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Are you saying that Christians who die today will not be resurrected until the last day?
Yes. Jesus said that everyone that the Father has given Him will be drawn to Him and raised at the ‘last day’, not sooner. Like any Jewish believer of the time, Martha’s response shows the common expectation of Jewish believers, that her brother would rise ‘at the last day’ (Jn 11:24).
Jesus said unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha said unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
If we compare Job’s amazing expectation that he would see with his own eyes,in a real flesh and bone body, his Redeemer when His feet shall stand upon the earth, with Zechariah’s prophecy that the Messiah’s feet would stand on the Mount of Olives at the day of the Lord.
For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…
And if we see when Isaiah expected to be raised at the time of Israel’s national deliverance at the post-tribulational day of the Lord. along with all the righteous dead (Isa 25:7-8; 26:19-20).
And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. Like as a woman with child, that draws near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
This, with Daniel’s personal assurance that he would be raised at the end of the unequaled trouble when his people would at last be finally and permanently delivered out from under the cruel yoke, not only of the gentiles but of the sin that sold them (see Dan 12:1-2, 13),
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
These and several other passages show why the hope of OT believer was to be raised at the ‘last day’, as confessed by Martha. Of course they did not understood this term to mean the last day of the present earth’s existence, but the last day of this present evil age. This is the same hope that Jesus promises to those who would henceforth believe on Him (see Jn 6:39-40; 44, 54). The early church knew of no other!
John 6:39-40, 44
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose none, but raise them up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Paul was bound in chains for the ‘hope of Israel’, which he identified as the ‘hope of the resurrection of the dead’ (see Acts 23:6; 26:6-7; 28:20). This hope has never changed to something else. Perfected union with the Lord in risen, fully perfected bodies is the ‘blessed hope’ of the body of Christ, even better understood by the fuller light of the gospel. But a better understanding does nothing to change the time established by Jesus and the many plain scriptures from both testaments.
According to scripture, a believer has already been spiritually raised, united, and sit down with Christ, waiting for the redemption of the body when the Lord shall return a second time “immediately after the tribulation of those days” to “gather together His elect” (compare Mt 24:31 with 2Thes 2:1). Until then, those who die ‘in the Lord’ (Rev 14:13) are said to ‘sleep in Christ’. Paul says that the spirits of departed saints are alive and “present with the Lord” (compare Mt 22:32; 2Cor 5:8).
It is absurd to suppose that an eternally alive, redeemed spirit, “present with the Lord”, is unconscious. Quite the contrary, a few scriptures show plainly that the redeemed in heaven are not only conscious but aware of events on earth, as in Rev 12. Consider Rev 19:10 where the heavenly messenger is a ‘brother’ from among John’s ‘fellow servants’. This is a term applied elsewhere to the prophets. So whether Daniel or some other of the prophets, this is not a description of an angel. It is one of John’s brethren.
The “spirits of just men made perfect” that are part of the ‘cloud of witnesses’ (Heb 12:1, 23) are not angels, but are ‘like’ the angels (Mt 12:25), only not yet united with the imperishable physical body that is fitted for the new creation, first for millennial rule, and then for that ultimate perfection of the new heavens and earth that will be free from the natural laws of entropy and decay. This will be no static existence, but like science’s discovery of an ever expanding universe, the scripture says of the kingdom of David’s greater son, “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end” (Isa 9:7)
Daniel and the Big Picture
(transcribed by Rob Weiss from this video, which was facilitated by Tom Quinlan) Download MP3
I have some thoughts… you know – like I told you in my text to you… I actually woke up, having a dream about you… and I think it was you – and maybe a couple of others, but for sure you. Actually, I don’t recall others; I do recall you. And I was reviewing with you things we already know, we’ve already shared on this. But as a result of that exchange in the dream, I woke up with a lot of really fresh thoughts, or I thought fairly fresh, on Daniel. And like I said – what did I say to you in my text?…let me just run that right by you…
Tom: You said, “I was talking to you about what Daniel would have inherited from the earlier prophets, and how this would have been interpreted in light of his questions and the new light he was receiving. Then, when awake, a whole bunch of things came pouring in that were really edifying, promising thought catalysts for big-picture thinking, which is kind of where the Lord has me lately.”
Yeah…yeah…OK, I want to kinda dial us all the way back. I thought one of the most rich times we had in our God’s Foretold Work, or whatever we’re doing there, out of Isaiah was when we were in the Servant Songs. No, excuse me… check. It’s comparative, it’s equal in terms of impact almost, but I meant to say in The Song of Immanuel. ‘Kay, Not Servant Songs, rich obviously very rich always. But this was The Song of Immanuel, which is, as you know, Isaiah 7 through I believe it’s 12. And that is an incredibly rich pocket because it also inherits from other…well not so much from other prophets – not to say that Isaiah was the earliest; he was not – but it inherits so richly from the Decalogue. But not only that, but particularly the history of promise and…’cuz it so much assumes – and unpacks, really – the mystery of the Man-Child. You know, the original seminal – what do you call it – the Proto-Evangel.
And so it so much assumes that this uh…cuz now you’ve come along – so when you deal with this cumulative progressive unfolding, where God is just opening up with this incredible mystery that runs along side the history of Israel, but before you even begin the history of Israel, you’ve already begun the history of the mystery, if I can say that.
So you’ve already got this incredible promise of the reversal of the curse – just for quick and easy shorthand, I like to call it the reversal of the curse. So you’ve got this seed from the woman’s line, therefore human, but so different from other humans, because anyone in a position to reverse a curse has to be someone, by logic, has to be someone not under it.
So already, you’re implying things about circumventing in some way, the fallen nature. Right? So, you’ve got an incipient or seminal concept of a reversal of the Fall that depends on not being under the sentence of it. Even Eve would have known, having just looked at nature around her, with the cataclysm of what’s taken place in the Fall, having been immediately present to observe the changes – in nature, in the animal kingdom. And who knows? Scripture’s not giving us a commentary. Just because we read of Abel and Cain…by no means suggests that that’s the first children they had. It may have been – I believe Cain was probably reasonably to be understood as the first male child – because of Genesis 4:1.
But anyhow, whether or not she had seen much from her own children, she knew enough to know they were in a fix, and it was something beyond anything that could be repaired. They saw death happening all around. They knew where it was going. They had already heard the certain promise of death. I mean, you gotta go back to the beginning and watch this thing, because what we know…the prophets were immersed – and all the saints of Israel were immersed in the story – the unfolding story in history of promise and covenants.
They didn’t divert their time like we do to so many things. I mean, that was…they lived before the glut of media and everything. They had nothing to do with their time, if they were godly at all, but to contemplate and recontemplate, gurgitate and regurgitate the promises and covenants and implications.
So I was thinking this morning…in fact one of things in my dream with you was Peter’s statement when he said “the prophets inquired and searched diligently”. And what Peter there makes clear is there were…what made this such a source of puzzlement was not just what they didn’t know but what they did know. What they did know made what they didn’t know so incredibly attractive that they were completely occupied with searching with what or what manner of time. But the thing they did know – I’m gonna to come to this – they knew the glory and exaltation of Christ, but they also knew, by Peter’s own statement, they knew His sufferings, and the glory that would follow. And they knew the suffering came first. Oh I know that’s ABC, but you almost have to sometime recall the ABC to go on.
And Jesus, you know, in His gentle but firm reprimand of the two, I guess it was two wasn’t it, on the road to Emmaus? – “O fools and slow of heart not to believe all that the prophets had written, how that Christ should suffer, of necessity, and then enter into His glory.” So you’re having…now this is written by Luke…I believe it’s 1 Peter’s obviously written by Peter…so we’re talking about some real common core things that were circulating and almost – if you look at Peter – it almost sounds like Luke 24, like the words of Jesus.
So these are things that Peter thought a lot about. And then Luke, of course, in his account in Acts…you would think, well he’s just being Lukan, but actually, when you read Peter, he’s actually probably pretty closely quoting Peter, when Peter says how that the prophets testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ…oh excuse me, that’s 2nd, that’s 1st Peter 1:11…I’m talking Acts chapter 3, that the things which all the prophets said that Christ should suffer – that’s verse 18, 3:18 – He has so fulfilled. Repent therefore and so on…and all the things which are still in the balance, still the…he’s given us the “already”, the unexpected “already” of the suffering Messiah, but now he’s giving us the “not yet” of the restitution of all things which all the prophets … of course, he means by that the Day of the Lord, the post-tribulational Day of the Lord.
That’s the big thing that all of revelational… you know, the basic…that’s what the whole book of Revelation’s about – the Day of the Lord. Why? Because we now know the mystery of a Lamb that was slain, who has all authority, who’s the…who is the curse-reversing Seed of the woman. We got that down. That has come, that’s been come for, that’s been sealed up…done deal. He’s ascended, He’s…you know, all that.
So, when you trace this promise back to what the prophets were contemplating – they knew that before ever a great king from David’s line could ever rule with a rod of iron out of Jerusalem, which was common-stock revelation right out of, right out of the Psalms…this is David, this is the Davidic covenant. But it’s also a corpus of Davidic promises. And then some of those reiterated – I think that Solomon wrote one of the psalms, didn’t he? Or some of them…and of course it’s carried on in the Davidic psalms, and even when David’s not writing the psalms, it’s so intimate with his tradition, that the sons of Asaph and all are echoing the same hope. And this is all – see now, I’m making a point of this – this is all before Isaiah comes along, with his glorious Song of Immanuel – Isaiah 7 through 12.
And then, as we recall, as you recall, when we were on that Isaiah track, we went right in to Isaiah 13, which is all about another…you know, here we had the Day of the Lord in Isaiah 2 – Jerusalem has become a harlot, etc. – and now we jump into the Day of the Lord again in Isaiah 13, and we’re dealing with the mystery of iniquity and they ask in the ultimate, in chapter 14, of Satan’s bid for the holy mount of God, and we got…So the whole issue of not just a day of the Lord, that would come in the imminent invasion of Assyria, but we begin to see sort of, multiple days of the Lord, ‘cuz even Isaiah is aware of a day of the Lord beyond the Assyrian invasion. He is aware, within his own body of prophecy. And this is early on, and even things that are credited to Isaiah, even by unbelieving…He is aware of a future Babylonian…you know, he mentions the…what is it? Who was with Cyrus? Not the Persians but the dual empire…[Tom: the Medes] The Medes…they were…the dual kingdom.
So here Isaiah’s jumped all the way from the imminent Assyrian threat – which would take away 10 tribes – to the Babylonian threat, and even to Babylon’s, and even beyond that, to a deliverer named Cyrus, and it’s so rich when you see these guys could not have been unaware of a long time. Not just a day of the Lord that’s gonna come and finish this right away, and “Oops, that wasn’t it, so now let’s talk about”…
It didn’t work that way. They saw the multiple layers. We can show evidence. It takes a little time. It’s an enterprise I’ve never set upon, but we can show from Scripture the necessary layers and what they would have understood necessarily from their own prophecies, that this wasn’t gonna just come and be finished right away. We were gonna be visited with the powers of that Day of the Lord. It was going to prevail, and take away 10 tribes, but there would be a remnant, thus and so. Now with Jerusalem threatened, and some real loss there, but Jerusalem survives and they escape, and we’re seeing, “Okay, that wasn’t the Day of the Lord; it was a threat”, but, they keep moving the Day of the Lord ahead.
But my point is they were conscious of that moving the Day of the Lord ahead. So they had to be conscious of a Day of the Lord that wasn’t just gonna come and suddenly finish it. And even the way the prophets would speak about the Day of the Lord as imminent, near, at hand…so many metaphors, or what’s the word?…All the references to an imminent Day of the Lord, which prophets living 150 years after an earlier prophet who spoke of it as imminent, as near, at hand, about to break upon us – they’re still speaking about it, and they’re very aware of a prophet a century and a half removed from them earlier, who had used that same language of a day of the Lord that didn’t come and complete itself in that earlier time.
So the prophets are used to this… you know, this phenomenon of near and far that we’ve spoken of. But they’re also used to this unique kind of biblical view of chronology, where there’s this ultimate climax that concludes history. But it has a tendency, or it can visit history at times with all of the claim and all of the judgment, and all of the terror of that Day. Just like the Lord can come and bring the blessings of that coming Day in a firstfruit, in an earnest. He also has brought, many times, the threat, and the terminalness of that climactic day as it would impinge upon a generation that had sunk particularly low in its moral defection from God, and had by that defection had brought near the day of the Lord in its judgments and in its terrors, although they might actually be overwhelmed by an invading Gentile nation or whatever, or come under plagues, and judgments and so forth. And yet it would not be the finality of the Day of the Lord.
So you have this amazing…but I mean, I’ve heard people touch on this, but I’ve never seen a work that really takes the time to prove these incredible nuances, [gap]… the affect of the Day of the Lord. And you have that with the promise. For example…in a….first, it was Joshua and Zerubbabel, the high priest…and the royal seed, the governor, Zerubbabel. They come back with what was it? 42,000 or something. They immediately recover the altar. The temple begins to be built, or…it was a construction that would soon be suspended and checked, or it would be stopped by the enemies. And it would wait – 15 years later they would resume that.
But all that was a “day of small things”, right? They had a consciousness, when they went back – and we can question whether or not they would have had the book of Daniel, ready to hand. I don’t know – they may have, they may not have. We don’t find, as far as I know, direct reference to Daniel. So it’s possible…this is days when you didn’t have the printing press and whatever…so the book of Daniel had not been…But in any event, here they are, back in the land, and then they would be followed later, of course, by Ezra, and still later, by Nehemiah, right? This is the…and it was presented as a day of small things.
They would speak about imminent revival, they would speak about an imminent restoring of the temple and the sacred institutions of covenant. And they had a little revival, but they were all conscious and aware that this revival would give way to apostasy and an ultimate Day of the Lord. Right in the prophets! In the very prophets of the revival – Haggai and Zechariah, and then later, Malachi probably had time to already see the real setting in of apostasy. But these were…and there was a mixed group, and there was definitely need for repentance and strong prophetic censure and so forth in the reforms that Nehemiah or Ezra particularly was imposing.
But the point of it is, there was a lot of encouragement. There was a little rejoicing. What is this but a real installment on the promise of Jeremiah that you’ll go home after 70 years. And when you go back, even though you will not be fit to inherit the full golden era of the reign of Messiah, and as they conceived of it, of an abiding possession of the land by an all-holy nation, still, you’re gonna go back, you’re gonna have a day of small things, there’s gonna be some reviving.
And then Daniel’s gonna tell us, that you’re gonna be there for a long time. There’s gonna be a complete age of Gentiles, that’s gonna be at least 490 years, from the time the decree is given to restore and build Jerusalem. From that decree, you’re talking 490, in your own conceptual universe – you know, their expectation. They’re not seeing, you know, they’re not seeing dying Messiahs, and they’re not seeing, you know, gaps or any other thing. What they’re seeing is 490 years, and the exile’s over. Now we’re in the land, but most of our people are not even here, nor will they ever be reunited with us here, and come out of exile.
So in a way, even when you have them in the land and they’re under a suzerainty or a tribute to some great Gentile power, be it Persia, or later, Rome or whatever, there’s still, in a way of speaking, an exile, even in the land because they’re conscious that the larger part of what is promised, of the reuniting of the scattered tribes is clearly waiting what they all clearly expected continually – that tribulation, that would be the climactic final time of a final Gentile aggressor. And when an end would be made of him, and Messiah would be back to rule on David’s throne for a thousand years, okay then, now we’ve got the promise. And with that, Daniel’s gonna say you’ve also got a resurrection from the dead, you’ve got…Isaiah’s gonna say that too – Isaiah, in Isaiah 26, you’re very well aware, says that when Israel’s getting raised and restored, and the final Gentile aggressor is being…his yoke is being broken, well then, my dead body’s gonna rise with yours.
And this is at the end of the time when the woman has been in travail, has, you know, been in great trouble. And the indignation is overpassed, and the earth is no longer covering up its slain. Well, all this is language for resurrection, which was not new even to Isaiah ‘cuz he knew that even Job had spoken about his resurrection in the latter day, when by the way, he would see his Redeemer’s feet, literally saying, “I will see His feet standing on the earth.” And where does He stand on the earth? – Zechariah 14.
My point here is that these prophets all knew this earlier repository of Hebraic faith and expectation. These guys were not, you know, just writing their books out of the blue. But one thing I do want to say, they were amazing in one thing: they were terse and let’s call it chaste. They were…there was a chastity about what they commented on, what they extrapolated. Who of us could write a revelation without adding our interpretations and applications and so on. These guys kept it. You know they inferred and considered and contemplated much beyond the text. But they kept it to the text. What the Lord gave, they gave – even when they would puzzle over what they were giving. They gave what the Lord gave.
And you can see that with Daniel. There’s no way that Daniel, in light of what he had inherited, (and I’m coming to this in a minute)…that in light of what Daniel’d inherited, there’s no way that he didn’t make inferences, extrapolations, and build even perhaps, and more than anything, probably…I mean he very probably built expectations…that we don’t have written. We don’t have Daniel chapter 13, or whatever else.
