo represents the First Coming of Christ, and Leo points to the Second Coming. The message begins at Bethlehem, and concludes with the return of Christ!

Act One of Three Acts

The story is divided into a three-act play. The first four major constellations and their sidepieces constitute Act One, and ends with Draco losing his lofty position in the northern polar region. Act Two covers the story found in Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces and Aries, and ends with Cetus (the sea monster) rising out of the sea. Act Three tells the story of Taurus, Gemini, Cancer and Leo, and concludes with Hydra (the many headed serpent) being destroyed.

The ancient star chart revolves around the story of the dispensation of Grace. There is nothing in the Zodiac about the Creation, Flood, Law, tabernacle, or temple. There is nothing in the stars to represent the great dispensations that preceded Bethlehem. The whole message woven throughout the ancient constellations gives us the dispensation of Grace. Act One tells about the Savior’s First Advent; Act Two covers the Church Age; and Act Three gives us His Second Coming.

Virgo

The constellation, Virgo, was given to represent God’s promise in Genesis 3:15. It was in Eden that God spoke to the beguiling serpent: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel.” 

The fact that the constellation is called a virgin reminds us of Isaiah 7:14: “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name, Immanuel.”

The picture of Virgo is that of a woman with a shock of wheat in her left hand and a branch in her right hand. The brightest star in the constellation is located in the seed of the wheat. The star is called Spica, a Latin word meaning “the branch.” Along with the branch in her right hand, we are reminded of Isaiah 4:2: “In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious.” 

In the Old Testament, our Savior is called “a rod of the stem of Jesse … a root out of dry ground.” And Zechariah called Him the “Branch.”

There are three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of Virgo, making a total of four constellations. There is Coma — the Virgin with her newborn son; Boötes — the great harvestman; and Centaurus — the archer.

Coma

The word Coma means “the desired,” for the child in the lap of his mother represents the desired one, the desire of women, the desire of all nations — the long awaited Messiah.

Isaiah offers another scripture that identifies this child. He wrote:

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Yes, the virgin of Isaiah 7:14 bears a son, Immanuel — “God with us!”

Boötes

Boötes is pictured as a shepherd — bearing his rod, and as a harvestman — bearing his sickle. It is the Seed of the woman who will come to reap the great harvest. The word Boötes means, “the Coming One.” Another name for the Constellation was taken from a star in the left knee of the Shepherd. It was called Arcturus, which also means, “He cometh.”

Centaurus

In the ancient star chart, the Centaur is pictured as being half human and half horse. That, however, is not the original concept of the constellation. The name Centaurus simply means, “two natures.” Obviously, it referred to the fact that since the Seed of the woman was “virgin born,” he was not the seed of man. His two natures, then, represent a combination of humanity and deity. He is God clothed in human flesh and, therefore, can rightly be called Immanuel, which means “God with us.”

In Genesis 15, the story is given of Abraham and the covenant made by God with him. Genesis 15:5: “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward the heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, so shall thy seed be.” 

The message written in the stars refers to the “seed” of Abraham. The telling of the stars and the numbering of the stars presents a prophetic message of the coming Savior of the world. Jesus Christ is the ultimate fulfillment of that great message. Virgo and her attending sidereal sidepieces represent the beginning of an adventure to destroy the seed of the serpent and to rescue the human race.

In the 12th chapter of Revelation she is seen clothed in the sun with the moon under her feet, giving birth to the Messiah. This tells us that His birth was on Rosh Hashanah, a time when the constellation Virgo is hidden by the sun and the new moon appears beneath her feet! Virgo represents both the house of Israel and Mary.

Libra

The next major constellation is Libra. There are two ancient stories that emerge from this constellation. The first rendering of Libra was that of a lamp — indicative of the servant lamp in the menorah. Scorpio is shown in some ancient drawings as trying to seize the lamp. The lamp denotes the nature of the “seed of the woman,” being positioned just beneath the feet of Virgo. Scorpio wants the lamp for himself. Scorpio, as we shall see, represents the “seed of the serpent.” It is the first representation of the conflict between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

In other cultures, Libra was depicted as a set of scales. Libra represented the condition of the human race after the fall of Adam. “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting” (Dan. 5:27). The sign of Libra has been associated with justice and order throughout the centuries. For that reason, the symbol has often been used on buildings housing courts of law and justice.

This was the message given to Belshazzar, king of Babylon. In Daniel 5:27, Belshazzar failed to satisfy the righteous demands of God: “Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting.” Is that not also descriptive of the human race? We are all guilty before the great Judge.

There are two main stars in the sign of Libra, which tell the story of the prophecy. In one side of the scales, there is a star called Zuben Al Genubi. It means “the price which is deficient.” Undoubtedly, it points to the price which man might attempt to pay for redemption. There is no way one can obtain salvation through good works for the price is deficient.

On the other side of the scales, however, there is a star called Zuben Al Chemali, meaning “the price which covers.” It is a picture of the price paid by Christ for the redemption of the sinner.

The constellation, Libra, is attended by three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story of the price of redemption.

Crux – The Southern Cross

The first of the three constellations related to Libra is a group of stars in the form of the Southern Cross. The ancient title is Crux. In the northern hemisphere, we cannot see the Southern Cross. It lies below the southern horizon. In the ancient star charts, by the way, the south always represented hell, and the north represented heaven. The constellation reveals the price that was paid by the seed of the woman in order to redeem mankind.

Lupus

The second constellation related to Libra is known as Lupus, but the Latins called it Victima — the victim. The seed of the woman became the victim upon the cross and, in so doing, became the price that covers.

Corona Borealis

The third constellation in Libra is called Corona Borealis — the Northern Crown. It is a beautiful semi-circle of a half dozen stars located in the northern hemisphere. The story of Libra is this — man is a sinner. We are weighed in the balances of God’s justice and are found wanting. The seed of the woman, however, came to become a victim — to pay the price for our sins. He died as a substitute upon the Southern Cross that He might gain for us the Northern Crown.

Scorpio

The third great constellation is Scorpio. It represents a scorpion, though in some early cultures, he is depicted as a dragon or serpent. As we said earlier, in the 7th century B.C., he is shown trying to seize the lamp. Scorpio wants to be the “light of the world.” In other cultures, Scorpio is seen trying to sting the heel of the mighty Ophiuchus, who is seen in the ancient star charts wrestling with a great snake, called Serpens.

While the Scorpion is trying to wound the heel of Ophiuchus, the head of Scorpio is being wounded. It is said that the word, Scorpio, means “the Lawless One,” and as such, represents the seed of the serpent — the Antichrist.

The star in the heart of Scorpio is called Anteres. When seen in the nighttime sky, it gives the appearance of a deep red color and means, “the wounding.” While Ophiuchus is crushing the head of Scorpio, he is seen binding the serpent, who is trying to gain the northern crown. There are three sidereal sidepieces to the constellation Scorpio — Serpens, Ophiuchus, and Hercules. These help to tell the story of the conflict seen in Scorpio.

Serpens

The serpent (Serpens) represents Satan, who has tried to usurp the throne of God. He is seen trying to grab the Northern Crown. He cannot do so, however, because he is being held back by Ophiuchus.

Ophiuchus

Ophiuchus is obviously a view of Christ who, though His heel is bruised in the conflict, succeeds in bruising the head of the Lawless One. In his hands he holds Serpens, keeping him from obtaining the Northern Crown.

Hercules

The other hero character is Hercules. He can be seen in the star chart beating a many-headed snake with his club. The snake is shown in the branches of a tree — most likely the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Hercules is another picture of the great Redeemer.

Kenneth C. Fleming, in his book God’s Voice in the Stars, wrote that the sign of Virgo pointed to Christ as the sign of the promised Seed of the woman; the sign of Libra showed the price He paid to secure man’s redemption; and the sign of Scorpio presented the conflict He had to endure. These celestial prophecies were given in the beginning, and were confirmed and expanded in Scripture.

Finally, they were fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ. Scorpio, who represents the Lawless One, is pictured as the seed of the serpent. In an ancient Egyptian Zodiac, the sign of Scorpio was represented as a monster serpent called Python. It not only represented the great conflict fought at Calvary, but also seems to have prophetic implications concerning the end-time when the Antichrist shall arise.

Sagittarius

The fourth great constellation is called Sagittarius, appearing in the form of a centaur — half human, half horse. It is the same concept as was given in the story of Virgo. Centarus, one of the sidereal sidepieces in Virgo, represented the two natures of the Redeemer — His deity and humanity. In Sagittarius, He is both triumphant and victorious. Though He appears in the form of a Centaur, we are reminded that our Savior will return some day, riding upon a flying white horse.

The main actor in the constellation is the Archer. The Centaur, or God-man, has a great bow in his hand, with the arrow aimed at the heart of Scorpio, the enemy. Sagittarius, like the other major constellations, has three sidereal sidepieces, which help to tell the story.

Lyra

First, there is Lyra. This star group is pictured as a harp and refers to the praise — so deserved by Sagittarius. The brightest star in the constellation is called Vega. It means, “He shall be exalted.” It directs our attention to the praise from the harp. In Revelation 5:9,13, we are told that the host of heaven will sing a new song saying, “Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation” (v. 9). The host of heaven will sing, “Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (v. 13).

Ara

Further to the south from Sagittarius is its second sidereal sidepiece — an altar called Ara. The altar is seen upside down, with its fire poured out over the South Pole — called “the regions of outer darkness.” Here begins a cloud of stars, which runs throughout the heavens. Today, it is called the Milky Way, but in some ancient star charts, it was referred to as “the lake of fire.”

The word Ara, name of the upturned altar means, “it is finished. There is no more sacrifice for sin.”

Draco

The concluding constellation, which forms a sidereal sidepiece to the great Sagittarius is Draco — the dragon. This staging of the dragon concludes the first act in the prophetic drama.

Draco is a long winding constellation made up of stars, which wrap around the northernmost part of the hemisphere. It covers one-third of the circumference and reminds us of Revelation 12:3,4:

“And there appeared another wonder in heaven, and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns upon his heads. 

“And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven.”

Some 4,700 years ago, the great dragon star, Thuban, was in fact the polar star. Over the centuries, however, Draco has fallen from his lofty position and has been replaced by Polaris — kicked out of heaven because he tried to usurp the throne of God.

The message seen in the ancient star chart tells a story quite different from that which astrology would have us believe. Those who would try to prognosticate the future, by use of a horoscope, are actually perverting God’s original message given in the constellations. Satan did not invent the zodiac. In fact, it is my opinion that Satan is incapable of inventing anything. He has only perverted what God originally created.

God made and named the great constellations and their stars. And the meanings of their names represent the message of redemption — from Virgo, corresponding with His birth at Bethlehem, to Leo, corresponding with His return as the “lion of the tribe of Judah” to establish His kingdom upon the earth.

Act Two

Act Two of the great drama is presented through the constellations of Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, and Aries. These signs, together with their constellations, explain not so much the person of the Redeemer, but the results of his redeeming work, particularly in relation to the people who are redeemed.

Capricorn

The curtain rises with a very unlikely actor on the stage. It is a goat with the tail of a fish. This strange monstrosity presents a magnificent message when we understand that the goat represents the sacrificial animal used on the Day of Atonement and the fish represents that body of believers who have received life out of the death of the great sacrifice.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the sacrificial goat and believers are represented by the fish. In some ancient star charts, the goat appears to be dying with its head bowed and its leg folded, while the fish tail is living and vigorous.

There are two stars in the head of the goat that tell the story. Daneb Algedi, which means “the sacrifice comes,” and Dabih, which means “the sacrifice slain.” Note that from the dying goat comes a living fish. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that Christ is the head of the Church while, in turn, the Church represents the body of Christ — thus the head of a goat and body of a fish. When Jesus appointed His first disciples in Matthew 4:19, He said, “I will make you fishers of men.”

Sagitta

There are three sidereal sidepieces that help to tell the story of Capricorn. First, there is a small but ancient constellation called Sagitta — the arrow of God’s judgment against sin. It represents that which pierced the Son of God when He became the sacrifice for the sins of the world. It depicts the instrument of divine justice on Christ who took the place of guilty man.

The Psalmist wrote of it in Psalm 38:2, “Thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.” Job spoke of a similar thing when he lamented, “The arrows of the almighty are within me” (Job 6:4). Every born again believer can appreciate with deep feeling that “He was wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5).

Aquilla

The second sidereal sidepiece is Aquilla — the falling eagle. The ancient names for the stars in the constellation tell the obvious story. There is a star in the falling eagle called Al Okal, which means “wounded in the heel.”

Furthermore, the eagle is one of the symbols of Christ in the Bible. For instance, in Exodus 19:4, God spoke to Moses and the children of Israel saying, “I bear you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto myself.” 

Kenneth C. Fleming, in his book God’s Voice in the Stars, put it this way: “The eagle seen in this constellation is consistent with what we have noted in the whole sign of Capricorn. The slain goat of the sin offering is followed by the arrow of God’s judgment and the pierced and falling eagle.”

Delphinus

The third sidereal sidepiece is a constellation called Delphinus. It represents a dolphin, springing out of water. It is the picture of resurrection. Our Savior died to rise again.

Furthermore, the dolphin is another creature born of water — and, may I add, water is a type of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The resurrected dolphin represents eternal life given to all who believe.

Aquarius

The next major constellation following Capricorn is Aquarius — the great water bearer. Our Savior identified Himself as the fulfillment of Aquarius in John 4:14. He said, “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”

Furthermore, we can see its fulfillment on the Day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God was poured out upon believers. That is the message to be found in Aquarius. Throughout the Bible, water has been symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

The prophet Joel described it when he wrote, “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28).

The Apostle Peter repeated the message on the Day of Pentecost when he explained the “rushing mighty wind” and the “tongues like as of fire” that “sat upon each of them.” Yes, the message in the constellation Aquarius found its ultimate fulfillment through the Day of Pentecost.

Pisces Australis

The water bearer can be seen pouring out his water upon Pisces Austrialis, the Southern Fish — the first of the sidereal sidepieces. The fish, again, represents that which was born of water and of the spirit — that great body of believers down through the ages.

Cygnus

The second sidereal sidepiece in the constellation Aquarius is called Cygnus — the Swan of the Northern Cross. The constellation reveals a beautiful swan flying across the heavens, but the stars form the shape of a cross. It implies the message of “going to and fro throughout the earth bearing the sign of the cross.”

Pegasus

The third sidereal sidepiece is a flying white horse named Pegasus. Its message is that of the returning Christ. Revelation 19 reveals the beautiful story:

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 

“His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 

“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:11-13).

This is the message to be found in Pegasus. Please note, the dispensation begins with the pouring out of His Spirit upon all flesh as seen by the great water bearer. The constellation Pisces Austrinus represents that vast throng of believers who have received the water of life.

During this dispensation, it is our responsibility to go to and fro throughout the earth bearing the sign of the cross as can be seen in the constellation Cygnus. Finally, the dispensation will end with the return of Jesus Christ in power and great glory on the back of a flying white horse as seen by the constellation Pegasus.

In the shoulder of Pegasus there is a bright star called Markab. It means “returning from afar.” For more than 2,500 years the world was without a written revelation from God. The question is, “Did God leave Himself without a witness?” We are told in the Scriptures that He did not. In Romans 1:19, it is written, “That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” 

But how was God known? How were His invisible things — His plans, His purposes, and His councils known since the creation of the world? We are given the answer in Roman 10:18. Having stated in verse 17 that “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” He asks, “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily.” And we may ask, “How have they heard?” The answer follows; “Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Romans 10:18).

What words? What instructions? Whose message? There is only one answer and that is the heavens! Long before there was a written Bible, there was a message written in the stars. Romans 10:18 refers to that message. It is a passage quoted from Psalm 19, the first part of which is occupied with the revelation of God written in the stars, and the latter part of the chapter with the revelation of God written in the word. This is the simple explanation of the beautiful Psalm 19:1-2:

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

“Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.”

The Human Brain: Home of the Soul, Part 2

By on April 11, 2011

The Human Brain: Home of the Soul
Chapter Twelve (Part Two)

Shortly after writing the previous chapter, I came across a 1995 TIME magazine yearbook offering an article entitled, “Glimpses of the Mind.” The editorial staff at TIME reported: “The mystery is deep, a set of interrelated conundrums perhaps as old as humanity: What, precisely, is the mind, the elusive entity where intelligence, decision making, perception, awareness and a sense of self reside? Where is it located? How does it work? Does it arise from purely physical processes — pulses of electricity zapping from brain cell to brain cell, helped along their way by myriad complex chemicals? Or is it something beyond the merely physical — something ethereal that might be close to the spiritual concept of the soul?” Those questions were similar to my own — questions that led me into this study on the human brain in the first place.

That same day, I received Chuck Missler’s February 1999 newsletter that included a similar article on the brain. His research compares remarkably with what we have learned. He wrote that the brain has been estimated to be “… composed of 1010 nerve cells, each with 104 – 105 connecting fibers, thus approaching 1015 separate connections.” To help us comprehend these astronomical numbers, he said, “Try to imagine a 1015 equivalent: imagine a forest half the size of the United States — about 1 million square miles. Assume there were 10,000 trees per square mile, each with 100,000 leaves on each tree. That’s a bunch.” His premise is that the brain is a “…  highly organized network of uniquely adaptive communication channels. If only 1% of the connections were specifically organized pathways, it would still represent a greater number of connections than the entire communications network on the Planet Earth.”

