3. Principle of the Week
GOD'S WORKING WEEK: A CRITICAL PRINCIPLE
Please read articles 1-15 sequentially or they won't make sense
A. GOD GUARDS THE WEEK
God considers the principle of a working week a matter of life and death. In the Old Testament disobedience by working on the Sabbath, instead of resting in God and keeping it holy, led to the death penalty for the most trivial of matters. Is God a nit picker and a slave driver? Not at all. Why then did He take it so seriously? He wanted the principle of the working week to remain intact for generations to come and not be diluted in any way, all the way down to our time. To emphasize the point to us today, the apostle said that he who does not work, does not deserve to eat! 'For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat'. (2 Thessalonians 3:10). God despises the idle who live off others.
The concept of a working week will help us to understand His patterns of work and what God has in mind for end-times. We shall be able to unravel clues to the age of the Earth as we read each of these articles in proper sequence. They will lead you step-wise into the true age of the Universe through the scriptures alone. The Bible is and was inspired by God. It is the bread of life.
Remember that it's the principle we are after. In our hearts we are 7 days per week in the presence of God, aren't we? Under grace it doesn't matter what day we set aside for our recreation or church attendance - let each church have their own preference, but fortunately the concept of the week is still alive in our minds whatever we practice. Jesus said we are not to judge when or what others eat. However, God Himself is continuing to work according to a plan He set down before the foundation of the world and that is what we need to understand. He works through history in accordance with the pattern for a week. He has a set working schedule for Himself that He intends to keep. We can discover His schedule from the Bible. Satan knows it full well too. He is doing everything he can to thwart God's intentions, but just like his blunder in crucifying Christ, he is continuing to unwittingly tighten the noose around his own neck at every turn.
The book of Esther reminds us how God can turn tables on evil intentions. Haman, the king's senior adviser, tricked King Ahasuerus into putting into law an irreversible edict to have all the Jews killed in Persia on a set day. How did that eventually unfold? Haman was hanged by the king on a 75 ft-high gallows, the very gallows which Haman had specially constructed for the public execution of the Jewish ring-leader Mordecai.
B. WEEKS AND TIMES ARE IMPORTANT TO GOD
‘And Jehovah spoke to Moses saying, ….. Truly you shall keep My sabbaths. …. Everyone that defiles it shall surely be put to death. …. Six days may work be done, but on the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to Jehovah. ……. to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant. It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever. For in six days Jehovah made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed…..' (Exodus 31:12-18). Note that God Himself desires refreshing and a day of rest!
What have we got here? The Lord is now linking the principle of His working week of six days into the daily lives of Israel. The Sabbath was holy to the Lord, but no less holy are the six days in which work had to be done.
Weeks are very important to God. Pentecost followed Passover, by a week of weeks – 7 x 7 plus 1 = 50 days. ‘And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place’. (Acts 2:1). Israel had to count the 50 days precisely. The day of Pentecost had to fully come! The Church was born exactly on the day of Pentecost, meaning fifty. Why exactly on the day? For the same reason that the real Passover lamb, Jesus, was sacrificed on the day of the Jewish Passover when the Jews were sacrificing lambs. God is working according to a set plan and has given us the pattern by which He works. Therefore we can have confidence that none of God's plans are haphazard. When we work out God's timetable for the creation and then for all of world history we can be confident that He will continue to stick to it. He is giving us clues so that we can work times out. God wants us to realize that the understanding of numbers and dates is important. You may think it irrelevant and trivial, but God does not. That is why bible translations that modernize measures given rob us of vital clues that God has given us in His word. We shall speak more on that later.
‘Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest. And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and ….’. (Exodus 34:21-22).
‘Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God …. In the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: (Deuteronomy 16:16). Otherwise, their families would be cut off from Israel. All these Feasts of the Lord are based on 7's. We need to distinguish the three major Feasts of the Lord from the feasts of the Jews, of which there are many!
