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Where God Is Taking The Church

Where God Is Taking The Church[...] Just as the virgin birth was a divine ‘by-pass’ of natural fertility, so is every aspect of the salvation of God. God is supremely [more]

The Mystery of Iniquity

The Mystery of IniquityOn Sat. night you made a remark in passing about the Proto-Evangelium ["the first gospel"] in Genesis. I think you said that the "unpacking" of [more]

The Mystery of the Younger

The Mystery of the YoungerWe find in the pattern of God that He continuously picks the least. Abel was exalted over Cain in that his offering was accepted, but [more]

"Behold, I Was Shapen in Iniquity..."

Do you know how long the Jews have not believed in Adamic sin being imputed? How modern is that notion? You ask an interesting question on [more]

The Mystery of Anti-Semitism

The Mystery of Anti-Semitism“. . . there is no doubt about one hard and fast conclusion: the grip of anti-Semitism on the inhabitants of Planet Earth 70 years [more]

The Mystery of Israel [Video]

The Mystery of Israel [Video]"I would not that ye be ignorant of this mystery brethren." - We caught Reggie and Travis reflecting on the mystery of Israel, the Messiah [more]

Zion's Inviolability: Jerusalem as a Place of Refuge?

Zion's Inviolability: Jerusalem as a Place of Refuge?This guy believes that there will be a remnant physically and spiritually saved during the Great Tribulation in Jerusalem. What is your take on this? Revelation [more]

When is The Hour & Who is Kept from It

When is The Hour & Who is Kept from ItI appreciate so much your willingness dear brother, so these are my questions: 1.- Acts 3:21 says "The heaven must receive Lord Jesus until the [more]

He Shall Become Strong With a Small People

He Shall Become Strong With a Small PeopleWould you go as far to say that this is the type of figure (see the linked article) we are looking for to fulfill the [more]

"In That Day..." - [Video]

In this message Reggie Kelly and Travis Bennett seek to provide clarity to the timing and nature of the "the Day of the Lord." Specific [more]

Jerusalem: The Cup of Trembling [Video]

Jerusalem: The Cup of Trembling [Video]From a Conference at Mt. Zion Church in Bemidji, MN at the 2012 Feast of Tabernacles Convention, Reggie brought this Message: ReggieKellyFOT2012lite3 from Mt Zion [more]

Thoughts on Samson and the Church in the Last Days [Video]

Thoughts on Samson and the Church in the Last Days [Video]This is a 3 minute segment from a recent Bible Study, in which Reggie makes a succinct and powerful statement on how God can take [more]

Thoughts on Priestliness and Rest - [Video]

Thoughts on Priestliness and Rest - [Video]This is a 2 min excerpt on the subject of priestliness and living out of the place of rest and security in God. Taken from [more]

Thoughts on Faith

Thoughts on FaithThe grace of believing God is a supreme gift that is beyond our natural ability, but it is also not left up to us. Though [more]

I Will Remove the Iniquity of that Land in One Day - [Video]

I Will Remove the Iniquity of that Land in One Day - [Video]Reggie Kelly opened chapters 3 and 4 of the book of Zechariah in this session from the 2013 Convocation. He struck a number of chords, [more]

Featured Article: One or Two Peoples of God? Reflections on the Mystery of Israel and the Church

Featured Article: One or Two Peoples of God? Reflections on the Mystery of Israel and the ChurchBy Reggie Kelly (This post is a "reprint" of one of the original articles of this site) The time of the rapture is really a secondary [more]

The Logic of the Covenant [Audio]

The Logic of the Covenant [Audio]In this conversation, Reggie unpacks what he calls "The Logic of the Covenant," a bullet point of one of the "Apocalyptic Evangelism" Outlines. (37min) Right Click to [more]

The Way the Prophets Understood Prophecies of the Antichrist

The Way the Prophets Understood Prophecies of the AntichristI've referred to this before, but it has been too little noticed how not only later prophets such as Jeremiah and Daniel, but Isaiah himself [more]

After Two Days He Will Revive Us...

After Two Days He Will Revive Us..."After two days He will revive us; the third day we shall live in His sight" (Hos 6:2)." According to the NT, the gospel reveals a [more]

Antiochus was Never a Little Horn

Antiochus was Never a Little HornI don't think anyone's calling attention to something that should be in the first place most obvious, but have never seen a commentator even question [more]

The Bride, the Wife of the Lamb

The Bride, the Wife of the Lamb"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, 'Come here, [more]

Why is Eschatology Important?

Why is Eschatology Important?Brethren, we need teachers that are also prophetic, not just in what they teach, but in what they "see." It is one thing to answer [more]

Where God Is Taking The Church

Posted: July 21st, 2014, by Reggie Kelly

[Originally posted in Jan of 2010 with the title "The God Who Raises the Dead (Where God is Taking the Church)"]

The virgin birth of Christ means that the “seed of the woman” is born into the world without the help of man. The same is true of the resurrection of the dead and of creation ‘ex nihilo’ (out of nothing). These are the metaphors that scripture uses to describe regeneration. In all of these examples: creation, birth, and resurrection, the subject is passive. It is not producing the action; it is being acted upon. The salvation of God is everywhere manifest to be a sovereign act of God “apart from works”.

The work must be God’s alone, because a division in the labor implies a division in the glory. Although the salvation of God is wrought ‘in’ man and manifest ‘through’ man, it is nothing ‘of’ man. This is precisely what sets the faith of Christ apart from all other religious systems. It is what made Paul an enemy not only to his nation but also many within the church. Their quarrel was not with Paul’s high Christology but his monergistic (only one working) soteriology (doctrine of salvation).

Just as the virgin birth was a divine ‘by-pass’ of natural fertility, so is every aspect of the salvation of God. God is supremely jealous for this, because He is supremely jealous that to God alone be all the glory. The cross signifies God’s utter rejection of anything that fallen might might presume to contribute to his own resurrection. “Any you he made alive, who were dead …” (Eph 2:1). It signifies that the life of the Spirit can only begin at the place of utter death to all natural support (“I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name”). This is why the promised eschatological salvation of Israel is always depicted at the end of their power (Deut 32:36; Lev 26:29; Jer 30:6-7; Dan 12:7).

