Written by Pete Garcia – “Master artists put careful thought not only in what they create but how they create it as well. They often include subtle patterns that aren’t obvious at first but work on a deeper level to unify the entire work.” (Source)
I was driving back alone from a waterpark the other day after a fun-filled afternoon with my family. I had to drive separately since I was delayed by work. On my way home, I turned everything off and drove in the silence of my thoughts. I got to thinking, which, admittedly, can be a dangerous prospect at times for me, but I was thinking about the Tish B’Av day of mourning that is coming up on August 6th and 7th next month. I was also thinking about the fact we are about to transition from one Shemitah cycle to the next here in the fall of 2022. I was then thinking of how, if counted linearly from 1408-7 BC that we are approaching the 70th Jubilee since Israel first entered the Promised Land.
However, I was also thinking of the fact that there were only ten remaining jubilees decreed to Israel by God through the angel Gabriel to Daniel in his 70 Weeks prophecy. According to Dan. 9:24-27, “seventy-sevens were decreed…”
One way to look at it is 70 x 7 = 490 (i.e., 70 sabbatical cycles of shemitahs).
Another way to look at is as cycles of Jubilees 49 x 10 = 490 years.
Even then, that last jubilee was cut short by one shemitah (or seven years) at the crucifixion of Christ which happened at the end of the 69th week of Daniel. This was also at the end of the 10th Jubilee. So we aren’t waiting for the ‘last Jubilee’ to occur as much as we are waiting for the last week of years (the 70th shemitah of Daniel) to begin which would then complete the last (or tenth) Jubilee we are already three-quarters of the way in before God paused everything (490-483 = 7 years). What is of interest here, is that if God had not paused Israel’s prophetic calendar, we would now be in the 70th Jubilee.
By this point, my mind was sort of tumbling and converging along two lines of thought regarding everything we know and/or think we know. There are Bible prophecies, and there are Biblical types, shadows, and patterns. Admittedly, it became a little daunting to try and wrap my mind around everything while I was still driving. However, just before becoming overwhelmed, a single, solitary, realization came to mind; either the prophecies and patterns mean something in Scripture, or they don’t. But they can’t be both.
What I understood from this was that either Bible prophecy has a literal, perfect track record of fulfillment and thus is trustworthy, or they don’t and they aren’t. Those aren’t my standards, those are God’s (Deut. 18:21-22, Isaiah 46:9-10, Habbakuk 2:2-3, Matt. 5:18, John 13:19, etc.) In other words, if God says He will do something, He will do it. What He can’t do, is say He will do something, and then NOT do it (Numbers 23:19). After all, if we wanted a Bible with a less than perfect track record, all we would have to do is included some books from the Apocrypha or Nostradamus’s quatrains in there right after Revelation to bring down the fulfillment curve.
The same goes with Biblical typology. Either the foreshadowing is meant to be intentional and prophetically significant, or it is purely coincidental. But it can’t be both. As the quote at the top alludes to, Biblical typology, patterns, and foreshadows were meant to signify specific important themes and concepts that unify the message as a whole, and are very important to the divinely prophetic nature of the Bible. For example, in Numbers 20:12, God forbade Moses from entering the Promise Land because he struck the rock a second time instead of speaking to it, thus breaking the pattern first set in Exodus 17:6 (the only time he was meant to strike the rock). The pattern intended here was that Christ (the Rock) would be struck once (at Calvary). Since God takes this stuff seriously, so should we.
A type and a shadow
In the New Testament, the Greek word týpos, meaning “example,” describes a model or pattern in the Old Testament that is fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. The word týpos in KJV Bible is also translated as “pattern” (Titus 2:7; Hebrews 8:5), “form” (Romans 6:17), “print” (John 20:25), “ensample” (1 Corinthians 10:11), “fashion” (Acts 7:44), “figure” (Acts 7:43; Romans 5:14), and “manner” (Acts 23:25).
The primary person, story, or event is the type, whereas the fulfillment is the anti-type. The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed. The apostle Paul explained it this way, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (I Corinthians 10:11)
A shadow has no substance; it is cast by something substantial. It is the physical form of a heavenly reality (Hebrews 8:5; 10:1). The Jewish ceremonies were shadows cast by heavenly realities. Christ’s life, work, and kingdom are the reality.
Types connect two or more historical persons or events by common characteristics. Whereas shadows connect two or more persons or events by common themes. Types and shadows may thus be used interchangeably to some degree. (Source)
Nevertheless, the Bible is replete with countless types, patterns, shadows, and numerology from Genesis to Revelation. This prophetic characteristic of the Holy Bible proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is supernatural in nature, and uniquely distinct from any other book in the world.
So I got to thinking some more, what are the two undeniable signs that we are not only in the last days but really, in the last moments of the last days?
In my opinion, there are two:
1) that are that we are approaching the 2000th year anniversary of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection (pattern)
2) the supernatural rebirth of the nation of Israel (prophecy).
The first has to do with the pattern. The historical reality is that every two thousand years, God has routinely broke into human history and did something remarkable. In fact, these two-thousand-year divine incursions are what the entirety of Scripture hinges upon. Consider the following correlations with this breakdown.
