Having given you a fairly complete picture of the "man of sin" in our previous series, and how he rules from a temple that is not inhabited by the Holy Spirit (i.e., from Herod's temple), modern prophetic events start to become clear. The modern Israeli state is NOT the Kingdom of God, nor will the Jews as a people establish that Kingdom. If they succeed in building a temple there, there will be no outpouring of the Spirit there, nor will that temple ever be inhabited by God's presence.
Jeremiah 7 made it clear that God has written "Ichabod" on the temple site in Jerusalem. In Acts 1:9-12 Jesus, in whom is the full glory of God, ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives--the last place where God's glory was last sighted (Ezekiel 11:23) when it departed from the temple of Solomon.
Ten days later the glory of God returned in Acts 2, but it did not enter Herod's temple. It entered the disciples in the upper room. They became the new temple of God, not made with wood and stone. Those disciples, in turn, were scattered by persecution (Acts 8:1; 11:19) into all parts of the earth. Then the final destruction of Jerusalem came in 70 A.D., after the last remaining Christians escaped from that city.
Those who followed King Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, were the only true "Jews" in the earth at that point. All those who continued to call themselves "Jews" but who had rejected the King of Judah, were not true Jews at all, but (as the law says) they were cut off from among their people.
In other words, the Church under its new Pentecostal anointing, attached to Jesus Christ--"the Branch"--was the only representative of God's Kingdom in the earth. It carried the torch of God's light and truth in a continuous flow from the Old Testament into the New and beyond. The believers were branches, either natural or engrafted, of the good fig tree, which brought forth good fruit. Those who rejected Jesus as the Christ were part of the corrupt fig tree that only brought forth evil fruit (Jer. 24). Jesus cursed the corrupt fig tree in Matthew 21:19, saying, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." (NASB)
Messianic Judaism sneers at what it calls "replacement theology," saying that the Church will never replace the Jews as the people God has chosen to bring forth the Kingdom of God. It is indeed true that the Church did not replace those Jews who rejected Jesus Christ. The Church from the beginning was made up Judahites who accepted Jesus Christ as Messiah and King. To them were added many converts (branches) from other nations, even as the evil fig tree of Judaism had had many converts.
The good fig tree did not replace the evil fig tree. The evil fig tree was simply cut off for its unfruitfulness. In one sense these can be viewed as two separate fig trees, as Jeremiah saw them in Jer. 24. In another sense, however, they could be viewed as a single fig tree in need of pruning. In other words, God pruned the Kingdom Tree to remove the deadwood, the unproductive branches.
Hence, no real replacement happened. The good branches did not replace the unproductive branches. The unproductive branches were simply pruned. If we view this in terms of TWO fig trees, one cannot rightly say that the good fig tree replaced the evil fig tree, because the good fig tree had been there from the start.
Where, then, is the replacement theology? The real replacement theology is held by those who teach that the good fig tree has been or will be replaced by the evil fig tree. They believe, of course, that the evil fig tree is going to begin producing the fruits of the Kingdom any day now. But that belief goes fully against Jesus' curse upon that evil fig tree in Matthew 21:19, where He said plainly that no fruit would grow on that tree. How is it that God would replace a good tree with an evil one that cannot produce fruits that are fit to eat? Did God allow Absalom to rule David's throne forever? No. Usurpers are temporary. Their rule ends at God's appointed time by His calendar.
The Fertilizer Prophecy
Mainstream Judaism teaches that the adherents of their religion are God's chosen to rule the Kingdom. Messianic Judaism essentially agrees with that and are attempting to fertilize the tree to help it bring forth fruit. In doing this, they are fulfilling the prophetic parable in Luke 13:6-9.
6 And He began telling this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it, and did not find any. 7 "And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' 8 "And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; 9 and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down'."
