THE CLOCK STARTS TICKING AGAIN
THE CLOCK STARTS TICKING AGAIN Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel informs us that seventy prophetic weeks must elapse before sin is brought to an end and everlasting righteousness enters the creation of God. The crucifixion of Christ marked the completion of the sixty-ninth week. Then the clock stopped ticking while the Body of Christ is being formed.
It is our opinion that the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation describes the seventieth week, the time when the clock resumes ticking. The first half of the week will consist of the latter-rain, double-portion revival prophesied in the Old Testament. The latter-rain revival will result in the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations for a witness. The last half of the week will include the reign of Antichrist and the great tribulation. Then the end of the age will be here and the Kingdom of Christ will come to the earth.
THE CLOCK STARTS TICKING AGAIN
There are to be seventy prophetic weeks in all.
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)
Seven weeks (49 years—one day for a year) were occupied with the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25). An additional sixty-two weeks (434 years) brought us to the crucifixion of Christ (verse 26). This accounts for 69 weeks.
Then, it appears, the prophetic clock, the clock marking the movement toward the Kingdom of Christ, stopped ticking.
But what about the seventieth week? The seventieth week is mentioned in verse 27:
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 to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27)
It is our opinion that the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation describes the seventieth week, the time when the clock once again moves toward the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The first half of the seventieth week will consist of the latter-rain, double-portion revival that is prophesied in the Old Testament. The last half of the week will include the reign of Antichrist and the great tribulation, which also are prophesied in the Old Testament. As we understand the Scriptures, the saints will testify during the first half and be kept safe in God throughout the second half.
But why would God stop the prophetic clock at the time of the crucifixion of Christ and then wait for nearly two thousand years to elapse before starting it again? Why could the revival and the tribulation not have occurred immediately after the resurrection? What has been the purpose of the intervening nineteen hundred centuries?
The answer is found in Micah 5:2,3:
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he [Jesus] come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he [Jesus] give them [the children of Israel] up, until the time that she [the Christian Church] which travaileth hath brought forth [Christ in the members of His Body]: then the remnant of his brothers [the saints] shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:2,3)
Christ cannot return until the Christian church has brought forth Christ in the members of His Body. Christ must be formed in us.
The purpose for the period of time from the crucifixion to the beginning of the seventieth week has been the forming of the Body of Christ, the Bride of the Lamb, the brothers of Christ, the "Deliverer" who shall come "out of Zion," the second "lampstand" of the eleventh chapter of Revelation.
There is no point in Christ’s returning to earth until His Body has been brought "to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ"; until the firstfruits of the Church have been brought into unblemished union with Himself.
The Old Testament Prophets speak of the coming of Christ. Christ was born in Bethlehem. He died on the cross for our sins and then was raised physically from the dead.
Since that time a multitude of people have entered Christ and become part of Christ. They have become His Body, His fullness. They have become an integral part of His death and an integral part of His resurrection.
The Kingdom clock stopped ticking so Christ could attain His completion in a Bride—a Bride who has been changed into His death and filled with His resurrection Life. She shall appear with Him when He comes.
The Hebrew Prophets reveal that Christ will come as our sin offering (Isaiah, Chapter 53) and also as "king over all the earth" (Zechariah 4:9). Micah points to the season of travail that must occur between the two appearings of Christ.
Christ has come in the flesh! Christ has gone to the Father and will return from Heaven in like manner as He was seen going into Heaven. These facts are established eternally in the written Word. The great hope expressed in the New Testament writings is that of the coming of the Lord, of the Day of the Lord.
When the Prophets speak of Christ’s coming it is to establish the Kingdom of God throughout the earth, bringing deliverance to Israel and justice to the nations. However, to the present hour Israel has not been delivered; neither has justice been brought to the nations. The lack of fulfillment of the Prophets may cause Jewish people to doubt the Messianic claims of Jesus of Nazareth.
What is delaying the fulfillment of the Divine promises? The reason for the delay is the period of time that is required for bringing into being the Body of Christ, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer. As the Body is attaining the fullness of unity and maturity, and also bringing its last great witness to the world, the prophetic clock will start ticking again.
Before Christ appears in the clouds (Revelation 1:7) the seventieth week will be fulfilled (Daniel 9:24; 12:7).