If this principle is true of Israel in the coming day of the Lord, it is no less true of the church of this age. In fact, that is what makes the church the church. Through the transforming power of the revelation of the gospel, the believer receives the salvation of the coming day in unexpected advance of that day. The church by definition is the first fruits of Israel’s coming salvation. The church is the church only so far as it has received the Spirit that will yet be given to the penitent remnant of Israel at the end of the great tribulation.

We might say that the church is the product of a partially ‘realized’ eschatology. As such, it is NOT the negation of Israel’s eschatology, but as the people of the Spirit through revelation of the messianic secret (Mk 4:11; 8:30; 9:9; Ro 16:25-26; 1Cor 2:7-8; Eph 6:19; 1Pet 1:11-12; Rev 10:7), the church is the first fruits of millennial Israel. Living ‘between the times’, the church is the tribulation people, instructing many (Dan 11:33; 12:3). What then should the church be? What is the church called now to demonstrate before men and angels in anticipation of that day?

Obviously the so-called church of professing ‘Christendom’ falls miserably beneath the standard of God’s declared intention for the church. The searching divine question, “Where art thou?” finds most of what calls itself church naked and ashamed. This leaves many to ask, what is the church? Where is the church? The greatness of what God has decreed for the church, particularly in terms of what He had declared He will show forth and vindicate through the church, makes the church to ask with Mary, “How shall this be?”

I believe we can hear the same promise for the church of our day. “For with God nothing shall be possible.” There is a sense that the age is waiting on something still to be accomplished in the church, something to which the church could never attain apart from the constraints and inducements that God will bring through the crisis of Israel.

The crisis of Israel, particularly as it concerns the covenant concerning the Land, and the controversy of Jerusalem (Isa 34:8; Zech 12:2) will constitute the final watershed issue that will evoke all the great issues of the faith. In short, God will provoke the nations to provoke Him, since it is when the nations lift themselves up to attack Israel that His fury comes up in face (Ezek 38:18; Joel 3:2), as the ultimate provocation of His wrath. With this great provocation, there is no more delay.

The issue of Israel will be turned into a great test of the heart that will be a plumb line of division, not only among the nations but also in the church, not least because the people that are the occasion for such world turmoil are by no means friends of the gospel. Hence, the issue of Israel will test the hearts of many, particularly since this people, entirely unworthy in themselves, are nonetheless predestined to be made righteous at the set time, as was Paul on the road to Damascus. Thus it is that what the church believes about Israel is very revealing of whether it understands the nature of its own grace.

There is at the present a glorious church that is as much alive and hid with God in Christ as it will ever be. However, God has appointed a day of separation and manifestation through the determinative events and judgments of the tribulation. Of course, the essence of what the church will meet in the final tribulation is not without precedent. It is simply the ultimate intensification and concentrated embodiment of the church’s age long conflict. But a dispensation of requirement is at hand that will more clearly manifest the distinction between wheat and tare, even before the actual return of Christ.

Therefore, the present condition of the church is not the last word. God knows how to get us from here to there. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1Thes 5:24). Hallelujah! That little verse, so big with meaning, says that what God has determined to do for and ‘in’ His people, He will certainly do. What a word of assurance! When I think of the present state of the church, and, of course, my own state, I think of the Lord’s words to Peter in John 21:18 “Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”

So what wants and what waits in order for the church to attain to its full eschatological stature before this age can give way to millennial glory? No lesser power than the power that overshadowed Mary is required. That “holy thing” that is conceived is as holy and apart from the help of man as that “holy thing” that was conceived in Mary’s womb, i.e., the seed of the woman, the incarnate Word. We know also that the working of that power requires a divinely quickened humility of faith that only comes at the end of strength. God is able to bring the church to that holy end.

To propose a pre tribulation exit for the church, which is “the pillar and ground of truth” (1Tim 3:15), is to settle for an anti-climax, unworthy and out of keeping with all that scripture reveals concerning the cruciform pattern of God’s ways with His people throughout redemptive history (“ought not Christ to have suffered …?”). The suffering saints of the tribulation are never depicted as subject to divine wrath, but only the persecution of men. Some are hid and fed (Isa 26:20; Rev 12:6); many are preserved alive to the end.

May we then assume that God is waiting upon the church? Or is the church waiting upon God for the fuller manifestation of His glory? There is a necessary order, but God is no more waiting on the church to come into its place than He is on Israel to come into her place. He is not waiting on the help of man!

If history has shown anything, it has shown that if God were waiting on Israel, He would be waiting forever. No, while the sovereignty of God’s purpose never sets aside human obligation to fulfill the necessary requirements of righteousness, according to the eschatology of Israel, the willingness and obedience of the people awaits a special act of divine power. “Your people will be willing in the day of your power” (Ps 110:3; Jer 31:18; Gal 1:15). And significantly, that day follows the humbling of the nation through the chastisement of the Antichrist (Isa 10:5; Jer 30:14).

Certainly, the church has already come to this divine enablement in some measure by the gift of the Spirit; else it wouldn’t be the church. However, the power of Pentecost did not happen in a vacuum, and we may be sure that God’s determination to manifest the power of Christ through the church is yet to see a crescendo of glory in a final martyr witness of love and obedience, which will register itself powerfully upon the conscience of Israel, moving some to anger and others to holy emulation. But whether to anger or emulation, a church that has come to its appointed stature is a church that provokes.

Just as the seed did not appear until the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4), God’s full purpose for the church has its appointed time, and we believe that time will coincide with “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Mt 24:21). The church needs to understand the time and nature of that time of ultimate crisis, what provokes it and what is ultimately at stake in it. We believe that this “understanding” (Dan 9:25; 11:33; 12:3, 10) is crucial and will prove priceless and transformative for the church. We believe that the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week will have everything to do with crowding the church into position for its final testimony, which not incidentally coincides with the time that Michael casts down Satan to begin the final tribulation, Satan’s ‘short time’ (Dan 12:7; Rev 12:12; 17:10).

