The Jews who read Daniel as inspired prophecy would have understood that the temple that God commanded the returning exiles to rebuild (see Hag / Zech) was, from its beginning, a doomed edifice. As early as they had access to the book of Daniel, they could see that ‘at the time of the end’, the temple would again be surrendered over to destruction when a final aggressor (‘little horn’; Dan 7:8; 8:9) would defile the holy place and again tread down the holy city, as so read Jesus and His disciples (Mt 24:15-16; 2Thes 2:4; Rev 11:2).
Unlike many modern scholars, they saw this, not as a passing episode that did NOT realize the final deliverance of Daniel’s people (e.g., the Syrian occupation of 166-163 B.C), but as necessarily bringing in the more ultimate end of the age, even the resurrection of the righteous (Dan 12:1-2). From this, they would know that the temple would be standing for many generations, and regardless of the interruption that happened briefly in the second century B.C. under the Syrian tyrant, Antiochus IV, many understood, as Jesus would predict, that the temple would certainly be standing when the final desecration would be accomplished, just 3.5 years before the end.
It becomes very noteworthy then that the temple of Isa 63:18; 64:10-11 (which notably echoes the language of Ps 74), is described as being in Jewish possession for only “a little while” when the final desolation comes (Isa 63:18; 64:10-11). The context is clearly the end of exile. This is very significant, and a very crucial point in our apologetic, because it goes perfectly to explain why nothing in history has sufficiently answered to the 2300 days of Dan 8:9-14.
The difference between the half week described in Dan 7:25; 9:27; 12:7, 11, and the longer period of Dan 8:14 is the difference in the starting point of the sacrifice. This is clear, since both periods include the desolating sacrilege that starts the tribulation that arrives at the same end, notably an ‘end’ that Daniel ties, not only to Israel’s long awaited deliverance but also to the resurrection of the righteous (Dan 12:1-2).
The logic is this: if the 2300 days of Dan 8:13-14 has not been fulfilled in antiquity (as no proffered account of the chronology, either of the Syrian desecration or the Roman siege, answers nearly enough to the specificity of the time), and if the days are not arbitrarily converted into years, as in the historicist school and Adventism, and, since the end in view is nothing short of the eschatological climax of Israel’s permanent and everlasting deliverance in conclusion of the times of the gentiles, then it seems only one conclusion can follow. The 2300 days marks the time from which the sacrifice begins.
Since the sacrifice is stopped in the middle of the week to begin the last 3.5 years of unequaled tribulation, when did it start? At the time of the Roman destruction of the temple of 67-70 A.D., the sacrifice had been uninterrupted since it was taken away for the space of exactly 3 years by Antiochus IV, from Dec 25 166 to Dec 25 163 B.C. The sacrifice was once more suspended for only a day at the end of Pompeii’s three month siege of Jerusalem in 63 B.C. After that, it continued uninterrupted until the Roman siege of 67 A.D. Since then, the Jews have been without a temple and sacrifice (‘many days’; Hos 3:4-5).
If the temple that is desecrated to begin the last tribulation is one that has been in Jewish possession for only ‘a little while’, and if the 2300 day prophecy of Dan 8:13-14 is speaking of a sacrifice that has only recently started when it is stopped, then it becomes clear that the prophecy of Daniel could not, under any regard for the details of the prophecy, have been fulfilled while the second temple was standing. This means that the sacrifice that is taken away in the middle of the week (Dan 9:27; 12:11) cannot be confused with the sacrifice that continued in the second temple until it was stopped by the 70 A.D. destruction of the Romans. It could only belong to a future temple that hosts a sacrifice that has only recently started, because the temple itself has only recently been rebuilt, according to Isa 63:18.
Therefore, if we can say that the 2300 terminates at the point of the 1290th day of Dan 12:11, then, by counting backwards, we arrive at the approximate time the sacrifice will start again. I say approximate, because it is only an inference to assume that the sanctuary is cleansed exactly on the 1290th day after the stopping of the sacrifice. Though possible, it is not clearly stated.
If we allow the example of Hanukkah to inform the meaning of the cleansing of the sanctuary, then this may take place sometime later than the 1290, perhaps further out, somewhere within the 1335 days. Obviously, this takes us past the Lord’s return into the early days of the millennium when a new temple will be dedicated on the topographically transformed table land of Zech 14:9-11; as “the mountain of the Lord’s house will be established in the tops of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it” (Isa 2:2).
So while precise exactitude may not be advisable, it is enough to understand that within the first year after the covenant has been confirmed, the sacrifice starts only to be stopped soon afterward in the middle of the seven.
This becomes very significant in distinguishing the peace arrangement that will coincide with the beginning of the last seven years. The “league” or covenant that we are looking for must be one that brings about some very distinctive and unmistakable conditions that must align at the same time. Regardless of what other events fall impressively into place, the last seven years of this age cannot begin until some form of agreement provides for conditions that permit, not only Jewish access to the temple mount, but the consecration of the holy place in a new temple and the soon starting again of the daily sacrifice.
Any peace plan that does not confirm (ratify / strengthen) a covenant that recognizes Jewish right to their ancient place of worship CANNOT be the last week / seven of Dan 9:27, because very shortly after the last week starts with the confirming of the covenant, the sacrifice is very soon to start. Could the covenant that is confirmed in Dan 9:27 be the same covenant that is called ‘the holy covenant’ in Dan 11:28, 30?
So regardless of who the Antichrist is thought to be, or from whence he is expected to originate, and regardless of what other identifying actions he is to fulfill within the first half of the seven (Dan 11:23-30), one thing is very clear. If it is the covenant of Dan 9:27, it will be followed by the deceptive peace described in Isa 28:15, 18; Dan 8:25; 9:27; 11:23-24; Thes 5:3. But no peace can decisively confirm that seven years has begun UNLESS it provides for the soon resumption of the daily sacrifice in a temple that has been only recently recovered to Jewish possession.
