How Should We Then Pray?

If we are correct in our interpretation, then the temple mount issue is decisive for the fulfillment of scripture. The unequaled tribulation that ends in Christ’s return cannot begin until a sacrifice is removed and the abomination placed in the temple of God at Jerusalem (Dan 8:11; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; Mt 24:15-16, 21; 2Thes 2:4), but for a sacrifice to be removed, and for a man of sin to stand in the temple of God, the temple and sacrifice have to be there first. This is what withholds. This brings the question, how should we then pray? Unless we hold the view that believers will be safely whisked away by a secret rapture, then to pray, “your kingdom come on earth” in its full millennial sway is a costly prayer indeed. If intelligent, such prayer anticipates the necessary pre-conditions that must prevail on the earth before the kingdom can come.

In order for Christ to return the Antichrist must be first revealed (2Thes 2:3), but in order for this to happen, the restrainer must first be removed by the agency of Michael (2Thes 2:7 with Rev 12:7-14). After Satan’s expulsion, “his time is short” (Rev 12:12). Space does not permit the presentation of the evidence, but suffice it to say that the great transitional event of Michael’s heavenly victory over Satan will not occur independently of the prayer and travail of the church. With Satan’s eviction, ‘the tribulation, the great one’ begins (this is the literal translation of the Greek double article in Rev 7:14). This is the short but unequaled tribulation that eclipses all other times of tribulation (Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Mat 24:21). The instructed believer will know that Satan’s dejection down to earth will NOT be his final end, but the beginning of his most fierce assault on the saints and the covenant itself.

This is to make the point that intelligent prayer for the full coming of the kingdom is also a prayer for the speedy removal of all that stands in the way of the fulfillment of prophecy. It means that our desire for the coming of the kingdom has become greater than our fear of what must come first. How can we then pray with singleness of heart for His return, if we are secretly desirous that His return NOT be in our time, particularly if this should mean that we and our families will not be conveniently removed from earth by way of a secret rapture? This is a sober thought, since even the pious sages and rabbis of the Jews throughout the middle ages would declare their prayer that they would not be alive to see the ‘birth pangs’ of the Messiah, which they rightly saw as immediately preceding the longed for ‘redemption’.

But how can such a prayer be prayed if we have succumbed to the prevailing mentality that says, “all this and heaven too”? How can we pray with such singleness of heart and purpose if our dominant desire is for nothing more than God’s continued blessing on our temporal tranquility? That is why a post-tribulational rapture of the church is so unthinkable to those branches of Christendom that preach an overly ‘realized eschatology’ of guaranteed present prosperity and security. This implies that in order for there to be such prevailing prayer, there must be the truest and deepest longing and even travail that is not content with the ‘presence of the kingdom’ apart from its full compliment in His glorious return, the “blessed hope” of the church. This can only come with a great revolution in our all too modern and all too Western world and life view, as even evangelicalism, for the larger part, is embarrassed by our antiquated “apocalyptic” view. What then will it take to move us to this kind of kingdom reality and urgency, particularly how we pray?

For one thing, we will have to become “glory centered” more than self centered. “No man ever yet hated his own flesh,” says Paul. There is nothing wrong with the natural and healthy desire for personal and corporate peace and safety for ones nation and for ones family. There are clear promises to that effect. But this is not the highest good. Even the world concerns itself with the same (1Thes 5:3). We are called to something beyond. The believer is baptized by the Spirit into union with the desires and goals of another, even Him who is the one being in all the universe who is perfectly right to seek His own glory as the highest good. We must reorient our thinking and our desires to this.

The highest good is the glory of God, regardless the cost to our otherwise good and acceptable temporal interests. That is why only a true experimental taste and apprehension of that transforming vision of His glory will be sufficient to keep us through the mighty tempest that must soon blow with violence upon our whole civilization. It is that vision that braced and kept Him. “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross …” I am reminded of the old hymn which says, “I am resolved no longer to linger, charmed by this world’s delights, things that are higher, things that are nobler, these have allured my sight.”

Is that joy, truly and without reserve, ‘set before’ us? If it is not, we dare not presume that any other form of knowledge or good works will suffice. Seek the sure and secure certainty of your calling and election, but be careful that your security is not tied to just having your own personal spiritual accounts in order; that is not the vision and love of the kingdom. Rather, be careful that ‘the full assurance of faith’ is tied to an apprehension and love for the kingdom of God, not only as a present inward reality, but in its full expanse, by the open and public vindication of His covenant promise in all the earth. We are to be moved by His vision for the glory of His kingdom and not just how it will go with us in our individual standing at the judgment seat of Christ. Such an orientation tends towards works and self centered theology that puts the emphasis where scripture does not put it, namely, on ourselves. On the contrary, we need to share His jealousy for His open vindication here on this earth, not for our sake, but for the sake and glory of Him who bought us. It must be here at the scene of the crime. This is where the test must be won or lost, here, on this earth, “in the presence of His enemies”, and against all odds. This present earth WILL see and host the fulfillment of all that God promised His elect nation, as the millennial head of the nations. That is what the powers fear.

It is the passion for His glory, first in the church, and then in all the earth through a restored Israel that should fill our longings and our prayers. It is a clear vision of that glory and that joy that will cause us to endure the cross of tribulation, even great tribulation. That is the understanding that will permit the kind of prayer needed to move heaven, so that all things that wait in heaven (such as Michael’s final removal of Satan; Rev 12:7-14) and on earth (such as the end of Muslim domination of the temple mount) and all that stands in the way of His kingdom will be removed. The more we consider it, the more we will agree that this is a prayer that is indeed costly, so that only those who’s faith is in “the God who raises the dead” can pray it truly and effectually with singleness of heart.

In answer to Phil’s forward ((Temple Mount – Spiritual Warfare
Perhaps the LORD opened their eyes and they saw a mighty army of God … armed with the sword of His WORD!
Are the principalities and powers reporting spiritual warfare?
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/151130)) which stirred these thoughts, I have this to add: So long as Muslims dominate the temple mount, barring all Jewish access, the Word of God cannot be fulfilled and Jesus cannot come. That is why the principalities and powers literally gloat so long as that usurping shrine sits firmly atop that elect place that Jews are currently forbidden even to approach. The few that do consider that something big has got to give in order for this to change, find it hard to imagine that such change could ever come by any other means short of war, perhaps, God forbid, not only regional but another world war. We are not told specifically one way or another. We are left to inference, but seismic world changes are impending.

Just as Arabs view Jewish ‘occupation’ of the Land an insult to Allah, I see the Muslim shrine in that holy place as a demonic affront to the “holy covenant” (Dan 11:28, 30), since it sits over the place where God elected to put His name ‘forever’. The church, for the far larger part, has no concept of this ‘earthly’ aspect of the war in the heavens, but the principalities know and resist anything that would move this mountain of opposition that stands in the way of the fulfillment of the necessary pre-conditions of Christ’s return. The battle is indeed in the heavenlies, and instructed believers should know that nothing can advance towards the necessary pre-conditions of Jesus’s return while this dead lock persists. Are we willing, in full light of what it will mean for our temporal comforts, to pray with one heart and mind together for the removal of this opposing mountain? Certainly, the opposing mountain that stood before Zerubbabel (Zech 4) was much more than contemporary Babylon. It was Satan’s resistance to the restoration of the “house” (“whose house we are”), the finishing of the vision, and the kingdom of God come on earth (“under the whole heaven”). To this end all creation groans. How much do we, with strong sighs and longings, also groan? “Come quickly Lord Jesus!” is the cry of a church that has counted the cost of that prayer.

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