So these guys…all we know is from the testimony of the New Testament, that says they all pored over these things, they puzzled over these things. What were they doing? They were putting pieces together, and I think they put a lot of pieces together. There were explicit Scriptures mentioning…that add up to one thing: the necessary death of Messiah. Not just because of Isaiah 53 verse 8. Not just because of Daniel 9:26, or of a psalm, in a rich typology, or of an afflicted Joseph being typified in the piercing of Messiah. All that’s there. And then the smiting of the Judge – which has capable alternative interpretations, but which one pretty much beginning to see the necessary suffering of the Messiah, particularly at the hand of His own nation.
You could begin to put those pieces together, but my point is, even without those, you still had what you would call the theological logic of the necessity of a dying Messiah, someone who would occupy a substitutionary suffering role that would bear the brunt – or I call it, taking the “hit in the heel”. The hit in the heel of Messiah. He takes the hit, and now because of that hit He bears, He is able to reverse the curse for everyone else.
And we’ve talked about this before. You know, even Abraham and his contemplations of what it would take – “If I’m going to go into a land…I mean, I’m going to die at a good old age, and my boy, who hasn’t even got here yet (I’m thinking of Genesis 15). He’s coming along…we’ve already seen, it’s gotta be him, it can’t be…he’s going to come along, and he’s going to go into another nation, apparently with his family or whatever…and they’re gonna come out after 400 years.” The nation, of course, proved to be Egypt. Now, if this is…now you know, I know our liberal critics, they don’t want this to be Abraham actually believe…But we know very well, and have an unswerving conviction that Abraham was being…that he was in a unilateral covenant as unasleep??? 21:15 with God. He was learning about the distant migration, exodus and re-exodus of his people back out of this foreign land, with great substance.
And then He turns around and says, “Now take this boy, and you go ahead”, and when he arrives – this is chapters later – now the boy has shown up, little miracle boy is here. “But take miracle boy and let’s go over here, and let’s sacrifice him.” And already he’s saying, “Me and the lad are going over here. We’ll be back. He knows very well that his God is a God who raises the dead, and this young boy can’t die – he can die, but he can’t stay dead – because he’s got to have a family down in Egypt, and not only is he coming back to this land to inherit it forever, with this boy, I will inherit it forever.
What could that be? I just leave it to your imagination. Of course Abraham is expecting that this is the seed of the woman! Eve expected…she was wrong in who she thought it was, but she was right in her expectation – that “a man, even the Lord”, not just someone from the Lord, or with the help of the Lord, like our translators, you know, try to helpfully supply – they think they’re helping. But this, clearly in the text, jumps rightly – “I’ve gotten a man, the Lord.” That’s all it tells you. And you could even have put in the word, “even the Lord”, or “with the help…”…you can mess with it all you want. But she knew someone unique, and therefore, I would submit, Divine. Someone that was more than mere man, would be…and these are people who had inherited…what we learned later…they had all kinds of tradition, and…not tradition that was handed down, but I mean immediately, they knew, they knew the conversation with Satan, they knew implications that the later prophets suggest, like we were touching in our conference there in Ohio – Ezekiel and others, Satan’s aspiration for the mount of God and all that. Where could that have come from but Adam and Eve? Unless it’s just straight-out revelation.
I submit there is more of a body of understanding and tradition that they had access to. So when Even made that statement, “a man, even the Lord”, she knew this had to be someone who could take on the greatest angel of all except for God Himself. Well I won’t say the greatest angel, ‘cuz there’s Michael, and of course…But Jesus is no angel; He’s no created being. But I’m saying, someone’s taking on this mighty antagonist of God, that was so slick and cunning, that it could move Adam and Eve from their innocent trust into sin. I mean, this is…this guy knew stuff, and Travis is the best I know of on the planet to bring out what Satan necessarily conceived and knew and aspired. I mean, Travis’s work on that is brilliant. But they would have inherited that. That’s not something showing up in a biblical text that we look back and put pieces together. There’s a lot of things that Adam and Eve would have understood.
My point here is that someone that could take on angel – this is superhuman stuff; this is not just another person, or man or something – has to come and be born of the human line, out of the woman’s line. And why does it say “seed of the woman”? Already, we’re suggesting, something is bypassing the seed of man. And so, I mean…she’s having natural fertility with Adam, obviously, but she’s even now jumping the gun and assuming beyond, but she’s doing it on the basis of a good and sound expectation. “Something has got to be greater than us, that’s coming through us, that can reverse a curse of this magnitude.”
That’s big stuff, and this is what the prophets were all looking back to and expecting. So now we come to…we’ve seen Abraham. He certainly conceiving of this necessary curse-reversing seed, and he’s thinking “It’s gonna be this miracle boy”. Then he looks ahead, when the miracle boy is spared, and I think that it’s exactly there – you can take it, you can think otherwise – but I personally believe that it’s exactly there that he was able, through that very event – not through some premonition – but through that very event, he saw the One who would not be spared. “He looked ahead and saw My day”, Jesus says, “and rejoiced when he saw and was glad.”
Why? Because he saw that “It’s not my boy, but there was one come who will indeed do what I was thinking about my boy. My boy’s being spared. He is going down, and with my boy, and with His nation, and with me personally. We’re going to inherit this land in a way that dying people, that dead people can’t inherit.”
What’s he talking about here? Not one word about resurrection, but it’s all about resurrection. Well, the resurrection of Isaac was clearly inferred. We know that from Hebrews. But it’s all about the hope of resurrection.
But my point is, it’s the hope of resurrection predicated entirely on the expectation of the woman’s seed, who would be greater and unique from all other spawn and genera and natural procreation. You see what I’m saying? So, now you’re moving and now you’re picking up the promises of a Davidic king. We’re talking, no longer is it just the line of Abraham, not even Judah, now we’ve come to David, son of Jesse, stem out of the rod of David. So here’s Jesse, and he’s going to be the heir of all this. He’s got a covenant that his children, even if they break them… you know, all these glorious things about the…the already…the early intimations of an everlasting covenant, building and enlarging on the Abrahamic covenant.
Not a covenant without conditions, but a covenant that’s unilateral, in the sense that God Himself will see after the fulfillment of those conditions in a way that will not depend on man, in which already you have the seminal consciousness of grace and works. It’s the whole issue of God’s initiative, His prerogative, His grace, versus man’s ability to win the race, or keep up with the race.
So here is God taking these special initiatives, and demonstrating His whole character and nature through this nation to be set apart for Himself as a sign nation. They’re an object lesson nation. And so now you’re coming to Isaiah. Now we’re at where I wanted to go.
We’re at Isaiah’s Song of Immanuel, and Isaiah’s speaking about a current, imminent threat. You know the story there, Tom. Maybe you can jump in here, and just kinda set that up. But you know, there is an alliance between the king of Syria – not Assyria, but Syria – and of the Northern Kingdom, and they’re getting together, and they’re trying to coerce…which king was it? Was it Ahaz? They’re trying to coerce…who was the southern king? The northern king…you remember their names? [Tom: Rezin] Yeah, Rezin, which is the king of Syria, and who else was it? Remaliah, or, what’s his name? They got together…they’re trying to counter the Assyrian threat, and they try to coerce the southern king, which is Isaiah? – Isaiah’s a prophet who was in the very court of the southern kingdom of Israel. Isaiah 8 gives you the… right from the opening verses of Isaiah 8, I recall, is talking about the alliance, the attempt.
And so…what it’s all about is this imperilled the royal seed, the royal line. Now this is something I’ve learned from commentators. I didn’t spot it right off. So, I don’t ever fully trust this. But check…I consider it really probable. Commentators say what was really at stake here in the Song of Immanuel, was the threat to the royal line of David. Because Ahaz was not joining the confederacy, with Rezin and whoever the other northern king of the northern kingdom was. Because of that, and because he thought it was a failed project that would likely lose to the king of Assyria and then he’d be paying for it, as they would be paying for it, he didn’t want to get into it with them, if I recall.
And so, he, however gracefully or ungracefully, bows out, and then that threatens him, because now they’re going to lead a siege against him. So he’s not being immediately being threatened with Assyria, but he’s being threatened immediately with this alliance of the northern ten tribes of Israel with the king of Syria, who are trying to create – sorta, what is it…a buffer zone for a check of the expansionism of Assyria. Right? So these guys are getting together, and they’re gonna say, “We’re going to take it out on you, Ahaz. Your kingdom’s going down. You’re gonna be brought…you’re gonna be a conscript. You’re going to be brought into this alliance or you’re going to be conquered, as a result of your non-compliance.
Am I assessing it reasonably well there? And so, commentators tell us that what was really being threatened here was a tremendous danger and threat to the survival of the line of David. And here comes Isaiah with this bold prophecy. He’s gonna be very bold later with Hezekiah when he’s being threatened by Assyria itself. That’s way up around Isaiah…but, here we are, way back in the early goings of Isaiah’s prophecy, and he’s taking..uh, he’s inserting the word of God to this…isn’t it Ahaz, who is the king of the southern kingdom?
And Isaiah says… Isaiah challenges him, “Ask of God a sign.” Oh here’s an important part of this reflection. “Ask the Lord a sign.” Of course, he waxes pious and declines, in a way that very much grieves the Lord, of course. He gave him a choice, “Ask a sign.” And here’s the key word – this was pointed out to me by Spurgeon – ask the sign, but don’t just…this is not just any sign. This is a sign of such a magnitude, your little mind can roam from heaven to earth beneath. From heaven above to earth beneath, we want a sign, we want you to request a sign that really is a sign. You know, Isaiah would later talk about the sun moving – major sign.
And so he waxes pious and declines, really which was a statement, not of faith, but of unbelief. And Isaiah says, “Okay then, fine. The Lord Himself will give you a sign. He will… this virgin will conceive…and so many commentators, our anti-missionary Jewish friends and others will make great point of the fact that alternative Hebrew words and so forth, and they’ll make great point of the fact that he’s talking about a virgin visible, ready to hand, perhaps even his own wife, who had already brought forth children who had these prophetic names.
Such is that, but before this virgin will, before a child born to this young woman…they’re trying to reduce this prophe…this sign down to something very manageable, when God Himself is outdoing Ahaz, for what Ahaz declined to do, was to give a sign beyond the magnitude of anything…or up to and including anything he could think of, in heaven above or in earth beneath. Then God says, “I’m going to give you a sign.” You’re telling me the sign that God gives is just, okay here’s a local woman who’s young, and she’s gonna have a child, and before that child matures, this northern menace is going to evaporate. Right?… you’ll no longer be threatened. This is all going to blow over, Ahaz. It’s all going to blow over, before this child can choose the good and the evil, and eat honey and milk, or whatever. I have forgotten the prophecy exactly.
When really…look at this though…this is Isaiah! He’s expecting a curse-reversing seed of the woman on the throne of David. He’s expecting something of the magnitude of the One who will destroy the antichrist in Isaiah 11:4. He’s expecting someone of the magnitude who will rule out of a redeemed Zion – chapter 12. You see what I’m saying here? He’s looking for that one. And he’s saying, “Here’s the Lord’s sign to you!”
I’m saying to the anti-missionaries and the commentators, and all the guys, “Give me a break!” I’m saying that: “Give me a break!” This is…you’ve gotta go back and get what this prophet’s thinking. He doesn’t have a minimal God like you do, who can only work within the range of a closed system of cause and effect in nature like you do. He’s got a God, this is a God who raises the dead in Isaiah’s large, large faith. And he’s looking for a sign on the magnitude of something above or heaven beneath, and he’s saying, “It’s invested in this woman…who’s gonna have a child, and this is gonna be the Son of David, who’s gonna reverse the curse. And how can you reverse it unless there’s a wound?…unless there’s a hit in the heel? Pick up here.
And Isaiah, I’m just putting this… I’m gonna talk about this up here in Isaiah 40 through 53. We’re gonna get to this curse being reversed, and we’re gonna find out it’s all about the smiting and despising of your..of My own nation. And we’re gonna find out that He was cut off from the land of the living. But He doesn’t stay cut off – He rises and He sees His seed, and the pleasure of the Lord prospers in His hand.
What is this but the sin-reversing curse, born from the woman’s seed, born from David’s line, born of a virgin. You see the logic? It’s a theological logic! It’s not just about battling tit-for-tat over every little exegetical nuance in all these passages.
There is a great case that can be made. I recommend a book by Walter Kaiser called Messiah. I recommend the wonderful work of Michael Brown and others who argue pantheist versus alma? and all the different…I can’t even correctly, all the different things, and you can make a case – it’s a good and reasonable case.
But I’m saying if all that fell short, what doesn’t fall short is the theological necessity of a woman’s child who is out of David’s line, who has bypassed the Fall, and the power and curse of the Fall, whose able to reverse the curse, which means taking on the great dragon, that began this whole problem, through his seduction of the first pair.
Major stuff here! So let’s get on the scale of Hebraic magnitude, and get off this limited…you know…trucking along here with these imaginative apocalyptic scenarios that really, you don’t really believe, because if you…these prophets really believed this.
So now we’re coming to Daniel. Now, and so we’re talking about this day of small things and yet we’re looking for a day of the Lord. We’re always looking for this great, climactic, final Day of the Lord – now, the Old Testament wouldn’t use language like mystery of iniquity, we’ll leave that to Paul. But they understood very well that this final aggressor would try to take the holy hill of God.
And while he’s in the attempt of doing that, the Lord’s going to come back to Zion, and rule and reign. You know,…and Israel will be at the end of their power. Moses said there’s a tribulation coming when they’ll seek Me with their whole heart. Then I’ll circumcise their heart, and then and only then, because there’s not just a meagre little remnant, but because the nation’s wholly born in a day. Then we’ll have the land forever.
So all these prophets are not looking for just…they’re looking…Isaiah will talk about a new heavens and new earth. But they would not distinguish; they would blend all that. What they would see very clearly, and beyond gainsay, they would see a climactic transitional tribulation, that would be…they’d lived in tribulation. They knew their people were appointed to tribulation. They knew they were under a time of the heel of the Gentiles. Not just with Rome, but for a long time. And that would continue until we can call it the redemption, or the end of the Gulag, the end of the exile.
And so, all the prophets are waiting for that transition at the Great Tribulation, a tribulation significantly like no other, and that would end in nothing less, and short of the climactic, age-ending Day of the Lord, resurrection of the dead, destruction of Antichrist, and so on. Out of Zion would rule a King for a thousand…with a rod of iron. Nothing said yet about a thousand years. Everything they’re putting, though, is significantly on the other side of that tribulation. Israel’s delivered at the end of the worst tribulation in history. They all knew that; that’s common stock.
Now they knew that when that takes place, that the King from David’s line, He is…let’s say, “Up and at ‘em!” He is risen, whatever He…whenever and wherever He died, or may have died, whether in the last battle with Gog, as some have said, or whenever they, wherever they put that…and this is what I’m coming to. If they put that death anywhere besides right at the very end, which is where I suspect most prophets probably put it, and even good…some rabbis who weren’t so busy running…you know, in a reactive way to Christian apologetics or polemics, running the other direction, they even quite reasonably said, they expected a messiah ben Joseph to fall in the battle of Gog, and he would be raised by Messiah ben David. And they had a view of martyrs having a kind of an atonement quality. They had all kinds of notions of that. So they weren’t too far from conceding something of an atonement-like nature connected with, not necessarily with the one Messiah who had come twice, but with a messiah figure, who would be raised. So they had concepts like that. So things are there.
But what probably would have been seen by a John the Baptist, who said “You’re the Lamb of God”, or by a Simeon, was that after a ministry of division – I want to really, really stress that – the Messiah’s ministry would be like Moses said: people would be cut off from the nation in relation to what they did with this prophet. This is not just another prophet; this is decisive. True, in some sense of other prophets, but this is the…”Are you that prophet?” they would ask John. The people at least, at that time had a clear conception of someone who was not the Messiah, who was not Elijah, but was that prophet.
So they didn’t know how to put all this together, but one thing they knew about that prophet, he would have a ministry of division. So Simeon said, “This child is set for the fall and rise…”. John the Baptist would say “the Lamb”. You’re gonna get yourself in a lot of trouble, and your own nation is going to despise you. And… it says that in Isaiah, your own nation will abhor you and hate you. And you’ll be rejected, and you’re gonna die in that.
But the thought that death would be preceded, at some great distance from the resurrection, was probably very, very unclear. I mean very unclear, because they knew you were going to die, but for all they knew, you’ll get up pretty quick after that, and when you get up, watch out! Goodbye Antichrist, goodbye enemies, everything. But you are going to die!
And the prophets intimate – more than intimate – they say, “You’re going to die at the hands of your own people.” They’re the ones…it’s not the nations out here that are hating you; it’s your own guys. So the prophets are already anticipating John chapter 1, when “He came to His own, and His own received Him not”. And we can, at some opportunity, go back and try and ferret out and pull out those particular prophecies. But, it would be His own people not some invading force that would smite the Judge of Israel. It would be His own people…it would, they would pierce Him…and that’s why they would have this incredible repentance. So this incredible mystery is being laid out, here a little and there a little, all throughout the prophets.
