By Pete Garcia
Although God the Son had visited earth during certain periods of the Old Testament (Genesis 14:18-20, 16:7-14, 18:1-31, 22:11-18, 31:11-13, 32:22-32, Exodus 3:2-6, Joshua 5:13-15, and Hebrews 7:3), God the Son did not take on His permanent form until the virgin birth Incarnation (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:26-38). His mother and stepfather hailed from the region of Nazareth, but a mandatory imperial requirement during the reign of Caesar Augustus required the expecting parents to make the arduous journey to Bethlehem to be counted in the census (Micah 5:2, Luke 2:1-6).
Thus, it was here at the turn of the fourth millennium that Jesus was born at the height of the ancient world’s most powerful pagan empire and took on the flesh of a man to become God incarnate. As it was, this “fullness of time” perfectly kept the time pattern established previously between Adam and Abraham (two thousand years), and now Abraham and Jesus (two thousand years). We are now quickly approaching the end of that third iteration of two thousand years separating Jesus’ first coming, from that of His second.
By becoming a man, not only did Jesus leave the glories of the eternal realm to come to a fallen and sin-stained earth, but He also had to shield His true nature from that of His fellow man. The reason for that is obvious to us in hindsight, but if people saw Him as He truly is, then He would not have been able to fulfill the prophecies in the Old Testament requiring Him to be both our Kinsman Redeemer (God and Man), as well as the perfect, spotless lamb of God who would be unjustly rejected and sacrificed to forever take away the sins of all mankind (Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and Psalm 118:22). For instance, had Jesus appeared to the world at the beginning of His ministry as He truly is, the people would have experienced what John experienced in meeting Him face to face on the island of Patmos in 95AD.
Instead, the eternal and omnipotent Creator of the Universe allowed Himself to be born in a lowly manger without pomp and ceremony with only the animals and a few shepherds to witness the event.
In fact, so underwhelming was the Christ’s earthly arrival, that it is very likely that even Satan had no idea something prophetic was happening until much later when the star of Bethlehem appeared and the arrival of the Gentile Wisemen reached Jerusalem, seeking the One “born king of the Jews.”
Obviously, these two events set off alarm bells in the spirit world because we see King Herod become fearful and sought to kill this challenger to his throne. Growing up in Egypt and then later in Galilee, Jesus was meek, gentle, and humbly obedient to His human parents even into adulthood. Nevertheless, Jesus laid low until He was “about thirty” quietly fulfilling the Levitical requirement for the age of priestly duty. The Book of Numbers (Chapter 4) puts the minimum age requirement of those who would work in the Tabernacle at 30 years of age. It would have been unthinkable (and unbiblical) for a Messiah to come who couldn’t enter into the Tabernacle (or later the temple) to serve. Nevertheless, Jesus never sought glory or honor for Himself, but always gave it to His Father by perfectly doing His will from the first day to His last when He said, “It is finished.”
Prior to Jesus’ birth, Satan had the world locked down under a vast network of hundreds of pagan religions, with thousands of false gods, and even more pagan subsects. Satan even managed to corrupt the Jewish religion through both the mysticism of the Kabbalah, as well as the legalism of Pharisees and Sadducees. Nevertheless, this unassuming carpenter’s Son who dutifully attended to His human parents remained “under the radar” as it were while growing up in the area just north of the Sea of Galilee. When the time came, John the Baptist, Jesus’ older cousin, began His forerunner ministry (Isaiah 40:3, Mal 4:5-6, Matt. 10:11-15) making straight the way for the One whom “whose sandals he was not fit to carry.” Compare the subtle, yet powerful differences in John the Baptist’s prophetic pronouncement heralding the arrival of the Christ.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29
Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” – John 1:35-36
Jesus the Messiah, as the eternal Passover Lamb, would come only once to die for sins. The next time He comes, it will be in power and glory, and judgment. The first time He would become the sacrificial lamb who freed the world from the bondage of sin and death, removing Satan’s stranglehold over mankind. The second time He comes would be to physically liberate the planet by removing Satan’s stranglehold over the nations and the universe itself. Nevertheless, immediately after His baptism, Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, departed into the wilderness to undergo His temptation.
“Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”
Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.” – Luke 4:1-13 (my emphasis)
Contrasting the initial success Satan had in the lush Garden of Eden with the first Adam, this opportunity seemed all too easy. In Satan’s mind, the dry, unforgiving desert wilderness would make easy work of this ‘Messiah-contender.’
The question I often ponder is, why wouldn’t Satan think that he could tempt Jesus?
Think about it.
Up until that point in time, Satan’s track record had been nearly perfect leaving no son of Adam untainted by the marks of sin and the consequence of death. Satan had taken great delight, dutifully breaking (at least once) each of the great patriarchs of the past, even getting Moses to strike the rock twice thus breaking the typological pattern and negating his entrance into the Promised Land.
However, this Son of Man would require Satan to approach Him (at least) three times in the wilderness in his feeble attempts to try and break Him. Satan did so by appealing to the lust of the flesh (stones to bread), the lust of the eyes (the kingdoms of the world), and the pride of life (displaying His supernatural power).
Of course, we know how this all turned out.
Where the first Adam failed, the last Adam prevailed.
Christ successfully rejected Satan’s temptations by using scripture, and by so doing, provided us with the example we would need in facing similar situations.
But it wasn’t just Satan who personally provoked and tempted Jesus, but also recruited fallen humans to do his bidding. At every turn, Jesus either faced the wrath of the legalistic Pharisees or the cynical skepticism of the Sadducees and yet still created disciples, and taught the masses, while healing and attending to the endless parade of sick and broken people presented to Him. Never once did Jesus stray from His mission, nor allow fame or any of the other trappings of this world to corrupt or thwart His mission. Christ’s life, was, in short, amazing, and would become the single most significant mile marker in all of human history. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus 1 Tim 2:5.
What is interesting to me, given Satan’s ignorance of Christ’s birth, and his failed attempts at tempting Jesus in the wilderness, was his boldness in so doing. Consider the reaction of the low-ranking demons when they encountered the Christ face to face.
Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness.
Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. – Luke 8:26-31 (my emphasis)
Interestingly, even these demons instinctively knew who Jesus was and what their fate was going to be, and were dreadfully fearful. It is curious to this author how this demonic legion intuitively feared Jesus, and yet Satan did not. Perhaps Satan could not conceive of God taking on human flesh and coming to earth as it were beneath Him (it was). Perhaps Satan’s lack of fear of Jesus was due to him being blinded by pride, which subsequently, prevented him from not understanding who Jesus was and what His true intentions were. The Apostle Paul would later clarify this for us in his epistle to the Corinthians.
“However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” – 1 Corinthians 2:6-8 (my emphasis)
But let us go back and note something that Satan said which is most curious…“All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” Now, I’ve honed in on this phrase numerous times in the past because it clearly presents the source of all that is wrong with the power and authority wielded in our present age.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12
These powerful forces of darkness, arrayed in their hierarchical ranks of wickedness, serve their master Satan in carrying forth his malevolent agenda. Like the demonic frogs of Revelation 16, these cursed beings have moved throughout history stirring up every sort of evil imaginable on Earth. From the barbarian hordes raiding and pillaging, to the murderous expanses of any given empire, these nefarious beings stir up armies, plot coup d’états, spread rumors in the streets, and ill gossip in the royal hallways with equal glee. They provoke division, murder, and violence, and give birth to false gods and conspiracy, stirring up all manners of strife to which men suffer the consequences. These are they who taught men how to make weapons of war and to create idols, instituting cruel and relentless suffering throughout countless generations. Despite their terror and ferocity, these cursed beings tremble at the name of Jesus. Such was Christ’s victory at the cross that made it possible to be free from the fear and bondage of these wicked beings.
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” – Colossians 2:13-14
This freedom from sin and death is the losing battle Satan has been hopelessly waging ever since his resounding defeat at Calvary. The only thing Satan could do at that point was to corrupt their understanding of what they are seeing and change those stars into some celestial gods to be worshipped. Therefore, since Satan cannot change God’s created order, he has to corrupt man’s understanding of it. He does this through lying and has done this to every institution God has ordained like creation, marriage, family, and governments. This is why Jesus called him the father of lies (John 8:44).