The meaning is this: Jesus came and ministered for three years, looking for fruit on the fig tree of Judah. He found none, so He cursed that fig tree, essentially giving the order to cut down the tree. However, the vineyard keeper asked to try one more "year." The Messianic Jews (assisted by many other Christians) are these vineyard keepers, attempting to fertilize the tree to see if it will bring forth fruit.
The "year" here is not a single year, but a Jubilee cycle of 49 years (from the Palestinian Resolution of Nov. 1947 to 1996). This was the time also that Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:32 and 33,
32 Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 33 even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.
The fig tree was cursed because it only brought forth leaves, but not fruit. Jesus said that this cursed fig tree would someday again put forth its leaves, because the final "year" of fertilizing the tree would have this effect. The tree would again come to life. The question that is left hanging in the parable of Luke 13 is whether or not it would bring forth fruit. But in Matthew 21 Jesus made it clear that it would NOT bring forth fruit, and Matthew 23 tells us that it would only bring forth more leaves--a good show, but no fruit.
Regardless of our differing biblical views, we can appreciate the Messianic Jewish movement and Christians who support their labor, because they are fulfilling Bible prophecy without realizing it. It is my personal view that God has blinded their eyes to this truth in order to motivate them to give the evil fig tree one final chance to repent and bring forth fruit. Their labor will be in vain. I myself prefer to fertilize the good fig tree, because I love juicy figs.
A New Tree Planted in 1996
The Pentecostal Age ended in 1993 after 40 Jubilees. We have talked about this many times in our teachings. On May 30, 1993 (Pentecost) "King Saul died" according to the biblical patterns, after reigning 40 "years." By the same biblical pattern (2 Sam. 5:5) we entered a transition period from Saul to David that was to last 7 years and 6 months, ending on November 30, 2000.
In the middle of this transition, God led us to declare the Jubilee on September 23, 1996. This was the Day of Atonement that year, the day when the law commanded that the Jubilee trumpet be blown. We had thought at first that the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles might occur as well in 1996, but it did not. I had always said that if the resurrection of the dead did not occur at the feast of Trumpets ten days before the Jubilee, then we would also know that Tabernacles would not be fulfilled at that time.
While we did see signs of resurrection at Trumpets in 1996, the "big event" did not happen. Yet something big did happen, which we did not really comprehend for a few years. We planted a seed that would begin to bear fruit in the year 2000 A.D.
We knew in September of 1996--as we declared the Jubilee according to our revelation--that we were planting a seed. We even knew that we would have to wait a few years before we would see its fruit.
We also saw from the signs in the heavens that from 1996-2000 we would be engaged in spiritual warfare against the "red dragon" of Revelation 12. If you recall from FFI #127 in our "Wars of the Lord" series, we wrote about the heavenly signs occurring that matched the description in Revelation 12 about the woman clothed with the sun giving birth to the manchild. Each September from 1996-1999 the moon passed from the womb of Virgo, the Virgin, to her feet, as if to give birth.
As we were at that time engaged in spiritual warfare against the red dragon for 1,260 days, we knew that we would have to be patient for another 3-4 years to see the fruits of our labors.
Essentially, we planted the seed in the Vineyard of God that was to bear fruit in the fourth year, and during that growth period, we were called into spiritual warfare as a hedge around the Vineyard. In other words, we were called to defend the Vineyard and its tender vine.
This Vineyard is the Kingdom of God under the anointing of the Feast of Tabernacles. It has new wine.
The Law of Fruit-Bearing Trees
We had hoped to see the feast of Tabernacles fulfilled in 1996 and perhaps the coming of the Lord. When it did not happen, some proved to have little or no patience. It takes spiritual maturity to have patience. Why must we wait some years to begin to see the fruits of our labors? God is a patient farmer. James 5:7 says,
7 Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains. 8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Patience is taught In Leviticus 19:23-25, where we read in the prophetic law,
23 And when you enter the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall count their fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it shall not be eaten. 24 But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. 25 And in the fifth year you are to eat of its fruit, that its yield may increase for you; I am the LORD your God.
