The overall purpose of this book is to portray the Sovereignty of God in history. If that goal is reached, you should conclude the reading of this book by saying, “What a great God we have!” Or, as Paul would say, “O the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33)
My secondary purpose is to give you an overall view of the structure of history as viewed from a Biblical perspective. Everything is orderly. Nothing happens by accident. Men do not determine history; God does. Nations rise and fall according to His decrees, as Nebuchadnezzar discovered the hard way in the 4th chapter of Daniel. No monarch stands above the Law of God, nor can he withstand the irreversible judgment of God when the day of his visitation has arrived.
A third purpose—and certainly not the least important—is to instill within your heart a burning desire to know God more, to be more fully conformed to His Image and Likeness, and to catch the vision of the Feast of Tabernacles.
We stand today at the threshold of the Tabernacles Age. The Passover Age began with Israel’s Exodus from Egypt on the day of Passover and ended at the Cross. The Pentecost Age began in the 2nd chapter of Acts and ended 40 Jubilees later on the day of Pentecost, May 30, 1993. We are now in the transition into the great Tabernacles Age, which will last a thousand years. It is the great Rest Year, the Sabbath Millennium, during which time there will be an overcoming Remnant who exercise great authority in the earth, whose Word will fully reflect the Mind of their heavenly Father. (See A)
I hope that you will be challenged and inspired to seek to press into that place of full Sonship and Daughterhood, leaving behind that which we have seen and known in the past, looking only to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
— Dr. Stephen E. Jones
April 17, 1996
Of Times and Seasons
God has given me a revelation of timing. My understanding of it may not always be correct, and I certainly do not lay claim to infallibility. However, God has given time to test the revelations, in order that we may “prove all things” and “hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). God knows that our understanding is limited, and our ability to hear Him correctly is impaired. Thus, He always expects us to test every Word in the crucible of the double witness. I have done so since 1991, when God first began to reveal the times and seasons. Most Christians have been taught that it is not possible to know anything about times and seasons. Whenever there is any revelation of timing, there are always those who quote Jesus’ words in Acts 1:7, saying, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which God hath put in His own power.” Usually, only the first half of this verse is quoted, making it look like an absolute statement against any revelation of timing. However, the verse only tells us that we are not to know the things “which God has put in His own power,” those things which are none of our business for whatever reason, those things that God has hidden and not revealed. The verse leaves it up to God to reveal those times and seasons that He so chooses to reveal. In Deuteronomy 29:29, Moses told the people, 29 The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever. It is plain that this is the reference Jesus had in mind when He told the disciples that it was not for them to know when He was going to “restore the kingdom again to Israel” (Acts 1:6). In other words, those times and seasons were still “classified information,” or secret. If they had known that it would be a couple of thousand years before Israel would be restored, it would have discouraged them, and many would not have been able to “watch and pray” (Luke 21:34-36). But God always reveals His plan before He carries it out, for Amos 3:7 (NASV) tells us, 7 Surely the Lord God does nothing unless he reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. Thus, it would appear that God must give revelation of the times and seasons to people before He does anything major. This is not to say that everyone will know what God is doing—in fact, only a few ever know. But there is a purpose to such revelation. The Purpose of Revelation The law of the double witness means that all things are established on earth by at least two witnesses. One witness cannot establish anything as truth. On the highest level of application, heaven and earth are two witnesses (Deut. 4:26). Moses appealed to those witnesses. For example, God told Moses that He was going to part the Red Sea. That was the heavenly witness. But nothing happened until Moses bore witness and stretched forth his rod over the sea. Then the sea parted, because now both heaven and earth had borne witness. In creating the material world, God distinguished matter from spirit and thus created these two witnesses from the beginning. In establishing the law of the double witness, God purposely limited Himself by this law. Hence, God has always sought a people who would bear witness to His Word and Plan. While this may seem to limit the Sovereignty of God, it really does not do so at all. It simply adds a challenge to Him to see if He is able to raise up witnesses on earth by which the Plan may be carried out in the lawfully prescribed manner. This is a bit like taking on an opponent with one hand tied behind your back just to make it more challenging. With God there is never any doubt as to the outcome of history, because no matter how He limits Himself, He is always powerful and wise enough to win every battle and conquer every foe. Yet God did tie one hand behind His back, by requiring the Plan to be witnessed by a people in the earth. It was especially hard to find witnesses, because, as Romans 3:10-12 says, 10 There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. God must take personal responsibility upon Himself to birth sons and daughters who have His mind and heart, people who not only know the Plan, but who actually agree with God that His Plan is good. What a formidable obstacle! He is raising up a generation of men and women who know Him by a new name that most do not know. It is the name “Amen.” He has revealed this name to us in Isaiah 65:15-18 (NASV), as the prophet spoke of both the naysayers and the Amen-ers. 15 And you will leave your name for a curse to My chosen ones, and the Lord God will slay you. But My servants will be called by another name. 16 Because he who is blessed in the earth shall be blessed by the God of truth [Heb. “the God Amen”]; And he who swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth [“the God Amen”]; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from My sight! 17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. 