- What are Abraham's parallels?
- Conclusion of the Abrahamic Covenant - return of grace to the Israel in flesh
- Birth of Abraham - birth of the first modern movement of anticipating Christ's return
- Ishmael and Isaac - nazism and persecution of Jews
- The death of Sarah - the sealing of the last member of the 24 elders
- Isaac and Rebecca's marriage - resurrection to glory of the last member of the 24 elders
- The death of Abraham - the end of the caaling to the Bride/ rejection of the nominal christianity
What are Abraham's parallels?
Abraham certainly belongs to the most important characters described in the Bible. God entered a covenant with him, which is the basis for the fulfillment of all following elements of the Divine Plan of salvation, both in the aspects concerning earthly offspring - Israel according to the flesh - and the spiritual (spiritual Israel), for who Abraham is the 'father od faith' (Gen. 22:17,18; Rom. 4:11; Gal. 6:16). One of the promises given to Abraham in the covenant was ownership in the land "from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates" (Gen. 15:6,18). Abraham spent 100 years of his life, wandering about the land with all his belongings, but we have the information in the Scripture that he never received it as property during his lifetime (Acts 7:4,5). On the contrary, "he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents" (Heb. 11:9). Therefore, it is obvious that Abraham asks God the question that we have recorded in Gen. 15:8 - "Lord God, how shall I know that I will inherit it?" In other words, how will I know that the time is coming I will become the proper owner of the promised land?
This question was important not only to Abraham, but it is also important for believers today. Abraham died at the age of 175, without ever becoming the owner - till the end "he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country". But God's promise is certain to be fulfilled, and when it happens, Abraham will attain to his share. The importance of the promise for us, however, lies in the fact that its fulfillment requires resurrection. So the sign God gives Abraham does not only point to the time the patriarch will receive his land, but also it signifies the upcoming restitution of all things, resurrection and Christ's return (Acts 3:19-21). It is, then, worth looking at the answer God gave Abraham in Gen. 15:7-11 because in this way we too will know, how close to the fulfillment of God's promises we are.
God's answer given to Abraham is in its essence a time prophecy. The Lord asks the patriarch to offer as a sacrifice a heifer, a female goat and a ram - each animal at the age of three - and two one-year-old birds (Gen. 15:9). It gives 11 years in total (3+3+3+1+1). Because the length of the month in the Biblical calendar is 30 days, the whole 11-year period amounts to 3960 days (11 x 12 months x 30 days; compare Gen. 7:11,24, 8:4). If we apply the Biblical principle 'a day for a year', we arrive at the period of 3960 years (compare Num. 14:34; Ez. 4:6). From the prophetic point of view we can expect that after the mentioned 3960 years something important was to happen - something that would point to the coming fulfillment of God's promises contained in the covenant.
Conclusion of the Abrahamic Covenant - return of grace to the Israel in flesh
In this context, an obvious event from which the 3960 years should be counted, is the date of the conclusion of the covenant. Bible chronology allows to pinpoint this date precisely at 2046 BC (see the lecture Bible chronology timeline). If we, therefore, count 3960 years from 2046 BC forward (remembering there was no 'zero' year), we end up in the year 1915. One could say nothing of importance happened in that year. From the prophetic point of view, however, a lot did happen.
The significance of that time will be seen if one bears in mind that in the year 1914 the Biblical "times of the nations" finished. According to Lord Jesus, Jerusalem - the symbol of independent Jewish state - was to "be trodden down by the nations until the times of the nations are fulfilled", of which we know from the book of Leviticus that their length is 2520 years. The Jewish statehood started to be trodden down in the year 607 BC when the Babilonian army invaded Jerusalem and took Jews captive. Even though the nation regained a substitute of its statehood in the Roman times, it was still within the Roman dominion. The prophetic period of 2520 years was not fulfilled yet then, but it was to come to its end much later - in 1914.
Obviously, the independent Jewish state did not come into being at that time, but a war broke out which led to freeing the land from the Turkish hands and in further consequence, to the rebirth of the independent state in 1948. In this way, a prophetic parallel of 34 years was also fulfilled. Just as in the first century Israeli statehood was destroyed 34 years after the nation lost God's special favor, in the twentieth century an independent Jewish state appeared after 34 years God's favor had been brought back - after "the times of the nations" finished in 1914 (Lk. 21:20-24). So the year 1914 is the last year of God's disfavor for Israel; the following year 1915 is the year of the parallel of the conclusion of the Abrahamic covenant - the covenant of favor for Abraham's offspring in the flesh.