Theologically, the church is the corporate seed of the woman through the Spirit of Christ, who has indwelt all the regenerate people of God from the beginning (1Pet 1:11), even as Christ is the personal seed of the woman. Born by miraculous conception of the Word (1Pet 1:23), she is the corporate fullness of Christ in His people through the Spirit. (Eph 1:23; Col 1:18-19). In essence, the church is as miraculously conceived and birthed as her ascended Lord. No less than Christ Himself, the church, and every living member in her, is born from above, “not by the will of the flesh or by the will of man, but of God” (Jn 1:13).

Therefore, if the incarnate life of God in the people of God is the standard, many are anxious to see evidence of a corresponding reality in tangible manifestation, particularly in mighty demonstrations of the Holy Spirit’s power. Here we must caution of something very perverse in human nature. It is the spirit of demand. It is also a question of the purity of the motives for seeking powerful evidences for the manifest working of God.

A pure and single passion to see the greater glory of God in the church will learn to reckon on the lowliness and hiddenness of God’s ways among His people. Except for the sake of judgment, God will usually hide the greater manifestations of His power from pride. God makes it a point to bring His “good thing” out of Nazareth (Jn 1:46), and to conceal His glory underneath badger’s skins. As the Lord, so is the church without form or comeliness in the assessment of the world. Its beauty is a hidden beauty known only to God and to those who are begotten of Him.

The church is only strong when it is weak. It is only full when it is empty. The church demonstrates the wisdom of the cross in its rejection of all false forms of power through a resigned faith in “the God who raises the dead.” Such a faith cannot be intimidated by any earthly power. It is as free to die as to live. “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn 8:36). The freedom that is freedom indeed is the freedom of love that casts out fear (1Jn 4:8).

It is much to be observed that only a church that is perfect in love can be bold in the face of death, and this is exactly what the apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation depict of the tribulation saints. As Jesus learned obedience by the things He suffered, so the church of the last days will be perfected through sufferings. It is an inviolable principle of the faith (Acts 14:22). Whether Joseph or David (and where is the exception?), the afflictions of the sons of God establish the pattern that Christ, the preeminent Son, fulfills most ultimately (“ought not Christ to have suffered?”) Even as Israel must and will be brought to the end of their power in preparation for the revelation of Christ, so too the church must and will be brought to an end of its power. “Judgment must begin at the house of God” (1Pet 4:17).

The question that follows is what does God intend to employ in bringing the church to its predestined fullness? How will He get us from here to there, corporately speaking? Can we believe such ‘manifest’ glory for Israel at the end of their tribulation, and believe less for the church at the end of hers?

If I were a teacher giving a class an assignment, I would love to garner the collective insight concerning what scripture shows that God intends to employ to bring His church to its full eschatological destiny in preparation for Israel’s return.

Note that at the very moment the church is being glorified, Israel is being converted. Israel’s salvation does not happen gradually; it happens suddenly, “at once” and “in one day” (Isa 59:21; 66:8, Ezek 39:22; Zech 3:9; 12:10; Mt 23:29; Act 3:21; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7), at the ‘set time’ (Ps 102:13; Dan 9:24; 11:35). Israel’s salvation at the day of the Lord can be compared to Paul’s sudden divine arrest on the road to Damascus.

Note too how Israel’s salvation is related to the power of Christ’s return and the millennial binding of Satan. Significantly, the finishing of the mystery of God (Rev 10:7) coincides with the destruction of the veil that is spread over all nations (Isa 25:7), as the time of Satan, “the anointed cherub that covers” is made short by the tribulation, which begins with the revelation of the mystery of iniquity in the incarnation of the Man of Sin.

What is the church’s role as witness to the prophetic testimony of Jesus in bringing Israel back to God? What will God do to bring the church to its appointed place in the Spirit in order to stand in the gap for Israel in the evil day? I welcome any input from the body, as i am doing some writing on some of these things. Your brother in Christ, Reggie

Jan 18th, 2010 followup
I’m struck and surprised at the response to that quickly done collage of notes and reflections. I’ve received two requests to have names removed from my comparatively small contact list. Others write to complain of a one sidedness that neglects the place of human “cooperation.” Another, making the same basic objection, said he didn’t have time for such “ramblings” that intrudes into things beyond what God has been pleased to reveal. So in view of such unexpected reactions, and now getting this encouragement from such a trusted old friend, I’m beginning to think that we’ve touched something here that is perhaps more than we know.

Years ago, I had some notes that showed how a religion of works is behind every form of anti trinitarian theology. I wish I could find those notes; I believe they were quickened one morning. But I entrusted them to a brother’s care who lost them. Of course, the fault was mine for letting them go. I’ve often asked the Lord to return to me the essence of that powerful argument against the meritolatry inherent in all forms of unitarianism, both Judaic and “Christian.”

Of course, evangelicals are keen on the incarnation of Christ but get drop jaw when we begin talking about the implications of God incarnating the same essential nature in the believer, albeit in measure.

Of course, this is simply what it means to be “in Christ.” The offense comes when we insist that the only “cooperation” that God receives is the cooperation of the new creation, which alone is capable of the required cooperation. Though indeed nothing “of man” in the sense of source, the life of God in the believer is no less fully human; it is incarnation, and incarnation is simply union, but that union is necessarily apart from any natural potency in man. To paraphrase Paul, “woe is me if I do not cooperate.” Yet, “who is sufficient?” “I labored more abundantly … I can say this without boasting because it wasn’t me” (“yet not I”).

Paul was not slack on responsibility or obedience; he never relaxed the requirement, but he was vehemently opposed to smuggling anything of fallen ‘man’ into the equation, lest there be, as I said, “a division in the glory.” So while it remains that “without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness …,” it also remains that the work of God defies any mixture with what lies in the power of man.

Paul’s monergistic view of grace and new creation is as much an offense to much of modern evangelicalism as it was in the religious atmosphere of his day. Subject to twisting and abuse? Sure. But if we are teaching something that does not meet with the same objections hat were leveled at Paul, it is likely we are teaching something more palatable to human sensibility.