Missler told about Wilder Penfield, a Canadian neurosurgeon, who published The Mystery of the Mind (1920s), in which he speculated that all memory is recorded in the brain and stored in specific locations. On the other hand, Karl Pribram, a neurophysiologist at Stanford University, in his book, Languages of the Brain, found that removing parts of the brain did not eradicate memories. He set forth the theory that memories were not localized at specific brain sites, but were somehow distributed throughout the brain as a whole. Missler writes, “When Pribram discovered holography, he was ecstatic. If it was possible for every portion of a piece of holographic film to contain all the information necessary to create a whole image, then it seemed equally possible for every part of the brain to contain all of the information necessary to recall a whole memory.”

He continues, “The holographic paradigm also explains how the brain can store so many memories in so little space. The physicist John von Neumann, once calculated that over the course of the average lifetime, the brain stores something on the order of 2.8 x 1020 bits of information  … that’s 1,000 bits for every second in the entire history of the universe!”

It is said that if a hologram were cut into a thousand pieces, each piece would contain a complete picture. This accounts for the theory expressed above that the brain stores every memory in a holographic process. Pretty impressive possibilities! Missler concludes, “the notion of the mind is broader than simply the organ we call the brain. There are aspects to imagination, inspiration and creativity that go far beyond the mechanisms for storage, recall, and processing. Is there a ‘holy of holies’ in our own being that doesn’t lend itself to x-rays, ultrasound or electron microscopes? Is there a hyper-dimensional transformer or transfer function that connects us to another dimension beyond those of our consciousness?”

This is precisely the theory we have thus far explored. It appears that the brain may be connected to a mysterious source beyond this dimension. It may be that memory is stored in that other world, and that the brain processes, transfers and retrieves that memory continually. For lack of a better example, we have compared the brain to a sophisticated computer, endowed with a certain amount of random access memory (RAM), but that memory may also be stored in an off-premise storage unit (in heaven) — similar to a main-frame computer accessed by someone through a wireless modem.

I envision such a process in which, when we confess our sins, God erases the stored memory of the event in question. We are told that God will blot out our transgressions: “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25). However, we cannot seem to forget our sin that easily. Evil seems to affect the brain in a far more permanent way than pleasant memories. The TIME article states:

“Physical trauma can distort memory, presumably by destroying all or part of one of the memory-processing structures. But other sorts of shock — strong emotion, for example — can do the same. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a good example of the brain reacting to shock. ‘It’s been an eye opener to me that individuals we study who were traumatized 25 years ago still show abnormal brain function,’ says Dennis Charney, head of psychiatry at a VA hospital in Connecticut. ‘Severe stress can change the way your brain functions biologically.’”

The brain can actually be permanently damaged by the evils in which men engage. Perhaps that is why the forbidden fruit was referred to as the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil.” The very knowledge of evil can have a potentially deadly effect on the processes used to assimilate knowledge in the brain. TIME continues:

“Until a few years ago, unraveling the relationship of mind and brain was beyond the realm of observation and experimentation. But science has finally begun to catch up with philosophy. Using sensitive electrodes inserted deep into the gray matter of test animals, researchers have watched vision as it percolates inward from the eye’s retina to the inner brain. Powerful technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Positron-Emission Tomography (PET) have also provided a window to the human brain, enabling scientists to watch a thought taking place, see the red glow of fear erupting from the structure known as the amygdala, or note the telltale firing of neurons as a long-buried memory is reconstructed. ‘What’s so exciting,’ says Patricia Churchland, a professor at the University of California at San Diego, ‘is that the philosophical questions raised by the Greeks are coming within the province of science.’

“In response to this enormous opportunity — not just to clarify the mysteries of consciousness but also to understand and treat such devastating mind malfunctions as Alzheimer’s disease, depression, drug addiction, schizophrenia and traumatic brain damage — research projects have multiplied dramatically.”

Consulting the Rabbis

Scientific studies are trying to determine whether we are purely a chemical entity or if some ethereal spirit dwells within the brain. And that brings me to a third resource — the Zohar, an ancient Jewish commentary. One of our readers had called with a question about a quote I had referred to on our television program, so I picked up one of the volumes of the Zohar, a Jewish commentary on the Torah in order to look for my resource. As I leafed through the pages, my eyes fell upon the word nephesh. Knowing that nephesh was the Hebrew word for “soul,” my interest was stirred.

Think of it. Within a month, I had “accidentally” come across more resource material on the human brain — home of the soul! Was all of this mere coincidence? Or was someone communicating with me from beyond this dimension — the very premise I had entertained in my previous articles on this subject?

In this ancient writing, Jewish scholars claimed that the soul contains a trinity of entities that form a unity:

“Three names has the soul of man: nephesh, ruah and neshamah. They are all comprised one within the other, yet upon death they have three distinct abodes:

Nephesh [translated ‘soul’ in the KJV] remains in the grave until the body is decomposed and turned into dust, during which time it flits about in this world, seeking to mingle with the living and to learn of their troubles; and in the hour of need it intercedes for them.

Ruah [translated ‘spirit’ in the KJV] enters paradise and there dons a likeness which is in the semblance of the body: that likeness being, as it were, a garment with which the spirit robes itself, so that it may enjoy the delights of paradise.

Neshamah [translated ‘breath’ in the KJV] ascends at once to her place, the region from whence she [note the feminine nature of this entity] emanated, and for her sake the light is kindled to shine above. She never again descends to earth. In her is consummated the One Who combines all sides, the upper and the lower. And as long as she has not ascended to be united with the Throne, the ruah [spirit] cannot crown itself in paradise, nor can the nephesh [soul] be at ease in its place; but when she ascends all the others find rest.”

I was aware of what the Bible teaches about the soul and spirit, as taught through the Hebrew terms nephesh [soul] and ruah [spirit], but I was not familiar with the term neshamah. However, upon further research, I learned that it is the Hebrew term used in the scripture where God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the “breath of life.” Neshamah is the term translated “breath” in Genesis 2:7:

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7).

The Hebrew for “breath of life” is neshamah ,nab (breath) and chai ohj (life). Now let’s see if we can get this straight. According to early Jewish scholars, what we call the soul is actually made up of three entities. The nephesh appears to be our human life-consciousness — similar to the life-consciousness of an animal. According to the Bible, animals also have a nephesh. But, as far as we can determine, an animal does not have a God-consciousness. That is where the neshamah comes in. That is the part that was breathed into us by God, Himself. The ruah (pronounced ruach) is the spirit that connects our neshamah to our nephesh. At least that is the theory espoused by the rabbis. They put it this way:

“The nephesh possesses in itself no light and cannot out of its own being engender it, and for this reason it is in close connection and deeply enmeshed with its body. The ruah rides upon the nephesh, dominates it, and enlightens it with supernal glory, as much as it can bear; this nephesh is the throne of its ruah. The neshamah produces the ruah, rules over it, and sheds upon it the light of life. The ruah depends entirely upon the neshamah and is lit up by its light and nourished by its celestial food, while the nephesh is similarly dependent on the ruah.”

Note the use of the term “light of life” possessed by the neshamah. It is the same terminology used of our Savior in the opening chapter of John’s Gospel:

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

“And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

“The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

“He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:4-9).

Jesus possessed the light of the neshamah. How curious! Using this analogy, let us see if we can figure out just what happened to Adam when he sinned. God had told him that if he sinned, he would die. But we know that Adam did not die physically on the day he partook of the forbidden fruit. Christian theologians have long believed that it was the spirit of Adam that lost its fellowship with God and needed to be regenerated. That makes sense. It seems that the ruah was somehow impaired, severing the connection between the nephesh and the neshamah — between Adam’s life-consciousness and his God-consciousness. Thus, the fellowship was broken. God would no longer come down to walk in the Garden and visit with Adam in the cool of the day. Adam was driven from the Garden. Paradise was lost.

We have only to observe a natural unsaved man to understand this concept. The unsaved man has no comprehension of God’s marvelous work on his behalf. As far as most men are concerned, there is no God. Oh, he may give an intellectual explanation for the existence of some “man upstairs,” but he has no experience to back up his statement. A man must be regenerated by the Holy Spirit in order to absolutely know in his soul that there is a God caring for and watching over him. This could be what the Bible calls being “born again.” Something has to be “reborn” inside of us. That entity “reborn” is what the rabbis call the ruah.

A side note: the rabbis — those who do not believe in the triune Godhead (trinity) — do believe in the trinity of the human soul as three in one! This ancient commentary does not take into account the fact that Christ died and rose again. Their belief concerning the soul is stuck back in the days of the Old Testament, before salvation became available. In describing the nephesh [soul] of the dead, the rabbis said that it stayed with the body until it had decayed and the bones were parted. This may be the reason why Jews, in Bible days, buried their dead in caves rather than underground. Recent excavations of tombs in Jerusalem found that the bones of the departed were separated and stored in small coffins. Perhaps these bones were removed from the funerary slab and separated in an effort to free the soul for its journey to reunite with its ruah and neshamah.

According to the rabbis, the soul of the dead can be contacted:

“Now when the children of men are in sorrow or trouble, and repair to the graves of the departed, then the nephesh is awakened and it wanders forth and rouses the ruah, which in turn rouses the Patriarchs, and then the neshamah. Then the Holy One, blessed be He, takes pity on the world. This matter has already been explained, although the doctrine of the neshamah has been put in a somewhat different form; but it all amounts to the same, and what we have said is entirely correct.”

Perhaps this is why Jews congregate at the tomb of Abraham to pray. Somehow, they think Abraham might intercede.

The following commentary may explain why various ancient cultures believed in ghosts — departed spirits that appear to be locked into this plane of existence:

“Now if the neshamah is hindered from ascending to her rightful place, then the ruah, when it reaches the door of paradise, finds it barred, and it cannot enter and so roams about unnoticed and forlorn; and as for the nephesh, it wanders about the world and beholds the body which was once its home devoured by worms and suffering the judgment of the grave, and it mourns. Thus all suffer punishment, and so they remain until the neshamah is able to attain to her rightful sphere; for all three are one, forming one whole, united in a mystical bond, according to the prototype above, in which nephesh, ruah and neshamah constitute together one totality.”

It is obvious from this ancient Jewish teaching, that Judaism does not accept the fact that Adam sinned and caused the fall of the human race. They do not believe that men are born with fallen natures. Jews teach that every man is born with a clean slate. Since man is not a sinner, he does not need to be saved. In this theory, Jews leave no room for regeneration. They fail to understand that God told Adam, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

It is our conviction that the spirit of Adam could only be regenerated by the Holy Spirit after the death and resurrection of Christ. This revival or regeneration occurs at the moment of conversion. This is why we are encouraged to become soul winners. This is why we are commanded to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. We believe that at the moment the sinner repents of sin, prays for forgiveness and trusts in Jesus Christ, his spirit is regenerated. The Holy Spirit endows that human spirit with eternal life.

Christianity believes that man is a trinity consisting of body, soul and spirit. The rabbis, on the other hand, do not take into account the body. They see a trinity in the soul alone — consisting of soul, spirit and the neshamah:

Similarly in man below, the three are one — yet separate. The neshamah ascends aloft to the fountain-head; the ruah enters paradise: and the nephesh finds rest in the grave. Thus there are three grades of the soul distinct one from another, although they form one bond and one mystery.

I am bothered by their assertion that the soul stays with the body in the grave until the flesh has turned to dust and the bones are separated. Most conservative Christian theologians teach that the soul of the saint ascends into heaven and that the soul of the sinner descends into hell.

In the final analysis, the rabbis believe the three entities of the soul finally get back together: “When that ruah ascends to be crowned within its neshamah which is above, the nephesh joins the ruah and receives illumination from it, which causes itself to shine, even as the moon borrows light from the sun. And that ruah then joins itself to the neshamah, and the neshamah unites herself with the Infinite.

“Thus is achieved harmony, peace and union. This constitutes the attainment of the rest and quietude of the nephesh, concerning which it is written: ‘But the soul (nephesh) of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life with (aleph-tahv) the Lord thy God’ (I Samuel 25:29); that is to say, in the union symbolized by the aleph-tahv (signifying the union of all things). Blessed are the righteous who fear their Lord in this world, for they merit the threefold rest of saints in the world to come.”

Here is an interesting statement — the rabbis believe the reunited soul is “bound in the bundle of life with the aleph-tahv.” Though they do not recognize Jesus Christ as Messiah, Jesus, Himself, claimed to be the Aleph-Tahv, the Hebrew equivalent of the Alpha and Omega. They are actually saying that the soul that makes it to heaven enjoys fellowship with the Messiah.

This excursion into the realm of Jewish thinking about the soul still leaves us with the mystery of the human brain and its connection with consciousness — the sense of being in the here and now. The TIME article drew this conclusion:

“Does this mean that science is on the verge of understanding consciousness? Not necessarily. The notion that the human mind can ever fully comprehend the human mind could well be folly. It may be that scientists will eventually have to acknowledge the existence of something beyond their ken — something that might be described as the soul.”

Ghosts and Spirits

Reports abound throughout the centuries about people seeing strange, dimly-lit wisps of vapor-like images of people who have died. Are these “ghosts” merely figments of imagination? Or are they actually glimpses across the dimensional plane where the spirits of those people continue their existence? The Bible tells us about Jesus casting demons out of people. Is it possible that other intelligent entities can actually enter into a person and cause them mental or emotional problems? If so, and I have no doubt as to its reality, then those demonic spirits must exist in another dimension rather than coming from another galaxy or distant star system.

Out of the Body Experiences

Nature magazine, September 19, 2002, reported that neuroscientist Olaf Blanke, at the Geneva University Hospital, in Switzerland, was able to bring about an out-of-body experience through electrical stimulation of the right angular gyrus in the temporal lobe of a 43 year-old woman suffering from severe epileptic seizures.

With the first mild stimulation, she felt she was “sinking into the bed” or “falling from a height.” With more intense stimulation, she said she could “see myself lying in bed, from above, but I only see my legs and lower trunk.” Another trial induced “an instantaneous feeling of lightness and floating about six feet above the bed, close to the ceiling.”

For centuries, man’s mysterious brain has been capable of encountering other worldly experiences through prayer, meditation, or the influence of drugs. Mystics have told of having a “third eye” capable of clairvoyant perception, seeing ghosts and reading minds. But now, science has discovered a breakthrough in the production of such experiences. According to the first-century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, this forbidden territory awaits the death of every person. The righteous travel through a tunnel of light to the gate of the nether world, where angels escort them to Paradise. But the wicked arrive at the gate, only to be dragged away by demons into torment.

There are many stories about people who have dropped into a dream-state, left their bodies and traveled to other places. Do you believe this is possible? If you deny its possibility, then I would like for you to consider a man named Paul, who tells of such an experience as he lay dying outside the city walls of Lystra:

“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.

“I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

“And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)

“How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (II Cor. 12:1-4).

After being stoned and taken up for dead, he revived and lived to tell about this incredible adventure. Yes, there is another world nearby, into which we can step when our physical brains begin to shut down and our bodies begin to die.

Near Death Experiences

There are hundreds of recorded testimonies from people who have died, and later been resuscitated. Many tell of leaving their bodies, seeing the team of doctors and nurses working over them, traveling through a tunnel, and seeing a bright light at the other end of it. There are too many independent accounts of the same tunnel and same light for it to be a mere figment of the imagination. Nor could it simply be a chemical reaction in the brain. Those who have been there claim to have seen and talked with others who are there — Jesus, their relatives, etc. Their conversations are too similar, too dynamic, and too knowledgeable to be the result of simple chemical changes in the physical conditions of their brains.

Josephus’ Description of

Death and After

Perhaps the best extra-biblical account of the other world that exists just beyond our mental comprehension was given by the first-century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus. It is quite similar to the descriptions of the tunnel or heavenly hallway awaiting our souls:

“There is one descent into this region, at whose gate we believe there stands an archangel with an host; which gate when those pass through that are conducted down by the angels appointed over souls; they do not go the same way; but the just are guided to the right hand, and are led with hymns, sung by the angels appointed over that place unto a region of light, in which the just have dwelt from the beginning of the world; not constrained by necessity, but ever enjoying the prospect of the good things they see, and rejoice in the expectation of those new enjoyments, which will be peculiar to every one of them, and esteeming those things beyond what we have here; with whom there is no place of toil, no burning heat, no piercing cold, nor are any briers there; but the countenance of the fathers and of the just, which they see always smiles upon them, while they wait for that rest and eternal new life in heaven, which is to succeed this region. This place we call the Bosom of Abraham.

“But as to the unjust, they are dragged by force to the left hand by the angels allotted for punishment, no longer going with a good-will, but as prisoners driven by violence; to whom are sent the angels appointed over them to reproach them and threaten them with their terrible looks, and to thrust them still downwards. Now those angels that are set over these souls, drag them into the neighborhood of hell itself; who, when they are hard by it, continually hear the noise of it, and do not stand clear of the hot vapor itself; but when they have a nearer view of this spectacle, as of a terrible and exceeding great prospect of fire, they are struck with a fearful expectation of a future judgment, and in effect punished thereby; and not only so, but where they see the place of the fathers and of the just, even hereby are they punished; for a chaos deep and large is fixed between them; insomuch that a just man that hath compassion upon them cannot be admitted, nor can one that is unjust, if he were bold enough to attempt it, pass over it.

