THE AGE OF RECONCILIATION
Copyright © 1996 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Satan, who apparently was one of the most exalted of the heavenly rulers, decided to lift himself above the other stars of God, above the Father’s will for him. The poison of discontent and rebellion against the Father began at the highest level of the heavens and spread throughout the universe, entering man the moment he was created. We now are approaching the age of reconciliation, the era when God will enable His creatures to be reconciled to Himself.
The events of the future will involve personages in the heavens and on the earth. We will not understand the events of the future on the earth nor the plan of redemption until we are able to view all that is occurring in the heavens and on the earth as one arena of judgment, warfare, reconciliation, and eternal punishment.
Table of Contents
The Original Rebellion
God’s Response to the Rebellion
The Day of Atonement
Bringing Sin to Maturity
The wheat and the tares
The giving of authority and power to Satan
The shaking of the heavens and the earth
War in the Heavens and on the Earth
The Saints are Seated at the Right Hand of God in Christ
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.
Then being with child [pregnant], she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth. (Revelation 12:1,2)
We believe the events described in Revelation chapter 12 are beginning to take place today. The Christian Church, the Body of Christ (the “woman clothed with the sun”) is entering the travail to bring forth Christ in the saints. The Hebrew Prophets spoke of the time when Christ would be born through the travail of Zion (the Church).
Therefore He shall give them [Jews] up, until the time that she who is in labor [Church] has given birth [to Christ in them]; then the remnant of His brethren [sons of God] shall return to the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3)
Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children. (Isaiah 66:8)
“As soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children.” Revelation chapter 12 speaks of “the man child.” Isaiah 66:8 announces the bringing forth of “children.” This is because Christ (the male Son) to be born is the one Seed of Abraham, and yet includes a multitude of saints.
Many important activities are being pursued today by the Christian people, including bearing the witness of the Kingdom of God to every nation on earth. Gifts and ministries are being restored to the churches. The Holy Spirit has come as Eliezer, bringing gifts to exchange for a bride for the Son of the Father.
Something else is taking place. Those who are seeking the Lord diligently are experiencing sorrow, pain, frustration, confusion. The “woman” is “travailing in birth” and is crying out in pain. Christ is being formed in the saints. The tribulations the saints are experiencing are for the purpose of crucifying the old nature in order that the new man, Christ, may be born.
Why must we be crucified like this? Why is it so terribly important that we be conformed to the death of the Lord and that Christ live in us? In order to answer these questions, we must think about the original rebellion in the heavens, and the need for reconciliation to God on the part of all His creatures.
The Original Rebellion
Before the heaven and earth were created, there existed a universe of intelligent beings. All were created by God the Father working through the Logos, the Word. Some of these spiritual creatures were rulers over the others — exalted dignitaries of awesome wisdom, knowledge, authority, and strength. Were we to see them, we would be overwhelmed by their grandeur.
Satan, who apparently was one of the most exalted of the heavenly rulers, decided to lift himself above the other stars of God, above the Father’s will for him. The poison of discontent and rebellion against the Father began at the highest level of the heavens and spread throughout the universe, entering man the moment he was created.
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [day star], son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (Isaiah 14:12-14)
The moment Satan decided to lift himself above the place chosen for him by the Father, sin entered the universe. Wickedness, unrest, rebellion, lust, murder, corruption, death, agony, insanity — all came into existence. The spirit of sin and death was born. The numerous personages who accepted Satan’s way were cut off from the Father. Confusion, disorder, tumult filled the spirit realm where we believe previously there had been peace, harmony, love, and joy.
We see, then, that the original sin was discontent with one’s assigned place. It is true today that the redemption that is in Christ enables us to be content in whatever state God places us. To be quiet and content in our assigned role and place in Christ is to be in the rest of God.
God’s Response to the Rebellion
The creation of man was God’s response to the rebellion of the angels. Man was created to be the throne of God, to govern all the works of God’s hands, to be a fullness, a completion of Christ, to be the judge of all creatures including the angels, to prevent future rebellion for eternity.