THAT is the verification that the believer must require. When these unmistakable events come into manifest alignment, there can be no doubt that the last seven years has begun. Of all the questions of prophecy regarding the time (when it will be time to know the time), a peace initiative that will at last provide for the real beginnings of a temple is the only kind of peace initiative that should command our attention as promising a soon beginning of the last seven years. Until the question of a Jewish temple is seriously on the table, peace negotiations are not, by themselves, decisive evidence that the seven years is at hand.
God has given this knowledge to His people for a gracious advantage in many regards, but Jesus particularly specifies its use in our defense against the unparalleled deception that is coming on the whole earth. His prescribed antidote is that we “take heed” to what He has told us before (Mt 24:25; ‘all things’; Mk 13:23), and that we follow His command to read and understand Daniel’s reference to the abomination of desolation in particular (Mt 24:15; Dan 8:11; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11).
By so doing, we not only prepare ourselves against the great deception, we also equip others to equip others (2Tim 2:15) in those days when so many will be in distress and confusion at the overwhelming events that only the light of prophecy can interpret (Dan 11:32-33; 12:3). Jesus knew that by obedience to His command to read and understand this event in particular that a whole vista would open up, not only of what is to follow the abomination, but of all that leads up to it.
Knowing the events that mark the first half of the week will be crucial for our preparation for the unprecedented test that follows the abomination of desolation. This knowledge and the certainty concerning the time is a great gift that designs the deepest work of the Spirit in the world wide body of Christ, unprecedented since Pentecost.
So long as I have a sense of uncompleted or failed stewardship of what I’ve been entrusted, an imminent prospect of going home isn’t greeted with contentment and resignation, as I might wish, but pleas for mercy and extension. But let me right here urge that we very carefully distinguish and separate what God has clearly distinguished, that when confused, removes all sound ground for peace and trust in the hour of threatening death.
In order not to be devoured by all the ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda’s that would overwhelm even the most saintly of saints, Paul warns against looking back: “… but this one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth …” (Phil 3:13-14). But another, and even more deadly tendency is to look within, in hopes of finding faith sufficient to answer the crisis. That’s not where it’s to be found! It’s only in Him, and His to give. I’m taught of God that faith and peace is not to be found in my reach and power but in His outstretched hand, as when Peter sinking, cried out, and “immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand …” God has deliberately put saving faith beyond human reach and power that to Him might be all the glory when it is given us to miraculously believe and trust and rest.
Our only plea is mercy. There is no other; but we also seek the tender grace of a clear and full assurance that when it is our time to leave this world, we are not occupied with reward or any such thing. Our hope and stay is that our names are written in heaven. Our thought is not reward but mercy. For that assurance, we must put off all hope in ourselves, or any faith that we might produce to stand before infinite holiness. There is no sufficiency in ourselves and we only forsake our own mercies if we imagine otherwise.
With whatever reward we may meet, or whatever higher ground we may have attained, nothing that can be added that can make us anymore righteous or able to stand than the moment we were forever clothed up by the righteousness of another, in ‘the hour we first believed’. There and then and forever, I could never become more righteous than I was at that instant when I was accepted in the Beloved. I think not to appear or presume to appear in any other righteousness than that righteousness that was perfected over 33 1/2 years of Jesus’ active obedience in my behalf.
Not only did He die for me, He lived for me by fulfilling, as He said to John The Baptist, “‘ALL’ righteousness.” It is that righteousness, perfected under the law by a spotless obedience, that is imputed to the least believer, not in the part but the whole. It is not just the act of the cross but His cruciform life, lived under the exacting examination of the law, that covers and clothes us, so that in the matter of justifying righteousness, we thirst no more. Notice that as much as the righteous thirst after righteousness ceaselessly, Jesus speaks of one sense in which they never thirst again. What can that be but in the sense that they will forever have no want of righteousness when called to stand before the Lord? (Jn 4:14; 6:35).
This imputed righteousness is the ‘everlasting righteousness’ of the New / Everlasting covenant. It is NOT a process! It is an accomplished, eternally secure position at the right hand of God in our ascended Lord, whether He is in heaven or on earth. This is something quite distinguishable from even the truest works of the indwelling Holy Spirit in my life. That may factor in my sanctification and reward, but it can have nothing to do with my standing, or the ground of my eternal justification that cannot grow or mature.
The fruits of the Spirit are relative and by degree, but justification is an absolute, relative to nothing but our first and forever acceptance, as based on the righteousness of another, by even a faith born from above that is also, no less a free gift of grace, apart from any working or doing or ‘becoming’.
And that acceptance is also an absolute. It can’t grow; it doesn’t fluctuate. It is NOT a process! It is forever settled in heaven and waits to be revealed at the last day as an already, eternal, irreversible reality, as sure as the very foundation of God, because it has the unshakable seal of His eternal knowledge of His own, even when they, in moments of desperate shaking, fear and doubt, may, God forbid, question their knowledge of Him.
Brother, I have doubted many things to my shame. I have even doubted my own standing in Christ and feared greatly; but I cannot doubt that regeneration, by its very nature, provided it is indeed born from above, CANNOT be reversed. It is as sure as the seal of the foundation of God. I am not speaking of possible fluctuations in my own assurance, which to my shame, I’ve known. I’m speaking of the foundation of God, which is an entirely different matter.
His purpose according to election MUST stand, and in order for it to stand, it must be ‘not of works but of Him who calls’. It has no basis in the willing or running of man (Ro 9:18). He knows His own, so that even if their most hated doubts should rise in unwanted denial of Him, He cannot deny Himself in them, that even if they should doubt of their knowledge of Him, He can never deny His own. They are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh in an indissoluble union that is as sure as the everlasting covenant of righteousness that will stand with all Israel for a thousand years of open demonstration that what God elects, He brings down, and in, and keeps forever.