Adam – Abraham (2000 years)
Abraham – Jesus (2000 years)
Jesus – ??? (2000 years)
Interestingly, God has also intervened at the thousand-year intervals with other major persons and events. These additions are rough approximations.
Adam – the birth of Noah (1000 years)
Flood to Exodus (1000 years)
Abraham – David (1000 years)
There are many other cross-correlations we could make between people and events that make for a fascinating study but exceed the scope of this particular brief.
The first two thousand years begin at the creation of man. From Genesis 1-11, the Bible deals with man in a general sense as (presumably) Gentiles up to and thru both the Flood and the Tower of Babel.
But when we get to Genesis 12 the Bible changes directions and God now focuses on a single Gentile named Abram. God tells Abram to leave the country that he’s currently in, Ur of the Chaldees, and go to a land in which He would give him (Caanan). God then changes his name to Abraham (and Sarai to Sarah) and gives him and his wife Sarah a ‘miracle son’ at the age of 100. Then God tells him later, to take his only begotten son and to kill him on an altar on Mt. Moriah (where the future Temple would be built), foreshadowing what Christ would do 2,000 years later.
Thus, from Genesis 12 through the rest of the Old Testament into the Gospels, the Bible focuses exclusively on the Jewish people and the Gentiles are only mentioned insofar as when and how they interact with the Jewish people. When we get to the Acts and the rest of the New Testament, we see the Bible shift focus again. This time, the Church is the primary object, and the Jews and the Gentiles are now only mentioned insofar as when they interact with the Church. Now, this new focus on the Church has two components to it:
Spiritual: the Church would serve as the Mystery Kingdom during this time as a universal body of believers making up the body of Christ. This Church (ekklesia) would be made up of both Jew and Gentiles and would make a new kind of people (1 Cor. 10:32, 2 Cor. 5:17)
Physical: This Church would be built by Christ during the times of the Gentiles while national Israel was in Diaspora for the next 1,878 years (does this presuppose the Julian and Gregorian calendars?)
This is a bit of speculation on my part, but since 1948, there has been a bit of overlap between the presence of both the Church and national Israel. In the first century, there was a 40-year overlap between Christ’s resurrection and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by General Titus in AD70. Here in the twenty-first century, we are almost double that currently sitting at a 74-year overlap. The Church and national Israel are both in existence, and both periods of “coexistence” is where I believe Moses was double-referencing this occurrence in Deut. 32:20-21.
And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end will be,
For they are a perverse generation,
Children in whom is no faith.
They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God;
They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols.
But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation;
I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.
Deuteronomy 32:20-21 (my emphasis)
It has long been a fascination of mine to note the paradoxical relationship between the Jews (living abroad), the Israelis, and the pro-Zionist Christians. For the purposes of this discussion, the Evangelicals will represent the pro-Zionist movement within broader Christendom. You would think that Jews and Israelis would be as equally fascinated and drawn to this seemingly natural coalition, but they aren’t.
In fact, many Jewish people are abhorred by the prospects laid out in the New Testament, likening it to a “cosmic drama,” in regards to the Tribulation, Antichrist, Armageddon, and the Second Coming. This is why many Jewish people are puzzled/perplexed/annoyed by the Evangelical’s love for them as well as national Israel and Jerusalem likening it to a form of antisemitic philosemitism.
However, if our understanding of what Moses was saying here is correct, then the sudden disappearance of Christians from the earth at the Rapture should be a stark wake-up call to the Jewish people. It will be the single biggest loss of their greatest advocates. Moreover, the only way to make that wake-up call even bigger, and significantly more noticeable, to at least the Orthodox and observant Jews, will be if that disappearance occurs on Tish B’Av.
With that said, however, that window of unmerited Christian support for Israel is closing. Currently, support for Israel is on the decline, particularly amongst the younger generations who are quickly cooling on the idea of an autonomous Israel (vs. Palestinians). Fair to say, that within another twenty years current trends withstanding, US support for Israel (should we still be a nation) would mirror that of Russia or Iran. This brings us to the crux of the second point…the Parable of the Fig Tree.
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
Matt. 24:32-35 (my emphasis)
There are five takeaways from this fascinating parable by Jesus capping off His Olivet Discourse.
The fig tree represents national Israel. The trees (Luke 21:29) also represent nations (Judges 9, 1 Kings 4:25, Hosea 9:10, Micah 4:4, Zech. 3:10, Luke 13:6-9)
When it starts to blossom, you know the time of the end is near
The generations who see this, will not pass away (die off)
Since the concept of a generation is debatable, we must go with the length of man’s life (Psalm 90:10)
Psalm 90 is the only psalm written by Moses, and uses very curious language
The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
If Jesus had said something to the effect when you see all these things, know that it is near, —at the doors!…and left it at that, we would have had no way of knowing when that could be. “Near” is a relatively subjective term that can mean a year, ten years, or a hundred years, depending on the context. But because Jesus puts a clarifying statement at the end of the parable by saying, this generation shall not pass away, then we must conclude that the generation that sees Israel’s miraculous rebirth, MUST be the generation in question. Jesus goes even further by saying, heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.
