Forget your horoscopes, astrological charts, tarot cards and magic 8 balls, if you want to know the real scoop on what this next year will bring, you need to go directly to THE Source.
When it comes to understanding the times and seasons, no one does it better than and with more legit authority than the Jews and there’s a really excellent reason why – they were chosen by the Creator of the Universe to carry the Truth about its laws. And not just its spiritual laws but the laws of nature and the constructs of the Universe, that includes times and seasons and your destiny.
Christians not only receive the same authority to walk in this Divine Insight, as grafted in branches, they also carry the power of the Holy Spirit to see to it that others realize their timing and reach their fullness in each season. So listen up.
“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.” -1 Chronicles 12:32
So what does 2019 have in store for us? Let’s just say it all hangs on the Divine Number 9.
Nine (teth) Visitation
According to the Hebrew tradition, Teth (or “Tet”) is the Hebrew word for the number nine and it means “visitation.” Teth is also a visual pictograph of a snake when written in Hebrew. It can also signify being surrounded, for the snake was often pictured in a circle swallowing its tail.
The number nine speaks God’s “visitation.” This is a Hebraism that pictures God as an Investigator “visiting” a person, city, or nation to expose the hearts, gather evidence, and “see” firsthand, as it were, the truth of a matter. It is much like a divine court case where the evidence is uncovered and presented to the judge for judgment. In Luke 19:43 and 44, Jesus says to the temple in Jerusalem,
43 For the days shall come upon you when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44 and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation [Greek: episcope, “bishopric, overseer”].
In this case, the time of visitation was the three-year period of Jesus’ ministry from 30-33 A.D., where God manifested in human flesh to “visit” Judea and Jerusalem and to test the hearts of the people. (Jesus is called a Bishop or Overseer in 1 Peter 2:25.) In another sense, Jesus was the Heavenly Fruit Inspector. Jesus found a few whose hearts were right, and these formed the branches of the good fig tree that brought forth good fruit (Jer. 24:5-7). The majority, however, along with the religious leaders, were of the evil fig tree (Jer. 24:8-10). The good figs were Jesus’ disciples and the converts of the early Church, who were expelled from the land (by persecution), in order that God might spare them from the coming judgment forty years later.
The idea of “visitation” is shown in the Old Testament. For believers, it has a positive connotation, as in Gen. 50:24, 25, Psalm 106:4, and Jer. 27:24. Their visitation results salvation or deliverance. However, for unbelievers, it carries a negative result, as we see in Ex. 32:34, Lev. 18:25, Isaiah 10:3, and Jer. 10:15. The Hebrew word for “visitation” in the Old Testament is peqadah, and the Septuagint Greek equivalent is episcope.
As the Heavenly Fruit Inspector, Jesus was sent to taste of the fruit being given to God at the temple in Jerusalem to see (and judge) if it was good. He was gathering evidence to be presented to the divine court that would determine the fate of Jerusalem.
At the same time, He was also training and testing the hearts of twelve disciples. Divine visitation is God’s judgment in the life of the believer by which the Holy Spirit trains them in obedience. By His guiding voice, He shows them the will of God and writes His law upon their hearts.
So we see that divine visitation, or judgment, has a positive outcome for the believer and a negative outcome for the unbeliever. And yet, even the negative outcome is not permanent, for the purpose of judgment is ultimately to correct men and bring them into alignment with the will and mind of God.
The Greek word for Comforter is parakletos, which means an intercessor, an advocate, or helper in a court of law— that is, a defense attorney, one who knows the law and can show sinners the lawful way to avoid God’s judgment. The lawful way, Jesus said, is to through the Door, rather than over the wall (John 10:1-10). Going over the wall (avoiding Jesus Christ and His Sacrifice for sin) is how many religions advocate salvation, but they will lose their case when they stand before the Great White Throne.
It is the job of the Comforter (Holy Spirit) to discern, judge and convict men of sin according to the evidence. The Comforter is a defense attorney to a believer, but a witness against the unbeliever. In John 16:7, 8, we read that He is also the Judge:
7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper [Gr., parakletos] shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict [elengkos] the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment [Gr., krisis, “decision for or against; justice”].
The Greek verb translated “convict” above is elengkos. Its noun form is elegmos, which means “proof or evidence.” So the verb means to convict or judge according to the evidence that has been gathered during the time of visitation, or investigation. For the world in general (unbelievers), this evidence will convict them of sin. But for the believers, the evidence will show proof of righteousness.