I long that you could share this conviction with me. I am more sure of it than anything concerning my own spiritual pulse, even if it should go flat-line in my own experience. It is because I know by revelation that it’s true. I know the problems. I know the arguments. I know the fearful warnings of coming short of the straight gate of regeneration. I know how fearfully close a Judas, or an Hymeneaus or Philetus can be, but I cannot doubt of the very foundation of God, which an everlasting covenant, steadfast and sure, well ordered in all things.
All the regrets, all the ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’s of this beleaguered and halting life, with all its fits and starts, broken hearts, and set backs, with all its shame and regret, it will melt away in His face, as you become just like Him, perfectly like Him, in the moment that we see Him as He is. That’s a great big, astonishing, almost unimaginable promise.
In the meantime, I personally believe there’s a lot here left for us to walk out, so I expect a battle that will purify and perfect, but could never add one cubit to our complete acceptance in our Lord’s own righteousness. The Lord may show us hard things, but He is the resurrection and the life, and we have a divine, purchased right to a peace that passes all understanding. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.”
That’s a peace that doesn’t, or shouldn’t rise and fall with any experience or emotion in all the unexpected vicissitudes of this life. It is something that every believer has a right to every moment, even in the greatest trials that may threaten great discipline but never desertion, even when we may ‘feel’ most deserted. Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift, as we know, the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.
Reformed theologians emphatically maintain that their Covenant Theology is not Replacement Theology. I have read their arguments in support of their position over and over again and I don’t see a dime’s worth of difference, except what seems to me more semantics than actual differences. Every time I go back and compare the two, I still essentially come up with the same sum totals. So what can you add, correct, or clarify of this perception?
There are different kinds and degrees of replacement theology that has very little to do with how one cuts the covenants. Covenant theology is usually placed over against dispensational theology / eschatology. Once again, it is largely illusional of extremes that are more imagined than real, and certainly not necessary.
There are many amillennialists who do not believe Christ can return any moment like pre-trib dispensationalists do. Why? Because they recognize what Paul calls, “their fullness” (Ro 11:12). By this, they understand a future fullness for the natural branches. Many of our premillennial brethren do not know this, but it’s a conviction among more amills and post-mills than many think. So you can see why they may not think they’re being fairly tagged ‘replacement’. Give me those guys any day to many who are virulently replacement like JW’s, Adventists, and many amills who believe Jesus can just show up, no Jews needed.
The same could be said of many historic pre-mill types who are willing to see a sizable number from among the Jewish branches that will be grafted in again to their own good olive tree before the age can end. (They identify the olive tree as the covenant with Israel, and those who persevere in faith as the true body of Christ, so that when the branches are grafted back in, they are coming into the body, baptized by the Spirit into the one body). So, while not denying a future for a sizable remnant of Jews, this is still, in one sense, yet a ‘kind’ of replacement. How so? It is because of the implications that follow from NOT seeing the particular relation of the Jew to the Land in the covenants of promise.
Failing of this, they likewise fail to discern the significance and covenant investment of God in the ‘controversy of Zion’, i.e., the Jerusalem centered crisis of the end. Thus, they do not see the covenantal necessity of a post-tribulational deliverance of Israel, as a nation born in one day, with a millennial destiny that is peculiar to an all saved Jewish nation, preserved in uninterrupted holiness for a thousand years of covenant faithfulness (“their fullness”; Ro 11:12) and vindication of every jot and tittle of the literally interpreted scripture.
In short, they do not see, for reasons they think the NT supports, the covenant necessity of a literal, Jewish Israel at the head of the nations during a millennial rule of Jesus out of a restored Zion, here on earth. They thus deny a ‘Judeo-centric’ crisis over Jerusalem at the end of the age, and the Judeo-centric millennium to follow. They see it as building again the middle wall of partition. If there is a millennium, it is the meek, Christians in general, that inherit the world in general. The specificity and particularity of the covenants and promises to Jews as Jews, are considered a myopic, nationalistic anachronism that the NT, not only expands but corrects.
Covenant theologians are such simply because they apply to the elect in general the many scriptures that we show to have a clearly post-tribulational, millennial context. That’s why they’re mystified and divided among themselves on just how to understand why all their kids (“children of the covenant) don’t all get saved. It’s been a great puzzlement, because they’re trying to take over Israel’s millennial promises and have them all fulfilled, in all their implications for the children of born again families in this age, so that every child born to regenerate parents are necessarily sure of eventual salvation and a home in heaven. But obviously, that doesn’t always work out, so its been a perennial problem and source qualification and debate.
It is this understanding of the covenant’s promise of continuance to all who are truly regenerate that led George Whitfield to caution and exhort his close friend, John Wesley, concerning Wesley’s contention that true regeneration can be fatally and finally reversed. That is to say that a truly regenerate believer can lose salvation. Whereas both expected a great falling away, and had already seen many leave a promising beginning, they were divided on whether the many that would fall from the faith once delivered to the saints, as a body of saving truth, had ever really passed through the straight gate of true regeneration, as having no deep root, as in the example of Judas, Hymenaeus and Philetus, etc. (Jn 6:64, 70; Mt 7:21-23; Jn Acts 15:54 with 1Jn 2:19; 2Tim 2:17-20. Whitfield saw Wesley’s assumption that true regeneration can be reversed as striking ultimately at the heart of the everlasting covenant and ‘foundation of God’.
On a certain occasion, when in heated exchange of papers between Wesley and Augustus Toplady, author of “Rock of Ages”, Wesley was pronouncing imprecations on his own head if the God of the Calvinists exists, to him an impossible thought. Disturbed and concerned at his friend’s haste and presumption, Whitfield endeavored to restrain Wesley by appealing to him to make a more “careful reading of the covenant”.
By this, George was trying to help John to see God was able to keep His own eternally, as represented in the covenant promises to be realized by millennial Israel. It is this that made many of that era incline towards the ‘covenant theology’ of the Reformation, many of whom, even most of whom, did grant some ‘kind’ of necessary future ‘fullness’ for the natural branches. Among the great covenant theologians of the Dutch Reformed, most saw a future for Israel, NOT necessarily millennial (though there were some millennialists), but before this age can end. They never, or many of them, never entertained the possibility of a return of Jesus without the prior return of a future remnant from among the natural branches.
