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The Five Visions of Daniel

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Jacob’s Trouble

Posted: December 10th, 2007, by Tom Quinlan

Dec 9, 2007
Mr. Kelly,

Just wanted to let you know I had an opporunity to speak with a couple young ladies who wait tables with me at Cracker Barrel. Interestingly enough they both had attended Christian colleges, one of whom majored in theology. Anyway we were talking about the book of Daniel from there numerous other topics. I had suggested that having the right understanding of the Day of Jacobs trouble was important in determing eschatological events. Ironically they had both never heard of it, and I was somewhat surprised consider one had studied eschatology at and Assemblies of God college. So it sounds to me that this is a topic that is not often considered. Just thought I would share that, it might help if you are introducing it being that your audience may never have heard of it before.

Yes, but they have no doubt heard of the ‘day of the Lord’, and though a little better known, it too is almost as little understood for its place and purpose in the hope of Israel and the church. But I think the best and simplest way to explain the time and significance of Jacob’s trouble is just to show that it is the brief but unequaled trouble as described by Daniel (12:1), later called the great tribulation by Jesus (Mt 24:21). Although Daniel does not use the term the ‘day of the Lord’, everything he describes leads up to it. It is particularly helpful to show that Daniel is interested to develop the details of Jeremiah’s reference to the final trouble of unequaled severity (compare Jer 30:7 with Dan 12:1). Then, with these two manifestly parallel passages before you, the next thing you want to do is point out that just as “Jacob’s trouble” ends with Israel’s national deliverance in Jer 30, so in Daniel’s prophecy, the time of trouble, given as approximately 3 1/2 years (Dan 7:25; 9:27; 12:7, 11; Rev 11:2-3; 12:6, 12-14; 13:5), also ends in Israel’s final ‘deliverance’ (12:1), and this also marks the time that the righteous dead are raised, as shown in the very next verse (12:2). This is very important, because it so clearly establishes the time.

Although Daniel does not use the term the ‘day of the Lord’, everything he describes leads up to it. Therefore, it is important to note that post-tribulational deliverance of Israel in chapter 30 leads directly into the New Covenant chapters promising regeneration and everlasting continuance to Israel 31-33. Other of the prophets are one on placing this transforming event at the day of the Lord. So here too, the time is clear.

After this, it is a short step to show that Jesus, alluding to Daniel (Mt 24:15), mentions the same event (the unequaled tribulation of verse Mt 24:21) as “immediately” preceding His own return (Mt 24:21-29; all described in distinctive OT ‘day of the Lord’ imagery). Another powerful line of evidence, equally difficult to ignore or re-interpret, is the co-occurrence of the tribulation with the advent and career of Antichrist. It is easy to show that Paul’s “man of sin” (2Thes 2:4; who notably is destroyed at Christ return; 2:8) is manifestly the same individual as Daniel’s ‘willful king’ (11:36; who is destroyed at the end of the tribulation; 11:45). Again, the very same language is used showing Paul’s dependency on Daniel. Note also that in Dan 7, the kingdom of God comes with the appearance of the glorious cloud coming ‘Son of Man’ in inseparable connection with the destruction of the ‘little horn’, which is significantly identified as the last “beast” (compare Dan 7:11 with Rev 19:20; also 20:4). There is simply no way to make Daniel’s reference to the kingdom apply to Christ’s first advent as taught by amillennialism.

[Note also that the kingdom comes “in the days of these kings” (Dan 2:44). This is the final stage of Gentile power described in Dan 2 and 7. However, as late as the time of John’s writing, these kings “have received no kingdom as yet, but receive powers as kings one hour with the Beast” (Rev 17:12). Clearly, from the standpoint of John’s writing, both the Antichrist and the ten kings had not yet arrived on the scene, but are projected as yet future. So how could the kingdom be limited to Pentecost and the events of the first century? This shows how far one must violate context to say that Daniel’s vision of the messianic kingdom was fulfilled by the first coming of Christ.]

The evidence can be piled up exponentially for the futurist view that Jacob’s trouble is synonymous with the final unequaled tribulation that ends with Christ’s return and the resurrection at the “last day,” which is the ‘day of the Lord’ not only in the OT but the NT as well, which ‘day” the NT identifies with the blessed hope of the church (1Thes 5:4; 2Thes 1:7-8).