“This is the discourse concerning Hades, wherein the souls of all men are confined until a proper season, which God hath determined, when he will make a resurrection of all men from the dead, not procuring a transmigration of souls from one body to another, but raising again those very bodies, which you Greeks, seeing to be dissolved, do not believe; but learn not to disbelieve it; for while you believe that the soul is created, and yet is made immortal by God, according to the doctrine of Plato, and this in time, be not incredulous; but believe that God is able, when he hath raised to life that body which was made as a compound of the same elements, to make it immortal; for it must never be said of God, that he is able to do some things, and unable to do others. We have therefore believed that the body will be raised again; for although it be dissolved, it is not perished; for the earth receives its remains, and preserves them; and while they are like seed and are mixed among the more fruitful soil, they flourish and what is sown is indeed sown bare grain; but at the mighty sound of God the Creator, it will sprout up, and be raised in a clothed and glorious condition, though not before it has been dissolved, and mixed with the earth, So that we have not rashly believed the resurrection of the body; for although it be dissolved for a time on account of the original transgression, it exists still, and is cast into the earth as into a potters furnace, in order to be formed again, not in order to rise again such as it was before, but in a state of purity, and so as never to be destroyed any more; and to everybody shall its own soul be restored; and when it hath clothed itself with that body, it will not be subject to misery, but being itself pure, it will continue with its pure body, and rejoice with it, with which it having walked righteously now in this world, and never having had it as a snare, it will receive it again with great gladness; but as for the unjust, they will receive their bodies not changed, but with the same diseases wherein they died, and such as they were in their unbelief, the same shall they be when they shall be faithfully judged.

“For all men, the just as well as the unjust, shall be brought before God the Word; for to him hath the Father committed all judgment; and he in order to fulfill the will of his Father shall come as judge, whom we call Christ….

“… the just shall remember only their righteous actions whereby they have attained the heavenly kingdom, in which there is no sleep, no sorrow, no corruption, no care, no night, no day measured by time, no sun driven in his course along the circle of heaven by necessity; and measuring out the hounds and conversions of the seasons, for the better illumination of the life of men; no moon decreasing and increasing, or introducing a variety of seasons, nor will she then moisten the earth; no burning sun, no Bear turning round [the pole], no Orion to rise, no wandering of innumerable stars. The earth will not then be difficult to be passed over, nor will it be hard to find out the court of Paradise, nor will there be any fearful roaring of the sea, forbidding the passengers to walk on it; even that will be made easily passable to the just, though it will not be void of moisture. Heaven will not then be uninhabitable by men; and it will not be impossible to discover the way of ascending thither. The earth will not be uncultivated, nor require too much labor of men, but will bring forth its fruits of its own accord, and will be well adorned with them.”

There are two things of particular interest predicted by Josephus. First, he said, “nor will it be hard to find out the court of Paradise….” In other words, we shall someday possess the technology of trans-dimensional travel. We will be able to slide to and from this plane of existence into paradise, the dimension in which angelic creatures live, and return.

Secondly, Josephus said, “Heaven will not then be uninhabitable by men; and it will not be impossible to discover the way of ascending thither.” We have already begun to see man’s first attempts beyond the gravitational pull of planet Earth. We have sent men to the moon and robots to Mars. We are presently exploring the planets. But, when the souls who have died, have been resurrected with immortal bodies, and the church has been translated, we will all return with Christ possessing the knowledge and technology to travel across the universe! In our modern age, with new discoveries being made almost every day, perhaps it’s time we attempted to understand the concepts of those ancient mysteries, which lie just beyond our present comprehension.

 

The Human Brain: Home of the Soul, Part 1

By on April 11, 2011

The Human Brain: Home of the Soul (Part 1)
Chapter Eleven (Part One)

What makes the human brain such an elusive and mysterious machine? Over the past century, it has been the subject of a barrage of scientific investigation. Yet, no one has been able to discover its secrets. The pathologist who did the autopsy on Albert Einstein, kept his brain. Presently, it is being preserved in Wichita, Kansas. However, Einstein’s brain contains the same cellular structure as that of any other brain. No one has discovered anything different.

Albert Einstein was recognized as the most incredible genius of the twentieth century. What ability did he possess that ordinary men are lacking? Where did his knowledge come from? How did he come up with the theory of relativity, the formula for the atomic bomb, or the mechanics of television? There are more questions than answers. Why did men fail to comprehend various fields of scientific design before the nineteenth and twentieth centuries? Earlier generations were mentally chained to the proverbial horse and buggy. Only in this era has mankind begun to advance in the disciplines of science and technology.

Revelation or Discovery?

The answer, if there is a simple answer, lies within the pages of the Bible. For example, Moses wrote: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children” (Deut. 29:29). Whether or not the scientific community can accept it, many brilliant scientific discoveries have come from Jews. It appears that they really are a “chosen” people. It seems that technology is not simply discovered. It is revealed.

There are also verses that indicate God is able to close off certain areas of human knowledge — to make it impossible for man to understand what Deity does not want to be known. Isaiah was informed of God’s ability to do this. God instructed him:

“Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

“Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed” (Isaiah 6:9,10).

This became a major theme throughout the Bible. Man is spiritually blind to certain eternal truths. His mental capacity to comprehend can be inhibited. Concerning the subject of prophecy, God told Daniel: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).

For many centuries, mankind stumbled in the darkness of human frustration. Only in recent centuries has there been such an explosion of knowledge. So, why is this true? Were our ancestors so ignorant they could not figure out how to make an automobile, an airplane, a radio or television? Since the dawn of the Industrial Age, men have soared beyond the limits of normal human comprehension. The ancient Romans knew about steam, gears, and pistons, but could not put them together to make an engine.

As a child, I sat in front of an old Crosley radio on Sunday afternoons, listening to the “Green Hornet” and the “Shadow.” I would watch that little green eye at the top of the dial and wish for the day when I could see the Green Hornet nab those crooks. Television was only a dream in some laboratory.

Today, I am sitting in front of a sophisticated computer screen, writing and composing layouts for books and magazines. Our entire weekly television program is produced on another computer! Is this incredible or what!? Who are we, anyway? Why was the Bible able to predict that a day would come when knowledge would increase? What made Albert Einstein so smart?

Is Genius a Function of the Brain?

 

Today, there are about 25 individuals who possess the ability to calculate math faster than an electronic calculator. These people can multiply five digit numbers by five digit numbers, yet cannot tell you how they do it. Some of them have been brain damaged on the left side of the brain, somehow allowing the right side of their brain a special ability to perform great feats.

In the case of Derek Paravicini, he can play any song on a piano after hearing it only one time. Is he a genius? He has an IQ of 40. Several of the math geniuses have Intelligent Quotients that range below 50. How can this be? Where does their ability come from? Just what is the brain? And how does it function?

My conclusion is that man is an eternal soul living with a spirit inside the human brain. Before sitting down to write this article, I explored my consciousness to discover just where I exist within my body.

I could find no consciousness in the lower parts of my body — such as my hands or feet. All of my thoughts seem to be coming from within my brain. It appears that I am a soul confined to an area just behind and above my eyes. My eyes are windows and my ears are the doors to my soul and spirit.

What Does the Bible Say?

Knowledge is said to be a function of the spirit, while emotion is identified with the soul. According to the Bible, there is a difference between the two. The writer of Hebrews declared:

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Isaiah wrote: “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9). In this verse, we are told that desire (an emotion) comes from the soul and that the spirit seeks to connect us with an eternal dimension.

Later, Isaiah wrote: “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles” (Isaiah 42:1). In this verse, Isaiah tells us that delight (an emotion) is a function of the soul. God’s soul is pleased and His Spirit is “put upon” or connected to the Messiah.

Soulwinning is at the heart of the Gospel: “What if a man gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

The Great Spirit Guide

Jesus taught His disciples about the work of the Holy Spirit: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:13). The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to connect us to a storehouse of knowledge. He is a guide to convey to us what is true. What He hears, He delivers to us.

However, the unsaved cannot understand. There is something about the unregenerate person that simply cannot fathom eternal things. The Apostle Paul wrote:

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14).

Heavenly concepts can only be spiritually discerned. The soul and spirit need a special infusion from the Holy Spirit. It is something unexplainable in human terms. It can only be understood by experience.

The apostle Paul explained the difference between a soul and a spirit: “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (I Cor. 15:45).

We know that God made Adam from “… the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). On the other hand, we are told that Jesus was a “quickening spirit” — the very source of eternal life.

There must be a difference between soul and spirit. Your individuality is wrapped up in your soul. It is the seat of your will and emotions. You are both soul and spirit. However, other spirits can enter your mind and dwell with you. We are told to “try the spirits whether they are of God” (I John 4:1). And the Holy Spirit can dwell in the believer, as well.

Now comes the difficult part. What I am about to say cannot be proven. It is, of necessity, a conjecture. But, without at least some knowledge of the spirit, mankind is left groping for answers. There are so many questions: How is memory retrieved? Why do some people remember things from long ago, but not short term? Allow me to suggest the following: The spirit appears to be connected to a conduit that allows the brain access to a storehouse of knowledge located beyond this dimension. It possesses both the conduit and the energy source that funnels knowledge to and from the files of your memory. It is my feeling that the brain is not the only repository of memory. Otherwise, when the brain dies, both memory and consciousness would cease to exist.

When the believer prays, that prayer is instantly recorded in heaven. It does not have to be transmitted to some distant galaxy. Prayer does not ride upon some electronic signal emitted by a 10,000-watt transmitter. Our brains are not transmitters. Yet, something links us to an eternal source, located we know not where, to provide God the opportunity to communicate with us continually. The brain must contain some kind of translator (similar to a computer modem) connected by the “spirit” to a gigantic storage facility in heaven. Every thought you think and every image you see is being recorded. At the judgment, you will face the consequences of those thoughts.

In the Bible, we are told about the physical appearance of the Holy Spirit. He is described as a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. In other words, He offers a connection between heaven and Earth, between God and man — an energy source that communicates between the two. Rabbis say that in Bible days, the Shekinah looked like a shaft of fire ascending from the Holy of holies as far up as the eye could see. Wind could not move it around like normal smoke. It was locked into a vertical shaft.

On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit had the appearance of “… cloven tongues like as of fire.” Note that this “tongue” or language is a communicator. God’s Spirit comes to live with the soul/spirit in the brain of the believer — to provide a communication link between the body and our trans-dimensional source of eternal life.

Are We a Bio Computer?

According to Decision Development Corporation, in their course on computer programming, “Computer scientists and bio-engineers are trying to grow computer chips, using protein and enzyme compounds. The chips resulting from this process are called biochips.” They further suggest, “The biochip will be able to process information at speeds many times faster than current silicon chips. As a storage or memory unit, a biochip measuring 1”x1”x1” (one cubic inch) could hold all of the computer storage in existence today.”

They say, “The potential for biochips is mind-boggling, even a bit scary. The idea is that scientists may some day be able to implant a chip in the human brain to achieve instant knowledge. If biochips can be taught to learn, it may even be possible to implant one in an expert’s brain. There it would absorb everything that person knows. It could then be removed, reproduced, and re-implanted in another person’s brain. That person would then have all the same knowledge the source expert had. A simple operation could turn an uneducated person into a doctor or a nuclear scientist!”

They further suggest, “If all this seems a bit too much like the tale of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster, look at some of the other truly positive uses of biochips. The blind might be given sight; the deaf might hear; those with handicaps caused by brain damage might be restored to full use of their minds and bodies. Some researchers believe that basic biochip storage will [soon] be possible … more exotic uses shortly thereafter.”

The above statements were published in 1990. So where is this so-called biochip? This technical breakthrough has not yet come. If the brain is only a sophisticated computer, such a breakthrough might someday be possible. But, the chance of our brains operating on the same principle, as a bio-computer is mighty slim. Today, mechanical ears can be connected to human brains, allowing the deaf to hear; and video cameras can be connected to brains, allowing the blind to experience a semblance of vision; but so far, the brain cannot talk back to a machine. With all of the research on the brain over the past several decades, no one has yet to tap into the auditory or visual areas and connect them to speakers or television monitors — much less the memory areas.

How Is Memory Erased?

People are put through Magnetic Imaging Machines (MRI) every day and no one has had their memories erased yet. On the door to the MRI room, a sign warns that all credit cards, computer disks, cassette tapes, knives, watches and anything else made of metal must not be taken into the room where that giant magnet pulses. Though the cells of our bodies can be polarized by magnetism and the iron in our blood be affected, it appears that our brains do not operate in a magnetic sphere.

But the brain does react to chemicals. There are many “forbidden fruits” that can affect the brain. No wonder God told Adam and Eve not to eat forbidden fruit. It was certain to affect the functions of the brain.

I do not believe men will ever be able to build a computer using so-called biochips. The brain is a far more mysterious machine. What lives there (namely, our soul/spirit) is not the product of a computer program.

Where Did We Come From?

So where did we come from? Did my soul develop along with my body following conception? Or did I previously exist? Was I assigned to live in my body for a seventy-year sojourn (give or take a few years) in this world? Before getting too involved with this discussion, let me assure you that I am only probing the possibilities. My thoughts are not set in stone. So, come with me, if you dare, and enter a no-man’s-land of exploration! Careful now, we are walking on holy ground!

Solomon once wrote about what happens when we die:

“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it (Eccl. 12:7).

Solomon wrote that the body returns to dust and the spirit returns to God, but he did not mention the soul. We know only that God breathed a living soul into the body formed from dust: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

We are told that Adam’s soul was imparted with the breath of God. In Hebrew, the term for “soul” is nephesh; the term for “breath” is nashamah; and the term for “spirit” is ruah (pronounced “ruach”). We shall review these three entities later. According to the Talmud, Yevamoth (E), there are a limited number of souls in the Guf (lit. “body”), a region of unborn souls. Rabbi Assi said, “The Son of David will not come before all the souls in the Guf are disposed of, since it is said, ‘For the spirit that enwrappeth itself is from Me, and the souls which I have made.’” When God has used all of the souls in store, the resurrection will occur. We do not know that this is the case, only that this is a concept in Judaism.

On the other hand, the spirit seems to fill a different role from the soul. The spirit connects our souls to a storehouse of information in heaven and communicates between the two. Solomon wrote that, upon death, “the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” If the spirit “returns” to God, then it must have come from God. Therefore, it is possible that the spirit also pre-existed — that it is given to a newly conceived person for a guide during his or her lifetime. At death, the spirit returns to God. For that reason, it seems possible that the spirit could be given another assignment. I am not referring to reincarnation as the general subject is understood. The rabbis have a term called “the recycling of the spirit.” So, what if the spirit of a person who has died could be reassigned to guide another soul? Would not that soul then have some of the advantages of the previous person’s storehouse of knowledge and experience? That may not be common, but seemed to be the case with John the Baptist.

When he was yet in his mother’s womb (at six months after conception), he leaped for joy when he heard Mary’s voice. Gabriel had told Zechariah that his son would “… be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb…. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias …” (Luke 1:15,17).

Was the spirit of Elijah, through the power of the Holy Spirit, assigned to John’s brain? We are not told that it was the soul of Elijah, but rather the spirit of the great prophet that brought about the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD” (Malachi 4:5). Furthermore, in passing, we should note that the spirit of Elijah seemed to be a source of “power.”

Elijah was not reincarnated as John. That is why the Baptist denied being Elijah: “And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not” (John 1:21). Yet, our Savior made it clear that the spirit of Elijah provided John with the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy: “And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come” (Matthew 11:14).

It was not the soul of Elijah, but his spirit/power that guided John, allowing both statements to be correct. Jesus was right to say that John was the fulfillment of the promise that Elijah “was for to come.” Also, John was right in saying that he was not Elijah. Furthermore, God’s Holy Spirit resided in John. Strange as it may seem, more than one spirit can have access to a person’s brain. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a common doctrine in this dispensation, but the technology of such a thing is still difficult to comprehend.

Perhaps the spirit can tap into the memory storage of another — like Elijah guiding John — and allow that person access (albeit controlled) to the knowledge and experience of someone living beyond our space/time continuum.

Could this explain how Elisha had access to the mind of the king of Syria? In II Kings 6, the king of Syria thought that he had a spy among his closest advisors. It seemed that his every plot for capturing the king of Israel was foiled. Syria’s king complained that someone was telling Israel’s king about his every move:

“And one of his servants said, None, my lord, O king: but Elisha, the prophet that is in Israel, telleth the king of Israel the words that thou speakest in thy bedchamber” (II Kings 6:12).

How was Elisha able to know what Syria’s king was thinking, if he didn’t have access to his thoughts? Did he know by clairvoyance? Could he probe the Syrian king’s brain? I don’t think so. But the king’s every thought was also being recorded in heaven’s great storage facility. Perhaps Elisha had the help of either an angel or a spirit who could tap the king’s database. This is only a conjecture, but such a concept could give us a logical explanation for this phenomenon.

Was the Silicon Chip

Simply Discovered?

The biochip will probably never work. It would have to be maintained in a perfect environment — not too hot, not too cold — it would have to be fed — and someday would die of old age. But the silicon chip is made from sand, the same basic building block used in making man. The silicon chip has no liquid parameters to confine its use. Furthermore, the silicon chip is considered to be the very heart and mind of the computer. Its discovery changed the course of history. Was it simply discovered? Did some scientist wake up one day with an idea that sand could replace the vacuum tube? Was the idea planted in the mind of the scientist by a spirit-connection from beyond? Or, as some have suggested, was it reverse engineered from “alien” technology?

Reverse Engineering

Our government’s military establishment has revealed some rather exotic technology in recent years. There are rumors that some technologies may have been reverse engineered from a captured UFO — alien technology. One of the more famous breakthroughs was the transistor, produced by the Bell Laboratories in the late 1950s. The vacuum tube quickly became obsolete. It used to take six or twelve volts to heat the early radio tube’s cathode and hundreds of volts to operate its grids and plate. The high voltages used by tubes were soon replaced with micro-voltages used by the silicon chip. Today, the average computerized wristwatch runs for five years on a small battery the size of a button.