The ‘non mixability’ of the work of God with anything of fallen man is a non negotiable of the faith. It is a question of the ultimate source of all righteousness. However apparently good any motive or deed, if it does not come by way of a new ceation, it is “short of the glory of God.” I know of no comfortable, more agreeable middle ground that does not yield to man what scripture refuses to grant, namely, a “piece of the action.”

Bottom line: we are ‘shut up’ to God to both will and to do. That truth, more than any other makes us to tremble. Though He presently working in His people, sometimes powerfully and in mighty measure, yet He has promised to perfect His glory in the church in a yet more manifest demonstration. We see it there in prophecy. The whole creation groans, and we groan. Thank God, you are one who groans for His glory in the church. It is just to say that He has promised more than we’re seeing, and we may be sure He has not resigned to leave things where they are now. This is NOT how it ends.

Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?” He knew that prophecy had already answered His question (Dan 11:33; 12:3, 10). Why then does He put it thus? I believe it is because He knew how nearly absent the true faith of God would be in the earth in the days just before the final sequence of prophetic fulfillment brings the great constraints and inducements that will move the church to higher ground. I believe we are being permitted to build our religious towers of Babel while we come to an end of our own steam. That end will come when the requirement of faith exceeds the comfortable level of our optimistic presumptions concerning man. God is jealous for His own glory beyond anything we can imagine.

I expect that at some point I will respond to that objection and offer further explanation. I’m certainly OK with it being posted, though I admit it was not written to be an article but more of a discussion starter and to invite feedback in the interest of a fuller and better jointed statement in the future.

I really ask that you remember me in prayer, Dean, as I am careful to pray for you on every remembrance.

Your friend in the fray, Reggie

Jan 19th, 2010 followup

Is it possible to hasten the “End of Strength” in one’s personal life and in that of a church community, if one can find such?

Your question seems to ask concerning the present appropriation of the kind of reality that prophecy portrays of the church of the last tribulation. Granting that the power of Christ is revealed at the end of human self sufficiency, to what degree is this possible in the here and now? My answer is “much every way!” The New Testament reveals both a present ‘realized’ eschatology (the ‘already’), and a future fullness that awaits the final great tribulation (the ‘not yet’).

The principle that the revelation of Christ deals a death blow to human presumption concerning what is in man is a fundamental doctrine of the faith. That is why Paul emphasizes the role of tribulation in advancing the believer in experience and hope. The weaker the stronger. The path of the just grows brighter as the tendency to trust in self is driven ever deeper down into death.

The veil that blocks the full shining of Christ’s face is only as dense as our human self sufficiency, which is what the Spirit is always at war against even in a true believer. Paul said, “Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2 Cor 1:9). We know that Paul was given a buffeter from Satan to preserve him from pride in his high calling. If it had not been necessary, it would have been removed.

Paul said, “I die daily.” Beyond the particular dispensations of tribulation and divine dealing that are uniquely suited to each individual believer (which we cannot choose for ourselves), we are commanded to give diligence to make faithful use of the so-called means of grace (the Word, the fellowship of the church, the Lord’s table, good works and careful obedience to the leading of the Spirit). The taking up of the cross in the continual mortification of the self life is a daily duty that is fatal to neglect.

Indeed, nothing of the fullness that we expect to come in mighty power to the church at the beginning of the tribulation is entirely without precedent. In principle and pattern, the essence of what is coming has been present in every authentic revival of true religion throughout the history of the church. However, this will be unique in several particulars, which explains why this revival will not fade as all others.

The Mystery of Iniquity

Posted: July 12th, 2014, by Reggie Kelly

On Sat. night you made a remark in passing about the Proto-Evangelium ["the first gospel"] in Genesis. I think you said that the “unpacking” of Gen.3:15 is found in Daniel. I wonder if you could expand on that for me. I’ve been teaching on the everlasting gospel starting there in Genesis and I’d like to hear your perspective as it relates to Daniel.

Hardly enough could be said about Gen 3:15. It is the seed bed, not only of the gospel but of the whole comprehensive mystery of God that is finished with the 7th trumpet (Rev 10:7). The two seeds establish the two lines of men by which the plan of redemption can be traced from beginning to end. It is more than Messiah and Satan. It anticipates the line of the ungodly making up the city of man, mystery Babylon, and the line of the children of the Spirit who are headed up in the Messiah who form corporately the city of God, the heavenly Zion.

These two lines are really two natures, the nature of Satan in fallen man and the nature of God in His saints. These two natures that run through the whole of humanity come to their fullness and perfection in a personal incarnation in the two princes of Dan 9:25-26. Paul will speak of the “mystery of godliness” (1Tim 3:16) and its antithesis, the “mystery of iniquity” (2Thes 2:7). The mystery of iniquity that is presently working, comes to final revelation in the ‘man of sin’ after the one who is restraining is removed.

As Jesus would be the ultimate Seed of the woman who perfects in His humanity the mystery of godliness, so also the seed of the serpent must come to a similar fullness of Satan in the flesh. As the uniquely begotten Son was given the Spirit without the measure (Jn 3:34) so that in Him should dwell all the fullness of God (Col 1:19; 2:9), just so, by a miraculous transition, the Antichrist will likewise fill up the full measure and image of his father, the Devil. Thus, the two princes of Dan 9:25-26 fulfill two distinct mysteries that bound the age between the 69th and 70th weeks of Daniel.

We must understand that the “revelation” of the Man of Sin implies something much more than merely identifying him by his actions, as usually understood. Scripture reveals a number of recognizable events that lead up to his abominable act in the temple that will identify him well before his ‘revelation’ as the Man of Sin (Isa 28:15, 18; Dan 8:25; 9:27; 11:21-31). The ‘revelation’ of the Man of Sin signifies that transitional moment that Satan fully enters the mortally wounded beast as he ascends from the abyss to become the “beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (Rev 11:7; 17:8).

The mystery that I believe the Spirit intends to convey is that the same beast that descends into the abyss upon the event of the mortal wound, ascends to become ‘the beast that was, and is not, and yet is’ (Rev 11:7; 13:14; 17:8, 11). Upon his ascent from the abyss, he becomes the composite beast who now embodies the fullness of that spirit / nature of Satan that was only partially seen in the former beast kingdoms (Rev 13:2; 17:11). This mystery is that all of this is now concentrated in a man (Rev 13:18),  as now endowed with “all power and signs and lying wonder” (2Thes 2:9).