Meanwhile, the sinning angels have been bound in the chains of spiritual darkness. All of them, from Satan downward, are bound forever in lust, murder, violence, hatred, torment, jealousy, bitterness, self-will. They can never again experience love and blessing, only lust, rage, jealousy, and covetousness. The world of today reflects the state of the angels who left their proper domain and positions of authority.
And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; (Jude 1:6)
The entire Scriptures reveal God’s response to the rebellion of His creatures, both angelic and human. More than we realize, the things written in the Scriptures are directed toward the angels. The Ten Commandments are a judgment on Satan and his followers. Moses recognized the involvement of the heavens in what was taking place on the earth, especially with Israel.
“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth. (Deuteronomy 32:1)
“Give ear, O heavens.” God does not reveal His plan directly to the creatures of the heavens. It is through His elect on the earth that God’s wisdom, His response to the rebellion, is portrayed.
to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by [through] the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 3:10)
It is evident that from the time of the rebellion, God no longer trusted His angels.
If He puts no trust in His servants, if He charges His angels with error, (Job 4:18)
God withdrew above the heavens and counseled with Himself in order to formulate a plan that would accomplish several purposes:
- A bride for the Lamb (Revelation 21:9).
- A living temple for God (Ephesians 2:22).
- The Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 42:1; I Corinthians 12:12).
- A vehicle for the end-time revival (Isaiah 60:1,2).
- People who can restore Paradise on the earth (Romans 8:21).
- A royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).
- Witnesses of God (Isaiah 43:10).
- Sons of God (Revelation 21:7).
- Brothers of Christ (Romans 8:29).
- Overcomers of the accuser (Revelation 12:11).
- Governors for the saved nations (Revelation 2:26,27).
- Judges of men and angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3).
- A wall of defense around the Glory of God (Revelation 21:14).
- The revelation of Himself — God in Christ in the saints (Revelation 3:12).
As God considered how He would reconcile His rebellious creation to Himself, He looked about to see if there was at least one personage who could be trusted to do His will faithfully, under every condition, for eternity.
He found One — the Logos, the Word, whom we know as the Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking of His chosen One, God declared:
Gird your sword upon your thigh, O Mighty One, with your glory and your majesty.
And in your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; and your right hand shall teach you awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; the peoples fall under You.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions. (Psalms 45:3-7)
We do not know who Christ’s “fellows” or companions were, but it seems reasonable they would be angels of the highest rank.
God chose the Word, the Lord Jesus, to be the first of His offspring to be reconciled to Himself. As a result, Jesus had to become flesh and endure numerous testings and tribulations.
And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:8)
The Psalms give us insight into the sufferings of Christ.
Be not far from Me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.
They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion.
I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; you have brought Me to the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. (Psalms 22:11-17)
The severest test took place in Gethsemane. The response of the Lord Jesus was:
saying, “Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
At this point, the Lord Jesus was fully reconciled to the Father. God now had an anchor, a fixed point from which to begin the age of reconciliation.
The Day of Atonement
The term atonement has many meanings ranging from “covering of sin” to “removal of sin,” including forgiveness, cancellation of debt, remission, and so forth. We prefer to use the word reconciliation because this term seems to best sum up the various shades of meaning of “atonement.” We may think of the Day of Atonement as the Day of Reconciliation.
The Day of Atonement (Reconciliation) is described in Chapter 16 of the Book of Leviticus. There were two main ceremonies that took place on the Day of Atonement:
- The first ceremony included a slain goat. The blood of the slain goat was sprinkled on and before the Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The forgiveness aspect of the atonement made by the slain goat is understood by the Christian ministers. Forgiveness through the atoning blood of Christ is correctly preached as being the foundation of the Christian redemption.