Did Bell Laboratories actually discover the diode, transistor and silicon chip? Or were they given a piece of UFO technology from which to decipher these electronic marvels of our age? I am told that when Bell Laboratories first applied for a patent on the transistor, they did not produce the research data to prove they had invented it. It was only after the Patent Office refused to grant a patent unless they came up with the necessary documentation, that Bell Lab put together the requested forms. Did they have to concoct those forms?

What about printed circuit boards? Who really came up with the idea of miniaturized wiring? The first ENIAC computer, built for the army in the early 1940s, contained 18,000 vacuum tubes and half a million hand-soldered connections. It took up 800 square feet of floor space and weighed 30 tons. It could do 5,000 additions or 300 multiplications-per-second. That same technology can now be held in the palm of your hand. So where did the development of printed circuits actually come from? I have read reports from engineers who claimed to have inspected captured UFOs. One report, dated in the early 1950s, described small wafers with hair-sized webs running from one miniature box to another — not made of metal wires, but transparent — like glass or plastic wires. Who ever heard of electronic information flowing through transparent strands of plastic instead of metal wires? But today, it is commonplace.

What about laser technology? Was it discovered? — or back-engineered from alien technology? Recently, I read a lecture by the late Bill Schnieder, geologist and structural engineer. I cannot confirm the authenticity of this strange report, but he said our government has built hundreds of underground cities — from one to two miles underground. He said that a tunneling device, developed by our government, can cut a tunnel through solid rock at the rate of seven miles a day, using laser technology. If modern technology is solely the result of scientific research, then why were not at least some of our more elementary discoveries made a thousand years ago? I suggest that men did not think of it a thousand years ago because God did not want us to think of it until He was ready for us to have it.

Is there a whole other world, set in a nearby (but different) dimension, from which man derives advanced technology? Are we actually the products of that other dimension? Are angels and demons actually human-like entities who live in that other dimension with the capability of slipping in and out of this dimension at will? Do they have the capability of communicating directly with our brains? Can demons insert evil thoughts and temptations? Can angels insert reasons for avoiding those temptations? Why not? If our brains contain translators, connected somehow to a computer-like trans-dimensional entity, then it would be feasible to receive an idea or thought from beyond this space-time continuum — similar to your computer receiving an e-mail from someone half-a-world away via the worldwide web.

One famous inventor was asked how he came up with his ideas, to which he replied that he dreamed them while asleep. Was the technology (accredited to him) simply fed to him by beings from another dimension?

Reverse Engineering the Bible

Modern studies of the Bible can only conclude that its authorship comes from a vastly superior intellect — from beyond this world. The many discoveries that have been made in the Scriptures over the past century may be a type of reverse engineering. Theologians may not be discovering anything after all. Instead, we may be receiving supernatural revelations on this divine document, written over a period of 1,500 years, the last of which was written 2,000 years ago. Are we really finding incredible designs that could not have been produced by mere humans? Or, is this like an Easter egg hunt, where someone is saying, “Look here! You’re getting warm! Warmer! Hot!” And we find it. Sure. Just like our children used to find Easter eggs! No, they didn’t discover those Easter eggs, we led them to each find.

How could the Psalms have been collected in such a way as to allude to the events surrounding the Jews in this century? As one reads the Psalms, it is obvious that they are prophetic in nature and that they tell of the end of Israel’s long exile. Rabbinical commentaries, written hundreds of years ago, say that the Psalms tell of a time when the Jews will return to their land, welcome the Messiah and set up the world kingdom that was promised to them by God.

So, who placed the Psalms in the Bible as the 19th book counting from Genesis and the 48th book counting back from Revelation? Was it just a coincidence that Israel was reborn in 1948? Who placed the prophetic suggestion of Israel’s rebirth in Psalm 48? Whoever inspired the Psalms, must have done so from another dimension! Modern biblical studies provide us with examples of spiritual guidance from beyond this dimension. Something more than just mental processes seem to be going on. There must be more to the brain than is contained within the skull. υ

 

The Anatomy of a Dream

By on October 5, 2010

Most of us experience dreams while sleeping. Those we best remember usually occur early in the morning during the final stage of REM (Rapid Eye Movement).

But dreams can occur at any hour of the night. Our brains go in and out of deep sleep as the night progresses. REM is a time of light sleep that happens three or four times a night, usually about every 90 minutes or so. The eyes move rapidly from side to side under the eyelids while our large muscles are relatively relaxed. The last round of REM or light sleep before waking can last a half-hour or more.

Not all dreams are significant. Most are construed from the previous day’s activities or from the occupation of the mind in the last few hours before sleep. Dreams occur during the time of brain activity following a deep sleep. They range from pleasant experiences to nightmares. Most terror-ridden dreams occur during the first two hours of sleep, whereas the more enjoyable dreams, including inspiration, occurs in the last hour of a night’s sleep.

The human brain is the home of the soul. All thoughts proceed from there. The self consciousness of a person resides in the frontal lobe, with the rest of the brain used for processing sight, hearing, function, etc.

Nightmares are more common among children, between the ages of three to eight years, though adults can also be afflicted as a result of stress, emotional problems, trauma, or illness. Those, whose nightmares seem unrelated to these types of external problems, tend to have a more emotionally sensitive personality. Five to ten percent of the population experience nightmares at least once a month. Combat veterans may be prone to nightmares brought on by the stress of war. Such nightmares tend to occur over and over.

Night Terrors

Nightmares and night terrors are somewhat different and arise from different physiological stages of sleep. Nightmares occur after several hours of sleep, whereas night terrors seem to occur within the first hour or two. Night terrors sometime include loud screaming and thrashing, though the person is hard to awaken. Children who have night terrors also have a tendency to sleepwalk. Fortunately, most children outgrow these dreadful dreams by the time they reach their teens.

Scientific Studies

Dreams are a common phenomenon in brain activity. These nocturnal experiences have prompted several scientific studies over the past century. According to the Association for the Study of Dreams, most dreams are forgotten by morning: “There is something about the phenomenon of sleep itself which makes it difficult to remember what has occurred and most dreams are forgotten …” This may have been the case with King Nebuchadnezzar. Though terrified by his dream, the king couldn’t remember it.

On occasion, a person can remember a dream several days later, which means that the memory is not lost, just hard to retrieve. According to scientific studies, drugs, medications and alcohol can affect dreams. Some medications and medical conditions can produce nightmares and even hallucinations. Most dreams, however, are the result of normal brain activity.

Scientific studies of the dream state are reportedly useful in learning about one’s feelings, thoughts and motives. It is said that the interpretation of dreams is sometimes found to be helpful in solving problems. Artists, writers, scientists and theologians reportedly get creative ideas from their dreams. Many of the modern developments in technology have been attributed to ideas that just seemed to pop into a scientist’s mind just before waking.

Some dream studies have attempted to determine the validity of predictive or prophetic dreams, including clairvoyant and telepathic dreams, but such dreams are difficult to study in a laboratory setting. The results of such studies have been notably inconclusive.

Most experts believe that a dream reflects one’s own underlying thoughts and feelings and that the elements of a dream are unique to that individual. In other words, the same image or symbol will have different meanings for different people. For example, a lion in a dream may have a different meaning for a zookeeper than for the average person.

However, in the Bible, dreams seem to take on a quality of similarity unlike those in modern scientific studies. A lion, bear, goat, etc., appear to have a continuity of meanings, regardless of who is dreaming, or at what time in history the dream is recorded. Biblical dreams are cohesive enough to consider a single divine source.

The Dreams of the Bible

There are seven stories about dreams, sandwiched between two instances of visions in the book of Genesis. Beyond that, the Bible is filled with dreams and visions. On the surface, theologians equate these with a type of communication between heaven and earth. They are spiritual experiences quite separate from the physical realm.

It is difficult to separate these experiences into categories. Dreams and visions appear to be somewhat synonymous. Both can be experienced during sleep, but the vision may be received in a trance-like state with eyes wide open. The trance is related to deep sleep, whereas dreams are usually experienced during light sleep. The first vision, recorded in the book of Genesis, was in some way, transferred to Abraham in at least two sessions, one involving a “deep sleep” (Gen. 15:12). In the story of Balaam, we are told that he fell into a trance as he prophesied: “He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open…” (Numbers 24:16).

During Bible days, it seems that dreams could be classified into three categories:

  1. Revelations of Deity;
  2. Dreams which reflect the state of mind;
  3. Prophetic dreams.

While dreams are experienced during light sleep, causing little or no exhaustion, visions are more akin to nightmares or night terrors, and the recipient is often severely weakened by it.

The term “vision” occurs 86 times in the Old Testament (in the singular form 64 times; and in the plural form 22 times). Almost a third of the uses of the term in the Old Testament are recorded in the book of Daniel. There, the term is used 22 times — the same number of times as there are letters in the Hebrew alphabet. The term “vision” occurs 15 times in the New Testament, eleven of which are in the book of Acts.

On the other hand, the term “dream” is used only seven times in the New Testament. Six occur in Matthew and one in Acts. Five of those dreams center around the birth of Christ:

  1. An angel spoke to Joseph about Mary’s conception in a dream (Matt. 1:22-23);
  2. The wise men were warned about Herod (Matt. 2:12);
  3. Joseph was warned to flee with the child and Mary to Egypt (Matt. 2:13);
  4. An angel told Joseph to return to Israel (Matt. 2:19,20); and
  5. Joseph was warned that Archelaus reigned in Herod’s stead, causing Joseph to withdraw to Galilee (Matt. 2:22).
  6. The sixth dream was given to the troubled wife of Pilate concerning Jesus, “that righteous man” (Matt. 27:19). The seventh and final use of the term “dream” is a quote from Joel’s prophecy that in the last days, “old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17).

Face to Face at First

In the early days of the human race, God interacted with man face to face. It seems that God would come down and fellowship with Adam in the cool of the day. On the evening of Adam’s fall, God personally visited the garden, looking for the guilty pair:

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Gen. 3:8).

We are told that God made “coats of skins” (Gen. 3:21) for Adam and Eve. This was no mere dream. God had personal contact with man. However, from the very beginning, men knew that their thinking was monitored from the heavenly realm. The offerings of Cain and Abel (Gen. 4:3-5) were known and observed in heaven. There was a communication between the human brain and the Creator.

When Cain was asked the whereabouts of his brother, he tried to conceal his crime. But God told him that the blood of Abel cried out from the ground. This reveals a form of communication with the heavenly realm:

“And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground” (Gen. 4:10).

The life force in Abel’s blood was detected and monitored in heaven. This suggests that life is an emanation, rather than a result of some chemical compound. Scientists have tried to create life in a test tube, with no satisfactory results. Though the chemicals present in a plant or animal cell are fully available to science, they cannot be mixed together in such a way as to create life. In John’s Gospel, we are told that life comes from a divine light source:

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).

Here lies the connection between heaven and earth that monitors every thought. It provides us the opportunity to contact heaven with our petitions and prayers, and gives God the opportunity to communicate with us without having to send an angel, or personally come down every time we need an answer. From these very first chapters of Genesis, we learn that Adam taught his sons how to communicate with God. Today, we call this “prayer.” Seth was the first man to actively use this method of communication:

“And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD (Gen. 4:26).

The Days of Noah

Interaction between heaven and earth is not confined to mere mental activity. Many early theologians were convinced that fallen angels cohabited with human wives in the years before the Great Flood, thus corrupting the human gene pool:

“The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose” (Gen. 6:2).

Only Noah and his family remained genetically pure, or as the KJV puts it: “perfect in his generations” (Gen. 6:9). From the context of Scripture, we assume that God personally came to Noah and explained how and why all life on earth would be destroyed, giving plans to build a ship for the survival of each genetically pure species.

These were no mere visionary experiences. Though we are not told just how God spoke with Noah, it seems apparent that no mere dream or vision could have prompted the man to spend 120 years building a ship on dry land, where there was no sea, and where it had never rained. The Bible, in simple terms, tells us that God spoke with Noah:

“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Gen. 6:13).

God’s visit must have been personal and physical. Not once do we have an indication that God spoke to Noah, or any previous human through dreams and visions. The first visionary contact from the heavenly realm was to be given to Abraham. Only then would God introduce His new method of communication — the vision. To Abraham, God used a “vision,” but the next time, when God spoke to an earthly king, he used a “dream.”

The Tower of Babel

From the days of Adam, all men spoke one language. Many believe it was an early form of Hebrew, a Semitic language common to early civilizations in the Middle East. After the Flood, Noah’s family began to populate the earth once again. Though God had told them to spread out over the face of the earth, Nimrod, grandson of Ham, convinced men to settle in the fertile plains around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and build cities.

One city in particular was to represent man’s spiritual rebellion against God — Babylon. Desiring to communicate with the heavenly realm once again, Nimrod suggested they build a tower. It was to be a “gate” to God — a religious shrine that offered the opportunity for direct communications with angelic creatures of the not-so-godly kind. Evidently Nimrod had heard about the angels that visited mankind before the Flood and desired to contact them again. This illegal communication became known as “idolatry.”

We are told that God came down to see the tower. This appears to be an actual personal visit:

“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded” (Gen. 11:5).

At this point, God created confusion in the thought processes of the human brain, and caused men to develop new languages to accommodate the various races. According to the Ebla tablets, a cache of some 25,000 clay tablets uncovered in an archeological dig in the early 1970s, men once spoke a single language. Dictionaries were found that explained the three languages used in the tablets. One dictionary reported that not long before, all men spoke one language, but that “now there are three.” By the time Moses led the Exodus of the Israelites, some four centuries later, there were said to be seventy languages among men. Today, there are thousands.

This fabulous cache of tablets were found at the site of an ancient city called Ebla, in Western Syria, about forty miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea, and a few miles north of Syria’s border with Lebanon. Two prominent cities mentioned in those tablets were Sodom and Gomorrah, both of which were destroyed during the life of Abraham, thus dating the tablets as contemporary with Abraham — some 4,000 years ago.

God’s judgment at the Tower of Babel hampered man’s communication with each other, let alone their communication with the angelic realm. Soon thereafter, God also began to change His method of communicating with men. He began to develop visions and dreams.

The Vision and Dreams of Abraham

It was during this time that God called upon Abram (i.e., Abraham) to leave his native country and travel west to a Promised Land. Over a period of time, God’s communications with Abram took on more than one form. The Bible records seven contacts between God and Abram. Of these, the first three are actual personal visits. The fourth encounter is recorded as the first “vision” in the Bible. The fifth and sixth encounters are personal visits, and the seventh appears to be in the form of an audible voice from heaven. Have you ever heard anyone tell about hearing a voice speak to them, only to turn and find no one there? This is what Abraham experienced. The voice was audible enough, but it came from another dimension (i.e., heaven). It was no dream or vision. It can only be explained as a voice from heaven.

God’s First Contact with Abraham

At first, we are told: “the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country” (Gen. 12:1). This communication appears to be direct. A few verses later (Gen 12:7), we are told: “the LORD appeared unto Abram….” We can only assume that God made another actual personal visit. After Abram’s brief sojourn in Egypt, God made a third personal visit to Abram:

“And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:

“For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

“And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.

“Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee” (Gen. 13:14-17).

In this third visit, God further confirmed His covenant with Abram by asking him to walk through the Promised Land, from north to south and east to west. Though Abraham, himself, never possessed the country, with the lone exception of the cave of Machpelah, all of the land was promised to his posterity through Isaac. The important thing to note is that God delivered this message in person, because the next time God spoke with Abraham, He used a vision:

“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Gen. 15:1).

For the first time in the Bible, God used a vision to contact man. Previously, God had personally appeared to Abram. But in this fourth encounter, God used a vision to tell Abram to: “Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars” (Gen. 15:5). This places the vision at night. A few verses later we are told that Abraham fell into a deep sleep:

“And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him” (Gen. 15:12).

This vision is associated with a deep sleep and horror, two things associated with what modern science calls “night terrors.” These usually occur within the first two hours of the sleep cycle, whereas dreams occur during REM (rapid eye movement) or light sleep, usually later in the sleep cycle.

Thereafter, God would begin to use dreams and visions more often. As we shall see, the king of Gerar would be the next person to hear from God, but this time through a dream.

Meanwhile, Hagar and Lot would have direct encounters with angels. After the pregnant Hagar first fled from Sarah, we are told that an angel went looking for her (Gen. 16:7) and found her near a fountain of water on the road to Shur. This was no dream. It was a physical encounter between the angel and Hagar. She was told to go back home to Sarah.

God’s fifth and sixth encounters with Abram were also personal visits. We are told that God appeared to Abram when he was 99 years old:

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Gen. 17:1).

During this visit, the Lord confirmed His covenant, changed Abram’s name to Abraham and Sarai’s name to Sarah.

The sixth encounter with Abraham took on the form of another personal visit — this one included Jehovah and two companions:

“And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

“And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,

“And said, My LORD, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

“Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

“And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said” (Gen. 18:1-5).

During this visit, the Lord told Abraham that Sodom would be destroyed. However, because of his pleading, Abraham’s nephew was spared. The Lord sent His two companions to rescue Lot and his family.

These were no mere apparitions, but rather actual angelic beings sent to Sodom. They represented a meaningful relationship between man and Deity. It seems that God still preferred to speak to men directly. Contact with the human brain was available, but some things had to be done by sending emissaries to have direct contact with people. It was not long, however, until God chose to use the dream state once again. This time, He threatened to bring judgment upon King Abimelech for having taken Sarah, Abraham’s wife.