It seems improbable that this is just a coincidence. Two completely different prophecies with two different time spans (2520 years and 3960 years) lead to the same date. The times of the nations prophecy shows the end of disfavor for Israel in 1914, whereas Abraham's parallel confirms God's promise of blessings for his offspring according to the flesh a year later, in 1915. So with the outbreak of the 1st World War punishing Israel finished, and the time of blessing began for this chosen nation of God. Moreover, if we return to Abraham's question "how shall I know", we will see that the return of favor to Israel - the end of the times of the nations and rebirth of an independent state - was to signify the approaching fulfillment of the promises contained in the covenant. Today we have had an independent state of Israel for more than 70 years. It provides a solid ground for our hope that the resurrection of the faithful Abraham, and with him of the whole mankind, is closer than ever before.
Birth of Abraham - birth of the first modern movement of anticipating Christ's return
A question that naturally arises after examining the parellel of the Abrahamic Covenant is whether this is the only parallel, or are there more of them? Interestingly, in the book of Genesis one can find dates of several events related to Abraham:
- 2121 BC - birth of Abraham
- 2035 BC - birth of Ishmael
- 2022 BC - circumcission
- 2021 BC - birth of Isaac
- 2016 BC - Ishmael sent away
- 1984 BC - death of Sarah
- 1981 BC - Isaac and Rebecca's marriage
- 1961 BC - birth of Jacob and Esau
- 1946 BC - death of Abraham
If the date of the covenant turns out to be prophetic, other events may also be. Further considering Abraham's parallels will show that this is indeed the case, starting from the date of Abraham's birth in 2121 BC The parallel of this event falls on 1840. This is the date of the development of Miller's movement - the movement of waiting for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
William Miller was an American preacher operating in the first half of the 19th century in the United States. His special interest was the time of the return of Christ, which he identified with the time of cleansing the temple described by the Prophet Daniel in Dn. 8:14. Miller came to the conclusion that the time of the return of Christ is really close. Already in 1822 he was convinced that it would coma about around 1843. The reaction of his surrounding to this news was initially far from enthusiastic. Miller himself did not immediately get involved in any wider announcement. The change came in 1840 with the launch of the publication of the magazine Signs of the Times. Thanks to this, the small movement of awaiting the return of Christ in a short time became a mass movement. The change brought by Signs of the Times may be evidenced by the fact that in just over three years (from March 1840 to May 1843), about 5 million copies were distributed of this and other publications related to the topic of the Lord's return.
From the point of view of waiting for the return of Christ, Miller's movement was an unprecedented event. It was the first contemporary religious movement with such a wide range related to waiting for the Lord's second coming. Although Miller's expectation did not materialize, his views had a great impact on the doctrine of later Adventists or Bible Students. In some sense, therefore, Miller initiated the process of active waiting for the return of Christ, which in no significant sense had been previously present among Christians. What is important in the context of Abraham's parallel, although Miller took action to announce the Lord's return from the beginning of the 1830s, a more massive response to this message came with 1840 - a year corresponding to the parallel of Abraham's birth.
We will realize the relationship between Abraham's birth and the birth of waiting for Christ's return when we remember that Abraham is called the 'father of faith' in the Bible (Rom. 4:11) - faith related to expectation. In Heb. 11:10 we read that Abraham "looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God". He knew that the fulfillment of God's promise was related to the construction of 'a city with foundations', which is "Jerusalem from above" - the heavenly phase of the Kingdom of the Messiah (Gal. 4:26). The birth of Abraham, therefore, corresponds to the birth among believers of the attitude of waiting for God to expose this city in the second coming of Christ and take over the power of the kingdom. The birth of this expectation can actually be described as falling in parallel on 1840 - 3960 years after the birth of the 'father of faith'.
Ishmael and Isaac - nazism and persecution of Jews
The next events marked in parallels are not only about Abraham himself, but also to a large extent about his sons: Isaac and Ishmael. Before we will see what contemporary events are marked in parallel by events from years 2035-2016 BC, it is worth mentioning a few words about what the relations between brothers looked like.