- The second ceremony utilized a living goat. The sins of Israel were confessed by the High Priest and placed on the head of the living goat. The living goat, the scapegoat, was then led away into the wilderness. The atonement made by the living goat, the deliverance aspect of atonement, is not understood nearly as well by the Christian ministry. Deliverance from sin through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus is not taught as clearly as the forgiveness of sin and removal of all condemnation.
It is obvious that at some point our imputed (ascribed) righteousness must be changed to actual righteousness. No one believes the holy city, the new Jerusalem, will be holy by imputation, that the people will continue to be sinners but God will view them as righteous because of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus. Several passages of the New Testament speak of the salvation, the deliverance, the redemption to come in the future. This means there will arrive a point in history when the Lord will remove the presence of sin from His Church.
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:11,12)
“Our salvation [deliverance from the presence of sin in our personality] is nearer than when we believed.” We look forward with joyful anticipation to the future because we know the day will come when God will remove the presence of sin from us. When moral horrors surround us, let us look up to Heaven and rejoice because our redemption from sin and death is near. In view of our wonderful hope of deliverance from sin, let us throw off all worldliness, sin, and rebellion from our personalities.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit to the day when God removes our sin.
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)
At His first coming the Lord forgave our sins. At His second coming the Lord will remove the presence of sin from us, thus reconciling us to God.
who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)
The salvation that is to be revealed in the last days is deliverance from the presence of sin. We believe the day of deliverance has begun with those who are seeking the Lord earnestly.
The Day of Atonement is the Day of Vengeance on God’s enemies because atonement (reconciliation) comes to us as the Lord judges and removes the works of Satan that are in us. The Day of Vengeance against the enemies of God had not come at the time the Lord Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah. The Lord rolled up the scroll without reading “the day of vengeance of our God.”
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. (Luke 4:18-20)
The next statement to be read, had Jesus not rolled up the scroll of Isaiah, concerns the Day of Vengeance, the Day of Atonement:
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, (Isaiah 61:2)
The demons knew the time of judgment, the comforting of God’s people, had not arrived, and they protested the Presence of Jesus.
And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, you Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:29)
“Before the time”! The time of the Day of Vengeance, the Day of Reconciliation. So far, we have learned that many high-ranking angels rebelled during some previous age, most likely before the heaven and earth were created. The rebellion began at the highest level of the heaven in that Satan was one of the two cherubim that overshadowed the Throne of God with their wings. From that moment, God the Father charged His entire creation with error.
But God found that the Logos, the Word, the Lord Jesus, loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God chose Him to be the first to be reconciled to God. God anointed Him with the fullness of the Holy Spirit and then tested His obedience on the earth until no shadow of doubt remained. Christ was made perfect by the things He suffered and became the Firstborn and Head of a company of sons yet to come.
The blood of the cross reconciled the whole world to God in terms of forgiveness and also cleansed the holy places in the heavens.
And He Himself is the propitiation [appeasement] for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (I John 2:2)
Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:23)
The wrath of God has been appeased (propitiated). However, the presence of sin remains in the heavens and on the earth. The Lord Jesus is seated at the right hand of God, waiting until His enemies are made His footstool by the wisdom and power of the Father.
It is this author’s opinion that we now are entering the Age of Reconciliation, an age that will last throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Millennium). We believe reconciliation to God is the purpose for the Kingdom Age.
Bringing Sin to Maturity
The wheat and the tares.
Why has God waited for two thousand years before bringing us to the Age of Reconciliation, the Day of Vengeance? One reason is that the Body of Christ has not come to maturity; Christ has not been formed in the saints. Another reason is that sin has not as yet come to maturity. Notice that God made a covenant with Abraham concerning the land of promise. But Israel was not allowed to enter and slay the inhabitants until the “iniquity of the Amorites” had come to maturity.
“But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” (Genesis 15:16)
We see the same principle in the parable of the wheat and the tares. God will wait until both Satan and Christ have attained maturity in the earth. Then the angels of God will remove from the Kingdom of God all wickedness and wicked people.
“The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,
“and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
“Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:41-43)
The giving of authority and power to Satan.
