THE TAIL OF THE DRAGON

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

THE TAIL OF THE DRAGON     Copyright Š 2006Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

It is written that some of the saints of God will be overcome in the last days. The overthrowing of the Christian witness, which may be the casting to earth of the stars of God mentioned in the Scriptures, will make possible the maturing of evil in the earth. The Day of Judgment will not come until both good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, the wheat and the tares, have been defined clearly. Only the most diligent in keeping the Words of Christ, the most vigilant in prayer, the most faithful to the Lord Jesus, will be able to stand in spiritual victory in the end-time.

Table of Contents

Explanation of the Term "Heaven"

Different heavens The relationships among the heavens

The Original Evil God’s Response to the Rebellion God’s Way of Dealing With the Rebellion The Cleansing of the Heavens

The maturing of Satan in Antichrist Identifying the host and the stars of the heaven Ways in which the saints are torn down from their position in Christ at the right hand of God Our rebellious nature

A Historic Change Two Supremely Important Considerations The Overthrowing of the Divine Witness in the Earth Deception in the Last Days The Testing of the Saints The Problem of Self-will The Maturing of Evil The Churches Are Careless and in Deception How We Can Escape the Spiritual Dangers of the Last Days Two Wonders in the Spirit Realm

THE TAIL OF THE DRAGON

Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 2:26,27)

"Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven."

 Explanation of the Term "Heaven"

Different heavens. The Greek language does not differentiate between the starry heavens and the Heaven of God and the angels.

When we find the word "heaven" in the King James translation it often is the heaven or the heavens , in the Greek text.

For example:

 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven [Greek, in the heavens], Hallowed be thy name. (Matthew 6:9)

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven [the heaven]. (Luke 10:18)

Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven [the heaven]? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven [the heaven], shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven [the heaven]. (Acts 1:11)

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven [the heaven]; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: (Revelation 12:1)

We may view the definite article the as a Greek idiom, the idea being that Greek uses the definite article whereas English does not—no difference in meaning is intended. This may be true.

Since the Greek New Testament does not employ a different term for the sky or outer space, we have a problem when interpreting some of the passages that include the word "heaven."

When we are discussing the cleansing of the heavens it is not easy to pinpoint the indicated area. Where or what are "the heavens"? In this booklet we will capitalize Heaven when we are certain we are speaking of the Heaven of God and the angels. Otherwise we are assuming it is the sky that is being referred to, or a spiritual heaven or heavens lower than the exalted Heaven of God.

 The relationships among the heavens. The question is, what are the relationships among the physical heaven, the lower spiritual heavens, and the spiritual Heaven that we think of in terms of God, the saints, and the holy angels?

Jesus commanded us to lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven so that our heart would be there. The Apostle Paul commanded us to place our affection on things above.

 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:1,2)

No such commandment appears in the Old Testament. The old covenant was oriented toward godliness and prosperity on the earth. It is after the ascended Lord Jesus led captivity captive that we find God inviting mankind to turn away from the things of earth and to seek the Presence of God in Heaven above.

However, because the Greek language does not differentiate among the spiritual Heaven where we are to place our affection, the lower spiritual heavens, and the starry firmament, it is difficult to understand which heaven a given passage is referring to!

 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into [the] heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into [the] heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into [the] heaven. (Acts 1:11)

Spiritual Heaven or heavens, or sky, or all heavens?

 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also [the] heaven. (Hebrews 12:26)

Spiritual Heaven or heavens, or the starry firmament, or all heavens?

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1)

Spiritual Heaven or heavens, or sky, or all heavens?

The reason we have asked "or all heavens" is that we have come to believe that the physical heaven and the spiritual heavens are related. It is clear that the physical heaven and the spiritual heavens are not next to each other, that is, one could not travel into outer space until he arrived at the spiritual heavens. Rather, the heavens coexist and they interact. What takes place in one directly affects the other.

We see this in the human body. One could not dissect the human body until he arrived at the soul and spirit. The human personality is a unit. The spirit, soul, and body coexist and interact. What takes place in one area affects the entire personality. The spirit and soul are invisible to the human eye while the body is visible to the human eye. When the spirit and soul are separated from the body we have the condition known as "death," the death of the body.

We would submit that the spiritual heavens and the physical heaven coexist and interact. What takes place in one area affects the other. One is visible to the human eye while the others are invisible to the human eye. But they are a unit nevertheless. When the Heaven of God is separated from the physical realm, the physical realm is dead as far as the Life of God is concerned.

When the Lord Jesus ascended into the heaven he was visible until He passed into the spiritual Heaven. As long as He remained only in the physical realm He was visible. But the moment He passed into the spiritual Heaven He became invisible to human beings. The Lord did not travel trillions of light years until He arrived at the spiritual Heaven. The spiritual Heaven is at the level of the clouds. In fact, it is likely that the lowest aspect of the spiritual heavens begins at the surface of the earth, just as the lowest aspect of the physical heavens begins at the surface of the earth, and that Jesus ascended to the third Heaven.

 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. (II Corinthians 12:2)

"To the third heaven"!

The subject of this booklet is the cleansing of the heavens. Like the human body, the impurity does not proceed from the physical dimension but from invisible (to the human eye) spiritual personalities and forces that dwell in the spiritual dimension. The earth is impure because the heavens are impure. It is our point of view that the heavens are impure and are to be shaken and cleansed in the near future

 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. (Job 15:15)

Why are the heavens not clean in God’s sight? When did the heavens become impure?

 The Original Evil

At some point in eons past, in the spiritual heavens, there was a rebellion against God.

 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:12-14)

Apparently Lucifer was one of two cherubim that covered the Mercy Seat in Heaven, according to the design of the Mercy Seat of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. (Ezekiel 28:14)

Lucifer desired to be at a higher level of the heavens than had been appointed to him. It appears today that Lucifer has not as yet been "cut down to the ground." We still are wrestling against him.

 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers [authorities], against the rulers of the darkness of this world [age], against spiritual wickedness in high places [in the heavenlies]. (Ephesians 6:12)

Lucifer still is appearing before the throne of God in Heaven and accusing the saints.

 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. (Job 1:9,10)

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven [the heaven], Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them [who accuses them] before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:10)

"Who accuses them before our God day and night."

Notice the nature of the original evil:

 "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."

I will. I will. I will. I will. I will.

The only legitimate will in the creation is the will of the Father in Heaven. Satan has managed to infect mankind with independence of will—the horrid rebellion and bondage that proceeds from himself.

It is extremely difficult for Christians to permit the Father to destroy the independence of will that resides deeply in them. It was difficult even for the Lord Jesus when the supreme sacrifice was made in the Garden of Gethsemane. The cry pierced the night: "Not My will but Yours be done!"

Satan’s ambition brought darkness into the spiritual heavens. A number of personages of high rank joined in the rebellion against the Father. A major disaster had occurred.

 God's Response to the Rebellion

God’s response to the rebellion was make a master plan that would accomplish many purposes. God alone, apparently, planned the solution, putting no trust in His angels or His saints.

 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: (Job 4:18)

God thought of the many things He desired. These included a family of sons, brothers for His firstborn Son, Jesus, in Christ’s image and in total union with God; a living Temple through which He could rule and bless His creation; a Bride for the Lamb; judges of men and angels; and a royal priesthood to govern the nations of people God was about to form in His image.

When God had finished designing a plan that would fulfill all the desires of His heart, and that would make the Lord Jesus the center, substance, and circumference of every person and aspect of the universe, He created the physical heavens and the earth, both of which are to serve as clothing for the personalities and things of the spirit realm.

Then God rested, knowing that His Word, having gone forth, would accomplish all He had envisioned.

The physical realm is a clothing for the spirit realm. The spirit realm clothed with the physical realm is a better creation than the spirit realm alone. The angels understand this. Satan immediately came to the earth and entered the garden of God so that he might walk among the stones of fire, the people whom God had created in His image.

God knew in advance that Satan would enter the garden and successfully tempt the people there. The Lamb, Christ, was crucified at the outset that He might serve as the Redeemer of Satan-infected people.

 God’s Way of Dealing With the Rebellion

In some instances, God’s way of dealing with rebellion is to allow the transgression to take place so the consequences of disobedience can be understood. This is what God has done in the case of the angelic rebellion.

God is using the physical realm as one great demonstration of the folly of disobeying His laws. The angels that sinned are doomed to eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire, but they are being allowed to portray in the physical realm, where they cannot do eternal harm, the consequences of lust and rebellion.

The angels who remained with the Father are gaining understanding by watching the events transpiring on the earth.