God promised Abraham a descendant, but he could not see the fulfillment of this promise for a long time. Sarah had grown old and there were no views that she could still have children, so she gave Abraham her slave Hagar (Gen 16:1,2, 17:17). Hagar had prospects for her son Ishmael to become Abraham's heir. The situation changed, however, when Ishmael was 14 years old because at that time Isaac, the son of Sarah and Abraham, was born, taking away the status of the only heir of Abraham from Ishmael (Gen 16:16, 21:5). This was the reason for the creation of hostility in Ishmael towards his brother, which reached its climax during the celebration of Isaac's fifth birthday, when "Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian (whom she had borne to Abraham) mocking" (Gen 21:9). Sarah then demanded to expel Hagar and Ishmael from her husband, which Abraham did (Gen 21:10-14).
The above story is thoroughly reflected in the parallelism of 3960 years. And so Ishmael's birth in 2035 BC falls in 1926, when the second part of "Mein Kampf" by Adolf Hitler was published. In this way, on the model of Ishmael's birth, the ideology of fight with the antitypical Isaac - the Jewish people - was born. The parallel of circumcision - 'putting off the body' - falls in 1939, i.e. in the year of the outbreak of World War II (cf. Col. 2:11). This event was indeed an announcement of 'putting off of the body' by millions of Jews who died during the war.
The birth of Isaac, falling in parallel on 1940, may not may not find such a direct reflection because the Israeli nation was not physically born this year, although in the spiritual sense the survival of the Holocaust was undoubtedly a turning point for the national consciousness of the Jews. Birth, however, does not only signify the appearance of a new family member, but also the pain accompanying it (Gen. 3:16). The parallelism of the birth of Isaac shows that this nation, in order to be reborn after the war as an independent being, had to go through these birth pangs. The date 1940 seems accurate because it was at that time that the Nazi authorities, ending the stage of rapid conquest of a large part of Europe, could occupy itself to a larger extent with the oppression of Jews. It is worth mentioning one more interesting Biblical parallelism in the context of 1940: when a male descendant is born in Israel, he is circumcised on the eighth day after birth, receiving an external sign of his belonging to this nation. In the eighth year after 1940, Israel receives such an external sign of its national existence and becomes an independent state.
It seems that the birth of Isaac will find its second fulfillment in the future. In the first fulfillment falling in 1940, the forestage element is the pain accompanying birth, whereas in the second fulfillment, which still belongs to the future, the forestage element will be the very fact of birth, when the crushed Israel, beaten during the "Jacob's oppression", will return to God, experiencing the new birth through repentance and conversion (Jn. 3:3-8). More on this thread will come later in the lecture. In the parallelisms related to Ishmael oppressing Isaac, there is one more event left, i.e. expulsion of Ishmael. This took place in 2016 BC. 3960 years later we get to the year ... 1945 - the defeat of Nazism and the end of World War II.
The death of Sarah - the sealing of the last member of the 24 elders
Another group of events related to the life of Abraham, whose time was precisely marked in the Scripture, is the death of Sara (1984 BC), the wedding of Isaac and Rebecca (1981 BC) and the birth of Jacob and Esau (1961 BC). In parallel, 3960 years later these events fall on 1977, 1980 and 2000, respectively. These dates arouse the most controversy among Bible students because, unlike previously discussed parallels, which were fulfilled physically and visibly with the naked eye, the parallels falling on 1977, 1980 and 2000 apparently did not bring any visible events. Therefore, in their interpretation we can only hope in God that he will show us through His spirit the proper antitypical meaning of the characters that illustrated these future events in the type.
Who, then, (or what) was represented by Sarah, whose death falls in parallel on 1977? The apostle Paul teaches in Gal. 4:21-31 that Sarah and Hagar represent covenants. Hagar represents the Law Covenant developing Israel in the flesh, Sarah - the New Covenant developing spiritual Israel. The spiritual Israel are those who are of the spirit - i.e. they were chosen and begotten of the spirit (cf. Gal. 6:16; Jn. 3:3-8). The spiritual Israel encompasses "gold vessels" and "silver vessels", i.e. those who will obtain the positions of co-kings and co-priests with Jesus Christ in the glory of the Divine Nature (the symbol of gold) and those who will constitute the great multitude of their brothers in a lower spiritual nature (the symbol of silver; 2 Tim. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 7:9,10,13-17).
