THE RULER Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc.
Chapter Twelve of the Book of Revelation describes the birth of the Ruler, the forming of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ. This is the ruling Son, God’s Conqueror, who is being formed and brought to birth in order to crush Satan and his works with the Divine rod of iron. The birth of the Ruler in the members of the Body of Christ is for the purpose of governing and blessing the creation of God.
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My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. (Revelation 12:2)
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
And there appeared a great wonder in 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)
As we understand the Book of Revelation, the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth chapters are closely related. They have to do with the voice of the seventh angel, the sounding of his trumpet (Revelation 10:7).
Revelation 10:8-11:1 describes the preparation of God’s elect, the members of the Body of Christ, to bear the end-time, latter-rain anointing of the Spirit of God. They will preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to every nation under the heaven as a witness of the coming of the rule and Glory of God to the earth, an event soon to take place (Matthew 24:14).
The seventh trumpet will provide the opportunity for every person on the earth to behold the power of the Kingdom of God and to hear the Good News. The Good News is that Christ died for our sins; was raised again so we who believe may be declared to be righteous in the sight of God; and is coming again to rule over the nations of the earth, bringing glory to Israel and justice to the Gentiles (Luke 2:32).
The final act of the seventh (last) trumpet will be the clothing of the saints with immortality.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)
Chapter 11 of the Book of Revelation describes the actual end-time testimony of the Body of Christ which—with Christ as the Divine Head and Lord of all areas and aspects—is God’s Lampstand. There are two Lampstands because the reference is to Christ and His Body, as we understand the symbolism.
These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks [lampstands] standing before the God of the earth. (Revelation 11:4)
The two Lampstands portray Christ the Lord and His Body, His "Wife." The two olive trees speak of the double portion of the Holy Spirit.
We now are in the hour of the double portion of God’s Spirit. Christ has kept the "good wine" until now.
The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:9)
Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation describes the forming of Christ in the members of the Christian Church. This event also is associated with the voice of the seventh angel and the sounding of his trumpet.
Chapter 12 describes the birth of the Son (man child), which we understand to be the forming of Christ in the Christian Church.
This is the Body of the ruling Son that is being formed and brought to birth. This is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
The Son of God who is being formed in the members of the Body of Christ will crush Satan and all his works with a Divine rod of iron.
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise [crush] thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
And the God of peace shall bruise [crush] Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)
Note carefully the following:
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:7)
What is the "mystery" that will be finished "in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound"?
The mystery is, "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27)
It is obvious only our Lord Jesus Christ can be the Son who is destined to rule all nations with a rod of iron (Psalms 2:9).
Who, then, is the "woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown (tiara) of twelve stars," of the first verse of Revelation, Chapter 12?
From our point of view, the woman is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only in the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, that Christ is formed.
No travail of the nation of Israel or the Christian Church brought forth the Baby in the manger. The Son, Christ, was born before Zion travailed. He is God’s answer to God’s enemies.
Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. (Isaiah 66:7)
But there will come a time when Zion does enter labor. Then the Son will be formed in the Church, in the heavenly Jerusalem, which is the "mother of us all."
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8)
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)
The twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation is describing the forming of God’s Conqueror, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Church, the heavenly Zion, by means of the travail of the ministries of the Church. This mystery (Christ in you) will be finished at the time of the seventh trumpet.
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
"Until Christ be formed in you."
There are two aspects of the Christian redemption taking place now: (1) the saints are being prepared and encouraged to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit so they may go forth in power as Christ’s witnesses; and (2) Christ is being formed in the saints and they are growing up in Him in order that the Body of Christ may be perfected.
The saints are being prepared and encouraged to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Christ is being formed in the saints.
When the Body of Christ has been perfected, the Head can return and Christ—Head and Body—can perform the work of the Servant of the Lord.
The following verse describes the work of Christ, the Servant of the Lord:
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]. (Isaiah 42:1)
Before the Head can return and bring justice to the nations of the earth, the Church, the Body of Christ, "Zion," must be built up.
When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:16)
One of the two great works of the Church Age is the building of the Church, the Body of Christ.
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying [building up] 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)
As we have stated, the two purposes of the Christian Era are (1) the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom to every creature; and (2) the perfecting of the Body of Christ.
These two aspects are being emphasized in our day. We are being prepared to bear the end-time anointing so we may be power-filled witnesses of Jesus’ atoning death and triumphant resurrection. Also, Christ is being formed in us in preparation for the rule of the Kingdom of God over the nations of the earth.
The double anointing of power for bearing witness of Christ, and the crucifixion of our personality so we are living no longer but Christ is living in us, are both required for the installation of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.
These two works will take place during the "days of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound" (Revelation 10:7).
As a Christian believer and disciple of the Lord Jesus we have a responsibility to bring the Good News to every creature. The bringing of the Gospel of the Kingdom to every nation requires that we receive a powerful baptism of the Holy Spirit.
The second aspect, the formation of Christ in us, while it is a testimony to the earth today, is also—and primarily—for our eternal service to the Lord God of Heaven as one of His servants (Revelation 22:3).
Isn’t it true that both of these aspects of redemption are working in your life right now? Isn’t the Spirit of the Lord prompting you to turn away from the pursuit of money and material treasures and to give your attention to serving the Lord and bearing witness of Him?
In addition, isn’t the Spirit of the Lord working the circumstances of your life so you are being pressed into Christ’s death and also discovering in yourself the incorruptible resurrection life of the new spiritual man who is coming forth?
Thus we understand that the two principal tasks of the Christian Era are:
The preaching of the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15,16).
The forming of the Body of Christ, the perfecting of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16).
Chapter 10 of Revelation tells us the seventh trumpet is about to sound.
Chapter 11 of Revelation announces the worldwide preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom with unprecedented power. This is the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 and Mark 16:15,16. Chapter 12 of Revelation portrays the forming of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16) to prepare deliverers for the nation of Israel (Romans 11:26), and to bring forth righteous rulers for the Gentile nations (Revelation 2:26,27).
The two aspects of redemption accomplished in the Church of Christ (the Spirit-empowered witness of Jesus as Savior and Lord, and the bringing forth of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ) are portrayed symbolically in the story of Gideon’s 300 men.
The number 300, as used in the Scriptures, symbolizes the termination of one age by judgment and the beginning of a new age. You may recall that Noah’s Ark was 300 cubits long.
Also, the sum of the square cubits of the three hangings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was 300 square cubits. As soon as one passes the veil which leads into the Most Holy Place he has gone through 300 square cubits, as it were. The Most Holy Place symbolizes the rule of Christ and His saints during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. (The volume of the Most Holy Place was 1,000 cubic cubits, the number of years in the Kingdom Age.)