During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the time of His visitation was to decide the fate of Judah and to divide the good figs from the bad (Jer. 24). The majority were bad figs by God’s definition in Jeremiah 24, because they refused to submit to Rome according to God’s judgment and desired a military messiah who would throw off the Roman yoke. Jesus found only a minority who could accept the Prince of Peace as their Messiah. These were the good figs of Judah. These were promised “another Comforter,” the Holy Spirit, who would come on Pentecost to begin the next “time of visitation” in the Pentecostal Age leading to Christ’s second coming.
It is the job of the Holy Spirit to help advise sinners who stand convicted by the law (Rom. 3:19) to find justification—that is, be pronounced not legally guilty. Jesus trained His disciples during His time of visitation. And then toward the end of His ministry, He spoke of “another Comforter” (John 14:16) that was yet to be given. The use of the term “another” indicates that Jesus Himself was a Comforter prior to the time when the Holy Spirit was given in Acts 2. In fact, at the beginning of His life, Simeon called Him “the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). The word is paraklesis, the same word as the Comforter.
His advice includes presenting Christ’s Sacrifice as payment for sin. The Holy Spirit reveals this as the way to avoid the penalty of the law for sin. There is only one Door into the Kingdom, and this is it. Happy are those who believe what He says.
Once a sinner goes through that Door, the Holy Spirit continues to take an active role in our lives to teach us the difference between sin and righteousness. This is not for the purpose of justification in the divine court, but rather for the purpose of sanctification in our personal lives. Justification is when a sinner is pronounced not guilty before the law, even though he is actually guilty of sin. Sanctification is the next step—the work of the Spirit to teach us to conform our lives to the image of Christ—that is, being made not guilty by nature. Sanctification is pictured by the feast of Pentecost. His very presence is a continuing “visitation” that gathers more evidence of our justification.
As we said earlier, Jesus is the Heavenly Fruit Inspector, gathering evidence for the divine court. The fruit of the Spirit takes nine forms, as listed in Gal. 5:22, 23,
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love (1), joy (2), peace (3), patience (4), kindness (5), goodness (6), faithfulness (7), 23 gentleness (8), self-control (9); against such things there is no law.
The fruit of the Spirit show us the evidence of the character change within those who grow into spiritual maturity.
There are also nine gifts of the Spirit. They are listed in 1 Cor. 12:8-10,
8 For to one is given the word of wisdom (1) through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge (2) according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith (3) by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing (4) by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles (5), and to another prophecy (6), and to another the distinguishing of spirits (7), to another various kinds of tongues (8), and to another the interpretation of tongues (9).
The gifts of the Spirit are supernatural tools to be used to make the “tree” more fruitful. They are not an end in themselves. The purpose of a tool is to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. Yet because these spiritual gifts are of a supernatural quality, many carnally minded people desire them above the fruit. This is like a farmer who bought a new plow and then preferred to keep it in the show room where men could admire it, rather than use it to plow the field.
These gifts of the Spirit are the operations of power variously distributed among believers by the power of Pentecost. They are supernatural tools by which men’s hearts are exposed to bring them to repentance as the Holy Spirit brings them into alignment with the Father’s mind and will. The effect of these gifts upon believers and unbelievers are different, however. For believers, the gifts represent the supernatural power of God operating in their lives. For unbelievers, the gifts expose the secrets of his heart and cause him to repent. 1 Cor. 14:24, 25 says,
24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.
We see from this that the judgment of the Holy Spirit has a different effect upon believers and unbelievers. It can either convict or release. But its primary purpose is to expose the evidence, much like the purpose of a court case prior to the final decision of the judge. The Comforter is the Advocate to a believer but testifies as a witness against the unbeliever.
There are also nine beatitudes in Matt. 5:3-11, which manifest the fruit of the Spirit:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit (1), for theirs in the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn (2), for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the gentle (3), for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (4), for they shall be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful (5), for they shall receive mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart (6), for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers (7), for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who have been persecuted (8), for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you (9) when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
The ninth time that the name of Abraham appears is found in Gen. 17:24,
24 Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
Circumcision of the flesh foreshadowed the circumcision of the heart, which is the work of the Holy Spirit judging “the flesh.” Even as Abraham had to receive bodily circumcision in order to bring forth the son of promise, so also must we receive heart circumcision in order to bring forth our own son promise—the Manchild, Christ in you, the Heir of the Promise. The reason Abraham had to wait until he was 99 years old was because 99 indicates agreement with God. The value of the Hebrew word amen is precisely 99. Men say “amen” to indicate agreement with what has been said or done.