The seventieth week, as we understand it, will follow the same pattern as the seven abundant and seven lean years of the famine of Joseph’s day. There will be a "morning," and then a "night" (Isaiah 21:12).
The purpose of the first half of the week, the time of the latter-rain revival, of the testimony of the two witnesses, is that all the peoples of the earth may become aware of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth and of the resulting need for very serious and thorough repentance.
The purpose of the second half of the week is that the burning sun of persecution may bring both the wheat and the tares to maturity. The great tribulation will separate the true Church from Babylon (man-directed Christianity), thus making straight the way of the Lord.
It appears that the seventieth week will follow the abundance-famine pattern of Joseph’s rule in Egypt. The Jews will be forced to return to Christ during the second half of the week just as Jacob was forced out of Canaan by the years of famine.
Joseph was cast out by his brothers because they were jealous of his father’s preference for him and outraged because of his dreams of ruling over his family. Although Joseph was cast out by their hands it was God who was arranging the events of Joseph’s life. God was preparing a deliverer for Jacob, Egypt, and the remainder of the earth. Worldwide famine soon was to come.
The Divine training of Joseph for rulership was prolonged and severe. After Joseph had been tested fully he was exalted to great prominence. He also was given an Egyptian bride, Asenath. Joseph was now ready to serve as the deliverer during the seven lean years of affliction.
The career of Joseph is a type of the events of the end-time. God will give some of His saints visions of rulership. They then will be tested by rejection, by temptation, and by prolonged "imprisonment."
When their training has been accomplished to God’s satisfaction they will be ready to serve as witnesses, as kings, as deliverers, and as eternal servants of God.
During the first half of the week the saints of the Lord will receive the double portion of the Holy Spirit in order to bear witness to all the nations of the earth.
As soon as the testimony has been given to the Lord’s satisfaction, Antichrist will be permitted to overcome the testimony, driving it out of the cities of the earth. The true Christians, those who have refused to compromise with Antichrist, will flee into the wilderness. There they will be nourished and protected by the Lord, perhaps at the hand of "Elijahs" and "Elishas"—victorious saints who remain spiritually strong throughout the events of the last days (Daniel 11:32).
Notice the following:
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they [perhaps the strong saints] should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [3-1/2 years, a prophetic year being computed as 360 days]. (Revelation 12:6)
Although the "sacrifice" and the "grain offering" have ceased (perhaps referring to the fact that the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit come to an end in the middle of the week), yet there will be a remnant of the Christian believers who will stay true to their God, remaining spiritually pure through the intense spiritual darkness and oppression of the latter half of the week.
Joel speaks of "the great and the terrible day of the Lord." And then, in that time setting, he declares:
And it shall come to pass, that whoever 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)
The worldwide latter-rain revival, which is the testimony of the two witnesses, will cause a multitude—perhaps a majority—of earth’s peoples to believe and make a profession of Christ as Savior. But when the burning sun of persecution arises and lawlessness abounds, the love of the majority of those converts will grow cold. Then the true saints of God will flee to the wilderness. They will constitute the holy remnant of whom the Scriptures speak.
And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: (Isaiah 4:3)
The saints who have fled from the deceptions of Antichrist will need supernatural protection if they are to survive spiritually and physically. Antichrist will be given such power that it nearly will be impossible for the believers to think clearly. The dark oppression will make prayer so difficult that only the strongest saints will be able to seek the Lord. Antichrist will be able to exert power in the heavenlies to an extent the Christian churches never before have experienced.
And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. (Daniel 8:10)
Some of us have experienced spiritual darkness and oppression, and also deception. But none of us have come in contact with any deception or oppression equaling that which soon is to come upon mankind.
The teachers of the "rapture" and their followers, who are hoping to avoid tribulation, will be swept off their spiritual feet like so many bowling pins—which precisely is what Satan has planned.
Because of the exceedingly great darkness that even now is hovering above the nations of the world, the Lord will provide a covering for those who serve Him faithfully, keeping the word of His patience. This is the night "when no man can work" (John 9:4).
And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. (Isaiah 4:5)
Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. (Isaiah 26:20)
It is our point of view that during those darkest of days, the latter part of the seventieth week, there will be victorious saints who know their God and who can assist their weaker brothers and sisters—saints who are not laboring in their own strength but in the power of the Father and the Son who will be dwelling in them in anticipation of that horrible era.