It’s really that simple; and yet, remarkably, what was so well known and expected by Jew and Christian alike in the early half of the first century has fallen into an ominous obscurity. It is well known that the earliest church lived and labored under the shadow of an imminent destruction of Jerusalem. Though they think they were wrong, virtually all academic biblical scholars acknowledge that the earliest believers expected the Lord’s return in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem, as easily understood from many OT references to the day of the Lord, or the ‘end’ in Daniel. It is well known that other apocalyptic sects such as the community at Qumran were also waiting for an imminent destruction of Jerusalem in connection with a last tribulation of unequaled severity. It was no secret. It was clear from many OT texts. But with the passing of the 70AD destruction of Jerusalem, the church entered upon a process of re-interpretation that continues to the present through the power of tradition and dogma. But the irony is that we’ve come full circle; and a final world contention over the question of Jerusalem is now threatening as never before, precisely as the prophets predicted. Only now, when this awesome reality is looming over the heads of an unsuspecting world, the church is comparatively silent. And even when when part of the church speaks up concerning a coming Antichrist and tribulation of sorts, it does so with an almost ‘comic-book’ kind of sensationalism that promises that the church will be comfortably absent, so that Jacob’s trouble is made to be strictly ‘Jacob’s problem’. This, while the greater part of Christendom, particularly the Roman catholic and reformed traditions, also ‘comfortably’ assure us that the tribulation is past, saying that the so-called ‘apocalyptic‘ sections of the New Testament (Mt 24; Mk 13; Lk 21; 2Thes 2; Revelation) were all fulfilled in the first century, so that nothing concerning the literal land and nation of the Jews have any more prophetic significance. What deadly delusion! The church is muted by its own history of interpretation despite a remarkable providence that has made Jerusalem once more a ‘cup of trembling’ as we come again to the threshold of a world crisis over Jerusalem and the Jew. It’s no accident; that’s for sure.

But back to the point. After establishing Jacob’s trouble as synonymous with a future Antichrist time of unequaled great tribulation, it would be helpful to trace the background of the concept in the larger history and goal of the covenant. This is key to showing its future significance, particularly as it relates to Israel. (The significance of Jacob’s trouble for the church has more particularly to do with the final victory of the remnant over Satan (Dan 11:32-35 with 12:1 and Rev 12:12). Of course the history of the concept of Jacob’s trouble begins with the crisis that Jacob faced upon his learning of the approach of Esau with four hundred armed men. This is the crisis of ultimate weakness that prepared Jacob for his desperate wrestling with the angel of the Lord’s presence at the ford of Jabbok. For Jacob, this was the ultimate, divinely appointed crisis that brought about the new priestly brokenness that would now distinguish the true “Israel” (one that has ‘power with God’) to be a priestly blessing to all peoples (Zech 8:23). This is very instructive in understanding such passages as Deut 32:36 with Dan 12:7 (the shattering of Israel’s carnal ‘power’). It is a key to the purpose of Jacob’s trouble, and, of course, it is also a pattern for the individual and the true body (Acts 14:22; 2Cor 1:19; Phil 3:3). But the concept of an ultimate weakness and destitution through great tribulation in preparation for a final transforming event of saving revelation goes all the way back to Moses (see Deut 4:30).

Moses knew that although Israel would soon enter the land, the larger part of the nation lacked the kind of heart that could keep and possess the land in any enduring way (see Deut 29:4). Therefore, knowing the everlasting covenant promised to the Fathers, Moses looked ahead to a time of great tribulation that would have its outcome in a national circumcision of the heart, i.e., national regeneration (compare Deut 4:30 with 30:1-6). This anticipates what the prophets would later see as an apocalyptic ‘day of the Lord’. (Note that Deut 4:30 anticipates Jer 30:7). Now the problem was this: Though there was indeed at all times a righteous remnant of true faith, such as Joshua and Caleb, Daniel etc. (men indwelt by the Spirit), the larger nation was rebellious and unbelieving towards the covenant. This abiding condition exposed the nation to ever recurrent outbreaks of the curses of the broken covenant (Lev 26; Deut 28). During such times of apostasy, even the presence of a small remnant might forestall, but could never ultimately prevent the inevitable recurrence of judgment and dispersion. In fact, even the righteous remnant, like Daniel, would suffer the same captivity that came as judgment upon the impenitent. But the promise was that the Land would be inherited “forever” by the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in particular (Dan 2:44 “not left to other people”). How could this be if the nation was in continual covenant jeopardy through disobedience and unbelief? A mere remnant was never enough to keep the land forever. And even at times of comparative revival, there was always the danger of a relapse, and with every defection, there was the constant threat of invasion from the fierce super powers of Egypt, Assyria and Babylon, etc. How could Israel ever “lie down in safety” in such a world, so that none would ever again devour them and ‘make them afraid’? That’s the dilemma of the covenant.