God’s elect sometimes are not delivered from deception and transgression, even when they are seeking righteousness, in order that God may shake out of them the rebellion and other soulish darkness deeply entrenched in their personalities. But because they truly love God the blood of the Lamb continues to hold them guiltless before the Lord while they are coming to the understanding of God and His ways.

 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another [with the Father], and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

The continual, compensating covering of the blood does not atone for the careless, sinning, disobedient "believers" but only for those who, to the best of their ability, are endeavoring to walk in the light of God’s will.

 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26,27)

God answers even the elect according to the idols in their heart until they have been delivered from those idols. We cannot hear God’s voice accurately and clearly while there are burning desires in us.

 Therefore speak unto them, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Every man of the house of Israel that setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to the prophet; I the Lord will answer him that cometh according to the multitude of his idols; (Ezekiel 14:4)

The wicked of the earth, the seed of Satan, portray Satan’s lusts and self-will in the earth and then go to their own place when they die. This is true even when they are numbered with the disciples of the Lord.

 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. (Acts 1:25)

Nothing—absolutely nothing—can prevent the total accomplishment of all that God has purposed. In the end, Satan and all who are part of him will be confined in the Lake of Fire, there to remain in torment to the ages of ages. They will serve as a perpetual reminder of the utter folly of disobeying the will of the Father.

 The Cleansing of the Heavens

Meanwhile the drama continues.

God has not as yet cleansed the sin from the heavenlies. Atonement indeed has been made before the Most Holy Place in Heaven.

 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12)

We know from the ceremony of the Day of Atonement that not only the priest and the people but the sanctuary itself had to be covered with the blood of atonement.

 And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger [for the High Priest] upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. (Leviticus 16:14-16)

Compare:

 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:23)

We understand, therefore, that the holy places of the spiritual Heaven have been cleansed by the blood. Nevertheless Satan still is able to accuse the saints before God’s throne (Revelation 12:10) and we still are wrestling against wicked powers in the heavenlies (Ephesians 6:12).

God shook the earth once when His holy Law was given on Mount Sinai. God has promised to shake the earth again, and not only the earth but the heaven as well. The holiness He has created in His saints by having Christ formed in them will invade the spirit realm. Sin and rebellion will be removed, commencing at the highest level of wickedness and reaching to the farthest areas of the creation.

 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 51:16)

"That I may plant the heavens."

The heavens shall be planted with Christ and with those who have been made the righteousness of God as Christ has been formed in them. These are the spirits of righteous people made perfect, and they will take the place of the wicked lords who have fallen from their original place with God.

God’s will cannot be done on the earth until it is done in the heavens. We cannot spoil the strong man’s possessions until first the strong man has been rendered incapable of resistance. The Christian churches have known this for two thousand years but continue to attempt to the present hour to win the battle with physical weapons.

 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

The above may be rendered: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in Heaven, so also upon the earth."

God’s will is performed in His holy Heaven. The struggle now is directed toward overthrowing the wicked spirits in the heavens until God’s perfect will is done upon the earth. The earth will never be free from sin until the wicked spirits now residing in the heavenlies have been cast into the Lake of Fire.

Think about the following:

 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven [of the heavens]: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven [in the heavens]: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven [in the heavens]. (Matthew 16:19)

It is things in the heavens that must be bound. It is things in the heavens that must be loosed.

The binding must be performed by saints on the earth. The plan of God is progressing as Christ is formed in the saints still alive on the earth.

But that which the saints bind on the earth is bound in the heavens. This is what is important. The judgment and release must take place in the heavens before God’s will can be done upon the earth.

We may be desirous of seeing what is taking place in the heavens. But the angels are seeking to understand what is taking place in the earth.

 Unto whom [the Hebrew Prophets] it was revealed, that not unto themselves [the physical Israelites], but unto us [the Christians—Jews and Gentiles] they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (I Peter 1:12)

God has determined to make an end of sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness. It helps and comforts us when we recognize that all of the wickedness and moral horrors that are to be unleashed upon mankind in the near future are for the purpose of making an end of sin and bringing in eternal righteousness.

 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)

"To make an end of sins, . . . and to bring in everlasting righteousness." This is God’s determination. The heavens shall be cleansed, and then wickedness shall be driven from the earth.

God’s plan is to permit the tares of wickedness to come to a maturity that will reach into the heavens, and also to foster the growth of the wheat of righteousness until there is a powerful army of saints in Heaven who are filled with Christ Himself. Wickedness will come to stupendous maturity and righteousness will come to stupendous maturity. Then righteousness will destroy the wickedness and the Kingdom of God will govern a creation that is totally free of rebellion and will remain totally free of rebellion throughout the ages of ages.

Speaking of the destruction of the forces of wickedness:

 But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. (Deuteronomy 7:23,24)

And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)

The maturing of Satan in Antichrist.

 And out of one of them came forth a little horn [which started small], which waxed exceeding great [grew in power], toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant [beautiful] land. (Daniel 8:9)

It is our point of view that the horn that started small is Antichrist, the imitation of Christ. God will permit Antichrist to grow tremendously in political power in the earth and in spiritual power in the heavenly realm at the same time.

 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Daniel 7:25)

"They (the saints) shall be given into his hand."

 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:7)

"It was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them."

God will give to Antichrist the ability to make war with the saints and to overcome them. It is very difficult for us to accept the fact that it is God who will give Antichrist such power against the saints. But we must receive the Scriptures as they are written for they are absolutely true in every respect.

The spiritual power and authority of Antichrist will increase until he is able to exert his will in high levels of the heavenlies.

 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven [the heavens]; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped [trampled] upon them. (Daniel 8:10)

Compare:

 And all the host of heaven [the heavens] shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. (Isaiah 34:4)

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of [the] heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:4)

The above are three of the many verses in the Scriptures, Old Testament and New Testament, that speak of the heavens, the stars, the host of the heavens, and so forth being shaken and cast down or removed.

One could apply the casting down of some of the host and the stars only to the heavenly signs that will announce the return of the Lord, or to the time when the earth and the firmament flee away at the hour of the White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11). But if we accept the fact that the physical and spiritual heavens coexist and interact, that when one is affected the other is involved, then we need to look past the physical and discover the actual scope of what is taking place.

The two verses that follow Daniel 8:10 imply strongly that the "host of the heavens" and the stars that are cast down and trampled on are not referring primarily to the planets and stars of the physical firmament. The references to the "host" and the "prince of the host" reveal that the bodies in the physical firmament are not the emphasis here.

The name of God most frequently used in the Old Testament is "the Lord of hosts (armies)."

Antichrist will be able to reach the host and stars of the heaven and cast them to the ground and stamp on them.

Identifying the host and the stars of the heaven. Let us think carefully about who or what the host and the stars are that are to be cast down to the ground.

There are four possibilities of which we can conceive:

  The host and stars of the heaven are wicked angels. However, it is questionable that Satan would pull down his own angels from the heavens and trample on them, especially in view of the coming spiritual war for control of the heavens. Therefore we are looking for other possibilities.

  The host and stars of the heaven are righteous angels. We are discarding this concept also. There is no scriptural basis for the idea that Satan has the authority or power to lay hold on the righteous, obedient angels of God, such as Gabriel and Michael, and cast them to the ground and trample on them.

  The host and stars of the heaven are deceased saints in Christ in Heaven. We cannot imagine that God would give Satan the authority and power to reach into Heaven and pull Paul and Peter to the ground and trample on them.

  The host and stars of the heaven are saints in Christ in God who are still living on the earth. This seems to us to be the only acceptable alternative.

If we are to maintain that Daniel 8:10 is referring to saints alive on the earth, then we must establish two facts: (1) the living saints are already part of the heavenly army, part of the stars of the heaven; and (2) there are passages in the Scriptures that state clearly that Antichrist will be given the authority and power to pull the saints down from their heavenly position, cast them to the ground, and trample on them.

Is it true and scriptural that the living saints are part of the heavenly army, part of the stars of the heaven? What do the Scriptures teach?

 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened [made us alive] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:5,6)

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)

Unless we are to regard these two passages as figurative or symbolic expressions, the saints already are sitting together in heavenly places in Christ. The living saints are part of the host and stars of the heaven.

How can this be? Remember that the spiritual heavens coexist with the physical heavens but cannot be seen by the physical eye. In like manner, the soul and spirit of the saints coexist with his body but cannot be seen by the physical eye.

It is literally true. When we actually receive Christ (not merely making a theological statement about Him) our spiritual nature is reborn by the Spirit of God. The Seed of God is planted in us.

