Two Questions: Why it is that you say the kingdom cannot come in its fullness so long as Satan retains access to heaven? We know that Satan accuses the saints in heaven but why is that related to the mystery of lawlessness being fully revealed on earth?
Let me build to my answer. When Paul says the day of the Lord can’t come until the man of sin is revealed, he further shows that the coming of the man of sin brings to final revelation the mystery of iniquity that is presently at work. But before this mystery can be revealed, someone who is holding back that revelation will continue to do so until “he” (personal pronoun) is removed (I believe forcibly). As you know, I believe that someone is Satan. We see the evidence for the background of Paul’s insight in Dan 10 where the heavenly messenger is “hindered and opposed” (‘withstood’) by the opposing “prince of Persia.” So for Christ to return, this man must first come, as he is the personal embodiment of the revelation of a mystery that must first be revealed before Christ can return.
In Revelation we see a similar pattern. There, it is said that the kingdom of God has NOW come, precisely because Satan has been cast down by Michael. The question is, does he continue to accuse the saints after he has been cast down, or has something happened in his dejection that has denied him access to the conscience from that time and forward. In other words, does this transitional point at the middle of the week accomplish something in the realm of the Spirit that not only removes Satan from his former hindrance to the coming of the kingdom, but from his prosecution against the conscience. Whether this extends to every born again child of God, or to an overcoming minority at this point, I cannot tell with certainty. I suspect the latter, because I think this signifies a great sanctification, and fullness of revelation and power for a first-fruits company that are very aware they are facing the final persecution.
I am suggesting that in some special sense, the heavenly victory of Michael marks not only the beginning of the tribulation in Satan’s embodiment of the Antichrist, but also a point from which Satan is no longer able to wage war against the consciences of believers that have come through to something transitional through the preparation of the first half of the week. I am not claiming it as settled revelation, but I strongly infer that when Satan is cast down, and this is not before the middle of the week when Michael stands up, something has also ended of his ability to accuse the brethren.
That this is something that has been accessible all throughout the inter-advent period when believers gain the victory of full assurance and the power that this brings, I do not doubt. What I’m suggesting is that the glorious gospel of Christ is being so deeply apprehended corporately at this time that Satan’s hindrance of believers in the realm of heart and conscience is also being greatly removed. There appears to be a finality to his ability to accuse the brethren from that time and forward, as the church comes into its tribulation fullness. See what I mean?
We’re agreed that the standing up of Michael in Dan 12:1 and Rev 12:7-14 is clearly at the beginning of the tribulation, coinciding with Satan’s “short time” (Rev 12:12). Thus it is that Satan’s removal from his place in heaven is the removal of the hindrance to the revelation of the mystery of iniquity in the man of sin, which stands in the way of the coming of the day of the Lord / kingdom of God. Manifestly, then, there is some sense in which Satan holds this place in heaven until he is forcibly removed by Michael (BTW, the Holy Spirit, who is God, does not require to be “taken out of the way”). Simply put, the coming of the day of the Lord is the equivalent of the coming of the kingdom. This cannot happen till the restrainer (Satan) has been dislodged from his place in heaven, a place that he, in some sense, retains until the Michael ejects him at the mid-point of Daniel’s last week. When the cast down Satan takes up full residence in the revived body of the AC, this fulfills the mystery of iniquity, which must be revealed before Christ can come to gather His elect. You’ll remember the case I made that the 70 week prophecy is structured around these two great, age defining mysteries (1Tim 3:16; 2Thes 2:7) that take their departure from the seed promise of Gen 3:15, how that the age is bounded by these two mysteries explains the gap between the gap between the 69th and the 70th weeks of Daniel.
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ:for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.” Rev 12:10
Since it cannot be denied that there remains some sense in which Satan holds a place of resistance in heaven until he is forcibly thrust down by Michael, it becomes very significant that the shout of jubilation in Rev 12:10 declares mighty presence of the kingdom that comes 3 1/2 years BEFORE Satan is bound at Christ’s return. The “NOW” of Rev 12:10 must be emphasized. Why now? Obviously, the thing for which the kingdom of God has long waited has taken place. Therefore, not 3 1/2 years later when Christ returns, but “NOW is come salvation, strength, the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ!” The now of the kingdom’s powerful presence is not advent of kingdom in the sense of the 7th angel of Rev 11:15-18 or the finishing of the mystery of God in Rev 10:7. Rather, the “now” comes at the moment Michael cast Satan down to begin his ‘short time.’
The once and for all removal of the one who has been hindering the fall coming of the kingdom is greeted by the host of heaven with unbounded jubilation and the kingdom is pronounced at the point to have “now” come. This leaves the question, is the jubilation only because the kingdom “may” now come, or that in some powerful way, the “power of the kingdom” has come with the casting down of Satan? I believe it is the latter. This marks a point of powerful transition, not only for the mystery of iniquity, but for an unprecedented victory of the saints on earth over the accuser’s ability to accuse. It is not incidental that this is also the time of the great anointing, not only of the two witnesses, but of the maskilim who are strong doing exploits, instructing and turning many to righteousness (Dan 11:32-35; 12:3), responsible, I believe, for the tribulation harvest beyond human ability to count.