After we planted seeds for this new Vineyard in 1996, we took note that the first year was 1996-1997; the second was 1997-1998, and the third year was 1998-1999 (Sept.). Because grapes in a vineyard ripen in September, the fruits of the Vineyard that were produced in Sept. 1999 were the fruits of the third year of that growing season. They were still "forbidden" to us.
The fourth year is from Sept. of 1999 to Sept. of 2000. We are now in the growing season and expect to dedicate the entire harvest of grapes to God this September or October, as specified in the law. Then the following year we will be able to actually eat of the fruits of our labor.
What does this actually mean? How is this fulfilled? We are only now beginning to see its manifestation in actual events. The grapes are not yet ripe, but we are happy to see fruit coming forth. In fact, we are astounded and awestruck at what we are seeing develop. There are things that I am not at liberty yet to divulge, but there are many things that I CAN tell you.
The bottom line is that the Word of the Kingdom is going forth with a new empowerment. The heart of this Word is the Restoration of All Things. The power behind it is the anointing of the Feast of Tabernacles. God is even now removing the scales off the eyes of the Church, even as the scales fell off the eyes of Saul as he prayed in the house of Judas.
Even as King Saul was a Pentecostal (1 Sam. 12:17), so also the Apostle Paul (whose name was Saul originally) is a prophetic pattern of sincere Pentecostal Christians who are able to receive the new wine of Tabernacles, the third feast in the law. Yet in this prophetic pattern, we find that Saul was in the house of Judas for 3 days, blind and fasting in prayer. Acts 9:8-12 says,
8 And Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
10 Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Behold, here am I, Lord." 11 And the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight. "
The Church under Pentecost has essentially been blind like Samson (Judges 16:21), who is another Pentecostal type. (See ch. 3 of The Wheat and Asses of Pentecost.) This follows the same pattern as Israel in the wilderness under Moses, who said of them in Deut. 29:4,
4 Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear. 5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness.
The Church suffers from pattern blindness, even as the Church in the wilderness did during the entire 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. But that is about to change. The change from blindness to seeing clearly is prophesied in the story of Saul's conversion in Acts 9.
Saul was blind for 3 days. By Hebrew reckoning, meant that Saul received his sight on the third day from when his blindness began. In other words, it came (as we would say) after 2 days. (For a biblical example of this type of thinking see Hosea 6:2.) Hence, Saul's blindness prophesies of the Church under Pentecost, which would be blind for a full 2,000 years--a year for a day. In the third day they would receive their sight.
Dating from Jesus birth in September of 2 B.C., the 2,000 years of blindness ended in September of 1999. Thus, we are now in the third day, during which time the Church will begin to see.
Also, Saul was fasting for those 3 days. The Church has generally experienced a famine of hearing the Word during most of the past 2,000 years of history. The Word was lost during most of this time, and when it was brought back in the last few centuries, many of the keys to understanding had been lost. That situation is now changing as well. The Word is opening up, and the eyes are beginning to see.
Saul was also in the house of JUDAS when Ananias found him. As early as in Paul's day there were problems with the early Church (particularly those of Judah) who wanted to remain in Judaism, offering up sacrifices in the temple. This changed, however, when God sent "His armies" to destroy Jerusalem and its temple (Matt. 22:7).
Now that you have a background in the prophetic pattern of Judas (assuming you read the last 5 FFI's), you can understand that the Church has again manifested the Judas problem in recent centuries, particularly since 1948. Essentially, the Saul Church has been in the house of Judas since 1948. First the Protestant denominations largely accepted the Jewish state as "Israel," and now since 1993 the Roman Catholic Church has concurred in this as well.
The prophetic pattern is thus complete, and Saul is now ready for Ananias to come and pray for him. This will open Saul's eyes and give him the light of the Word. This will end the famine of hearing the Word. The name, Ananias, means "whom God has graciously favored." The root word means GRACE.