Our reborn spiritual nature ascends to the spiritual heaven. This does not mean our reborn nature has gone beyond the stars but that it is placed in the spirit realm in Christ far above all other authorities, powers, and names. Our new position continues to be invisible to the physical eye but it is just as "real" as the presence of our physical body on the planet Earth.

We see, then, that the living saints are part of the army and stars of the heaven, and therefore are addressed in Daniel 8:10.

 Ways in which the saints are torn down from their position in Christ at the right hand of God. Antichrist will possess tremendous power to deceive. He will drag down many members of God’s army by surrounding them with ease and prosperity.

 And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace [ease; security] shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:23-25)

"By peace (ease) shall destroy many." This destruction will take place in the last days. The expression "the mighty and the holy people" does not describe physical Israel. The mighty and holy people of today are the Christian saints both Jewish and Gentile who are living victoriously in Christ. They are preaching and working miracles by the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God.

Remember, the promises of the Old Testament (except for those dealing specifically with the physical people and land of Israel) are directed toward Christ and those who are part of Christ.

Some saints of today are behaving wickedly toward the new covenant. They are turning the grace of God into immorality. They are claiming that the Divine salvation operates independently of our behavior, and while we ought to try to please Jesus we shall be brought to Paradise by the forgiveness of God alone. "Faith alone" may have been the cry of some of the Protestant reformers. But the Scriptures proclaim: "faith if it does not include works is dead, being alone."

Salvation does not come through a dead faith, a faith without works!

It will be extremely easy for Antichrist to remove such deceived believers from their weak position in Jesus.

 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (Daniel 11:32)

We see this happening today as pastors acquire large congregations by telling people how wonderful they are and how God is willing to give them everything they ask without making any inconvenient demands on them. It is the spirit of Antichrist speaking through these "ministers of the Gospel."

Even today, with all of the wicked perversions of the Divine Gospel, there are saints who are walking victoriously in the Lord Jesus. They shall prevail throughout the darkness to come if they keep on seeking the Lord diligently, obeying God in every detail.

Another means of tearing down some of the saints from their heavenly position in Christ is by intimidation, terror, torture, death. Throughout the Christian Era numerous saints have stood victoriously in the face of the executioner, but others have denied Christ. 

And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. (Daniel 11:33)

At the time of intense persecution the saints will receive some assistance, and people will join their ranks who are hypocrites.

 Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. (Daniel 11:34)

The hypocrites are not part of the army of God. They are a "mixed multitude" in the churches. The sooner they leave the assemblies, the stronger the godly remnant will be. The Glory of God will increase in the midst of the true army as insincere people are removed from their midst.

Some of the true saints will be fall because of moral sin.

 And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. (Daniel 11:35)

The result of the casting down of some of the heavenly host will be the perfecting of God’s army in preparation for the Battle of Armageddon.

The end of the Church Age will not come until the power of the saints has been broken and God’s strength alone remains. Thus all disobedience and self-will shall be shaken out of the army of the Lord.

 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel)

"When he shall have accomplished to scatter [break] the power of the holy people [the saints], all these things shall be finished."

The New Testament is clear that in the last days, Antichrist will be given power over the saints.

How does he tear them down from their heavenly position?

 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:7,8)

Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem.

Sodom speaks of the lusts of the flesh. Some of the host of God will be torn down from their position in Christ when Satan offers to them opportunities to indulge their physical passions without restraint. Adultery and fornication will abound as people give themselves to their bodily appetites in the last days.

Many of the stars of the heaven have fallen today because of lust.

Egypt symbolizes the love of the world, of luxurious things, of material wealth. Some of the stars of the heaven will be brought down to the earth as Antichrist holds before them the opportunity to live as rich people. The Christian testimony in America already has been destroyed as the ministry convinces the believers of the desirability of possessing much money.

When God calls people to the mission field they sometimes have to give up many comforts of the flesh. How many of the pleasure-loving believers of our time are ready to go to Peru, or New Guinea, or Haiti, and live in poverty with the natives?

Jerusalem , the city where our Lord was crucified, symbolizes religious ambition, envy, self-will. Our Lord was not crucified by people living in lust, or even by the worldly (who are too occupied with houses and lands to concern themselves with religion). Our Lord was crucified by ecclesiastical leaders who were filled with ambition, envy, the "I will" of Satan. Some individuals are filled with a lust for prominence in the church world.

There are Christians who cannot be brought down by bodily appetites or the desire for material possessions. Antichrist appeals to their desire for personal glorification. He fills them with his own envious attitude toward those whom God has anointed. The ambitious religious leaders use their soulish abilities to imitate the stars of the heaven. But in the end they will have to yield to the Lord as He shakes the self-will and personal ambition out of them, or else they will be trampled to the ground.

The problem of personal ambition troubled the disciples of Jesus. He told them that His Kingdom is not guided by self-seeking lords but by servants. He advised them to hold fast in faith until they were converted from personal ambition to rest in the Father’s will.

Some of the end-time saints who possess spiritual understanding shall fall away from their stand in the Lord, some by the sword and some by deception. But the falling is to make them "white," that is, to perfect their personalities in the sight of the Lord God.

We see in our own day Christian ministers being seduced into sin and falling from their position in Christ. They have been cast to the earth and are being trampled on by wicked spirits. If they will repent, God will restore them and their personal relationship with the Lord Jesus will be perfected.

We are living in the time of the greatest spiritual opportunity (to rule with God) and the greatest danger (to fall morally; or to become part of the False Prophet, as is happening to some Christians). Let us pray always that we may escape the snares and spiritual dangers of our day and finally stand in triumph before the Son of Man.

Antichrist will present himself as being as great as the Lord Jesus.

 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his [God’s] sanctuary was cast down [profaned]. (Daniel 8:11)

"The daily sacrifice was taken away." "God’s sanctuary was profaned."

So great will be the power given to Antichrist (to unwittingly perform God’s will) that he will be able to remove the ability of people to receive Christ for salvation and he will profane God’s sanctuary (perhaps referring to the hearts of people).

Our rebellious nature. Because of the rebellion that still can be found in the saints (as we see today in the churches), they will be given into the power of Antichrist. In this manner God will "shake" the rebellion out of them. During this period truth will be cast down and seduction and perversion will triumph in the earth.

 And an host [the saints coming under the power of Antichrist] was given him [Antichrist] against the daily sacrifice [along with the daily sacrifice] by reason of transgression [because of the rebellion of the saints], and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. (Daniel 8:12)

The saints shall be given into the power of Antichrist until all sin and rebellion has been destroyed from their personalities.

After a specific time the sanctuary shall be cleansed. While this may refer to a heavenly sanctuary, it is not impossible that the sanctuary of the greatest interest to God consists of the hearts of His saints.

It may be true that God is ready to anoint a new Holy of Holies—the hearts of His faithful saints.

 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, . . . to anoint the most Holy [a Holy of Holies]. (Daniel 9:24)

Perhaps what Daniel 8:9-14 is telling us is that God intends to give great authority and power to the forces of wickedness and darkness so they (certainly without intending to) will shake sin and rebellion out of God’s elect, beginning with those who are closest to God—that is, whose lives are hidden with Christ in God.

This concept is entirely in keeping with the Scriptures and with church history. It is necessary that offenses come but woe unto them through whom they come.

Why is it necessary that offenses come? It is necessary because our personalities are so desperately wicked. The soulish rebellion in us is very deeply entrenched, spreading to every part of our personality.

Dying physically, while it may relieve some of the pressures of the lusts of the flesh, will not change our rebellious nature. Our rebellious nature is not a law of sin that dwells in our flesh, it is our very self-will, self-love, self-centeredness. It is original sin in us.

God is ready to deliver us from the chains of satanic lust, covetousness, occult practices, and violence. Such deliverance is a relatively simple matter.

However, our inner rebellion is original sin. We must choose to do the will of the Lord at every moment.

God’s answer to the rebellion that is in the saint is the personal cross of the disciple. We must take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus. It is the cross of imprisonment, of suffering, that destroys rebellion from us and makes us part of the unshakable Christ.

The cross has two arms and both of them are prisons. The one arm is the placing of us in situations that we despise but in which we must remain if we are to be obedient to God.

The other arm is the withholding from us of our most intense desires.

We cannot break out of God’s prisons without breaking God’s laws.

"I cannot stand this for one more minute" we moan, but the pain continues for another thirty years.

It is impossible to survive God’s prisons unless we do what the Lord Jesus said. We must lay up all of our treasures in Heaven, expecting never to have them until after we die. If we do not place our treasures in Heaven there is no way in which we can remain in God’s prison. Sooner or later we shall either force our way out or else be deceived and enticed out of the Lord’s will.

