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DISPOSSESSING THE EVIL DYNAMIC
IN THE SCHEDULE
OF THE DIVINE SOVEREIGN
TO THE FIELD OF ETERNAL LIFE
Daniel 7 and Revelation 13, 17
The Maturing of Evil like Putrescent Wine
In the process of the maturing of evil upon the earth, we read of the beast with ten horns in Revelation 13:1, one with an apparently mortal wound, now healed. Perhaps, seen proleptically, that is in terms of a future to come, used as if present, this signifies the long tribulations of the fourth and Roman empire, take over by Goths, Huns, Visigoths, fallen in 410, moving to Constantinople, sacked in the fifteenth century, merging into the Holy Roman Empire in Europe, with the papacy a glue, re-evoked in the Common Market and the Treaty of Rome, continuing without much power, the while, till as in Revelation 17-18, near the end, its finale comes, and it becomes obsolete in the final judicial, eruptive calamities.
Since this part of Revelation, Chs. 13, 17 is dealing with the last phases of pre-judgment earth, we know this to be the fourth beast of Daniel, one accruing ten horns (perhaps like an extravagant rhinoceros), Daniel 7:24, thus correlative with Revelation 13:1.
As Daniel watched (Daniel 7:8), he saw another horn, a little one, not of the genre of the ten, come up and take over from three of the horns. We learn his mouth is perhaps his chief feature, pompously pretentious, arrogantly lofty, with what appears a sort of spiritual paranoia. This is built on the prototype of the Daniel 8 reference to an earlier "little horn", which is instructive. That occurred in the context of the third of the four empires, the Greek one with its Syrian residue, and in detail to Antiochus Epiphanes, who had held the notion that he was God manifest, or at least propagated the same, perhaps rather like the former North Korean leader, though the differences are infinite.
Thus the pretence, whenever made, is like the vapour of hell. Indeed, in Revelation 13:5,cf. Daniel; 7:20-22, seems that this little horn is the one which enables the beast, or dominating empire, to say his piece, for "he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies" and authority to continue a little while, evidently 3 and 1/2 times or 42 months. .
From the Antiochus forerunner, we can gather some clues. it seems he will also be devious, manipulative, divisive and subtle. The 10 continue with belligerence and bombast, thus having this leading mouth in their midst, with 3 of their number directly under him, indeed, he has "uprooted them," as in Daniel 7:8, meaning that their whole culture is now replaced with his invasive dynamic, perspective and authority. At to this seemingly greater little horn, his "appearance was greater than the others," Daniel 7:20. His mouth was the very criterion of arrogant bombast and empty delusion, the words in the heights, the works persecutory, in the depths. He becomes as if a mouth for the beast.
Daniel 7 shows us the following features of this mouthpiece of unruly, quasi-religious rhetoric:
1) he persecutes the saints.
2) he speaks "pompous words against the Most High."
3) he will intend to change times and law.
4) for a short time, the saints will be given into his hand.
5) he courts disaster, and thus when the time
From Daniel 7 and Revelation 17, then, we find that the 10 who arise are kings (Revelation 17:10). They are notable in not having "received any kingdom as yet", and further, in that in due course, having eliminated the harlot on the 7 famed hills, filled with sorceries and the blood of the saints, and sacked Romanism centred in Rome (Revelation 17:1-5, 17:10 - 18:1-24 cf. SMR pp. 946ff.), they are intoxicated with the thrust of their power, as shown by "the mouth." Moreover, this assault on Babylon, with the name "mystery Babylon" given expansively, this project to ruin has impact on those sharing in the false prophetic mêlée (Revelation 17:5, cf. Matthew 24:24); for as to mystery Babylon, her history in spiritual essence going right back to the relativistic, pluralistic, impure and polluting religion of Babylon, which becomes symbol for the type, and so embracive of such bodies now as the WCC, the UN and the like (cf. SMR pp. 732ff., 750B ff.).
The Foul Bubbling
The beast, having had this Babylon, this harlot as the Bible calls her, riding on his territorial and earthly power for long enough, summarily gets rid of her from his back (Revelation 17:16-18).
Now to be noticed, with their own false prophet, the ten KINGS appear in potential at least to become both possessed of and obsessed with the kingdom, and deciding to donate their authority to the rule of the beast, they do so in unison (Revelation 17:12), this being an exceedingly short term venture ("one hour"). In so doing, they do however remain "as kings with the beast."
After these, apparently in the sense of dominance, there arises 'another', Daniel 7:24, and he performs his devilish routines for 3 and one half times, the crisis number used symbolically in Revelation, perhaps kept here symbolical since the time of Christ's return is deliberately hidden (Acts 1). Thus you have the entire Church Age in Rev. 11:1ff., as this number as also the intense crisis of the the little horn, the "mouth" in Rev. 13:3-5 (cf. Daniel 7:24-25), and again in a days formula, it is found to refer to the time the dead bodies of the witnesses lay in Jerusalem. This is also linked with the second beast of Rev. 13:11ff., the eloquence and power and signs being mutual, whether in power or words or signals or persecution. However, the crisis symbol as in Revelation means that there is if only a very short time of the 10 kings with the beast as foremost, it is extended with the supervening little horn, mouth, false prophet association, perhaps all one, and as one manifest as in II Thess. 2, for his vanity and defeat by the overpowering light of truth, from the Lord.