The antitypical Sarah - the New Covenant - is therefore the mother of the antitypical Isaac. If in the widest sense the antitype of Isaac covers all elect begotten of the spirit, then also the great multitude. However, since Isaac is the heir of Abraham's property, in the antitype he illustrates primarily Jesus Christ as the main descendant, and then also the class of the bride, which will co-rule with him in his kingdom (Gal. 3:16,29). In the lecture The Bride and the Lamb's wedding supper I wrote that the Bride encompasses two subclasses, which the book of Revelation presents as the 24 elders and 144000 elect. If the type of Isaac is limited to the Church of the Gospel age (as Abraham's heir), then Sarah's death shown in parallel does not mean the end of the New Covenant as such (which must act until the completion of Christ's Body in a thousand-year kingdom), but it means the end of a certain element of the New Covenant - the one related to the promise given to Abraham regarding the gathering of the Bride.
Sarah's death paralleled in 1977, however, does not indicate in my opinion the date of the completion of the Bride as such. I wrote about the end of the gathering of the Bride in the commentary on Rev. 14:1-5 as falling in the spring of 2029. Therefore, Sarah's death apparently indicates the date of sealing of the last member of the highest class within the Bride - 24 elders. The book of Revelation reveals that unlike 144,000, the 24 elders sit on the thrones with Christ. Therefore, they constitute in the most precise sense the descendant of Abraham inheriting his goods, who was supposed to 'possess the gate of His enemies and bless all the nations of the earth' (Gen. 22:17,18). But it must be clearly emphasized: the antitypical death of Sarah does not end the calling to the Body of Christ, which will take place when the last descendant of Adam will be reborn of the spirit in Christ's kingdom. However, it does mean that those who convert to Christ after 1977 no longer have the hope of obtaining the positions of co-kings with the Lord, but they hope to receive the reward in heaven as antitypical priests (144,000 in the immortal nature - the symbol of gold) or, as in the case of antitypical levites, in the lower spiritual nature as maids accompanying the Bride in her marriage, who also "shall enter into the King's palace" (symbol of the great multitude, silver vessels - spiritual nature lower than the divine nature; Ps. 45:10,15,16).
Isaac and Rebecca's marriage - resurrection to glory of the last member of the 24 elders
In the case of the parallel of Isaac and Rebecca's marriage, as in the case of Sarah's death, the antitype does not have an obvious, visible fulfillment . In the previous section I wrote that Sarah represents the New Covenant developing the Church of the Gospel Age, while her son Isaac points to the heirs of the Kingdom of God, who receive their heritage on the basis of the New Covenant. In the narrowest sense, the type of Isaac refers only to Jesus Christ, then also to this part of his Bride who will sit with him on the royal throne. The question is, who is represented by Isaac in the type of his wedding with Rebecca?
It seems that only our Lord is included here. In Biblical symbolism, Jesus always appears as a bridegroom to whom the Church is to be presented as a 'pure virgin' (2 Cor. 11:2). Earlier I wrote that the Bride includes two subclasses: 24 elders and 144,000 elect. The wedding of Isaac and Rebecca is apparently antitypical of the Lord's connection in heaven with the first of these classes: the winners of the current calling (24 elders). Do they have to wait for a specific moment to be resurrected? Our Lord clearly indicates in Jn. 11:25,26 that no one who lives (was born of the Spirit) and believes (faithfully performs his sacrifice) will die for an age, i.e. they don't have to wait for the current Gospel Age to end. That is why it seems possible to conclude that the date 1980 indicates the time when the last of the royal class died and joined our Lord in glory, thus fulfilling the antitype of Isaac and Rebecca's marriage.
This interpretation does not interfere with the view on the parallel of Sarah's death in 1977. In Rev. 7:2,3 we learn that before tribulation, members of the royal priesthood were to be sealed. The seal is a symbol of closure and assurance. The document that is sealed acquires the causative power. In this sense, the sealing of the saints seems to indicate that God has approved them and their reward is certain. The fact that such sealing takes place before the death of the elect may be evidenced by the experience of the apostle Paul, who wrote before he had completed his consecration in death: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness" (2 Tim. 4:7,8). Even during his lifetime Paul received a testimony from God that his reward was certain. Therefore, the last of the elect was sealed in 1977 as a member of the 24 elders/ received God's testimony on the model of Paul and completed his earthly service three years later. In this way, the composition of the class of 24 elders was finally established.