The Lord Jesus was the first to be tested so rigorously in obedience (although Abraham’s offering of Isaac stands as a monument after the miserable failure of Adam and Eve).

Every member of the godly remnant, the victorious saints, will be tested to the core. Utter, total, faithful, consistent obedience to the Father must be demonstrated beyond all doubt if we are to ride with the Lord Jesus in the Day of the Lord. It is suffering that creates rulers. The crown is produced by the cross.

Until every vestige of disobedience has been removed from us we still are part of the rebellion against the Father no matter how close to Jesus we think we may be.

It is only as we suffer greatly that we cease from sin. It is only after very severe Divine chastening that God is able to comfort and establish us.

God wounds us by the hands of the enemy. The thorn in the flesh is a messenger of Satan. It is Satan whom the Lord uses to cast us into prison, who sifts our personality. If we accept our pain prayerfully and patiently the end is a peaceful, holy personality that trusts in the Lord and delights to do the will of God—and only the will of God. A meek, obedient personality is a treasure far, far exceeding the wealth of the world. Blessed indeed is the individual who accepts fully the dealings of God in his life.

 A Historic Change

It is difficult for us to conceive of a time when sinners can no longer reach up to God through Christ for salvation, but the hour is at hand. Antichrist will be able to reach into the heavenlies and block their prayers. Even today, in some localities, the spiritual pressure is felt and it is becoming difficult to pray.

However, there will be opportunity through the godly remnant for the peoples of the earth to approach God.

 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:32)

Joel 2:32 refers to an epochal change in the Kingdom of God. At this time the keys of the Kingdom will be given to the godly remnant who have fled from the cities of the earth. They will have had Christ formed in them. Through the Holy Spirit they will be able to release people from sin and present them before God, even though in the cities people no longer will be able to receive salvation or the Spirit of God through their own efforts and faith.

 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation [grain offering] to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate [on the wing of abominations—or a pinnacle of the Temple—will come one who causes desolation], even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate [upon the desolator]. (Daniel 9:27)

"He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation [grain offering] to cease." We believe that "the sacrifice" refers to our ability to claim the atonement made on the cross of Calvary, and "the oblation" (grain offering) refers to Pentecost—to the giving of the Holy Spirit to the believers.

The handing of the keys of the Kingdom to the saints during the dark hours of the tribulation period signals the beginning of the Kingdom of God on the earth. Throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and forever after, people will be able to approach God only through the royal priesthood, just as today we can approach God only through the Lord Jesus Christ. In that day, Jerusalem will be the throne of the Lord. Jerusalem will be the heaven, the throne of God toward which the saved of the earth will pray.

 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17)

The answer to the problem of the maturing of the tares is the maturing of the wheat. The maturing of the wheat has to do with the forming of Christ in us. Christ is God’s "Wheat."

 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

Two Supremely Important Considerations

There are two factors, two supremely important considerations, that govern the essential nature of the Christian salvation.

The first factor is that the Wife of the Lamb is in travail to bring forth the Male Son, Christ, in the members of His Body.

 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven [in the heaven]; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. (Revelation 12:1,2)

The second factor is that the great red dragon, Satan, is standing before the woman with the intention of devouring the Child as soon as He is brought forth.

 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of [the] heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:4)

The above verse portrays the forming of Christ in the saints, and also the unceasing hostility and watchfulness of Satan. All of the other religious activities of our day are scaffolding when compared with the supreme importance of these two major considerations.

 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of [the] heaven, and did cast them to the earth: . . . . (Revelation 12:4)

Until recently it had been our point of view that Revelation 12:4 (above) refers to a third of the angels of God being cast down from the heavens to the earth because of their participation in Satan’s rebellion.

However, two facts are causing us to revise our understanding of this verse. First, it was God, not Satan, who cast the rebellious angels into Hell (not into the earth), to be kept there until the Day of Judgment (II Peter 2:4). As far as we know, there is no passage of Scripture (other than Revelation 12:4) that could be interpreted to mean Satan will cast the rebellious angels to the earth (except for Daniel 8:10, which we have discussed and our objections to this viewpoint stated).

It would be foolish of Satan to cast a large part of his army to the earth when the conflict of the ages is at hand.

Second, there are the several passages in the Book of Daniel that we already have examined, statements signifying that Antichrist will overcome the saints, hurling to the earth some of the army of Heaven. One of themes of Daniel is the conquering of the holy people of God, causing them to be removed from their place as the light of the world.

 The Overthrowing of the Divine Witness in the Earth

It is clear that God’s plan is to permit His witness in the earth to be overthrown, the purpose being to perfect the members of the Body of Christ, and also to take out of the way that which is hindering the full expression of Satan in the earth (II Thessalonians 2:7).

We are suggesting that the "stars" are God’s saints, His holy ones, and the dragging down from the heavens of a third of the stars and flinging them to the earth symbolizes the spiritual fall of those who had been part of God’s witness in the earth.

The overthrowing of the Christian witness, which is the casting to the earth of the stars of the heaven, as we understand it, will make possible the maturing of evil in the earth. The Day of Judgment will not come until both good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, the wheat and the tares, have been defined clearly.

 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3)

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. (Revelation 3:15)

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22:11)

The sifting of the Lord is beginning in the present hour as numerous Christians, who at one time had been shining lights, have entered deception. In former days they were bearing witness to the Lord Jesus. Now they are living in adultery, fornication, covetousness, drunkenness, violence, unfaithfulness, and every other evil work.

The Light and the Glory of God had been on them but now they are spiritually, mentally, and emotionally weak. They know the joy of the Lord has departed from them and they are wretched, looking for someone who can help them.

In some instances we are able to do little other than suggest they seek God and serve Him even though they have no joy or sense of the Divine Presence.

If we will serve the Lord with all our strength we will save ourselves and those who listen to us and follow us. Some will hear and be saved; others will choose the things of the world. Whoever will choose to do so may drink freely of the waters of eternal life that are available today through the saints.

The righteous are to continue in their righteousness. The unrighteous and filthy may continue in their unrighteousness and filthy behavior until it is too late to return.

Numerous believers in our day are beginning to reap what they have been sowing. It is not the Lord’s will that we should attempt to prevent their reaping what they have sown, to stand between them and the judgment of God. This may seem to be a harsh and selfish attitude for us to take, but it is what we must do. Their suffering may result in their salvation.

It is written plainly in the Scriptures that some of the saints of God will be overcome in the last days. Let us be very careful. Let us watch and pray always that we may be counted worthy to escape the darkness that is coming and to stand in victory in the Presence of Christ.

 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:34-36)

The verse above is not speaking of an ascension of the saints to Paradise in order to escape suffering but of their praying in order to live in spiritual victory throughout the coming darkness. The idea of an escape from suffering is contrary to the experience of Christians throughout history and contrary to Daniel and the Book of Revelation.

The doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture is one of the deceptions of the last days. It was designed by Satan to prevent God’s people from preparing themselves to be able to stand in the day of great spiritual darkness. It has been successful to the extent that the majority of Christians are spiritual and moral babies—almost totally unprepared to stand in Jesus in the face of the deceptions and suffering that are ahead for the church.

The destructive pre-tribulation-rapture doctrine is just another attempt of fallen man to avoid having to bear his cross after the Lord Jesus.

If you have been deceived by the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine, ask the Lord Jesus to show you clearly what actually is ahead for Christian people in the coming days. The Holy Spirit will not speak to you about an immediate ascension of the saints but will encourage you to put away your sins and disobedience so you and your family may be able to survive spiritually during the coming oppression and darkness.

Do not reason or ask someone’s opinion. It is your salvation that is at stake. Pray to the Lord Jesus and find the truth for yourself!

 Deception in the Last Days

From the context of the above passage (Luke 21:34-36) we know that the Lord Jesus is not suggesting that we will be able to escape physical suffering. Rather, He is warning us that we must pray so God will judge us worthy of escaping being slain spiritually by the deceptions of Antichrist and keep us secure in His Presence.

For example:

 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. (Luke 21:12)

And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. (Luke 21:16)

The two verses above are in the context of Luke 21:36. Do they sound to you as though the saints will not suffer?

Or is it just the saints of the last days who will not suffer?

It is true, rather, that it is the saints of the last days who will be attacked by Antichrist, according to the Scriptures!

As for the current doctrine that it is the Jews who will suffer and not the Gentiles, this is so unscriptural, so obviously anti-Semitic, so impossible of fulfillment (how is one able to divide between pure Jews and pure Gentiles?), so contrary to all the Apostle Paul taught about the one new Man in Christ, that we do not consider this viewpoint worthy of further discussion. If someone willfully chooses to be ignorant there is little more to be said.