The number 300 figures prominently in the story of Gideon, indicating that the incident is a type of the coming of the Lord from Heaven to establish His Kingdom upon the earth.
The members of Gideon’s original army were eliminated until only 300 remained—a type of the small remnant through whom the Lord God will bring victory in the Day of the Lord.
Each one of Gideon’s men was given a trumpet (Judges 7:16). There were 300 trumpets. The trumpets, as used here, are a type of the seventh trumpet—the end-time, latter-rain anointing that will enable the saints to announce the coming of the Lord, commanding all persons everywhere to repent and believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. This is what is meant by the empowering of the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11. Each one of Gideon’s men was given an empty pitcher and a torch inside the pitcher. There were 300 pitchers containing 300 torches.
The trumpet is a type of the proclamation of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God, with Christ as King and Lord of all.
The torch, the light, is a type of the forming of Christ, the Light of the world, in us. The empty pitcher is our mortal body.
The trumpet of Gideon, and the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11, are symbolic of the preaching of the Gospel witness to every creature—particularly in the last days.
The torch of Gideon, and the Son of Revelation, Chapter 12, portray the forming of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ.
It has been true throughout Church history that the forming of Christ in the saints has been accompanied by the bringing of Divine Life to other people. The deeper the crucifixion the saint is willing to endure, the greater is the Life of Jesus he experiences and the more powerful is the accompanying witness.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (II Corinthians 4:10)
The inner death and resurrection of the saint reveal the Life of Jesus to other people.
The coming of the Lord Jesus is at hand. It seems we are approaching (or else are in) the days of the sounding of the seventh angel. Therefore we can expect an emphasis to be placed on both the Spirit-empowered preaching of the Gospel to every creature and also the building up and sudden "birth," or revelation, of the Body of Christ (Isaiah 66:7,8).
Each member of the Body of Christ has a temporary ministry and also an eternal spiritual ministry. The first has to do with our labors during the present hour in the Kingdom of God. The second concerns our rulership over the creation as one of the Lord’s kings and judges.
The eleventh chapter of Revelation emphasizes the earthly, temporary ministry of the saints. The twelfth chapter of Revelation emphasizes the preparation for the eternal rule of Christ in the saints during the ages to come.
And there appeared a great wonder [sign] in heaven; (Revelation 12:1)
Here is a marvelous sign and wonder. It is a sign and wonder in the heaven, in the spirit realm. The woman, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, is a wonder in the heaven. How much time and energy is misdirected among Christians because we do not understand clearly that the Church of Christ is not a social earthly institution! The Church is in Heaven and of Heaven. The Kingdom, the rule of God comes from Heaven. This is why Matthew refers to the Kingdom of God as the Kingdom of Heaven.
All that is of eternal value in the building of the Church, and in the activities of the Church, comes directly from Heaven. That which originates in the strength and wisdom of the flesh is of no eternal value. The flesh profits nothing.
Perhaps one of the greatest insights we shall gain into the Kingdom of God in these last days is that the Church is of Heaven and is in Heaven. Nothing can be accomplished on the earth of eternal, spiritual value until it has been fashioned first in the heavenlies (Colossians 2:20; 3:1,2).
The Christian churches are not limited to the employment of human wisdom, energies, and talents in a man-directed attempt to construct the Kingdom of God. Our adversary is a spirit. We are wrestling against wicked spirits, fallen angels, evil princes who govern the world activities from their thrones in the air above us (govern as God permits and oversees).
The weapons of our warfare must not be of the fleshly abilities of people. Our weapons must be "mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (II Corinthians 10:4).
The Church of Christ is a "great wonder in heaven." The Church is not of the physical world. The Church was born, "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13).
When we refer to the Church, in this booklet we are not speaking primarily of the local churches. The Church is not seen as such on the earth. The true Church is viewed only in the spirit realm, in Heaven, in the present hour.
It appears the majority of church people throughout the two thousand years of the Church Age have not been part of the true Church of Christ. Most church work proceeds from the human soul, not from the Spirit of God.
It is no small matter to be a part of the true Church, the true Body of Christ, the true Bride of the Lamb.
Several forces will be brought to bear upon Christian believers in the near future. There will be much deception, persecution, and an unprecedented pouring out of God’s Spirit. After that will come the great tribulation spoken of in the Scriptures, followed by the appearing of the Lord from Heaven accompanied by a multitude of militant saints.
These forces and events will serve to separate the true Church from the majority of believers of the local churches and bring the Church to the unblemished perfection promised in the Scriptures. The love of the majority will grow cold during the hour of temptation (Matthew 24:12).
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)
The Church is not merely a human, social institution made up of well-intentioned members of the local community. The Church of Christ is the expression of the Word of the living God, of the body and blood of Christ, of the resurrection Life of Christ, of the priestly anointing of the Holy Spirit of God.
The Christian Church, with Christ as the illustrious Center, is the Lampstand of God in the earth. The Christian Church is the Prophet of God among men. The Christian Church is the Body of Christ, of Messiah, of the Anointed King.
The Christian Church is the Substance and Spirit of Christ. Its glorious Head, Christ, is in the Church, with the Church, and also in Heaven at the right hand of the Father in the present hour.
Because the Church is the expression of the resurrection Life and Glory of the ascended Lord Jesus Christ, its true Life being Christ who is at the right hand of the Father, it is a sign in the heaven.
A woman clothed with the sun, (Revelation 12:1)
Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners? (Song of Solomon 6:10)
The face of the angel of Revelation 10:1, who marks the opening of the era of the seventh and last trumpet, "was as it were the sun."
The sun, in the Scriptures, speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ. The sun is a fire. It is pure. It is perfect. It is as a "bridegroom" Psalms 19:5). It governs the Day of the Lord. Christ is the "Sun of righteousness" (Malachi 4:2). There is "healing in his wings."
In the Day of the Lord the righteous will "shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:43). The countenance of Christ that John saw "was as the sun shineth in his strength" (Revelation 1:16).
The sun with which the woman is clothed is the fiery righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Body of Christ is covered by the Lord’s righteousness and reveals the Lord’s righteousness in Heaven and upon the earth. An unrighteous church is not the light of the world, and can never become the light of the world until it puts on the Lord Jesus Christ and makes no provision for the fleshly lusts of the present age.
The horribly destructive error in Christian thinking is that Christ clothes the Church with imputed (ascribed) righteousness while the actual behavior of the believers is of interest but not a crucial aspect of the Divine salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The righteousness of Christ indeed does cover the repentant sinner. But then, as the converted individual walks with Christ, the blazing righteousness of Christ begins to bring forth a new creation of godly behavior. If no new creation begins to be apparent, if no moral transformation is occurring, then the person is not being saved. He has a head knowledge and belief but is not part of the true Church. He eventually will turn the grace of God into immorality, as is happening so often today.