C. HOW WILL THIS HELP ME?
Do we really wish to understand mysteries and the time-frame for end-times? God obviously wants us to understand but are we too lazy to make the effort? I believe that God will reward those who make the effort. If we don’t make the effort, then some Scriptural statements will remain non-sense to our ears. For example,
‘And He said to them, You go and tell that fox, Behold, today and tomorrow, I cast out demons and I complete cures, and the third day I will be finished’. (Luke 13:32)
‘Then Peter came to Him and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Until seven times? Jesus said to him, I do not say to you, Until seven times; but, Until seventy times seven.’ (Matthew 18:21-22)
‘And he said to me, Do not seal the Words of the prophecy of this Book; for the time is at hand.…. For I testify together to everyone who hears the Words of the prophecy of this Book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add on him the plagues that have been written in this Book. And if anyone takes away from the Words of the Book of this prophecy, God will take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which have been written in this Book.’ (Revelation 22:10-19).
D. PRINCIPLE OF TWO WORKING WEEKS
The biblical account of Jacob running from his brother and serving two weeks of years in another land for the bride of his choice is not only a moving account of his life, but is also an allegory about Christ and His Bride, the church. What is an allegory?
For example, ‘The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe’ by C.S. Lewis is a war-like religious allegory with Aslan as Christ and Edmund as Judas.’ Read more about allegories at https://examples.yourdictionary.com/allegory-examples. html#zZUFbOEoWtSF2fRq.99
After fleeing from Esau his brother, Jacob searched out his uncle Laban, a Syrian from Padan-Aram, a cunning trickster like Jacob himself. Laban took Jacob into his employ. Jacob’s reward as Laban’s shepherd was to be given Laban’s more beautiful daughter in marriage. Read the story, ‘And Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. And Leah was weak of eyes, but Rachel was beautiful and well-favored. And Jacob loved Rachel, and said, I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter. And Laban said, It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him a few days, for the love he had for her. And Jacob said to Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, so that I may go in to her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. And it happened in the evening, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to him. And he went in to her. And Laban gave Zilpah his slave woman to his daughter Leah for a handmaid. And it happened in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you tricked me? And Laban said, It must not be done so in our country, to give the younger before the first-born. Fulfill her week, and we will give you this one also for the service which you shall serve with me still another seven years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week. And he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also’. (Genesis 29:16-28)
Jacob laboured a week of years, seven years, for Rachael whom he wanted, but ended up with Leah instead in the marriage bed, because of Laban’s trickery. Jacob thought Leah inferior and was furious for having been tricked. So he agreed to work another week of years for Rachael, whom he eventually married as well. Although this was a true record of Jacob's life it also serves as an allegory for our benefit.
The allegory in Jacob's life, is mirrored in the wife of the first Adam, Eve, and the wife of the second Adam, the bride of Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:45). The first Adam’s wife, Eve, was taken out of Adam’s side but was corrupted by Satan when she fell into temptation and ate of the fruit. The second Adam’s wife, the Bride of Christ to be, the Holy Spirit is purifying to present her incorrupt to Christ.
‘Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such things, but that it should be holy and without blemish. So men ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord loves the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. "For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two of them shall be one flesh." This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church’. (Ephesians 5:25-32).
Like Eve, the church was also taken out of the man’s side, born through the flow of blood from Christ’s side and by the washing of the water by the Word, ‘But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a lance, and instantly there came out blood and water’. (John 19:34). ‘That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word’, (Ephesians 5:26).
The principle of two weeks or two works to achieve something better, is thus exemplified in the life of Jacob, and is to be fulfilled over a period of two weeks of work for Christ to receive His perfected bride. The two weeks span 2 x 7 x1000 years, each day in God's sight lasting 1000 years on Earth.
There were two weeks of years in the life of Joseph too, who was kidnapped to serve in Egypt. (the World). If you remember his dreams, there was one week of years (7 years) of prosperity, followed by a week of years of famine. Through this experience, and for having saved the riches of Pharaoh, and prospered Pharaoh, Pharaoh made Joseph a ruler of Egypt and gave him a wife who then bore Joseph two sons – Ephraim and Manasseh. (Genesis 41:45 and 48:14).