In what follows, I want to show that the one who begins as a ‘despicable’ person (in God’s eyes), and who comes in disarmingly to obtain the kingdom, not by war or by ordinary means of succession, but by deceit and blandishment (Dan 8:25; 11:21, 23), is the same leader (scripture calls him a king) who will rise from the dead. This supreme demonic miracle (ordained by God as necessary before Christ can return) will move the whole of the unsaved world to marvel as they “behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (Rev 13:3; 17:8).

The miraculous healing of the head wound is further described as an ascent up out of the abyss (Rev 11:7; 17:8).  Obviously, the mortal wound is the descent; its healing is the ascent. I believe this is the strong delusion that God has determined to send on those who have already manifested a determined and resolute hatred for the truth (2Thes 2:11). It will mean irreversible reprobation (Rev 14:9-11), the point of no return.

A comparison of Dan 12:1 with Rev 12:7-14 makes clear that the unequaled tribulation starts when Michael stands to cast Satan down to earth. Plainly, the eviction of Satan intersects in time with the ascent of the Antichrist from the abyss with the healing of the mortal wound (Rev 13:3, 12; 17:10). At the same time, or nearly the same time, the abomination is being placed in Jerusalem to begin the tribulation (Dan 9:27; 12:11; Mt 24:15-16, 21; 2Thes 2:4; Rev 11:2).

Whether this demonic resurrection takes place very shortly before his invasion of Israel, or shortly upon his forcible arrival in the city is an open question. It has been reasonably suggested that this miracle of resurrection is how he is able to secure the unified cooperation of the ten kings in the ‘secretly planned’ assault on Jerusalem that finds Israel off guard, dwelling securely under the false presumption of lasting peace (Isa 28:15, 18; Eze 38:8-9; Dan 8:25; 11:23, 27-31 with 1Thes 5:3).

Notice the relation between Satan’s expulsion and the coming of the kingdom in Rev 12:10. Why is it that the kingdom does not come in all its fullness until Satan is cast down? I believe it is for the same reason that the day of the Lord cannot come until the one who is restraining is taken out of the way. The removal of Satan as the one who hinders (1Thes 2:18) permits the mystery of iniquity to be revealed in the man of sin as the personal embodiment of the beast that returns from the mortal wound. This alone explains why all of heaven rejoices with such great jubilation over an event that will mean such woe and suffering for the earth (Rev 12:10-12).

When scripture is carefully compared, it becomes apparent that this will be realized through a miracle of death and resurrection that will cause the entire unsaved world to “wonder when they behold the beast who was, and is not, and yet is” (Rev 13:3: 17:8). Nothing else is so well calculated to so powerfully deceive the multitudes. It is a divine judgment for those who have not received the love of the truth, particularly in the face of such abundant evidence from prophecy that we know will be declared under great anointing at that time (2Thes 2:11; Rev 13:3-4, 14 with Mt 24:14; Rev 12:10; Dan 11:33; 11:2; Isa 28:11-12).

Many interpret the healing of the wound as the resurrection of one of the kingdoms of antiquity, such as Rome or the Ottoman Empire. It is hard to see how something as gradual and naturally explained as the revival of a former world kingdom could so well account for the kind of deception that such an astonishing miracle will send upon the world of the unsaved. Furthermore, the revival of a former kingdom would hardly require the casting down of Satan, whereas Satan is very committed to resist a forced entrance into the body of Antichrist, since the revelation of the mystery of iniquity will mean that is time is short (2Thes 2:3, 7-8; Rev 12:12).

This explains why the mortal wound in one of the beast’s heads so nearly appropriates the language of Gen 3:15. As much as Satan was fatally wounded at the cross, the death of the Antichrist (by the mortal wound) is significantly timed in relation to Michael’s enforcement in heaven of the victory of calvary. For this cause, the death of the Antichrist means the end of  Satan’s tenure over the nations, because his resurrection will mean the soon end of the composite beast (Dan 7:11; 2Thes 2:8) through which Satan has ruled over the nations as the god of this age.

All the evidence points in the direction that the desecration of the temple at Jerusalem is in close connection with the casting down of Satan, which results in the resurrection of the Antichrist. It must not be missed that Satan’s casting down is in close, I would say immediate, connection to the healing of the mortal wound, which the best reading of the evidence shows to be the actual resurrection of the man of sin.

Whereas it is true that the beast who speaks great words, persecutes the saints, and kills the two witness at the end of the 3 1/2 years (Rev 11:2-3; 13:5), is represented as a man (Dan 7:8; 11:21, 36-37; 2Thes 2:4; Rev 13:18), he is much more. He belongs to a multi-headed, multi-horned composite beast (Rev 13:2; 17:10-11) that reaches back across all the great, God opposing kingdoms of the biblical record. Clearly, Rome is the 6th head of this beast, as contemporary to the apostle John who received the Revelation in the first century A.D. (Rev 17:9-10). From John’s place in time, only one more head remains, and it will continue only a ‘short space’ (Rev 17:10). How then does the Spirit speak of an 8th?

The riddle is solved when we understand that the 8th head that goes into perdition is the risen 7th who “was, and is not, and yet is” (Rev 17:8, 10). In this way, the 7th and last head continues a ‘short space’ as the 8th, since the 8th is manifestly the return of the 7th. After continuing the ‘short space’ (the 42 months), the 8th beast, as the risen 7th, goes into perdition. Notice that the beast is cast into the lake of fire one thousand years before ‘the rest of the dead’ (Rev 20:5) or even Satan (Rev 20:10-15).

As the eighth, he incorporates in a single individual all the power of evil that has been behind the great world kingdoms of the gentiles that have usurped and resisted the promised rule of God over all the earth.  As Satan manifest in the flesh, the risen man of sin becomes the ultimate embodiment of that composite, trans-historical beast, that has been the instrument through which Satan has exercised his rule over the nations until the times of the gentiles be fulfilled.