Thus this so oratorical and vicious little horn, hype for the type (cf. Assyria earlier, Isaiah 36 with the effectual divine rebuke, 37:21ff.), this personal power source, may well be the equivalent of the "man of sin" as found in II Thessalonians 2, and perhaps also of the "false prophet" of Revelation 16:13ff., 19:20, matching "the antichrist", as found in I John 2:18. The works of this being, with of course its mentors or companions in crime in the power base, utter desolation and eternal guilt, shame and denunciation with scorching wrath (II Thess. 1:9-10, Rev. 19:15-21), it becomes clear that history is not least, a test-tube to illustrate, exhibit and attest the truth. It is a demonstrative medium, where wickedness as well as virtue, can show its heart, and words can be used as labels on test-tubes, set with their vials. The intervention of mercy does not obliterate the attestation in kind, when judgment sits. The second book of Rev. 20:12, is one of works.
As for the loud and lofty mouth himself, his is not a pleasant or fruitful post, as potential aspirants should consider ...
Thus the 10 KINGS who had not received a kingdom, receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast - and this being so, they give that authority, for their short term alliance, to the beast, and proceed to "make war with the Lamb," Revelation 17:14, with the face of the desolatory ruler in their midst. As to the kings meanwhile, In that they "hate the harlot", their religious predecessor in her gambits on the back of the imperial beast, Romanism and its company, with their spokesperson, theirs is woe against woe! Industriously, they set about her destruction to "make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire," as in Revelation 17:16 - 18:24). However, this is far from saving themselves, this comprehensive end to Romanism's centre and source, described in detail with the lamentations of merchants at her loss as a customer, in Revelation 18.
Shortly, it is their own turn, one and all (Revelation 19:20), the beast and his parts, ways, and this in turn is merely prelude to the end of the devil (Revelation 20:10)..
Moving of Antiques to Other Quarters
Thus goes Rome as religious centre, and since it is in the setting of "mystery Babylon," as noted this will also include heavy impact on a broader group of apostasies as target. It will involve the blighting of the power of the continuity of the devastating dynamic of wickedness, in that the current crest being ruined, this leads naturally to the naked exhibition of morbid nature of their power and the vehemence of their incendiary hatred of the Lord. If history had not shown this repeatedly, intensively, markedly and notoriously, judgment might not have seemed so vastly just, and entirely earned.
With the passing of the short-term evil alliance, which in joint crest was but for "one hour," their moment of power, extending into the evil and longstanding regime of resistance, misalliance and mischief, yes, as into the burning and desolation of Romanism's source with impact broadly, there is also a measure of relief. The corruptive and corrosive powers are now themselves corrupted and corroded. Almost in parallel with some chemical reactions, that is the way it goes (cf. Psalm 69:25-29, 26:4-1128:3-6, 35:15-26, 9:13-20).
Not small were all the torturous rigours of that season for the saints who remain, and who REFUSE UTTERLY AND ABSOLUTELY TO WORSHIP THE BEAST in its bombast and forlorn lost love, as in Revelation 12:11 and 13:14ff.. Indeed, in that time, Daniel 7:21-25, the mouth directs (as in Daniel 7:21), just as the second beast surges into action, that is, the one making a religious specialty of the task (Revelation 13:11ff.). His is the scurrility of confusion, the dynamic of deceit, the tyranny over the truth, the acme of heartlessness (Rev. 16:12-15, 12:12-13).
Consider the agents of unclean fraud toward the human race (though they are members of it). Imperial orders are given that all worship the beast. Orders are orders and disorders are disorders, and the two need not be confused. In fact, this order is certainly not effected by those who, as in Revelation 14 and 12 alike, have rejected it to the death, such follies being deemed ultimately disorderly, mere contamination, as unthinkable as unspeakable. The events of Stephen were mere introduction (Acts 7).
At all cost, if necessary, they proceed through anguish in this life, to their Kingdom and the Lord of lords, to give testimony to the Lamb (cf. On Biblical Translations II, Part III, No. 58), in heaven as on earth (cf. Rev. 7). How blessed their faithfulness! (Revelation 7:9-17, 11:13, 13:15, 14:11-16), how lovely the truth! the Spirit of God being the Spirit of Truth, and the mercy of God the overflow of His love. It does not hallow unholiness, nor have comradeship with guile, and the pardon available is at a cost so great, that God Himself in human form bore it to the death, disrupting that dynamic by rising complete in bodily format from the dead, that He might be Lord both of the living and the dead, that no flesh should glory in His presence (Romans 14:9, Psalm 16, I Corinthians 15:42ff.).
The comprehensive calamity befalling the broader spectrum of religious misalliance and turmoil, allied in spirit with Romanism, in taking power from God to man even in God's name, or something spurious to confuse, is shown in Revelation 18:24, the "mystery" or spirit of Babylon having been apparent from the first, as in Genesis 3:4-5, 4:7-8, into whatever paraphernalia and formats it cast itself before the Lord.