A principle of two sevens also worked in the life of King Xerxes (Ahasuerus) of Persia to obtain a better wife. The 7th day of a 7-day long banquet served the purpose for the king to dismiss his first queen, while 7 of his counsellors played a vital role in establishing Esther as his second queen. (Esther Chapter 1). Note the 7's and the concept of a week in each of these accounts.
Vashti, the first queen was carnal and selfish, the second, Esther, had love and respect for her husband. All of these events were woven into history for a purpose. God uses real lives to teach the church that the second is better than the first. ‘The glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, says Jehovah of Hosts…..’ (Haggai 2:9).
We note the same pattern at the marriage Jesus attended in Cana. 'When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now'. (John 2:9-10). The Lord impressed upon me that a mighty outpouring of the Spirit towards the end of time will be likewise better than anything that has ever happened before. As the proverb says, 'You've seen nothing yet!'
E. THE CREATIVE AND REDEMPTIVE WEEKS
God established the working week that is fixed in Christian tradition and the Western World. Sunday, or the 7th day, was considered a day of rest when shops closed and people attended church. This has been eroded in recent times, but so far the concept of a week is fortunately still with us. Why? Because God has restrained man from altogether eroding it.
God ordained that we work 6 days per week, because He did so in the Creation. As already mentioned, the working week, and the day of rest, was particularly holy in God’s eyes because He wants our generation to know His plans and timing for planet Earth. Whatever He has done, and is continuing to do, falls within a week – or a week of years as God would refer to it.
God spent six days creating the world and all that is on it, culminating with Adam and Eve, only to see it spoiled by Satan. So just as Jacob did, God has set aside a second week to restore that which Satan robbed from Him – only this time, The Lord is looking for something greater than the first Adam and Eve. This time around, in the second cycle, God the Father is working to prepare a Bride for Christ at the end of the church age – comprised of a numberless company of men, women and children who remain faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures refer to Jesus as the Bridegroom. The Scripture feminizes the church by calling her the Bride, because of her love and devotion towards the Son of God.
God wants us to realize that He is looking for a union between His Son and the church, that can be likened symbolically to a faithful marriage. It is entirely a spiritual relationship, of course. There is no involvement of sex or any such thing. Jesus corrected His questioners who thought that marriage and kinship would continue into resurrection life. (Matthew 22:29-30).
Marriage is only a picture of the depth, intimacy and trust in fellowship that Jesus wants with His church – marriage is a picture we can readily grasp with our finite minds. He wants us to recognize the virtues of what traditional marriage once was, where the husband was the provider and head of the family – not the selfish and competitive relationships that we often see nowadays.
Having understood that each day of creation consisted of a 1000-year period, we can see a parallel with the times we live in. Almost all creationists would agree that Adam sinned about 6000 years ago, 4000 years before the first advent of Christ. The following diagram will help.
Ever since the days of Pastor WH Offiler of Bethel Temple, in Seattle, the scheme proposed for world history by many Bible students is that shown above. It is clear that God had in mind 1000-year days when God delivered His warning to Adam. The 1000-year day for the Millenium is straight out of the Bible. (Revelation 20:2-7; 2 Peter 3:8). The scheme set forth should therefore be of no great surprise.
There are important sign-posts that God can alter the scheme by either adding or subtracting a few years, according to need and conditions. For example, in two of the gospels God said that the predetermined timing for the end of the world may be shortened for the elect’s sake, because things will get so bad, that even the elect may perish. At the time of the second coming of Christ, God wants a number of Christians to be still alive. They will be resurrected whilst still alive in their flesh. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).
‘And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect's sake, those days shall be shortened’. (Matthew 24:22).