Manifestly, the Land could not be inherited ‘forever’ apart from an enduring and unswerving righteousness, and that not just of a small remnant, but of ‘all’ Israel “from the least of them to the greatest” (see Jer 31:34 et al), and not just for a fleeting moment, but forever (Jer 32:40; as reiterated in Dan 9:24 “everlasting righteousness”). Only in this way could the constant threat (jeopardy) of the broken covenant be remedied forever, thus guaranteeing unbroken continuance (a thousand years of testimony). Only IF all were righteous with an everlasting righteousness could the land be inherited without the danger of further judgement or exile. This, because only an abiding fulfillment of the required covenant faithfulness could guarantee unbroken continuance.

Despairing of Israel’s present condition, and knowing the nature of man and the fleeting restraint provided by even a measure of repentance and revival, the prophets looked ahead to a more radical and permanent cure for Israel’s incurable tendency to always slide back. They also looked ahead for a more radical solution to the domination of the great gentile powers. The revealed solution to the tension between covenant promise and covenant conditionality was the coming ‘day of the Lord’. This was the logic and goal of the covenant from OT perspective; and still is. God would act in final self-revelation and vindication in the eyes of all nations by His sovereign resurrection and deliverance of a fatally wounded Israel. This deliverance would come at the nation’s darkest hour (see esp. Ps 102:12). At the end of Israel’s last crisis, a surviving remnant would be ‘born’ (made alive) in ‘one day’ (Isa 66:8; Ezek 39:22; Zech 3:9) by a transforming vision, much like the vision that came to Isaiah and later to Paul (compare Isa 6 with Zech 12:10).

I cannot now multiply all the OT passages that show that at this time the nations will be humbled and the righteousness that comes to Israel will be enduring unto children’s children; but that’s the promise. Amazingly this will be accomplished in real history to flesh and blood people that have not yet put on final immortality. This will be the testimony of Israel to the nations. The bodily resurrection that happens to the church at the last trumpet (day of the Lord; Isa 27:13; Joel etc), doesn’t come for the ‘escaped of Israel’ nor for those that will be saved from among the nations during the millennium until the ‘second resurrection’ at the end of the millennium. Talk about a demonstration of grace!

Well, that’s at least some of the the logic of the covenant from the more linear perspective of OT revelation, and this is what lies aback of Jeremiah’s vision of Jacob’s trouble and Daniel’s further development of the time of unequaled trouble (Dan 11:31-12:13 with Mt 24:15-31 and 2Thes 2:1-8). Then comes the revelation of the gospel that brings to light the ground and nature of this everlasting righteousness by way of the messianic atonement through the revealed secret of a formerly unknown double advent, and also the further revelation of the interim. This is what lies behind what calls “this mystery” (Ro 11:25), where Paul traces the implications for a glorious divine strategy that makes the one body of Jew and gentile to embody a foretaste of Israel’s coming millennial salvation. However, in Paul’s mind, nothing that has been revealed in the gospel alters the future salvation of the ‘natural branches’, what Paul calls the salvation of “all Israel”. By his term, the “natural branches,” it is clear that Paul intends physical Jews, and any objective investigation of Paul’s use of the OT texts that he cites in Ro 11 (Ro 11:26-27 with Isa 59:19-21; also Jer 31:34) will show that he has in mind ‘the day of the Lord’ return of Christ. It is the ‘everlasting’ covenant that is established with Israel at that time. Of course, this is also the New Covenant which has already come by revelation of the mystery that has come to the church in unexpected advance of the ‘day of the Lord’ (see Isa 8:14:17 with Dan 9:24; 12:7). There is so much on this, but can’t get into that now, but when you trace the relationship of revelation to the power of Satan, it becomes evident why the coming in of ‘the natural branches’, as the second stage of the covenant of redemption, and the vindication of the covenant promise, marks the end of Satan’s tenure over the nations (Isa 25:7; Mt 23:39; Acts 3:21; Rev 10:7). To this end the church travails whether it realizes it or not. Well, they tell me the coffee shop is closing, so I guess that says stop.

Yours in the Beloved, Reggie

The Time of the Resurrection of Millennial Saints

Posted: December 10th, 2007, by Reggie Kelly

On Dec 10, 2007

Reggie,

Here is where I get really confused. Are you saying the resurrection [glorification] of believers, both Jew and Gentile, is at the end of the Millennium?

[Amazingly this will be accomplished in real history to flesh and blood people that have not yet put on final immortality. This will be the testimony of Israel to the nations. The bodily resurrection that happens to the church at the last trumpet (day of the Lord; Isa 27:13; Joel etc), doesn’t come for the ‘escaped of Israel’ nor for those that will be saved from among the nations during the millennium until the ‘second resurrection’ at the end of the millennium. Talk about a demonstration of grace!]