As much as Michael’s casting down of Satan marks the great transition point in heaven that has its counterpart in the abomination of desolation on earth to begin the tribulation (Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:1, 11 with Mt 24:15, 21; Rev 12:7-14). And as much as we believe that Satan’s expulsion intersects with the healing of the deadly wound, we have before us compelling evidence that the temple of God at Jerusalem is entered by a man who has only very recently risen from the dead.

The revelation of the long working mystery of iniquity means that the man of sin now incorporates in himself all the fullness of what the former beasts were only in part, just as Jesus filled up in His holy person all the fullness of God. This is how the ‘prince that shall come’ fulfills the mystery of iniquity as the incarnation of the serpent’s seed, which is necessary before Jesus can return (2Thes 2:3, 7-8). Thus the revelation of the Man of Sin is not merely the point at which he can be identified, but much more particularly the moment that Satan becomes fully incarnated in the revived “beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (Rev 17:8).

Significantly, the time of Satan’s ultimate exposure in the Antichrist, with the casting down of the accuser of the brethren, is also the time that the two witnesses receive power, and not only the two witnesses, but we notice from a number of passages that this is also the same time that a great anointing is shown to rest on the maskilim (the wise who have understanding; Dan 11:32-33; 12:3, 10 with Rev 11:3, 12:10-11). It is amazing to contemplate that the most manifest and abundant fulfillment of prophecy since Messiah’s first advent will accompany the greatest empowerment of the church since Pentecost. This will result in the evangelization of a multitude too great to number that will come out of ‘the tribulation, the great one’ (Dan 11:32-33; 12:3 with Rev 7:9, 14).

So the great transition that takes place in heaven affects much more than the revelation of the Man of Sin. The casting down of the accuser will also accomplish an unparalleled release of the Spirit and power upon the godly remnant. The first half of the week will have been crucially instrumental in crowding the godly remnant to the kind of intercession that will receive the intervention of Michael who will accomplish the final removal of Satan from his position in heaven as the one who hinders the revelation of the mystery of iniquity and by so much, the coming of the kingdom (compare 2Thes 2:7 with Rev 10:7; 11:15; 12:10). Notably, Michael’s removal of Satan as an obstruction to the full coming in of the kingdom (Rev 12:10) is very much to be compared to the removal of the opposing prince of Persia who stood to resist the mighty revelation that was fighting to break through in answer to Daniel’s prayer (Dan 10:10:12-14).

[Note: Besides 'the accuser of the brethren' (Job 2:4; Zech 3:1-2; Rev 12:10), Satan is also called the one who hinders, withstands, or resists (Dan 10:13; Zech 3:1; Ro 1:13 with 1Thes 2:18; 2Thes 2:7).]

As you know, it is my view that Satan is the restrainer whose position in heaven is holding back the revelation of the mystery of iniquity, which is holding back the day of the Lord (2Thes 2:2-3, 7-8). So long as his place in heaven can be retained, the day of the Lord cannot come, the kingdom cannot come (Rev 12:10; 11:15), and the mystery of God cannot be finished (Rev 10:7). This is why Satan is in no hurry to bring forth the Antichrist, as popularly supposed.

This is where we have it turned just around. We naturally tend to think it is Satan’s great ambition to bring forth the Antichrist. But this is the last thing he wants, since his full exposure in the Man of Sin will mean that from that time, his time is short (Rev 12:12). His power over the nations is at an end. (This is why he goes after the woman with an urgent and desperate fury. He knows that the preservation of a remnant from among the Jewish race is indispensable to the public vindication of God’s irrevocable covenant with them; Isa 59:21; Ro 11:27.)

Satan’s eviction by Michael in the middle of the week is very much to be compared to the resistance of the demon prince of Persia who “withstood” the angelic messenger until he was taken out of the way by Michael (Dan 10:13). Doubtless, this is the background of Paul’s thought on the much disputed question of the identity of the restrainer. It is also strongly confirmed by John’s depiction of Michael’s forceful removal of Satan as a prior necessity before the kingdom of God can fully come on earth with the finishing of the mystery of God (Rev 10:7; 11:15; 12:10).

Notice how the same event that signals great woe to the earth dwellers (Rev 12:12) marks a mighty break-through of heavenly glory and victory for the saints (Rev 12:10-11). “”Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ.” Why? Because the accuser of our brethren is cast down …” (Rev 12:10). Daniel then becomes a type of the ‘maskilim’ (wise / understanding) of the last days (Dan 11:32-33; 12:3, 10) when a pre-determined sequence of foretold events will move the godly remnant to a place of ultimate urgency and intercessory travail that will be answered in Michael’s intervention.

It is clearly NOT the false prophet, but John’s sea beast who rises from the abyss with the healing of the mortal wound (Rev 11:7; 13:1-3; 17:8). It is he who reveals the mystery of iniquity as the incarnation of the serpent’s seed. It is important to see that this trans-historical (Rev 17:10), multi-headed, multi-horned beast is ultimately embodied in a man, I believe a resurrected man, the man of sin. So which prince takes away the daily sacrifice? That is the question that will decide whether we can say that the ‘coming prince’ of Dan 9:26 is the man of sin, and not some other, such as Antiochus IV, as suggested by Jewish scholars, or Titus, as suggested by most Christian scholars of replacement orientation? The answer to this question will decide whether the 70th week of Daniel followed the 69th in unbroken succession, or whether we must see a gap between the death of Christ and the advent and career of Antichrist.

Those who want to make Jesus the one who confirms the covenant in Dan 9:27 argue that is not the ‘prince that shall come’ but Messiah, the anointed prince who is cut off (Dan 9:26), who stops the sacrifice by His death in the middle of the week. There are a number of problems with this view, not least is the observation that in every other mention throughout the book of Daniel, it is always the evil prince that stops the regular sacrifice (Dan 8:11; 11:31; 12:11). Moreover, the desolation of Jerusalem described in Dan 11:31; 12:11 comes approximately 3 1/2 years before the end in Dan 12:11, and this is consistent with the sacrifice being stopped in the middle of the week. It is particularly inconsistent to make the ‘consummation’ / ‘end’ described in Dan 9:27 to be merely the end of the city in 70 A.D., whereas in every other mention, ‘the end’ has in view the post-tribulational deliverance of Daniel’s people and the resurrection of the dead (Dan 12:1-2, 13; Mt 24:21, 29-31; Rev 12:7-14).