Again, either this prophecy means what it says, or it doesn’t mean anything. It can’t be both.
Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” And He left them and departed. Matthew 16:1-4
Let me set up a hypothetical situation. Let’s pretend that there were zero Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah to the earth. Let us also pretend there were no discernable types, shadows, or patterns either. Would Jesus have been justified in chastising the Pharisees in the above passage if that were true? No, of course not. How can you be chastised for something you couldn’t possibly know? Likewise, how can the Church (the body of Christ) be expected to watch for something they have no way of knowing?
Conversely, there are many who use Matthew 24:36 as a justification to remain in blissful ignorance regarding the signs and the seasons of our Lord’s return as if this were Jesus’ final words on the subject. As a matter of fact, they weren’t His final words on the subject of knowing.
Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:3 (my emphasis)
Watch for what? Earthquakes, famines, deception, and pestilences? That’s like saying, watch for the sun to rise or watch for a war to break out, we would literally be watching for everything, every day, everywhere. How could we possibly be expected to “occupy until He comes” or “be about the Lord’s work” if we had that broad of a requirement to watch?
Thankfully, Jesus and the Bible do not leave it that wide-ranging. Jesus said all of those things (earthquakes, pestilences, famines, deception) would be like birth pangs, increasing in both frequency and intensity at the end. Furthermore, after describing the absolute destruction of the Temple (stone by stone), Jesus then tells His disciples at the midpoint (Matt. 24:15), that the Temple’s Holy of Holies would be desecrated in the vilest of ways and then referenced back to Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy for context. How could the Temple’s Holy of Holies be violated if it was already dismantled stone by stone?
Here is where there is a bit of reverse prophetic logic implied:
In order for the Temple’s Holy of Holies to be desecrated, there first needs to be a Jewish Temple standing.
In order for there to be a Jewish Temple standing, Israel would need to be in control of the Temple Mount.
In order for the Jews to be in control of the Temple Mount, the Jews would need to control Jerusalem.
In order for the Jews to be in control of Jerusalem, they would need to be in control of the land where Israel now stands.
Secondly, the writer of Hebrews tells us that we are not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25. Again, see what day approaching? How can we know what day is approaching, if we don’t know what to look for?
Thankfully, the Bible is replete with signs and things to look for as we draw near the end. Those signs include rather obvious ones like Israel as a nation again (Amos 9:14-15), as well as ones that imply the world will arrive at a certain level of technological capabilities (Revelation 13:16-18).
This same generation who has witnessed the miraculous rebirth of Israel, has also: mastered manned flight, gone into space, split the atom, discovered how to manipulate DNA, discovered the God particle, created global communications and information sharing platforms, and created weapons so powerful that they could destroy the planet many times over. If we are not this generation then I don’t know who is because we have set the bar impossibly high.
Moses gave the average length of a man’s life as being seventy to eighty years. If we apply this standard to the generation who sees Israel’s national rebirth then that window is the years 2018 – 2028. We know that the 70th Week of Daniel is seven years in length, and we know that it ends with Christ’s physical return in the sky with the armies of heaven in tow. The problem is we are butting up against the outside margins for both prophecy and pattern.
Come, and let us return to the Lord;
For He has torn, but He will heal us;
He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.
Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
Hosea 6:1-3 (my emphasis)
We are running out of windows in which for all of the things that must happen, to happen. We are running out of patterns and types if we continue to progress further without His return. Furthermore, we are racing ahead of the technological capabilities demonstrated in Revelation. Remember, Jesus said heaven and earth will pass away, but His words would not. So regardless of when Jesus died (27-33AD), we are running out of window for these prophecies and patterns to find their ultimate fulfillment.
I’m not saying the Rapture has to happen this year, or all bets are off. What I’m saying is that if we continue beyond 2024 without rhyme or reason, (plus having to add any kind of gap between the Rapture and the start of the 70th Week) it will become increasingly difficult to discern and watch for that day, since we will begin running out of types, patterns, prophecies, and shadows since these were written for our edification and knowledge. In other words, when we start breaking away from discernable patterns and prophecies, all bets are off, and that doesn’t sound very biblical to me. In closing, again, consider these convergences and come to your own conclusions.
2022 is a shemitah year
2029 is the next shemitah year
2029 is outside the 70-80 year window from Israel’s founding per Psalm 90:10
2027-2033 is the standard range for the 2,000-year anniversary since Christ was last on the earth
2037-2038 is the 70-80 year window if we count from Jerusalem’s reunification per Psalm 90:10
However, the Fig Tree (and all the trees) deals with nations, and not cities
Clearly, we cannot know exactly when the Lord will catch away His bride the Church. However, we can know the season and should be encouraged by the lateness thereof. As for that specific day and hour, we cannot be dogmatic. What we can be dogmatic about, and should provide us with an increasingly growing sense of hope, is that the Biblical patterns and prophecies are not fickle and obscure, they are visible and steadfast. And with each day that passes, we are pressing into that coming glorious kingdom and our eternal destiny with our Creator.