SEED & BREAD
THE JIGSAW PUZZLE OF PROPHECY
The title for this study comes from an article that appeared in
Christianity Today which asks the question, "Is Prophecy a Jigsaw
Puzzle?" The article is a review of seven recently published books that
deal with the future. The reviewer's conclusion is that prophecy is
indeed a jigsaw puzzle and that we cannot put it together in a well
developed eschatological scheme because some of the pieces are missing.
He feels that the variations in Matthew, Mark, and Luke "warn us that
none of them have it all, and that, perhaps all of them put together may
have omitted extremely vital pieces of information."
I certainly agree that prophecy is a jigsaw puzzle that God expects us
to put together, and I also agree that so far as men are concerned many
pieces are still missing, but I believe with all my heart that these
pieces are in the Word of God waiting to be brought forth. As Bishop
Butler has said, "It is not at all incredible, that a book, which has
been so long in possession of mankind, should contain many truths as yet
Throughout my Christian experience I have believed this to be true and
have given myself for more than a half century to the task of finding
the missing truths that would make the prophetic puzzle fit together and
that would serve as a key to prophetic interpretation. As a result of my
studies I believe that I have found the missing piece that is the key
that brings it all together. This is the truth that God is going to
invade this earth by His Spirit and assume sovereignty over the earth
and all men upon it, that Jesus Christ will govern this earth from His
present place in heaven, and that all this will be before the second
advent of Jesus Christ for the thousand years of His personal presence.
This long period of time and all that takes place in it is the piece
that is missing in all attempts to piece toget her the jigsaw of
prophecy. Permit me to tell a little of how I arrived at this
During the first thirty years of my Christian life I was a diligent
reader, student, and teacher of the Word of God. In all this I always
proceeded from the conviction that God had spoken in His Word and it was
my supreme duty to know for myself what He had said. What He meant by
what He said (the interpretation) would, I believed, come more easily
and truly if I had a good degree of familiarity with the entire Word .
At the same time I was an avid reader of the hooks on prophetic subjects
that were produced by men who believed that the Bible is the inspired
Word of God, especially men of that persuasion which can best be
designated as the dispensational premillennial school of interpretation.
At one time I became especially interested in the study of the
seventieth week of Israel's Seventy Weeks as set forth in Daniel,
chapter nine. This is that amazing period of seven years, the last half
of which covers the period of the great tribulation. After much
consideration I became convinced that this great drama could not be
played out until the principal actor was in her proper place. This
principal actor is the nation of Israel, restored to her land, with a
rebuilt temple that would qualify as the temple of God, and a restored
priesthood with the stamp of divine acceptance upon it. Furthermore, I
became convinced that "the great tribulation" was to be a time of divine
testing which would try every man that dwells upon the earth (Rev.
3:10). Then when I considered the state of men upon the earth today,
their abject failure in all matters related to God, it seemed to me to
be the height of folly to try that which is such an obvious failure.
Further study along these lines brought to me the conviction that there
would have to be a great divine work in behalf of Israel before the
great tribulation and before the second advent of Jesus Christ. If the
man of sin seats himself in the temple of God (2 Thess. 2:4) and if he
is destroyed by the blazing forth (epiphaneia) of the Lord's personal
presence (parousia), then all this has to be true and in place before
Jesus Christ returns to the earth.
At first the conviction that there would be a period of divine activity
and blessing for Israel before the second advent of Jesus Christ was one
that came out of necessity based upon what was required if many
prophecies were ever fulfilled. I determined not to declare this
conviction publicly until I could find ample Scripture for its support.
Once I came upon the first passage that declared it, fifty more were
found quickly and easily.
I was at this time trying to teach the minor prophets and had come to
the second chapter of Hosea. There I found all the support that one who
believes the Word could ask. The pertinent passage is Hosea 2:14-23 and
the reader will now need to open his own Bible to this portion. It is
preceded by a divine indictment of Israel because of her sins and a
threat of severe punishment. Then the Lord tells what He will do after
she has been punished. The picture is one of courtship and betrothal.
