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The Five Visions of Daniel

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Untenable Tenets of the Dispensational System

Untenable Tenets of the Dispensational SystemIt is not the new birth, or even special empowerment by the Spirit that dispensationalists deny to the saints of the tribulation. How could they? [more]

A Son Perfected Through Suffering: A Purified Bride Translated and Caught Up

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Reggie Kelly Testimony: The Anatomy of a Revelation [VIDEO]

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The 4th Beast of Daniel 8

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How Faith in Jesus Fulfills the Law Once and Forever

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The Final Chapter of God's Work [Audio]

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The Timing of Ezekiel 38 and 39

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More Thoughts on the Law

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Old Testament Proofs of Messiah's Rejection by His Own

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The Prophetic Timeline in Hosea - [VIDEO]

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A Woman Shall Encompass a Man

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The Apostolic Approach to Evangelism

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After Two Days He Will Revive Us...

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Pre-Wrath vs Post-Trib

Pre-Wrath vs Post-TribI was recently talking with someone about the Pre-Wrath view. The way I understand it, it seems so close to Post-trib with maybe a few [more]

The Sure Mercies of David

The Sure Mercies of DavidIn reading 2 Samuel 7:14 KJV, I came across a passage that took me aback: "I will be his father, and he shall be my [more]

The Prophetic Necessity of a Third Temple (Even Before the Destruction of the Second)

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Not of Works, But of Him Who Calls

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Perspectives on Israel: What's at Stake?

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What Hope of a Pre-trib Rapture Requires One to Also Believe

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Daniel and the "Big Picture" - [VIDEO]

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Democracy, the Jerusalem Question, and the Coming Kingdom

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The Sure Mercies of David

Posted: June 2nd, 2017, by Reggie Kelly

In reading 2 Samuel 7:14 KJV, I came across a passage that took me aback: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:” Jesus did receive the rod of men and did take our stripes but HE did not commit iniquity. Seems out-of-place and contradictory. Further, the NIV states “When he will”, inferring that it will happen. Thoughts on this matter?

Very good question, and the Jews know it well, which is part of the grand plan, as nothing is incidental or happenstance in this kingdom, because “discernment of providence is the first element in being led of the Spirit” (Mike Snyder).

We are being confronted here with a mystery of profoundest divine intention that will either bless or stumble, depending on the disposition of the heart. It is only by a faithful and unbiased commitment to the ‘cumulative evidence’ of all that scripture says on a given subject that many of the antinomies (paradoxes, or apparent contradictions) of scripture can be solved, often with the greatest edification of glory. But this requires great patience with God’s intention to hide His secrets from the wisdom of this age while revealing them to babes.

It is a truly sublime strategy of ‘hide and seek’ that designs that the same ‘hidden wisdom’ ordained to the saint’s glory (1Cor 2:7) should elude and confound confidence in the flesh. The mysteries of God are divinely set to stumble pride, so that the wisdom of man would be its own snare, as God reserves His secrets for His friends (Gen 18:17; Isa 41:8; Amos 3:7; Jn 15:15; 1Cor 2:7; Rev 10:7), His ‘little ones’ who feel themselves hopelessly undone and cast on His mercy, daily crying, “who is sufficient for these things?!”

That said, we are dealing here with a covenant promise that is both personal and corporate. Some of it applies to the personal Messiah, David’s Lord and greater son, and some of it applies only to His spiritual seed.

It is at once the Seed (singular) of the woman, and His ‘seed’ (plural), the corporate line of all the regenerate elect of God. In both Samuel and certain of the Psalms (72 and others, forget just which), the promised Messiah is represented to apply first to Solomon, albeit in language and terms that every scripture revering Jew would at once recognize to far transcend anything realized in Solomon’s reign, clearly signifying the presence of typology.