The glory of this mystery is that when you look back in light of the revelation of the mystery of the gospel, the whole landscape lights up in the face of Christ. It’s glorious! Everywhere you look, it’s Jesus! Everywhere you look, it’s a two-coming, twice-coming, necessarily dying, necessarily rising Messiah.
And you can debate whether there’s a gap between, or whatever, but one things for sure: this…and now, even before you get there, this is someone who’s been…somehow he has to be on earth, to brought up in the clouds of heaven, to ascend to the right hand of God, where He occupies that session. This is that interim. So now, you even begin to see, when you come along to Daniel, you find out about a Messiah the prince, that will be cut off.
Now here’s what I’ve laboured all this to say: now, with all this in mind, now I’m coming to where I was in my dream with you, Tom. And that is, what would Daniel…now Daniel, like we said, he’s chaste, he’s not going to tell you more than the Lord gave. But how could he not have, in reflection of his own prophecy, in light of what he’d inherited from other prophets, how could he not have thought, that, if you’re going to talk about the end of the times of the Gentiles, when all this exilic suffering for his people will be over once and for all, if you’re going to talk about that, how can you not conceive of it in light of a sin-reversing seed of the woman?
Would Daniel not have read Isaiah, like we are pretty well assured Isaiah…we can make the case how Isaiah would have conceived, how Isaiah would have read. And Daniel would have conceived and read less than that? No, Daniel knows about a virgin-born, sin-reversing…he’s just not filling his pages with his own commentary. That was not his job, and the Divine superintender of this progressive mystery made sure, that had anyone had an impulse like that, you know, it would be lost, or whatever.
In other words, all we know is what God gave these writers. And that is something…interesting consideration! I mean, take that in. With all the commentary you would have expected these men of already-recognized authority to have added, it doesn’t survive to this day. It didn’t get added. So, God is literally preserving a mystery that He’s really requiring that His maskilim wrestle and deal with, and piece it together with trembling, and guarded care, and not haste, and not…you know, presumption – just delicately. And the prophets wrestled, and contemp…and meditated.
So here’s Daniel. Now he sees – my point is he sees this son of Man that comes…before He comes in clouds of heaven, as we know from Acts 1:11, Revelation 1:7, Acts 3:21…before He comes back in the way you saw Him go…Daniel 7 doesn’t emphasize that so much. Daniel 7…you know…’cuz we’re going to come to this thing about the 490 years that were he expected??, but Daniel 7 is going to take us up to the throne. He comes…I used to really struggle with this, because our Amill friends would make much of the fact “You pre-mills want Him to come down in clouds of heaven. ‘Cuz Jesus wants you…pre-mills…they would object and say, “You guys want Him to come with the clouds of heaven, and rule all nations, and all that. But we’re going to point out to you that He comes up to heaven in the clouds of heaven, and that’s where His kingdom is, out of heaven.”
Well before you come back in clouds, you first have to go up in clouds. And the point of Scripture is, He goes both ways in the clouds. It’s a…you know, an up-and-down motion. He goes up, as the ascended, now-to-be-glorified Son of Man at the right hand, to take His place, according to the prophecy of
David – at the right hand of God, expecting…expecting what? Till He would come back and destroy the Antichrist with the breath of His lips, until His enemies be made His footstool, and not just for Him spiritually, you know.
But yet there is this spiritual dimension which is precious. It’s Yea and Amen. And we’re never denying that, but our replacement friends latch hold of the spiritual side, and they conveniently…I think rather, you know…carelessly throw out the physical, and they don’t see a necessity of return, or a kingdom on earth, and particularly with regard to Israel. So they eviscerate. They, they, they just, you know, omit, throw out, toss out…all that – I think rather flagrantly. But they preserve, thankfully, the spiritual revelation of a precious presence of the kingdom, of a precious access to the Holy Spirit, and of the life of the age to come.
So they’ve got…we’re right with ‘em. We’re standing right with them in the “already”. But they want us to toss out the “not yet”. They want to have a very barren or a very sparse “not yet”, of just a return of Christ, and just, you know, burn up the earth and start the new heavens and new earth. And so they’re committed to a new creation, but they don’t want to think in terms of a creation where God vindicates something with Israel or…In other words, they take all the prophecies of the Day of the Lord and the things that follow the Day of the Lord, and they radically reinterpret and spiritualize that, on the basis of a few questionable interpretations from the New Testament.
But if they ever stood with us, in our understanding of a necessary tribulation that centres on Israel, not just a tribulation that envelops the earth in massive destruction. That’s not how the prophets conceived of it. It would get to that stage, but before it did, it would start in Jerusalem.
So I think one of the key things, the most defensible things of our whole position, and something that should – rightly – buy us, or “inform” is a better word, how we read those questionable New Testament texts that our replacement friends are, you know, overloading or underloading, with implications for Israel, and for a future Day of the Lord that would answer to the prophetic perspective and the expectation of the Hebrew prophets. They weren’t wrong about everything; they just didn’t know everything. There were things that would come into better light, but that didn’t mean the complete removal of what they fully expected. It simply means the addition and the enhancement of this wonderful mystery that would show us this age between and its implications. They never…never does it discard or throw out. You’re still waiting for a restitution of all things, a return to Zion. You’re still waiting for a Jerusalem to be trodden underfoot, and the Deliverer to come Zion. You’re still waiting for all this.
So it’s a tragic misstep to take what the prophets didn’t know, that came to light in the gospel, and use that as an instrument to completely, you know, dismantle all that they fully and rightly expected. So Daniel here, he’s waiting for, in the days of these ten kings, which by the way, John knew…even as late as wherever you put the book of Revelation. I put in at 96, they put it at 66. But wherever you put the early or late date, it doesn’t matter. John is aware that a tribulation hasn’t started yet. It’s not this whole inter-advent period, because here he is, way into this period, and it hasn’t started yet, but…and an Antichrist hasn’t come yet. We’ve got a bad guy now, he’s on the scene. But the really bad guy’s still ahead, and when he’s gonna come, he’s gonna continue for a short space, and his days…in the day’s of this last beast, the ten kings, which are his immediate contemporaries.
So Daniel says, the kingdom’s gonna come on earth, we’re gonna be done with our Babylons and our…you know, our Romes, and our Greeces and all these guys. All the Gentiles, they’re gonna be done…we’re gonna be done with them, in the days of these ten kings. Well where are these ten kings? They’re the ones who are contemporaries with the Beast, the Beast that’s going to get his body put in the burning flame (Daniel 7:11), in Revelation 19:20, at the end of this age, at a place…you know, right around the Armageddon time. And then’s gonna begin a thousand years.
But when does that thousand years begin? According to John in his revelation, according to Daniel, it’s in the days of these ten kings. I say ten. It says, it says in Daniel 2 verse 44, “the days of these kings”, but it is a necessary inference, not just one that you might make, but one that you really should make – that the ten kings in Daniel 7 are shown to be contemporaries with the little horn. And the little horn in Daniel 7 and 8 is the same Antichrist that we’re looking at up here in Paul and John and Jesus in the New Testament.
So, to not see these things are really…it’s really not sophisticated academics. This is basic Bible reading, comparing Scripture with Scripture, accessible to any lay student of Scripture. This is not rarified, academic hard stuff. It’s basic stuff. But these presuppositions build up.
But I want to come back to Daniel now. So Daniel is looking for, “When’s all this exile gonna end? When are we gonna have the Gentile heel off our neck? When is the kingdom of David gonna be here?” Well, we know from Jeremiah and others, it’s got to come after this unequalled trouble. But until that unequalled trouble comes, way down at the end of the 490, we’re gonna have this long period of time, and we might have a little revival at the beginning, but we’re gonna sink into an apostasy. Zechariah, the very prophet of revival, was telling us, you know, “Let’s have a day of small things. It’s a little reviving, but let’s look ahead, let’s be a little realistic here. We’re going to have our houses rifled, our women will be ravished. The Day of the Lord’s coming, and it’s not coming ‘cuz we’re in the heyday of our piety, but we have sunk to a low ebb in our impiety and in our covenant defection. And the Day of the Lord comes upon a truly apostate Israel, excepting, of course, the ever-present remnant.
But here comes the Day of the Lord. I mean, the remarkable thing. Malachi is a major prophet of the Day of the Lord. Haggai doesn’t use the term “Day of the Lord”, but he talks about the shaking of all things…you know, and a greater house than the one that was about to be built. I don’t think he was…I may be wrong in that – but I don’t want to try to overload this.
Let me get back to the simple part that really will light things up for us. So Daniel comes along, he’s seeing the days of these ten kings, he’s seeing this Antichrist, he sees a Messiah who’s first gone up, who obviously has to come down to destroy this man. He knows that from Isaiah. Paul quotes Isiaah 11 verse 4 in the Septuagint translation -perfectly says that no one less the Messiah Himself destroys the Antichrist, the ungodly one, and it’s talkin’ about a personal individual, not the wicked in general. In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, which is what Paul’s using, he applies it to the Antichrist. It says, “then shall with the breath of His lips, He shall, He will destroy the UO, Ungodly One”, and Paul says in Second Thessalonians, “then shall that capital W, uppercase W, Wicked be revealed.”
We’re talking about an individual. We’re not talking about just about the destruction of the wicked in general. This is the final aggressor. This is the one that Daniel sees. They all knew this. So, Daniel sees that the days of these 10 kings are obviously going to be contemporary with this final aggressor, after which Israel will be liberated, and all the promises of lying down safely, the children of wickedness no longer afflicting them as beforetime, all that would now come to fulfillment. And the rod-iron rule of the King, of the greater Son of David…
I mean, if Jesus is saying to ‘em, “Whose son is David’s?”, don’t think that men of Daniel’s stature wasn’t thinking, “Wait a minute. Who is David’s son, if he’s his Lord?” That’s not original with Jesus! That was in glorious, perfect wisdom, put by Jesus to His peers and contemporaries, but you can believe very well, these guys had an upper story contemplation of these incredible aspects of this mystery.
So he’s looking for One who ascends, and if He ascends, and we’re talking about a kingdom on earth, over all languages and tongues, and it’s gonna be here in the place the stone’s gonna hit, and it’s called this earth under (underline under), under the whole heaven, not off in an ethereal???..but what the Hebrews expected – the kingdom of God on earth – if he’s looking for that, then he’s looking for the return of the King. Now, that’s just there. It’s just in the text.
And now, that he invested all that with what we so well see in retrospect – of the ascended, suffering Seed of the woman, who’s taken the hit in the heel. He’s gone now, up in clouds, to the right hand of the Majesty on high, waiting for that interim, you know. If we could understand that, I don’t think that Daniel had a problem with at least conceiving that. Just ‘cuz we don’t have his own…Daniel’s commentary, doesn’t mean these men weren’t right on top of a lot of this. Now, there’s plenty there to puzzle about! But also, there was an awful lot to know.
And um, so here is this Son of man ascending, and clearly, He doesn’t stay there. He rules on the earth, out of Zion. That’s gotta happen, and that doesn’t happen until He comes to destroy the Antichrist in the days of these kings (Dan. 2:44, Revelation 17) “The days of these 10 kings” – that puts it as contemporary with the final Beast, not a long line of beasts. So the days of these kings comes out of a…there’s a little horn that comes out of a fourth, and in his days, there’s ten contemporary kings he forces by conscription, 3 of them into the orbit of his power. And he takes his initiatives against Jerusalem and all that. That’s there. You see it in the New Testament. This is not…
I can’t get these guys who say when you come to the New Testament, there’s no mention of land. Oh yeah?! What’s Jerusalem? What’s Judea? What’s a temple of God, and where is it? Is it in Utah City? I mean, this is amazing, that we say there’s not a land issue in the New Testament, when the whole eschatology, not of the Old, but of the New, which is just a reiteration of the Old, puts it right at Jerusalem. Yes, there’s a tribulation that’s going to cover the earth, and destroy a multitude and all that. But that is later.
It all begins in Judea. It all begins there. You can show it. You can show that it clearly begins there…that Jerusalem’s a cup of trembling, the controversy of Zion. I think our strong point is to begin any discussion with our Amill friends and others is this is a Judeo-centric tribulation. It’s not an amorphous tribulation where bad guys chase good guys at the time of the end. That’s just not what the Scriptures present, it’s not what the prophets expected, it’s not what the New Testament expected. It’s not how Jesus, Paul, and John used, interpreted and applied Daniel. It’s just not. You have to take all kinds of license and liberties to not just put…they use these big words – intertextuality – well let’s be intertextual. Let’s look within the book of Daniel, how he is using it, how he understands it. Then let’s look if Jesus changes all that, or if Paul changes all that, or in fact, if they’re quoting all that, and applying it in a way that shows a completely common understanding with Daniel himself.
I mean this is the great fallacy of our time, and we’re just not close students. And we’ve taken liberties – well-intentioned – but because we’ve received these traditions from our mentors – some of them even led us to the Lord, they’ve discipled us, they’re a blessing. But we allow their influence to keep us from a calling to be the priesthood of every believer. I mean, God is going to hold you responsible, not for the good things, but for the bad things you took in with the good things, and never questioned, and never made sure of, and never proved it out in your own heart, and your own consulting of the Holy Spirit. You didn’t tremble at the text. You took a good man’s word for it. Well he, no question he’s a good man, but God’s gonna hold you accountable for your pick-and-choose approach to what you’re going to be responsible to make proof of. It says everywhere in the Scriptures, “Prove all things.” And “Study to show yourself…” not your mentor, but “show yourself approved to God.” And so, the confusion of good men, whom we’ve received so much good from, becomes one of the greatest snares to buy…to buy in to the whole thing.
Well, that’s a little aside, but…I’m just trying to cover some things, for the sake of future reference and notes, ‘cuz a lot of this, I have it written down. That’s why…I know you’re recording this, so I’m throwing a lot in there, in view of that, not that this would be viewed by anyone, but that I would have some notes to reference…some thought-starters.
So, we’re coming now to Daniel. I want to get to where I was with you in the dream. I’m just setting the stage – Daniel 7. This is the ascended, curse-reversing seed of the woman, has now accomplished what’s not written here in Daniel 7, but which is assumed, logically. But now you’re gonna have in Daniel 9 what is more than just assumed – it’s gonna be written, in the very language of Isaiah 53:8. Messiah…an anointed leader is one way it could be legitimately translated, but my question is, is that legitimate when you’re talking about Daniel, in his obvious retrospect view of a cumulative glorious implications of One who must conquer the serpent, through an atonement of Himself?
And you’re looking at what’s gonna end the exile. You’re looking at what’s gonna end the time of the Gentiles. You’re looking at what’s gonna bring the King back, as a risen Man to see His seed, to prolong His days…You’re looking at all that, and you’re not…and you’re telling me we can talk about an anointed prince, and he’s just Onias the Third, or somebody, as one of our own brothers said…way off up there in the future, as this is just an anointed…this is just some high priest or…No! Can’t be!
Now here’s what’s interesting. If He is Messiah the prince…and who else could He be?…and He’s cut off, and He’s the one who will see His seed, through whom the dead will rise, through whom Daniel (in Daniel 12:13) will rise, and through Whom Israel will be delivered, who, as we will learn later, will be the One who comes in clouds, to destroy the Beast and put his body in the burning flame (Daniel 11), this is end time stuff. Daniel knew all this.
So He’s got to be here, before, just at the end of the…Just remember this: whenever the tribulation ends, it’s going to end with several important things: the Antichrist is toast, the dead are raised, and the King from David’s line is ruling, not necessarily for a thousand…we don’t know that yet. We’re gonna find that out in Revelation 20. But He’s ruling over a restored, penitent Israel who’s narrowly survived, a remnant survived, a nation’s being delivered, born in one day…the iniquity of that land’s cleansed in one day…al this is coming. Daniel knew all this. And this is the one who is going to destroy the Antichrist with the breath of His lips and put his body in the burning flame…and Daniel’s already told us that in 7 verse 11. And John’s going tell it…reiterate the same thing in Revelation 19:20.
The point being, is you’re telling me we’re at the end of exile, and you know one’s got to come that Abraham and all of them expected – Isaiah expected – who is able to reverse the curse…and that only through a hit in the heel – and you’re telling me Daniel 9:26 is not about that anointed ruler? It’s not about that anointed king?
Again, give me a break. Just give me a break! You can conceive that; it’s just beyond me. This is not the way the Hebrew prophets were thinking; this is the way the moderns have conditioned moderns to think without thinking. They’re not tracing this back.
So all is to say, we’re coming to the New Testament – Simeon knew He had to die! John the Baptist knew He had to die! It was a rare few…Peter totally stumbled…couldn’t conceive of a dying Messiah. It was rare, but it was available. And we’re talking about that line of men for whom “available” was enough, for whom rare was not elusive, who saw the piecing together of this.