And the moon under her feet, (Revelation 12:1)
The moon speaks of God’s creation. The moon has no light of its own. It is dead. But the light of the sun reflects from it and therefore the moon is able to give light and govern the night.
The created realm, including ourselves, is dead apart from Christ. But when His glory is reflected from us, we of the Church are able to give light and to rule in the midst of darkness and death (II Corinthians 3:18; 4:6).
The world of itself is a place of darkness. The light that enables mankind to distinguish good from evil is that which is reflected from the people of God as Christ shines from Heaven in them.
Moonlight is a pale light. We see partially—"through a glass, darkly." But moonlight is better than no light at all. When the Day of the Lord dawns and Christ comes to us "as the morning" (Hosea 6:3), the world will understand how dark the present age actually has been.
The created realm, the material universe, is under the feet of the woman, the Church, the Body of Christ.
Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; (I Corinthians 3:22)
The two witnesses of Chapter 11 are given authority and power over the entire earth for a season as a preview of the rule of the Church during the thousand-year Kingdom Age; but then the witness is overcome by Antichrist.
When the Lord Jesus Christ appears in and with His Body in the Glory of the Father, the whole earth will be ruled by God in Christ in the saints. This is the beginning of the eternal government, the Kingdom of God.
Christ is that Adam who is in the image of God and who has been given dominion over all the works of God’s hands (Psalms 8:3-8). As Christ is formed in us we too are assigned our Divinely ordained places of fruitfulness and dominion.
This world belongs to the saints.
To mankind has been assigned the dominion over all things—all is "in subjection under him" (Hebrews 2:8).
And upon her head a crown [garland] of twelve stars: (Revelation 12:1)
The twelve stars represent God’s "stars," His heroes of faith, His mighty men, His conquerors, His kings and judges of the ages to come.
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)
What do the stars do? They guide travelers at night.
Are we dividing the Body of Christ, that seamless robe of Christ, into the Church and the "stars"? Not at all. The heroes of faith are as a crown on the head of the Church.
The Church of God always has produced outstanding men and women of God. We think of Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Job, Paul, Peter, Elijah, David and so forth. Are they separate from the Israel of God?
There is but one Church, one Body of Christ, one Wife of the Lamb, one holy city of God. These are different terms applied to the one Israel of God.
At different times and for varying reasons God may emphasize one person or a small group of people. But, as in the case of Gideon’s 300, as soon as the victory has been won all Israel joins in the victory (Judges 7:23).
An army may consist of many different kinds of units but it is one army.
A kingdom may contain rich people and poor people, nobility and working class, but it is one kingdom.
The Gospels speak of those who are greatest and those who are least in the Kingdom of God. But it remains one kingdom.
God’s stars, His heroes of faith, are an adornment on the Church. But they are not separate from the Church just as David and his mighty men were not separate from the rest of Israel, and Gideon and his remnant of warriors were not a group of people apart from Israel.
Before electronic technology came into being people often were directed by the stars. It was a star that led the wise men to the Baby Jesus.
When we teach in the church we use God’s stars to guide us: Daniel, Job, Abraham, Jacob wrestling with the angel, Joseph and his coat of many colors, John the Baptist, Elijah, Enoch who walked with God, and many others. These are the "stars" whose faith and experiences have pointed the way through the "night" of our pilgrimage on the earth.
It is the lives of individual saints, rather than the history of the nation of Israel or of the Christian Church, that provide the inspiration and example we need. The "stars" point the way toward the righteous Kingdom that is coming from Heaven.
The moon shines by reflected light but the stars give their own light.
When we are immature Christians we live and minister by an external grace, for the most part. The Holy Spirit is in us. Christ is in us. But the Divine Life is small and undeveloped. The Lord carries us along by means of externally-applied grace.
Externally-applied grace continues to be necessary. But as we mature in Christ the Life of Christ is formed in us. The Day Star arises in our heart. An inner transformation takes place. A new creature becomes increasingly prominent in our life, in our decisions, in our attitudes. Christ is growing in us, as portrayed in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-23; II Peter 1:19).
Every member of the Body of Christ can become one of God’s stars by laying down his or her own life, taking up his cross, and following the Lord Jesus. Every believer can pass from the ranks of the many who are called to the few who are chosen.
The saint who is becoming a "star," in whom there is a constantly-increasing development and shining of the Lord Jesus Christ, is described in Psalms Eighty-four:
Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them [the ways of those who seek God and are able to reach Him in various situations]. Who passing through the valley of Baca [weeping] make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools [the grace and glory of Christ both from within and without]. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. (Psalms 84:5-7)
The beginning saint is blessed and strengthened by the Lord for the particular situation. The mature saint has no strength whatever except the eternal strength of God, of which he has become a part.
The beginning saint is subject to victories and defeats. One period will be gloriously blessed. The next will be filled with doubt and discouragement.
The mature saint through experience has learned how to come to Zion with singing under many varying conditions. He or she becomes increasingly able to reach God regardless of the circumstances and pressures.
The stars do not shine by the reflected light of the sun. They have their own fire. The mature saint has Christ formed in him. That Light cannot be eclipsed. It is the eternal, indestructible, incorruptible resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When the Lord’s heroes of faith come to a place of sadness and weeping they turn it into springs of living water. The Lord then adds to those springs by pouring out rain from Heaven. What would have been a place of sadness (a valley of Baca) becomes a center of glory, of revival, of anointing, of joy and gladness in the Lord Jesus.
God’s saints bring revival with them. Revival has been formed in them.
The Christian churches are subject to times and seasons, being victorious one moment and defeated the next. But the Lord’s mighty men and women pass from strength to strength, from victory to victory, from glory to glory. Each strength leads to new and greater strength. Each victory leads to new and greater victory. Each glory leads to new and greater glory.
The victorious saints always are learning of God, always growing, always pressing forward in Christ. They are following on to know the Lord. They will move from strength to strength until they become filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).
God’s stars are Mount Zion, the eternal dwelling place of the strength of the Lord God of Heaven (Amos 1:2). As David’s Zion was a fortress city that guarded the larger city of Jerusalem, so God’s conquering saints are a first line of defense of the Church (Micah 4:13).
They appear before God continually because they seek God continually. They pray without ceasing because Christ is being formed in them. The Lord God of Heaven is becoming their prayer, their life, their strength, their praise, their joy, their health, their wisdom, their All in all.
