King Solomon passed along a good bit of wisdom to the children of God, in Ecclesiastes 9:10, saying, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
Whoever we are, and whatever our calling in Christ Jesus, we will spend much our lives in the work of God working at what our hands find to do. God does not micro-manage our life's work in His service, but He does direct our steps. From time to time He will actually give specific instructions to us by the Holy Spirit, either directly or through another of His saints. And when we move in the direction the Holy Spirit is leading, God will "work things out" as we go along.
Then there are those special times of important, grand scale fulfillment of prophecy concerning God's work in the Church. Whenever such times arise, God always raises up a Director who, in turn, will establish the offices required by the relevant prophecies, and ordain the people necessary to the proper and effective execution of the work involved. It happened in the first century A.D. among the Jews, and prophecy requires that it happen again; this time among the Gentiles, thereby setting the stage for the grafting in again of the Jews, just about the time of the coming of the Bridegroom (Rom. 2:6-11).
God had set seventy weeks of years (490 years), from the release of Judah from their captivity in Persia, unto their dissolution from being a nation (Daniel 7:24-27). Those "weeks" were divided as 7 weeks, 62 weeks, and 1 week . The first 7 weeks were most likely for Judah to prove that they would then begin to keep the seventh year sabbath. The next 62 weeks, made it a total of 69, and brought them to the worse moment in their history: they crucified the Son of God.
Obviously Jesus' ministry occupied the last half of that 69th week of years. The whole volume of that period of 70 weeks requires that we consider that God began that 69th "week" by sending forth John the Baptist to prepare the way of the Messiah: the Son of God. Then, in about the middle of that 69th week (commonly known as the 62nd week), when John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, officially launching His ministry. He shortly ordained His twelve apostles, and a little later, His 70 prophets.
At the end of that sixty-two weeks, and after His resurrection, Jesus appointed Peter to take the leadership of the Church, (John 21:15-17; Matt. 24:45-47), and for seven years (the seventieth week), Peter confirmed the covenant with many (Daniel 9:27). During that week of years, Peter brought the Jewish Church to its fullness and shortly thereafter, with the "Keys of the Kingdom of heaven," he opened the door for the Gentiles to receive redemption, beginning with the house of Cornelius (Matt. 24:45-47; Matt. 16:13-19; Acts 10:1-48).
In the middle of that seventieth week, an amazing event took place in the process of prophetic fulfillment. "The overspreading of abominations" among the Levites had angered God so very much that He annulled His covenant with Levi; finalizing the dissolution of His "marriage" to the nation of Israel at Sinai, making them desolate (Romans 7:1-4). [The covenant with Israel at Sinai was annulled at the death of Jesus on the cross at the end of the 62-week period, and was officially replaced by the New Covenant: the fourteen commandments which are given to us in full in Matthew 5:21 – 7:20.]
By the end of that seventieth week, it had become obvious that the Church of the Living God had become "The Church of the Firstborn," replacing Levi (Hebrews 12:22-24). God had cast the shadow of it when He elected, and took the tribe of Levi from among the tribes of Israel, instead of the firstborn of every family (Numbers 3:12-13). Accordingly, when the Grace Age came, and Christians began to multiply, it soon became obvious that there was a distinct separation between the "Kingdom of Heaven," and "the Church: the Sanctuary" (Psalm 114:1-2).
The rules were not the same for all Christians. When Ananias and Sapphira died, because they laid a corrupted offering "At the Apostle's feet, great fear came upon all the Church, and upon as many as heard these things." The penalty for touching the Old Testament Altar with a tainted offering was death, and the New Testament Altar was the Twelve Apostles (1Kings 18:31; Acts 5:1-2; Heb. 13:10). "And by the hands of the Apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst [dared] no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women)."
By the end of that seventieth week, the Church of God had reached its fullness. From then it was only a matter of waiting for the fulfillment of the last part of Daniel 9:27. "He shall make it desolate, even unto the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate (natural Israel)." The desolation came in about thirty seven A.D.: about three and a half years after the ascension of our High Priest. The loss of their husband was finalized. Then God waited until 70 A.D. to "pour upon the desolate" that which He had already determined.
Sometime after the Church had reached perfection, as is shown by the terror of the Lord which came upon them all, God began phase 2 of the Grace Age. Jesus appeared to Saul of Tarsus and enlisted him in the service of God to be a light of the Gentiles," to do whatever was necessary to establish that work in such a manner that it would sustain the message of Jesus Christ, and provide "salvation unto the ends of the earth" (Isaiah 49:5-6). The Apostle Paul could not fulfill all 2,000 years of that prophecy, therefore, we know that God will raise up a Gentile Apostle to finish its fulfillment.
Paul later told the Church of God which was at Corinth, "A dispensation of God is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God: even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles" (Col. 1:25-26).
In Romans chapters 9-11, Paul told us of a far future date for which we wait "Until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Rom. 11:23-26).
By the allegory of "the harvest," in "the parable of the tares" Jesus revealed that there is a 49-year period at the end of the Grace Age, saying, "The harvest is the end of the world." During that 49 years, He will "gather first the tares (false Christians), and bind them into bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my [His] barn" (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43). Of course, you will need to apply the fact that Israel was commanded to keep a sabbath year every seventh year, in the planting and harvesting of their crops. The cycle was then finished by taking another sabbath during the fiftieth year, which God called "The Year of Jubilee" (Lev. 25:1-11).
God was not simply thinking things up to try their faith, although this commandment certainly did that, as is revealed by the fact that they never once carried out this commandment, except possibly during the first "seven weeks" of the 70 weeks. That 50-year cycle is a prophecy of the last 50 years of the 6,000 years from Adam to the beginning of the reign of Jesus on the earth.
The gathering of the tares began in 1962 when Pope John XXIII launched the Ecumenical movement. That leaves us only a short time to "Gather the wheat into (His) barn." We are living in that last seven year period of those forty nine years, and God is setting the stage for the forming of the Gentile Church in the mirror-image of the Jewish Church which we read about in the New Testament (Eph. 4:11-13).
The Apostle Paul told us, that "[God] will render unto every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: for there is no respect of persons with God" (Rom. 2:6-11).
The time is upon us. Let us rise to the occasion, put our hands to the instruments of harvest, and make ourselves ready to meet the Bridegroom, for His coming is very near.