Now…what we’ve got then here is something very interesting. Here’s what was in my dream about. If Daniel’s seeing all this, and if he’s convinced, as I’m convinced that he was convinced, that Daniel 9:26 – the Messiah that’s cut off there, is Je…is the sin-reversing, ya know, Son of David. Okay? If He’s that guy, then you’ve got an interesting point here. Daniel rightly could never have conceived of a two-thousand year interim, between the ascension, which he did see, and could very well, though I’m not putting this in his mouth, but I have a hard time seeing that Daniel did not contemplate the psalms. If you’re going to have one who is going to ascend, and yet that one’s gonna destroy an Antichrist, and put his body in a burning flame at the end of an age, at the time of His rule over a restored Zion, then who ascend’s got to come back. And, why, then, wouldn’t that interval be the time at the right hand of God…in a priestly role, like Melchizedek?
This is the eternal Son of God! David’s Son, David’s Lord, the union of the Divine and the human. This is the man, even the Lord. This is the Man-Child, this is “the virgin will bear a son”, and that Son will be God Almighty.. you know, all that. Those are not just names; those are titles of Deity because this is the Son of God ‘cuz He’s born uniquely. The word monoganeis in Greek, in John’s gospel – uniquely begotten, the One born like no other. The One Who bypasses the Fall and the curse, that doesn’t come under the curse of sin, Who does nothing of His own, but only what He sees and hears. That’s the One!
And I believe they thought of that, knew that…Jesus was the One that had the complete clarity and custodianship. He knew all that – “By His knowledge, He would justify many.” He would guard that secret until the appointed time of revelation. The demons couldn’t know, they couldn’t read His mind. His mind was not accessible to demons, except what they would learn second-hand through His words or the understanding of some other. He was altogether apart. I mean, we know that. But we’re talking now what limitations…I’m just saying it’s reasonable that Daniel could have inferred – reasonably inferred – that this One who ascends up in the clouds to take His place at the…is going to the right hand, from which He will come again, to destroy the Antichrist.
I have no problem seeing Daniel at least conceiving that. But here’s the catch: if Daniel doesn’t see a long gap, and there’s no ground or basis by which he would necessarily see any gap, between the end of the 69th…He’s cut off after threescore, but yet He’s not ruling and reigning until the 70th 7 is completed, three and a half years after an abomination and a destruction of Antichrist. That’s when Daniel’s people would be delivered, Michael stands up, and Daniel is raised from the dust, etc.
So…you see this, we’re looking closely here…this is amazing stuff. You’re dealing with a seven-year interval between the death of the Anointed One and His resurrection. Well, bodies kind of rot in 7 years. You see what I mean? But not if they’re taken up. You could’ve conceivably conceived – conceivably conceived – of a 7-year interval at the right hand of God, during which time, you know, He’s waiting for the Antichrist to reveal the mystery of iniquity. You could have moved from the resurrection…and I like to say, in retrospect, one of my great arguments is, as much as we can show, and we can – I know this is disputed – but I believe, beyond gainsay, we can show that the 70th week, especially without gainsay, the last half of that week of the 70th week, the last 3 ½ years, concerns the mystery of iniquity, it concerns the Antichrist, and that’s what brings us to the end of the times of the Gentiles, and the kingdom of God coming in the days of these kings.
Now, if that’s true then, you could no more have the 70th week, or let’s at least say the last 3 ½ years, follow the 69th week in unbroken succession then you could the advent and career of the Antichrist follow immediately upon the death of Jesus – the death of Messiah. It’s illogical. You can’t. And so, only if, the only way you could do something like that….this is probably what Daniel might have considered…is if, Messiah is, when He’s cut off…He’s got to rule and reign out of a resurrected body, but He goes back to heaven, then He receives His body, as John the Baptist might have considered, this Lamb is going to die and not receive His body at the same time Daniel’s receiving his.
I’m just suggesting. I’m just throwing out absolute…I mean by getting a little bit speculative here, and venturing some inferences that might reasonably be shot down, and found, you know, unjustified, don’t let that lose sight of what is so clear! – that Daniel would have understood this death of this Messiah to be the seed of the woman. And this is the One through whom, and by…because of Whom we will have an end of the times of the Gentiles, we will have and end of the Antichrist…and end to perversity and evil, and the kingdom of God come on earth. It’s gotta come through this man. And who could this be but the seed…you know…let’s call Him the curse-reverser, from David’s line. The curse-reverser! This is something that is just lost.
I remember years ago when I saw the….there’s a New Testament scholar – massively educated – in New Testament theology, knows it inside out, as well as Christians could ever know it, except one problem: he doesn’t believe it. And…he believed actually amazingly, a lot more of it than you’d imagine. It’s Pinchas Lapid, and he’s gone on now. But who is still living, thank God, is our beloved brother, Walter Kaiser. And Walter Kaiser debated Pinchas Lapid on the John Ankerberg Show, something all of you should check out – it’s on YouTube. Amazing exchange!
But I never will forget – at the time I did not pay much attention to it – but Lapid, in his shrewd anticipation of where Christians would want to go with this, had the most studied avoidance of any implications of the snake. I mean, he kept saying, “the snake, the snake”. Only later would I realize why. He knows what Genesis 3:15 means for Christian theology. And as a Jew, he didn’t want that to be enforced, and – what’s the word? – and leveraged. He did not want that leverage strengthening the argument.
But I will just say, Genesis 3:15 is not just a myth or something, it’s everything! It’s literally everything! It’s the seedbed of all promise, of all covenant, of all redemption, of all history. The kingdom of God is in it. Everything is in it. It’s the promise, and the mystery that the story of Israel will unpack, and draw to its glorious conclusion. No wonder Pinchas Lapid wanted to do everything he could to not be, you know, victimized by the implications about the snake. And he kinda made a tongue-in-cheek sport of the whole thing. The idea of the way Christians are so…you know, interested.
Yeah, I’ll give you that. We are very interested. They’re so interested in extracting what he thinks is not there to be extracted. In other words, we need to read all that into it, to have all the basis and implications of our Christian theology. No, that’s what was in the background of Isaiah’s Song of Immanuel. That’s what was in the background of David, and his conception of a Melchizedek priest, who would be the Lord of glory and come through his line. I mean, man, it’s all there! If you don’t have Genesis 3:15, you don’t have the Bible! So I could see why there’s a studied avoidance of the implications of that.
Now, we can go and argue tit-for-tat with the anti-missionaries, and get into that, and you might do some good with an innocent bystander, but you’d never penetrate their armour. But what you can do is make what I call the cumulative argument. You’d go, like we’ve done just now, of course you’d need to prepare, and make it a little simpler, easier to connect things better. We’re totally random here.
But if you go through, and put together the implications of the seed of the woman to the history of redemption, of what the prophets would’ve had to conceive, and understand of the necessary death of the Messiah. “Ought not Christ to have suffered…?” In other words, this was pivotal, very pivotal. Then you could make a case, and then one with a willing and open heart – and sometimes, as you know, Tom, that’s what we mean by “Apocalyptic Evangelism”, those heart aren’t so willing, and those hearts aren’t so open. But they can be made willing and they can be made open, usually through duress and crisis…and the whole theology of weakening and so forth that we have. You see what I mean?
But…but back to Daniel…now this is what I had, what I’d dreamed, as we were talking about, is that Daniel could very well have conceived of a short interim. Son of God goes to heaven…you know…Now we wouldn’t know about Pentecost being poured out. We wouldn’t…but the point of it is the victorious Ascender – call Him the victorious ascending…having accomplished the reversal through death. This is aft…this is post-hit. After the hit in the heel. Yet, 7 years later, Israel’s delivered. Where is He? Okay? Where is His body? Physical body.
I’m saying, as a Jew, what would you know? Would you know of the necessary preservation of a physical body? Maybe, maybe not. But you would have evidence is Scripture that He ascends. And the One who ascends’s got to descend…in the time when He will put His enemies down. But He, but why would He have ascended…at some time, not just from the beginning or back in antiquity, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting, this Bethlehem babe? This guys’s got to ascend, and when He ascends, He comes back.
And what would His coming back mean if He had not put away sin by the offering of Himself? Quote the whole New Testament, Hebrews, you name it. He’s at the right hand of God, having accomplished everlasting…the secret is revealed, this same Jesus is taken up. A few days before, “Will you at this time restore the kingdom?” Oh, on Pentecost, they weren’t asking that anymore! “Oh! We see! You’ve accomplished this! Your body didn’t see corruption. Oh, we see! You were pierced, You have ascended! You’re at the right hand, just like the prophets said. You’re coming again, the restitution of all things. You’re coming the second time without sin…on and on and on we could go.
The whole theology of the New Testament was present – certainly incipiently – at Pentecost. The questions that would have been legitimate before Pentecost were now non-questions. He’s accomplished this, He’s ascended there…When’s He coming back?” Well…somebody in the class could have spoken up and said, “Well, seven years from now, He’s coming back.” So you see where I’m going with this. Seven years from now, He’s coming back, but when He doesn’t come back, ah?! Then, you know, then we’re looking at…if you’re gonna come back in seven years, you need the Antichrist to come into the temple of God three and a half years after Jesus goes up.
Now, could we symbolize some of the this? Well, preterists, amills say, “of course we can, of course we must”. But let’s think about this…yet they, thank God, are quick to remind us, and use for their apologetics, the fact that the 69 7’s from the decree to the cutting off of Messiah, were literal. One of the great evidences is that Christ didn’t come and die 200 years after Daniel, or a thousand years, but He came approximately 4 ½ centuries after Daniel, after the decree, and about 5 centuries from the time of Daniel. So He’s right on time. Even if you give or take for some ambiguities, you’re still dealing with the Messiah who’s right on time, Luke chapter 3, “every man was in expectation”. That’s why they’re out there asking John all these questions. That’s why Jesus could reprimand them with such force. There was an indictment: “You don’t know the time of your visitation.”
I’ve heard argued, by a good chronologist, very conservative, and a very good one, that…and I’ve not read all his arguments, but he said it would have been very unlikely the Jews at the time of Christ would have known with any exactitude when Messiah should suffer or when the exile should end. Remembering, if we’re looking at the 490, there’s not a lot of room between the suffering of Messiah, if that’s the Messiah, and the end of exile – 7 years difference. So we’re talking approximate time. We’re getting ready to be delivered. We’re getting ready to get the Romans kicked out here. We’re getting ready for our Messiah to come and avenge us against this Antichrist who is coming down. And they knew he was coming down.
Some of them were in that Dead Sea desert, as we’ve often said, and in wilderness places of hiding ‘cuz they knew Jerusalem was a doomed city. Not ultimately, but for a moment, Antichrist had to come down and have his way. Women were going to get ravished, houses were going to get rifled (Zechariah 14:1-2). They knew Jerusalem would to be trodden down 42 months. That was not news. Scripturalized in Revelation 11, but that was old hat. That was well known. That was the apocalyptic expectation. I can show it in the writings of the Qumran sectaries. We can show it in the intertestamental literature. We don’t need to show it there ‘cuz it’s in the Bible.
What were these people making of this? What were they interpreting? Well of course they were expecting Rome to come down and be aggressive and mutilate the people and violate the temple! Of course they were. Now if you’re a Sadducee, you’re not expecting that. You think, you know, it might go on a few hundred more years and keep the power structures as they are. But the Pharisees and most that were in the land were in a tremendous alert mode, and that’s what made their missing and rejecting Jesus so extremely reprehensible.
Here’s one in their midst who had done works and spoken words unequalled. Right? Why don’t you know the time of your visitation? Even if you don’t know that Daniel’s 69th week is about to be fulfilled over here at Golgotha, even if you don’t know that, what you should know, it’s time. All your compatriots know it’s time. Why don’t you know it’s time? And if it’s time, who am I? Who am I?
And that was what was so culpable and inexcusable. You see what I mean? All this evidence coming together – “You’re not putting the pieces together”, Jesus said. “You’re not piecing this together because your heart’s disposition is evil. This is a threat to you instead of a welcome rejoicing to you. Something’s wrong with your heart.” And so, it’s not about a lot of knowledge; it’s about your heart, ‘cuz you have even a minimal knowledge, if your heart’s right, you’d be able to make sense of what’s happening.
So that Messiah was to die was very rarely, and only by the most exceptional saints, expected. But that He should come…but that when He does die, and it being available, and now you’re giving Israel a case from the Scriptures, of why He had to die, and the appropriateness of it, and the vindication and verification of the prophets of it, now you’re dealing with, you’re upping the ante on a very inexcusable situation here. And you add evidence to evidence.
You know, first of all, the days roll on, Jerusalem’s being surrounded, and you’re still not believing. You’re still holding on to the fact that He was not the Messiah. He could not have been Messiah. It starts to be coming more and more without excuse. And so now you have the hardening set in, and so on, that we’ve seen through these long generations.
But back to Daniel, before leaving Daniel…so, you would be expecting Messiah to die, and if Daniel, if you want to have Him ascend at that time, which is reasonable – He’s the One coming to destroy the Antichrist – you would have the Antichrist go to the temple three and a half years after the death of Christ. You would have Christ return from heaven. And I would suggest of course with the same body He rose in, but that’s deep, because that’s a deep issue. I’d love to unpack that.
But He’s coming back, obviously with a real human body. Is it a new resurrected body, like Daniel’s going to get, or is it His own body that He went up in? See, did He physically go up? I say He did. Of course, but…and we know from Scripture He did, so what does it ….? So, you get my…I’m just thinking here. So, here comes Messiah, back to destroy a man, but He’s a Messiah that really quite recently died, in the 70-year scenario.
But then when Jesus…when the Antichrist doesn’t go to the temple, it becomes more and more conspicuous there’s a gap here. And why then, wouldn’t that gap, if it’s not going to be 7 years – this is going to glorious, Tom. Listen! – why not 2,000 years? Why not the two days…of Hosea, from the time that He was here…and ascended, as the overcomer, that took the hit and made everlasting blood redemption, ascending, waiting, Now that we know it’s not just a mere 7 years, what about putting that 7 years out to the end of two days? And if you know then, from the light of progressive revelation, that that third day – that’s post-tribulational – turns out to be exactly a thousand years, and you know the 490 years were literal 7’s, so that we have a legitimacy to argue an age that exists between two great incarnations – the incarnation of the seed of the woman, the incarnation of the seed of the serpent – and these two figureheads, these two heads of the two races of men It’s just perfect! The symmetry is amazing!
So you have this death… and so let’s just put there the death…and you have that question mark, like up on my chart, and then you dot-dot-dot down, and that question mark turns into a cross. And then that lights up everything. And then you know at that point of the cross, the One who’s returning has ascended…up in the clouds of heaven, at the right hand, waiting.
Then you’ve got Psalm 110 and Psalm 2, going on for two days! And then He comes again…you know, the tribulation is fulfilled in the days of these 10 kings. The kingdom of God’s on earth, the Lamb of God returns to rule out of Zion for a thousand years…There’s your third day. In a time of great affliction, we confess our single sin – it’s in the singular in the Hebrew – our offense, our trespass, we confess that, for which cause You left, from a place and went back to Your place. And when You went back…from other Scriptures we learned…You hid Your face, and we’re waiting for this unsealing of a mystery, for why You’re hiding Your face from larger Israel, the remnant, the maskilim, the believer, sees the secret.
And they’re waiting ‘til Israel sees it, but until Israel sees it, here’s a people instructing many, which is…Certainly it’s preaching the gospel, at the last 3 ½ years, but brother, it’s been preaching the gospel every since the secret’s opened up! That’s why the book of Revelation says “Seal it not!”, ‘cuz it was unsealed. Only thing that’s unsealed is a few final concluding discoveries that wait for the time of Antichrist, some certain things that he’ll do here and there – highly minute details of Daniel.
But the big picture has been once and for all unsealed, at Pentecost when the Spirit came down. According to 1 Peter 1:11, the Spirit comes down and reveals what the prophets had puzzled over. What had they puzzled over? How’s this all work out? What time and manner of time between a dying Messiah and a Davidic glory, the glory of the Davidic King?
Isn’t that amazing? That’s just an amazing picture! And it just shows the gospel. It shows grace and works, the necessity of blood redemption, the reversal of the curse on the basis of the death of this human, Who is God in the flesh. Mighty God, Everlasting Father…this wonderful Seed Who bypasses…and there’s a mysterious passage in Jeremiah, which says “I will do a great wonder: a woman will compass…surround…a woman will bypass a man. In other words, a woman…it doesn’t tell you much; it just gives a cryptic phrase, that I will do a great wonder. Behold, a woman will compass a man.
And I know, a natural commentator would read that as a judgement scripture, and all those other things, but, it just fits so well with the fact that through virgin birth, you will bypass or circumvent the genetic key that passes down the fallen nature, from our first parents. So Christ being born of a virgin allows Him to be both God and man without conflict, ‘cuz He’s free from the Fall. And as God, and as innocent man, He can become a sacrifice that can destroy the works of the devil, and atone.
It’s just amazing! In fact we believe a lot of things that we don’t fully understand, not because they’re not compatible with…they’re not irrational or contradictory, it’s just they’re too glorious to understand. They’re too incomprehensible. But we know they’re precious and we believe them. I don’t understand all the incredible glory and implications of the atonement, but I believe it. But I can also see what God has given as some real rational evidence for it. But the evidence, even when you conclude of atonement, it’s still only the Spirit that can take you to the glory of it.