There is no man alive on the earth who is able, by means of his understanding of the Bible, to keep himself from being deceived. Only God is able to keep us in the truth, to keep us free from deception. We ought always to pray that God will lead us not into temptation but will deliver us from the evil one. Only as God finds us worthy of the truth does He send His Holy Spirit to us and prevent us from being deceived by that fallen cherub, Satan.

Satan has no power over a Christian unless the Christian yields to the temptations and deceptions advanced by Satan. We must pray continually in the present hour to escape being deceived by the world, by Satan, and by our self-will and self-love.

The believer who is careless in his seeking of the Lord, who is not laying down his life and carrying his cross behind Jesus, surely will be deceived. He will succumb to the spiritual darkness that is increasing every day.

Notice, in the above passage (Luke 21:34-36), that living a careless life in the comforts and pleasures of the present world leaves us vulnerable to the deceptions and darkness with which God is authorizing Satan to fill the earth.

The Christian believer who continues in the traditional soulish church life, not separating himself from the world as a true disciple of the Lord Jesus, will be deceived. He shall fall. He certainly shall fall! God himself will send a strong delusion on him and he will believe a lie.

Speaking of the power given by the Lord to Antichrist in the latter days, Paul says:

 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (II Thessalonians 2:9-11)

We Christians know of the keeping power of Christ and of His many promises that He will guard us until the Day of the Lord. These promises never shall fail, not even during the great tribulation; not even when the present earth and sky are removed.

But the promises of Christ are addressed to those who obey the Lord, who follow Him in stern, cross-carrying obedience—and these victorious saints will be tested to the uttermost. Even the righteous person is saved with difficulty.

 And if the righteous scarcely be saved [is saved with difficulty], where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (I Peter 4:18)

The Testing of the Saints

There is far too much spiritual carelessness in the present hour. The believers are not praying earnestly throughout the day and night for God to deliver them from the evil one (Matthew 6:13). The spiritual darkness prophesied by Daniel is upon us now, and the saints, the holy ones of God, are asleep.

The Scriptures teach that the power of the saints will be overcome in the last days. This will take place in part because of their lack of diligence in obeying the words of Christ, and also because of the authority God will give to Antichrist. Only the most diligent in keeping the Words of Christ, the most vigilant in prayer, the most faithful to Jesus, will stand in the end-time. Every member of the Body of Christ will be tested severely.

Satan was condemned on the cross of Calvary. But the sentence of judgment never has been executed against Satan. The wrath of God is so fierce, so consuming, that once the Father gives the decree and Christ goes forth to avenge Himself on His enemies, everything of Satan will be shaken and removed from the heavens and the earth.

If there is any portion of Satan in a believer, that believer will be shaken until he chooses either to let go of Satan or else to cling to Satan until he (the believer) is cast into the Lake of Fire along with Satan.

God in His eternal goodness and love is shaking many people today with the intention of separating them from their sins and self-will. Sometimes God is successful and the believer is redeemed from the hand of the enemy. In other instances the believer perceives his problems as unnecessary trouble coming from Satan, or from people, and spends his time and strength attempting to avoid the purification which the Lord is attempting to work in his personality.

The false doctrines of our day are preventing the saints from seeing the hand of God in their trials.

We must learn to fear God. The fear of God has departed from the land. It helps us fear God when we behold an individual whom we once knew as a joyous Christian but who now comes to us in the hope we can lift him from the pit into which he has fallen, from the tormenting flames he is experiencing. The believer who does not fear God is a fool. He is ignorant of spiritual realities.

We know that when the Lord Jesus appears the saints will appear with Him. We shall rule with Him over the nations of the earth. But before the Lord appears there will come an hour of testing during which the Christian churches will be purified by fire.

 Because thou hast kept [guarded] the word of my patience, I also will keep [guard] thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

If we will keep very carefully the word of Christ’s patience He will keep us from deception throughout the hour of testing. Guarding the word of Christ’s patience means we are walking with Him steadfastly during the long years of cross-carrying obedience when our hopes are deferred, when our intense desires are not gratified.

God leads us through the wilderness and confines us in various prisons of circumstances. If we have been patient, faithful, and obedient, continuing to serve the Lord in humility, accepting the problems and burdens God sees fit to assign to us, the Lord Jesus will keep us from deception during the dark night of Antichrist’s authority.

Daniel has much to say to us concerning the warfare that will be waged against the saints before the Kingdom is given to them.

 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:21,22)

First, the saints will be overcome by Antichrist. After that, the saints will be given control of the Kingdom of God. The saints are God’s holy ones—those whom He has anointed with His Holy Spirit. We are not speaking here of the race of physical Jews but of the true Israel of God, the true Seed of Abraham.

This is not to say that God does not have a special blessing for the physical nation of Israel in the last days. Indeed He does! He has not forgotten His ancient people and shall bring redemption to them, just as the Prophets have declared.

It is fitting that the believers in the Lord Jesus, who have suffered so much for the name of Jesus, will be the ones to execute judgment against Satan, against the creature who has been the cause of their suffering.

Notice carefully the expression, "and prevailed against them."

It is our point of view, as we have stated, that the falling of the stars, of Revelation 12:4, refers to the prevailing of Satan over the saints of the Lord.

It is God who will allow Antichrist to make war with the saints and to overcome them. God will do this in order to accomplish His purpose in the saints and in the earth. God is far wiser than we and we must learn to trust Him concerning the things that happen to us.

It is only through much tribulation that we are able to enter the Kingdom of God. Suffering is necessary because of the evil of our personality. Obedience to God must be learned at the deepest levels of our being. There is still much sin and soulish rebellion in the strongest of us.

It is only as we are brought very low that we gain a proper perspective concerning ourselves and concerning the Lord God of Heaven. In numerous instances the Christians of today are far too confident concerning their status with God. They strut about in a haughty manner being certain that God is impressed with their spirituality. Sometimes such an individual must stumble and fall in order to save him from the pride that proved to be Satan’s downfall.

God will not despise a humble and repentant heart. But the person who considers himself or herself to be powerful in the sight of God is in danger. The goodness of God may permit the filth and self-centeredness of the "mighty one" to be revealed to such an extent that others can see him as he really is. Then he will approach God in a more humble manner, giving thanks and worship to the only One who is worthy of praise and adoration.

God has determined to allow Satan to express himself in the earth so all the creatures of God may be able to witness the folly of rebelling against the Father. The evil of Satan, and of all who choose their own will over the will of the Father, will be laid bare. This is God’s way—to allow us to pursue our course until we prove to ourselves, as happened to the prodigal son, that our Father’s choices are best.

God has given a marvelous inheritance to each individual whom He has called to Himself. He has prepared a place for us. But it is only as the individual learns to give back lovingly to his Creator all he is, all he hopes to receive and achieve, that he can obtain love, joy, and peace—the greatest treasures of all. So few are willing to trust God to this extent! As it is written, narrow is the gate and restricted is the way that leads to eternal life and few there are who find it.

Satan will wear out the saints of the last days by flooding them with lawlessness and moral filth. "And because sin shall abound, the love of the majority shall grow cold" (Matthew 24:12).

"Sin shall abound"!

Compare:

 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. (Revelation 12:15)

Satan will seek to devour the churches by sending after the believers a flood of moral filth.

 . . . and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Daniel 7:25)

The saints "will be given into his hand." By the term "saints," as stated previously, is meant those whom God has set aside to serve Him, those whom He has anointed with His Holy Spirit.

It might seem that the "saints" are the physical Jews. But it is these same "saints" who will possess the Kingdom of God (Daniel 7:22,26), and it certainly is not true that the physical Jews will execute the judgment against Satan and possess the Kingdom of God. No individual can see or possess the Kingdom of God until he or she has been born again (John 3:3-5).

As we have said, God has a special place and plan for physical Israel. It is not true that the Christian Church has replaced physical Israel in God’s program. Those who are teaching "replacement theology" have in them the spirit of Antichrist and the False Prophet. God has not cast away His people whom He called under the old covenant.

The saints, the members of the Body of Christ, will be given into the hand of Antichrist "until a time and times and the dividing of time." It is felt that this expression signifies a year, plus two years, plus one-half a year: that is, three and one-half years. The three and one-half years are the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week (Daniel 9:27). These may not be literal years.

We notice in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation that the Head and Body of Christ (symbolized by "two witnesses") will bear witness with unprecedented power for the first half of the "week." The Gospel of the Kingdom of God will be preached to all nations for a witness (Matthew 24:14) and then the "end" will come. The "end," of Matthew 24:14, signifies the end of the Christian witness in the earth.