So this is the dilemma: Whether or not the passages that we see as manifestly post-tribulational, and millennial in their context, how far can believers of this age claim the blessing of the New Covenant, as it will be true of millennial Jews and their children?
Before answering that, we need to observe that this understanding of the end and goal of the covenant, as made exclusively and specially to the natural seed of Abraham, means that the Jewish nation in the millennium is promised a uniformity of salvation that is NOT promised to any other nation in the millennial age. Many prophecies, and even the logic of a final revolt, proves this beyond reasonable dispute. So while there is an election of grace among the nations, it is only in ONE Land, with ONE people, that an unbroken continuity of salvation is promised and maintained, whereby all the seed / children born to born again, Spirit filled Jewish parents, are scripturally guaranteed salvation and preservation, without exception forever (the thousand years). Conspicuously, this is only among the Jews, and that is the divinely intended spectacle, defying all nature, that is set before the nations for a thousand years.
It is rare to find any writer, let alone any well known school of interpretation, that seems to face or draw out what should seem the unavoidable implications of this profound truth, so continuously reiterated throughout the prophets. It is the background and logic of Paul’s insistence on the outstanding ‘covenant necessity’ of an all saved Jewish nation on this earth, and not merely the gathering into the body of Christ some extra Jews at the end of this age. Even when this much is granted among covenant theologians, it is seldom in the scriptural context of a Judeo-centered tribulation and end of this age.
Usually, interpreters of this school will recognize some kind of Jewish re-ingraftement, but they will plead modest ignorance of just how or when this will come about, when in fact, scripture could hardly be more pronounced as to exactly when and how. This view of a Jewish, Jerusalem centered millennium is so decisive for the question of the covenant, as scripture conceives and unfolds it. When this is missed, and even when it is acknowledged, many fail to connect the divinely intended meaning, the point that God is making through a nation appointed to resurrection and new birth in one day (Isa 66:8; Eze 39:22; Zech 3:9), with a thousand years following of astounding preservation in un-forfeited holiness. How can such a thing be? Exactly! And what is God’s point? If we know everything about Israel and miss the main point, we have missed the very point of God’s unspeakably costly investment in their covenant history, and its vital instruction for the church.
To me, any view that comes short of THIS understanding of Paul’s meaning when he says, ‘and so then all Israel shall be saved’, is inherently replacement in its perhaps unconscious denial of the millennial vindication of the covenant, as conceived by the prophets and passionately reiterated by Paul. And not only this, but the whole meaning of why the age ends just where it does, around the issues it does, is also missed, leaving the church disarmed and unprepared to be the maskilim (persons of insight) bringing the key of interpretation to Israel and the nations. Yet, who but he church, as the ‘pillar and ground of truth’, will God entrust with this holy task? Dispensationalism says the 144,000 Jewish evangelists that come to faith after the church has been taken to heaven by the rapture.
What Paul means by this much disputed phrase (“and so all Israel shall be saved”) has been the topic of great disagreement and challenge among interpreters. I believe the case is easily made that Paul was reading the prophets as teaching the covenant necessity of the existence on this earth of a completely saved and eternally secure Jewish nation that would now be able to hold the Land promised to their fathers in permanent continuance. This is all presented by the prophets as requiring conditions that will not obtain on this earth until the tribulation has ended with the great and terrible day of the Lord.
So never did Paul expect these conditions of an all saved Israel before this age had run its course to its appointed end in the day of the Lord. It is the tribulation, and the Antichrist as obsessed most directly with Jerusalem and the Jewish descendents of Jacob that seems most neglected by covenant expositors. It is the weakest link in their defenses. Once it is shown beyond reasonable dispute that the Antichrist is pitted particularly against the covenant symbols centered at Jerusalem. Once you show that the tribulation begins THERE, with the object of exterminating the covenant nation, it is a small step to establish the covenant background and abiding literal promises that must follow to Israel, which, of course, requires a millennium. It all stands or falls together. That’s our apologetic. It is to show that one cannot separate events that God has indivisibly joined.
At the end of the final tribulation, the Deliverer comes out of Zion to accomplish the final purification of the elect nation, which will then exist in abiding righteousness, while yet in natural bodies in their own Land on this earth, and, as we are informed by John’s Revelation, this witness in the sight of angels and nations will continue for a thousand years. Obviously, this is not the majority view. It is comparatively quite rare. I have only heard one other expositor make mention of it in a short quote from Adolph Saphir in his commentary on Hebrews that Bryan Purtle sent to some of us recently. We must be prepared to show and defend what any plain reading of plain language demands, as these things are NOT veiled in symbol or figurative speech. Moreover, we are prepared to give account of its purpose and meaning. It is one thing to know the what, even the when of God’s declared intention, and still miss the all important ‘WHY’ of His ultimate point in the eschatology of the covenant.
Had Paul seen the millennium as a definite limited interim between the DOL return of Jesus and the post-millennial revolt? I think the interim most likely, but we have nothing conclusive of what was believed about its duration till John’s Revelation. However, it is likely that many saw the 7th millennium as following the 6 millennia of the kingdom of man. But this depends on what Peter may have had in mind in his reference to a day equalling a thousand years in 2Pet 3. We know that among some examples of inter-testamental evidence, and rabbinical speculations that the future age was divided and sometimes conceived of as a sabbath millennial rest in analogy to the 7 days of creation.
I speculate that it was Paul’s wrestling with the coincidence of the glorified saints co-habiting the millennial earth with a Jewish nation still in their natural bodies that led him to the revelation of the mystery of the rapture (1Cor 15). It seems a necessary inference then, that since the body must be changed, translation of those saved during the millennium will evidently come at the next great transitional epoch in the history of redemption at the end of the millennium, as necessary to begin the eternal state. In the meantime, it seems probable that the glorified church of this age will be present and ruling with Jesus over the cities of the millennial earth, but perhaps not at all times visible to the saints on earth, and obviously not to the unregenerate multitudes that will repopulate the millennium.