They learn to depend on the Lord Jesus rather than to attempt to resolve their problems by scheming and manipulation. They have discovered that they know nothing at all. They must trust God in all matters.
The woman is not seen in her glory on the earth, she is in Heaven, in the spirit realm. She is clothed with the righteousness of the Sun of righteousness. The created realm is under her feet because she is the Body of Christ and coheir with Christ of the works of God’s hands. Because of her oneness with the Lord Jesus she possesses the keys of the Kingdom of God, the key of David.
The adornment upon her head, her tiara, represents the Lord’s heroes of faith—God’s faithful saints who have sought and pursued the Lord until He has become their life. They shine as the stars of the firmament forever.
And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. (Revelation 12:2)
The woman in the heaven, who is a sign and wonder, is the Church of Christ. The Son who is being born of her is Christ—Christ in the saints.
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
Paul’s "little children" were the believers who lived in Galatia.
Paul, a member of the Church of Christ, was travailing in his ministry in the pains of birth until Christ, the Son, was formed in the saints of the churches in Galatia.
In Galatians 4:19, as in the twelfth chapter of Revelation, it is the one Son who is emphasized. Other writings of the Scripture emphasize the perfecting of the saints. But these two passages are speaking, not of the development of eminent saints but of the bringing forth of Christ, of God’s anointed King. Christ, the Lord and Conqueror, is being formed in the members of His Body.
There is a time to stress the bringing of many sons to glory. In other instances it is more fruitful to stress the creating of the one Son in the sons.
Galatians 4:19 is not addressed to non-Christians. It is addressed to believers only, that they may press forward to the eternal formation of Christ in them.
It is not Christ-likeness that is to be formed in saints, as a figure of speech referring to an imitation of Christ’s Personality and behavior. Rather, it is Christ, His Substance, His Virtue, His Spirit, His Life. It is the Divine Nature, the Word of God, the Seed of God, that is formed in the saint.
There are other verses in the New Testament that reveal it is Christ who is created in the believer, not merely Christ-likeness:
To whom [the saints] God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27)
The foremost revelation of the new covenant is that Christ is being formed in the saints and will abide in the saints.
The Christian Church is the Body of Christ, His fullness:
Which [the Church] is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:23)
The major statement is found in the fourth chapter of Ephesians:
For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying [building up] 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)
"Until Christ be formed in you." "Christ in you." "The fullness of Him." "The Body of Christ." "The fullness of Christ."
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
It is obvious these expressions are not figures of speech. They are intended to convey the truth that through the daily exercise of the faith God gives us, Christ Himself is formed in us and dwells in us. It is more than an imitation of Christ. It is Christ Himself.
What a gap exists between imitating Christ and actually receiving Christ and becoming part of Christ!
One is an imitation. The other is the genuine manifestation of Divine Life, Divine Righteousness, Divine Nature.
One is man imitating God. The other is God Himself dwelling in man.
One can lead to the False Prophet. The other is Christ.
One can lead to religion, Babylon (man-directed Christianity), man attempting to climb into the heavens.
The other is salvation, redemption, God reaching down from Heaven and being born in the hearts of men and women, boys and girls.
It may be true that the greatest danger existing in the present-day move of God is associated with the difference between the imitation of Christ and the actual receiving of Christ.
In our day spiritual wisdom and power are being poured on the saints. Preachers and teachers on every side are exhorting us to lay hold on the things of God, to believe for miracles, to "let our faith loose", to "step out in faith."
Speaking in tongues can be found in many types of congregations. The gifts of the Spirit are widespread. There is a renewal of interest in the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The understanding of the symbolism of the Tabernacle of the Congregation and of the feasts of the Lord is being presented to the believers. It is doubtful such an abundance of Kingdom treasure ever before has been made available to the Christian people, including those of the first century.
In this abundance there exists an unparalleled opportunity to work with God in the building of His Kingdom in the earth. In this abundance there also is an unparalleled opportunity to participate in the delusion that is the False Prophet.
It is important to understand the difference between attempting to be like Jesus, and becoming the expression of His resurrection Life and glory. The first is the work of the adamic soul. The second is the work of God.
Revelation, Chapters 10 and 11 are speaking of the end-time, latter-rain anointing for witnessing to the nations (Matthew 24:14).
But Chapter 12 of Revelation is referring to preparation for the rulership of Christ in the saints over the nations of the earth with the "rod of iron" of the Spirit of God.
Speaking precisely, it is never the rule of the saints, it is the rule of God in Christ in the saints. This is the true Kingdom of God.
Until we are incorporated into and become an integral part of the Life and Flowing of the one Godhead we are competing against the Glory of God. It is not what we are and do that is so important, it is that we become one in Christ in God that is of supreme importance.
Notice the oneness of Christ—Head and Body—in the installation of the Kingdom of God on the earth, as described in the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (Daniel 7:13)
Who is the One like the son of man to whom is given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples of the earth should serve him?
Beyond all doubt, the one like the Son of man is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.
For any other person to attempt to seize such glory would be blasphemous. Christ, and Christ alone, is King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
Daniel asked for the interpretation of the vision (Daniel 7:16). He requested "the truth of all this."
Three times the messenger of God gave the interpretation to Daniel.
"But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom" (7:18).
". . . judgment was given to the saints of the most High" (7:22).
"And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High" (7:27).
Christ alone is King of kings and Lord of lords. But the interpretation given is that the one like the Son of man is "the saints of the most High," "the people of the saints of the most High."
In Daniel, Chapter Seven there is the basis for the highest glory; there also is the basis for the darkest delusion.
The Lord’s people today, in the manner in which they respond to the current spiritual opportunities, are partaking of the glory or partaking of the delusion.
If the current spiritual opportunities and revelation bring us into perfect union with God through Christ so Christ is formed in us and is abiding in us, then we will partake of the Glory of God.
If the current spiritual opportunities and revelation become the means through which we are able to "do great things for God," then we are in danger of falling into the snare of the devil. Satan himself desires to be like the most High and to exercise power and authority in the earth.
The closer the High Priest of Israel came to the Mercy Seat the greater the danger became that he would be slain because of his presumption. The priest was drawing near to the Glory of Israel, but also to his own destruction if he for one moment should forget that he was nothing more than the dust of the ground.
God is seeking saints who desire to come into union with Christ for Christ’s sake, not spiritually ambitious people who are demanding power from God.
Each saint who would rule with Christ must understand clearly that God has only one Son, in this sense. There is only one Overcomer, one Conqueror, one Ruler of the nations. He is the Son—Christ the Lord.
We enter a proper relationship with God and people on the basis of becoming changed into the death of Christ and being raised into the newness of the Life of Christ.