There in the blood of the saints here being focussed, we see the comprehensive character of this apostasy. Its fruits were from the first, to the last, seething and murderous, power-lusting, seeking to replace God in symbol or army, in confusion as in corruption, in dishonour as in imperial surges of lampooning lordliness and horrid hate. Many are those bodies slated for exposure to the fire of truth, when Rome falls, when the mystery Babylon finds her come-uppance, and the tongues of folly reap what they have sown (cf. Hosea 8:7).
On this, see also SMR pp. 946ff., 729ff., 732Bff., News 49, esp. *1 . See also Adelaide Tertiary.
There is an end (Matthew 24:14). As with biscuits in the oven, it does come.
From Revelation 17:14, we see that just as these ten upon the beast, make war with the Lamb, so "He will overcome them," and why ? It is as there stated in this, that He is "Lord of lords and King of kings."
The Time when to be Modern
is to be Everlasting
Past now the devastations of Revelation 18, at last performed on imposture and confusion, we come to the direct and calamitous confrontation for those now directly seeking war with the Lamb; and we see the result for them is predictably lamentable. For
who can overthrow the Lord! and
who has the counsel to defeat Him (Isaiah 40), and
whose is the wisdom to deflect the One who gave
mankind the very scope for wisdom,
who knows all in His survey, prior to and beyond its occurrence in our time-frame,
who in announced plan
who but the Lord God, who has spoken in the
Now as Revelation 19 moves to 20, we see a greater than the devastation of evil in its time, a work of wonder in the period when the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (cf. Psalm 72, Isaiah 11, Revelation 20:1-14). At hand to end it, is the incorrigible insurgency of evil, inflamed to the end, exposing its heart before all, this its last lust, a prelude to its destruction forever (Daniel 7:26-27, Revelation 20:10, 21:8). While Judgment, condign and conclusive proceeds (Revelation 20:11-21:4), the earth and the heavens with it depart, being consigned to be replaced by a new heavens and a new earth.
This is perhaps comparable to building a new house at some point in one's lifetime, when the Lord is in view, except for this one thing, that with Him, there are no limits. So just as there is a comparison, so for the greater joy, there is this jubilant contrast given by His limitless love and power. In this newness comes the pure joy of pervasive purification, along with the ardent and righteous power of God.
Now shall the justified, those granted the righteousness of the Lamb, who died the just for the unjust to bring us to God (I Peter 3:18), shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father (Matthew 13:43), uninhibited by slander, uncouped by prisons, unsacrificed by brutalities unspeakable if not unmentionable, but brought to the light, just as the eternal life which He gives, has no end, being what He has (as in I John 1), and gives.
Kings ? there is only one King, whose right it is, who endures being immortal, invincible ... the Truth, the Way, the Life, originator, judge, inventor, king of crafts, knowledge, prince of wisdom, the lustre of love and the profundity of peace.
with the everlasting
TESTIMONY OF TRUTH
What of the ten horns, the ten kings who have, at that point, not received "any kingdom as yet" ? It needs to be remembered that this by no means entails that each of them does not then have his own kingdom, at that stage; only that at the joint level, at that of THE KINGDOM, they had not so far managed to embark on that venture. It is a question: does it mean that they did not have any kingdom in this, that the ONE domain, imperial, joint, did not then exist; or that none of them individually had any kingdom ? A little tilt in the former direction is not merely this, that they are called kings, though this has its place, but rather that in a little moment they have a joint enterprise which they can agree to donate to the beast for its purposes (the movement from Revelation 17:12-13).
This, together with the fact that Its power is vast, the community is highly dominant in type and the decision is in strong language, so that they become "of one mind" and it is God who has put it into their hearts to take this step: all suggests a simple formula. They were relatively separate, got opportunity, used it, and united their domains, dignities, power in fulfilment for the beast. Thus even when evil is freely chosen, God is able to direct it, as He did the Cross, and so here, to the fulfilment of His purposes.
It is not outrageous calamity for 'the cause' of Christ that they so unite, but an avenue to exhibit their nature to the full, their flight to the depths in its dynamic of evil deployment, the inveteracy of evil in its own ways, and the lust for the power of the heavens which can infect the earth. So it becomes irreparable, ready for ruin, not simply by authority, but by the practical demonstration of the chronic character of its insatiable and witless lust. It is a self-made testimony for ever, soon to be despatched to its domain.
What then do we find ? It is this. The smooth flow from not having received any kingdom, to agreement to give their power and authority to the beast strongly suggests a collaborative pact, in terms of some now unitary entity which either had not existed or had done so in a far less common aggregate format. In this collective, now unified in the beast, there is included the false prophet, the little horn and the man of sin, all three of which may be the same person, the little horn "greater in appearance" (Daniel l7:20) than the other horns, and even uprooting three of them in its own favour, as in Daniel 7:20. Indeed, as in Daniel 7:25, it is just such an entity who holds out for his own part in oppressive evil and persecution, in the critical three and one half times, a reckless, satanically reeking self-promoting spiritual entrepreneur (cf. II Thess. 2:4-10).