I mention this, because it is to be admitted that we premillenialists have some ‘loose ends’ that are not directly, and explicitly addressed in scripture, as true of a great many things. It is true we are left with some more or less necessary inferences, but none of this can be turned into a justification to diminish or in any way ‘re-interpret’ the plain, grammatical, historic sense of scripture, particularly when the language used does not fall under the category of poetic, hyperbolic, symbolic, or figurative.
So how far does Israel’s millennial experience of the New Covenant apply to believers and their children in the present age of New Covenant fulfillment through the Spirit of Christ? That is the very thing that covenant theologians and their adherents wrestle with at a practical level when their children do not show the necessary signs of regeneration. It is also some of the thinking behind infant baptism, though they do not make the baptism of their children to count for regeneration, as in the sacramentalism of Catholics and Lutherans.
I think we can take the post-tribulational experience of the nations as our key to this question. They will be no less saved, loved, and promised glorification of their bodies than Jews living in the millennium. But uniform continuity of salvation is NOT promised to every one of their children, as the case with millennial Israel. If that is true, it is an inference, since it is not explicitly stated in scripture. We also know that Jesus applies the millennial promise concerning the uniform salvation of all of Israel’s children to believers of the present age who are drawn to faith in Jesus (compare Isa 54:13; 59:21 with Jn 6:45) but this cannot be taken to mean that every child born to this elect company is guaranteed salvation, as we see of the children of Jews in the millennium.
Thus, there is the necessary distinction between the spiritual application of ‘eternal life’ promised in the covenants, as properly applied to ‘all’ the spiritual seed of Abraham, but this has limits in this age, as the scripture itself makes clear. Neither believing gentiles nor believing Jews of this present age, are explicitly promised that it is impossible that any of their children fail of regeneration (Mt 10:36). But this is precisely what is promised in the millennium, along with their perseverance in holiness.
As much as we would like to believe that not one of the children of regenerate parents can fail of salvation, there is a reason we do not see this kind of uniformity of salvation among the elect of this age. It is NOT promised! It is only promised to Jews in the coming age after the tribulation, and it exists in just that way it does, at that time it does, for a very special purpose of divine demonstration of God’s great point in His original election of Jacob, as apart from works, but that is another discussion.
For Israel to be sure of the promises of a people who can continue in the Land forever, without further threat from the curse of the broken law, something had to be done with the habitual tendency to backslide. For this, true and lasting regeneration would have to come to ‘all Israel’ and NOT only to the perennial, typically small remnant. This is clear; because if only a remnant is saved, as the case throughout Israel’s history, then the remnant would also suffer exposure to the discipline and judgements of the covenant, including exile. What then would be necessary to guarantee perpetuity and assured freedom from the curse of the broken covenant? Nothing short of an ‘everlasting righteousness’ (Jer 32:40; Dan 9:24) that would extend to children’s children, from which they would “never again depart” (Isa 59:;21; Jer 32:40).
So the logic of the covenant, as understood by the prophets, was clear: Israel must at some point exist as an all righteous nation, no more as a mixed multitude. A mere remnant would not suffice. They must all be saved. This would require an ultimate solution to the problem of apostasy. Only then could the Land be safe from enemy invaders and the promise sure of eternal continuance. And for this to be sure, not only to those entering the Land after the final tribulation, but to all future generations, it must follow that ‘all’ their children must also be saved and kept saved (Jer 31:34; Isa 54:13; 59:21; 60:21; 65:23; 66:22 et al).
Otherwise, new and succeeding generations would put the covenant back in jeopardy. Hence, the divinely intended necessity of a New Covenant that would insure the regeneration and sure continuance of ‘all Israel’, a particularly Jewish Israel, safe in the Land forever. Even where the New Covenant scriptures will expand on these themes, they are not changed, nor require to be changed. Israel continues to mean Israel in the sense intended by the prophets, and manifestly understood by Paul.
Jews must be Jews, not only in the coming calamity, but in its millennial aftermath. It is crucial to the divine purpose that Jews be preserved as Jews. They are the sign people! They must be Jews, sufficiently visible and distinguishable, in order to make the point that God has invested an entire history of covenant unfolding to make THROUGH THEM! (Ro 11:27). This is the primary purpose of the millennium. It is not an unnecessary appendix in the divine drama. The millennium is the scene of that necessary stage of God’s making good on every promise, every jot and tittle of His Word and oath to the natural branches.
Now we come to covenant theology’s principal opposition and alternative view of the covenants. Since many historic, post-trib premills hold to some form of what dispensationalists brand, ‘covenant theology’ (a term that should NOT be taken as NECESSARILY replacement), the competing position opposing covenant theology is, of course, pretibulational dispensationalism. A good example of someone who holds our view of covenantal development along the controlling principle of the history of the promise, is Walter Kaiser. I believe I recall correctly that dispensationalists consider him a ‘covenant theologian’. But some would categorize him as a ‘modified dispensationalists’, simply because he is premillennial, but NOT pre-trib. Here is an example of a world renowned evangelical scholar who is miles removed from replacement theology of any kind, yet takes a non dispensational approach to the covenants.
Old school dispensationalists would speak of two new covenants, one for the church now, and another, completely distinct new covenant (though based on the same blood) for Israel after the tribulation. More recently, so-called, “progressive dispensationalism”, sees the ‘already and not yet’ aspects of the one and only New / Everlasting Covenant, but still divide the church from Israel in order to justify a pre-trib rapture. According to pre-tribulational dispensationalism, the dominant view among those who see the great tribulation as future, the body of Christ must be distinguished as completely distinct from saints that come to faith after the rapture. Though blood washed and born again by the Spirit, these so-called, ‘tribulation saints’ are held o belong to another people of God. This is what covenant theologians rightly find so repugnant and inconceivable.