Elijah and Elisha, the two strongest scriptural types of the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11, were able to deliver those in need (including Gentiles) no matter how great the conditions of apostasy and tribulation became.
It appears that when the power to bear witness is lifted from the victorious saints and they are forced to flee for their lives into the wilderness, God will then establish them as princes with Himself and deliverers of the weaker saints.
Notice Isaiah 32:1,2. We will paraphrase the second verse (Isaiah 32:2) in accordance with newer translations of the Scriptures:
"Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. Each of these (the King and His princes) will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
When will it be necessary for Christ and His conquerors, those who stand with Him on Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1), to shelter people from the storm? Certainly not during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Rather it will be during the latter part of the seventieth week.
No preaching of the Gospel will be permitted, and the Holy Spirit will not be poured out, during the second half of the week. The "sacrifice" and the "grain offering" will cease in the middle of the week (Daniel 9:27). No individual in the major cities will be able to receive Christ for salvation and no person will be able to be baptized with the Holy Spirit of God.
We think that the "sacrifice" refers to the preaching of the atonement for sin and the "grain offering" signifies the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon people. The feast of Pentecost celebrated the conclusion of the grain harvest. Also, it may be noted that the grain ceased growing during the seven lean years of Joseph.
It is hard to picture a world in which there is no preaching of the Gospel but this soon will be the case. First must come the most powerful of all revivals, the pouring out of God’s Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28). After that, the power of Christ will be exercised in the protecting and nourishing of His true saints, not in the gathering of the Gentiles. For during the seventieth week the time of the Gentiles will come to an end (Romans 11:25).
We are nearing the end of the present age!
The Scripture teaches plainly that the Glory of the Lord will abide on the saints during a time of great spiritual darkness. It is our understanding that this glory will begin with the saints hidden away in the wilderness during the latter part of the week and then will expand until it culminates in the heralding of the return from Heaven of Christ. The two witnesses will stand once more upon their feet at the coming of the Lord from Heaven (Revelation 11:11).
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:2)
The emphasis of this booklet is that there has been a reason for the inserting of two thousand years between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks. The reason is that a period of time of such duration is necessary in order for God to prepare a witness and a deliverer—a deliverer who will be able, under God, to assist the Christians, the Jews, and whoever else will call on the name of the Lord during the famine of the Word of God that will occur during the latter part of the seventieth week. Joseph is the Old Testament type of the prepared deliverer.
God knew that a worldwide famine was coming, and so He prepared Joseph to be a witness and a savior, a deliverer.
God knows that the tares will come to maturity in the last days. God understands that the sin and rebellion of human beings will descend to such foul depths of self-love, lust, evil imaginations, lying, stealing, murder, drunkenness, as we see abounding today, that the righteous will be in danger of perishing from the earth.
Therefore God is preparing a Deliverer. That Deliverer is Christ—Head and Body, the Servant of the Lord, the One anointed by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to the nations of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God. The Servant will perform the work of protecting and nourishing believers that will be required throughout the latter part of the seventieth week. Christ also will bring justice to the nations during the thousand-year period known as the Millennium (the Kingdom Age).
Christ, the eternally exalted Head of the Deliverer, was prepared by the many things He suffered. Having been perfected in obedience to the Father He now has been issued all authority and power in Heaven and upon the earth.
Christ also is Head over all things to His Church, which is His Body—the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
The purpose for the interval of time between the sixty-ninth week and the seventieth week is that the Body of Christ, of the Anointed Deliverer, may be brought to perfection. The brothers of Christ must be changed into His image and brought into perfect union with Him. The glory that will be revealed in us is past our comprehension at this time. It is a level of living and ministry for which we must be prepared.
The Body of the Deliverer is being perfected today. The Head already has been made perfect through the things He suffered. The Body now is being made perfect in the Head through suffering. Christ must heal the sick and cast out devils for "two days"; but on the "third day" He shall be made perfect (meaning that His Body will be brought to perfection in Him—Luke 13:32).
The ascended Christ through the Spirit gave gifts to men. The gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit are for the purpose of perfecting the Body of the Anointed Deliverer.
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:12,13)
Why is the Holy Spirit going to such great lengths to perfect the Body of Christ? So we may go to Heaven and exist in a state of bliss, praising God all day and all night throughout eternity?
That is not what the Scriptures teach.