It is not that through God’s grace we become like Christ. Rather, it is that we become an integral part of Christ. We become bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh (Ephesians 5:30).
As Adam and Eve were one flesh, one bone, so Christ and the saint are one flesh, one bone.
We are one with the Father and the Son as Christ is One with the Father.
The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints ruling the peoples of the earth. We are never to be separate from God when we are ruling people. We are one with God—an inseparable part of God Himself.
God will not give His glory to another person. It is as we become part of God through our oneness with Christ that we become eligible as coheirs, with Christ, of the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.
We cannot become heirs of God through Christ until we become "married" to Christ. To be married to Christ is to become one with Him in total, complete spiritual union.
Our total, complete union with Christ is accomplished as Christ is formed in us and abides in us. This union is an actual transformation of our personality and substance through the working of the grace of Almighty God sent down from Heaven.
Antichrist is an imitation of Christ. It is Satan who wants to be like God (Isaiah 14:14). Trying to be like Christ easily can turn into Babylon—the attempt to construct a monument that reaches into the heaven.
It may be helpful for the beginning Christian to imitate Jesus and also to imitate mature Christians whom he knows. No doubt a baby learns to speak and walk by observing children and adults. But a baby is not an imitation human being. He is a human being. Imitation serves only for a season.
An ape might successfully imitate some human behaviors because his trainer would give him an extra banana. If the ape were able to master algebra he would be given all the bananas he desired. But he would remain an ape. An ape is an ape and a human being is a human being. What the human being can learn to do without much fanfare, such as to speak, would be for an ape an unbelievable accomplishment.
It is not remarkable when a human being speaks English or French fluently. But an ape who could speak English or French fluently would be an earthshaking prodigy—one of the wonders of the world.
Apes are apes and human beings are human beings and God is God. We might be able to imitate Christ to a limited extent and thereby gain some "bananas." But as Christ is formed in us we become godly in nature because God Himself is in us.
A human being does not have to be given a prize for acting as a human being. A son of God does not have to be rewarded for acting like his Father nor is it any special or noteworthy event when he becomes more like his Father each day.
Being part of Christ through union with Him is the true salvation of the Lord.
There is a difference between attempting to behave like Christ, and being one with Him in His resurrection life and glory.
The Scripture does not say, as He does, so do we in this world, although there is truth in this statement. Rather it states, "as He is, so are we in this world." He is at rest in His Father. We are to be at rest in Him as He is at rest in His Father.
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. (I John 4:17)
The woman, the Church, is in pain as she is preparing to bring forth Christ—the Son. If Christ is to be brought forth the saints must die the death of the cross, which is death to self.
The little book that describes the forming of Christ in the saints, and the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth, is sweet when we eat it but bitter when we experience it.
. . . and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. (Revelation 10:9)
In order for us to bring forth the Son we must allow the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to pierce our soul. We must be changed into the death of the cross. Only then can Christ be brought forth in our life in the fullness of glory and power.
Only as we suffer can we reign. The crown comes only from the cross. There is no painless path to authority and power over the nations of the earth, to the rule of Divine righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (Revelation 12:3)
The Church, the Wife of the Lamb, is a sign in the spirit realm because she is being created from the body and blood of the Lamb and because her "life is hid with Christ in God."
The red dragon also is a sign in the spirit realm. Neither he nor the woman can be seen with physical eyes. He has taken his place in front of the woman. The Church and Satan are engaged in a fierce struggle that as yet has not been concluded. Truly, the Church is not contending with people but with rebellious angels who rule in the heavens.
The fiery-red dragon has "seven heads," symbolizing the perfect wisdom and knowledge God has given to him.
The dragon has "ten horns." Some believe ten, in the Scriptures, symbolizes the world. Horns typify the power to overcome an opponent and to exert one’s will. Wicked spiritual princes, seated on the thrones in the air above us, exert their will in the earth.
Christ will give to the dragon the ability to overcome for a brief season the testimony of the saints (Revelation 11:7; 13:7).
The dragon has "seven crowns on his heads." Crowns portray royal authority. God will give a fullness of authority to Satan for a controlled period of time so God’s purposes may be executed fully in the earth.
It is not that God is in any sort of alliance with Satan. It is that God, being infinitely superior in wisdom and power, is accomplishing His purposes through the vicious and abominable works of Satan. It is necessary that stumbling blocks come in order that the Kingdom of God may be established in the hearts of men. But woe to those individuals through whom the necessary stumbling blocks come!
If we will resist the temptation to fret and irritate ourselves with the evil in this world, choosing instead to praise God through Christ for the Glory of God that fills the whole earth, God will cause the evil things to work together for our good. All that takes place will serve to conform us to the image of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of 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)
If the "stars of heaven" mentioned here are angels, then this is a terrible event indeed. For the angels appear to be very great in number. One-third of that number, including some of the highest-ranking angels, would be a truly awesome array of spiritual personalities.
These "stars" were dragged down from the heaven and hurled into the earth. What would Satan’s motive be in casting his angels down to the earth when he is going to need all of them for the coming fight with Michael?
Perhaps Satan just lashed out in rage, but this would not be a suitable action on the part of someone possessing perfect wisdom.
Satan has no authority to drag down the elect angels who perform God’s will, and it makes no sense for Satan to cast down to earth a third of his own army.
We know from the Scriptures that the saints on the earth have the authority in Christ to bind and to loose the things in the heavenlies. Whatever the saints loose or bind on earth is loosed or bound in the heavens.
Perhaps Satan, by hurling into the earth this vast number of angels, is hoping to overcome the saints on the earth while he himself struggles against the spiritual life of the saints that already is in Heaven at the right hand of God. He accuses them there, in the Presence of God, while the rebellious and wicked princes of darkness tempt the saints on the earth.
Another explanation of the drawing down to earth of the stars of the heaven is the seduction of saints in the last days.
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)
Antichrist shall be given enough power to overcome the saints for a season, even reaching into the heavenlies to do so.
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)
And it ["a little horn"] 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)
In the last days the heavens as well as the earth shall be shaken. All that is not established in the Lord Jesus Christ will be removed from its place.
We see in our own day that many of the Christian leaders are being seduced by immorality, money, and a love of popularity and adulation. They are "falling to the earth," as it were. No doubt the casting down of the preeminent Christian leaders will work to their good if they repent and turn to the Lord.
The way must be made for the latter-rain testimony, which will be robed, not in the finery of public acclaim but in the "sackcloth" of repentance and humility.
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)
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)
Satan is not able to harm the Son while He is in the womb of the Church. He has to wait until the child comes forth.