In glorious paradox of sublimest mystery, and with notably intentional use of the exact same words, that Isaiah sees the ‘chastisement’ and the ‘stripes’ that would be laid on David’s royal heir and his children (2Sam 14:7; Ps 89:32; Isa 53:5) is laid most ultimately on the suffering Servant of Yahweh. With no guilt of His own, God has laid on Him the ‘iniquity’ of us all, and with His ‘stripes’ we are healed (Isa 53), as when those in the wilderness looked to the lifted up symbol of their destruction and were healed (Num 21:9; Jn 3:14). This is one sense in which David’s greater son and Lord was indeed visited with many stripes for the sins that were not His own but were counted to Him as though His own (2Cor 5:21). It is the mystery, but also the holy logic of divine substitution, which Jewish interpreters paradoxically can apply to corporate Israel, the righteous remnant, or some other innocent sufferer, but cannot conceive of applying to the Messiah.

Even before the creation (Acts 2:23; Rev 13:8), the ‘sure mercies’ of David (2Sam 7:13-16; 22:51; Ps 89:28-36; Isa 54:13; 59:21; 61:9; 66:22; Jer 31:34; 32:40; 33:17-16) was based on the suffering of the woman’s Seed as the Surety of a better covenant (Heb 7:22).

It is inescapable logic that in order to reverse the curse, the woman’s seed cannnot be under it. He must be free of the sin by which the curse is passed on all the race. It follows then that the Messiah must be uniquely begotten in order to be free of the taint of sin that disqualifies every other servant of God. The mystery is solved when it is seen that He will be at once human and divine, vulnerable and fully human but kept sinless as the perfect substitute. This is the logic of the virgin birth, which Isaiah understood by the Spirit’s revelation, as seen in his ‘Song of Immanuel’ (chps. 7-12), as the heel of the man child is wounded in the songs of the suffering Servant (chs. 42, 49, 50-53).

So who are David’s seed, not only his son but his children from whom His loving kindness shall ‘never depart’ (Isa 59:21; Jer 32:40), as it did from Saul? Who are these that are faithfully chastened when they sin but never forsaken? Can these be the wicked kings  ofJudah that issued from David’s line by natural descent?

As in case of the true, spiritual ‘seed of Abraham’ who are distinguished by their fruits (Mt 3:8-9; Jn 8:39) must be more than Jewish. They must be born again. Moreover, a remnant from among the natural branches must become more than a remnant. They must become an all holy nation in order to inherit the Land forever because of a righteousness that is forever (Jer 32:40; Dan 9:24). But also, because the promise that all the nations would be blessed through Abraham’s seed, an election called out from among the nations is grafted into the righteous remnant, the ‘holy seed’ (Isa 6:13) of which Messiah is the spiritual head. These too are ‘counted as the seed’ (Ro 4:16; 9:7-8, 24). (Isa 6:13) This is the spiritual seed of Abraham and of David that is the divine nature that indwells all who have been ‘born again’ of the indestructible Word of God (1Pet 1:23). As the scripture concludes, it is those who are born of the Word and the Spirit, these are the sons of God and counted for the seed (Ro 8:14; 9:8).

So this promise of the “sure mercies” of David is only to the spiritual seed, both Jewish and gentile, who stand in that line of humanity, which Paul called (speaking particularly of the Jewish branches), the ‘remnant according to the election of grace’. Manifestly, this spiritual line existed before the cross,  as also the necessity of spiritual regeneration and the new birth, as none were ever made alive nor sustained union with the living God apart from the quickening and indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, the corporate seed of the woman is most essentially that spiritually regenerate line of humanity reaching all the way back to righteous Abel. It includes all who are all born of the divine nature that would be perfected in the personal Seed, the Messiah and Son of God to whom the Spirit would not be given by measure (Jn 3:34) but perfectly embody all the fullness of God.

We also  note that in Isa 55:1-6, the promise of the ‘sure mercies of David’ does not wait till its final eschatological outworking in the reign of the Messiah, but was preached as available to whosoeover will, and extended to nations beyond Israel during Isaiah’s day.

Conclusion: As the ‘seed of Abraham’ is shown to require the necessity of regeneration to ‘count as the seed of promise’, and just as the nation (Isa 66:8), and therefore the individual must be born of the Spirit to enter into the kingdom (Jn 3:10), it can be no less true of David’s seed / children. They must be justified by a righteousness that is not their own. It is the righteousness of another, even “the Lord our righteousness” (Jer 23:5-6) that justifies with an everlasting salvation(Isa 45:17, 25; 54:17 ).