We are being brought to perfection so we shall be able to bring the Glory of God into the earth until His will is being done in earth as it is in Heaven (Revelation 5:9,10).
Our first mission is to serve as a witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God, of the great and terrible Day of the Lord. Our second mission will be to stand in spiritual victory and to help others to stand in spiritual victory throughout the dark night of the second half of the seventieth week. Our third mission will be to return with Jesus and assist in bringing the Kingdom of God into the earth.
The eleventh chapter of Revelation describes our role as witnesses. The twelfth chapter of Revelation portrays the forming of Christ in us. Christ is being formed in us so through us He can rule all nations with a rod of iron.
First we are witnesses. While we are witnessing the King is being formed in us and is abiding in us. We shall serve as deliverers and protectors throughout the second half of the week. After that we shall return with Christ, overthrow Antichrist, and then judge, teach, and bless the nations of the earth. Finally we shall serve God forever in the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.
It seems that in our day the difference between bearing witness, and serving as a deliverer, needs to be clarified.
Many today are endeavoring to perform the Kingdom work of deliverance. Some speak of wanting to empty hospitals, healing all the sick by the power of God.
But it may be noticed that Jesus did not set out to heal all the sick of Jerusalem. He did not come to deliver mankind (at that time). He came to bear witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God. The miracles that Christ performed were primarily for the purpose of verifying His Word, not for the purpose of lifting the curse from the earth or releasing the material creation into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. (John 10:25)
Christ did not come in order to end suffering, He came to send fire on the earth.
I am come to send fire on the earth; . . . . (Luke 12:49)
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword (Matthew 10:34).
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Luke 8:10)
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. (John 9:39)
Today there is such a spirit of humanism pressing upon us that the saints, if they are not prayerful, will begin to think of the gifts of the Spirit as being the Divine means of solving the problems of people.
The release of mankind is not the purpose, during the present hour, of the miracles of God. We have not been called to enable people to avoid the consequences of their behavior except as they are willing to repent and turn to the Lord. Our task at the present time is to bear a clear witness of the Kingdom of God, warning all people everywhere to bring forth the fruits of sincere repentance.
Sometimes deliverance does accompany the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom. But such deliverance is for the support of the witness of the Kingdom, not primarily for the purpose of setting the earth free from the chains of Satan. The release of the earth will take place when Jesus returns with His victorious saints.
The fine distinction we are making here may seem academic when weighed against the great joy that accompanies the healing of an individual. But it is important that God’s people understand the difference between the present era and the era that is to come. For the notion that the business of the Church in the present hour is to use the miracles of the Lord to establish the Kingdom of God prior to Christ’s return is becoming increasingly prevalent and it can lead only to Antichrist and the False Prophet. It is not of the God of Heaven.
Before we shall be allowed to be the Lord’s deliverers we must become willing to be the Lord’s witnesses. There is a witness to be borne, and some of that witness is a harsh indictment of the conduct of the peoples of the churches and of the world.
The saved and the unsaved will welcome God’s delivering power when they are hurting badly enough. But the same people (particularly church people) who welcome the Divine deliverance will kill God’s true prophets. They will attack those who bear a true witness. Most of Jesus’ followers welcomed the healings and the loaves and fish. But they fled when He told them they were required to eat His flesh and drink His blood and to live by Him as He lives by the Father.
Miracles gather people. The cross repulses people. Both the cross and miracles are essential parts of the Divine witness.
God is sending the power of the latter rain upon us. This power is not being given for the purpose of relieving the afflictions and bondages that have come upon people because of their sins. Rather it is being given for the purpose of bearing witness of the holiness of God and of His desire that people live in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.
All of us rejoice when the sick are healed. But if that healing does not lead to greater obedience to God, then God’s will was not permanently performed even though the affliction was lifted.
Indeed there shall come a day when we will go throughout the earth delivering mankind from the chains of Satan. In that day we shall not be bearing witness only, we shall be releasing the material realm into the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21). We shall be bringing justice to the nations of saved people.
But today we receive power in order that we may be witnesses. The saints must come to understand the difference among building the Body of Christ, bearing witness to the nations of the earth, and delivering the earth from the curse of God and the bondages of Satan.
The ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11 will be destructive rather than liberating, in many instances. If we think of ourselves as being commissioned only to relieve the pain and bondages of people we will not be able to function in our God-given role as His witnesses to the earth of the coming of the Kingdom, a kingdom that will be installed on the earth with great violence and fierceness. We will be speaking peace to people to whom the Lord God is proclaiming war.