F. THE WEEK OF REDEMPTION AND THE CHURCH AGE
The first action that God performed in the second week, the Week of Redemption, was to shed blood to cover the sin of Adam and Eve by clothing them with animal skins. (Genesis 3:21). Adam and Eve didn't do it. God did! By this, God established the spilling of innocent blood as a covering for sin for every future generation by promise. 'For without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin' (Hebrews 9:22; Matthew 26:28). The cost for this covenant was paid by God Himself by the shed blood of the lamb 4000 years later at Calvary. This is why this period of seven days in world history is called the Redemption Week. This is God’s second week of labour, to save that which was almost lost. We are part of it right now!
Near the beginning of the first day of the Redemption Week, Cain despised Able his brother and blood sacrifice. In jealous rage Cain walked away from the blessing that God would have had for him, even as is true today of many who spurn God's love. The church was born on the Day of Pentecost in about 33 AD as described in the book of Acts Chapter 2, when the resurrected Christ filled 120 disciples with the Holy Spirit. On that day about 3000 souls were saved in Jerusalem. (Acts 2:41). This is representative of the 3000 years (3 of God's days) of saved souls on planet Earth (33 AD till the end of the Millenium when it will be dissolved). The God will create the new earth and heaven for our habitation.
G. THE DECLINE AND RESTORATION OF THE CHURCH
Most would know that the church went into sharp decline during the Middle Ages. The slide was reversed through men such as Martin Luther and John Wesley who restored many New Testament truths, especially the doctrine of salvation through faith and not through works. In other words, we can't pay or work our way into heaven. Good works result from faith.
‘For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God’
(Ephesians 2:8). Nevertheless, the New Testament tells us that there will be different degrees of reward in heaven depending on what we have done during our stay on Earth.
The church was restored further last century when miraculous healings began to appear again in spectacular ways in the early 1900’s in the United States, Canada and Wales, when gifts of the Spirit were reintroduced to the church. In April 1906, the church in Azusa Street, Los Angeles, glowed in the presence of the Holy Spirit to the extent that neighbours called the fire-brigade thinking the church was on fire. This began the Pentecostal movement in America. There have been similar 'outbreaks' of the move of the Holy Spirit since.
Bible knowledge has increased exponentially since then. However, there is still a way to go. The Lord will not cease restoring until He has His perfected Bride at the end of the church age – at the end of the 6th day, in parallel with the creation of Eve towards the end of the 6th day of the Creative Week.
The time-chart given above indicates 2000 years or 2 days for the church age, which already seems to have passed its allotted calendar date, but that is not so. We are currently in the year 2018 at the time of this writing, but according to the Jewish calendar we live in the year 5777 since creation (or more correctly, since Adam sinned). The true time passed is probably somewhere in-between, and, in any case, patterns are not there to reveal exact dates and times - the end of the church age will be accurate in God’s reckoning and to His satisfaction. The Bible says that God might even shorten those days for the sake of the elect. (Mark 13:20).
Let us be on guard as God unfolds more and more before our very eyes. Dramatic current world events, and rapidly declining moral values, indicate that we have entered the beginning of sorrows that Jesus forecast (Matthew 24:8).
According to Jesus, the Father will not reveal the exact time of the Second Coming of Jesus – but nevertheless expects us to recognize the signs of His coming (Matthew 16:3). The Son is coming back to claim His faithful and righteous Bride. Our concern ought to be to study the word, and live the works of God in all its many facets. Living the word includes loving and serving one another. Jesus strongly warned that we are not to be caught napping (Matthew 25:1-13). The time is coming that we will be sharing our worldly possessions with the needy, as was first practised in the New Testament church.
There is no fuller expression to the promise of the perfection of the Bride whilst we are still in the flesh, than in this scripture,
‘And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. And this until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a full-grown man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; so that we no longer may be infants, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, in the dishonesty of men, in cunning craftiness, to the wiles of deceit. But that you, speaking the truth in love, may in all things grow up to Him who is the Head, even Christ; from whom the whole body, fitted together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of each part, producing the growth of the body to the edifying of itself in love’. (Ephesians 4:11-16)