The terminating of the Christian witness occurs as God permits Antichrist to overcome the "stars" who had borne the tremendous latter-rain anointing of the Spirit of God.

 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)

Why would God permit His witnesses to be overcome?

First, so Antichrist may be free to express in the earth the total foulness of Satan.

Second, so some of those who were lifted up because of the power given to them in the latter-rain revival may be brought low in humility before God. Otherwise they might lose their souls through spiritual pride. Of all the lessons man must learn, the most important by far is that the doing of God’s will in humility is the most necessary, the most important reason for man’s existence.

Third, so there may be a complete purifying of the members of the Body of Christ, of the godly remnant destined to be revealed together with Christ at His appearing.

The two witnesses (Christ—Head and Body) will remain "dead" for "three days and an half," for a time, times, and the dividing of time (Revelation 11:11).

After the time, times, and the dividing of time have elapsed, the witnesses will be raised and the saints will take possession of the Kingdom of God, as we see in Daniel 7:25-27. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

The Problem of Self-will

The Antichrist will reveal in himself the inevitable evolution, the final result, of the self-will of man. The individual who chooses to do the will of the Father is not understood by Satan and is feared by Satan.

The individual (a believer in Christ or not) who maintains his own will, his own individuality, is understandable to Satan and is accepted by him. Satan may assist that person, whether or not he is a Christian, in the following of his own will—even in the constructing of Christian works.

The certain end of all who do not surrender their will to the will of Jesus is as follows:

 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in [the] heaven. (Revelation 13:6)

Because religious organizations proceed from the self-will of man we find a Christ-murdering spirit in them. Think about the attitude of the Pharisees toward the Lord Jesus. The Pharisees represented an organization that was attempting to explain and systematize the revelation of the true and living God. Notice also the attitude of the various popes of the Catholic Church toward those through whom the Spirit of God was bearing witness during the centuries of the Church Era.

The same Antichrist spirit of blasphemy against God and against those who dwell in Heaven with Jesus is revealed in the various Christian organizations as they react to the speaking in tongues that the Holy Spirit of God has restored to the Lord’s elect.

As Jesus continues to move among the churches, up to and including the time when He is revealed to the nations, the Christian organizations will continue to blaspheme God and those who dwell in Heaven. The self-will of man is the enemy of God and His Christ.

Revelation 13:6 (above) is the "abomination of desolation" spoken of by the Lord Jesus (Matthew 24:15). Antichrist will take his seat in the Most Holy Place of a restored temple in Jerusalem. He will declare that he is the God of Israel, that there is no other God beside himself. This is the end result of religious ambition.

We can see the Antichrist spirit of religious ambition being endorsed by the "stars," the ministers of the Charismatic movement, as they encourage their followers to obtain success by applying self-centered, soulish "faith."

How can we tell if we have the Antichrist spirit?

We will command the stone to become bread.

We will worship Satan in order to gain the kingdoms of the world.

We will leap from the pinnacle presumptuously rather than remain in the humble circumstances where we have been placed.

All in the name of "doing great things for God"!

 The Maturing of Evil

Daniel describes the man of sin approaching the condition of total abomination, a state of abomination that will result in the great tribulation. The great tribulation will be a desolation so terrible that if it were not shortened it would result in the extinguishing of all human life on the earth.

 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked: and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord. (Zephaniah 1:3)

The wheat and the tares are coming to maturity in the days in which we are living. We Christians have little concept of the enormity of the wickedness that is upon us—wickedness that will reach into the heavens and attack the army of God. We also have little concept of the enormity of the authority and power about to be delegated to the godly remnant of saints that seek the Lord with a perfect heart.

Daniel 8:10 reveals the extent of the authority God will give to Antichrist in order to perfect the plan of God. Woe to those who are on the earth in those days, for it will be very difficult indeed to resist such spiritual darkness! Only those who follow Jesus carefully will be deemed worthy to know the truth and escape the deceptions spewing from Antichrist.

We of the churches have supposed that God’s plan is to forgive the believers and carry them to Heaven to live in beautiful mansions. This is not true. It is God’s plan to make an end to wickedness and rebellion throughout His creation and He begins with those who are closest to Himself. God’s Kingdom is to come! God’s will is to be done in the earth as it is in the highest Heaven!

We cannot conceive of God permitting Antichrist to make himself equal to Christ (the Prince of the Host), or to be able to take away the daily burnt offering, or to profane God’s sanctuary. But God indeed has determined to give him this authority.

However, God has everything in control. "Seventy weeks are determined," this is to say, God has designated a specific period of time during which He, for His own purposes, will authorize the maturing of the abominations. God will permit His own sanctuary to be profaned so He can reconsecrate it. God permits this to happen to His dear saints on occasion so He can reconsecrate them.

Why will God permit evil to mature to such monstrous proportions before the Lord returns? It is because God is seeking "everlasting righteousness." God is ready to anoint a new Holy of Holies—the hearts of those who have been perfected as they have gone through the shaking of the end-time.

God is ready to shake the heavens and the earth. Only that which is part of Christ will be able to survive the shaking.

The Lord’s saints, those who keep God’s commandments and have the testimony of Christ, will flee to the wilderness. There they will become one with the devout Jews who have fled from the presence of Antichrist in Jerusalem. Judah (the elect Jews) and Ephraim (the elect Gentiles) will become one in the wilderness, in fulfillment of the type of Jacob and his family being reconciled to Joseph during the days of famine. There in the wilderness the true remnant of God, the elect Jews and Gentiles, will await the appearing of Christ, as we understand the Scriptures.

Meanwhile the forms of Judaism will continue in Jerusalem and the forms of Christianity will continue in the lukewarm Laodicean churches. Both of these groups are ignorant of God today and both will be ignorant of God in the days of Antichrist. The process of separating the remnant of God from the religious hierarchies, both of Judaism and of Christianity, has commenced already.

Note once more that Antichrist will become so powerful he will be able to cast down the spiritual power of the saints. The current silly practices of Christianity will be no match for such satanic authority and power. Let us beware, and seek the Lord in earnest today. If we do not, we will find we cannot do so tomorrow because of the spiritual power of the adversary, a power and authority given to him by our God.

 . . . and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. (Daniel 8:12)

The warfare between Antichrist and the saints has to do with truth . Satan himself has no power or authority over a saint who is walking in the truth of Jesus. But Satan is so skilled in deception he causes the saints to believe lies.

This deception is taking place in our own day. We see the Charismatic people believing in the manipulation of the material environment by speaking the so-called "word of faith," by "imaging" their desires—focusing on them mentally, by positive thinking, by visualizing people in their imagination and conversing with them, and by other soulish devices well known to occult practitioners.

The "prosperity message," for example, is obviously unscriptural. Yet numerous Christian believers accept such an abomination as the truth of Christ. This is how skillful Antichrist is and how ignorant, undiscerning, and ineffectual the Lord’s people are. The deception is taking place now. The stars of (the) heaven are being cast down to the ground now.

Only God can give us the truth. God gives His truth to those whom He deems worthy. God considers those worthy who read the Words of His Son, Jesus and who then, with the help of the Spirit of God, practice the behavior Jesus taught.

Paul’s doctrine of grace has been so perverted that the Christian people are not practicing the behavior Jesus taught. Therefore they are falling into error. Whoever does not take up his personal cross and follow Jesus makes himself vulnerable to the lies of Antichrist.

There is apostasy in the Christian world today and it is becoming worse. This is because God’s "stars," His leaders, have forsaken the Scripture and are teaching their own traditions. The God of Heaven is raising up a new ministry that will adhere strictly to God’s Word, both written and in personal revelation. The new ministry will serve the Lord and bear witness of His Person, will, way, and eternal purpose in Christ.

Speaking of Antichrist, Daniel says:

 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. (Daniel 8:24)

The man of sin will be mighty by Satan’s power. It has been given to him to destroy the holy people of the Lord by overcoming their spiritual power and their testimony.

The "mighty and the holy people" are not the physical Jews. The mighty and the holy people are the saints of the Lord whether Jewish or Gentile by race.

 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace [ease; security; prosperity] shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:25)

Antichrist will cast down many of the stars of the heaven by peace and prosperity, for history proves that the persecution of true saints often results in the purifying and strengthening of the churches rather than in their being cast down.

Success, prosperity, peace, ease, are very effective when used to pull down God’s people from their position with Jesus at the right hand of God.