In summary, if the final week of years has in view the Antichrist as “the prince that shall come”, then we must infer a gap between Messiah’s atoning death at the end of the 69th week and His return to destroy the Antichrist at the end of the 70th week. As the first 69 weeks brings us to the revelation of the gospel with the cutting off of the anointed prince (Dan 9:26), the 70th is preserved to bring in His return after the mystery of iniquity has been revealed in the ‘prince that shall come’. Therefore, it is no more possible for the 69th week to have followed the 70th week in unbroken succession than for the advent and career of Antichrist to have followed immediately upon the death of Jesus. To infer a gap between these two antithetical mysteries of incarnation is in perfect keeping with ‘mystery of the gospel’, which reveals a heretofore hidden age between the two advents of Christ. This is the mystery that so profoundly tested Israel, over which all but the elect would stumble.

Curiously, Daniel never uses the term, ‘day of the Lord’, but the unequaled tribulation and the “finishing of the transgression” (Dan 8:24; 9:24) is clearly the last stage in Israel’s long history of covenant discipline that ends in the day of the Lord. The age long discipline of the covenant foretold by Moses in Lev 26, Deut 28; 31-32, continues till the new heart is given at a time of “great tribulation” (Deut 4:29-30; 29:4; 30:1-6). The discipline of the covenant does not end with a probationary return to the Land. We see this in the fact that the return from Babylon still looks ahead to a future unequaled tribulation climaxing in the day of the Lord (Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Zech 14:1; Mal 4:1). Israel is not assured of secure preservation in the Land until the “bringing in of the “everlasting righteousness” of the “everlasting covenant” (Jer 34:40; Dan 9:24). This righteousness is ‘revealed’ in the gospel (Ro 1:17).

Daniel knew the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others who spoke of this righteousness that must come before the nation could be established in abiding security in their Land. Jeremiah had shown that in that day when Israel would dwell safely, the righteous Branch, Israel’s King, would be called, “the LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Jer 23:5-6). I believe it is incorrect to suppose that this everlasting righteousness is only brought in at the end of the 70th week. Like “reconciliation for iniquity” (Dan 9:24), the everlasting righteousness came in for the church at the end of the 69th week. It will yet come in for ‘all Israel’ at the end of the tribulation, which, of course, is also the end of the 70th week.

This conforms perfectly to what was foretold by Isaiah in Isa 8:14-17. The teaching would be “bound up and sealed among my disciples” until God’s face is no longer hidden from the house of Jacob. Note that the face of God remains hidden from Jacob until the Spirit is poured out at the great day of the Lord (Eze 39:22, 29; Zech 12:10; Joel 2:28-29; 3:1-2, 16-17, 21). While the greater part of Israel would stumble, the mystery of the kingdom and the gospel (the sealed vision) would be revealed to the believing disciples, who await its revelation to the surviving remnant of Israel at the post-tribulational day of the Lord. It is that unveiling that births the nation ‘at once’ and ‘in one day’ at the end of a final time of national travail and great affliction (Deut 4:29-30; Isa 13:6-8; 26:17-18; 66:8; Mic 5:3; Hos 5:15; Jer 30:6-7; with Eze 39:22; Zech 3:9; 12:10; Mt 23:39; 24:30; Acts 3:21; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7). The redemption of Israel is inextricably bound to the hope of resurrection (Ro 11:15), as all roads lead to that great transition called, day of the Lord, which the NT treats as a synonym for Christ’s return.

We see in Rev 12 that the seed of the woman is both corporate and personal. It is therefore a great error to limit the woman’s travail to Mary, or the man child only to Jesus. The figure of the woman and the man child is far more sweeping, envisioning, not only the personal Seed, but the corporate seed of the woman which includes not only the spiritual seed, but also the physical seed through whom alone the promise of the everlasting covenant can be fulfilled in an all holy Jewish nation as the theocratic head of the nations.

The end of the covenant that will realize the return of the natural branches (Ro 11:27) envisions the glorious convergence of the earthly and heavenly Zion at Christ’s return. The woman is an inclusive figure that includes the elect nation, I would say, even in its unbelief as the abiding object of an irrevocable election, and also the believing ‘remnant of her seed who keep the commandments of Jesus’. Thus, the woman represents both Israel and the church, as the righteous remnant within the still elect nation.

Now notice a great mystery: Isa 66:7-8 shows the astonishing anomaly of the birth of a man child BEFORE the woman travails. Then, only AFTER Zion’s travail, the nation is born in one day.

“Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.”

This is the riddle that Rev 12 will solve. If we understand the woman to represent both the heavenly and the earthly Zion, we see that it is the heavenly Zion that brings forth the man child BEFORE the great tribulation. This stands in marked contrast to the earthly Zion whom Satan tries to exterminate before the covenant can be fulfilled in their return (Isa 59:21; Ro 11:27). Hence, there is one travail of the woman before the tribulation, and there is another travail of the woman that ‘IS’ the tribulation. It is only “when Zion travails’ that a nation is born in one day (Isa 66:8). This is in marked contrast to the ‘pre-tribulational’ travail that births the man chid BEFORE the pain of Israel comes in what is clearly the great tribulation (Isa 66:7 with Rev 12:1, 5-6). Obviously, the birth of the nation in one day refers to the post-tribulational day of the Lord, not May 14, 1948, as popularly taught.

The Mystery of the Younger

Posted: June 24th, 2014, by Reggie Kelly

We find in the pattern of God that He continuously picks the least. Abel was exalted over Cain in that his offering was accepted, but Cain’s was rejected. Abraham’s son Isaac was given the blessing instead of Ishmael. It was said of Jacob before he was even born, “The elder shall serve the younger.” Even King David was the least of his brethren. So the question is: What is it about the lesser that God seems to find favor with? Why does it seem as though God chooses the second, when it is tradition that the firstborn and elder gets the blessing? I have a feeling that it is related to Israel and the end times.