Now we come to some passages of the Scriptures that are very difficult to understand — those that describe the authority and power that God gives to Satan, to Antichrist, and the False Prophet.
Let us keep in mind that God always is in control. The war between God and Satan is not a war of power but of truth. God has all power. Satan cannot overcome God’s power or Christ’s resurrection nor does he attempt to do so. Satan is terrified of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Satan works in the realm of deception. He is a false day star. He continually bears witness of his own plan for joy and peace. Meanwhile the Lord Jesus bears witness of God’s plan for joy and peace. Human beings (and possibly angels) must decide who is telling the truth.
God gives authority and power to Satan in order to develop the character of Christ in the saints. Satan uses people to hinder the saints as they press toward the crown of life. It is necessary that stumbling blocks and testings be set before the believers, but woe to that person through whom the testings come!
It is particularly important that the saints learn to obey God in every detail of their existence. Righteous character and obedience to God can be perfected in the earth as the saints struggle against the abominations and temptations to evil presented by Satan. We notice that Christ, the Logos from eternity, learned obedience while living on the earth.
Another reason God gives authority and power to Satan is that sin may come to fullness. God puts heat on the boil of sin until the boil is ready to be lanced.
God covers the sin of the righteous until He is ready to remove the sin. Then God causes the sin to be exposed so it may be destroyed out of the believer.
Notice, in the following verses, how God gives authority and power to Satan.
He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute [wear down] the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)
The saints are given into the hand of the enemy until God sees they are worthy of the Kingdom of God.
which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; (II Thessalonians 1:5)
Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered [crushed], all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)
“Scatter [shatter] the power of the holy people [the saints].”
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)
It is the Holy Spirit in the saints who prevents the full revelation of Antichrist. When God permits the witness of the saints to be overcome, Antichrist will be free to express fully in the earth the personality of Satan and the folly of obeying Satan.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. (II Thessalonians 2:7,8)
Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. (Revelation 13:6,7)
The shaking of the heavens and the earth.
“For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land;
‘and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts. (Haggai 2:6,7)
“Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying: ‘I will shake heaven and earth. (Haggai 2:21)
whose voice then shook the earth [at Sinai]; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”
Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:26-29)
- God shall shake the earth, the sea, and the dry land.
- God shall shake the heavens.
- God shall shake all nations.
- The desire of all nations shall come.
- God shall fill His house with glory.
- The things that have been created, the things that can be shaken, shall be removed.
- The things that cannot be shaken shall remain.
- We will receive a kingdom that cannot be moved.
The Church must come to know that there is no secure place in the heavens or on the earth. Dying and going to Heaven will not satisfy our desire and need for security because there is war in the heavens. The only secure place is the Lord Jesus Christ.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, (Revelation 12:7)
Knowing that God has established the world on the seas and floods, Abraham looked for a city that has foundations. That city is the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The only city having foundations that cannot be removed is Christ and those who are part of Him.
Next we shall begin to see the extent to which God will permit evil to vaunt itself before He puts an end to sin and brings in everlasting righteousness. First God will permit sin to reach into the heavens. Then God will shake the heavens and the earth so all that is not founded in Christ will be cast out of the Kingdom and truth will prevail.
And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. (Daniel 8:9)
We believe the “little horn” to be Antichrist.
And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. (Daniel 8:10)
His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:4)
The forming of Christ in the Church in the last days will result in a violent shaking of the heavens as well as the earth. The shaking is necessary if God’s creatures are to be reconciled to Himself.
There is not a more astonishing verse in the Scriptures than Daniel 8:10. It is telling us that God will permit the forces of Hell to reach up to the heavenly army and cast down to the ground some of the prominent personages of that army. If we want to understand the plan of redemption, we must view the work of God as beginning in the highest heavens. Evil must be cast down from the heavens before it can be cleansed from the universe.
He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down [profaned]. (Daniel 8:11)
It appears Antichrist (the little horn) will seek to be the equal of the Lord Jesus Christ. Antichrist will prevent people from being saved in that day. Only in the remnant, by that time hidden in the wilderness, will there be deliverance.