The end of them all, with that of the apparatus of power and anti-God rush for devilish dynamic, is as depicted in Revelation 19, and II Thessalonians 1 and 2. As to this "man of sin," this pseudo-beatific self-admiring spiritual narcissistic fraud, with him the Lord will deal aptly, for it is he whom the Lord will "consume with the brightness of His coming," II Thess. 2:8.
Thus, their temporary kingdom, an adventitious attempt at forming a surrogate for the divine, goes on for its sharp hour, overcoming at the physical level the saints (Rev. 13:4-7, cf. Daniel 7:21,25) till Rome now overcome, mystery Babylon sacked, the past makes way for the present wrathful fury. The former things now are set aside as passé, and their persecutory rule thrusts on "until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favour of the saints of the Most High, and the time for the saints to possess the kingdom," Daniel 7:21-22,8-9 cf. II Thess. 2:7-9.
Accordingly, in Revelation 21-22, we find a very different picture of those now blessedly bereft of those evil ministrations, so recently so bloated, intoxicated and lusting. The saints, the believers in the Lamb, who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb, redeemed by His sacrifice in other words (Romans 3:23-27), these see His face and are worshipping in the temple which is the Lamb and the Father, the Holy Spirit flowing as in a river.
How long will the beast overcome the saints, with the ten kings in evil communion ? It is for "one hour" in the context of one and one half 'times', and so a relatively fleeting duration. In it are rigours (Rev. 13:16-17) , persecution and flaming testimonies, categorical, undismissible except by death (Rev. 12:11), all proceeding to their appointed destinies. The mouth itself continues in his paranoid self-exaltation for his three and one half times (Daniel 7:25); but just as this evil colossus was prevailing against the saints (Daniel 7:21) and so moving as "to overcome them," as in Revelation 13:7, so do the saints "whose names have been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," resist the decree, by the power of the divine appointments of God*1.
To the saints, then, God gave this power for a great testing, on the one hand, and demonstration on the other. It is used to give the manifestation of the love of God, that He is worth more than all this world (as in Job) and its comforts and heights (as in Revelation 12:10-12). So is wrought this testing well displayed in the face of the night, the wrath of the devil, who knows he has but a short time. It is God also who has accorded the short-term capacity to the powers of evil to exhibit the scent of their evil flower. It is seen, recorded, proven, demonstrated, past all recall, and stands an eternal testimony reminiscent of the sight at the end of Isaiah 66. Even if it becomes a horror past, its existence is there, the case proven, reality made manifest in its day, in its depths, in its eternal shame.
What then do we find ? As with Daniel, so now in this testing time, there are those who will not bow, except to God, and know the difference between totalitarian squalor and the wonder of the Maker and Redeemer, the love of Christ and the hate of hell. They will not surrender to surrogates nor assign their souls to reprobates from righteousness in the squalor of baseless rebellion.
Indeed, Revelation 13:8, power to do prevail in spirit and in heart is seen accorded His own people, in the tests and rigours permitted by Him who is the Almighty, exposing the one and the other, before the dénouement and appointments of destiny were made known to all in judgment. While the evil. overcame them in pure, blatant physical force (Revelation 17:14), so this wanton rule continues for a short time UNTIL (Daniel 7:22, Revelation 19:19-21) the Ancient of Days comes and the judgment sits (Daniel 7:26). There is no intermission. It is the fulness of foulness ruling the earth, says the word of God, UNTIL judgment sits. There is no simple handing over of an admiring earth to a coming King, but the rescue by the Coming King of His people, of His earth, from the blatant, godless, ruleless imperiousness of the ruthless forces of treachery to truth, who would take what is not theirs, and intimidate what is the work of another.
Then ? The war on the Lamb made (Rev. 17:14), in the wildest evil gamble in history, it is they who are overcome on earth, as they were in heaven (Revelation 12, cf. Luke 10:18). So this time passes and the devil joins the beast and the false prophet in everlasting destruction, the anguish of emptiness (Rev. 21:10).
Fascinating in terms of wording is it that in Rev. 13:7, we find that the beast has it given to him to "make war with the saints and to overcome them," at the purely physical level (cf. *1 below), while in Revelation 17:14, we read the outcome, after this eruption of flashing terrestrial power, namely this: "They will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them." The first overcoming is for a time, in flesh; but the second is for eternity, in the glorious resurrection as in I Corinthians 15:42ff., 57ff..
In the interim, there is suffering whether before or during the time of "great tribulation" (Matthew 24:21, Revelation 7:14)). In taking up your cross and following Jesus, there are no shoulder pads!
To the Church it is not given to seek terrestrial rule, or to seek to institute a kingdom, using force and might and power as in John 18:36. THAT is for Christ. In Psalm 2 we see from HIM personally, its advent, as in Psalm 72 its continuity, in Revelation 20, its naming and in Isaiah 11 its texture. As Christ ALONE by power secures the basis of salvation on cross and from tomb, so Christ ALONE as in Revelation 13, II Thessalonians 2, secures the overcoming, in directly divine dynamic, of the evil powers which molest the earth, kill the saints and evidence their own irreconcilable mind in contemptible machinations.