Throughout the wealthy nations of today the Christian churches often are silly, foolish, ineffective, self-centered, occupied primarily with large congregations and the building of structures. The great red dragon has been able to accomplish through friendliness that which he never could have accomplished by persecution, torture, and murder. Like Samson, the churches have been blinded and they are grinding at the mill of the world economic system. Their spiritual strength is gone.

The Christian people are so ignorant of spiritual realities they suppose large numbers of people in attendance at their gatherings are the evidence of God’s blessing. They do not understand that large numbers of people, especially wealthy and influential people, ordinarily are a sign that the Word of God is not being preached. The wealthy and influential, for the most part, are in the spiritually dead churches.

The churches are to be the prophets of God on the earth, not social gatherings. The world hates Jesus, and when Jesus is being revealed in us the world will hate us, not love us.

We have not been called to build churches, we have been called to bear witness and to make disciples from the people of the nations.

Again, speaking of Antichrist, Daniel declares:

 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. (Daniel 11:31)

It is our understanding that the nation of Israel is on its way to becoming one of the great powers of the world. Antichrist will make his world headquarters in the city of Jerusalem, we believe, in the rebuilt Temple. The abomination that causes desolation, man sitting as God in the Temple of God, will be located in Jerusalem. At that time the inhabitants of Judea are to "flee into the mountains" (Matthew 24:16).

 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (Daniel 11:32)

The Christian churches of today are acting wickedly against the new covenant that God has made through Christ. Under the new covenant we are to present our body a living sacrifice to God. The people are not presenting their bodies a living sacrifice because such stern consecration to God is not being preached. Instead, we are being taught a false doctrine of grace, a perversion of the teaching of the Apostle Paul, and are being entertained by professional musicians who "book concert tours."

The Word of God of the new covenant, a covenant God designed to produce righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God, because it is being misinterpreted is resulting in even less godly behavior than was true of many who walked (and are walking today) according to the first covenant.

Because people are acting wickedly against the covenant, Satan is able to corrupt them by flatteries. The Christian people of our day suppose God is with them and blessing them—the great Santa Claus in Heaven. How little they know of the Lord! How little they understand the Fire of Israel! What a surprise will be theirs when they come face to face with a Christ whose words have been spurned in favor of a "grace" that permits man to live as he pleases.

In the last days, the people who truly know God will be strong and perform tremendous acts of faith. Many of them will be of the first rank of the Kingdom of God, eating at Jesus’ table with the "mighty men of valor." Ours is the day of greatest spiritual danger and greatest spiritual opportunity. The tares of wickedness and the wheat of righteousness are coming to maturity side by side.

Because the spirit of humanism has entered Christian thinking the believers, along with secular society, have become lovers of themselves. Flattery is an effective way of corrupting self-centered Christians. We observe this corruption on every hand. The Christians are self-centered, self-willed, doing what is right in the sight of their own eyes.

There is little fear of God in the land. The churches are drying up. The believers are wandering about looking for God. They run here and there hoping to feel the Presence of the Lord. The spiritual leaders have become self-centered and foolish. They are occupied with their building programs, the expansion of their self-fulfilling projects. Their eyes have been blinded. They cannot see that they are spiritually blind, naked, and altogether wretched.

This condition of spiritual impoverishment appears to be worsening each day as we hear of pastors falling into adultery and fornication, homosexuality and drunkenness, violence and thievery. They have been corrupted with the flatteries of the enemy. Because they love themselves rather than Jesus they are easily led astray by Satan. They have been burned and they do not realize it.

Many who mingle with God’s people are insincere and halfhearted. They are not true disciples of the Lord. They never have laid down their life for the Kingdom of God. They are not taking up their cross and following the Lord Jesus.

They are among us. They talk like Christians, like true saints. All the familiar phrases are there. But in their private lives they are not true saints. They do not know the Lord. They have no time of personal communion with Him. Their worship costs them little for they do not give of what is precious to them. Numerous Christians of today fit this description.

Some of those who are walking in righteousness before God, who have understanding and insight, who teach others, will fall. They are stars who are cast to the earth by the dragon’s tail. These are true saints, true Christians. Yet, they have not made those final choices concerning the love of the world, the love of sin, and the love of their self-will.

There remain areas in their lives that can be enticed by Satan. Since there can be no love of the world, no love of sin, no love of self-will in the Body of Christ, those who are undecided in these areas will be tested. Some of them will fall in order to bring them to the perfection God requires.

We do not recommend that a believer yield to sin so he may be made perfect. We have seen some of the stars who have fallen. It is not a pretty sight. There is no way of knowing, in some cases, whether they ever will be able to regain the Presence of God in their life.

When a star of God falls into sin he causes many who have trusted in him to stumble and fall. He brings disgrace on himself, on his family and friends. He no longer is able to hold up his head among the saints. He experiences years of agony because of the shame that covers him. He doesn’t know whether or not the joy of the Lord will return.

Some of the damage he has caused can never be repaired. Some who have stumbled because of him become bitter against God. He "sweeps the sky with his tail," as it were, dragging down other witnesses, "weakening the hands of the men of war."

Those who remain true to Christ bring multitudes with them into the Presence of God. Those who fall bring multitudes with them into spiritual darkness. The prospect of appearing before Jesus with the knowledge we have failed and have caused others to fail is not pleasant to contemplate.

King David fell. His sin has been published widely so the whole world knows what David did in secret. God has restored David completely. However, David suffered much after his sin as God avenged the blood of Uriah the Hittite.

God will forgive any believer who comes to Him in genuine repentance. If all goes well the believer may gain higher ground than he had before. His sin may become a source of an increased knowledge of God, of increased humility. But God will "avenge Uriah," so to speak.

Many painful experiences may come to the repentant believer because of his breaking of the covenant—even though he was deceived and sinned in ignorance. David was deceived, as evidenced by his surprise at the words of Nathan.

 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. . . . (II Samuel 12:7)

Sometimes a Christian may enter deeply into sin before the word comes, "Thou art the man." When God in His goodness warns us of our sin we are to turn immediately and make amends as well as we can.

 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. (II Samuel 12:13)

The Lord will put our sin away the moment we repent. If we continue to walk patiently before the Lord, accepting whatever circumstances He sees fit to send our way, our fall and recovery will prove to be a source of additional wisdom and strength.

To gain purification by falling is a painful and dangerous way to enter the Kingdom of God. How much better to obey Jesus in every detail so it is not necessary for us to experience such prolonged agony. We place our soul in jeopardy when we fall. Who knows whether or not we will be able to recover!

To sin willfully and presumptuously is to become an enemy of God. The end of willful sin is the destruction of the individual.

God will permit the magnification of Antichrist and the destroying of the Divine testimony from the cities of the earth so God’s eternal purposes in Christ may be brought to the fullness of maturity.

What God has determined to do shall be done!

It is God who does the determining. God never practices unrighteousness nor does God tempt any man. But God does permit those who stubbornly are going their own way to discover for themselves the folly of disobedience to God. The history of man on the earth is an illustration of God’s method of permitting people to experience the pain that results from not seeking the Lord in every detail of life.

How much agony has mankind endured as God permits people to come to understand the destruction that sin causes! How much agony have individuals endured as they have chosen to obtain their security, their joy, their achievement, apart from God!

Numerous human beings never learn the simplest of all truths—that only in God is there lasting love, joy, and peace. It is only as we give back all we are and possess to God that we are able to obtain true love, joy, and peace, which by far are the greatest treasures anyone can receive.

Who are the stars of the heaven? The stars of the heaven are those who are wise, who turn many to righteousness.

 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)

When will the end of the present age come? When will the present distress be concluded? The present age will come to an end when the testimony of the saints has been overcome by evil.

 And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)

The last days are upon us. The words of the Prophet Daniel are being fulfilled in our time. Antichrist has succeeded in filling the Christian churches with deception. The true saints are beginning to realize the enormity of the spiritual darkness descending to the earth. The trumpet is sounding in Zion and soon the hypocrites in Zion will be terrified.

 The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14)

The power of Christ is far greater than the power of Antichrist. Christ has promised to keep His saints:

 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ our Lord. (Romans 8:38,39)

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (II Timothy 1:12)

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, (Jude 1:24)

Christ possesses all authority in Heaven and on the earth. To Him every knee shall bow:

 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

There is no question as to who possesses the greater power. God has given all authority and power to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 The Churches Are Careless and in Deception

Why, then, will the third part of the stars of the heaven fall to the earth when the Lord has promised to keep us? The saints will fall because they are not pure. They love the Lord but there are areas of darkness in them over which the second death still has authority. God, in His love and mercy, will expose his dearly beloved saints to the forces of Satan until all that is of Satan has been drawn out of them and destroyed.