And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion [the saints] and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:32)
The remnant of saints will have the authority to admit people to the Kingdom and to deny people entrance to the Kingdom. In the large cities of the earth, it will be impossible for people to break through the barrier of evil in the heavens and touch the Throne of God. It is difficult to “pray through” today, but it will be impossible in the future. This will be the hour of darkness when no man can work.
No words of ours could describe the horror of seeking to reach God in prayer and discovering we cannot touch God because our prayer is being blocked by highly placed lords of darkness. We are so accustomed to reaching up to the Most Holy Place through the blood of the Lord Jesus that it is difficult to imagine not being able to break through to God. But the day is not far off when evil will have attained such authority and power in the earth and in the heavens that people no longer will be able to reach God in prayer.
The bringing down of Christ’s sanctuary suggests the witness of the Church will be seriously impaired and its power greatly limited.
We have always thought that once we died and went to Heaven, we would be safe. Now we find there is war in Heaven; it may not be the place of safety we thought it to be. The only safety for us is in the Lord Jesus whether we are on earth or in Heaven. Let us run into the Lord and be saved and safe. It is the Lord, not Heaven, who is our strong Tower, our Rock, our Refuge.
Trust in the LORD forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength. (Isaiah 26:4)
What verse of the Scriptures states that Heaven is a place of safety for us? Let us put no trust in the heavens or in the personages of the heavens, whether they are angels, cherubim, or any other kind of creature. Our trust is in the Anointed One Whom the Father has given for our salvation.
Because of transgression [rebellion], an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered. (Daniel 8:12)
The above verse seems to be stating that because of the rebellion in the hearts of all God’s creatures, the heavenly armies will be given into the power of the little horn, and the little horn will receive the worship that should be given to Christ. In that day, evil will prosper as never before. Truth will be thrown to the ground. We see truth being “thrown to the ground” today as people love and practice lies.
Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled under foot?”
And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.” (Daniel 8:13,14)
The question is, how long will God permit the worship of Antichrist? How long will God permit the transgression, the rebellion that causes desolation and horror, to continue? How long will God permit the holy place and the army to be trampled? The answer is, the abomination will continue until God is satisfied that His Holy Place has been properly restored and reconsecrated. God’s holy Throne will be removed from the heavens and established in the hearts of the saints.
God’s goal is to completely remove sin and to create a new world filled with righteousness, a world in which all the creatures have been reconciled to Himself.
For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.
Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:27,28)
Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (II Peter 3:13)
“New heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” The Divine goal is to totally remove sin from the creation and to bring in eternal righteousness.
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)
What a marvelous promise for the future!
- “To finish the transgression.”
- “To make an end of sin.” Think of it!
- “To bring in everlasting righteousness.” Everlasting righteousness!
- “New heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells”!
Notice the “two thousand and three hundred days.” We learn from this that the shaking, the giving of authority and power to Satan and his followers, is under the strict control of the Father and shall be concluded at a specific time.
We see the same careful regulation of revival, and the rise of evil, during the seventieth week. The latter-rain revival will occur during the first half of the week. Antichrist will prevail and there will be great tribulation during the second half of the week. All will continue under the strictest control and will begin and end at the Word of the Lord.
Notice also the prescribed limits set in the following verses:
“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days [3½ years], clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:3)
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. (Revelation 11:11)
Only in the Lord Jesus will there be security, peace, and joy in the days to come. The “everlasting righteousness” of which God speaks is the Lord Jesus Christ. As Christ is formed in the saints, everlasting righteousness is formed in them. And so on and on until the entire saved creation is filled with Christ. But everlasting righteousness cannot prevail until everything that is not of Christ has been shaken out of the heavens and the earth. The shaking and removal of all that is not of Christ is beginning now. The shaking is beginning with those who are close to Christ and seeking Him with a pure heart.