Both classical and progressive dispensationalists see the necessity of the literally interpreted prophecies as demanding a Jewish nation, all saved and returned to their land, with none ‘left behind’ (Eze 39:22, 28-29). So far so good. But then, as mentioned, they divide the regenerate elect into two distinct peoples with two distinct destinies. Therefore, they do not see the saved of the tribulation, nor the saved of post-tribulational Israel, as belonging to the body of Christ.
So obviously, in this view, the covenants of God with Israel are retained just for Israel, as gentiles and Jews of the present age belong to a distinct and separate body, i.e., the body of Christ. This means that the body of Christ does NOT inherit Israel’s promises, but our question is, ‘what other promises, and what other covenants are there to inherit? We are grafted “in among them”. We are made fellow heirs and of the same commonwealth of Israel with all saints (not only the saints since Pentecost) in one body, one new man, as the mystery of Christ has been revealed to show God’s eternal intention to gather together into one all (elect) things (and persons) into Him (Eph 1:9-10).
While we make the distinction between saved Jews and saved gentiles both in this age and the age to come; we do not divide them. They are one body, one new man, yet not without divinely ordained distinctions. Jews in the millennium have a unique stewardship over the city and the Land for God’s millennial purpose and demonstration, but they are no less the body of Christ, and one Spirit with their brothers and sisters from the nations.
The great disjuncture between this age and the next is that NOT all Israel is regenerate, but, as Paul insists, “all Israel shall be saved”. When is this? How is this? According to the language and logic of what is promised in the covenants, as understood and applied by the prophets, the covenant has not reached its full scope and goal until there is not to be found a single descendent of Jewish parents that will not know the Lord and be filled with the Holy Spirit. This would be one thing for the saints in glory, but this is NOT what the scriptures envisions. These penitent survivors of the last holocaust will enter the millennium in natural bodies.
As the Jewish survivors of the tribulation see the One whom they pierced, as the tribes all mourn at the revelatory, transforming sight of their returning Joseph (Zech 12:10-13:1), in remarkable analogy to Paul’s Damascus road vision, the Spirit is poured out, but this is the first-fruits of the Spirit that leaves the survivors of Israel still in their natural bodies to fulfill the millennial promises. Their repentance and new birth is happening at the same the last trump (1Cor 15:52 with Mt 24:31; Isa 27:13; Rev 10:7) is translating the members of Christ’s body (1Cor 15:23) into final glorification. So Paul reveals the mystery of the rapture, which accomplishes the divide between those receiving regeneration at the last trump, and those already regenerate receiving final glorification of their bodies.
So the penitent survivors of Israel enter the millennial period in their natural bodies, born again and full of the Spirit, but able still have children, build houses and multiply in the Land, but without the threat of lapsing again under covenant failure that would jeopardize their security and everlasting continuance in the Land. That is how the prophets saw it, as any plain reading will confirm. They didn’t see all that God had planned, true, but what they saw was true and requires no change or re-interpretation. From the perspective of the NT, the Day of the Lord still lies ahead, as does the great tribulation, and not one word shall fail of its plain literal sense.
The Land will be theirs uniquely and specifically. Others will come and go, as joyous, grateful sojourners, with certain assigned portions, defrauded of no good thing in Christ. But only one people, preserved in that mysterious distinction that has sealed them to unparalleled suffering and incomparable glory, will ‘all’ be holy in their Land. The kingdom, in this sense, will NOT be given to another people (“not another”; Isa 65:21-23; “not left to another people”; Dan 2:44). Then and only then will they lie down in safety so that none make them afraid, so that the “children of wickedness will NEVER AGAIN afflict them as before” (2Sam 7:10).
Like the face of Pharaoh, they will not see the face of another Antichrist or gentile invader to threaten their peace. Isaiah shows that from the time that the last gentile aggressor is destroyed, as prefigured by the kings of Bablyon and Assyria (Isa 14:4, 25), which is to say, from the time that Satan is bound, “no feller is come up against us” (Isa 14:8; KJV). And when the Lord, in His providence, permits the last rebellion to gather in utter futility, it accomplishes nothing, except the ordained display that is given to prove that when Satan is released for the last test, the hidden depravity that lurks in the untested heart of the unregenerate will be fully exposed for a last time in the appointed day of temptation. Thus, the post-millennial exhibition of man’s depravity is also designed to show the invincibility of the Davidic covenant in its millennial expression. “They shall surely gather together, but NOT by Me … no weapon formed against you shall prosper” (Isa 54:15, 17).
Hallelujah! What a witness they will be in the earth! What an anomaly! What a burning bush of inexplicable divine testimony! Everyday, as people carry on their natural lives, this will be set before them. It can only be compared to what we can imagine it must have been for Abraham. Everyday, as God’s friend went about his normal routine, with all the tests and adversities common to this life, he could look over to his side and see that little miracle boy, who, by every natural reckoning, should not be there. What a constant reminder of the supernatural existence and intervention of His / our mighty God. It is that kind of daily reminder that Israel will be to the nations.
As the physically preserved sign nation, God has a statement ‘through them’ that will reverberate through all eternity, world without end (Isa 45:17). It is His ultimate, eschatological statement. It is very intentionally, necessarily visible, public, and literal. Not only through the return of Jesus, but through the return of Israel, God will once and for all answer the question, ‘has God really said?’ That’s what’s most ultimately at stake in the covenants and their eschatological conclusion on this earth.
The grand point is clear. It is to answer the question first raised by God Himself, as first put to Moses. It is the question of replacement theology (see Num 14). Can He bring into the Land and keep in the Land, the very people He first brought out of Egypt? What will be required? The answer is an apocalyptic transformation that will circumcise the heart of an entire nation. Moses sees at the end of a final and unequaled tribulation (Deut 4:29-30; 29:4; 30:1-5). The prophets will call this apocalyptic intervention the day of the Lord. This is the New Covenant, “My covenant with THEM”, but it is first, according to the mystery, established now ‘in Christ’ in unexpected advance of ‘that day’. Yet, this mystery does nothing to compromise the sure fulfillment that remains to be established with ‘all Israel’ in the coming, post-tribulational day of the Lord.
