Since judgment must begin at the house of God, nothing should be more sobering for the church’s consideration than the clear truth that one declared purpose of the coming unequaled tribulation is to bring Jacob to the end of his power (Deut 32:36; Dan 12:7). It is very significant that Messiah is not revealed to Israel ‘until’ after a time of travail and unequaled tribulation, “when He sees that their power is gone…” (Deut 4:30-31; Isa 26:16-17; 66:8; Jer 30:7; Mic 5:3; Dan 12:1; Hos 5:15; 6:1-2; Zech 12:10; Mt 23:39; 24:21; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7).
This is more than a predicted event of the end time; it is a principle of the Spirit. The veil that hides Christ is only as strong as the pride of human self sufficiency. Christ is revealed at the end of strength! The one obstruction to revelation is the veil of the flesh, which speaks of the strength that must be broken of “the pride of its power” (Lev 26:19). That is why Christ is the end (goal) of the law for righteousness, because the law was given to take away this perverse presumption of power.
If the last days are indeed the shaking of all things, we may be sure that the church that will speak to Jacob in the wilderness is not one that is a stranger to the lengths that God will go to remove this deceitful kind of power. What kind of power is this that requires such severe dealings, even, and particularly with religious man at his best? Are we right to suppose that this power is lodged more deeply in the religious humanism of Judaism than in Christianity? Hardly.
Will Christ be fully formed in the church of the last witness apart from a deep travail of the Spirit sufficient to ‘cast down’ this hidden conceit of the heart? (see Gal 4:19). What will press the church to this? If the church, as the pillar and ground of the truth, will be the prophetic voice to Israel in the tribulation (Dan 11:32-33; 12:3, 10; Rev 12:10), what kind of shaking must surely come in advance of that time in order to deeply empty the servant people that will speak to Jacob in his distress?
Christ was crucified in weakness and raised in power. Paul meant this not only descriptively of Jesus but prescriptively for the church. It is a statement of our corporate calling to Israel and the nations. This is why Jesus had more than a few isolated predictions in mind when He said, “Ought not Christ to have suffered …?” He was referring to the much larger pattern of the many servant sons (Joseph, David, etc.) who anticipated in their sufferings the preeminent Servant. This is how we must speak to Israel.
Must Jacob bear his tribulation alone and all the church go free? Are we to suppose that those sealed servants of God who will suffer with Israel during her wilderness flight have been only recently saved after an alleged pre-trib rapture? No, they are servants with a history in God who know the fellowship of His sufferings and the power of His resurrection. It seems that prophetic logic would forbid that God would speak to Jacob through any lesser agency than a corporate servant son who has passed through death to know and testify to “the God who raises the dead.” Only by such a church would God speak / prophesy to Jacob in the day of his calamity. This is why I am led to expect some deep dealings that will shake and humble the church in necessary advance of Jacob’s trouble, not only individually, but corporately.
As things threaten almost daily to bring radical changes to the world as we’ve known it, it is only a matter of time till the dam breaks, not in the final form of the last 3 ½ years of “the final and unequaled tribulation,” as many falsely expect, but in the form of seismic changes that must precede and prepare for that time. This too will be costly, but it is this time that I believe God will be doing His great work of preparation in the church for the final thrust of witness and evangelism (Dan 11:32-33; 12:3), which, according to Rev 7:9, 14 will result in the greatest harvest of souls the world has ever seen. So the last witness of the tribulation church is guaranteed unprecedented success by the inerrant Word of prophecy. If our eye will be made utterly single in the pursuit of His glory, we will count it privilege to suffer for His sake, as a supreme gift of grace (Phil 1:29).
I am hoping for just a little time to probe this question together in our upcoming conference.
Yours in the Beloved, Reggie