Thus, in the centuries since Christ’s first coming, when empires and governments failed to quell the explosion of Christianity through violence, Satan was forced to go to his backup plan using half-truths and compromise to co-opt it and corrupt it. He uses half-truths to draw away those who would be easily led to believe such nonsense, and ecumenism to water down and eventually, co-opt Christendom into a system of pseudo-Christian beliefs. In addition, Satan uses pride to create divisiveness and legalism to divide the remaining Christian communities so that they fracture into smaller and smaller factions.
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” – Galatians 4:4-5 (my emphasis)
By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul used the phrase “fullness of time” to indicate that this was the only moment in all of human history where Israel’s promised Messiah, could lawfully come. No other time, either in Israel’s past or future, could fulfill the Old Testament prophecies regarding the timing of the Christ. More specifically speaking, this is because there would be but only a small window of time between Israel’s last vestige of governmental sovereignty (Gen 49:10) and the destruction of the second Jewish temple by the Romans where the Messiah could come (Dan 9:26).
According to Caiphas’ own words to Pontius Pilate, the Jews in Jesus’ day did not have the legal authority to legally execute anyone. Although the Sanhedrin could stir up the masses to have someone stoned to death, or thrown off of a high place, they couldn’t officially execute Jesus, which is what they really needed to do in order to make an example of Him. This is why they had the Romans do it because they lost this legal authority sometime between 6 BC and 6 AD. While some note that the Scepter symbolizes the line of kings who would come to rule from Judah to Manassas, the late Dr. Chuck Missler interprets it this way:
“The [National identity of Judah (scepter), which includes the right to enforce Mosaic law, including the right to administer capital punishment upon the people, as called for in the Torah] shall not depart from [the southern kingdom (Judah) ], nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh [the Messiah] comes; and to him shall be the obedience of the people.”
Many Jewish Rabbis (both modern and old) believed that the Scepter had departed from Judah when the Babylonian’s conquered them in 605BC. However, the Jews went through periods of subjugation and also freedom (Maccabees) from then, until the Romans in/around 6BC. Again, Dr. Missler makes a strong case for this in his article The Scepter of Judah.
In 6-7 A.D., King Herod’s son and successor, Herod Archelaus, was dethroned and banished to Vienna, a city in Gaul. Archelaus was the second son of Herod the Great.6 The older son, Herod Antipater, was murdered by Herod the Great, along with other family members. (It was quipped at the time that it was safer to be a dog in that household than a member of the family!) Archelaus’ mother was a Samaritan (1/4 or less of Jewish blood) and was never accepted. After the death of Herod (4 B.C.?), Archelaus had been placed over Judea as “Entharch” by Caesar Augustus. Broadly rejected, he was removed in 6-7 A.D. He was replaced by a Roman procurator named Caponius. The legal power of the Sanhedrin was immediately restricted and the adjudication of capital cases was lost. This was normal Roman policy.7
Scripture confirms this,
Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.” Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,” – John 18:28-31 (my emphasis)
While it is speculative at best to say exactly when the Scepter departed from Judah, we know that it had definitively departed from Judah before Christ’s earthly ministry began. Thus we see in the passage above, that by the time of Christ’s arrest and trial, the reason they had to go to Pilate, was that they did not have the legal right to execute anyone of their own authority.
So from Christ’s birth until they lost the scepter, was only about 10 years or less. We also know that in 70AD, the Romans under Titus sacked Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and killed a million Jews. So from 6-7AD to 70AD, we are talking about a window of 63 years give or take a year for a Messiah to come and fulfill all the prophecies set forth in the Old Testament. According to rabbinic sources, there was little interest in the arrival of the Messiah prior to the first century. But during the first century, given the turn of the millennium, Messianic passions ran high. Now, given the incredibly tight window of time for Christ’s first coming at the “fullness of time,” are we witnessing again the same “fullness of times” conditions transpire?