These things in their innate character are indelibly shown not only in mass murder, but in a final rebellion, even when the earth is indeed filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea, as shown in Revelation 20:7-10. It is not conditions which mislead in the last analysis, but the state, be it hate or seeking for help from the Lord. Which state ? it is the state of the heart.
Indeed, GOD ONLY creates the earth and man, GOD ONLY saves man, and GOD ONLY delivers from Satan, HIMSELF, the seed of woman with no extensions. It is He Himself.
Men, in the Church, the saved of mankind, they implement orders, preach, teach, suffer, endure, but God only as in Isaiah 2, HE will overcome the power of the evil one, in terms of the rule on this earth, which lies in the wicked one; for the form of this world passes away (I Corinthians 7:31), but it is God Himself, His Messiah in His own action and coming, who dismisses its delusive dynamics and delivers His people: as on the Cross from the guilt and governance of sin within, so on the return from that outside.
What then after the Lord returns, in like manner as He went (Acts 1:7ff.), in what is now a glorified body ? He went away, a known Person, who left from the terra firma and went to His eternal place in the heavens before their eyes, so what is to be said concerning the time when He comes from beyond this terrestrial scene back to it, in order to rule, and so comes once more to our earth ? This is said: it is in like manner. It is not a novelty. You saw the removal for elevation, and back He comes not in some other way, but in this. Now He is glorified (Revelation 19), but He Himself is the One, not another, and this is the way, not another.
In His grand majesty, it is expanded in glory; in its coming as in going, this is its MANNER. There are results, the overthrow of the evil dynamic being one as in II Thessalonians 1.
The immediate result, continuing for a time, is called the millenium (from Revelation 20), and it is to His glory that He again comes to Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:5, Micah 4:1-2, Isaiah 2:1-4), not in poetic format, but as part of the return in like manner as He left, now an exhibit to all mankind: for not again would He see them, UNTIL they said, "Blessed in He who comes in the name of the Lord" (Matthew 23:39). Now they will declare it and so they do see Him indeed then, again.
It is as in Micah 4, they shall come to that same Jerusalem where they slew Him, to seek His ways, and there "He shall judge between many peoples." It is in detail as in Isaiah 11, and now they shall not hurt or destroy in all His holy mountain. That is so far from any time in prior history as to constitute a summary dismissal of any combination of the word of God with this or that theory to the contrary*2. Evil does NOT so stand abashed, TILL He comes. Far is this situation from being being simply the presence of the Church, though it is as a phase of the life of the Church, simply, that it functions, WHEN HE COMES.
A place, a time ? There was a place and a time for the babe, Bethlehem, for the crucifixion, Jerusalem, and there is similarly now a site for this central fixture where deicide occurred; for now there is come His Person, once again, but now in regality to exhibit itself. Far is this from limiting the ways of the Lord. It both manifests them and fulfils, as in all the other references to Jesus the Christ, what He has both declared and multiply indicated in historical coverage. It comes only when the power of this world lapses at His coming (Daniel 7:21-22, I Thess. 1).
Rather, it is to show the same singular and substantial reality of it all, as in history, so in holiness, as in general, so in detail, that He fulfils what He claims, not merely to declaim, but to perform, not diverting detail into a watery solution of context defying muddle, self-contradiction, but fulfilling in honour and integrity every jot and tittle.
In this millenium, it is by no means a figure for the saved, a sort of Jerusalem above set on earth in some way or other; for even in its working, there is rebellion seeking to unseat the Lord altogether, which is nothing to do whatsoever with the Christian Church, however many frauds may be seeking to do no less TO IT, even if in delusion, at this present hour! (cf. II Peter 2:1ff., II Timothy 3, 4).
This Jerusalem is Jerusalem, even in its own place - then further identified as "Jerusalem," as Zechariah reminds us (Daniel 12:6-10), that of the unduplicable nation there defined, received, routed, restored. It is no part of the glory of God to suppress detailed statements in a unique setting, whether for the coming, dying, resurrection or return or the results of it, concerning the Messiah. It is IN ESSENCE a coming to earth in space and time, in detail and various deliverance, a testimony in itself, before the ultimacies arriving, continue for ever. As for this period on earth, as in other scriptures, and sinners die in it, accursed. It is no invisible church but a very visible domain in which as such, curse continues. It is a site, not a metaphysical sight; it is a fact, not a philosophy; it is a mixed thing, not a purity, an earthly reality, not a vision.
It is a uniquely defined nation which comes back as in Ezekiel 36-37, one once knowing the Lord, then dispersed, then brought back physically and then to be brought back spiritually as a nation as in Zechariah 12:10-13:1, Zephaniah 3, with 3:16. Nothing else fits these defining constraints, the Church never having been a people of the Lord, fallen from that, been dispersed, then brought back. That sort of approach, an invasion of the Bible, amounts to a simple cancellation of the terms given, and is not exposition but imposition on the text of the word of God, like a lash. It is to a Jerusalem in THAT setting in these parts of the word of God, that Israel is to come, as it is written, to its own place, even to Jerusalem.