It is significant that immediately AFTER the abomination of desolation is described in Dan 11:31, the next verses speak of the power and anointing that is on the maskilim. This also marks the time of the greatest harvest that comes out of “the tribulation, the great one.” It suggests to me that the anointing of power is not only coming on the two witnesses at this time, but the godly remnant, the true body of Christ in the earth. Why? Precisely because the casting down of the accuser has meant a great heavenly victory of overcoming power for the church facing the last persecution. I am suggesting that something mighty and transitional has happened in heaven and earth that releases this break-through of great anointing and power. What can it be? It is not just incidental to the intersection of the time. Something or rather someone has been removed and there is an open heaven of access and grace that is unprecedented since the apostolic period. This, I believe, is related to our battle with the veil that is only as dense as the flesh is strong. It has to do with revelation and the power that comes when we are the more greatly emptied of subtlety of a residual tendency to put any confidence in the flesh. Before Jacob is brought to the end of his power, the church will have been emptied of the last measure of the sinful tendency to put any confidence in the flesh.
I know at first hearing, this may sound quite speculative, but I submit, as scripture is clear, that there is a profound connection between a believer’s lingering self sufficiency and the access of the accuser to that believer’s conscience, even as John would speak of some through weakness of faith are condemned in their hearts, though God, who is greater than our hearts, is not at all party to this sense of condemnation. All’s to say, something has happened with the casting down of Satan, particularly in his role as accuser of the brethren, that not only removes the barrier to the coming of the kingdom through the revelation of the mystery of iniquity, on the dark side, so to speak, but on the side of light, the accuser has, in some unprecedented sense, lost access to the consciences of believers. Certainly that access is, and has always been illicit. Still, believers have suffered and been hindered by Satan’s illicit accusations.
This coming victory in heaven is not something that is entirely new. It began, of course, with the ascended victory of Christ. I believe that what we have in Rev 12, as prelude to the tribulation, is a mighty enforcement of the authority and power of that once and for all triumph. Something happens at the middle of the week in that great transition in heaven that permits a much greater “corporate” fullness for the church. Something transformative appears to take place that permits the corporate body to receive a special and timely anointing that I can only conceive of as a deeper apprehension and appropriation of the power of the gospel. There are other clear markers that indicate that this comes precisely when Michael gains that mighty victory in heaven that starts the tribulation, which is undeniably Satan’s ‘short time’ of the final 3 1/2 years. This is the time of great transition and break-through that not only anoints the two witnesses with power, but the whole company of the maskilim, as shown in Dan 11:31-35; 12:3, 10. All of this stands in remarkable analogy to Daniel’s great break through, when, through his self-abasement and intercession, Michael dislodged the opposing prince of Persia. This is coming for the church. It will thrust Satan down to reveal the mystery of iniquity by his incarnation in the risen Antichrist and thus finish the mystery of God in Christ’s return (Rev 10:7).
There’s a correlation between the believer’s abiding sufficiency and the accuser’s access to the conscience. This will be greatly broken by the remnant’s heavenly victory and release to fullness, as the first half of the week constrains the church through amazing prophetic fulfillment and knowledge of the time, to a deep corporate self-emptying, as Daniel abased, himself. This will be answered in Michael’s mighty intervention. It is the nexus between the time, the corporate travail (intercessory priesthood) of the church (till Christ be formed in Israel), and revelation of Daniel’s sealed vision in gospel clarity and fullness, as realized corporately for the final martyr witness. Daniel is the key, not only his prophecy, but in his intercessor’s travail in sync with the definite knowledge of the time, which also limits the power of the flesh. This is how I see a connection between the accuser’s displacement and the power that comes on the church at that time.
On the dark side, the mystery of iniquity is Satan’s forced occupation of the fallen body of the Antichrist. As much as the fallen nature could only be by passed through the miracle of the virgin birth, the death and descent of the Antichrist accomplishes the exact opposite. In order for him to become the fullness of Satan in the flesh, all the residue of the image of God, conscience (or whatever that realm of soul or humanity should be called) must be entirely removed. This happens through the death and resurrection of the Antichrist. This is how the “revelation” of the man of sin is so much more than merely that he can be identified. His identity would have become plain much earlier through the deeds that are described of him in Daniel in the verses leading up to the abomination of desolation.
The revelation of the mystery of iniquity happens when Satan, now cast down, is forced, quite against his will, to take up a full and unlimited residence (not in terms of absolute localization, but in terms of the unlimited fullness of his nature, similar in that sense to Jesus as the perfection of His Father’s moral nature, but not so unlimited as Father in terms of omniscience and ubiquity). This is what he wanted to do with the body of Moses, I suppose in order to deceive Israel. With the mortal wound, the 7th beast descends into the abyss and rises as the eighth. He is now the composite beast, incorporating in one all the former heads of the beast kingdoms. As such, he is the “beast who was (as the 7th), and is not and yet is.” The eighth is the risen seventh. I see this as an actual demonic resurrection that is the exact opposite of the kind of life that God gives. It is permitted for the sake of an ultimate exposure that must come before the kingdom can come. It fulfills the last remaining mystery that must be revealed in order for the kingdom of God to come. Contrary to popular opinion, this is the last thing that Satan wants, since it will mean his time is almost over.
Certainly one cannot with bold conviction declare such a thing apart from the full assurance of clear revelation that cannot be received second hand, but I believe the day is not far off when witnesses will declare this. Jews everywhere will be confronted, not only with the prophetic evidence of the gospel, but with this awesome sign that will strongly confirm the warnings that have come from the disciples of Jesus, a warning that Isa 28 shows will be rejected in the first half of the week. It will be well considered in the second half, as I believe this is a principal reason why such a comparatively large number of Jews will escape what would otherwise have been certain death.