The Christian churches can teach, put on their programs, conduct activities as they will. But there is only one aspect of the Christian Church that is a threat to Satan’s kingdom: the bringing forth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Satan fears no human being no matter how talented. But Satan is mortally afraid of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The demons cried out in terror because of the Presence of Christ walking on this earth in the fullness of the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God. They were afraid that the day of God’s wrath had come.
Although God has allotted authority to Satan in the earth for the purpose of bringing to completion the purposes of God, Christ Himself possesses all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth. Satan’s power and authority have been delegated only for a brief season and always are maintained under the strictest control and supervision of the Lord Jesus. It is Jesus who holds the keys of Hell and death.
The churches with their hymn-singing and Bible programs are annoying to Satan who despises anything resembling righteousness. But when the ministries of the Body of Christ enter into the travail necessary to form Christ, God’s Conqueror, in the saints, Satan takes his place in front of the woman in an attempt to devour Christ as soon as He is brought forth.
Satan always seeks to slay the Life of Christ as it is developed in us.
God will never allow Satan to touch the Son, just as God prevented King Herod from slaughtering the Baby Jesus.
The formation of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Church marks the termination of the rule of Satan over the world.
And she brought forth a man child [male son], who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)
The woman, the wonder in the heaven, gave birth to a Son. The Son is God’s Conqueror. The Son is singular in number. The sons of God are plural in number. The Body of Christ is the Son in the sons.
When we are speaking of the members of the Body of Christ concerning their ministry, or concerning their gaining victory over the world, the sins of their flesh, and Satan, we speak of them as being plural—which in fact they are. They are the many members of the one Body of Christ.
But when we speak of rulership over the creation of God we speak in the singular. It is the Son, Christ, who always is God’s Ruler.
The interaction of singular and plural can be noted in the fact that the Seed of Abraham is singular in number; yet the Seed is as the stars of the heavens and as the grains of sand on the shore in number.
The Son is Christ, and none other. Yet the Son is Christ in the elect—formed in the elect and abiding in the elect. The Church labors in the travail of ministry and nurture until Christ is formed in the saints.
The Son is to "rule all nations with a rod of iron."
A Ruler is being created in the true Church: not primarily a healer, a teacher, a deliverer, a judge, although also these, but a Ruler.
The problem God faces is that of rebellion. Satan and others have rebelled against the rule of God. The rebellion has infected mankind. A substantial part of His creation is in rebellion against God.
God could have solved His problem by destroying all rebels—angels and people. But God is planning for the future. By forming His chosen King in people, God is bringing forth the Head and Body of a Ruler—the Governor of the new world of righteousness.
The Lord Jesus was tested to the utmost in obedience to the rule of the Father. Each son who would aspire to rule with the Lord Jesus must be tested to the utmost in obedience to the rule of the Father. Out of the agony of each "Gethsemane" must come the cry of the crucified soul, "Not my will but Yours be done."
It is a Ruler who is being formed today, a Ruler who will govern the creation of God to the ages of ages.
We understand from the second chapter of the Book of Revelation that the overcomer will be given authority over the nations, to rule them with a rod of iron. Authority to rule the nations was issued to Christ in the second Psalm. The rod of iron is the eternal, universal might of the Holy Spirit of God.
But it is always the rule of the Son in the sons, and God in Him. This is a critical truth of the Kingdom of God. It must be emphasized again and again.
The Lord God of Heaven never will give His glory to another person. True rulership will be assigned to us only as Christ is formed in us. As long as King Self is on the throne of our life in any area we are not eligible to rule with God.
As long as King Self is on the throne of any area of our personality we have not attained to the first resurrection from the dead. The first resurrection from the dead is for the purpose of installing Christ, and those in whom Christ is ruling, on the spiritual thrones governing the earth.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: . . . . (Revelation 20:4)
The present-day aspect of the first resurrection from the dead is the transfer of the governing power in our personality from King Self to King Jesus Christ. Paul’s statements in Philippians 3:8-14 have to do with the transfer of inner government and the resulting attainment to the resurrection that is unto life.
We humans tend to rule in self-seeking and harshness without due concern for those who are being ruled. But Christ rules us by filling us with His body and blood. Christ rules people by giving His Life to them in sacrificial love.
The same thing must become true of the members of the Body of Christ. We never will be allowed to rule the nations of the earth until our hearts have been broken in sacrificial love for the persons being ruled by us. God the Father will permit nothing less than this. God is love. In order to rule His creatures on an eternal basis we must be filled with sacrificial love—the love that proceeds only from God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:26)
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. (John 15:9)
And her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)
Christ is established eternally at the right hand of God the Father. All that is born of Christ, as soon as it is born of Christ, ascends in the Holy Spirit to the throne of God in Heaven.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. (Colossians 3:1)
That which is being formed in the saint will never be found in the world or revealed to the world until the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is revealed from Heaven.
There are ambitious believers in our day who are fretted by the sin being practiced in the nations of the world. They would go forth now in the name of Jesus in an attempt to bring the secular realm under the moral control of Christian people. They think it is time now for the manifestation of the sons of God, for the marching of Joel’s army. But it is not time as yet. Therefore, the aggressive Christians will bring persecution on the churches.
We still are in the Church Era of witnessing of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The hour for the attack is not yet. The present period is to be devoted to cleansing each saint from the love of the world, from the lusts of the flesh, and from self-rule.
When the Lord Jesus Christ is revealed to the world in the fullness of His resurrection Life and Glory, we also, in whom His resurrection Life and Glory have been formed, will be revealed to the world. The supreme majesty and power of that revelation will release the material creation from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
We in whom Christ is being formed are becoming an integral part of His glorious appearing to the world. Every saint who will permit God to form Christ in him represents an increase in the Glory of Christ to be revealed to this world in the Day of the Lord.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
When the world beholds the Glory of Christ in the saints, the world will believe God has sent Christ.
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23)
Satan has received authority and power from the Lord God of Heaven to persecute those who are bearing the testimony of the Kingdom of God. In God’s appointed time, in the days to come, Satan will be allowed to drive the Christian witness out of the cities of the earth until the testimony of Jesus becomes an ineffectual voice in world affairs.
But Satan never will be able to touch in any manner whatever the formation of Christ in a member of the Body of Christ unless he can entice the believer into immoral or rebellious behavior.
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. (Revelation 12:6)
This verse represents the period of time during which Antichrist is allowed to suppress the Christian testimony, just before Jesus returns and destroys the reign of Antichrist. The Church will be protected and nurtured throughout that period of tribulation.
"The woman fled." At various times throughout the history of the Christian Church the saints have fled from persecution under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Fleeing from danger when the Lord warns us is a Scriptural concept.