I have received so much understanding about this time frame from Mike Bickle [visited often by Art] who indicates the coming of Jesus will result in resurrection and glorification of the Church and remnant Israel, at the end of the tribulation.. the last trumpet, as we enter the Millennium.

Can you bring some clarity on this? Are you in disagreement with this timing?

Reggie, your teaching has been such a blessing to me. I believe I have archived nearly all your posts, but the above statement has ‘stunned’ me and I desperately need some clarity.

Many blessings,

Be comforted, my brother. Leave it to me to write some pretty ambiguous things on the fly like that. I should be more careful to read over what I write before releasing it. No, I’m at no variance at all with Bickle or Art or any other “historic” premill (as distinguished from the pre-tribulational pre mill) on the time of the rapture and resurrection of the church at the ‘last trumpet’. I share that view exactly. I am also at one with all premillennialists that recognize that there will be millennial saints in their natural bodies after Christ’s return. Israel receives the grace of repentance and the pouring out of the Spirit AT the point of Christ’s return (the ‘day of the Lord’ Isa 27:13; 59:21; 66:8; Ezek 39:22-29; Zech 12:10; Mt 23:39; 24:29; Acts 2:20; 3:21; 1Thes 5:4). This is the same time that the living church is translated into glorified immortality (compare 1Cor 15:50-54 with Isa 25:8; 27:13). In other words, the same age transitioning, revelational event that translates and raptures us at the time of His appearing, becomes a transforming revelation of mercy to the surviving remnant of Israel. That’s why they go apart to mourn, while we take our place with Christ and the rest of the “spirits of just men made perfect” in positions of rule. However, I believe that like the angels, the perfected spirits of the glorified redeemed are unseen to the natural eyes of the inhabitants of the millennial earth. That’s my view, as this alone makes sense of any literal reading of many things that scripture shows to be happening at the same time.

We therefore reason, that if Israel and the many that will come to Christ during the millennium are depicted in many scriptures as dwelling in mortal bodies and doing many things that show that they are not yet glorified, then there must be a point at which they too are resurrected unto glorified immortality. Now it is true that only the wicked that receive specific mention in connection with the ‘second resurrection’. However, on the basis of 1Cor 15:50, millennial saints have got to be resurrected sometime, and the logical moment would be the next great apocalyptic epiphany at the end of the millennium when the final revolt is quelled and the New Jerusalem is revealed with the new heavens and earth of final perfection. It is an inference; but one that is necessary on the basis of 1Cor 15:50. Furthermore, I believe it is the stock answer and understanding among premillennialists of all varieties. Hope this clarifies.

Appreciatively your brother, Reggie

Added Dec. 14th:

I wanted to be absolutely sure you understand some important distinctions. Lest my first attempt to clarify was as foggy as the original cause of puzzlement, I just felt I should double back and take a few extra pains to make sure that you’ve at least understood my position. Of course, I realize that it takes time and a fuller account of the evidence to process this difficult issue.

You asked,

“Are you saying the resurrection [glorification] of believers, both Jew and Gentile, is at the end of the Millennium?”

No, not at all. 1Thes 4:13-17 with 1Cor 15:23 makes clear that all those that “belong to Christ” are to be raised and changed at the last trump (52). “We shall ‘all’ be changed” (51). I see this “last trump” as none other than the trumpet that gathers the elect “immediately after the tribulation of those days” (Mt 24:29-31; and Rev 10:7; 11:15; Isa 27:13). Without question, this is the time that living believers are changed and “caught up.” It is also the point at which the Antichrist is destroyed (2Thes 2:8), the surviving remnant of Jacob’s trouble delivered (Isa 59:21; Dan 12:1; Ro 11:26-27), and the righteous dead of both testaments raised (12:2). So that much is clear. The only saints that I see being raised (changed according to the requirement of 1Cor 15:50) are those that were not ‘changed’ at the last trump, which is the post-tribulational rapture of the church. Now admittedly, this raises some difficult questions.

In my view, the problem can be reconciled by understanding that the same sudden (“in a moment”) ‘revelational’ event that translates the church also opens the spiritual eyes of the remnant of Israel. When the Lord returns, the beleaguered remnant receives a revelation that is far more than mere physical sight, as they ‘look upon’ the one whom they pierced (Zech 12:10; Mt 23:39). But rather than being translated at that moment with the church, the remnant goes apart to mourn. This event is best compared to what happened to Paul on the Damascus Road. Now filled with the Spirit, a nation of Paul’s is quickened to become the priestly apostolic witness to the nations, as the Word of the Lord goes out from a restored Jerusalem. There is a goodly collection of scriptures that give evidence of evangelism taking place throughout the millennium, and also of gentile participation in bringing the Jews back to their land AFTER their deliverance at the day of the Lord.