Paul will show in Romans that this is a distinct kind of righteousness, “the righteousness of faith” by the which David could be assured that his sins would not be imputed to him (Ps 32:1-2; Ro 4:6-8). If the faith that justifies God’s elect were mere belief, it would be possible to man, and thus something in which one could glory as finding its source in man (Jn 3:27; Ro 11:35; 1Cor 4:17). On the contrary, faith must be given (Eph 2:9; Phil 1:6). The faith of ‘God’s elect’ (Tit 1:1) necessarily overcomes the world. It must; precisely because it is ‘born of God’ (1Jn 5:4). Though graciously given, it is not of man or from man, and therefore nothing in which flesh can glory.

Because of an absolute and negligently unqualified interpretation of Jn 7:34 that says in a certain context that ‘the Spirit was not yet given’, it is hastily assumed that this distinct kind of righteousness, namely ‘the righteousness of faith’ (Ro 4:13) could exist in OT saints without the Spirit, particularly in the sense of His abiding indwelling. Quite the contrary,  Peter is clear that it was the very Spirit of Christ who was “IN” Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, David, the prophets and, we may be sure, all the righteous by faith (1Pet 1:11). No less then than now, they were the living branches, alive to God by the Spirit, as based on nothing less than the imputed righteousness of God Himself, as promised in the Surety, which is to say, a righteousness that was NOT their own, no less then than now. Theirs was the very righteousness of the Spirit.

As such, the fruit and works of the Spirit are the only works that can count with God. As the righteousness is not our own, the works too must be His alone, else room is made for human glory and this can never be! As much as this rule cannot be thought unique to the NT, but must apply to all ages and dispensations, it follows that then as now, the only works that God can regard are not our own but His within us. To mix or mingle the work of man with the work of the Spirit is to make room for human glory, which is idolatry.

Therefore, the righteousness of the saints must be altogether the righteousness of another. Where this is true and real, whether of an individual or a nation, it will necessarily be accompanied by the sure evidences of its fruits, the test of its reality.

Like the Abrahamic covenant, the Davidic covenant is NOT unconditional, but it is UNILATERAL, as signified in Abraham’s deep sleep. It is made by God within Himself alone (in that sense, unilateral). Because nothing of man can defeat a covenant that God makes within Himself alone, these covenants belong to the ‘everlasting’ of ‘new covenant’ that even the OT shows to stand above the conditional covenant of Sinai, which has, and Jeremiah will argue, CAN never secure enduring peace and security in the Land, but condemns those under it to a perpetual and hopeless covenant jeopardy, ever threatening further curse and exile until its terms can be eternally satisfied and secured.

As the NT scriptures will make even more clear, the covenant of the law at Sinai designed to cut off all hope of attaining  to the promise on the basis of natural ability. This is writ large throughout the entire story. But what is by design ‘impossible with man’ is made sure, “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord,” and that is the primary point the scripture underscores all throughout the history of redemption. All of history waits, not on man, or anything issuing from man, but on God who will favor Zion “at the set time” (Ps 102:13; 110:3 KJV)

This is the divine jealousy of grace apart from ‘what is in man’, to the end that no flesh can glory. This ‘hard saying’ is what we are called to help Israel see by its demonstration by the foolish nation.

This divine jealousy of a grace that depends nothing on man for its initiation or perpetuation is shown most particularly by the problem of how a covenant made with a visibly hopeless, ever backsliding nation, could ever guarantee perpetuity of obedience, so that the Land could be inherited forever, without threat of repeated covenant failure. Thus the need for a ‘better’ covenant that could guarantee the required continuance for a particular, elect nation to inherit a particular Land for an everlasting possession. This is its only hope of guarantee, that God come down and in, and that forever!

The required works of obedience would be uncompromisingly accomplished ‘in’ and ‘through’ man but not by man. This is the divine jealousy that cuts off all works that are possible to man from gaining divine acceptance or reward as pertaining to the promise. Therefore, the sure mercies of David necessarily guarantees the gift of the Spirit, and the perpetuity of the Spirit’s work to accomplish an obedience that does not fall away to further covenant cursing.

