Prophecy in Motion
by C. Elden McNabb
Calling the Generations
God declared the end from the beginning so we could identify, and believe in His works when they are performed. As Peter said, prophetic backing for any event is more sure than any personal experience or independent idea about God and His work (Isaiah 46:9-11; 2 Pet. 1:16-21).
In Isa. 41:4, the Lord asked a question, and then proceeded to answer it. “Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am He.” So Jesus has declared Himself to be the first in a lineage of leaders, the last of which shall be here finishing the work of the gospel when He returns. And this passage shows that Jesus will be back early enough to be “with the last” one, for a while, during the final days preceding the marriage of the Lamb.
We are given various genealogies in the Holy Scriptures which are called “Generations.” They include the Generations of the Heavens and the Earth (Gen. 2:4, the Generations of Adam (Gen. 5:1), the Generations of Noah (Gen. 6:9), the Generations of the Sons of Noah (Gen. 10:1), the Generations of Shem (Gen. 11:10), the Generations of Terah (Gen. 11:27), the Generations of Ishmael (Gen. 25:12), the Generations of Isaac (Gen. 25:19), the Generations of Esau, which is Edom (Gen. 36:1), the Generations of Jacob (Gen. 37:2), the Generations of Pharez (Ruth 4:18), and the Generation of Jesus Christ (Matt. 1:1).
Three of those lists have ten generations in each them, and Each group of ten is a prophetic allegory of the ten men who were to rule God’s Church throughout its entire history. The first of those three is called “the Generations of Adam:” Adam to Noah. The second is “the Generations of Shem:” Shem to Abram (Abraham). The third is “the Generations of Pharez:” Pharez to David.
This analogy is most easily seen in the first set of ten, because Paul has already told us that Jesus is the second Adam (1 Cor. 15:45-49). As such, He is the father of all the redeemed: the new creation. He is represented by the first of the ten generations from Adam to Noah. And Jesus Himself said that Noah is a prophetic allegory of the man who will be ruling His house when He returns (Matt. 24:37-47).
It is also revealed in these generations that seven of those ten have a special anointing which is different from the other three. They are typified in the Generations of Adam by the list of Adam to Enoch (Jude 1:14), and in the Generations of Shem by the list of Eber (Heber) to Abraham.
Jude said that, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints’.” It is the seventh from Jesus who will make the midnight cry, saying, ‘Behold the Bridegroom cometh’.” Noah is the tenth from Adam in the same generations. The precept changes, but Noah is a prophecy of the same man that Enoch is a prophecy of, and shall deliver us, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood (Isa. 59:19).
The man who fulfills Abraham, the seventh from Heber, in the Generations of Shem, will be met and blessed by the Priest of the Most High God: Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In this precept, the same man is both the seventh from Heber, and the tenth from Shem, in the same list of ten (Isaiah 28:9-12; Genesis 14:13-20).
In Malachi, the man who makes the final preparation for the coming of Jesus is called “The Messenger of The Covenant.” He will “purify the [New Testament] Sons of Levi,” and present them as a chaste virgin to Christ, when he comes (Mal. 3:1-6). Appropriately, it is in this passage that God said, “I am the Lord, I change not!” God sent a messenger to prepare for Jesus to come the first time, and He will surely do so to prepare for Jesus to come the second time.
God has not changed, as some would have us to believe. He has always called out particular men to accomplish the work which He has foreordained to be done. He did it in the days of the early Apostles, and He will continue to do so, because that is His way.
Look again at Ecclesiastes 3:15. “That which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.” All that was to transpire in God’s Church in the first century A.D., and in this last century, has “already been” in the prophecies: the types, shadows and allegories of the Old Testament. It is all there, and God requires that all of those prophecies be fulfilled.
Consider the prophecy in Psa. 90:10. He said, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off.”
Paul called the Church “a man” in his epistle to the Ephesians, and, as a man, the Church has fulfilled this prophecy. Indeed it is shown in the New Testament, and in what little history there is outside of the Bible, that God’s Church flourished for almost seventy years. That is, from about the time Jesus ordained the Twelve Apostles, until about the time of the death of John. Accordingly, the restored Church, in this century, is allotted about eighty years.