The Dream of Abimelech

“But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife” (Gen. 20:3).

Again, as in the first recorded vision, this dream is quite specific. There are no vague symbolisms of stars, animals, or grain, as in the dreams of Joseph, for example. Here, God, Himself, appeared to the king in a dream. Note, that God told the king that if Abraham prayed for him, God would spare his life:

“Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine” (Gen. 20:7).

Here, we have both the dream, God’s method of communicating with man; and the prayer, man’s method of communicating with God. These are the two essentials for man’s contact with heaven.

Hagar’s Second Encounter

After that experience, dreams became more common. Though we are not told specifically that God communicated to Hagar through a dream, we are told that in her second encounter with heaven, the angel of the Lord didn’t come down, but simply called to her from beyond this dimension:

“And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is” (Gen. 21:17).

What is important here is that the angel did not come down as in the previous encounter. Instead, the angel spoke from beyond the heavenly realm and opened her eyes to see a well of water. Also, we are told that God heard the voice of the lad. Not only does God hear our thoughts, He hears our audible prayers as well.

God’s Last Contact with Abraham

In His seventh and final contact with Abraham, it seems that God did not personally visit, but used the invisible voice again (Ahah! The Shadow knows!). Well, this time it wasn’t Lamont Cranston, it was God! The chapter opens with God saying, “Abraham!” After which, Abraham said, “Behold, here I am.” In this contact, God told him to slay his son. Had it been a personal visit, Abraham might have initiated another heated discussion with God (as he did over Sodom and Gomorrah). However, Abraham could only listen and obey. This time, he was not given the opportunity for rebuttal.

A few days later, as Abraham raised his knife to slay Isaac (Gen. 22:11), an angel called to him out of heaven. Again, God did not come down for a personal visit as in earlier times, but had an angel speak audibly from beyond this earthly dimension (another disembodied voice). The angel directed Abraham to use a nearby ram for a substitute for Isaac. Then, for the second time, the angel spoke to Abraham out of the heavenly realm, saying that God would keep the promises made in the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 22:15). This is the last recorded occasion in which God communicated with Abraham before his death.

The Dreams of Isaac

Isaac was a man of prayer. On the evening of Rebekah’s arrival, he had gone out into the field to “meditate” (Gen. 24:63). We assume that he was praying. Later, he prayed that Rebekah (Gen. 25:20) might be able to give him a son, and God blessed him with twins — Jacob and Esau.

God’s first recorded contact with Isaac came during a severe famine. The LORD appeared unto Isaac and told him to dwell in Gerar, rather than Egypt:

“And the LORD appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of” (Gen. 26:2).

We are not told whether this contact was a personal visit or a dream, but some months later, after an upsetting day of arguing with the herdsmen of Gerar over the ownership of several water wells, God appears once again to Isaac — this time, at night:

“And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham’s sake” (Gen. 26:24).

It is possible that this contact came by way of a dream, though we are not told specifically that it was. Therefore, we cannot count it as one of the dreams recorded in the book of Genesis.

As far as the biblical narrative is concerned, those were the only two recorded times that God contacted Isaac. Several years later, being old and blind, Isaac gave the family blessing to what appeared to be the wrong son. That brings us to the story of God’s choice — Jacob.

The Dreams and Vision of Jacob

Because of his deceitfulness, Jacob had to run from the wrath of Esau. But on his trip across country to Laban’s house, we are afforded the opportunity to observe one of the great dreams of the Bible (Gen. 28:12). Jacob dreamed of a ladder set up on the earth, the top of which, reached to heaven. He saw angels ascending and descending on it. God spoke to Jacob in that dream and extended the promises of the Abrahamic covenant to him. Jacob awoke the next morning and called the place “Bethel” meaning, “the house of God.”

For the first time, a new element was added to the dream state. Jacob saw a ladder in this dream. No previous dream reported anything other than God delivering a message. Furthermore, Jacob saw many angels ascending and descending on that ladder. Though we are not told the significance of the ladder or the heavenly traffic, we assume that it represented heaven’s continuing concern for and contact with mankind. The angels may have been involved in the lives of Earth’s growing population. Do we not all have guardian angels? It must have been so in Jacob’s day as well.

For God to take the time to personally talk to Jacob in the midst of such angelic activity shows how important Jacob was (above all other men) to God’s great plan for the redemption of the human race:

“And, behold, the LORD stood above it [the ladder], and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

“And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

“And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

“And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

“And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first” (Gen. 28:13-19).

This was the first recorded dream to include a variety of objects woven together to offer a theme. Throughout the Bible, dreams will become more elaborate. Pharaoh will see seven healthy cows eaten by seven lean cows and seven good ears of corn devoured by seven shriveled ears; Nebuchadnezzar will see a man made of various metals; and Daniel will see animals emerge from a raging sea. These examples offer us an excellent opportunity to observe God’s use of the dream state to communicate with man. But, for now, let’s get back to the story of Jacob. This dream, including the ladder and angels, represented a prophecy — God’s promise of a bright future. Note that Jacob did not try to analyze the symbols in this dream. However, when we come to Pharaoh’s dream, an interpretation will be called for.

Jacob went on to Padanaram and worked for Laban, Rebekah’s brother. While there, he took four wives — Laban’s two daughters, Leah and Rachel, and their handmaids, Zilpah and Bilhah. After working for fourteen years to pay for his two wives, Jacob stayed on in order to accumulate a fortune — inspired, believe it or not, by another dream:

“And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstraked, speckled, and grisled” (Gen. 31:10).

We remember reading about the shenanigans Jacob conjured up with the rods of green poplar, hazel and chestnut woods, but later, he tells that his wives that he got the idea from a dream. This is the first occasion that a dream offers a plan for producing a herd of animals that were ringstraked, speckled and grisled!

This dream inspired Jacob to plot the takeover of Laban’s finest herds, leaving him with scrawny and mediocre animals. The dream was probably trying to tell Jacob that God would give him all the ringstraked, speckled and grisled animals, thus affording him a fortune. But since God didn’t speak directly to him, Jacob probably mistook the dream to be nothing more than a brilliant idea. Therefore, he took it upon himself to produce these herds though some sort of contrived hocus-pocus. He could have saved himself a lot of trouble. He would have had them anyway! The dream had declared it.

The Dream of Laban

When Jacob finally gained the courage to leave, Laban was furious. He mustered his horsemen and gave pursuit. As he drew close to his expected encounter with Jacob, God appeared to him in a dream:

“And God came to Laban the Syrian in a dream by night, and said unto him, Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad” (Gen. 31:24).

Here is a dream given to an idol worshipper. Laban was in no spiritual condition to receive an interpretive dream with a lot of obscure symbols. Therefore, God appeared directly to him in that dream, similar to His communication with King Abimelech. Laban may not have deserved an encounter with God, but his plot against Jacob required it.

The Heavenly Wrestler

Jacob was to experience a personal encounter with God just a few nights later. Jacob wrestled all night with the heavenly combatant. This was no dream. A dream could not have crippled the man’s thigh. For the only time in Jacob’s long life, he met God face to face.

Before we observe the dreams of Joseph, let’s complete the story of Jacob’s encounters with God. This takes us to the forty-sixth chapter of Genesis, to the time when Jacob is about to move his family to Egypt. We are told that God speaks to Jacob in a night vision:

“And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.

“And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation:

“I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes” (Gen. 46:2-4).

For only the second time in the book of Genesis, a heavenly encounter is called a “vision.” The first vision was experienced by Abraham (Gen. 15:1), and the final vision is here. The design is remarkable. Both the first and last nightime encounters are called visions, whereas, the encounters between them are called dreams.

The Dreams of Joseph

Jacob had twelve sons, of which, Joseph had an unusual special mental connection with the heavenly realm. However, his brothers did not appreciate his unique talent.

Throughout the Bible we read of men who experienced dreams that turned out to be heavenly communications. But when the dream was told, those who heard were generally skeptical. Most dreams in the Bible were prophecies not fully understood, nor believed to be authentic, until the prophecy came to pass. Such was the case with Joseph:

“And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more.

“And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed:

“For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.

“And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.

“And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

“And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?

“And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying” (Gen. 37:5-11).

Though his brothers were appalled at Joseph perceived arrogance, Jacob “observed the saying.” In other words, Jacob wanted to believe in his son’s dream, but was as skeptical as the others. The dream was not conclusive enough at this point.

Joseph’s dream was a prophecy. Note that the prophecy was repeated, using first grain, then stars. Though two symbols were used, the dream concerned a single subject. The use of two symbols certifies the dream as being from God. Joseph understands this as he later explains another “double” dream to Pharaoh:

“And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass” (Gen. 41:31).

The “double” dream was first used in Joseph’s sheaves and stars, then used again in Pharaoh’s dream of the cattle and corn, thus establishing a method for confirming the prophetic dream. We shall observe Pharaoh’s dream in due course. But first, we should note that Joseph had the ability to interpret the dreams. We first learn of this when he interpreted the dreams of the butler and baker:

“And they dreamed a dream both of them, each man his dream in one night, each man according to the interpretation of his dream, the butler and the baker of the king of Egypt, which were bound in the prison” (Gen. 40:5).

This extraordinary experience reveals the importance of dreams to the butler and baker, who were not particularly spiritual men. Yet, they were given dreams that would prove to predict their destinies. These dreams were significant in showing Joseph’s spiritual talent, something that would later provide his elevation as governor of Egypt.

The Dreams of Pharaoh

It was not until Pharaoh had a double dream that Joseph’s fortunes changed. As earlier noted, the two dreams established them as being from God. Pharaoh remembered the dreams. The first dream awakens him. Then, after dropping off to sleep again, the second dream is given. Modern analysis would suggest that they came during two separate REM states that normally occur about 90 minutes apart:

“And, behold, there came up out of the river seven well favoured kine and fatfleshed; and they fed in a meadow.

“And, behold, seven other kine came up after them out of the river, ill favoured and leanfleshed; and stood by the other kine upon the brink of the river.

“And the ill favoured and leanfleshed kine did eat up the seven well favoured and fat kine. So Pharaoh awoke.

“And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.

“And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them.

“And the seven thin ears devoured the seven rank and full ears. And Pharaoh awoke, and, behold, it was a dream (Gen. 41:1-6).

This dream was recognized as a communication from beyond this realm. It seems that kings were more prone to such dreams than the average citizen. Perhaps by that time in the development of civilizations, kings had advisers schooled in the interpretations of dreams. Pharaoh called upon his magicians, but they were unable to decipher the dream. It was then, that the butler remembered Joseph’s unusual talent for interpreting dreams and recommended him.

When told the dream, Joseph advised the Pharaoh that the double dream referred to one event — a period of fourteen years. Seven years of plenty would be followed by seven years of famine. Joseph’s advice to prepare by taxing the people one-fifth of their crops each year until the famine, proved to be a remarkable solution to the problem. Joseph’s wisdom impressed the Pharaoh. His honesty and integrity were apparent to Egypt’s king, and Joseph was appointed to oversee the project. He became the governor of Egypt. The human brain was to become a major vehicle for God’s communication with man.

What Does God Say About Visions and Dreams?

The Bible’s definition of the prophetic dream comes from Jehovah, Himself, on the occasion of an argument between Moses and his brother and sister. Aaron and Miriam were upset with Moses over his Ethiopian wife. I can imagine Aaron and Miriam arguing with Moses, “Does God only speak through Moses? What about us? God speaks through us, too!” Moses was publicly embarrassed. He didn’t speak up and defend himself. But, God heard the argument and audibly called for a meeting with Moses, Aaron and Miriam:

“And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.

“And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

“My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.

“With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (Num. 12:5-8).

Jehovah quickly put an end to their bickering by imposing leprosy upon Miriam. She must have been the main cause of the argument with Moses.

Though some may want to relegate this story to the dusty past, I can assure you that God still takes a dim view of His ministers being publicly insulted or humiliated. He still listens in today! So, we must watch what we say. Does God still use dreams and visions today? Joel said it would be happening in the “last days.” It is an awesome thought.

Go to Lesson 9: Moses and the Dispensations

Moses and the Dispensations

By on September 5, 2010

“The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken…” (Deuteronomy 18:15).

“… like unto me,” said Moses, “… like unto me!” Now, we know that Moses was looking forward to the promised Messiah, but for him to say that Christ would demonstrate certain traits or characteristics found in himself is most important. The statement gave me a desire to take a closer look at Moses’ life. I wanted to find out how and why Christ can be compared to Moses. Peter quoted the prophecy while preaching in the Temple during the days follow-ing Pentecost:

“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you” (Acts 3:22).

As I studied the life and ministry of Moses, I be-came convinced that Moses offers a fascinating prophetic profile of the Messiah. Peter was right when he said, “For Moses TRULY said…” It was no flight of fancy. Moses could humbly say that Christ would bear certain characteristics demon-strated in his own life.

Moses made seven trips up Mount Sinai — a perfect number. Each trip was a prophetic scenario of the dispensations of Innocence, Conscience, etc.

For instance, Moses was born in a time when Jewish male children were being slaughtered. Pharaoh was trying to abort the birth of a Jewish deliverer. Likewise, in the days of Jesus’ birth, Herod the Great had the male children of Bethle-hem slaughtered — an attempt to kill the coming King. Moses was born in Egypt and returned to Egypt to lead his people out. In like manner, Jesus was taken to Egypt as an infant in order that the prophecy might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt have I called my son” (Matthew 2:15).

Originally, this prophecy was given by Hosea. “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1). Hosea was referring to the Exodus led by Moses. Yet, Matthew gave a prophetic meaning to the Hosea passage and specifically related it to Christ. The life of Moses is a prophetic profile of Jesus Christ. These are only a few of the many compar-isons that can be made between Moses and Christ.

Grant R. Jeffrey, in his book, Heaven — The Last Frontier, suggested several parallels between Moses and Jesus:

“At least fifty el-ements and events are parallel in both lives. Both filled the roles of prophet, priest, lawgiver, teacher, and leader of men. Both confirmed their teach-ing with miracles. Both spent their early years in Egypt, miraculously protected from those who sought their lives.

“Moses’ family initially did not accept his role, but later his brother, Aaron, and sister, Miriam, helped him. Jesus’ mother and brothers initially failed to follow Jesus, but later his brother James became the leader in the church in Jerusalem. Both confronted demonic pow-ers and successfully subdued them.

“As Moses appointed seventy rulers over Israel, Jesus anointed seventy disciples to teach the na-tion. Moses sent twelve spies to explore Canaan, Jesus sent twelve apos-tles to reach the world. Both fasted for forty days and faced spiritual crises on mountaintops.

“As Moses stretched his hand over the Red Sea to di-vide it, Jesus rebuked the Sea of Galilee and quieted the waves. Both of their faces shone with the glory — Moses on Mount Sinai and Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. Moses lifted up a brazen serpent in the wilderness and Jesus was lifted up on the cross. The people were ungrateful and rebelled against the leader-ship of both men. The generations that rebelled against them died in their lack of faith, one in the wilderness and one in the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.”

Let’s consider sev-eral experiences from the Sinai drama and compare the ministry of Moses with that of Christ.

Seven Dispensations

To begin with, Moses made seven trips into the presence of God. Notice how they correspond to the seven dispensations. They are:

  1. 1. The Dispensation of Innocence, from the Cre-ation to the Fall of Adam.
  2. 2. The Dispensation of Conscience, from the ex-pulsion out of Eden to the Flood of Noah.
  3. 3. The Dispensation of Human Government, from the Flood to the Tower of Babel.
  4. 4. The Dispensation of Promise, from the call of Abraham to the bondage of Egypt.
  5. 5. The Dispensation of Law, from Sinai to the Crucifixion of Christ.
  6. 6. The Dispensation of Grace, from Calvary to the Tribulation Period.
  7. 7. The Dispensation of the Kingdom, wherein the Messiah will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Moses’ First Encounter and the Dispensation of Innocence

Let us examine Moses’ first ascent into the pres-ence of God and compare it with the dispensation of Innocence:

“And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;

“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.

“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar trea-sure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

“And Moses came and called for the elders of the peo-ple, and laid before their faces all these words which the Lord commanded him” (Exodus 19:3-7).

This is similar to the message given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden:

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28).

A comparison can be made between God’s promises to Adam and His later message to Is-rael. To “have dominion” corresponds with the statements “a peculiar treasure … above all peo-ple” and “a kingdom of priests … an holy na-tion.”

For God to say that Israel will become a kingdom of priests implies a responsibility to guide the world in its worship of God. This requires a lead-ership position. When Israel finally becomes “a kingdom of priests” the paradise will be re-stored. Therefore, the mes-sage to Adam in the dispensation of Innocence appears to be repeated here, following Moses’ first ascent.

Moses’ Second Encounter and the Dispensation of Conscience

Moses’ second ascent is given in Exodus 19:8-14:

“…And Moses returned the words of the people unto the Lord.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes,

“And be ready against the third day: for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.

“And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:

“There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

“And Moses went down from the mount unto the peo-ple …” (Exodus 19:8-14).

This corresponds to the dispensation of Con-science — from the expulsion to the Flood.

First, God told Moses to “sanctify them … let them wash their clothes.” Before the Fall of Adam there was no need for sanctifying. After the Fall, however, there was then a need for cleansing — sin had entered the human race. The era was called “conscience” because Adam became knowledge-able on the subject of sin. He learned the difference between good and evil. This corresponds with the command at Sinai to have the people to wash their clothes — a metaphor for spiritual cleansing.