 

We see this perfectly in millennial Israel, and notably, they are NOT yet in glorified bodies. This spectacle of unimaginable safe keeping in abiding holiness of a nation for a thousand years of open witness is a, if not THE, primary purpose for a millennium on this earth before the perfect state. It is to show the ability of God to save and keep a people forever despite their historic track record. The millennium will put the dispute over the sovereignty of grace forever beyond dispute, just as I have learned by the Spirit to say that, from the calling of Jacob till the end of the millennium, “Israel exists to destroy all boasting!”

That the corporate, spiritual seed of David are not perfect like their head (the one, unique Son to whom the Spirit was not given by measure; Jn 3:34; KJV) is plain by the guarantee of sure and swift chastisement to those who ‘momentarily’ offend against their own ‘sure mercies’. We see this especially clearly in Ps 89:29-37; compare also Isa 59:21; 66:22; Jer 31:34; 33:19-36) . But it is also plain that this imperfection does not put the covenant in jeopardy by man’s natural inclination to always slide away backwards. No, quite the contrary, though chastisement is faithful and swift evidence that one is in a state of grace and truly regenerate, continuance and eternal perseverance in holiness is never in doubt, thus securing the covenant as “everlasting” (Jer 32:40 with Dan 9:24). Why? How? Because it is based on an ‘everlasting righteousness’ that cannot perish or fade but is its own faithfully resilient, eternal life source of the ”God who raises the dead”.

How does this kind of ‘eternal security’ NOT lead to license and abuse of the new liberty? It is because the heart is made new, forever new, by an indestructible divine nature by a sovereign act of new creation. Built right into to the New Covenant (synonymous with Abrahamic and Davidic installments) is the clean and holy fear of God. When the Spirit has come, the very nature that gave the law indwells the believer, and not only so, but God ‘PUTS’ His fear in the heart as intrinsic to the new nature. Where this fear is absent, or grows dim, it is a sure sign of one of two things: Either divine discipline is at the door, or its complete absence is a clear indicator that the heart has never been changed at its root, as God has not been known by revelation of the Spirit.

Regeneration cannot exist at one and the same time apart from the sure presence of this kind of love and this kind of holy fear. That is why the regenerate ‘seed’ of woman, of Abraham and David show that the works of the law to be written in their hearts, because when the law is in the heart, to break one of its commandments is to break the heart (compare 1Cor 7:19 with Gal 6:15), and to do so lightly is to invite sure and certain discipline, with increasing severity, if need be unto death (1Cor 11:32).

To see to the end of David’s sure mercies, and thus to the end of the New Covenant, as eternally secure in the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, we have only to go to the future millennial blessedness of the natural seed of Jacob, since for the believer, the prophesied future is as sure as the past. There we see that in all the generations of those who are the combined natural and spiritual seed of Abraham, Jacob, and David, for a thousand years, not one born to Jewish parentage will ever fail or depart from this ‘everlasting covenant’. They are all saved and kept unto children’s children without the exception (Isa 4:3; 45:17, 25; 54:13; 59:21; 60:21; 66:22; Jer 31:34; 32:40; Eze 39:22, 28-29; Zeph 3:13, etc. et al). This is the millennial outworking of the ‘everlasting / new covenant’, which is synonymous with the Davidic covenant as ‘sure mercies’. This is why the covenant of promise will no longer be in jeopardy through the broken law.

The Spirit has come; not merely upon a remnant, as in other generations (leaving always the danger of sliding back to curse and exile) but now, at length, ‘all Israel’ is saved, each and every Jew, from the least to the greatest (Jer 31:34), with ‘none left behind’ (Eze 39:28), and so on for a thousand years of open demonstration of covenant fidelity, as the nations are made to look on with either emulation and access to the same grace, or with resentment and contempt at God’s prerogative to choose as He will choose, all to the end that no flesh can glory.

By design, election tests the heart to discover any presumed claim on divine grace. God resists all thought of entitlement on any other ground than mercy alone, that gives the grace to believe in the God who raises the dead. This is shown beautifully in the episode with the Syro-Phoneician woman (Mt 15). This is why God’s heart of universal love for all who are made in His image is necessarily and wisely ‘MEDIATED’ through a people who can claim nothing for themselves, as of themselves. It is mediated on the basis of divine election for this very clear purpose: “IN ORDER THAT the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls” (Ro 9:11, 16).