I need to assemble the scriptures to make the case for this clear, but believe me, any literal reading and application of many scriptures demand it. Indeed, a host of passages depict the restored nation and the descendants of those left from among the nations as acting in many roles that show that they are still in their natural bodies. Now nothing is explicitly stated concerning the time of the resurrection of those that become saints either AT the time of the Lord’s return (as in the case of Israel), or as the result of an ongoing millennial evangelism. In fact, only the wicked are explicitly mentioned in connection with the ‘second resurrection’. But according to the rule established in 1Cor 15:50, it is manifest that any final and everlasting glorification requires the “change” that Paul describes. Hence, we must posit a change at some point as an absolutely ‘necessary inference’. The only question is when? It seems there can be little question that this would be most likely expected in connection with the next great revelatory transition at the end of the millennium according to the implications of 1Cor 15:24 and Rev 20:5.

You also reproduced the statement that caused the puzzlement:

[Amazingly this will be accomplished in real history to flesh and blood people that have not yet put on final immortality. This will be the testimony of Israel to the nations. The bodily resurrection that happens to the church at the last trumpet (day of the Lord; Isa 27:13; Joel etc), doesn’t come for the ‘escaped of Israel’ nor for those that will be saved from among the nations during the millennium until the ‘second resurrection’ at the end of the millennium. Talk about a demonstration of grace!]

Here, I am referring to the amazing way that those who are saved at the end of Jacob’s trouble are kept and preserved without defection or further apostasy for a thousand years. The is true for all the children that shall be born to them (Isa 54:13; 59:21; Jer 31:34; 32:40; applied by Jesus in Jn 6:45). My point was that this would not be so remarkable if these promises applied only to the glorified redeemed of a resurrected immortality, as typically taught in replacement theology. But on the contrary, these promises are describing Spirit filled Jews living on the millennial side of the day of the Lord, still in the weakness of the their natural bodies, yet without an instance of apostasy among them or their children after them ‘forever’. Wow! That’s awesome to contemplate; but that’s the end of the covenant. No wonder interpreters want to transfer such a miracle of grace to heaven. How could such a thing be on earth? This will be a burning bush of divine testimony to the nations that will be impossible to ignore, and is no doubt the cause of the envy that breaks out in open rebellion at the end of the millennium.

I add this to my previous effort to clarify only because this subject is too involved to expect it to be easy, particularly at first. I hope that with this additional clarification you will at least know that I’m in no disagreement as to the time of the church’s change, and perhaps this will add a little better clarity on my position concerning the why and the when of the resurrection of those saved subsequent to the Lord’s return. I realize, of course, that you will want to see the fuller evidence for your better consideration of these seldom considered distinctions.

In brotherly love, Reggie

When was the book of Revelation written?

Posted: November 28th, 2007, by Reggie Kelly

Can you tell me why I should accept a late date (96AD) for the writing of Revelation, without quoting Irenaeus?

I’ve never studied the matter closely, probably because I can’t see where it would make a lot of difference. Sure, it’s a ‘make or break’ for preterism. They absolutely MUST defend the early date with all their might, and you know the power of a subjective interest. But that is only because they are content with a hodge podge of inconsistent exegesis. For example, if we make Nero the Beast, then how can we NOT make him Paul’s man of sin, which is obviously Daniel’s ‘willful king’ (11:36) ‘little horn’ (7:21) and beast (7:11)? Since this figure is clearly destroyed at no time short of Christ’s return (whether mystically or literally conceived), then you have a real problem, because Nero meets his ‘apocalyptic‘ demise quite some time before Jerusalem is destroyed by Titus, (the other so-called return of Christ in ‘mystical’ apocalyptic judgment) some years later. So what’s wrong with this picture? Exegetically everything! The Beast is slain and the millennium of the martyred souls is believed to begin with the death of the Nero, the Beast, some years before the siege and fall of Jerusalem. It’s silly. In the real world of biblical exegesis, the brief tenure of the Beast’s career coincides with the final desolations of Jerusalem as perfectly concurrent . So early dating John’s Apocalypse assists nothing for the preterist’s cause. I have no problem with an earlier date, because I have no problem that the book might have had a very beneficial early circulation, bracing both Roman Christians in the north of the empire and Jewish Christians in the south for two very horrific but distinct periods of tribulation, both having much of the essence of the final tribulation that closes this age with the “actual’ return of Christ.

Reggie