Secondly, The LORD instructed Moses to “set bounds … go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it.” This compares with the story of the expulsion from Eden:

“Therefore, the LORD God sent him forth from the gar-den of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

“So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:23-24).

Adam was forbidden to enter the garden and Is-rael was forbidden to touch the mountain.

Thirdly, God descended to the summit of Mount Sinai for a meeting with His people on the third day.

“And it came to pass on the third day in the morn-ing, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount…” (Exodus 19:16).

According to Flavius Josephus, it rained:

“So they passed two days in this way of feasting, but on the third day before the sun was up, the cloud spread it-self over the whole camp of the Hebrews, such a one as none had seen before and encompassed the place where they had pitched their tents. And while all the rest of the air was clear, there came strong winds that raised up large showers of rain, which became a mighty tempest. There was also such lightning — terrible to those that saw it. And thunder, with its thunder bolts, declared God to be there” (Josephus, Antiquities, bk 3, ch. 5, para. 2).

Just as the second era ended with a great Flood, in like manner, this second encounter was con-cluded with a great rain — perhaps to remind them of the Flood which came in the days of Noah. Because of these comparisons, I feel that the sce-nario represented a picture of the dispensation of Conscience — from the Fall to the Flood.

Moses’ Third Encounter and the Dispensation of Human Government

Moses’ third trip to the summit of Mount Sinai is recorded in Exodus 19:17-20:

“And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.

“And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, be-cause the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

“And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God an-swered him by a voice.

“And the Lord came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up” (Exodus 19:17-20).

It is here that the story corresponds with the dispensation of Human Govern-ment:

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish.

“And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them.

“And Moses said unto the Lord, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, say-ing, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.

“And the Lord said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priest and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them.

“So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them” (Exodus 19:21-25).

First, the Scriptures inform us of a division be-tween the people and the priesthood. This division corresponds to events during the postdiluvian era. This dispensation of Human Government wit-nessed a separation of the languages and of the three basic divisions of the human race.

Second, at the Tower of Babel the various lin-eages of Shem, Ham, and Japheth were scattered, and the bounds were set. Likewise, God told Moses to set bounds about the Mount and sanctify it.

Third, God spoke audibly to the people of Is-rael and gave to them the most profound set of laws in human history — the Ten Command-ments. No na-tion or group of nations has ever been able to im-prove upon these laws. With the Ten Commandments, God es-tablished a governing covenant for Is-rael — corresponding to the dispensation of Hu-man Government.

The third dispensation is called “Human Gov-ernment,” because of events surrounding the building of the Tower of Babel. The people estab-lished a form of government and built the city with its monument to human inge-nuity.

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

“And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

“And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

“And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

“Go to, let us go down, and there confound their lan-guage, that they may not understand one an-other’s speech.

“So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.

“Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:1-9).

Babel was not a skyscraper that stretched into the stratosphere. It was a temple of worship. At its top was a “holy of holies” of sorts, where the people erected images of idolatry — the sun (Baal), the moon (Ashtoreth), and other signs of the zodiac, which the people regarded as gods. No wonder God said in the first and second commandments:

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above…” (Exodus 20:3-4).

These commandments are a direct reference to the Tower of Babel and the dispensation of Human Government.

Fourthly, The languages were changed at Babel. This compares with an unusual event that oc-curred when God spoke from the summit of Sinai. Joseph Good, author of ROSH HASHANAH AND THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM TO COME writes,

“The Revela-tion at Sinai, it was taught, was given in desert territory, which belongs to no one nation exclu-sively; and it was heard not by Israel alone, but by the in-habitants of all the Earth. The Divine Voice divided itself into the seventy tongues then spoken on Earth, so that all the children of men might understand its world-embrac-ing and man-re-deeming message.”

The Jewish commentary, Exodus Rabba, says:

“When G-d gave the Torah on Sinai, He dis-played un-told marvels to Israel with His voice. What happened?  G-d spoke and the Voice rever-berated throughout the world…. It says, ‘And all the people witnessed the thun-derings’ (Exodus. 20:15). Note that it does not say ‘the thunder,’ but ‘the thunderings;’ wherefore, R. Johanan said that G-d’s voice, as it was uttered, split up into sev-enty voices, in seventy languages, so that all the nations should understand. When each nation heard the Voice in their own vernacular, their souls departed [i.e. they were in fear], save Israel, who heard but who were not hurt.”

Rabbi Moshe Weissman in, The Midrash Says, writes,

“On the occasion of matan Torah (the giv-ing of the Torah), the Bnai Yisrael (the children of Israel) not only heard Hashem’s (the L-rd’s) Voice but actually saw the sound waves as they emerged from Hashem’s (the L-rd’s) mouth. They visual-ized them as a fiery substance. Each command-ment that left Hashem’s (the L-rd’s) mouth trav-eled around the entire camp and then came back to every Jew individually, asking him, “Do you ac-cept upon yourself this Commandment with all halachot (Jewish law) pertaining to it?” Every Jew answered, “Yes,” after each Com-mandment. Fi-nally, the fiery sub-stance which they saw, engraved itself on the luchot (tablets).”

As a reference to Babel, when all languages were established, God is said to have spoken in ev-ery language at the same time. By giving the Torah (Law), God was establishing a divine gov-ernment to counter “human government.” Yes, Moses’ third ascent to the summit of Mt. Sinai corre-sponded to the dispensation of Human Government. A side note: the voice of God came from His mouth as if they were “tongues” (languages) of fire speaking every language. This Sinai experience occurred on the very same calendar day that later became known as Pentecost! Both the dispensa-tion of Law and the dispensation of Grace were inaugurated on the same day! Both occasions wit-nessed the voice of God as “tongues of fire,” in which all languages were heard simultaneously!

Moses’ Fourth Encounter and the Dispensation of Promise

Moses’ fourth ascent to the summit is recorded in Exodus 20:21 to 24:3. The account can be divided into three basic categories:

1. God told Moses to make an altar of earth.

2. God elaborated upon the Ten Commandments.

3. God promised to bring them into the Land.

“An altar of earth thou shalt make unto me, and shalt sacrifice thereon thy burnt-offerings, and thy peace-offer-ings, thy sheep, and thine oxen: in all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee” (Exodus 20:24).

First, the “altar of earth” appears to be a tempo-rary place of worship until the Tabernacle could be constructed. It was not to be the final form of worship. It represented the “promise” of a better thing. It is typical of the dispensation of Promise wherein God called Abraham to leave his home and move to a land of “promise” — a land which “flowed with milk and honey” — to look for a city “whose Builder and Maker is God.”

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an in-heritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

“By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

“For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).

The word “promise” is used twice in the above passage, indicating the theme of the dispensation. God dealt with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by a promise — the Abrahamic covenant. The account is given in Genesis 15.

“And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

“And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.

“And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it” (Genesis 15:5-7).

The Abrahamic covenant promised a coming “seed” and a Promised Land. Furthermore, it was accepted by faith. Now at Sinai, Moses is given the same kind of promise. Just as Abraham wan-dered and sojourned in the desert areas of the Promised Land, even so Moses and the Chosen People will wander in the wilderness for forty years. The altar of earth will be temporary. Even the Tabernacle to be built was temporary. God ea-gerly awaited a fu-ture Temple to be built on Mount Moriah. But, life must continue during this in-terim period, so God gives further instructions about His moral law:

“Now these are the judgments which thou shalt set be-fore them” (Ex. 21:1).

Secondly, During Moses’ second forty days on the summit, God will greatly expand the Law to include 613 commandments. God brings the dispensation of Promise to a close and opens a new era — the dis-pensation of Law.

Thirdly, God proposes to make good on His promise to Abraham. He is about to give Israel their Promised Land.

“I will send hornets before thee which shall drive out the Hivites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, from before thee.

“And He said, I will not drive them out from before thee in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beast of the field multiply against thee.

“By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased and inherit the land” (Exodus 23:28-30).

What God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Ja-cob, He is about to bring to pass through Moses. This will complete the dispensation of Promise and institute the dispensation of Law.

Moses’ Fifth Encounter and the Dispensation of Law

Moses’ fifth trip to the top of Sinai is recorded in Exodus 24:9-32:14. Moses spends forty days and forty nights in the presence of God — a perfect parallel to the fifth dis-pensation of Law.

It begins on a mountain called Sinai and con-cludes on a mountain called Calvary. It begins with the giving of the Law and concludes with the death of the Lawgiver.

“Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:

“And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clear-ness.

“And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; and thou mayest teach them” (Ex. 24:9-12).

According to the Scripture, Moses and Joshua, left the elders in the care of Aaron and Hur and went up into the mount. The Shek-inah Glory de-scended upon the mount and hovered there for six days. On the seventh day God called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud of glory:

“And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights” (v. 18).

During this time God delivered the Ten Com-mandments on tables of stone, plans for the Taber-nacle and the pattern for the priesthood. Also, He in-structed Moses in the service of sacrifices.

Forty days! Why forty days? Could these days be a prophetic picture of the time involved in the dis-pensation of Law? If so, then how could forty days fit into the picture? As I pondered this question, I remembered the Jubilee — the fiftieth year. There are forty Jubilees in 1,960 years.

According to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 97B), Rab-binical theologians wrote that there should be 2,000 years of desolation, 2,000 years wherein the Torah would flourish; and 2,000 years for the Mes-sianic era — followed by a seventh millennium wherein the Messiah would be exalted.

Therefore, let me suggest that we include the dispensation of Promise in the overall picture of this period — the dispensation of Law. The total time given by rabbinical scholars for the “flourishing of the Torah” is 2,000 years, thus combining the Abrahamic covenant of Promise (500 years) with the Mosaic covenant of Law (1,500 years).

Likewise, though the tables of stone containing the Ten Commandments were given during this fifth trip of Moses, the Law was spoken orally on the occasion of Moses’ fourth trip, which symbol-ized the dispensation of the Promise. Therefore, the possibility exists that the forty days spent by Moses in the presence of God were comparable to forty periods of Jubilee, during which time the “Torah flourished.”

God commanded that a Jubilee be observed every forty-nine years. Therefore, over a period of 1,960 years the people should observe forty Jubilees. Some theologians feel the forty days and nights Moses spent in the presence of God may well be symbolic of forty Jubilees. Those forty days ended with a rejection of Moses’ efforts, the building of a golden calf, and the breaking of God’s law. As a prophetic overview of the dispensation of Law, the rebellion of Israel fits quite well with the rejection of Christ, some 2,000 years later.

Transition Between Law and Grace

While Moses was atop Mt. Sinai, Joshua also was nearby. When Moses began his descent, Joshua joined him:

“And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.

“And the tables were the work of God, and the writ-ing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.

“And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp” (Exodus 32:15-17).

How prophetic that Joshua accompanied Moses during his fifth trip! It is a perfect profile of that prophet whom God would raise up “like unto Moses!” The name Joshua in the Old Testament is basically the same as the name Jesus in the New Testament. Fur-thermore, it was Joshua who succeeded Moses. It was Joshua who led the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Surely, the name of the Messiah could have been nothing other than Joshua — the Hebrew counter-part for the Greek word translated Jesus.

As they descend, Moses and Joshua hear a clamor in the camp. They arrive to find a golden calf. At this point, Moses breaks the tablets of stone, grinds the golden calf to powder, spreads it upon the water, and makes the people drink. This tragic affair culminates in the deaths of 3,000 men:

“And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.

“And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men” (Exodus 32:27,28).

The number reminds me of 3,000 converts who submitted to baptism fol-lowing Peter’s sermon. Baptism is a symbol of death, cor-responding with the deaths of those who helped build the golden calf. Therefore, the number of con-verts at Pentecost corre-sponds to the loss of those who died at Sinai.

Moses’ Sixth Encounter and the Dispensation of Grace

Now, for the sixth time, Moses approaches the Lord on behalf of Israel. This time he offers him-self as a substitute — a profile of Christ, the Great Substitute. Moses becomes a mediator:

“And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.

“Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written” (Exodus 32:31-32).

It is here that we can see the ministry of Christ. Moses became the “mediator” before the Lord. He said, “…forgive …  and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book…” Moses offered himself as a substitute for the people. In like manner, Christ became our “Great Substitute.” On Calvary He prayed, “…Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do….” (Luke 23:34). Then from the cross He prayed, “… My God, my God, why hast thou for-saken me?” (Matthew 27:46). The Great Substitute is pictured here as Moses prays, “Forgive … or blot me … out of thy book.”

This encounter prophetically compares with those transition years, which concluded with the dispensation of Law and instituted the dispensation of Grace:

“… Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it:

“And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite:

“Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee: for thou art a stiff-necked people: lest I consume thee in the way” (Ex. 33:1-3).

At this point God turns from the Jewish people in the same way He turned from Israel after the crucifixion, setting aside the Jews and taking His message of salvation to the Gentiles. God said that He would not “go up in the midst” of Israel. In a symbolic gesture, Moses returned to his home, took his tent:

“… and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of the congre-gation” (Ex. 33:7).

This was not the proposed Tabernacle contain-ing a Holy Place and Holy of Holies. This was Moses’ own tent. Moses went to his home, disman-tled his tent, took it outside the camp, and raised it up. It is a prophetic picture of the Lord Jesus Christ who left the camp of Israel and pitched His Tabernacle, or New Testament Church, outside the camp — among the Gentile nations.

With the children of Israel looking on, Moses and Joshua entered the tent:

“And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the taber-nacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.

“And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and wor-shiped, every man in his tent door.

“And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the Son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the taberna-cle” (Ex. 33:9-11).

When Moses left the tent, Joshua stayed! This is a prophetic picture of the future Messiah who should follow Moses. It is a fulfillment of Moses’ prophecy of the Prophet who would be raised up in his likeness.

Just as Joshua stayed in the tent, Je-sus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, left His people to establish New Testament Gentile Christianity. And Jesus is still in the New Testament Church today. How perfect then, is the parallel — Joshua stayed in the tent!

Moses Finds Grace

In the following encounter, Moses finds grace in God’s sight:

“And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.

“Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this na-tion is thy people.

“And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.

“And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name” (Ex. 33:12-14,17).

The word “grace” is the key. Just as Moses and the children of Israel found grace (unmerited favor) in the sight of God, even so, after Christ’s death on Calvary, a new dispen-sation was instituted — the dispensation of Grace:

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

This sixth encounter with God, along with its at-tending events, seems to be a prophetic pic-ture of the First Advent of Christ to establish the dispensation of Grace. When Christ came that first time, He found Israel filled with unbelief. In-stead of setting up the Kingdom, He went to the cross and died in order to obtain grace for the whole world.

Moses’ Seventh Encounter and the Dispensation of the Kingdom

After Moses’ sixth encounter, he asked the Lord to show him His glory. It is here that God promised Moses that, though he could not see His face, he would be allowed to see His back side. The preparation began for Moses’ seventh and final trip to the top of Sinai:

“And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the Lord had com-manded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.

“And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.

“And the Lord passed by before him, and pro-claimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gra-cious, longsuf-fering, and abundant in goodness and truth” (Exodus 34:4-6).

It is here that Moses appears to follow a prophetic scenario, which parallels Pentecost when tongues like as of fire descended upon the believ-ers. Moses ascends the mountain where he will spend a second period of forty days. This seems to be a prophetic type of Christ, who as-cended in clouds of glory. Thus began the Savior’s long stay in the presence of God. So far, He has not yet returned to Earth.

These forty days seem to be a prophetic picture of another set of forty Jubilee periods. If this is the case, then Jesus should return soon. We may now be in the countdown for the coming of Messiah!

At this point, Moses illustrated the present work of Christ before the throne of God:

“And Moses made haste, and bowed his head to-ward the earth, and worshiped.

“And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance” (Exodus 34:8,9).

Here, Moses acts as a mediator. In like manner, the Lord Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven to become our Advocate before the Father. He is our High Priest who has gone to plead our case.

In response to the prayer of Moses, God agrees to go. However, He also warned of severe punishment, which would befall the Jewish people:

“And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee” (Exodus 34:10).

This appears to be a promise that God will bring great judgment and tribulation upon the Jewish people. In direct fulfillment of that prophecy, over the past 2,000 years the Jews have suffered. They suffered in A.D. 70 when Titus and his Roman soldiers destroyed the Temple. They suffered in A.D. 135 under the great Diaspora, when the Ro-mans scattered the Jews and sold them on the slave markets of the world.

The Jews have suffered the persecutions of Im-perial Rome; the Crusades and Inquisitions of Re-ligious Rome; the pogroms or massacres of the Russian Czars; and the Holocaust of Hitler. One day, they will experience the worst period of suf-fering they have ever known. God predicted a com-ing Tribulation Pe-riod—referred to in the prophe-cies of Jeremiah as “Jacob’s trouble.”

God said to Moses, “… I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any na-tion … for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.” I believe this prophecy includes the future Tribulation Period. Jesus said in Matthew 24:21:

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved…” (Matthew 24:21).

Exodus 34:28 tells us that Moses “… was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” Moses fasted forty days.

There were three people in the Bible who fasted for forty days — Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. Moses fasted on top of Sinai. Elijah spent forty days fast-ing on Mount Sinai. And Jesus went into the “wilderness” to fast for forty days. Perhaps he fasted at the same place:

“Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilder-ness to be tempted of the devil.

“And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards a hungered” (Matt. 4:1,2).