This is how a people who were dead shall live; and continue in abiding security from all their enemies forever, because of a righteousness that is forever. Then as now, the sign of sonship will be the faithfulness of God to chasten all waywardness, and this fear (in no discrepancy with this God kind of love as proof of the divine nature(, will keep every Jewish inheritor of His holy mountain, and every child born to them’ ‘unto children’s children’ for a thousand years of open display (Isa 54:13; 59:21; compare esp. JN 6:45 to show that this covenant is not only millennial but now).

(Note: While massive salvation will be experienced among the nations of the gentiles, this promise of uniform salvation of all its population stands with no other nation. While the nations will flow to and from the Land and holy city promised to the natural seed (as all now saved; Ro 11:26), among them is no such promise of uniform salvation. This is God’s open, public vindication of His sovereign ability to ‘quicken whom He will’ and keep them secure in their land, “world without end”).

This will be a spectacle of the sovereignty of grace, designed to move either to emulation or envy and contempt, as seen by the revolt at the end of the millennium. All of this is made sure and secure by an indestructible new nature that prohibits all false assurance by professors whose works deny their hasty claims (Titus 1:16; 2Tim 2:19; 1Jn 2:19; ). It is those two golden, glorious words of Paul: “in Christ.” There is the locus of the everlasting covenant and sure mercies of David, “in Christ!” The covenant is made secure by the Spirit’s quickening ‘revelation’ of the gospel, for therein, and only therein, is the righteousness of God revealed. This is the only power that is sufficient to secure the corporate ‘seed of David’, which is the ‘seed of Christ’, the curse reversing Seed of the woman.

This regeneration by the Spirit is certainly not limited to those born again of the Spirit and the Word since Pentecost. Though revealed in time, His blood avails for all, as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. He is the eternal surety of all the elect, as those ‘eternally’ elect, ‘the (eternally foreknown) remnant according to the election of grace’ were as born again as any since Pentecost, since it is only the Spirit that has ever given life and the ‘revealed’ nature of God and quickening of new life. As I often remind; never assume that because something is newly revealed, or has come to greater light, that it is necessarily new as to existence and reality.

It will take a miracle more powerful than the world has witnessed since the resurrection of Jesus for the Jewish survivors of the last holocaust will see this. It will be life from the dead. Until then, the election and the love that decreed it is irrevocable. The dead are dead until quickened, and no amount of ‘relative’ human measurements of good or evil can even factor into a salvation that is utterly apart from works (note the story of Mannaseh of Judah). Therefore, grafted in branches should marvel and wonder, not at their fall, but at our grace, as utterly contrary to nature. We should have mercy, since they were confronted with a profound mystery that God ordained and designed to be ‘shut up and sealed’ from all pride (what flesh is not?). God deliberately hid this mystery in the writing of the prophets to be revealed at the set time, first at Pentecost, and then to the Jewish nation at the end of the 70th week. In the meantime (two days of Hos 6:2), they are enemies “FOR YOUR SAKE,” gentile!

How CAN they believe except God open their eyes? How did we believe? What do we have that we did not receive, so how glory? (1Cor 4:7). Are we less stubborn? If God went away and hid His face from us, could we see what we have been helped to see? It is by our mercy that God has ordained that they shall at length receive mercy. We justify God’s holy severity, even while we marvel that we should escape by grace alone and the sovereign drawing power of the Spirit. A lack of love for Israel in their blindness, particularly in their blindness, is a sure sign of boasting that will meet with no less a mystery designed to confound and condemn the boaster, as God has laid, particularly through the mystery of Israel, a snare and a trap for all confidence in the flesh.

In brotherly love and appreciation, Reggie

The Prophetic Necessity of a Third Temple (Even Before the Destruction of the Second)

Posted: May 10th, 2017, by Reggie Kelly

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.

Not of Works, But of Him Who Calls

Posted: March 29th, 2017, by Reggie Kelly

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.