So there’s a lot of things that are beyond human comprehension. But what is amazing is the way it works out with such symmetry…like a tapestry of perfectly interwoven threads, and all the strands just come together in this incredible portrait, of this manifold wisdom hidden, God says, to our glory, that the wisdom of the world will stumble at. It talks about atonements, it talks about resurrections, it talks about all this…But when you look at the evidence, especially the cumulative evidence, and you have a willing heart to see it a certain way, it so verifies and confirms itself.
One thing you can say at the end of the day is that nobody but God could have thought this up. There’s no way that this line of prophets could have preserved and perpetuated in such a beautiful symmetry and continuity, one building on the other. ‘Cuz remember, they didn’t get to look back. They didn’t go to the end and read the manual from the end. They’re building the manual as they go. Each one would live and each one would die, and they would pass it on. Man, when you look at that whole thing! I call it “the glory of the story”. I think the greatest apologetic of all time and history is not any one piece of this, but when it’s all pieced together. Aaah! It defies natural explanation… you know…beyond anything conceivable. It just…nobody but God! What a plan! What a purpose! What a perfection!
Yet, many questions, but yet, you’re able to manage those questions and bare the pain of those questions. Sometimes they’re painful questions. Because you see the story! And if you see the story by the Spirit, you see the glory by the Spirit. And no one can take it from you! Once you see it, you’re ruined! You may go through hell and high water, but you’re ruined! You see it! And you know that it’s a kiss of love. It’s a kiss of a friend confiding to a friend. “Come on in here! See my secret. Come and see what I have crafted here, what I’ve conceived. Look at my beautiful heart, my beautiful mind! Look at the way I hide from pride. Look at the way I bring these judgements and yet I leave something yet to be fulfilled, and I keep…just come and behold! Just come and see…in the whole story.
No I’m very sure that Daniel knew no one less than the sin-atoning, curse-reversing seed of the woman, that takes the hit is Daniel 9:26. But that would have left 7 more years. Where’s the seven? And how is that seven not necessarily, by logic, let alone the many, many scriptures that can be clearly put together in a way you can’t separate, by the way. I’ll show you that when we do our little parallelisms.
But…that seven years clearly has to do with the mystery of iniquity. It clearly has to do with the end of the time of the Gentiles, ‘cuz at the end of the 490, Israel’s not under anybody’s heel. The Messiah’s ruling and reigning, and Satan is bound…you could go on. In other words, the idea that the 490 of Daniel 9 is somehow detached from the 3 ½ years of Daniel 12 and of Daniel 7, is nuts! It’s crazy! It’s wrong! It’s perverse! I’ll tell you what it is: you may not be wicked, but you are wickedly being taught and trusting in man. You’re not asking questions as someone in a virginal openness that’s just desperate for truth. You are smug and content, and you’re letting men come in and tell you, you know, how to read this. If you were trembling at the text, you would never come up with that.
If you’re reading 2 Thessalonians 2, and you’re a 15-year old young person in Christ, and you’re finding out about this future man, you would never see a pre-trib rapture there! You’d never see that…it not there. Well, even if it is there, some tutelage, some academic has got to show you why it has to be there. All you’d be reading is “Wait! Before Jesus can come, this guy’s got to show up first.” That’s all you’d see. It takes the sophistication of academics for you to see something else.
So yes, God’s a God that hides, but to make His judgement really pronounced and clear, He hides in plain sight. It’s hidden, and it’s in plain sight. The things that…and God has a lot of riddles in Scripture – there’s a lot of subtleties, and we’ve touched on some of them here, where you really have to labour and pray and receive grace just to put the pieces together, especially rightly, because we’re all putting pieces together, and they come out all over the places. But to put the pieces together in the Divinely-intended, God-glorifying way really takes a weakness in the flesh and a trust, and a grace of trust in the Spirit.
But, having said that, this hasty presumption from what others have told us before…there’s just something there that…there’s a judgment, really…that we’re…not necessarily going to hell or something, but we’re cutting ourselves off, and robbing ourselves of something precious the Lord had for us if we’d only not trusted ourselves, and not our, and not those we think are the experts, but if we’d have gone to the Father, and said, “Teach me. I’m Your son. I’m Your daughter. Teach me. I don’t care about writing books. I don’t care about a name. I don’t care about getting it right and saying “I told you so!” I just want that intimacy with You! I want to be that humble thing that there is before You, before Your face, that You confide Your secrets in, and share Your heart, and You bring me into all the beautiful rooms, and the different departments of Your glory, of Your heart, of Your story. I want that. I want to see You.”
If that’s your heart, He’s gonna give you everything. But if you’ve got another agenda, if you got something else, and you want it for this purpose or that purpose, so you can be a prepper, or anything else, or save your hide, God’s gonna hold back – to an extent…He’s so good, I’m not saying He’s holding everything back. You’re gonna probably still have some blessings, but you are going to rob yourself when your heart is not simple toward the Lord. When it’s not child-like. You’re gonna…God’s just not going to work with that. He can’t. It’s not ‘cuz He doesn’t want to, He just can’t.
So we’ve really gotta be a people who empty ourselves, to get to the real heart of the real riches. ‘Cuz even when you have accurate things, it’s one thing to be right, it’s something else to truly savour, to truly appreciate the value and see it for what it is, in the Spirit by grace.
And so, do you really even know what you know? I don’t…I’m not careful at all about new information, but I’d love to really know what I think I know. I would love for the Lord to show me the power and implications of what I know…or suppose myself to know. It’s not knowing something new, or you know. Knowing something more. It’s knowing what He’s entrusted to us by the Spirit, to the glorious fulness of its implications. That’s what we’re in this race for.
Because I’ll tell you what, if you have that, I can’t believe that it doesn’t change you. You go, “Well, how’ll that fix my marriage?”, or whatever it might be that’s vexing you, or whatever. “How will that help me have a better, sanctified life?” How could it not? How can anytime when you see Jesus, His face, and often His face is most beautiful in the backdrop of this beautiful story. You don’t just see His face in the gospels, you see Him everywhere. You see Him everywhere. When you see His face, the Scripture says you can’t be the same. You can’t change…or, you can’t not be changed.
So the guarantee of how to be changed, in terms of what you do, what you say, how you act, is the issue of how you see. How you see is how you will be. If you see Him as He is, you will be as He is. And to the degree that you see Him – and there is degrees. That’s our great passion and quest: to see Him more fully, to see Him at all, and then to see and savour, not just to know about it, but to see and to savour. I think John Piper wrote a book, I don’t know the book…I’m sure it’d be nice to read it, I just don’t have time. It’s called Seeing and Savouring Jesus Christ. Boy I love that title! Seeing and savouring Jesus Christ – what a title!
And so, if we can see and savour…it’s not new information. But how can you, you’re as careful about needing to overcome things, you’re as careful about fears, you’re as careful about and look to the Lord to help you see. ‘Cuz when you see, you’ll never be the same, and to the degree you see, you will have power…over those things that menace and threaten. And even the things that He doesn’t give it to you to overcome in this life, He will….by seeing you will have the patience. And you will have the faith, and you will have the peace…and the resigned contentment, that you shall surely not always see the face of that enemy. And if you were given a plague or a pain or an affliction or a sorrow, the way you deal with it, the freedom from torment, the freedom from fear will be a whole different matter, because you’ve been with Jesus, you’ve seen His face. You’ve savoured Him.
And so, He is with you, through and in it all, and the only thing you need is a faith that is free of the accuser, who comes in and insinuates doubts, and gives you fears, and…just paints a picture of God that’s completely not true of Him. His whole game is to misrepresent your God, and paint you and ugly God instead of a beautiful God. You know…and paint you a frowning providence instead of One who sees to the end, that the latter end of His saints is always full of pity, and the goodness of the Lord.
And therefore you have what we could call the patience of faith to wait it out, and to bear it out until we come to the perfect day. ‘Cuz you know, if you have the kind of faith, of full assurance that we all desire, you know one thing: that perfect day is coming and you see it so clearly, you can taste it now. You’re eating the grapes of Eschalon??? before you’ve ever even, you know, even in the midst of your afflictions and your darkness.
‘Cuz it says in Isaiah 50, “Who is that servant who stays upon his God?”, who waits upon his God? But he’s in darkness. He says, “Let that servant stay upon his God.” But don’t let him turn around and try to make his own light. O, don’t do that! Don’t go making your light ‘cuz the lights go out. But be jealous for the light of God. That a pseudo, superficial, provisional light will never do.
And that’s what seeing Jesus will really do for you. It will make you where you can’t be satisfied for less. When you’ve seen His face, you can’t settle for less; it ruins you. In a blessed way, it ruins you. You know, you’ve been, you’ve seen. And you’ve been touched – God was in this place, and you knew it not, but now you know it. And…nothing’s the same. Even when conditions are exactly the same, nothing’s the same. Even when circumstances threaten and peril, nothing’s the same. You know that you know that you know, beyond doubt.
And I think there’s nothing so precious, and that I see, with this “middle of the week” glory that’s coming, and say, Christians, and even many Christians, it’s available now, and praise God, it’s always available. There’s always a reviving in the midst of…you know, there’s always a little refreshing or reviving. But that glorious time, when we’re having a reiteration of Pentecost, when the accuser cannot legislate against the believer’s conscience.
You know what that means? That means all of us will have different names. We’ll probably still have struggles. There’ll be things that will threaten and wear us out, and, you know…all of that. But, even when all that’s even intense, and in spades, as they say, all of that is….it’s like water of the duck’s back, when you’re free from doubt, when you’re free from doubt and perfect love has cast all fear. You can bear it. It’s not fun, it has a short time, you’re not gonna bear it forever. But it’s totally different, because you’ve seen Him, He’s with you, you’re with Him. You’re hid with God in Christ.
You’re not insecure. You may want to care about your rewards, you want to be faithful. But, regardless of what your rewards turn out to be, you have an inheritance that’s pure and sure, and fades not and undefiled. You have a sure inheritance. Now I know there’s some contingency in regard to our reward, and we all regard that. That’s a tremendous concern.
But one thing you should never have a concern about is your inheritance. We stress some? over reward, so that you’re faithful, so that you keep your heart free, and you know, you keep on pressing in and buffeting your body, ‘cuz you care about that. But you are not careful…you know you have an inheritance that’s secure. If you don’t have that, it literally lets the enemy just come in and just really have a hold of you. You’ve got to have that full assurance of faith to some degree, and I think we have a little taste of it, and it’s glorious, but we want more. One thing about tasting the Lord is that it always brings a devouring desire for more, and so…
But what will it be when God’s people can’t be accused? Even now, it’s illegitimate. Even now “who is he that condemns, it’s God that justifies”. Even now, it’s an illicit activity. But because of our strength and the strength of our flesh, the enemy’s allowed some access to exploit and opportune himself, by that measure of residual confidence that we still have in the flesh, and we fight against. And that’s why we suffer things, and go through things, ‘cuz what’s going more and more away, through the things we go through, is that residual confidence in the flesh. That’s always there to impede, to block, to hinder, to cheat, and to cheat us of the fulness.
But when that comes down in a people who have been really emptied, and then full of the light of the breaking in of the glory of the implications of this mystery, in the full face of a revealed Antichrist, and all the powerful “yea and amen”, where doubt is absolutely ridiculous – doubt can’t even begin to suggest itself, in terms of the facts. And then, spiritually doubt can’t begin to insinuate itself in terms of the clarity and sweetness and freedom of the gospel.
I mean, sure you’re weeping with them that weep, sure you’re afflicted in their affliction, and all the more, much more. But yet, like Jesus was the man of sorrows, He also had an oil of gladness above His fellows. He was the happiest man on earth. Even while He was the most sorrowful. That’s going to be us! Corporately speaking, never to that perfect measure, but corporately, a fulness, where we’re free of that doubt and all.
And if these end times do anything, it’s to let a church shine in that glorious, child-like simplicity of obedience unto death, without fear, without accusation, without condemnation, without double guessing. They’re able to be free even in their imperfections, even with their infirmities, even with their weaknesses. Those things do not condemn a heart that’s set free, a conscience that’s purged with precious blood.
It’s all about the Spirit quickening a faith that is more than our faith. It’s the faith of the Son of God. And when our confidence in the flesh is more and more broken, more and more taken, and our strength is no longer our weakness, but our weakness is our strength, we’re going to see an open heaven. Different ones are gonna have different tasks. Some will die sooner than others and all those good things. It won’t matter! It won’t matter! There’s a peace and contentment.
You can’t second-guess what God gives or doesn’t give. You just know Him. He’s given you everything. I know there’s a difference in what we receive in Christ…one this and one that. There’s a unique reward. There’s even a unique stone, that only the one receiving it can read. And we all have our personal history. There’s gains, there’s losses, there’s bitterness?, there’s regret. That’s why Paul even himself said “I forget the things which lie behind”, ‘cuz regret can eat your lunch!. Look, a backward look is not what the Lord wants for you. He wants the “yea and amen” of the future, of the forward look. He wants the “Finally, brethren, whatever things are pure and trus?? dwell on these things. Don’t look back!”
Don’t look back! You know, Lot’s wife looked back. Don’t look back! You’ll crystallize and harden. You’ll lose the vision, and when you lose vision, you start to languish. So don’t look back. But, as we’re going on here…uh…where was I?….
As the church corporately is emptied out, through the incredible witness of things that are so public and open, the incredible vindication and manifest fulfillment of the word of God, and prophecy, more prolifically in open fulfillment than ever before since Jesus. That in the face of that, a church like Daniel, that would have gone down into deep self-abasement to seek the Lord, to put away all nonsense and petty things, and all…really, a people shut up unto God, in such a way as only a resurrection transformation can bring them through it.
They can’t bear to go into what they know they’re going into. ‘cuz they see it. The world naively doesn’t see it. They might, yeah, they might be having heart attacks ‘cuz they’re scared. But they don’t see it. We see it, by the Spirit, like Jesus saw His cross. He was a prophet. He didn’t just say, “Well, I gotta go and get this over with.”
It was so forbidding! We’re gonna see how forbidding that tribulation time really is. And there’s nothing of your flesh that’s gonna wanna go there. The only way you can go there is in the victory of grace. And the only way you can face that…’cuz if you’re a prophet, you can’t face it. If you’re facing it, you’re not a prophet.
You can’t face this. It’s beyond you. It’s, it’s it’s…it’s beyond you. You can’t face it. To bear it is presumption. You can’t bear it. Another will have to bear it for you and with you and through you. Another will have to face it with you and through you. It’s a cup you can’t drink, but you will drink, if you follow what I’m saying.
So, because we will be prophetic, and see by the Spirit, it will drive us down, down, down, to greater and greater emptiness, to greater and greater desperation…in the flesh. In the Spirit, we’ll be mounting up with wings. Do you see that there’s a paradox here? What’s he saying? He’s saying this and he’s saying that…It’s exactly the way it is with the Spirit of God. It is a paradox. As I said, Jesus was the happiest man and the most sorrowful man.
They go together! That’s where I was… We will be weeping but we’ll be jubilant. When all of heaven is saying, “Now has come salvation, strength, the kingdom of our God and the power of Christ!”, that’s not just the ones, the souls on the altar. That’s not just the angels. That’s the saints! Heaven and earth – both side of the equation – will be privy to the fact that the thing that was withholding is now gone.
This means terrible prospects for the earth and the inhabitants of the earth, who are unregenerate. But it means glory, glory, glory for those who know the Lord and know their God. And it means a release of strength like they’ve never seen, ‘cuz God will entrust with great things to those who have nothing to gain in this world, who are not working out, they’re not insecure, they’re not needing it…and because they don’t’ need it; they’ll have it aplenty.
And so, they will have that, and they will be able by the seeing of what’s coming, almost, as if to say, vicariously experienced it. So, the only way they dare meet it is in the Spirit, having laid down all confidence in the flesh, and all outs and all options and all alternatives. That’s what I believe we’re looking at. And that’s why we’re coming to this place, and we’re being straitened by outward and inward. It’s both outward and it’s inward. Outwardly, it’s the fulfillment of prophecy.
It’s incredible things that literally…well, you’ve heard me tell the story before, where I always tell of my precious mentor and friend, Mr. Morton, Craig Morton. I would say to him when I was a really young believer, I said, “Mr. Morton, why don’t we see the kind of power…and the kinds of things?”, and he started this beautiful litany of things…went through the gospels…and he always spoke to me like this – “God bless your heart, buddy!” He called me “buddy”…and he called everybody “buddy”.
But he says, “We weren’t there when that man met that woman, with her dead son. We weren’t there…and he went right through, you know, all the things that Jesus did. And he kept saying, over and over, he kept saying, “D’you think that would have had an effect on you? D’you think that would have had an effect on your faith? D’you think…and then, and then, they saw Him taken away, and then they see Him again. D’you think would have had an effect on you?”