This is why I believe the Orthodox Jews of today can sense this and are becoming increasingly agitated and aggressive in their attempts to rebuild their third temple because they sense they are now living in the days of the Messiah. They are still waiting for their messiah to come, who will be in the form of the Antichrist, and will betray them to become twice the son of Hitler in killing two-thirds of the Jewish people (Zech. 13:8) fulfilling Jesus’ words when He prophesied: “I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.” (John 5:43)
Here we are today coming up on the end of the third cycle of 2,000 years, and in a period of fewer than 75 years, we have had a world war that caused the collapse of three major world empires liberating the land of Israel from the Gentiles (the Ottomans, British, and Arabs) triggering:
– another world war by another Gentile world power (the Nazis) with an attempt of satanic proportions to wipe out the Jewish people from 1933-1945 leading to the deaths of 6 million Jews
– and the almost instantaneous rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948, leading to decades of satanically-driven unrest in the formerly quiet Middle East
– nations around the world becoming intoxicated at the thought of either claiming or carving up Israel and Jerusalem, only to see their efforts shattered time and again
– technology advancing at a dizzying rate, causing change to become the only constant
– the two remaining 20th-century world powers collapsing (the USSR and now the USA) causing the world to become destabilized and demanding a Great Reset simultaneous to technology finally offering the potential for global government
– the Jews now clamoring for a third temple in the hopes their Messiah will come
Simultaneously to all of this, is the meteoric spike in the spirit of antichrist around the world. It is interesting to me how even non-believers can see this marked rise in evil and wickedness and know something is afoul. This is while the majority of the church pulpits remain ignorantly silent.
– after school satan clubs
– Baphomet statues in state capitals
– drag queen story hours
– gender confusion and the mutilation of our young
– the outcry against banning abortion
– the state-mandated worship of creation
– the godless left becoming even more blasphemously godless
– the normalization of pedophilia
– the demoralization of our military
– the corruption in our political and judicial branches
– the manipulation of the human genome
I could literally go on and on but you already know these things. It’s in our faces every single second of every day. And as depressing as that is, it is also telling us something. This should tell you, my fellow watchmen, that if even the spiritually unregenerate can see our enemy’s hand being played (which the rulers of darkness have masterfully kept hidden all these past centuries) that things are coming to a head. It means our enemy Satan and his spiritual hosts of wickedness in high places know something is about to change. They aren’t even trying to hide it anymore. They know we are in the Season of our Lord’s return and are desperately trying to minimize the fallout from the global event we call the Rapture of the Church. Why else would they tip their hand so obviously, if they didn’t think they didn’t have anything to lose?
For nearly two millennia (since Emperor Constantine), the devil and his forces thrived on the powerfully corrosive influences of gradualism, humanism, esotericism, and legalism. It is only now after Israel has become a nation again that they know their time is running out. They know God is about to upend the status quo. I believe they saw this around the turn of the 20th century and tried to wipe out the Jewish people with the Third Reich’s Final Solution, which gloriously backfired on them.
But as horrible as the Nazis were, even they wouldn’t have stooped as low as the progressive left is doing now by fanatically advocating for the murder of the unborn and the mutilation of children by the millions. If they had their way, all children would either be killed in the womb or castrated shortly upon birth. What’s worse is the normalization of it by the governments and the media. This is why so many secularists and non-Christians are asking if the old gods have returned. What else can speak to the barbarity and sheer insanity we are witnessing from every corner of the planet?
But for all the bad news we are being vexed with day in and day out, these dark storm clouds promise the mother of all silver linings. Our hope is not in this president, or this political party. It is not in our nation or even our well-being; our hope is in Christ, the blessed hope (Titus 2:13). The born-again believers (the Church), are to be watching and waiting, sharing the Good News while we can, because of what is coming. For the world, it is the culmination of birth pangs in the form of the Tribulation.
For those born-again believers in Jesus Christ, it is the Adoption as sons and heirs for the eternal kingdom.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body…
…And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” – Romans 8:15-30