Yes, even of Israel it was said, “you were the least of all people” (Deut 7:7). The Bible’s remarkable focus on the salvation and exaltation of the poor and needy is regarded by unbelieving scholars as a device invented by the Hebrews to preserve identity and national resilience in a world of evil where the strong rule over the weak, thus, the shepherd kingdom of Jewish eschatology. They are right in their observance of this remarkably consistent pattern, but dead wrong in their interpretation. “For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar” (Ps 138:6). It is a principle that is uniform throughout Scripture, but there is something deeper that God is emphasizing.

In all His ways and workings, God is jealous that His elect know Him most particularly and distinctly as ‘the God who raises the dead’. For this cause, they are always being ‘shut up’ to resurrection, not only ultimately, but daily. He is always ‘taking away the first that He may establish the second.” The pattern in Scripture where God chooses a second born over the first born is an illustration of this. God rejects what is born first (human strength) and choses what is born second (born again). In the case of Jacob and Esau, Jacob was the weaker one who came second, but his weakness was precisely the point. God wants to do something in His strength – not in human strength. It is a simple but glorious divine principal that God can only fill what He first empties, but no one is sufficiently emptied of their power by circumstances alone. Only divine revelation is sufficient to take away the veil that stands in the power of our power. That is why salvation and or maturity depends on first breaking the power of the flesh, but this is never accomplished by suffering alone but by revelation that devastates what Paul calls, ‘confidence in the flesh’.

Certainly the believer has personal responsibility and freedom to humble themselves, but the humility which God respects comes from the work of the Spirit. Our most sincere discipline and determined resolve cannot break confidence in the flesh. It takes the Spirit to bring new birth, and death and resurrection. We see this in our own lives and with eschatological Israel. It is very significant that the ‘set time’ to favor Zion works in perfect timing with the moment that the surviving remnant of Israel has been brought to the end of ‘their power’ (Deut 32:36 with Dan 12:7). Israel’s story is illustrating how regeneration works both for the individual and the nation.

Jacob’s trouble is designed by God to bring the surviving remnant of Israel to the transformational moment that takes place at Christ’s return (compare Gal 1:15-16 with Ps 102:13; 110:3; Isa 66:8; Zech 3:9; 12:10; Mt 23:39; Rev 1:7). There will be a witness to Israel that will prepare them to receive “Him whom they have pierced,” but that witness is not enough. God will also use the chastisement of the Antichrist to bring Jacob to the end of His power (Isa 10:5-6). God uses the Antichrist, as He uses suffering in our own life, to bring Israel to the end of her power, to a place she would not naturally go, so that He can pour out His Spirit on the entire nation.

This is why Israel’s eschatological birth and resurrection happens at the very time that Israel’s human strength is broken, just as the covenant predicted (Lev 26:19; Deut 32:36). Human strength must be broken to remove the veil that exists over the nations (Isaiah 25:7). We should notice carefully the profound relationship that exists between the power of the veil and the power of the flesh. The revelation that eternally transforms the nation must come with no help at all from man. This is why God says in Zechariah, “I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication” (Zec 12:10). He must give revelation unto repentance. It is remarkable to observe in how many ways that the eschatological salvation of the corporate ‘Ebhed Yahweh’ (servant of the Lord) is a reiteration of the cross and resurrection of Jesus, the personal Servant. This suggests that Israel will see His face mirrored in their own hour of ultimate calamity and prostration. There is a principle here that we must not miss.

The salvation of Israel, just like the resurrection of her Messiah, awaits an ultimate act of divine intervention and resurrection precisely at the point that their power is gone. Part of this ultimate end of human strength will be the revelation of Him whom they pierced (Zech 12:10). Thus we see how the Spirit of revelation works to destroy the last remains of human self reliance. The scripture says this comes to them suddenly, ‘in one day’ (Isa 66:8; Eze 39:22; Zech 3:9) – just as our new birth comes in a moment. Their travail is finished with the sudden birth of an all holy nation precisely at the point that the Spirit gives revelation and this revelation is given at the end of their human strength. It was so for Paul. It will be so for Israel (Gal 1:15-16 with Ps 102:13; 110:3). We cannot miss this principle. What then does this great principle portend for God’s purpose for the church that will speak for God to both Israel and the nations in the coming tribulation?

Whether in the initial moment of regeneration and divine quickening or the daily and progressive process of sanctification, the principle is always resurrection, whether a climactic event or a divinely orchestrated process whereby Christ is more deeply formed in the believer. But in all circumstances, it is invariably, and always at the ‘end of power’, i.e., power of the flesh. It must always be the work of the Spirit and not the strength of man.

That is why the believer is always being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake. It is the principle, in keeping with what Paul calls, ‘the mystery of the faith,’ that we see taking place in some measure whenever and wherever God’s elect are being ‘formed into the image of Christ.’ Whether this is in our initial regeneration or our progressive sanctification, either way the principle remains – He removes our power to replace it with His. it is the necessary first to remove carnal confidence that impedes spiritual progress, and this is why God orders the circumstances that keep us always cast upon Him.

“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the tribulation we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2Cor 1:8-9).

Paul is speaking of something far more than the doctrine of the resurrection at the last day. It is to know God experimentally, through many dangers, toils, snares, and “deaths.” We see this process continually in our own lives and in the story of Israel. This is how Israel’s story began and how it will end.

“And as for your nativity, in the day you were born your navel was not cut, neither were you washed in water to supple you. You were not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. No eye pitied you to do any of these things for you or to have compassion on you; but you were cast out in the open field, to the loathing of your person, in the day you were born. And when I passed by and saw you polluted in your own blood, I said to you when you were in your blood, Live! Yes, I said to you when you were in your blood, Live!” (Ezekiel 16:4-6)

As the old song says, “must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free? No, there’s a cross for everyone and there’s a cross for me.” So many of us have experienced this pattern and, if we have not, we should ask serious questions about its absence. God is not going to bring Israel to maturity in a different way from the church. If the church will be a witness to Israel in the last days, how shall we speak to them of things that are strange to our own experience? The church, if it is to be the church, must learn the cross and experience its own death and resurrection before there can be any apostolic sending and certainly before the church can off an end times witness to Israel.

Edited by Samuel Clough