War in the Heavens and on the Earth
The entire Scriptures are a record of warfare. The Old Testament is filled with accounts of war against human beings. In the New Testament, the warfare no longer is against human beings, but against demons and against rulers and authorities in the heavens.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
There are many passages of the Scriptures that speak of warfare and of the wrath of God directed against His enemies.
For behold, the LORD comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth will also disclose her blood, and will no more cover her slain. (Isaiah 26:21)
“I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once. (Isaiah 42:14)
“I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes. (Isaiah 63:3)
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. (Daniel 10:13)
The LORD also will roar from Zion [body of Christ], and utter His voice from Jerusalem; the heavens and earth will shake; but the LORD will be a shelter for His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:16)
Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (Revelation 19:15)
There will arise at the end of the Church Age a large and powerful army of saints, with Christ at the head, that will invade the earth, driving out all unclean spirits.
The LORD gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it? (Joel 2:11)
From the present hour forward in the history of the world, we shall see expressions of Satan’s nature we never believed we would witness on the earth. We are entering an age of moral horrors. Every filthy, perverse practice that can be imagined by the lords of Hell will fill the large cities of the earth.
To avoid being destroyed by what we are seeing, we must keep our eyes focused on the Lord Jesus, setting our affections and treasures in Heaven above, not on the earth. We must learn to view the heavens and the earth as one arena of conflict, recognizing that the moral filthiness occurring on the earth is merely a reflection of the spiritual lords who govern the earth from their position on the thrones located in the air above the surface of the earth.
If we do not close our eyes and ears from seeing and hearing evil, if we do not fasten our gaze on the Lord Jesus at the right hand of the Father, we surely will succumb to the spiritual darkness now on the horizon.
The bringing forth of Christ in the personalities of the saints will intensify the spiritual warfare and the distressing conditions on the earth.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,
but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
The dragon (Satan), and his angels still have their places in the heavens. But when a company of saints overcomes the accuser, the Father will give power to Michael and his angels to throw down Satan from the heavens into the earth. Then the earth will be a dreadful place in which to live.
It is difficult to grasp the enormity of the expression “neither was their place found any more in heaven.” Satan and his angels always, from a time further back than man can imagine, have had their places in the heavens. During the age of reconciliation, which we believe to be beginning in the present hour, Satan and his followers will be forced from their ancient positions. This is a wonderful hope for the inhabitants of the heavens but the worst of all possible situations for those living on the earth.
The war between God and Satan is not a war of authority or power, but of truth. Satan’s authority was destroyed on the cross of Calvary. God always retains all power. Satan has no power except what is given to him by the Lord. Satan must work in terms of deception. He must persuade people to believe a lie. Otherwise he can accomplish nothing.
Before Satan can be cast down from his place in heaven, there must be saints who conquer him. How do the saints wage war against the great deceiver? The saints overcome the deceiver, the great red dragon, in three ways (compare Revelation 12:11):
- By the blood of the Lamb.
- By the word of their testimony.
- By loving not their life unto the death.
Satan attempts constantly to keep the believers under condemnation. We overcome his accusations by trusting in the perfect work of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus. There is no condemnation resting on those who are abiding in Jesus because of His blood, the blood of the Lamb, that made an eternal atonement for our sins.
We overcome Satan’s accusation by the word of our testimony. Satan always is raising questions concerning the Word of God. As the saints hold firmly to the Word, no matter what the physical circumstances suggest, they overcome the accuser. We are to proclaim what God proclaims in every situation. No matter how hopeless the outlook may be, we are to stand fast on the statements found in the Scriptures. Every Word of God is totally true and always will be fulfilled.
We cannot overcome Satan with our traditions. We must overcome Satan by declaring the absolute truth of all God has said.
It also is necessary that we love not our lives to the death. In order for us to conquer the accuser, we must endure to the end. We must place our treasures in Heaven and our hopes beyond the grave. We must give God everything. If we attempt to save our life in any area, in any matter, we cannot overcome Satan. He will keep returning to the one relationship, the one circumstance, the one thing we refuse to give to God. We then will lose our crown because no idolater can rule with Christ.