That’s why we don’t see that kind of power. That’s a good ole, home-boy, down-home practical answer! But how powerful! How charged with implication! When you’re talking about a people who will see their end before they get there…who will die the death before they get to the place of actual confrontation – because of the spirit of prophecy.
Which is so much more than facts! So much more even than accuracy. It’s a spiritual apprehension. When it says “they that understand”, it doesn’t just mean to understand the right facts. They that understand…that wise, the one that wins souls, the one that, the one that, you know, has something to impart. The one who knows the cross, who knows the resurrection, and the fellowship thereof. They’re the ones who are gonna be, you know…and then, because they know themselves chosen, and not something out of themselves, they’re able to have fruit that remains.
That kind of fruit sticks around; it’s not the come-and-go kind of fruit. The fruit that comes out of election stays elect. It’s a fruit that’s based upon a partial message which mixes flesh and spirit, mixes Man and God. And that mixture is what lies in wait for that seed that has not got deep root, for that seed that comes up quickly, but it goes quickly. But that seed that goes down deep, and that word “deep” is death, into the issue of the cross, into the issue of us bidding adieu to this world. “Let friends and”…what does Luther’s song say – ”Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they can kill”. I mean, when you’re really free…and Jesus said if you know the truth you’ll be free, there’s a power to abide that just doesn’t come any other way.
And so, that’s why Jesus said it’s a strait gate. Few find it…a lot of pop, a lot of quick pops-ups, lotta fruit on the tree that quickly perishes, a lot of things that come up, shoot up, but they don’t have…Jesus says, “There’s one common denominator with all those that fall: they have no root in themselves; they lack root. And the root speaks of depth D-E-P-T-H, and depth speaks of death D-E-A-T-H. That root that’s in the cross, it’s indestructible. It’s that indestructible seed.
So be sure. Make your calling and election sure. Make sure you’re that seed. ‘Cuz that seed will overcome. It has to. It invariably always does, because it’s born of God. And the rule is, whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world.
So, you aren’t the overcomer. You’re in the Overcomer. To Him is all the glory for the overcomer overcoming. You overcome because of Him, of Him, and He overcomes through you. So, in Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. Nothing you’ve brought or added. See, this is the issue of all of God’s stories.
So where was I…it was about this emptying out of the church…and how that we have to…you know, see by the Spirit, in order to come to that emptying. But we’re going to, but…oh, back to Mr. Morton. “Will this not affect you?” We are going to be brought – and it’s all by grace, and nothing superior in us that wasn’t true, and nothing that we’ll have that the saints of old won’t have. They get a lot of it in us, just like we get a lot of it in them.
Paul says, “you inherit all things”. How’s that? Well, whatever is Paul’s, or Apollo’s, or Cephas’s, you get it too. It’s all…and, my reward may be different than Paul’s, but my rejoicing is not, because I rejoice in his reward. And he rejoices in mine. And we all inherit Christ, and He’s the reward. Abraham said “this is my reward”, God Himself. God is my portion and my reward.
We are inheritors of God! This is amazing! Don’t get hung up on rewards! You know, carefully guard your heart. Vigilantly keep close accounts with God. Be faithful, tremble, obey. But don’t put your marbles with what you get. You’re gettin’ God! And in Him, you’re even gettin’ Paul! And the whole thing, even life and death itself, it’s all yours! Boy, this is bigger than you think! “Eye hasn’t seen or ear heard”.
So…oh, we’re all over the place as usual.
And all that came out of my dream, this morning. You were in it. I woke up. All that started coming together out of Daniel. I thought, “Here’s the task.” I know you already love it, Tom. You’re already in the middle of this. But we want to tie together this beautiful – it’s like, Travis calls it like, bird seed…you want to keep that bird…one seed makes him want the next, and just follow on, and God’s bird seed, and it’s all the way, to the climax of this story.
And I, I believe I received prophetic assurance when I was a very young man, that the tribulation church not only would come to an unparalleled fulness – remember this – never eclipsing or exceeding other many saints, not even comparing. Some, like…you know, there’ve been those “none greater born” – we’re not talking about that kind of comparison. We’re talking corporate here. We’re talking about a wide scale of a church that, you know, is being brought, like Peter, to an age, and another is taking us where would not have gone. We’re talking about a corporate phenomenon.
We’re not saying we surpass, or eclipse, or succeed. I’ve heard people say we trump Pentecost. I don’t believe that. What I do believe is we come back to another fulness, like Pentecost. Not eclipsing, not succeeding, except in terms of massive scale. That’s all I’m saying. Please understand.
And when I speak about maskilim or anything, we’re only talking about people that believe the mystery of the gospel… and that preach the gospel. You don’t have to know all the pieces and all the parts to be the maskilim. Really just have to know Jesus. But…because in a way, you’re already privy to and heir of the secret of the Lord, and in that is the germ of life. So, you know, you could be a more instructed maskilim, like you could be a more instructed scribe out of his treasure. That’s okay. That doesn’t make you some elite group. That doesn’t make you the only one that can preach the gospel or win souls, or….
Don’t get too carried away! We’re not talking about some elite inside track here. What we’re talking about is a maturation of something coming to the full, where all mystery of iniquity is about to come to full. And God’s people, on the parallel of that, is going to becoming to full in a corporate way. And yet, paradoxically, there’s going to be a great falling away going on right at the same time, the worst falling away and yet one of the greatest, most mass revivals, where a multitude which no man can number is being brought out of tribulation, not just tribulation in general, as you’ve often heard me say, but the Tribulation, the Great One – two definite articles in the Greek (Rev. 7:13-14).
That’s coming out of the maskilim, who are instructing many. Well, that’s true of the whole age! But it’s especially true, and in the context of Daniel, was for the last 3 ½ years. So, we’re not into an either/or choice here. When Huss was a martyr, he was a maskilim. C’mon! And all the people who believed in the word of God through Huss, has the same portion, goes to the same glory, whether they died a martyr’s death or not.
Let’s keep this realistic and down to earth, because there’s plenty to take you up to glory without getting elitist about this. And we’re not advocating for some overcomer theology of an inside man-child group, or something else that’s not true of the true Body of Christ, provided it’s the true Body of Christ. The true Body of Christ, corporately speaking now, is being taken to a transitional point, before the Lord returns, in the middle of Daniel’s week, that’s unparalleled since Pentecost. That I’m sure of, and that’s all we’re saying. If that’s a problem, I’m not sure, you know, that you should have that problem.
But having said that, we will have been straitened, by these closing in things, and these incredible fulfillments. We will know the time. We will be at the end of our power. We will be completely poured out, like Daniel. And we will be waiting, like the 110 in the upper room, for power. And not waiting. We’ll be busy. I mean, you could be very busy, out there, engaged, getting martyred, whatever, while you’re waiting. I’m not making…you’re not going to some enclave, some inside upper room to go wait. That’s not what we’re talking about.
But we will know the truth, and we will know that something is about to break in the very heavens, that’s gonna manifest itself on earth in two ways: a man of sin’s gonna be revealed and go to a temple, and as you know my view, he’s gonna be a risen man, and the accuser is coming down at that time, to fill that man, and to bring that final little time of ultimate woe upon the earth. At that same time, the accuser now being removed, the saints of God, both in heaven and earth, are going to be in total jubilee, because a baby’s been born, a beautiful reality of a corporate fulness that’s compared, in my view, to Mary’s baby, but it’s on a wide scale.
Remember, everything about Jesus, that prophetic spirit that was upon Him, all that…It’s not about something He attained by Himself. He attained it by the Spirit, through faith. He also was a man of grace. Everything about His life, from the beginning was grace. What we’re talking about does sound awfully elusive and remote and impossible, probably improbable to many of you. But, we’re talking about a time, at the same time the two witnesses are receiving their anointing, those that have understanding are being strong and doing exploits. It’s all in the middle of that week. And that can be proven from Scripture. If you’re in question of that, give us a chance to make the case.
That’s clear, that in the middle of the week, not just two witnesses in Jerusalem, but a whole body of people, that are the saints, that are compared to stars, are coming alive with great authority and anointing. And they’ll pay a price. There’s incredible persecution, unparalleled again. Not unparalleled in kind, or degree, or even in suffering, but unparalleled in the sense of a mass worldwide scale.
That’s what we’re talking about, so that people are being driven all the way into the dark, or all the way into the light. I call it the murky middle is being removed. And the saints, by what’s deeply in their heart, are being taken to a place to fulfill all that’s in their heart. And the wicked, what’s deeply in their heart, is being pushed to a place where they’re gonna manifest in the flesh all that’s in their heart.
This is the kinda time we’re talkin’ about. And isn’t it fitting, wouldn’t you agree? This is the kinda way a God who made everything would end an age. He would end an age in this kind of open display, where no tongue could rise up, no questions could be asked. That angels and nations have been educated, so that they beat their swords. You know, we’re talkin’ about a major education of our planet.
How else, and in what lesser way, would, reasonably, would history end? Or, not history, because we still have the Millennium, but, this age? This age would only end in a way that would do justice to the character and nature and glory of God. He did not do anything, He said before He would judge, before Israel would have the 70 AD event, He said to them, “Had I not done among you works and spoken words that no one ever did, that now you have no cloak.”
Don’t you find it reasonable that before the Lord will close shop?? on this planet, He will have first given them a witness that could not be reasonably gainsaid or resisted? That to resist it would be like…gnashing on Stephen with your teeth. It would be like, an absolute…you’d be driven, through your hatred of the light, into a frenzied rage, of absolute manifestation of sin in the flesh…with your head-guy incarnating your mystery…as our head, Adam, our second Adam, incarnated our mystery. But we are that mystery body. And we are…so that great division.
In other words, in all I’ve said here, Tom, is logic. It’s symmetry. It adds up. It fits. And that’s the greatest argument for it. It’s not just one little argument, and one point. It’s the whole picture, how it hangs together, fits together, and glorifies God in a way…I talk about…you’ve heard of The Tale of Two Cities? I like to talk about a tale of two stories. Our story…their story has a glory. Now it runs some serious parallel when these last days come, and it turns out to be a false story, in some aspects.
But I’m talkin’ about our replacement friends. They see a crucified redeemer, a blood atonement. They see enough, that I believe that many of them, truly, many of them, God knows, perhaps most are saved. They’re His people. But they don’t see the story, that has the greater glory, which is a tribulation fulness that comes around, a covenant that focuses upon the recovering again of the natural branches. This is a mighty feat, that is God’s own self-appointed mission impossible, to bring that people in, and to fulfill all His promise to them when they are actual enemies, for our sake. They exist in that condition, just like…you know, He’s…Lazarus was left in the tomb, in that condition, for the greater glory of God. God is able, and to demonstrate that, He’s going to bring them in. So, our story is a greater glory. It’s like The Tale of Two Cities. It’s a tale of two stories. We have a story that includes the vindication of the word of God in a millennium, that vindicates everything He said about the things leading up to the Day of the Lord, the Day of the Lord, and what follows from the Day of the Lord.
You don’t just come up to the end of the age, and go out in what I call a Laodicean fizzle, just boom, a backslidden church, suddenly one day the Lord shows up. That’s it. Now we’re gonna move to the new heavens and new earth…or whatever, or some post-millennial pervasiveness of the gospel. That’s mythical stuff! No, God will avenge Himself and openly demonstrate and vindicate Himself against all the gainsaying “Can He bring the kingdom of God on this earth?” Can He bring the kingdom of God to that disobedient and gainsaying people, and not another, not going off and leaving them and just finding those more compliant souls who are the great cooperators with God? No! He’s gonna raise them from the dead!
They are a statement of who He is, and all of us should understand our own grace on the basis of the template and pattern of their grace. That’s how Paul understood his. He was persecuting the truth, on the road to Damascus. One day, the next day, he was an apostle to the Gentiles. Israel is a gainsaying and disobedient people. One day, the day after Jacob’s trouble, and the King is back, they’re a light to the Gentiles.
There you have it. Now you see it, now you don’t! You know, it’s the resurrection! He is the God who raises the dead…with no thanks to you. And no glory to you. That’s what this whole thing’s about. I tell people all the time that the Scripture is about – summed up in one verse – it’s in Zechariah 4: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit”, says the Lord.
That’s the whole Bible. And God is so jealous for that, He will frustrate your every well-conceived plan, even to serve Him. He will literally let it all come to nothing. He will blast your gourd, wither it. He will continually shut you up, until you begin to know that there’s only one thing that comes out of God, it has to come out of death. It’s the rod, the dead rod that buds…and that secures the glory. It’s all Him. Not somehow where you “let Him be God” or made it happen or whatever.
Now you better be obedient; woe to you if you’re not obedient! Woe to you if you are not faithful to your stewardship. True. But Paul also says, “I obtained mercy to be faithful”. See the paradox. The necessity shut him up to depend on God who raises the dead so that the fulfillment of it was not him! But grace through faith through him! It wasn’t bypassing conveniently the conditions and saying “I got a special pass for you, Paul.” No! You’d better fulfill the conditions. Woe to you if you don’t!
But what does that do? The inflexible necessity shuts you up to a…and drives you down to a dependency that allows God to not share glory with your flesh, but bring about the fulfillment, even of your necessary daily faithfulness.
He’s the author and finisher of the whole deal. He doesn’t let you get in on it at any point. If you did, it would be polluted, it would be vitiated, it would be spoiled. It doesn’t take but a little leaven to ruin everything. God is so jealous that it not be by might, He doesn’t need big cheques, He doesn’t need anything that man thinks He needs. He will go out of His way to prove “that’s not what I need, and therefore, that’s not what I’m going to use. I’m looking for that weakness and that foolishness that’s intimate with My heart, and that waits for that, ‘cuz they’re too ruined for anything else.”
There’s nothing like being ruined by God. There’s nothing like being disappointed by God, because He’s about to appoint what He disappoints. He only says “no” – and it’s a firm, deeply-felt “no” – that He might say “yes”. But He’s gotta say no to your flesh and all your good ideas. And that’s just jealousy, ‘cuz He will not let man get in on even a scintilla of His glory.
Now how that works out – and I know there’s questions, I have ‘em too, I have ‘em too…I wrestle with a lot of questions that just don’t seem to…well, what part’s man? – I don’t know. But I know what I said was true just now. That much I know. And how that works out – human responsibility, sovereignty – I just leave it to the theologians. But I know – one thing I know, that man doesn’t get in on it at any point…at any point. It’s all a gift. You gift your way to glory. You don’t work your way, any part. It’s a gift, all the way from start to finish.
Even the whole plan of God, Romans 11 – “for unto Him, and through Him, and to Him” – He’s talking about a circle there. And there’s no place in there where He is recompensing what man gave. He’s not doing any of this with regard with what man gave, or what input, you know. The whole circle there just excludes man.
And He chose Israel to make the statement of that circle. And by the way, that’s why you’ve got to have a Jewish Millennium. You can’t just have a millennium with Christians. You’ve gotta have a millennium out of a nation that was dead and behold, it lives….out of a nation that wasn’t cooperating. You’ve gotta have a nation that was like Paul on the road to Damascus, pursuing, against the truth, with all of his zeal. And until he ran into Stephen, he had a robust conscience. But after Stephen, he would still even with more of a frenzied fury, but now with a divided…he was a conflicted man. He was kicking against the goads. That is huge, cuz Tom, that’s what the church has to be to Israel. We have to be Stephen.
There’s something in the logic of God that’s not just gonna…God doesn’t just come along and just presto changeo…fulfill My word. He always does it through weakness and through jars of clay. He moves mighty angels out of the way through a little guy on earth called Daniel. You see what I’m saying? He does nothing…but He is the author of that prayer, He’s the author of Daniel’s weakness. He’s the author of it all. But He does it through a chosen means, that He’s very jealous that we’re in the fight with Him, that we go through the travail with Him, that we rejoice with Him, and that we sorrow with Him.
Have you ever thought about you’re being called to sorrow with God? To fellowship in His sufferings? To feel the pain…with God? Only then will you know the glory…and feel the elation, and the glory. It all goes…it’s “are you in it with Him?” He’s certainly in it with you.
Brother, I’ve gone on too long. But I just felt the sense to keep on there while there’s a sense of life. Go ahead.
Tom: [Could you pray for…let’s say we put this on-line – this has been really good, Reggie, really good.]
If it’s been good, then you can believe it’s been given….’cuz I have no clue!
Tom: [Could you pray for the people that have watched this far, that either are getting the Divine “no”, right now… are being sifted, or will be sifted, just kind of in closing?]
Jesus, it was You that said, and seemed so fearful, and so painful that You said it, but You said it, and it was so good, in its end result. You said, “those that keep their life will lose it, but those that lose their lives will find it.”
But Lord, that’s just the problem. With man, this is impossible. We’re not able – we can will, we can resolve, we can make covenants and commitments, dedications. But we’re not able to lose our lives, Lord. We’re asking You to take ‘em, God, take ‘em! Possess us, Lord! Oh we want to be willing, Lord! We can’t ev…that grace…that we could be willing. But we’re not able to lose our lives. We need Your grace, Lord…so that we can lay it all down, ‘cuz there’s only one thing You resist. You resist pride. And pride can be in the most broken of people. Pride is so resilient. It’s so deep. It’s so hidden. It’s not like the puffy arrogance of the world. It’s just nothing but self-sufficient, self-reliance, even out of fear, out of a broken people, who just fearfully can’t let go of their fears. And the reason they can’t is they’re still depending on themselves. We do it at such an unconscious level. We don’t even know how impossible it is to stop depending on ourselves. We don’t know how impossible it is to truly trust You.