Just as this alone fits the defining context, so it is is as emphatic as could be. Jerusalem shall be inhabited AGAIN, IN ITS OWN PLACE, JERUSALEM. Note the "again" - the Jerusalem in question is where it USED to be, and where it IS to be, and it is its OWN PLACE. Its sequence is this: spiritual, unspiritual, devastated, remade spiritual*2. That is unique to Israel in all history, as a nation. THAT is the Israel in view, and this its city. Only after it is back in its own place - Jerusalem, AGAIN, as Zech. 12 has it, does conversion to Christ come (Zech. 12:10), with the FOUNTAIN for sin. The focus is in on geographical city to which restoration is made, and then to salvation after many vicissitudes, coming in a transformative mode, to change it. There is nothing allegorical about this cohesive and historical uniqueness. It fits nothing but its actual context of Israel.
It is no derogation of deity to have
a TIME for creation (indeed time is part of it, an epoch medium for its institution),
a TOWN for the BIRTH of Christ, or
a PLACE for the crucifixion and resurrection, or
a SITE to emphasise the continuity of His sovereignty with His crucifixion, and emphasise His suffering along with that sovereignty, so that each emphasises the other.
It is not for us to simplify the schema of the Almighty, as if the Australian people should become ashamed of mentioning or relating to the Kokoda Trail, and so make it merely poetic. It was no poetry and its memory is no metaphor. How much more here, with the Lord! On Revelation 20:4, see On Bible Translations 4, n. 52.
The Jerusalem which is above has its place; and that on earth also; and the liberty of the one is epitomised on earth in this first resurrection, which as Revelation 20 makes perfectly clear, is prior to the final resurrection, and a lead in to the millenium (Revelation 20:4-5). Indeed, it is directly stated that the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years was finished. How then is it to be made one which God has made two ?
Thus a millenial period intervenes between the return of Christ, and the final resurrection of the remainder, not found in the millenium, as is explicit in Revelation 20:4-11, that blessed period in which the devil is bound, and where praise to God enduringly resounds (Isaiah 11, Psalm 72), and they shall not hurt or destroy in all His holy mountain; but the ultimates are exposed as with a skeletal X-ray, and the last arousal of inveterate rebellion arising and failing, the threesome of the evil leadership comes to its appointed and inflammatory end, like a burst ulcer thrown to the fire (Rev. 10:10).
What does not end is this: the kingdom of heaven (Daniel 7:13-14), the saints now shining like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Here now are to be found the saints, rescued by Christ, in the love of God, the finale of temporality open to them from Him, who having given every opportunity to evil, and having judged it finally at the last, continues from everlasting to everlasting, the world coming to go, and going to be replaced (II Peter 3:10-13). Thus in the midst of His eternal goodness, in that blessedness where they see His face, and where sin has no entry (Rev. 22:3-4, 21:8), theirs is an eternal kingdom (Daniel 7:27) where all obey Him.
Now eternal life has its wonder unqualified in the presence of Him who is illimitable, who backs and has backed love to the hilt in sacrifice and mercy, and having desired all to be saved, but not with violence and force, has achieved the rescue of those elect in His seeking mercies and eternal knowledge.
It is even He, the same from everlasting to everlasting, He would have all reconciled, but not with lies and fraud (Colossians 1:19ff., I Timothy 2:1ff., Ezekiel 33:11, John 3:1-19). He has done the utmost to bring the uttermost to the abundance of life that shall suffer no more fracture and endures no end.
It is for one as for all, as the skies darken, to come to Him (Matthew 11:25-30). There is no replacement for His righteousness, no quarantine for His word, no misdirection of His findings, nor any overthrow of His mercy, either in duplicity or in weakness; but according as it was to be, and in much has been stated to be, so it is, and so will it continue. In God is the Rock which is immoveable, and from Him the hammer which breaks all human rock, however fortified (Isaiah 44-45), with contempt for corruption. In mercy, in parallel, there is exemption from the destiny of sin through what He Himself has borne in a sacrifice sufficient for all, apt for any, but inapplicable where it is not received, never paid in to the accounts of the rebellious, but its own testimony for His own (I John 2, Isaiah 53:1-6, Romans 8:32).
In Revelation 13:12, as is shown in the excerpt from The Wisdom and Wit of the Word of God Ch. 2, it is not stated that all were CAUSED to obey, so that all obeyed the direction of the beast to false worship, but simply that this rule was ordained. Many did not obey and many therefore died. In the same Chapter 2, the text proceeds to the millenium on earth as in Revelation 20, and this may be found here.
Let us take on the other hand the sheer marvel that is the Bible, and consider yet one more illustration of its precision and wit. Thus in Revelation 13, there is a question. IS the bestial political-financial apparatus, the last of its kind, the empire-making, world-dominating example par excellence, to actually PLACE on the forehead of ALL (not killed) the mark of this, 'the beast' ? If you read some translations, you might think this, but in use in this chapter for 'making' things happen, are two Greek constructions, in some ways alternatives, but here the differentiation is significant; they are not the same and their point is reflected in the context, in the way they diverge. It is in fact remarkable that in so short a passage, in fact over the space of 4 verses, these constructions are used at different points.