18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing, and her people for gladness. An Amen always settles a legal matter in the divine Court. It signifies that a person bears witness and is in agreement with the proceedings or with a statement. In the above passage, God states His Plan to “create new heavens and a new earth.” God’s witnesses are in agreement with this Plan and say “Amen” to it. In doing so, they are invoking this new name of God. In the New Testament, we find this name of God in Revelation 3:14, the beginning of the message to the angel of the Church of Laodicea. Here we read, 14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. In the first creation, we find all things come into being by the words, “Let there be. . .” This is roughly the equivalent of saying “Amen,” which means “let it be so.” All things were created through the Word, Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3). Specifically, it was the Word “Amen.” The Father spoke a word as the spiritual witness, and Jesus, speaking from the earthly realm, said, “Amen.” In a sense, God split Himself into a Father-Son relationship in order to create all things by a double witness. This is how God created the first heaven and the first earth. The same pattern is found in the re-creation process, the new heaven and the new earth, as Isaiah tells us. It is done by the power of the Amen, the true and faithful witness. When representatives on earth bear witness to the divine Word, and they speak with one voice as one body, saying with their whole heart, “Amen! Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints!” (Rev. 15:3), then and only then will the new heavens and the new earth begin its process of development until God fills all in all. There are two things necessary for this to happen. First, God must speak the Word. The revelation must go forth. Second, there must be a body of people in the earth who are called by God and who are willing to appear in God’s Court to bear witness to His Plan at the appointed times. But these witnesses would know nothing without a prior revelation. Neither would they bear witness to Him except their hearts had been prepared to hear the Word. Neither would they hear, except He first opened their ears to hear. Neither will He open their ears to hear until the appointed time draws nigh when such witnesses are necessary to establish His Plan in the earth. We are now in the days when His Plan is being revealed, and God is calling forth a people who will reflect His heart, His mind, His desires, His purposes. He is calling forth a people who are in agreement with Him and who know Him as He is. They know Him as the dispenser of all good gifts; and they know Him as a loving Father who disciplines His children to write His law in their hearts. They know Him in His generosity; and they know Him as a drill sergeant who trains His people in hardships and grief. They know Him as the Lofty One who needs no man; and they know Him as One who is not ashamed to call us brethren. They know Him as the Son of the Right Hand; and they know Him as the Man of Sorrows. They know Him, because they have followed in His footsteps. They have walked even as He walked (1 John 2:6). They have learned that He never leaves nor forsakes His people, but He often hides Himself to test their faith. They have learned not to shrink from death, but to embrace it as they walk into the fire of God into His very Presence, while the flesh cries out in mortal pain. They have followed Him to the Cross. And beyond it, into Life. Looking back on their lives, they would not trade anything, good or bad, because all things have worked to train them in the ways of God and bring them into a maturity that would not have been possible otherwise. While they may still shed tears over past failures and sins, they know that God has worked all things together for their good. They have learned to have no confidence in the flesh, but they have every confidence that God knows what He is doing. His Plan is good. He is justified in all His doings. While His ways are yet past finding out, they have seen enough to know that God has all things under control. He is not reaching for Plan B or C. He is not running to catch up to a world that has run ahead of him. He alone is Sovereign. He raises up the basest of men as kings, and He deposes them according to His Will in His own appointed times. The purpose of revelation is to give us the opportunity to agree with Him. It is not to satisfy human curiosity about the future. It is not to build great ministries or kingdoms for God. It is not to make men dependent upon the dispenser of the revelation. The purpose is to raise up a people who have “Amen” written on their foreheads. They possess the mind of their heavenly Father and are in agreement with Him. Times and Seasons Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2, 1 But of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. We wish that Paul had written more about this for us today. However, the point is that the Thessalonian church knew “the times and seasons.” Paul went on to say that the day of the Lord would come unexpectedly only to those who did not have ears to hear the Word. He clearly states that the brethren would know the times and the seasons. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Many years earlier, the men of Issachar received a favorable report, because they too knew the times and seasons. In fact, this knowledge led them to come to David’s coronation, for they knew it was God’s appointed time. 1 Chronicles 12:32 says, 32 And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment. The chronology tells us that David was crowned king on the 59th Jubilee from Adam. I believe the children of Issachar knew this either by divine revelation or by their own study of chronology. They saw that Saul had been crowned king on the day of Pentecost, and now they saw that David was to be crowned on the Jubilee. They understood the times. They had a revelation of timing that was appropriate to their day. Days and Hours When the disciples privately asked Jesus, in Matthew 24:3, 3 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? He answered in verse 4, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Then He went on to explain that even though “of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (verse 36), nevertheless “as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (verse 37). As God gave advance notice of the first Flood, so also will He do before the Flood of the Spirit. Luke makes this even more plain, as he differentiates between the servant “which knew his Lord’s Will” (Luke 12:47) and “he that knew not” (Luke 12:48). Psalm 25:14 says, “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” Yes, God does reveal His secrets to men. He only hides them when it is not appropriate for us to know the times and seasons. It is now time for God to reveal these things, because we are at the end of the Age of Pentecost. The Feast of Tabernacles stands before us. God is separating the barley from the wheat. The time of parables is over, for they were made to hide the mysteries of God (Mark 13:10-17). It is now time for the fulfillment of Matthew 13:35, “I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.”