The Lord’s workings in the Old Testament were so different from that which we see today they are difficult to imagine. You might say it was a different paradigm (a pattern or philosophical framework). Because we have not seen this old paradigm for 2,000 years, this may be the reason for foolish men to say that “God is dead.”
In the Old Testament, the Lord Jesus carried out the Lord’s instructions, including Creation. (Colossians 1:16). One example is when the Children of Israel first crossed into the Promised Land, Joshua saw a man standing before him with his sword drawn. Joshua asked the man if he was for them or against them. The man responded that He was the Commander of the Lord’s army. Joshua fell on his face and worshipped the man. (Joshua 5:14)
Here is the point; this was no mere angel. When the Apostle John bowed before an angel, he was immediately told not to bow. The angel described himself as a fellow servant. (Revelation 19:10) When Joshua bowed and worshipped the Commander, he was not corrected. I believe the “Commander” was the Lord Jesus, performing the Lord’s instructions.
During the reign of King Jehoshaphat, a great multitude of soldiers from nations on the other side of the Jordan River gathered against Judah. Jehoshaphat prayed to the Lord at the Temple. The Lord told him that the battle was not theirs, but His. The people of Judah were told to go down to a valley near the Dead Sea. The Lord caused the invading armies to fight each other, and totally annihilate each other. When Judah arrived there the next morning, there was nothing but dead bodies. The people of Judah did nothing. The victory was entirely the Lord’s. (Second Chronicles 20:1-24)
This was the Lord operating in the old paradigm, where His commands and instructions were fulfilled by the Lord Jesus and/or His angels.
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was not given to people; it came upon them. In the New Testament the Holy Spirit dwells within us and will not leave us. We are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. This indicates a new paradigm, or pattern of how God is working.
I recently noticed an interesting passage in the Gospel of John. Jesus said, “for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7) It appears that the Holy Spirit could not come to Believers until Jesus departed to Heaven. I feel sure that this was part of the Lord’s new paradigm, in which we now live.
Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of God, and the Holy Spirit is now on earth with Christians. Today the Lord operates with a different way of working, a different paradigm. He helps us fight our battles, but through faith and the Holy Spirit.
But this paradigm will change. When the Church is removed from this world, there will again be a new way of working. The Holy Spirit will do as he was instructed just as in the Old Testament, and the Lord Jesus, who carries out God’s wishes, will again be here on earth. His most outstanding presence is described in the Revelation 19:11-16, when He returns in great power and glory in the Last Day.
But there are other descriptions. In the Revelation, Israel is flown to a place in the wilderness, and is given provision for three and one-half years. (Revelation 12:14) There is much Scriptural evidence that this place is Petra, or Selah, in what was Edom in Bible times.
The Prophet Isaiah asks an interesting question. “Who is this coming from Edom with His garments stained as if He had been treading the winepress?” I believe the answer is, it is the Lord Jesus, the Commander of the Lord’s army. He said, “I have trod the winepress alone. There was no one to help Me. I did this in My anger.” (Isaiah 63:1-6) In my opinion, this is a description of Jesus defending Israel in Edom for the three and one-half years they will reside there with God’s supernatural protection.
I believe this is the same three and one-half year period we think of as the latter part of the Tribulation. The Lord Jesus will be active here on earth, according to the instructions and commands of God the Father. This fits the concept that the previous three and one-half year ministry of Jesus here on earth was incomplete. The ministry of Jesus will be completed during the last half of the Tribulation, and He will be victorious! Praise His name, always and ever!