During those first seventy years, The Church had four rulers: Jesus, Peter, James the Lord’s brother, and Jude, who was also the Lord’s brother. Peter’s time of rulership was a little different from the other three, in that he ruled only for a while; just long enough to finish building the Church for which Jesus had laid the foundation, then he relinquished the Church to James. The others ruled the Church until they died.
When God anoints a man to be the ruler over His household, it is an appointment for life. Therefore, we know that Peter is one of the ten, but not one of the seven “anointed ones.” All of those men in the Old Testament, who held that office, did so until his natural death. In the New Testament, things are somewhat different. Paul said, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Again he said, “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Therefore, we are not obligated, as David was to Saul, to follow a man until his natural death. If he ceases to follow Christ, we are obligated, rather, to set him aside, and follow the man who God chooses to succeed him.
During the seven years, or so, in which Peter ruled the Church, he fulfilled the prophecy in Joshua 19:1-9, “The second lot came forth to Simeon. -- Out of the portion of the children of Judah was the inheritance of the children of Simeon.” Jesus and Peter together fulfilled 1 Kings 6:37-38. In that allegory, Solomon both laid the foundation and built the house. But in the fulfillment, Jesus laid the foundation and Peter built the house. Remember that Paul said the allegories are not the very image of the true (Heb. 10:1).
When Peter had finished building the Church, Jesus appeared to him the second time, as He had appeared unto him just after the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:3-9; 1 Kings 9:2. Then, with great deference, Peter submitted The Church, and himself, to James (Acts 15:5-21; Deut. 17:8-13).
THE SIGNS OF THE END
Entering the Twentieth Century
In the time of Jesus Christ, there were many signs by which the believers could know that Jesus was the Christ of God. Therefore, Jesus rebuked them because they could not discern the signs of the times. Likewise, God has given us many signs so we can know when and where He is working in our generation.
The industrial revolution, and the rise of the United States of America, set the stage for the preparation for the second coming of Christ Jesus our Lord. Nahum clearly showed that a man would make that preparation in the day of automobiles (Nahum 2:1-4; Rev. 2:26-27). Solomon also prophesied of the time as when “a bird of the air shall carry The Voice” (Eccl. 10:20).
Daniel and Joel both prophesied of this period of time. God said to Daniel, “Shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Dan. 12:4). God surely included scriptural knowledge of the plan of God for consecrated Christians, as well as secular knowledge for the natural man.
To Joel He said, “It shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.”
Jules Verne’s writings, in the 19th century, about submarines and space travel are a good example of that new ability, among secular writers, to prophesy. Then, as the century came to a close, God began to pour out of His Spirit “also upon the servants and upon the handmaids.” It was 1896, when that outpouring came.
Peter rightly used this prophecy in the book of Joel, to speak of their experience on the day of Pentecost, but the full effect of Joel 2:28-29, was not seen until the time of the industrial revolution.
Within ten years after the constitutional convention of the United States of America, man began to use natural gas for lighting. All manner of new inventions swiftly followed. By the year 1807, the steamboat was invented. By 1851, we had railroad cars, revolvers, the reaper and mower, electric telegraph, photography, the sewing machine, and submarine cable.
In the second half of the nineteenth century there were more than a dozen major inventions which would affect transportation, agriculture, communica-
tion, and other industries. The telephone, the typewriter, X-rays, electric lights, and the gasoline engine, to name a few.
The century closed with great strides in the development of modern modes of transportation. Automobiles, motorcycles and aircraft, which are now commonplace, began their development in the final years of the last century. Providentially, several of them reached a special stage of development in the year 1903, and have since burgeoned into their full potential.
Several significant events transpired in 1903, including Albert Einstein’s thesis on the science of Astronautics. That same year, the Pope of Rome died and was replaced, and the Communist Party was formed. In 1903 the Ford Motor Company was formed and the Harley Davidson Co. began to manufacture motorcycles. And on December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made their first successful, heavier-than-air, flight. All of these things happened in the year 1903, as a sign that God was beginning a special new series of prophetic events, to signal the soon coming of Jesus.