God has His saints who will overcome Satan in each of these three areas. As soon as they do, Michael will receive the power to hurl Satan and his followers from the heavens into the earth.
The victory brought about by the conquering saints will cleanse the heavens. Reconciliation to God will begin in the heavens.
“Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Revelation 12:12)
Satan’s anger had been directed at those who dwell in Heaven.
Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. (Revelation 13:6)
Now the heavens are filled with rejoicing because Satan has been removed. Never again for eternity will Satan be able to dwell in heaven. His end has come as a heavenly creature. He now is confined to the earth until God assigns one angel to bind Satan with a great chain and cast him into the bottomless pit, shut him up, and set a seal upon him.
There was a foreshadowing of this total spiritual victory when the Lord Jesus sent forth His disciples to cast out devils.
And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (Luke 10:18)
The age of reconciliation began when the Lord Jesus in anguish of soul proclaimed His unswerving obedience to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. Now the triumphant Spirit of Christ has prepared total victory in the warlike remnant of His saints, and they too have pleased God by their total obedience — obedience to the point of death.
The Saints are Seated at the Right Hand of God in Christ
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)
When we first come to the Lord Jesus Christ, we are raised to the right hand of God — far above all of the nobility of the spirit realm. Our struggle against the rulers and authorities of the heavens is not so we may attain the throne, but so we may maintain what was given to us at the beginning.
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. (Revelation 3:11)
The world, Satan, the lusts of our flesh, our self-will, and sometimes other believers, seek to bring us down from our high position in Christ. “Come down off the wall” they cry to us as they did to Nehemiah. “Come down off the cross.” Will we listen to the clamor or will we stay in the place where God called us? We are in the process of receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:28)
It is absolutely necessary that we center our hopes and affections, our interests and treasures, in the heavens where Christ sits at the right hand of God. If we will do this, we cannot be harmed during the coming ages of turmoil and horrors. But if we “live on the earth,” so to speak, we will not be able to survive spiritually in the days to come.
The Scriptures are very clear that the member of the Body of Christ is far above all rulers and authorities in the spirit realm.
and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Ephesians 1:19-21)
Notice our position as saints:
even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:5,6)
The days ahead of us will be the most momentous of earth’s history. The tares of Satan will come to maturity. The wheat of Christ will come to maturity. Spiritual titans will face each other in a conflict that has only one conclusion. The angels of God will come and remove the wicked from among the righteous. Then the righteous shall shine as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.
There is no security in the heavens, on the earth, on the sea, or in the dark regions beneath the surface of the earth. All shall be shaken by the Father as He arises to avenge Himself of all rebellion, all sin against His eternal moral laws.
The righteous will run into the Lord and be safe. Christ, and Christ alone, will be the Rock that will stand when all else has been removed. God has purposed to make Christ the center and the circumference of all the creation.
that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (Ephesians 1:10)
Every personage, angelic and human, will bow the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ. Every tongue will proclaim Him Lord. All shall be subject to Him. When all has been made subject to the Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus shall be subject to the Father that the Father may be All and in all.
This is the total reconciliation that has been planned since the time the angels rebelled. This does not mean, as some erroneously are teaching, that eventually Satan will be reconciled to God. The wrath of God, including its expression in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, is nonredemptive. In that lake the unrighteous remain unrighteous and the filthy remain filthy. There will be both angels and people in the Lake of Fire. According to the Scriptures, they will remain there for the eternity of eternities. This is what it means to be “lost.”
The age of reconciliation has begun and will continue until the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. All who are “saved” will have a portion of Christ in them and will grow toward perfect reconciliation to the Father.
There never again will be a rebellion against the Father because the Lord Jesus Christ will be standing guard in and with His brothers throughout the creation of God.
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
(“The Age of Reconciliation”, 3213-1, proofed 20211120)