Jesus went into the wilderness. The Scripture does not say which wilderness. It is possible that He went all the way to Sinai and fasted there. It would seem fitting that Jesus followed the footsteps of Moses and Elijah in his forty day fast.

The Second Coming of Moses

Finally, after forty days, Moses came down the mountain. His return to the camp of Israel is a tremendous prophetic picture of the Second Com-ing of Christ.

“And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

“And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him” (Exodus 34:29,30).

When Moses made his final descent from Sinai, he returned to the people in power and great glory. Likewise, in perfect prophetic fulfillment, Jesus will return one day in clouds of glory. Moses re-ceived that glory at the beginning of the forty-day period and revealed it unto his people when he re-turned. In like manner, Jesus received His glory at the moment of His resurrection and shall re-veal it to the world when He returns.

When Moses returned to the people after his sev-enth trip to the top of Sinai, he began the construc-tion of the Tabernacle. This is exactly what the Messiah will do when He comes to establish His Kingdom. He will build the Millennial Temple. Zechariah predicted it:

“And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:

“Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Zechariah 6:12,13).

According to this prophecy, the Messiah will build the Temple when He comes, just as Moses built the Tabernacle in the wilderness after the conclusion of his final forty days. Christ will re-turn to Earth someday (perhaps at the end of forty Jubilees), in power and great glory to build the Temple and establish His Kingdom on the Earth.

Notice that the entire sequence of events began in the third month of the year. According to the book of Jasher (an ancient apocryphal book), the Law was given on the sixth day of the third month. This corresponds with Pentecost. How fascinating to contemplate the possibility that Pen-tecost marked the introductions of both dispensa-tions — the dispensation of Law and the dispensa-tion of Grace!

Moses made his descent in power and great glory on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. That day represents a prophetic pic-ture of another great sacrifice to be made by God in the midst of the Battle of Armageddon. Blood will run as deep as the horses’ bridles. The Day of Atonement is also a prophetic picture of the coming of Jesus Christ in power and great glory at the conclusion of Armageddon.

Indeed, the story of the ages is played out prophetically in the life and ministry of Moses. No wonder Moses said in Deuteronomy 18:15: “The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, or thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall harken.”

In this study we have noted how these seven di-vine encounters of Moses correspond to the great dispensations of human history. It is marvelous to note how history compares with these scriptures. Obviously the Bible was not of human origin. Only God could have foreseen the future and could have guided Moses to become a prophetic pattern of those events, which should one day bring forth the redemption of man.

Go to Lesson 8: You Are A Prophecy

Go to Lesson 10: The Anatomy of a Dream

You Are A Prophecy

By on August 5, 2010

One of the greatest comparisons of God’s plan of the ages can be seen in the life of every human being. Believe it or not, you are a prophecy. Your life can actually be compared to the history of the human race. There is an uncanny relationship between the 70-year lifespan of a human being and the 7,000 years of world history which, according to the Bible, has been predetermined for the great human adventure — a sacred journey. It is stranger than fiction.

Let me put it this way — the lifespan of an individual literally represents a prophecy of the collective human adventure from creation to the consummation. A seventy-year life span is comparable to 7,000 years in the human adventure.

Every child is born to experience seven dispensations. J. R.’s granddaughter, Brittany, is 19 years old this month. She is about to move from the dispensation of Human Government to the dispensation of Promise. She is going to college.

Briefly, it could be described like this: A child is born — a picture of creation. He or she grows up, gets a job, goes into business, reaches the pinnacle of their career, and retires at the age of 60 to spend the next 10 years or so taking it easy — enjoying the fruits of labor, and letting the children take over the family business. Then this person dies around the age of 70, moving on to a greater adventure.

Comparing retirement at the age of 60 to world history, the Bible teaches that the Son of God will come back to the Earth at the end of 6,000 years to take over His Father’s business, while the human race enjoys a thousand years of rest — comparable to retirement.

Now let’s go back to the beginning and get the details. We will see an uncanny relationship between the individual human adventure and the greater adventure for humanity as a whole.

The Dispensation of Innocence

First, let us begin with the birth of a child. That can be compared to the dispensation of Innocence when Adam and Eve were created and placed in a beautiful garden under the watchful care of the Heavenly Father. There is nothing quite so beautiful as a little baby. “Who does she look like?” “Well, she looks like Daddy,” or, “She looks like Mommy.” At least you have to admit she’s been made in the image of her parents. In like manner, we were made in the image of God.

Ah, the newborn baby! — so innocent — placed in her own little Garden of Eden. So helpless, yet so perfect. But it doesn’t take long for the little rascal to get into trouble. It’s kind of hard to say just when that moment comes. But it doesn’t take them long to learn that they can wrap you around their little finger just by crying in the middle of the night.

The real test comes when the little darling pulls up to the coffee table and reaches for something she is not supposed to have. “No,” you say, as you swat her cute little hand. That’s when the little rascal is determined to have it in spite of all that you can do.

The Dispensation of Conscience

She is now removed from the dispensation of Innocence to the dispensation of Conscience. She has fallen and oh, the guilt she feels! She cries. Over the years, the child has to learn responsibility. “Adam, Eve, you must learn to till the soil. You must learn to eat by the sweat of your brow.” “All right, Junior, make up your bed.” “Wash your hands, Roger.”

The years come and go until the child is approaching ten, and you can see that your little baby is growing up. She’s losing her childishness. The Adam-image is fading away.

Adam died at the age of 930, slightly less than 1,000 years — just as a child around the age of nine or ten begins to grow like a weed, lose her identity as the “baby of the family,” and suddenly you realize you have a young lady on your hands.

The “Abel characteristic” can also be seen during those early years when a child loves freely and enjoys the delightfulness of her new adventure. She loves everybody. Adam named the animals and, in like manner, the child enjoys a similar adventure. Animals seem to take on an almost human characteristic — Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Teddy the Bear, and so on.

She hates no one and believes that everybody is good. Such was Abel, the son of Adam. But it doesn’t take long in a young child’s life for the likes of Cain to raise his ugly head. Thus develops the conflict between good and evil in the life of a child.

By the age of 13 the young teenager begins to face the problem of allegiance in her life. Up until then she has owed her allegiance only to father and mother, but she begins to look around her — to develop what we might call “idolatry.” It might be Superman or Ringo Starr, for we have reached the age of the teen idol.

Thus it was — during the age of adolescent humanity when the world was 1,300 years old, 1,400, 1,500, and so on. That was the age for the development of idolatry. When the world was 1,600 years old, the heavenly Father had to bring on a flood to wash away the ungodliness of the human race that He might preserve the righteous.

“The imagination of the heart is only evil continually!” Well, for boys, maybe, but, hopefully, not for girls.

The Dispensation of Human Government

It is during those teenage years, somewhere around the age of 16, that a parent has to really come to grips with the evil direction of their adolescent — so that they might be able to preserve and develop the good. Those are the flood years when evil is contemplated — perhaps even practiced — but, hopefully, purged. Suddenly, the boy finds himself submerged in the discipline of the dispensation of Human Government — he falls under the despotic rule of father and mother. But it’s for his own good.

During those years, every problem is overwhelming for the teenager. “My nose is too big! My ears stick out! My arms are too long! Nobody likes me.” Every problem seems like a flood. But if the teenager will only try, he will find grace in the eyes of his father.

When he comes out of those years of turmoil, he’ll end up on the mountaintop just like Noah — provided, of course, he stays in the safety of the family unit and doesn’t jump out of the boat.

It is during those flood years that the Garden of Eden environment of the home is washed away, and the teenager sees a new and unfriendly world awaiting him.

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. So it is with the teenager. But just because he has found grace in the eyes of his father doesn’t mean the teenager is now perfect, for those are the experimental years. For instance, one of the first things Noah did in his new world was to experiment with wine — and, oh, what a catastrophe it brought in his life! So it is with many young people today.

Many begin to experiment with drugs, liquid or otherwise, which could have a disastrous influence on their future. Man is a trinity — made up of body, soul, and spirit. During the teenage years, it is so easy for a young person to become enslaved to sin by yielding to its temptation. Just as the curse was put upon Ham and his offspring causing them to become a servant in the tents of his brethren; in like manner, the spirit can become enslaved to the body and its appetites.

Ham made light of his father’s drunkenness and fell under a curse. In like manner, there are many young people who take sin far too lightly — and are in great danger of becoming enslaved. It could put a mark upon one’s character — comparable to that of Ham.

The Dispensation of Promise

Around the age of 20, a young person feels the need to leave home. “Go west, young man, go west. It’s time to find your own promised land.” That brings us near the age of 2,000 years in the great human adventure. God reached down to a man named Abraham and said, “It’s time to leave home. Leave your family and go west, young man, go west — into a land that I shall show thee of; which afterward I shall give you for an inheritance.” It’s almost uncanny, isn’t it?

When a young man leaves home, he does not become an overnight success in business. In like manner, Abraham did not immediately possess his Promised Land. He went to it and even lived in it, but he really didn’t possess it. It wasn’t his. It was there as a goal before him to be reached, but it remained only a promised land; it was not yet possessed.

So it is in the life of a young person. A young man may know what he wants to do, but the goal remains just beyond his grasp. He is going to have to attend the “university of hard knocks” before he can obtain his goal. Thus we enter upon the dispensation of Promise, which lasted in human history from Abraham to Moses.

During the years from 20 to 25, a young person is tempted to live a pretty worldly life. He may rebel against those around him as the sons of Jacob rebelled against Joseph — and eventually may end up in the proverbial “Egyptian bondage!”

The Dispensation of Law

At the age of 2,500 years, mankind entered into a new dispensation, which was to last for the next 1,500 years. It is called in the Bible the dispensation of Law. In like manner, around the age of 25, a young man begins to settle down in life.

He establishes some basic moral values — comparable to the Ten Commandments. This is when he realizes that if he is going to get anywhere in life, he is going to have to go to work. The college student can no longer play around. He has to get down to business. The hippie finally puts on a suit and tie and joins the real world.

It is also around the age of 25 when a young man finds the girl of his choice and marries her. Thus, the dispensation of Law begins. God the Father in heaven reached down and pulled the girl of His dreams out of Egyptian bondage and married her, for, you see, the Chosen People were called “the wife” of Jehovah.

There was a covenant of Law established between Jehovah and Israel when the human race was 2,500 years old and in like manner, a groom and his bride establish a marriage covenant. Yes, many a young man between the ages of 20 and 25 finds himself in a proverbial Egyptian bondage, but he makes his exodus and wanders for a while through the wilderness of this life while he establishes his covenant with a “chosen” person — the girl of his dreams and establishes some moral concepts which will govern him for the rest of his life.

For the next 15 years (between the ages of 25 and 40) those moral concepts are really law. They are written on tables of stone. They are not yet made a part of the personality. But a man usually follows them — his wife will see to that! Those are the years when a man produces his firstborn son. We can see that in the great human adventure when God said to Moses, “Go, tell Pharaoh, Israel is My son, even My firstborn son” (Ex. 4:22).

And so a man around the age of 25 produces his firstborn son, and the cycle seems to start all over again — except from a different perspective. He who once viewed life through the eyes of a son, now sees life from the viewpoint of a father.

For the next five years (from 25 to 30) a man may conquer his Promised Land. But it is a struggle. During those years, it is hard to get a business loan from the bank. Few bankers are willing to make big loans until his client reaches the age of 30. Oh, he may be able to finance an automobile or even a house, but there aren’t very many people in their twenties who can borrow $50,000 or $100,000 for a business venture.

Around the age of 30 a man becomes mature — and wise, like Solomon who appeared on the stage of human history at the 3,000-year point. This is the time when the Solomon characteristic is developed — a time of wisdom and maturity. And it was a time when Solomon built the house of God. So it is in the life of a man around the age of 30 when he gets his children in Sunday School and church, for he wants that little four, five, or six-year-old to learn the Bible. He doesn’t want his child making the same mistakes he made.

For the next few years (between the ages of 30 and 35) a man will reach a measure of success, but will see some failures, as well. Sometimes, during those years a man’s kingdom may be divided — as it was in Israel after the death of Solomon.

It may be that a man will experience an “Assyrian” captivity and never recover — or a “Babylonian” captivity that will only last a little while. Around the 3,300-year point the Chosen People went into Assyrian captivity, and 100 years later the rest of them went into Babylonian captivity.

So it is in the life of a man in his mid-30s. If his kingdom is divided, he is going to be under a lot of pressure. During these years, a family might suffer divorce, something from which they may never recover. The Assyrian captivity was a sort of divorce between God and the northern tribes.

Not all of his business decisions will be good ones. He may suffer a financial “captivity,” but, at least there can be a measure of recovery. The Babylonian captivity only lasted 70 years and God’s people came back to rebuild their land.

The Dispensation of Grace

Around the age of 40, a man reaches a turning point in his life. It either becomes a “mid-life crisis” — or we could say, “life begins at 40.” It all depends on how a man copes with those special problems unique to that time in his life. That brings us to the 4,000-year point in world history.

The choice was theirs — Israel could either reject the Messiah and compound the problems of life or receive Him and enjoy the glories of the kingdom. Which shall it be?

At 40, a man has been married somewhere between 15 to 20 years (give or take a few). His firstborn son has reached the age of adolescence. The father expects a lot out of his son — just like Israel was expecting their Messiah. But when Jesus came, He didn’t seem to measure up to Israel’s concept of a Savior. They wanted a Messiah who could overthrow the Roman government and set up the kingdom.

But Jesus had come for quite another reason. He came looking for a bride of his own — New Testament Christianity. And, you know, in like manner, a young man at that stage in life begins looking for the girl of his dreams — his own chosen person.

Furthermore, when a son becomes a teenager, his dad wants him to be about the father’s business. Perhaps he enters as an apprentice — preparing for that day when he will become a full partner, but the young messiah doesn’t quite measure up to expectations, and there are some things in his life the father would like to crucify. For the son it may seem like a flood experience, but for the father, it is a crucifixion. Besides, the father doesn’t want that young whippersnapper running things around his household. He’ll not have the son rule over him!

Business-wise, those are the greatest years of opportunity in a man’s life. He reaches the top of his career between the ages of 40 and 60. The potential is unlimited. If a man has not found himself to be successful by the age of 40, he usually changes his direction.

At least he opens his vision — and his business begins to spread out. Some men turn their local business into a nationwide chain and, for some, the scope may be worldwide.

Well, that’s what the Father did 2,000 years ago. He expanded His work of redemption and made the Gospel available on a worldwide scale. He took the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. It became like an international franchise.

The years between 40 and 60 represent the dispensation of Grace. That’s when the dispensation of Law, which began around the age of 25, turns into grace (around the age of 40). A man’s heart of stone finally becomes a heart of flesh. It is when one no longer has to make himself do what is right. It finally becomes an automatic part of a man’s character.

The Dispensation of the Kingdom Rest

When a man reaches the age of 60, it’s time to think of retirement. It’s time to turn the family business over to the children and let them have it on their own — while the father sits back and relaxes to enjoy the next 10 years of his life, for he has worked enough.

He should be able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. So it is in the great worldwide human adventure. This is the time when the dispensation of Grace will turn into the dispensation of the Kingdom Rest.

The kingdom has come. Remember, when you were a baby, you lived under the dispensation of Innocence. But then you learned “right from wrong” and fell under the dispensation of Conscience.

During your teen years you found yourself under the dispensation of Human Government — the rule of father and mother. But around the age of 20 you entered upon the dispensation of Promise, looking forward to a bright future.

However, somewhere between 20 and 25 you ended up in bondage. But you didn’t stay. You made your exodus out of that volatile life-style to settle down and enter upon your own dispensation of Law. You got married and established some guidelines for life.

But, by the age of 40, you entered your dispensation of Grace. The things you did, you wanted to do. And at the age of 60 you entered upon the seventh dispensation of your life, the Kingdom Rest, when you turned the family business over to your children.

And it all represents a prophecy of 7,000 years for the great human adventure. Today, this old world has reached the age of 60 — or perhaps we should say 6,000. It’s time to turn the family business over to the heavenly Father’s Son and retire.

That is why I sincerely believe Jesus Christ will soon make His appearance to take over the Father’s business. He will establish the golden age of world history. Say, I wonder if that’s why we call those years after 60 the “golden” years? Well, I believe they are going to be wonderful years. The Son will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. My, how successful He is going to be! He’s going to conquer the problems of a wayward world.

And the last enemy to be conquered is death. For you see, around 70 a man leaves this old house of clay and enters upon a new and eternal adventure. Likewise, at the age of 7,000 this old world is going to be renovated. God will make a new heaven and a new Earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

The parallels are uncanny. They could not possibly be coincidental. It is obvious to see the grand design — 70 years for the individual human adventure and 7,000 years for the great worldwide human adventure. In this sacred journey, you are a prophecy!

Go to Lesson 7: Dispensationalism and the Menorah

Next up is Lesson 9: Moses and the Dispensations

Dispensationalism and the Menorah

By on July 5, 2010

Dispensationalism is a foundational concept in Eschatology. One cannot properly understand God’s Plan of the Ages without knowing this biblical view of history. Scholars have written extensively about these seven dispensations that reveal God’s dealings with man throughout the various stages of history. They are taught as the dispensations of:

  1. Innocence
  2. Conscience
  3. Human Government
  4. Promise
  5. Law
  6. Grace
  7. The Kingdom

In each dispensation, God established a covenant with mankind. At the conclusion of each age, however, man is seen as a failure:

The dispensation of Innocence ended with the sin of Adam and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

The dispensation of Conscience ended with the Flood of Noah.

The dispensation of Human Government ended with the confusion of languages and mankind’s dispersion throughout the Earth.