Present access into the grace of the covenants does nothing to redirect or cancel their predestined appointment with post-tribulational Israel. What possible NT passage has ever remotely suggested otherwise? Scripturally, biblically, with no violence to the present New Covenant standing of believers of this age, WHY CAN”T every outstanding promise in its plain, post-tribulational context, yet be made good to the literal people of Israel at the time appointed? (Ps 102:13; 1103). Not to a mystical Israel, without arguing that question, but the people that to this day have borne the heat of the day, in covenant curses, divine discipline, and untold suffering among the nations? All for what? Shame on those who can conceive what to God is impossible (‘as I live …’), that the covenant of the Land made with the descendents of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob could conceivably stop short of an all righteous Jewish nation, safe in their Land forever. Read there in your Bible! But do not restrict your reading the final third. Ask the Holy Spirit if one truth need rule out another.
Why either or? Why not believe both, since God said both? If we don’t believe, how will we get God’s costly point? How will we enter into the fellowship of His suffering where Israel is concerned, and the unspeakable cost He’s invested in the outworking of the covenants that demand more than the discipline and judgment of God’s national son, but his future millennial glory on earth?
Yes, there is mystery. There is great difficulty in managing the many facets, but there is no excuse for unbelief or to be taught of man rather than the Spirit. Here’s the issue: The plain language and ‘authorial intentionality’ of Moses and the prophets show clearly their expectation of an age on this earth beyond the climactic Day of the Lord, wherein all the promises made to recalcitrant Israel would be established without fail, here, where the odds are most opposed. The NT still looks forward to that day. Why deplete that day of all that the prophets and apostles of both testaments bind inextricably to that day?
Without the perspective that comes from a plain reading of the promises, covenants, and prophecies, the question of why a millennium? must remain in misty non-resolution. When the centrality of Israel and a ‘Jewishly’ centered, millennial Jerusalem is denied or dissolved, the assemblies of God’s people are robbed of vital instruction concerning their covenant standing in the everlasting covenant in its present fulfillment. Moreover, they are robbed and disarmed of crucial preparation to understand and give answer in the coming time of Jacob’s trouble. “What meaneth these things? But but most tragically, ignorance of this mystery (Ro 11:25), whether willing or unconscious, robs God of His greater glory in revealing His secrets to His friends (Gen 18:27; Isa 41:8; James 2:23; Amos 3:7; Jn 15:15; Rev 10:7).”Come and see!”
It’s not about unprofitable academic arguments; it’s about care for a harmonized Bible and to grasp what God has been pleased to reveal to His servants in a rather manageable, lifetime stewardship of only 66 books.
Someone recently gave me a commentary on Daniel by Arno Gaebelein written in 1909. After reading his comments on the 70th week, and then Daniel 11, it was easy to see that he could be classified as a Dispensational, Pre-trib, Premillennialist. But, I know that he had a heart for the Jewish immigrants that were pouring into to New York at that time, and even ministered the gospel to them. So how would you reconcile his position?
Gaebelein was old school dispensational pre-trib. All I can say is that his view of Israel’s future, as based on a plain man’s plain reading of the ordinary sense of the prophecies (his hermeneutic) stood him well in seeing the centrality of Israel in the events of the end. But like so many since, the baby got mixed in with the bathwater of dispensationalism, with its view of the interim between 69th and 70th weeks as belonging to a completely UNFORETOLD mystery program that dispensationalists equate with the so-called “church age” that assumes the church begins at Pentecost and ends its sojourn on earth at the pre-tribulational rapture.
In order to maintain the present “age of the church” (a colossal misnomer in my view), dispensationalists argue that consistency demands that this age is the time of the mystery (as they see and define the mystery) that ends with the removal of the church from earth to heaven at the pre-tribulation rapture. Thus, the church, as they define the church, occupies the gap that they recognize between the 69 and 70th weeks of Dan 9:24-27. This provides that the ‘blessed hope’ of the church can be an imminent hope, with the ever present ‘potential’ that Jesus ‘could’ come at any moment. This why, in order for Christ’s return to be maintained as an ever imminent possibility, all the foretold signs that might interpose some necessary event between the believer and Christ’s return for His church, must be seen as taking place only on the other side of the rapture. There can be no outstanding event within this so-called age of the church that can stand between the believer and the ever imminent possibility that Christ might appear any moment.
Of course, this postulate raises so many questions, not least of which is how could the events that begin the 7 years have been possible during the many centuries of Jewish absence from the Land? Not only so, but far more than the 70 years of a single generation, Isaiah predicted that the Land would pass into “many generations” of desolation (Isa 61:4), and this fits with no other time in Israel’s history until the age long dispersion that began with the Roman destruction.
The time after the rapture, in its entirety, is held to be the Day of the Lord, thus, a continual day of wrath to which believers (of this age) are not appointed. This is a recent correction (innovation) to preserve the concept of imminence. In agreement with our view, Gaebelein put the DOL at the end of the tribulation, but since later post-tribulationists (such as Alexander Reese) would point out that believers of this age are instructed to look for, or hasten towards the DOL (e.g., 1Thes 5:2-6; 2Pet 3:10-12), it became obvious that a DOL that does not come till the end of the tribulation can hardly be looked for by believers waiting for a pre-tribulation rapture. The answer was to ‘expand’ the DOL to include the entirety of the 70th week, so that the DOL could start immediately with the pre-tribulation rapture.