Jehovah declares that He will allure Israel. By this He means that He
will make Himself alluring and desirable unto her, something any wise
young man should do who seeks to win the maiden he desires. He will
bring her into the wilderness, that is, into the place of separation, an
ideal state if a man would win the heart of the one he loves. He will
speak comfortably unto her, which means He will speak to her heart words
of love in great tenderness. The results of such speaking to Israel on
the part of Jehovah will be miraculous to say the least. This will
produce "the Israel of God", a nation born in a day.
Jehovah declares that He will give her vineyards from thence. These
"vineyards" signify material blessings, and the words "from thence"
speak of both time and place. As to time it will be after God has spoken
to her and won her back to Himself, after she has said, "I will go and
return to my first husband; for then it was better with me than now" (Hos.
2:7). As to place it will be while she is in the wilderness, the place
of separation from the nations, and wholly dependent upon God. The
spiritual blessings come first and the material blessings follow.
These words declare the future of Israel, and all this is in advance of
the great tribulation as is seen in the promise that Jehovah will give
her "the valley of Achor for a door of hope." The name "Achor" means
trouble (Josh. 7:24-26). When Israel is in the place of blessing
described in Hosea 2:15, she will look ahead and see the greatest
pressure that the nation has ever known, a time of testing that will put
to the test all who dwell upon the earth. This is a valley through which
she must pass as she travels upon her foreordained way from the
pre-advent kingdom to the thousand years of the personal presence of
Christ. However, as she looks at it through eyes enlightened by the
Spirit of God, this "valley of Achor" will be to her "a door of hope",
and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, as in the day
when she came up out of the land of Egypt (Hos. 2:15). "Happy is that
people whose God is Jehovah" (Psa. 144:15).
It is the policy of many interpreters to take what they want of
Scriptural statements concerning the second advent of Christ while
ignoring plain and direct statements that would upset their prophetic
theories. They make much of the second coming of Christ in 1 Thess.
4:16, and rightly so, but ignore altogether the plain statement made in
2 Thess. 1:7-10 that when Jesus Christ does return that He comes "in
flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey
not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." It is further declared that
these "quote shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the
presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." From this it can
be seen that if the Lord should return as of today, the overwhelming
majority of men upon the earth would be liable to the extreme penalty
described in these words, and it would make impossible the fulfilment of
many prophetic passages in the Old and New Testament, especially those
that concern the nations.
In Psalm 67:4 we find one of the truly great prophetic promises that God
* O let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for thou shalt judge the
peoples righteously, and govern the nations upon earth.
Here we have the positive promise that God will govern the nations upon
earth, not just Israel, but all nations. Thus the question arises and
demands an answer: Does He govern these nations after He has destroyed
their people or before? And there can be only one answer. There is
nothing left to govern after the people have been destroyed. Passages
like this indicate a time of divine government before the return of
Christ, and this government will be so successful that few indeed will
need to be destroyed when He comes.
Yes, prophecy is indeed a jigsaw puzzle that we are expected to put
together, but we cannot put it together unless we have all the pieces.
The most important piece that is missing from present pictures of the
future is a definite period of divine government that embraces the whole
earth, every nation, and every man upon it. This government will become
a reality when God speaks the word in heaven. All He needs to do is
speak and every man on earth will know that from that moment forth he is
under the government of God.
There are those who will insist that divine government of the earth does
not begin until Jesus Christ returns and is personally present upon it.
"You cannot have a kingdom without a king", is the oft repeated battle
cry of those who hold this view.
What they are saying is that there can be no divine government over the
earth as long as the Lord is in heaven. This is both false and foolish.
In both the Old and New Testament God has emphatically declared that
heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool (Isa. 66:1, Acts
7:49). We can rest assured that when God governs this earth it will be
from His throne and not from His footstool. There is the mistaken idea
that Jesus Christ returns to the earth in order to govern it. This is
not true. He comes back in order to be personally present in order to
make a full revelation and disclosure of God.
The present dispensation of the grace of God is not going to continue
forever. God will fulfil His purpose in it and bring it to an end. It
will be followed by a dispensation of divine government.
This is not ushered in by the second coming of Jesus Christ. It will
begin when He decrees it in heaven. Psalm 46:6, Psalm 107:42.
Issue no. 020