And that’s why we need the God who raises the dead. We need Your quickening, Lord. You quickened the dead. You don’t quicken the hopeful and the promising, and the cooperative.
We praise you for everything, Lord, which men, even in their own natural state, wills for good, and for right. It’s certainly a lot better than ISIS or something. But oh God! We don’t see our sin. No one can see it. You are a revelation, and sin is a revelation. It’s not with flesh. It’s not with our power. We can will to see it. We can desire, and thank You, we can pray. Luke 18:1 says if we persevere in prayer, it’s very hopeful.
So we do come Lord, and in our weakness, take away our own guarded schemes and thoughts about how to even help ourselves grow in grace, and all the other things that are so good. But yet, Lord, we’ve gotta have Your power take away our false strength. We’re not able to…we can give it to You now. We do it now even. We know, Lord, You hear our prayer. But we’re not able to cease from our own works; we’re not able to do that. We can focus on it, and we should. You tell us to labour to do that.
But Lord, it’s only as You help us, it’s only as You cause us. You said blessed is the man whom You choose, and cause to approach You. There was only one, really, who ever really approached You. You said, “Who is this that approaches?” and it was Jesus, Lord. But because He did, we can. And through Him, we can, and You receive us for His sake, and through Him.
And You do things that are impossible, Lord. And today, we’re asking You to help us lose our lives, because in holding on to our lives, and to our dreams and our schemes, like the world teaches us to do, Lord, by doing that, Lord, we cheat ourselves, Lord, and You. And we are a poor education to the ages.
But when we are able to come to You and say, “Lord, it’s not in my power” therefore, we apply to You for Your power”, to take us where we could never go, then we are blessed, You are blessed, and the angels are educated, in a blessed way. And they can say, You can say of us, like You did, “Who is My servant, like My servant, Job?” And I know You have that in Your heart to say about a corporate body, Lord. And I know many precious saints have attained it, and there’s others who perhaps haven’t attained that, but You love them too, and they have their reward.
But we pray, God, that we will be jealous for the best that You have, Lord. But to have the best, we must, we must lose it all, that we would set our vain affections on are set up??? Lord, we just need surgery! We need Your own searching to go in. David himself said, “Cleanse me from secret faults, because who can even know their errors?” Lord, sin is so pervasive and so hidden. Only You can spot it and expose it and deliver us. Put Your finger on it.
Lord, we know You cannot brook, and You cannot…You’re gracious…we know there is a common grace, but Lord, we know that Your best cannot cooperate with sin, with even willful blindness of any kind. Lord, but then there’s a blindness that’s not willful, that we also need to be disabused of. There’s a blindness that just comes with what we are.
And we ask, Lord God, that You’d open our eyes. Break our hearts, and give us tasted visions of Your glory, so that there’s no rival, there’s no idolatry, there’s no, there’s no one to compare in heaven but You, and on earth, there’s none beside You. That our eye is single. You said if our eye would be single, our body is full of light.
So we come to You, Lord. Yes, we…better, we must…lose our lives. And woe to us if we don’t. But Lord, we can’t. But Lord, we must. But Lord, we shall through Your grace. And sometimes, it’s by increments, and sometimes…
But Lord, take away the lie that we can somehow regulate and calculate and accomplish things through will and good intentions, which is really not Your Spirit. And You must blast it, You must resist it. And woe to those who have success in that, Lord. We don’t want success. Sometimes, what people hail as the very blessing of God is a…is a judgment, though it’s very successful outwardly, commends itself outwardly. Yet, Lord, it’s not Your Spirit, and will not receive reward in that day. It will be wood and hay and stubble.
So we’re not able to have Your jealousy, Lord, but You could give it to us, and we ask for that today, that we would be jealous. And in our sharing today, we mentioned many times about being ruined, so that we can’t settle for less. Let us truly say our eyes have seen the glory. And that, Lord, we are shut up. And Lord, we want You to be glorified in all the earth. We want Your name, not our name. We want Your way, not our way.
Help us, oh God. Cause us to break the power of this strong flesh that’s more proud than we can imagine or know. It’s more self-dependent, even in its fears. And even in its efforts, Lord. We could never get humble enough. We could never bow down enough. Lord, it’s wise and good and right to fast and pray and seek You, and continue to knock. But we could never bow down enough. Only You can bow us down, Lord. Take us to that place, which we cannot attain. You must come to us. You must come to us. Draw us with cords. Let us lose our lives, so that You can begin to entrust us the true riches.
Let us wait with patience.
Lord, I personally am full of so many promising ideas and You keep blasting and frustrating all of them. And I just can’t seem to do a thing, Lord. And I just want to be…not grieved that my gourd is withered. Lord, I want to rejoice. I want to rejoice that You resist me. I want to rejoice that You say, “no”. I want to rejoice, Lord God, and wait for You, and not to think that I have to have all kinds of time, and all kinds of freedom from diversions, or distractions, Lord.
That again is power. All those things are power. Lord, You give those things. Yes, we need those things, and You know what we have need of. But oh God, our trust is with You, Lord. Not with our opportunities. Lord, Father, we have failed, and wasted, we could regret, we could go into a bog of regret. But we pray, God we will not look back. We pray, Lord God, we will see the “yea and amen”. Your promises are precious, Lord, and by these, we partake of Your Divine nature.
Lord, let us be a people who live by faith, every word that proceeds from Your mouth, that live by the promises, and not by the predicaments of our lives. Let those things not rule us. Let us not be bullied by principalities and powers, and high imaginations and persuasions that don’t come from heaven.
Lord, let us be so lost to ourselves in this world, in this evil age, and so separated unto You, that You can afford, without giving any power to the flesh, You can afford to give us precious things of Christ, and allow us to glorify You and bring a faithful prophetic truth and a standard and a plumbline in our generation.
And Lord, we’re just gonna say again, “Come quickly!” In the hemorrhaging, in the gloating of the demonic powers, in the high looks. We know You’re a God of common grace, and there’s sweet and wonderful things happening all over the planet right now. But Lord God, You’re touched by all the tragedy, all the abuse, all the molestation…and all the exploitation, and all those exalted high things, that are getting away, literally, with murder. But they won’t get away.
Come, Lord Jesus, come and put an end, that You’re name would be magnified in all the earth, and all their high speeches would come down…in one day! Oh God, we saw just a little taste of how completely astonished and upset everyone was, and how You do things, Lord, that just humble pride.
And Lord, help us not hate it when You humble pride, but help us always kiss the hand that wounds us, Lord, ‘cuz “faithful are the wounds of a friend”. When You let the air out of our balloon, Lord, and You close in, and You let us see what it would be like for one moment without You, just so You…You say for that moment, “no”, then You say “yes”, and in a way, You hide Your glorious “yes” behind a “no” that’s very firm, and it looks final. On the surface, Lord, it looks so final; You say, “no”. But Your heart is to say, “yes”.
So Lord, I just ask that we would lose our lives…and find our lives, by the grace that comes to us. You study, You know each one of us is so different. But You know the way that You take with each one of us, Lord, that we would not miss Your best, that we would not settle for less. ‘Cuz I know, Lord, if there’s any tears in heaven, they’re soon wiped away if there is. Lord, I know the greatest regret would be to have settled for less than it might have been if we weren’t so busy and taken with our self-carnal dependency, even in terms of spiritual achievements or success or anything else.
Lord, spiritual things, just like natural things, cannot be approached with the will and power of man. They can only be approached through the cross, both in the natural and the spiritual. And to have success that’s not out of that cross is no success at all. It’s a hidden judgment, and sometimes that judgment is not just something bad that happens to us, but it’s what we impoverish ourselves of; it’s the supply that we cut off from ourselves, but not there You???
So keep us, Lord, in that place in Isaiah 66, that trembles at Your word…and does not lift ourselves up, Lord God. But make us as a weaned child and let us tremble at Your word, and be that broken thing, Lord, that You can pour into.
Lord, thank You for what You’re showing us in these days. But Lord, we have to ask You, fulfill Your word. Take the mountains of opposition that are between us and Your return, things that have to be fulfilled in prophecy, even still, that are so externally improbable. Yet Lord, look at what You’ve done. You brought Israel back after centuries. You are God. You are God, and You will be God.
Thank You, God. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This verse has long fascinated me. I find the words “must” and “all” most
compelling. Could you elaborate and shed more light?
“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21; KJV)
Your question is a very good one. As with Peter’s initial sermon on Pentecost, this passage also breaks the new, unexpected ground of the formerly unknown mystery of Messiah’s twice appearing to Israel.
In the rare instances where it might have been expected that Messiah would suffer before entering into His glory (Jn 1:29, 36; Lk 2:34-35; 24:26; 1Pet 1:11), this was typically conceived of something that would happen in the final tribulation, towards the very end, whereupon the slain Messiah would very shortly rise with the rest of the righteous dead, slay the Antichrist (compare Isa 11:4 in the Greek Septuagint with 2Thes 2:8) and begin His rod iron rule over the nations out of a cleansed and restored Jerusalem.
Though fully foretold in the mystery contained in the prophetic writings (Acts 26:22-23; Ro 16:25-26) no one had ever conceived that Messiah would come twice. Even where it might have been understood by the prophets and a rare few that Messiah must die before entering upon His rod iron reign over the nations, it was never imagined that His resurrection would not be at the ‘last day’, but in the midst of history, creating a new and unexpected interim between the advents. Before the Spirit’s revelation at Pentecost, this was NOT on anyone’s radar. This is why Paul would speak of the ‘mystery of Christ’ and the ‘mystery of the gospel’.
With the descent of the Spirit on Pentecost, it was now revealed (1Pet 1:11-12) that Jesus’ foretold death was to result in His ascension to God’s right hand, there to remain until His post-tribulational return. This is what Peter means by his use of the word, ‘must’. The heavens ‘must’ receive Jesus, which is to say He must continue to remain seated at God’s right hand, UNTIL His enemies are made His footstool at His return to destroy the Antichrist, raise the righteous dead, and Deliver captive Israel at the great day of the Lord (Dan 12:1-2). It is then, at that day, of which ‘ALL’ the prophets spoke, that Israel’s fortunes would be restored as at the first. It is then that ‘ALL’ the prophets expected all the covenants of promise to be most completely fulfilled in their regeneration and return, as a newly born, entirely Spirit filled nation. This is the day that ends the time of gentile dominion, with the judgment of the wicked and long awaited restoration of Israel. Until then, Jesus ‘must’ wait at God’s right hand ‘TILL’ His enemies are made His footstool.
This, of course, takes place with the Deliverer’s descent out of Zion (heavenly Zion) to the earthly Zion (Isa 59:17-21; Ro 11:25-29), as the beleaguered nation is spiritually born / raised “in one day” (Isa 66:8; Eze 39:22; Zech 3:9; 12:10), able now by the Spirit of revelation to ‘look upon’ their descending Messiah as the One whom the nation pierced (Ps 102:13; 110:3; Zech 12:10 with Mt 23:39; Acts 3:21; Ro 11:26; Rev 1:7).
Just to add this quick note not directly related: As Saul was profoundly impacted by the spectacle of Stephen’s martyrdom, his secure categories all shattered, just so, we may well infer that it will take the martyr witness of the end time remnant to prepare the Jewish heart world-wide for the lifting of the veil at Jesus’ return, we believe in remarkable analogy to Paul’s arrest on the road to Damascus. Here will be the difference in outcome between the Holocaust and Jacob’s trouble! It is where God will have brought the bride in final clarity of prophetic witness and the fullness of the stature of Jesus.
Her final witness will be as indelibly impressed on a restored Israel’s memory as Stephen’s martyrdom was to Paul. It is not only because the clock has struck, but because the body of Christ, as bearer of the precious seed, “the pillar and ground of truth”, will have been brought to its appointed completion. THIS is why Israel’s eyes will be opened “at the set time to favor Zion” (Ps 102:13). It is the vindication of God’s eschatological purpose that Israel be made jealous through a largely gentile bride, the “foolish nation” of prophecy.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
It is not the new birth, or even special empowerment by the Spirit that dispensationalists deny to the saints of the tribulation. How could they? They see well enough the power of the two witnesses and the mighty exploits that are being accomplished by the maskilim of Dan 11:32-33, 12:3, 10. They would even grant the special “coming upon” of the Spirit, selectively received throughout the OT, but corporately upon the fledgling church at Pentecost (Acts 1:8; 8:15-16). What they deny is that tribulation saints are “indwelt” by the Spirit.
It is hard to overstate how far this runs against the a biblical theology of the Holy Spirit and the doctrine of regeneration, as it pertains to both testaments, but this is nonetheless a key component of the system. But many, even in their own camp, are often not aware of this, and have not thought through why this view is an essential pillar of pre-tribulational dispensationalism.
But if tribulation saints are not indwelt by the Spirit, what of the truth of the believer’s adoption and union with Christ, as common partakers of the divine nature? How does one sustain union with the divine nature if this is not internal? How is one who is born of the Spirit not also indwelt by the Spirit? What happens to the New Covenant promise of a new spirit and new heart? What of the new creation that the believer becomes through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit?
Is not the Spirit that came at Pentecost the same that was promised all throughout the prophets? And will this promise not have a yet further fulfillment when the penitent survivors of Israel will receive the Spirit in the yet coming Day of the Lord? Are we to believe that the blessing of Pentecost and the New Covenant will be different, or something inferior for tribulation saints and the Jews who come into the blessings of the New Covenant at Jesus’ return? And what of the saved of the nations throughout the millennium? Will they NOT be indwelt by the Holy Spirit and therefore NOT qualify as members of Christ’s body?
John F. Walvoord and other pre-trib defenders speak of a “reversal of Pentecost”. Does this not imply a ‘retraction’ of the blessing of Pentecost? How would that notion suit Pentecostals? Yet many of them embrace the pre-trib rapture of the bride whom they distinguish form the saints of the tribulation. But how can there be a reversal of Pentecost without the equally impossible notion of a reversal of the New Covenant? Since the gift of the Spirit’s indwelling belongs to the blessing of the New Covenant secured in the Redeemer’s blood, how can this be reversed in the case of believers who come to faith during the tribulation and beyond?
Since the Spirit was (in some sense) “not yet given” until Christ was glorified (Jn 7:39), it is no more possible for a reversal of Pentecost than the reversal of the basis on which He would now be given. Now that Jesus has been glorified, the Spirit has also been ‘forever given’ in the full light of the revelation of that once and for all event. The relation of these two realities, the glorification of Jesus and the gift of the Spirit, are inseparable, not only throughout this age, but no less the millennial age to come. Yet dispensationalists would have us believe that tribulation saints will not be indwelt. Why not? Simply because this would make them members of the body of Christ based on such scriptures as 1Cor 6:17; 12:13; Eph 2:17; 4:4, etc.
In its original context, the eschatological promise of the Spirit was to the penitent survivors of Israel at the post-tribulational Day of the Lord (Isa 32:15; 59:21; Eze 11:19; 36:26-27; 37:14; 39:29; Joel 2:29-32; Zech 12:10-13:1). With the glorification of Jesus, the “promise of the Father” has come as first fruits in unexpected advance of “that day”, but this does nothing to cancel or change its original application and fulfillment in the still future DOL. Now that the New Covenant has been sealed in the Savior’s blood, how can it be thought that those who receive the promise in that coming day will receive something inferior to what the church received at Pentecost in first-fruits fulfillment of that very promise?
What is it then about God’s beloved saints enduring the persecution of the Antichrist that deprives them of the advantage of the Spirit’s indwelling? Shall post-tribulational Israel receive something inferior in the day of their national repentance than the fledgling community of Jesus confessors received at Pentecost on the very basis of that very promise? This is a question pre-tribulationists ought to reconsider, since they hold with us that the penitent Jewish survivors of Jacob’s trouble will indeed receive the promise of the Spirit at that time.
To rephrase the question: will those who receive the promise of the Spirit in its original, post-tribulational context, receive something less (“with” but not “in”) than the body of Christ received at Pentecost? Yet if the receive the Pentecostal blessing of the Spirit’s indwelling that the church of this age receives, how will they not be members of Christ’s body, particularly now that Jesus has been glorified? Why would tribulation saints not also be baptized by the one Spirit into the one body now that Jesus has been glorified?
I don’t think most pre-tribulationists have thought this through, or really seriously faced the implications of their unique view of the church that depends entirely on some very erroneous notions of the Spirit’s indwelling, as limited only to a presumed mystery church age. Now that Jesus has been once and for all glorified, there is no returning to an inferior, pre-Pentecost relationship of only ‘with’ but not ‘in’. Why would there be? Such an inference would not exist were it not for its essential expedience to support a view of the church that did not exit before Darby. The reason is clear.