Thus there is in Greek a distinction which should be translated into differentiation in the English. In Rev. 13:14 there is the verb to do, make or cause, with the infinitive: the evil entity causes them to make an image. That is to be done, will be done, is done. He caused it to be, and it is.
Very well, it is simple cause with adequate power, and effect with certain accomplishment: cause and effect, that is in view. This image is certainly going to be constructed.
However a different construction is used in the Greek in Revelation 13:12, for there he causes, as before, but causes that they might. It is a different construction, the conjunction of purpose and the subjunctive, not a simple infinitive as above. English to some extent provides the same option. Thus one might say, I caused them to do this. This is clear. You did it. They did it, and the reason was that you made them do it. However, you might instead say, in a different situation, I decreed, ordered, appointed that this should be done. If you are omnipotent, as you are not, it is clear that it will happen. If you are not, and no mere man is, then it is clear that this is your intention, or even decree, appointment, requirement; yet what happens depends, it all depends on your power and that of those for whom your purpose (the conjunction in Greek is one of purpose). Whether or not they try to resist or circumvent your decision, decree or determination, your purpose is one thing, and that is another. How successful it might be, that is a third component of the situation. Thus Rev. 13:12 could read: " ... and ordains that the earth and those who dwell in it should worship the first beast ..." or something similar to grasp the quality of the matter carefully.
Thus in the cases of Revelation 13:12 and 13:15, this is an edict, not a mere effectual power to get it done. He makes it to be that this should happen, he makes an edict, declares, requires and so on, is the sense of it. He will not of course get it, for we KNOW that there are many who will refuse, for AS MANY as caught are to be killed, if they decline; as in Rev. 13:15. In this verse, this also, it is a not case of simple cause and effect; but with that same subjunctive, the meaning provides the sense of edict, declaration and determination, that it might be done.
It is neither more nor less than Hitler's approach to the Jew: the Jew was to be slaughtered; and yet not all were slaughtered, for some escaped detection, with foreign aid, with Swedish cleverness, with Dutch resistance and so on, and were never able to be confronted, because not found, so that the result of investigation was irrelevant. That never occurred, because they were not caught. They escaped the net, ordained! The application of the edict, quite simply, was in those cases thwarted.
Now you may wonder what is the point of this distinction, that would interest us. First, then, it is the point in that the AUTHOR decided to write it that way, making the difference between the grammatical construction in Rev. 13:14 and 13:12 and 13:15. It is always important if you want to understand the mind of someone expressing himself, to know what he says, is it not ? Such variation in so small a compass cannot be overlooked; it is not a question of stylistic conformity, but non-conformity, and the cases in question precisely reflect this fact.
Thus the IMAGE is CAUSED TO BE, but the death sentence and the homage is DECREED that it might be. There is the essential difference, one pointed out in Thayer's Greek dictionary concerning the use of the word here translated 'cause', its various translations into English, and the effect of various grammatical constructions; and it includes this one of purpose which we have noted, allowing such translations as 'appoint, ordain'. Such is seen also in Mark 3:14, where Christ ordains disciples that they might proceed in a certain way. That is the same construction as the one we have noted in Revelation 13:12 and 13:15.
When a mere man appoints or ordains, however, not the Son of God but the child of Satan, it is one thing to ordain and another to force it to happen. THAT, as we have seen, it depends on the power, and the escape routes available. Death is the barrier which some pass; escape is the other possibility as in all dictatorships.
Hence, it is by no means sure that there are but two classes of persons at that time, and in this respect: those who DIE and those who BOW. MANY may escape, no doubt a small percentage, but with many billions of men around, even 0.1%, say of 8 billion, would be 8 million, and one tenth of one per cent is a VERY small percentage!
Hence when the Lord returns, as you see happen in Revelation 19, after the destruction of 'Babylon'*3A , that great satanic, unspiritual sop to this world and bastion for the betrayal of the saints (in Revelation 17-18 there is recorded the sudden calamitous devastation of what had for so long endured, with its hideous incorporation of the evil birds, as they are called, of the earth), certain things now follow.
There will be many with the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26), the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes, including who lost their lives to the work of the bestial political power, and religious power, with its IMAGE; for these are part of the "all His saints" which are so directed as we see in II Thessalonians 3:13, at His coming. There will therefore also be many who have died throughout all ages in Christ (I Thessalonians 4 shows their abstraction from this earth), and there will be ALL whom He has taken to Himself, according as it has been predestined, a fact the Westminster Confession rightly exposes when dealing with those who die young, or similarly by extension, are intellectually 'challenged' and the like.
That is the first and blessed resurrection, that which is part of the coming of the Lord for His 'elect' as in Matthew 24. It is (cf. Bible Translations 4, number 32) those beheaded AND those who have not worshipped the image of the beast, this the culmination of many prototypes over the Ages! (Revelation 20:4).
When is it to occur, in terms of sequence ? Christ in Matthew 24:15, in a setting of the 'end of the Age' and moving on till a 'then' which is the greatest tribulation to that time, and the point that unless He returned then, no flesh could be spared, shows that there is a pointer which shows a veritable climax of evil and horror is at hand. What is the pointer here in view ? It is this: that when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, STANDING IN THE TEMPLE, then flee from the environment.
