On Sat. night you made a remark in passing about the proto-evangel 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. Both the seed of the serpent and the woman’s seed are ordained to come to ultimate perfection and final manifestation in a personal incarnation. 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. Thus, the two princes of Dan 9:25-26 fulfill two distinct mysteries that bound the present age between the two comings of Christ.
As an aside, the “revelation” of the Man of Sin implies something much more than merely identifying who he is by his actions, as popularly taught. Scripture shows many recognizable events that lead up to his abominable act in the temple (Isa 28:15, 18; Dan 8:25; 9:27; 11:21-31). These will identify him well before the time of his ‘revelation’ as the Man of Sin. The revelation of the Man of Sin concerns, not mere identification, but the 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 with its healing to become the “beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” This means that the 8th beast that “must continue a short space” is none other than the risen 7th. Upon his rising, he becomes the composite beast (Rev 13:2; 17:11), now endowed with “all power” and signs and lying wonders (2Thes 2:9). As 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 fill up the full measure and image of his father, the Devil.
By observing the clear parallel between the time that Michael stands up to begin the unequaled tribulation in Dan 12:1, and Michael’s heavenly victory that casts Satan down to earth to begin his ‘short time’ (Rev 12:7, 10, 12), we can see that Satan’s eviction happens at the same time the mortally wounded beast is ascending from the abyss to begin the last 42 months of the desolation of Jerusalem and persecution against the saints (Rev 11:2; 13:5). Manifestly, Satan’s ‘short time’ and the ‘short space’ that the revived beast ‘must continue’ (Rev 12:12; 17:10) is the brief period of the unequaled tribulation.
Michael’s eviction of Satan marks the great transition point in heaven that very closely precedes the abomination of desolation on earth that starts the great tribulation (Dan 9:27; 11:31; 12:1, 11 with Mt 24:15, 21; Rev 12:7-14). If the casting out of Satan and the revival of the mortally wounded beast intersect to bring forth the beast that was, and is not, and yet is, this suggests that the temple 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 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 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 help of Michael in displacing the one who hinders. 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 the church has it turned just around. We tend to think it is Satan’s great ambition to bring forth the Antichrist, but this is the last thing he wants, because his exposure in the Man of Sin will mean that his time is short. (This is why Satan must go after the woman with an urgent and desperate fury when he sees that his time is short, because 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.)
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 this same 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 pre-tribulational victory over Satan. Thus setting in motion the tribulation that MUST precede the day of the Lord and the full coming in of the kingdom of God on earth (Dan 12:1, 11; 2Thes 2:3, 7-8; Rev 12:10; 11:15).
John’s sea beast who rises from the abyss with the healing of the mortal wound (Rev 11:7; 13:1-3; 17:8) who persecutes the saints for 42 months (Rev 13:5), is surely the man of sin 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.
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 after the Antichrist has fulfilled the mystery of iniquity in the last half of the 70th week. The first 69 weeks brings us to the beginning of the gospel and the 70th is preserved to bring in His return. If the 70th week concerns the revelation of the mystery of iniquity and the finishing of the transgression, then it is impossible that 70th week could have followed the 69th week in unbroken succession as argued by those who want to make Jesus the one who confirms the covenant and stops the sacrifice. The much maligned “gap” is in perfect keeping with the greater mystery of the gospel, which reveals a hidden age between these two polar mysteries, the mystery of godliness and the mystery of iniquity that bound the present age.
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 8:7-14. 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.