In this way, believers could now look for the sudden, thief-like coming of the DOL, because it is seen to begin immediately with the Lord’s pre-tribulational return to catch up the church. In this way, the entire 7 years is made the DOL. Since believers are not appointed to wrath (1Thes 5:9), it is supposed that they cannot be thought to enter any part of the 7 years, which dispensational presuppositions make a seven year long ‘day of wrath’. The problem here is the clear evidence of scripture that saints in the tribulation are NOT under divine wrath. Divine wrath is only visited upon the wicked, but tribulation believers are not exempt from the wrath of man. So this argument fails since a believer’s presence in the tribulation does not imply exposure to divine wrath, demanding pre-trib rapture to escape. Are believers of the tribulation any more appointed to wrath than believers of this age? The answer is self evident, as also the contradiction of appealing to 1Thes 5:9 as support for exemption from tribulation.
Since Reese’s arguments, dispensationalists moved the DOL back seven years to begin with the rapture. This seemed to permit them to see the rapture as an imminent event. However, another, more modern post-tribulational writer, Robert Gundry, in his book, “The Church and the Great Tribulation, pointed out that Paul puts the revelation of the man of sin BEFORE the DOL (2Thes 2:2-3). How could the DOL be held as imminent if “THAT DAY shall come UNTIL the man of sin be revealed FIRST? This is, of course, an outstanding sign that precedes the DOL, precluding the notion that the DOL can happen suddenly, as a thief, with no predicted event preceding, as essential to the idea of imminency. This posed a real problem that was discussed intensely among the defenders of the pre-trib position, but the discussion remained mostly in scholarly journals behind seminary doors.
The proposed solution was to once more adjust the time of the DOL to permit another gap of some unknown duration (probably very brief) in order to permit time for the Antichrist to be revealed AFTER the rapture, yet before the start of the DOL. So twice the DOL has been moved in reaction to errors pointed out in the system. This is well documented.
It should also be mentioned that old school dispensationalists such as C.I.Scofield and Arno Gaebelein, understood the OT righteous to go up in the rapture. But after the arguments of Reese in his book, “The Approaching Advent of Christ,” the resurrection of OT believers was moved forward to the end of the week (‘the last day’). This would mean that Job, Isaiah, Daniel, and all the righteous dead of the OT would remain sleeping in the dust of the earth (Dan 12:1-2) for an additional 7 years after the church has been taken away to heaven. In that sense, they too are ‘left behind’. :-)
All’s to say, dispensationalism stands or falls with the following two principal pillars: 1.) The doctrine of imminency (in the sense that Christ may appear for His church any moment since the earliest days of the church, particularly since Paul’s revelation of the secret rapture), and 2.) the doctrine of the church (ecclesiology), which assumes that the body of Christ did not exist until the Spirit came to indwell believers at Pentecost, supposing that He was only ‘with’ believers before this time and not ‘in’ them.
This is why dispensationalists interpret the restrainer of 2Thes 2:7 to be the Holy Spirit who must be removed before the man of sin can be revealed. However, they are instant to point out that this is not, of course, the Spirit’s removal from the earth, but only in the sense of His indwelling of believers of this age. Many leading dispensationalists, such as John F. Walvoord, defend this view by arguing for what he calls, “a reversal of Pentecost.” By this, he means that believers that come to faith after the rapture will be born again, of course, but that they will NOT be uniquely indwelt by the Holy Spirit, which dispensationalists believe is unique only to believers of this mystery age of the church.
To answer the many non-sequiturs of Dispensationalism is not something I can enter into now, but for many reasons that could be put forth, the whole edifice falls under its own weight. Any system that must make so many changes in reaction to admitted errors should be profoundly suspect. Yet, it is the leading view among most evangelicals that hold a favorable view of Israel’s place and purpose in the end times. Part of the reason is that most embracing the pre-trib rapture have been told only part of the story. They are not intimately familiar with its history and the principal pillars on which the system stands or falls. Many would blush if they only knew what their scholarly teachers understand to be essential to its defense.
How, particularly now, after the Spirit promised in Joel has been poured out on all who believe, now that Christ has been once and for all glorified (Jn 7:39), can it be imagined that there will be a retraction of Pentecost, so that those that come to faith in the tribulation or in the millennium to follow, are NOT reckoned as members of His body, are NOT baptized by one Spirit into the one Body? When the penitent survivors of Israel look upon Him whom they pierced and receive the Spirit (Zech 12:10), the very same Spirit promised by Joel that was poured out at Pentecost, will they be any less the body of Christ than the penitents of Pentecost? Will they be any less baptized by the promised Holy Spirit into the one Body that believers are baptized into now?
Dispensationalists say they will not. They hold that all who come to faith after the rapture belong to another people of God, with different promises and a different hope. So you can see that much more is at stake than simply where the rapture is placed. The very nature of what constitutes the body of Christ is put in question.
Not only does faith in a pre-trib rapture disarm the church for what it should be prepared to expect, but it robs God of the glory He has invested in the what He intends for the church’s role as prophetic witness to Israel and the nations, full of power, instructing many, and turning many to righteousness (Dan 11:32-33; 12:3; Rev 7:9, 13-14). But this assignment is NOT delegated to the 144,000 Jewish witnesses, unless they also belong to the “church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth” (1Tim 3:15). Such a notion betrays a woeful ignorance of the nature and calling of the church. It makes the church merely a ‘speed bump’ (a parenthesis) on the way to a glorious millennium that is without the church on earth. How will the pillar and ground of truth be absent from the earth if the persecuted saints of the tribulation are not the body of Christ? It begs the question, what then is the body of Christ? How long shall it endure on the earth?
The whole conception of the nature of the mystery, as “fully foretold”, yet hidden within the prophetic writings (Acts 26:22; Ro 16:25-26; 1Pet 1:11), and the nature of the assembly of Messiah, as the revelation of His body, has been profoundly exchanged for something foreign and unheard of till the mid to late 19th century. As a dearest friend once exclaimed, “they’ve changed the story!”
Reggie discusses what Daniel would have inherited from Moses, the Psalms, and the prophets that preceded him, and how this would have been interpreted in light of his questions and the new light he was receiving.
Daniel and the Big Picture – Reggie Kelly (facilitated by Tom Quinlan and transcribed by Rob Weiss)
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 Eschol 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.