One has only to think of the story of the Baby Jesus to realize God is able to save His elect from the Satan-inspired ambition and envy of those who would rule God’s people apart from God’s will and blessing.
The angel of the Lord warned Joseph to flee with Jesus and Mary to Egypt in order to escape the envious Herod—a notable forerunner of the Antichrist.
And when they [the wise men—also warned of God to avoid Herod’s envy] were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. (Matthew 2:13)
When the danger was past, the angel of the Lord directed Joseph to return with his family to the land of Israel.
We see then that God will protect Christ, and those who bring forth Christ, in the hour of Antichrist’s rage.
In the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, Jesus warns the elect who will be living in Judea in the days when the man of sin begins to claim he is God, to flee into the mountains.
It is our point of view that God has prepared various places and areas in the earth where His saints will be preserved throughout the reign of Antichrist.
God is a God of preparation. When He saw the worldwide famine coming He sent Joseph in advance to prepare a place in which food could be obtained. In the hour of tribulation, Jacob and his family left the land of promise and fled to Egypt, there to be fed by Joseph throughout the time of famine.
God will provide for His saints in the last days of this age, not by taking them out of the world but by guarding them from the evil one. He will prepare a place for them where they can be fed until Christ appears and destroys Antichrist with the power and glory of His appearing.
Elijah was fed in the wilderness when he was fleeing from the murderous Jezebel. Elijah, along with many others of God’s "stars," is a type of the activities of the Lord’s remnant during the latter-rain witness of the end time. The incidents of his life and Elisha’s life are rich in typical significance.
But he himself [Elijah] went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, it is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. (I Kings 19:4)
Elijah did not die in the wilderness, an angel of God fed him. Elijah continued to live and bear witness of God until it was time for him to ascend in the whirlwind.
Elijah was sustained in the wilderness, just as the Christian Church will be sustained during the period of time when God permits Antichrist to suppress the testimony of Christ.
Jesus warned those in Judea to flee when they saw the abomination of desolation—a man enthroning himself as God Almighty in the Most Holy Place of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Those who flee in obedience to the Lord will be nourished in the wilderness by the Lord. If not, why would He advise them to flee? So they would be sure to perish? If they will pray, God will watch over them so their flight from Judea will not be "in the winter, neither on the sabbath day," for that would greatly increase their hardships (Matthew 24:20).
This passage (concerning praying that flight would not be required in the winter or on the Sabbath) teaches us that we always should turn to prayer, even in the most difficult of circumstances, so God will guide and help us in our hour of need (Psalms 46:1,2).
The Scriptural concept of fleeing is a practical message. The hour may be approaching when we Christians will have to choose between remaining in the comforts of civilization and watching our children be turned into monsters of lust and violence, or else leaving the comforts to which we have become accustomed and making a place of survival for our families in remote wilderness areas of the earth.
What shall we say, then, of the Puritans who left the comforts of the English home and hearth and struggled against the cruel bleakness of the New England countryside?
Are we better than they?
What of the five million Christians whose bodies were buried in the catacombs of Rome? Should they have remained in the comforts of the Roman cities with their children and worshiped that former Antichrist—Caesar? Were those Christians as precious in God’s sight as we? Were their children as deserving of fresh air and fresh vegetables as our children?
Did they have as much right to live on the face of the earth, under the sun, moon, and stars, as we do?
Or is it true, as some claim, that God loves us more than He does them and will "rapture" us out of difficulty before He would ever allow us to be forced to flee to any kind of forest, desert, or catacomb? Are we so much more righteous, holy, and obedient than the Puritans and the saints of the Roman Empire? Are we God’s "favorites" that we should be treated differently from all the other saints down through the ages?
Perhaps it is true that we have been deceived already by Antichrist because we have refused to take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation 12:6 does not identify the "they" who are going to nourish and sustain the Church throughout the three and one-half years of Antichrist’s rule over the earth.
Following the type of Joseph, we believe the "they" may be the Lord Jesus in the victorious saints (in His Gentile bride, typified by Joseph’s bride—Asenath, the Egyptian).
During the great tribulation, the devout Jews will be driven into hiding. Also, the true remnant of saints will be forced to flee from the cities of the earth.
We think the Lord Jesus will come in the Spirit and minister through those who are closest to Him (perhaps including some of the saints who have died and are in the spirit realm). The Lord will nourish and sustain His people who have fled from the ungodliness of the civilization of Antichrist (similar to the flight of the godly during the early days of the Christian Era).
During the darkest hours of the tribulation, just before the Lord sheds His glory on His saints in conjunction with His appearing in the clouds, there will be deliverance "in Mount Zion."
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)
During those terrible days when no man can work, the King and His princes, His mighty men, shall be a protection from the onslaught of the enemy.
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an 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. (Isaiah 32:1,2)
Other translations suggest that "a man" should be rendered "each one of them," indicating that the hiding place of the last days will be the King and His princes.
In any case, the Man is the Lord Jesus, and each one of them would be Jesus in His victorious saints.
During the last days no person will be able in his own strength to serve the Lord. Only those saints who are filled with the Presence of God in Christ will be able to offer deliverance to the peoples of the earth who flee from the ungodliness of Antichrist.
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (Revelation 12:7,8)
What event started this war? Why wasn’t it fought a long time ago? Why has God waited until now to finally cast the devil out of Heaven so Satan and his angels never again can find any place there?
At the beginning of Chapter 12, Satan is a sign, a wonder in Heaven. But now he and his angels no longer are able to prevail. They are defeated in battle. They are not strong enough to maintain their position against Michael and his angels.
Up to this point Satan has had access to the gatherings of the sons of God when they presented themselves before the Lord.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. (Job 1:6)
God is patient with evildoers. He waits forever, it seems, to execute judgment. Divine judgment may be slow in coming but it is as certain as the rising of the sun.
Judgment always is executed against wickedness in people, unless a thorough repentance is demonstrated and remission of guilt is obtained through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. No transgression is ever left unjudged.
God’s patience in allowing Satan and his wicked, rebellious angels to remain in Heaven, where they can accuse the brothers of the Lord before the throne of God day and night, is another wonder in the heaven.
But God always knows exactly what He is doing.
God has been working out a vast plan that will destroy Satan and his angels from the creation of God. God’s plan includes the development of conquering saints who, being filled with Christ, will insure that never again will there be a rebellion in the spirit realm.