Twenty years after the wedding of Isaac and Rebecca, Esau and Jacob are born. In parallel, this event falls on year 2000. What happened in 2000 is one of the more interesting threads related to parallels. Researchers of the subject believe that the resurrection of ancient worthies took place at that time (patriarchs, prophets, etc.). Some basis for this view can be found in Ps. 45:17, which announces that the fathers of royal priests will become their sons and take managerial positions in the earthly phase of the kingdom. If Isaac and Rebecca are antitypical of Christ in glory, then according to the prophecy of Ps. 45:17, the birth of their sons may actually mean restoring their fathers to life. Regardless of whether this assumption is correct or not, they still have not revealed themselves as ancient worthies and will most likely do it no earlier than at the dawn of the kingdom of Christ.
The death of Abraham - the end of the caaling to the Bride/ rejection of the nominal christianity
The Scripture calls Abraham 'the father of all believers' (Rom. 4:11). The parallelism of his death in 2015 is therefore of significant importance from the point of view of faith. First of all, we know that fatherhood is also directly linked with someone being a child. From the point of view of faith, the Word of God also speaks about believers as children born of the spirit (Rom. 8:14-18). Birth, however, is already a certain consequence of what the father must do to initiate a new life, i.e. he must beget it. This is true also from the point of view of spiritual development, where the father first needs to beget the new life - fertilize the mind with the word of truth about Christ. When the spirit through the Word of the Lord shapes the organs of the body of character to the extent that allows the independent functioning of believers in the Biblical environment, then it is correct to talk about birth (see the lecture Gennao - birth or begettal of the spirit?). The death of Abraham as the father of believers, therefore suggests the end of the possibility of begettal of the spirit, and thus the end of the calling to the Bride.
This is not the end of the possibility of spiritual birth - birth always comes later because the fetus needs time to develop. Similarly here. Earlier I wrote that 2029 would be the year in which the last member of the Bride will be sealed (thus completing the 144,000). Whoever experiences the new birth later will be faced with closed doors. However, the period from 2015 to 2029 is the time when the last begotten of the spirit can still work towards spiritual birth, which will allow them to find room within the Bride. It seems that this calendar of calling has its logical justification. If the doors to the Bridal class were closed at the same time the last believer were begotten of the spirit, he would have no chance of arriving at the destination of his calling. The fourteen years that separate these events give all the called ones the chance to achieve the goal - acquire the seal of understanding on the forehead and develop character to the extent required by the Lord's image (Rev. 7:2-4).
The other thread which was fulfilled in 2015 in connection with the death of Abraham, concerns God's rejection of Christianity as representing his faith and his spirit. This thought is also related to the prophetic description of Abraham. Abraham was told that he would become the father of nations (Gen. 17:5). As the father of all believers, he became the father of those nations who accepted faith in Jesus Christ. His death in the antitype therefore also illustrates the death of faith in the national sense - nations that were called Christian, God no longer considers as such and begins his judgment over them. In a sense, what God announced for the Israel in the flesh is fulfilled also in the nominal spiritual Israel: "Jehovah shall bring you, and your king which you shall set over you, to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known. And there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone" (Deut. 28:36). When Israel in the flesh turned away from God, they lost his grace and were handed over to the gods of Babylon; the spiritual Israel in the form of the nations of the once Christian Europe also turned away from his God, and also lost his grace and was handed over to a foreign God - Allah.
In this context, the year 2015 was marked by a significant event, namely the migration crisis, which had been growing for some time, but it was in 2015 that it reached a critical point. Although since 2014, several hundred thousand refugees have arrived in Europe each year, in 2015 alone this number exceeded one million. The vast majority of migrants are Allah's followers, and a large part of them come from the areas of the former Babylonian Empire. What differs the present situation from the first fulfillment is certainly the direction of migration. In 607 BC Jews physically moved to Babylon, while now Christian countries are populated by Islam. However, this does not change the fact that Western European countries - like the Jews of the Babylonian captivity - have become a hostage of the situation in a literal sense. Islam's goal clearly expressed in the Koran is the conversion of the world while annihilating the reluctant. The Koran simply orders the physical liquidation of unbelievers (e.g. 2:191,192; 4:89,91). The fact that in the year determined in parallel by the death of the father of believers God for the first time in history let to the heart of Christianity such a wave of Allah soldiers is an eloquent testimony to me that the nations of Christianity lost the grace that they have enjoyed for centuries.