Dispensationalism’s defense of the doctrine of imminence depends entirely on their defense of an ecclesiology that keeps the church out of the tribulation and no less out of the millennium. This is because of their view that the church is a mystery organism, belonging strictly to this present mystery dispensation, unforeseen and unforetold in the prophets. All the saved before Pentecost and those saved after the pre-tribulation rapture cannot belong to the ‘mystery body of Christ’. They belong instead to God’s program for Israel and the nations. So those who believe on Jesus after the rapture cannot, on this view, be reckoned as belonging to the body of Christ.
Dispensationalism depends on a view of the Pauline mystery that must be regarded as completely separate and distinct from the “mystery of the gospel and of Christ” (Eph 6:19), which is admittedly foretold in the OT scriptures. It is not only God’s eternal purpose to incorporate gentiles into equal standing in one body that was hid in other ages (Eph 3:6), but the mystery of the gospel itself (Ro 16:25-26; 1Pet 1:11-12), and this mystery was certainly fully foretold in the “scriptures of the prophets”. So already the idea that a mystery can have nothing to do with what was foretold in prophecy breaks down. To support, then, the idea of the church as a mystery organism, separate and distinct from all other saints in the OT, the tribulation, or the millennium, dispensationalism must conceive of the church, not only as a new revelation, but an entirely new entity, separate and distinct from all who will be saved in the tribulation and beyond.
It is one thing to “distinguish” between the church as the regenerate people of God and “Israel after the flesh”, elect and predestined, but not yet in Christ, but to posit a separation between the regenerate saints of the present time from all who are no less born again in the tribulation and beyond, is opposed to the Bible’s own definition of the nature of regeneration, and what constitutes believers as the body of Christ by reason of living union through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Dispensationalism’s unique understanding of the Pauline mystery is foundational to the system introduced by Darby. Certainly the church was not, and could not be revealed as the body of Christ until the gospel was revealed, but does this mean that the church, in its essential nature, as joined to God by the Spirit, had no prior existence? (1Cor 6:17). Here is a principle too little considered: For something to be newly revealed, or come more fully to light, does not necessarily mean it has had no prior existence.
This is a very neglected consideration. We see this with the gospel, with Christ, and particularly His two comings, which were certainly foretold, but not understood until the gospel was publicly revealed with the Spirit’s descent at Pentecost (compare Ro 16:25-26; 1Pet 1:11=12). This was entirely new to the understanding, but not new to what could be shown to have been fully foretold in the writings of the prophets. Yet Paul calls this fully foretold gospel a mystery that was kept secret in other ages (Acts 26:22-23; Rom 16:25-26; Eph 6:19).
For the dispensational view of the mystery to stand, it must be distanced from anything foretold in the OT, and nothing of OT prophecy can intermingle with this ‘mystery age’ that the church is assumed to occupy, as extending only from Pentecost to the rapture. The tribulation belongs to another dispensation entirely.
Why do dispensationalists find it necessary to assume this? It is because there can be no compromise of imminence. If the abiding possibility of the rapture is not to be put off beyond any intervening events foretold in OT prophecy, then for imminence to stand as an abiding, ever present possibility, no foretold event can exist in OT prophecy that must be fulfilled before the 70th week begins. All outstanding and un-fulfilled OT prophecy can only be seen on the other side of the rapture, fully contained in Daniel’ 70th week. Otherwise, if it can be shown that there are prophecies in the OT that could only be fulfilled in the long age between the advents, then, of course, imminence becomes impossible.
But a careful study and comparison of parallels of Paul’s use of the term, mystery, or secret will not permit this kind of complete dissociation from the mystery contained in the OT scriptures. Yes, there are discrete and distinct mysteries, not all of which were specifically foretold in the prophets, but these could only come to light by the revelation of the gospel (Ro 16:25-26).
Certainly the mystery of Christ and the church could not be understood as it is now, but since the revelation of the mystery of the gospel, the means by which God would accomplish His eternal purpose to bring all things together into one could now be made be made known (Eph 1:9; 3:5-6), not only to the church but to the principalities and powers (Eph 3:10). The mystery revealed to Paul was that through the instrumentality of the gospel (“by the gospel”), as a secret now revealed, God would fulfill His original promise to bless all nations through Abraham’s Seed, only this would accomplish something far more grand than anything that could have been conceived before. Not only would the nations be blessed, they would become fellow equals in the inheritance of the saints in the one, regenerate people of God, revealed now as the body of Christ, God’s one new man (regenerate man).
This is NOT something that is temporary, as in dispensationalism, but continues to be the revelation of everyone who believes on Christ until the final perfection of new heavens and earth. Granted, this discrete mystery revealed to Paul was not specifically spelled out anywhere in the writings of the prophets, but it is bound to the larger revelation of the gospel that is its basis. Therefore, in Paul’s mind, the mystery of the church is a piece with the mystery of the gospel.
Notably, one aspect that shows the relationship of the mystery to OT prophecy is its wonderful capacity for verifying the truth claims of the gospel by solving the puzzle of prophecy (1Pet 1:11-12). The agreement of the revealed mystery with all that stood written in the prophets was regarded as the gospel’s greatest evidence of proof (Acts 26:22-23). Yet, this evidence, so compelling in retrospect, was purposely hidden, not only from the pride of man, but necessarily from the righteous too, until the time appointed.
This is so that the mystery would remain hidden, even from the rulers of the darkness of this age, so that they would not know the ‘hidden wisdom’ until it was too late (1Cor 2:7-8; Rom 16:25-26). It was a divinely set trap (Isa 8:14-17 with 1Cor 2:7-8). So Paul’s view of mystery is not disconnected from Jesus’ teaching on the “mystery of the kingdom”, as the new form the kingdom would take throughout an unexpected, inter-advent period.
This idea of a mystery, closed up and sealed among the Lord’s disciples, has its background in the OT’s view of the sealed vision (Isa 8:14-17; 29:11; Dan 9:24; 12:4, 9; Hab 2:2-3). It is this that make the Messiah to be a stone of stumbling in His appointed time, but that’s another whole study in its own right, but very relevant to how we would see Paul’s use of the concept of the revelation of concealed secrets in contrast to dispensationalism’s interest to divide between two, regenerate peoples of God in order to keep the church out of the tribulation.
But suppose the concession is made, (as some non-dispensationalist also believe), that the church (as now defined) did not exist in any form before Pentecost. What then? Surely this is no proof that the church does not appear on earth again after the rapture, and that believers who come to faith during the tribulation and beyond are any the less to be reckoned as members of Christ’s body. This would be to suggest that a once and for all revelation could somehow recede back to something inferior, according to the dispensationalists’s reading of Jn 7:39 with Jn 14:17.
So in order preserve the doctrine of imminence, the church must be raptured before any of the signs of the 70th week can begin, obviously. Therefore, to make the church of this present, “mystery age”, exempt from the tribulation, something must explain the presence of saints in the tribulation, as seen so clearly all throughout the book of Revelation. Here is where dispensationalists turn to texts on the Holy Spirit to support the concept that only believers of this age can belong to the body of Christ, because only believers of this age have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
To uphold the system, they must define the church out of the tribulation, ‘at all costs’. Identify tribulation believers as members of Christ’s body and all is lost, case closed. That would put the church in the tribulation. That’s the logic. Thus the invention of a new, and unprecedented doctrine of the church that denies to the faithful of the tribulation identity as members of Christ’s body. We may find traces of the doctrine of imminence in church history, most often on the presumption that the Antichrist is present, but never this. This is new, original with Darby.
Like tribulation saints, millennial believers are also believed to sustain a pre-Pentecostal relationship to the Spirit, “with” but not “in”. Fantastical, I know, but this is some of the ugly underbelly that is taught in the seminaries in the interest defending the indefensible. Unhappily, much of this never reaches the people in the pew. They get just enough to be inoculated from a fair hearing of an alternative, mediating view, and never learn what academic pre-tribulationists know very well to be necessary to sustain the system. As for example, what would the average pre-tribulationist think if they knew what the academics at the seminary know, that for the system to work, Job, Isaiah, Daniel, and all the saints of the OT must remain in the dust of the earth for another seven years after the rapture, while the church is in heaven celebrating the marriage of the Lamb?
By defining the church out of the tribulation period, not only is the church protected from wrath (as though tribulation saints and Jews fed and preserved in the wilderness will NOT be protected from divine wrath, not to mention the surviving gentiles who facilitate Jewish return after the tribulation is over), but by removing the church from earth before the onset of Daniel’s 70th week, the doctrine of imminence is safeguarded, because all of the signs that definitely signal the Lord’s return belong to the 70th week, safely on the other side of the rapture. So nothing needs to happen that might signal Jesus’ return to rapture the church, since the signs belong to the 70th week.
The problem with this is view of imminence is the necessary reconstitution of Israel as a viable nation populated by Jews, with Jerusalem at its center (see Dan 12:1; Eze 38:8; Zech 12:2-3 et al). This is a comparatively recent development that did not exist for centuries!
Think about it: For nearly 17 centuries, the Jews were almost everywhere else but in their own Land. The Land was to lie waste and desolate, not for one, but for “many generations” (Isa 61:4). Not only this, but the temple that the last aggressor will “tread down, burn, and lay waste” is very significantly one that has been only recently recovered to Jewish possession (“possessed it but a little while”; Isa 63:18; 64:10-11). The context is clearly the final desolation of Jerusalem and the Jews’ final deliverance at the DOL. No other assault, whether Babylon, Greece, or Rome has burned a temple that the Jews had possessed only a “little while”.
Either this language is merely a metaphorical of a ‘seemingly’ short time, or it is literal, and necessarily future. The point is this: No other period has answered to the “many generations” of desolation as referred to in Isa 61:4. The Babylonian captivity was a single generation, 70 years. Only the long Diaspora that followed the Roman destruction can answer to these details. So how could Jesus return at any moment since Paul allegedly introduced the mystery of the pre-trib rapture sometime before his first letter to the Corinthians? And what was the “blessed hope” of believers living between Pentecost and Paul’s supposed new revelation? May I suggest it must have been the hope that Jesus gave to every believer drawn by the Spirit, namely, resurrection at the “last day” (Jn 6:39, 44; 11:24).
How possible then was an imminent return when there was no Jewish nation in existence to strike an agreement with the Antichrist? It is one thing to teach an any moment coming when the temple was still standing, and Daniel’s 70th week might begin without obstacle. It might seem possible again to teach an imminent return before the tribulation after the modern repatriation of the Land, but HOW can pre-tribulationists consider a pre-tribulational return a viable possibility for the 17 centuries during which the Jewish people were everywhere but in the Land? Where would be the “many generations” of desolation, not to mention many other details of the foretold Jewish experience all throughout the long Diaspora that began with the Roman expulsion?
But I digress; back to the issue of the Spirit. So we see Dispensationalism’s ‘interest’ to find anything that might seem to support their distinction between the saints of this, so-called “church age” (a term so completely assumed you would almost think it exists in scripture). They believe they find justification to distinguish so-called “church saints” from so-called, “tribulation saints” by their understanding of Holy Spirit’s relation to the body of Christ as unique to believers of this mystery church age.
They argue, and who will not agree?, that the Spirit was in some sense “not yet given”, because Jesus was “not yet glorified” (Jn 7:39). They further point out that Jesus speaks of the Spirit who is now “with” the disciples but “will be” (future tense) “in” them (Jn 14:17). Dispensationalists make much of this to argue that before Pentecost the Spirit was only “with” OT believers. He was not “in” them. When it is pointed out that many of the OT saints were indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, with Peter affirming the same in the NT (1Pet 1:11), the response is, “yes, but the Spirt did not indwell them PERMANENTLY”. Well, they were either born again or they weren’t, and how else do the dead live and sustain a living relationship with the living God? (Mt 22:32). We can see from Jesus’ remarks to Nicodemus that He did not regard the new birth as something new or future, but a present necessity to discern the things of the Spirit, as Paul would also so clearly affirm (1Cor 2:14). In the OT, the children of the flesh persecuted the children of the Spirit, even as now (Gal 4:29), and so on we could multiply examples.
But perhaps the most exegetically unsupportable ‘reach’, illustrating how one unproven inference demands another, is when pre-tribulationists advance the notion that not only “assumes” that the Holy Spirit is the un-identified personal restrainer of 2Thes 2:7, but that it is the church that must be removed before the man of sin can be revealed. It is one thing to say the Holy Spirit is the one who is holding back the revelation of the man of sin (itself a mere inference); it is quite something else to say it is particularly His indwelling of the church that requires that the church be removed. How is this arrived at?
Pre-tribulationists do NOT want to say that the Holy Spirit is removed entirely from the earth. They know that no one could be born again after the rapture except by the Spirit, of course. Therefore they reason that it is particularly the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence in the believers (of this age) that is removed. Thus, the church is removed. And, as we have shown, since the church as the body of Christ is defined by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, they reason that those who come to faith during the tribulation cannot be the body of Christ. Well, there it is. This is what they teach, and must teach in order to keep the church out of the tribulation, in order to maintain the any moment return to terminate the mystery body’s limited tenure on this earth.
It is a shameful grabbing at straws, and like all wood, hay, and straw, it will go up in smoke not many days hence, but at what cost? The prophetic people of God must not only identify error, they must ask why it has come, particularly just now? What does it threaten? What will it cost in the day when it will be required?
Before ending this, I can anticipate that many will want to ask in what sense was the Spirit “not yet given” in Jn 7:39? I may not know the right or complete answer, but I’m sure enough of a few things it cannot mean. It cannot mean that no one was ever indwelt by the Spirit before Pentecost. That would be a contradiction of a host of scriptures bearing upon the nature of vital regeneration and flatly contradict 1Pet 1:11 that says that the Spirit of Christ was “in” the prophets. When this is pointed out, it is ‘desperately’ argued that He ONLY in-dwelt the prophets, or worse, that He did not PERMANENTLY indwell them.
While the Spirit certainly came in a much fuller, ‘corporate’ measure, with signs following, there were signs before Pentecost. So in what way did He come that was wholly new? I can only suggest, but one thing that was truly new and without precedent. It is the Spirit’s descent upon the whole of the church. All that were being daily added to the church received the ‘coming upon’, ‘falling upon’ of the Spirit’s power and anointing. This fulfilled Moses’ desire that the prophetic anointing would come upon all the people (Num 11:29).
The special empowerment of the Spirit was no longer selective, as in the OT, but came upon all, not only in gifts and signs, but perhaps the best answer is that now, the Spirit would come as the Spirit of revelation, opening to clear view the mystery that many prophets and righteous, even angels desired to look into (Mt 13:17; 1Pet 1:12). The full glory of the revealed mystery could only break on the disciples’s understanding AFTER Jesus was glorified, and now the gospel could be proclaimed to the whole world. This is just the point of Pentecost. This is at least one sense in which the Spirit came in power that is not too much considered in studies and discussions of what changed at Pentecost.
I suspect that the phenomenon of revelation and the deep piercing of the heart, all in conjunction with the appointed time, is what sets Pentecost apart, as it set in motion the church’s mission to the nations. That’s perhaps part of the explanation of what unique, new sense the Spirit had not yet been given.
As for Jn 14:17, I suggest that far too much has been concluded beyond its simple intent. It is typically taken to mean that the Spirit who is “with” the disciples would come at some future time to be “in” them. I don’t think that’s the point, though, of course, it could be so argued, provided this was the only text to use this language, and provided that such a conclusion didn’t conflict with other clear texts bearing upon the question. But I invite us us to look at another text in John’s second epistle where the same language is used.
“For the truth’s sake, which dwells ‘in’ us, and shall be ‘with’; us forever” (2Jn 2). Observe that here we have an inversion of the same expression, “with”, and “shall be in”. Who would want to suggest that the truth, which now dwells “in us” will change His relation to an inferior position of only “dwelling WITH us” sometime in the future? I submit that this is simply what is called a ‘synonymous parallelism’, intended only to stress the abiding nature of the Spirit’s, or in this case, the truth’s relation to the believer, and not a change of position or relationship.
In my view, the disciples would hear this comfort from Jesus, not as a change of location, but an assurance that the One currently with them, would come to them in the person of ‘another Comforter’ and remain ‘in’ them forever, not that they were currently un-born again, or un-indwelt by the Spirit. Jesus had pronounced them all “clean”, except Judas (Jn 13:10), and this could never be said apart from the regenerating work of the Spirit that implies the indwelling of the divine nature, which Peter will make the equivalent of being ‘born again by the Word’, something that we may be sure distinguished the living from the dead, not only in the NT but no less in the OT (1Pet 1:23). Being born of the Word of God, as being partaker of the divine nature by the Spirit’s indwelling, is certainly NOT limited to NT believers, as a number of scriptures, and many necessary inferences can be produced to show. .
But again, even if it were granted that the Holy Spirit indwells believers in this age in some unique, unprecedented way, this would not mean that He will do less for tribulation saints, particularly since His indwelling is based on the once and for all glorification of Jesus. Conclusion: Tribulation saints, and all who come to faith throughout the millennium will be no less the body of Christ on earth than those who have the Spirit now.