The keeping power of the Lord is based upon our faithful response to His Words. If we keep the Word of His patience, Christ will guard us from the hour of temptation. He will watch over us zealously, making certain that truth is revealed to us whenever we are attacked by the lies of Satan.

But those believers who are careless, who do not lay down their life, who do not take up their personal cross, who do not follow Jesus patiently in every aspect of their personality and behavior, will be deceived. Many will fall in the last days because of the spirit of deception.

 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)

The false Christs and false prophets are arising in our day. If such deceivers obviously were false, obviously not of Jesus, there would be no danger of the elect being deceived.

As we are beginning to realize, these false Christs are presenting themselves as Christian leaders.

The lack of prayer in the Charismatic churches is noteworthy. In fact, a shallowness has entered many formerly zealous denominations. It may be true that the false teaching of the pre-tribulation rapture plus the current perversion of Paul’s teaching of grace have prevented the kind of intense, consistent praying that keeps the Christian in the center of God’s will.

Personal communion with Jesus is lacking among the believers. Music—in some instances manifestly soulish and even satanic music—is taking the place of the revelation of Jesus in the assemblings of the Christians.

The spiritual conflict surrounding us in the present hour is so intense that the worship hour in the assembling must become much more vigorous than that to which we have been accustomed. Many hymns and choruses that we sing must be songs of spiritual war. Marching in the assembling, banners, tambourines, dancing, novel expression with instruments, are all ways in which the level of worship can rise to meet the needs of the hour.

It is not possible for people to sit motionless Sunday after Sunday, sing a few traditional hymns, listen to an introduction, three points, and a conclusion from the pulpit, and then go out and live victoriously as Christ and Antichrist, God and Satan, the Holy Spirit and the False Prophet, face each other in the conflict of the ages.

But we must not permit ourselves to become sidetracked. Music and other artistic expressions are appealing to people and they elevate the soul. They are pleasurable. If they are not balanced with stern admonitions to righteous and holy behavior they may lead into immorality.

The high praises of God always must be accompanied by the two-edged sword of judgment (Psalms 149:6). When the sword of Divine judgment is not present, the high praises open the soul of the believer in such a manner he becomes vulnerable to immorality.

Prolonged praise can become "sweet." There is a pleasant feeling associated with the worship of God. Sometimes the praise is "honey," and honey is not accepted as an offering made by fire.

 No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the Lord, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord made by fire. (Leviticus 2:11)

During the worship the Lord looks down and evaluates the personality and behavior of the worshipers. If the Lord does not behold righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God, the worship is of little value. God is not being blessed. The "worshipers" are enjoying themselves "in the name of the Lord" but God is not being blessed.

Righteousness and praise go together. If righteousness is lacking (by righteousness we mean righteous behavior, not righteousness assigned to us because Jesus is righteous), our praise is not accepted.

Praise also is a very important factor in the growth of the believer into a son of God. Like every other aspect of the spiritual life, praise can become a snare if it is not balanced with an uncompromising word of righteousness, judgment, and obedience to the will of God.

We of the Christian churches are ignorant of God’s ways. We do not pray nearly enough. In numerous instances we are confusing the realm of the soul and the realm of the Spirit of God. If doctrines and practices such as the word of faith, the prosperity message, manipulating the material realm through visualizing and "imaging," "inner healing," and so forth are accompanied by Jesus’ name and appear to get the results we desire, they are accepted. We are not searching the Scriptures to see if these things are of God. We have become experience and "feeling" oriented rather than Word oriented.

As a result, the churches are drying up spiritually. They have a name that they are alive but they are dead in the eyes of God. The emphasis is on large churches as though there were virtue in numbers of people. Yet we know in our heart (or should know in our heart) that large numbers of people are not important in the accomplishing of the Divine goals; that we must have a daily communion (sharing) with Jesus if we are to overcome sin and follow the Lord; that a righteous and holy life is the only true sign we indeed are being saved.

 How We Can Escape the Spiritual Dangers of the Last Days

Whoever has an ear to ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches of today. Let him come aside and seek the Lord with unrelenting diligence until he "strikes fire," until the Lord Jesus draws near to him and assures him his prayer is being heard and his conduct is acceptable to God. There is such a thing as praying until we know God is hearing us.

There are a multitude of distractions, especially in the wealthy nations. It is difficult for wealthy people to enter the Kingdom of God because they have so many interesting alternatives and because they think their money is providing security for them. They waste time and energy on their "things." The truth is, they do not possess their "things," their "things" possess them and slay their spiritual nature. Those who are living in material pleasures are dead while they are living.

Whoever would escape from the deadly slumber of the Babylon (man-directed, institutional Christianity) of church organizations and activities must set himself or herself apart unto the Lord Jesus. He must pray. He must wait on the Lord. He must confess his sins.

We are not stating that the believer must leave his babylonish church, but if possible he must assemble frequently with fervent disciples of the Lord. Attending a large church once a week in which there is an entertaining "service" on the platform followed by a brief message from the Pastor that is doctrinally sound but lacking in prophetic fire; in which everything is comfortable, sweet, and "nice," but there is no "roaring out of Zion"; in which the end-time trumpet of God is not being heard; is of little worth in the program of developing spiritual conquerors.

No excuses are accepted. It is up to the individual believer to make his calling and election certain. There will come from the present generation "a great people and a strong." These warriors are being formed now. They are emerging from a variety of situations. They will join the ranks of the martyrs waiting in Heaven for the signal to attack.

 Two Wonders in the Spirit Realm

Satan is a great wonder in the spirit realm, having seven heads and ten horns, and crowns on his head. God has given to Satan the authority and power Satan possesses, and God maintains very careful control over this assigned authority and power.

There is another great wonder in the spirit realm. Christ is being formed in the true saints.

The activities of the Christian churches are virtually powerless to interfere with the worldwide authority and power that God has given to Satan. But Christ who is being formed in the saints in the present hour is destined to crush the serpent’s head.

Powerful though they may be, Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet shall all be destroyed by Christ working through the warlike remnant of true saints.

The churches of today are largely ignorant of and helpless against the vast forces of wickedness arrayed against the righteous. But Christ in the Church is greater than all, and by Him evil shall be destroyed and righteousness shall fill the creation of God to the ages of ages.

Nothing can keep you from being part of Christ except your unbelief, disobedience, and carelessness.

Let us close with a final reminder.

 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:36)

If you will watch in prayer continually, keeping yourself from the cares of this life, laying up your treasures in Heaven, you will gain the strength to live in victory above the darkness that even now is coming upon us.

If you will be faithful to Christ, abiding in Him at all times, guarding yourself from sin by the power of His Spirit, obeying Him in everything:

  You shall be counted worthy to escape being harmed by all these things that will come to pass.

  Antichrist will not be able to tear you down from your position in Christ at the right hand of God. Though you may stumble from time to time, God’s eye will always be upon you and His hand will save you from destruction and keep you in His Presence. His blood will keep you holy in His sight.

  You will be kept all your days under the wings of the Almighty.

  You finally shall stand in triumph before the Son of Man.

In time past we have been harassed by the demons as they have used the lusts of our flesh to entice us to sin. But now the wicked lords of darkness are being forced down into the earth and the power of Antichrist is reaching into the heavens. The fallen lords, who at one time occupied positions of authority in the spirit realm, are looking for human beings through whom they may express themselves.

It was true previously that if we took reasonable precautions we were able to prophesy by the Holy Spirit or follow other supernatural guidance without falling into error. Our former precautions are no longer adequate. We now must diligently test every spirit that comes to us. We must watch carefully to see if what we are being told in the spirit realm is actually taking place and if it is in accord with the Scriptures.

If at all possible we must join ourselves to a group of fervent disciples who are able to detect when we are being led astray.

Prominent ministers of our day, people who in time past could be depended on to know the voice of the Lord, are making statements in the name of the Lord that are questionable. It appears they are not being careful enough. They say the Lord told me this and the Lord told me that. But it is clear to the watchful saint that they are being deceived.

One experienced minister of modern times claimed to have been visited by the archangel Michael. No doubt he was totally sincere in describing what he experienced. But what "Michael" told him was not entirely in line with God’s written Word.

We must watch and pray! watch and pray! watch and pray! After having taken every precaution we still must constantly test every voice that claims to be of the Lord.

The Lord Jesus will guide us through these treacherous days if we adhere to His Word carefully, deny ourselves, take up our cross, pray without ceasing, and obey God in all He commands us.

It is true that the righteous are saved with difficulty. But we can and we will come forth as more than conquerors if we endure steadfastly to the end.