The dispensation of Promise ended with bondage in Egypt.

The dispensation of Law ended with the death of Christ, the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of Jews throughout the world.

The dispensation of Grace is predicted to end with the Tribulation Period.

The dispensation of the Kingdom will end with the final battle of Gog and Magog and the White Throne Judgment.

In every case, man is shown to be a total failure, in need of God’s grace.

A Menorah Design

The golden menorah built by the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. It awaits the day when the religious Jews restore Temple worship.

In this study, I would like to point out the menorah design in the plan. There were seven lamps in Israel’s ancient lampstand — a center lamp was elevated above the others, and faced out toward the center of the Holy Place. It was perpendicular to the lampstand. The three lamps on the left pointed toward the center lamp; and the three lamps on the right pointed toward the center lamp like a mirror image of the opposite three. The center lamp of the menorah was called the shamash or servant lamp. In our book, The Mystery of the Menorah, we noted that all of the sevens in the Bible appear to have a menorah design. So it is with the seven dispensations. In the menorah, the first lamp rested on the top of a branch that continued in a circular pattern down and across the trunk, then extended upward again to the seventh lamp. This design shows the relationship of the first lamp to the seventh lamp.

Likewise, the second lamp rested on the same branch that supported the sixth lamp. The third lamp sat atop the same branch that held the fifth lamp. Therefore, lamp #1 corresponded to lamp #7; lamp #2 was related to lamp #6 and lamp #3 was associated with lamp #5.

The first three lamps looked forward to the shamash and the last three lamps look backward to the shamash. This relationship continues in all sevens found throughout the Bible.

Innocence/Kingdom

Note that the first dispensation (Innocence) is related to the seventh dispensation (the Kingdom). In Innocence, we had paradise. In the Kingdom, we shall have paradise regained.

Conscience/Grace

The second dispensation (Conscience) is related to the sixth dispensation (Grace).

With the fall of Adam, guilt was introduced to the human race in the form of Conscience. However, with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, mankind is introduced to Grace — forgiveness and a clean conscience.

Human Government/Law

The third dispensation (Human Government) witnessed the development of man’s attempt at civilized society. However, it was a government without God, which led to a confusion of languages. On the other hand, its counterpart, the fifth dispensation (Law) provided God’s plan for civilized society.

Promise

The fourth dispensation (Promise) corresponds to the servant lamp that provides the light of God’s plan for the redemption of man. This tells us that the Abrahamic Covenant is the central theme of the entire Bible. Our new life in Christ is based upon Abraham rather than Moses. Eternal Life is the essence of God’s promise that the ‘seed of Abraham’ would bless all the families of the Earth. The Mosaic covenant, on the other hand, was only made with Israel — not the rest of mankind. The only hope for all nations lay in the fulfillment of the dispensation of Promise — the promise given in the Abrahamic Covenant.

The first three lamps look forward to the servant lamp, and teach us that the first three dispensations looked forward to the future “Promise” of redemption. The last three lamps look back to the dispensation of Promise. Therefore, the most important of all seven dispensations is the fourth, in which Abraham “… believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). That’s what makes the Abrahamic Covenant to become our shamash or servant lamp.

When Christ said, “I am the light of the world,” He was fulfilling the prophecy of the lamp that passed through the sacrifice made by Abraham in Genesis:

“And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.

“In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram” (Genesis 15:17,18).

In the opening verses of John’s Gospel, Christ was introduced as that light:

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

‘And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:4,5).

When Christ died on Calvary’s cross, He fulfilled the promise Abraham made to Isaac:

“And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together” (Genesis 22:7,8).

Jesus is Abraham’s lamb. John also pointed out this fulfillment as he records John the Baptist’s proclamation:

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

When the holy city New Jerusalem descends from heaven, it will be Abraham’s city:

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

“By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

“For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).

Again, John was faithful to point out this city and its builder:

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2,3).

All seven dispensations revolve around God’s covenant made with Abraham, just as the lamps of the menorah. Every dispensation ended with failure, including the dispensation of Law. Mankind simply cannot be saved by Law.

Law Versus Grace

The single-most difficult problem facing Christian theologians down through the centuries has been the subject of “salvation by grace” versus “salvation by the works of the law.” The subject has divided theologians in every generation.

The Apostle Paul wrote extensively about the subject. He was constantly plagued with Judaizers who contended that his Gentile converts should be circumcised and keep the Mosaic Law. Paul maintained that Gentiles were saved by faith and faith alone. On the other hand, James wrote, “… show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works” (James 2:18).

This argument has kept heads spinning down through the centuries! Peter was a devout Jew, who reluctantly carried the Gospel to a Gentile — the Roman centurion, Cornelius. In his second epistle, Peter said of Paul’s writings:

“And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood…” (II Peter 3:15,16).

Peter had a difficult time understanding so complex a matter. Furthermore, in his first epistle, Peter said that even the angels had a bit of difficulty with this part of God’s plan:

“Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into” (I Pet. 1:12).

Even the angels could not comprehend the grace that God has bestowed upon us! If Peter confessed to having a hard time understanding, and reported that even the angels desired to look into the matter, no wonder Christianity has been in a quandary down through the centuries! This difficulty has produced over a thousand differing denominations — most of them built around a particular view of what constitutes salvation.

The difficulty resulted from Israel’s view of the Mosaic Law. Early Christianity was born out of a culture that circumcised every male child. Each family strictly observed the Jewish festivals — Passover, Pentecost, Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles. In fact, the Jewish society rigidly kept 613 laws of Moses, which covered every area of their lives. They even worshipped on Saturday!

We normally think of salvation by grace as saving us from these difficult laws. We think that Jesus nailed the Mosaic Law to the cross — that He fulfilled the Law and therefore did away with it. On the other hand, some Gentile Christians in our day want us to return to a keeping of the Jewish holy days. Messianic congregations are filled with Gentiles who meet on Friday nights.

They eat kosher foods and observe as many of the 613 Mosaic laws as they possibly can. Another Christian denomination worships on Saturday and urges their people to observe their stylized version of the Mosaic Law.

Some Jewish believers in “Yeshua Ha Meshiach” (Jesus the Messiah) preach that the Jesus worshipped by most Christian denominations today is not the same Jesus of the New Testament. They claim that the Jesus we serve is a Gentile concoction that doesn’t even resemble the original Jesus of Nazareth. I’ve read one Jewish writer who claimed we are all idolaters and that Yeshua (Jesus) will throw us all into hell when He comes!

The argument rages on!

It is true that Law versus Grace is a deep and difficult doctrine to comprehend, much less explain. However, perhaps we can help put the problem into a proper perspective. Let me start by saying that the Law of Moses never offered eternal life in the first place. Surprised? Allow me to explain.

In Numbers 25:12, God makes a covenant with the Levitical Priesthood: “Behold I give unto him my covenant of peace.” The Hebrew term for “peace” is shalom ouka. But it is spelled with a broken vav u.

The Abrahamic Covenant

Before there was a Moses, there was a man named Abraham. Before there was a Mosaic covenant, there was an Abrahamic Covenant that offered eternal life:

“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting (okug) covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee” (Gen. 17:7).

The fact that this is an everlasting covenant automatically offers the promise of eternal life. The Hebrew term, translated “ever (as in forever),” “of old,” “always,” “perpetual,” or “everlasting,” is olam okug, used 384 times in the Old Testament with the vav u and 33 times as olam okg, without the vav u. In every case, it seems to refer to eternity, or an eternal existence, not bound by time. It is used thirteen times in the book of Genesis. Eleven of those references use a vav u in the spelling. The vav u appears to refer to a divine connection (vav u means “hook”). It seems to have a spiritual reference to the Messiah, for without Him; we would have no chance of being connected with heaven.

Don’t miss the importance of this. The entire New Testament is based upon the Abrahamic Covenant. The New Testament is not related to the Old Testament Mosaic Law. Our New Testament is not a made-over Old Testament. It is entirely different.

I must admit, for most of my life, I thought it was. I thought the New Testament replaced the Mosaic Law. I was wrong. The New Testament doctrine of salvation by grace is not related to the Law of Moses. That is what the Apostle Paul was driving at in his epistles to the Romans, Galatians and Hebrews.

These controversial passages were actually Paul’s explanation to a Jewish culture that their salvation was not dependent upon the Mosaic Covenant, but rather upon the Abrahamic Covenant!

When the New Testament was written, Matthew introduced the entire subject of eternal life through Jesus Christ by announcing that He was the “son of David” and the “son of Abraham.” There was no mention about Moses or his Law.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, which was extended to David. Matthew’s genealogy of Christ begins with Abraham. Matthew does not carry the genealogy back to Adam, as does Luke, because the subject of eternal life goes back to Abraham.

The first five books of the Bible (Genesis through Deuteronomy) are generally considered to be the Mosaic Law. But if you consider them carefully, you will note that the Mosaic Law was introduced in Exodus — not Genesis.

Genesis introduces the covenant with Abraham. That is the covenant upon which even the Jews base their concept of eternal life. When a Jew prays, he closes his prayer in the name of Abraham — not in the name of Moses (we close our prayers in the name of Jesus). When a Jew died, he went to Abraham’s bosom — not Moses’ bosom. Paradise was placed in the charge of Abraham — not Moses.

The very name of heaven appears to be a derivative of Hebron, site of the tomb of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Abraham bought a cave at Hebron, which means, “seat of association.”

Genesis 23:19 says, “And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre: the same is Hebron in the land of Canaan.”

Again, Genesis 25:10 says, “The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.”

Hebron became the capital of Israel under David for the first seven years of his reign. David then moved the capital to Jerusalem. Hebron was a “seat of association” until the kingdom was moved to Jerusalem. In like manner, the “Bosom of Abraham” is associated with the future eternal city, New Jerusalem. With His death and resurrection, Jesus moved the Old Testament saints from Abraham’s Bosom directly to the Father’s house. The names of the twelve tribes have been written on the pearly gates.

In Matthew 8:5-13, the story is given of a Gentile who came to Jesus seeking healing for his servant. The Gentile was a Roman centurion. When Jesus told him that He would come and heal his servant, the Gentile said, “I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed” (v. 8).

When Jesus heard the Roman centurion make such a statement, He said, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (v. 10).

The next statement is based upon the Abrahamic Covenant, not the Mosaic Covenant. Keep in mind; this Gentile exhibited “great faith” having never kept the Law of Moses. Jesus made this startling statement:

“I say unto you, That many [Gentiles] shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven” (v. 11).

There is no mention here of Moses. The kingdom of heaven is based upon the covenant made with Abraham, and passed on through his posterity — Isaac, Jacob, etc. Yes, Moses will be in the kingdom of heaven, but not because of his Law. Moses will be there because he believed in the Abrahamic Covenant! And so will Samuel, and Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and Daniel, and Jonah, and Ezekiel, and all the rest!

Jesus included Gentiles “from the east and west” who will join Abraham in the kingdom of heaven. Those Gentiles will not get there because they adopted or kept the Mosaic ordinances. They will get there by trusting in that part of the Abrahamic Covenant that promised, “God will provide himself a Lamb!” (Genesis 22:8).

When we arrive at the very conclusion of the New Testament, we will find that “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” reveals the Savior as that Lamb! John writes:

“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain…” (Rev. 5:6).

Look around the throne room. Do you see a reference to the Mosaic Covenant? No. Throughout the entire book of Revelation there is only one mention of Moses. And the reference is to the Song of Moses, not his Law (Rev. 15:3).

In the final chapters of Revelation, Christ is portrayed over and over again as the Lamb.

The Holy City New Jerusalem belongs to the Lamb! John is taken to see the “Lamb’s wife!” (Revelation 21:9). On the foundation of the city are written the names of the “twelve apostles of the Lamb” (v. 14). The city needs no sun or moon to shine in it for “the Lamb is the light thereof” (v. 23). Those who live there have their names written in the “Lamb’s book of life” (v. 27). The “throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it” (Rev. 22:3).

This is the Lamb of the Abrahamic Covenant. It was Abraham who “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10).

This amazing statement about the faith of Abraham is the key to understanding the concept of eternal life. The faith of Abraham is the foundation upon which the doctrine of eternal life in the New Testament is written.

When Jesus died on Calvary, He made the faith of Abraham available to all — including Gentiles. Besides, the Jews were never saved by Law in the first place! They based their hope of eternal life by faith in the promises made to Abraham!

Of course, by the first century, many Jews were so steeped in the Mosaic Law that they could not understand the message of salvation by faith in the promises of Abraham.

John 9:28 points up the problem: “Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples.” They based their hope of eternal life on the Mosaic Law instead of on the faith of Abraham.

Earlier, Jesus had explained their problem. In John 7:19, Jesus said, “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?” The Law could not save. It is impossible to keep. Only Jesus kept it perfectly. And He didn’t need to be saved. He was Deity. He was the Creator. He was the Jehovah of the Old Testament. He was the Testator — the one who originally made the covenant with Abraham.

In Acts 3, Peter addressed the Jews after healing the lame man at the gate of the temple. He began his sermon by saying: “The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus…” (Acts 3:13). He did not refer to the God of Moses, he turned the attention of the people to the very basis of their hope for eternal life. He talked about the God of Abraham!

When Stephen addressed the Sanhedrin, he opened his sermon with Abraham’s encounter with God: “Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken: The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham…” (Acts 7:2). Stephen began with the very foundation of their faith — the covenant with Abraham.

When Paul preached his first recorded sermon at Antioch of Pisidia, he addressed the people as, “Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham…” (Acts 13:26). Paul’s message took the people back to the very foundation of their faith — Abraham.

The epistle to the Romans was written to explain to the Jews at Rome that their loyalty to the Law of Moses was not then, nor ever had been, the basis for their hope of eternal life. He showed that the Law existed for the sole purpose of exposing their sins. The Law offered only a curse.

When Paul illustrated the basis of eternal life, he used the faith of Abraham to do it. In Romans 4, Paul showed how Abraham was saved by faith long before there was a law. In fact, Abraham was saved by faith long before he was circumcised! The covenant of circumcision was not the basis of the Abrahamic Covenant — faith was!

“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

“For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:1-3).

To show that the promises God made to Abraham were not based upon the Mosaic Law, uncircumcised Gentiles were included in it:

“Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness” (Rom. 4:9).

Not only was Abraham the father of Judaism, but of Gentile Christianity as well:

“And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised” (Rom. 4:12).

The basis for the entire doctrine of eternal life was not based upon Moses, but Abraham. Paul put it this way in Rom. 4:13:

“For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.”

The covenant with Abraham was extended to Gentiles because that was one of the main goals of the covenant to begin with. In Gen. 22:18, the Gentiles were included in the covenant of Abraham. “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.”

Again, in Gen. 26:4, the same promise is given: “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”

The covenant of Abraham is the prevailing covenant — not the covenant of Moses. In Galatians 3:13-14, Paul was quite clear concerning our basis for eternal life:

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law…

“That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

Note that Paul refers to the Law of Moses as a condemning factor, not a saving factor. He called it, “the curse of the law.” That was the purpose of the Law from the beginning. It revealed the curse of sin, yet had no method for relief. The Law and its sacrifices all pointed to Christ — the only redeeming factor — and Christ offers eternal life through the Abrahamic Covenant, not the Mosaic Covenant. Furthermore, Paul says that no one can ever — ever — ever annul the Abrahamic Covenant. It is still active to this very day!

“Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

“Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made” (Galatians 3:15,16).

The Order of Melchizedek

We are told in Hebrews that Christ is a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, unto whom Abraham paid tithes. Melchizedek was a priest who lived in the days of Abraham, not Moses. Furthermore, even Levi (father of the Levitical priesthood under the Mosaic Law) paid tithes to Melchizedek:

“And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham.

“For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedek met him” (Hebrews 7:9,10).

According to the treatise to the Hebrews, Christ is not related to the Levitical priesthood under the Mosaic Law, but to the Melchizedek priesthood and the covenant with Abraham.

The Schoolmaster

Now let’s consider the unique purpose of the Mosaic Law. In Gal. 3:24, the Law of Moses is introduced as a schoolmaster:

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

The work of “schoolmaster” allows us to detect a Torah design throughout the pages of the New Testament. For example, Matthew divides the life of Christ into five parts, corresponding to the themes found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This framework for the Gospel shows the “schoolmaster” or teaching aspect of the Mosaic Law seen in the Divine design. Also, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts appear to have a similar Torah design.

The seven lamps of the Mosaic menorah can be seen throughout the New Testament — especially in the book of Revelation. Why? Because the Law is a teacher or “schoolmaster.”

The intricate design work of Almighty God can be seen through the Mosaic Law. Proof that the Bible could only have been written by God can be seen in its Torah designs. That is the purpose of the Mosaic Law. It is a teaching mechanism to prove Divine handiwork of God.

The Tabernacle, Jewish prayer shawl, and other Old Testament types, offer magnificent views of the glory of our faith, but those things are just teachers (schoolmasters) to point us to faith in Christ. They are not the basis of salvation. Only faith in the Lamb promised to Abraham can bring eternal life.

If you are not sure of your eternal destiny, then take a moment to pray. Repent of your sins. Tell the Lord that you know your are a sinner. Ask Him to forgive you and save your soul.

Then go to church this Sunday. Walk the aisle during the invitation and tell the pastor that you have accepted Christ as your Savior. Submit to believer’s baptism and become a member of that congregation.

Go to Lesson 6: The Doctrine of the Great Sabbath

Go to Lesson 8: You Are a Prophecy