We have been called to bring sinners to repentance, not to solve their problems so they can continue in their sin and self-will.
The seventieth week will commence as God’s witnesses go throughout all the earth in the power and authority of the latter-rain revival.
Then the testimony will be overcome by Antichrist, with Christ’s permission and under His strict supervision.
There will follow a nightmare of spiritual oppression so severe we cannot imagine it. In the cities of the earth the spirit of delusion will be so strong that no one will be able to think clearly, especially in spiritual matters. The oppression will be so heavy not even the Christians will be able to pray. Only those who flee to the wilderness will be able to stay true to God. Most Christian people will remain in the cities because Antichrist will convince them they can continue to serve God in their churches.
When it comes to a choice between economic hardship and serving Christ fervently, multitudes of today’s believers will go the way of comfort. They will convince themselves (with Antichrist’s help) that they really can serve God and be a witness under the new one-world government.
The Lord’s conquering saints will stand true in the wilderness and many will flee to them for spiritual protection and nourishment. It appears that the framework of the coming ministry of protection and nourishment is appearing even now. Some churches are becoming fortresses of spiritual strength while many others are succumbing to the current popular notions of grace, love, the rapture, success, prosperity, positive thinking, reconstructionism, replacement theology, overemphasis on psychological healing, and so forth.
It appears that much if not most of today’s "Christian" psychological counseling is aimed at enabling the believers to live a successful adamic life. It is not exhorting them to take up their cross and follow the Lord Jesus.
The proponents of the "pre-tribulation rapture" and "Christians ought to be happy at all times" doctrines in no manner will be able to stand during the unprecedented violent, lustful, lawless spiritual darkness and deception of the second half of the seventieth week. Each of us immediately must put on the whole armor of God so he may be able to stand in the evil day.
Elijah was forced to hide from Ahab and from Jezebel. But both Elijah and Elisha were more than conquerors throughout the periods of apostasy and resulting tribulation.
We Christians are not to fear tribulation or the Antichrist. Our only fear is that we will grow careless in the present hour and not store up enough of the "grain" of spiritual strength to enable us to stand in the evil days that soon are to fall on the earth.
There are three problems facing us in the future:
The hour of temptation.
The great tribulation.
The day of the wrath of God.
The problem to be feared the most is the hour of temptation. The hour of temptation was spoken of by the Lord in the following manner:
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. (Matthew 24:12)
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
After the testimony of the latter rain revival has been concluded there will come an hour of temptation, an abounding of moral lawlessness. Most of the people who have professed faith in Christ will fall into sin. One of the greatest of the deceivers (if not the greatest) will be sexual lust. After that will come the love of money and of the comforts of the present world.
The Lord Jesus will guard us throughout the hour of temptation provided we guard the word of His patience. To guard the word of Christ’s patience is to take up our cross and follow Him each day. It is especially necessary that we watch and pray so sexual lust and the love of money do not touch our spirit. Such watchfulness requires extreme consecration and diligence.
It appears that there are not many Christian believers today who are serving the Lord Jesus with anywhere near the diligence that is necessary if they are to stand in the hour of temptation.
One reason why the believers are not preparing themselves is that they are being taught false doctrine, doctrine advising them that extreme diligence and consecration are not necessary. One expression of false doctrine is that of the so-called "pre-tribulation rapture." Another expression is that of unbalanced grace—grace that does not require righteous holy living and stern obedience to God. The ministers of the Gospel who are teaching these two errors are constructing a horrible future for themselves and their followers.
It is the coming hour of temptation that is to be feared. The great tribulation is not to be feared. We enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation. Tribulation is Divine chastening and serves to perfect the believers, separating them from sin and from the lukewarm, institutional church. What is there to fear in this?
No individual who truly is abiding in the Lord has anything to fear from the day of wrath. Unlike the great tribulation, the purpose of the day of wrath is not to perfect the believers. The purpose of the day of wrath is to punish and destroy the wicked. It will be a period of unimaginable suffering.
For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. (Malachi 4:1)
When both the wheat and the tares have come to maturity the Lord will return. Then those who have been true and faithful witnesses, and who have helped others through the night, will serve God eternally as His judges, priests, and kings of the new Kingdom Age.