This of course is what was given a preview in Antiochus Ephiphanes, as in Daniel 8's prediction; but it has its counterpart in the little horn of Daniel 7:8 (the same phrase is seen in Daniel 8:9), whose evil work was fulfilled in his placement of what is not God in the temple of God, an element for worship (cf. Biblical Blessings Chs. 1 and 2).
This figure is given more data in II Thessalonians 2, where it given the name 'man of sin', who is seen there parading himself, showing himself that he is god, in the temple. Now in that passage, it is made clear that his DOING THAT, that is, making of himself a god, apotheosis by desire if you like, occurs after what RESTRAINS is removed out of the way. The accelerator rushes the vehicle of evil in the domain of history, to its climacteric horror, when the brakes, what restrains, are removed! And what is it that DOES restrain except the power of God, but since that cannot be removed, what is meant ?
What is removed goes with the saints from the scene, at their call out of it, to Christ, at their summons from this terrestrial scene, to the wedding of the Lamb (Revelation 19:8). How can it be declared ? It is of course the power of the Spirit of God that dwells in the lives of His saints, salt in the earth, refusing to bow to the idolatries of man's fallen lusts, their testimony of valiant witness and freely poured out blood, a hindrance that shouts and echoes in the minds of the masters of tyranny.
It is this that is removed. It is this that until then, restrains! Now all restraint gone, the malignant apotheosis proceeds to its delight, and its swiftly following doom!
How is this removed ? It is removed with the saints whose bodies, in whom the Spirit dwells for such work, are removed at the call of Christ, whose summons comes with the words, "Come up here"!*3B as in Revelation 11, whose power resounds with the trumpet, when the dead are raised incorruptible, and this mortal puts on immortality (I Corinthians 15).
What is the name for that ? It is commonly called 'the Rapture' (in terms of Matthew 24:27ff,(, or the 'first resurrection' (Revelation 20), and means simply what Christ prescribed when He calls His elect from the four winds, and gathers them from the world (as also seen in I Thess. 4). It is indeed a rapturous thing, in both senses of the term, for the rejoicing of deliverance follows an immersion in the smog of spiritual corruption, growing constantly deeper, like that from the burning, physically, of rubber tyres. Just as that became appalling, so does the summons to the Creator's reception evoke delight!
When does this occur in terms of the dynamics of the evil powers gathering in their storm ?
From Matthew 24 we learn that when the man of sin STANDS in the temple, the end is at hand. When he SHOWS himself*4, or decrees, as very likely would be the parallel performance, assigning a role of deity for himself, perhaps as the ultimate representative of man in his self-idolatrising way: then the people of God are already REMOVED, but only for a time.
The absence of their 'braking effect' led to the stunning speed of the spiritual insanity of the 'man of sin' (II Thessalonians 2:4ff). After their 'wedding' in heaven (Rev. 19:8), fitted with linen white, that is washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:13-14, 19:8-14) , they come with Christ as He desolates the wickedness of the false prophet, the beast and in dazzling truth, destroys the false glory of the man of sin (as in II Thessalonians 1).
These then are some of the features of the sequence, let us return to the matrix of events itself when the Lord and His saints return to this earth. Let us consider the earth when Christ, having withdrawn His elect from the ultimate turmoil, comes with them, in that season when the apostles are to have their thrones (Matthew 19:28), and the earth is to be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 2, Habakkuk 2:14).
It is useful to take a small book like the prophecy of Zephaniah, and see how coherently, consistently and pervasively the history of Israel is traced out in these fields. In particular, our interest is in Chapter 3 of it.
Observation of the progression of this prophetic account of the nation is thus instructive.
NOTES ... DISPOSSESSION OF THE EVIL DYNAMIC
Here we come to: DETAILS ? SPECIFICITIES ? ACTUALITIES ? All three!
Details of 1) TIME, PLACE, NATION
these appear as, where relevant, do TERMS FOR CONDITIONS.
Specific Fruits, Specific Rorts, appear for Israel and the World, in progression, in culmination. Remnants are realised, rebels disempowered, righteousness flourishes.
IN ZEPHANIAH 3, you see one arm with the thrust of salvation which, though special with a people, Israel, is generic with all Christians in its innermost communion, whether in the millenium, or in the heart before that. This condition is one which Israel finds belatedly, as terminal events gallop to bring a people again to be at home with the Lord, then with other saints, at home with Him as He returns, all things in their place, and in His grace.
1) The Sinful Background 3:1-4
2) The Delivering Lord 3:5
3) The Challenging Reminder and Message 3:6-7
4) The Just Expectation of the Just One (Acts 3:14) 3:7
5) That not only Israel, but all nations face Inescapable
6) There is to come a millenium (as in Revelation 20)
7) Israel for its part will have Humble Reverence,
8) This will involve Guilt Cancellation
9) Those spiritual persons who lamented at Israel's spiritual
fall will be sated,
What had been holy to the Lord, dispossessed, now is