It is grace that will open the eyes of the Saul Church. Grace is not opposed to law, but works WITH the law. The law brings us to repentance through the knowledge of sin; then grace (Jubilee) grants us forgiveness of sin.
Also, those Christians who want to be under Judaism, placing their faith in the restoration of carnal temples in the old city of Jerusalem, and backing the Jews in their usurpation of the name of Israel, are unwittingly placing themselves under the authority of the old covenant. They cannot do this without getting burned at some point. That is why I have written boldly and plainly to warn such Christians of the dangers of the Messianic Jewish belief system, where they attempt to combine Christianity with Judaism--or add Jesus Christ to the traditions of Judaism.
Such people have not really understood the "grace and truth" that came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17). Believe me, I am not here teaching lawlessness, for the law has its place. I am teaching against placing one's faith in the old Jerusalem, which is Hagar (Gal. 4:25), and which will soon be destroyed (Jer. 19:10, 11). Those who do not "cast out the bondwoman and her son" will find many of their works burned as hay, wood, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12), even though they themselves are "saved yet so as by fire."
Many Christians will mourn when they discover that they have betrayed Christ even as Judas did. In my early years I too backed the Israeli state, thinking that they were the torch-bearers of the Kingdom of God. I even felt that Jerusalem was the safest place in the world to live, and I considered moving there to live. But God had mercy on me and in 1971 began to open my eyes to see things that I had not learned in the churches or in the Bible College I attended. I thank God that He sent Ananias my way early.
A Brief History Lesson
Isaiah 5:1-7 speaks of the Vineyard as being the House of Israel, which was the Kingdom of God in those days. God planted it in the days of Joshua (Yahshua, Jesus). He hedged it, put a tower in it, and built a winepress. But it brought forth "wild grapes," or literally, "sour grapes."
Verses 5 and 6 tell us that God would destroy it, because it was fruitless and worthless to him.
In Matthew 21:33-45 Jesus told the same parable and applied it to the first coming of Christ. He said that the keepers of the vineyard killed the prophets and finally killed the Heir in order to seize His inheritance. As you know from our previous studies, they killed Him in order to usurp His throne, even as Absalom had usurped David's throne (temporarily). The verdict, then, is the same as in Isaiah 5--destroy Jerusalem for its fruitlessness.
But they were not content with usurping the throne of the Messiah--they also wanted the Kingdom itself, the birthright. So in 1948 these same people usurped the birthright name of Israel that had been given to Joseph and his sons (Gen. 48:16; 1 Chron. 5:1, 2). In taking upon themselves the name of Israel, they fulfilled the rest of Jesus' prophetic parable in Matthew 21.
In usurping both the Sceptre and the Birthright, the Jews are now thought to be chosen to rule God's Kingdom, and their counterfeit state of "Israel" is said to be the beginning of God's millennial Kingdom on earth. In supporting this, the Church has played the part of Judas, who betrayed Jesus, even as Ahithophel betrayed David.
The Jews were given one complete Jubilee cycle in which to declare the Jubilee over the earth and render to Jesus Christ the fruits of the Vineyard. Their Jubilee (dating from the Palestinian Resolution in late 1947) should have been declared on September 23, 1996. Of course, they refused to do so. The chief rulers of the Jews did not steal the Kingdom just to give it away to the One they hate most.
So toward the end of the Israeli's Jubilee cycle, God led us to declare the Jubilee in 1996 on behalf of all of God's overcomers. In doing this, we took upon ourselves a sacred obligation to render to Jesus Christ the fruits that He desired. The overcomers from the beginning of time are thus the "nation" rendering to Him the fruits of the Vineyard in due season. By revelation we know that God planted a seed on Sept. 23, 1996, which began to grow. We are now in the fourth year, wherein is the appointed time (by law) to render God the fruits of that Vineyard.