Thus, in this we see also the meaning of the number nine. It portrays the judgment and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives to bring us into full agreement with God. When all of creation comes into agreement, the four living creatures say “Amen!” (Rev. 5:14).
The Holy Spirit’s “baptism of fire” is the latter-day counterpart to the water baptism in Noah’s day. The primary difference is that the water destroyed all flesh, while the Spirit baptism of fire destroys “the flesh,” that is, the carnality in man. The water killed in Noah’s day; but the fire of God brings life. Each represents the Spirit in different ways, because each convicts the world of sin and righteousness in a different manner.
The “fire” may be painful to our flesh, but it is gives life to our spirit. The purpose of the Holy Spirit’s work of judgment, then, is to bring all men to repentance. This is the background of Psalm 9, where we see God’s judgments upon the rebellious portrayed. When viewed as a revelation of the book of Genesis, Psalm 9 portrays the court case against Nimrod, whereby the secrets of his heart are made manifest.
ANSWER: 2019 is A Year of Visitation
This is your year to say “Amen” to the plans God has for you and cast aside any plans you have of doing it your way.
As in the days of Jesus, many will rejoice at the good news of all the Lord has done to prepare this way for you. Many will recognize the season of visitation and preparation they have been in and will welcome the fine tuning of the Spirit in these days to help them go beyond, as Jesus did with his disciples in the days before the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. But there will also be many like the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ time who have ignored the time of visitation and will find themselves unable to receive this time of preparation. For them, the world will look as though it is in a great tumult. They will manifest the fruit of their heart and because it has not been purified it will be full of deceit. “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:21-23)
They will follow in the way of sensuality and in their greed they will exploit others (2 Peter 2:2,3).A fuller explanation of these texts and what else you can expect can be read in my article “A Look Ahead: 5779 (2019) The Year to See the Snake in the Grass.”
But before you read on, be warned. Not everyone who foretells the future is of God. You need to know the Scriptures in order to discern Truth from lies.
A Warning Against False Prophecies & False Prophets
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15
Jesus is careful to tell his disciples about the many end-time snares that await them as sons of righteousness:
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.” Matthew 24:24,25.
We don’t have to look very far to spot the obvious counterfeits to the Divine Gifts of Issachar. Tarot card readers use a similar Hebrew lettered system of 22 letters and entice many with their false deceptions in their “Tree of Life” card decks. So called sorcerers, witches and warlocks use a perverted form of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to prophesy and perform miracles. Jesus clearly warns against their “magic” as having no source in Him but other lesser spirits. God is NOT a Magic 8 Ball!
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” -Matthew 7:21-23
But the harder ones to discern are the ones who aren’t as obvious. These are the so called “self-professed” believers who have seen the power of the Holy Spirit at work and recognize His authentic and superior sovereign nature, but they use their gifts to prophesy out of their own heart and for their own gain. Having known intimately the ways of Satan, they easily mascaraed as prophets of the Lord but secretly hold on to their sinful ways. They may claim to know Jesus and His Father but they lack obedience and intimacy with the Divine Will. These are the ones which require a deeper level of discernment to detect. It can be difficult at times to spot the lion from the wolf.
“But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.”- Acts 8:9,10. It is no wonder Paul says, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”- 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15
Knowing the Fruits of the Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit along with the signs of the Beatitudes can literally help save your life this year. The Scriptures tell us we can know the true prophets from the false by looking at their fruit. How they profess Jesus in public is nothing if they aren’t pursuing Holy lives and living in obedience to the Father’s Divine will. If you’re already wondering, they probably aren’t. Genuine fruit is quite obvious, and if it’s not, then it still needs space to ripen. Give them space. Lots of space! At least until you’re certain you yourself are past the point of being compromised by their poor judgement.
If you are hoping to keep yourself from becoming like one of these deceived false prophets, then becoming intimate with Jesus to the point that you yourself actually reflect these fruits will bring you confirmation and confidence you are like the “good fig” and not the “bad figs.”
Knowing the times and seasons is ultimately about knowing yourself and knowing God most intimately. You won’t need to consult with other mediums, false prophets or lesser spirits once you have learned to discern the Holy Spirit at work in you. When you choose to walk in the way of Truth you can rest assured that you are making the most of your visitation, and Christ will complete His preparation work in you.
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News.” -Philippians 1:6,7
May this year be your most fruitful yet! And may God surround you with other good figs.
🍇 HAPPY NEW YEAR!