The Divine plan will provide a house, a rest, a "body" for the Lord God of Heaven. It also will bring forth the Bride without spot or wrinkle for the Lamb. Finally, God’s plan will furnish a group of kings and priests who will rule eternally over the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
The lusts of Satan and his angels and demons are being utilized by the Lord as He works out His plan in the earth. Evil and rebellious spirits are providing a source of necessary stumbling blocks—offenses that perfect the pearls and precious jewels of character and virtue with which the Bride, the new Jerusalem, will be adorned.
Just as soon as every detail of God’s plan has been perfectly developed and executed, Satan and his angels will be cast out of the heaven into the earth.
Many times we Christians fret ourselves because of evildoers. God’s Word forbids us to do that (Psalms 37:1). God knows what He is doing and He is making all things work together for good for those whom He has called to be in the image of His Son—the brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What has changed that Satan and his angels should now be cast out of the heaven into the earth?
There shall be delay no longer. The heavenly woman has been delivered of the Son, meaning Christ has been formed in the saints. The purpose of God has been accomplished. The obedience of the saints has been fulfilled. God is not willing that Satan should be allowed to remain in a position where he is able to accuse God’s saints. There no longer is any place left in the heaven for Satan and his angels.
Canaan, the land of promise, the goal of the tribes of Israel as they wandered for forty years in the wilderness, is a type of dominion over the material creation. Entrance into Canaan is a type of resurrection to immortality, to the Kingdom of God, to fruitfulness and rulership.
Satan has held spiritual control and possession of the material creation. But the Lord God of Heaven has given all authority over the creation to Christ (Psalms Two). The brothers of Christ are pressing forward, under the guidance and power of the Spirit of God, to resurrection life and Divine authority, to the spiritual control and possession of the material creation.
The casting of Satan out of the heaven into the earth indicates that his spiritual control has been removed from him. He now is bound to the earth. He still, through his wisdom, is able to deceive and draw people after him. But Satan and his fellow spirits have been driven from the thrones in the air from which the physical creation is governed.
All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? (Isaiah 14:10)
It appears there is a relationship between the end-time latter-rain ministry of the two witnesses (Revelation, Chapter 11) and the casting of Satan and his angels out of the heaven into the earth.
After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. (Luke 10:1)
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. (Luke 10:17,18)
As we understand it, this does not mean Satan was cast out of the heaven at the time of the witness of the seventy. Rather, Jesus is beholding in vision the end-time ministry of the two witnesses as the saints go forth in the double portion of the Holy Spirit to heal the sick, cast out devils, and proclaim repentance in the earth because of the soon coming to the earth of the Kingdom of God.
The Lord’s witnesses will go "before his face" in order to prepare the way of the Lord. The anointed saints will tread on all the power of the enemy. The authority of the name of the Lord Jesus will overcome the authority of the wicked spirits who have maintained spiritual control over the prisoners of the earth.
We have seen, therefore, that Michael and his angels for the first time are able to defeat Satan and his angels and to cast them from their places of rulership over the material creation. The wicked are forced out of the heaven and hurled into the earth. They do not desire this but are helpless to resist in the face of superior spiritual authority and power.
Evil spirits do not desire to be cast out of human beings, but they are helpless to resist when the Holy Spirit speaks to them through the saints in the authority of the name of Christ.
It appears superior power has been given to the holy angels led by Michael because of the end-time anointed testimony of the elect, and also because Christ has been formed in the saints and has been caught up "unto God, and to his throne."
The saints on the earth will tread on all the power of the enemy. Also, their names have been written in Heaven (Luke 10:20). Christ has been formed in them and they have gained authority and power before the throne of God in Heaven (Revelation 3:5).
Victory before the throne of God in Heaven. Victory on the earth. As a direct result of this double victory the elect angels are empowered by the Father to defeat Satan and his angels, forcing them out of the heaven and down into the earth.
All judgment has been given by the Father to His Son, Jesus Christ. The Son of God has passed the administration of Divine judgment into His Body, the Church. It is the Church, the Seed of the woman, that shall crush the head of the serpent (Genesis 3:15; Romans 16:20).
The members of the Body of Christ are God’s judges. Judges possess great authority. The officers bearing the weapons of judgment must wait for the decision of the judge.
The heavenly officers bearing the terrible weapons of the execution of the sentence of judgment are the elect angels of the most high God—the angels who excel in strength, performing the will of the Father.
But the elect angels bear no authority of judgment, only the power to execute the decisions of the Judge, Christ, who has been appointed by the Father.
God’s Judge is the Lord Jesus Christ. All judgment has been given to the Son.
The decisions of the Head are spoken through the Body because the Head and the Body are one Christ, one Anointed King, Priest, Judge, and Deliverer. As in the human being, the Head and the Body are one person.
The elect angels await the decisions of the Judge. God the Father speaks in His Son because the Father and the Son are One.
The Son speaks in His Body because the Son and His Body are One.
When Michael hears the authoritative decisions flowing from the throne of God Almighty He is empowered by the Lord God to execute the sentence of Divine judgment.
Michael and his legions rush toward the destruction of the enemy with galactic force. The release of energy is sufficient to overcome all satanic opposition. The Word of God Almighty is in the midst of the righteous angels, a power so great as to be far beyond human imagination or description. Resistance is impossible. God the Father has spoken through His Christ. The enemy is forced out of the heavenlies, down into the earth—the planet he has plagued for so many thousands of years.
The reason the Church has been unable, prior to this time, to use the keys of the Kingdom of God to greater advantage is that it has not been one with the Son in the Father. The churches have been as the Body of Christ with the head of man. Therefore the Father has deemed it wise and fitting to issue the authority and power of the Kingdom of God only in small amounts.
As soon as the Christian Church dies to self-will, self-exaltation, self-seeking, self-vaunting, calling attention to itself because it has not been crucified with Christ, the Life of Christ will enter the Church and the Church will become one with Christ and will live by His Divine Life.
When the Church becomes one with Christ, living by His incorruptible, eternal, resurrection Life, the authoritative decisions of Divine judgment will issue through the mouth of the Bride of the Lamb.
As soon as the Divine judgment is uttered through the Body of Christ, Michael will recognize the Voice of God. He will attack in the fullness of the strength of God.
The victory of Michael and his army signals the end of Satan’s dominion over the earth.
To the Body of Christ has been given the keys of the Kingdom of God. The keys of the Kingdom of God compose the key of David—the authority and power for building the Kingdom of God (Revelation 3:7). It is the throne of David (Luke 1:32).
The key of David is the authority to open and shut the gates of the Kingdom: the authority to bind and to loose, to forgive sins and to retain sins. It is the authority to bind the forces of wickedness and to release the righteous into the Presence and blessing of God.
The saints, in Christ, speak the Word. The angels execute the deed in the spirit realm. It is Mahanaim —two armies, the double camp. It is a dance, with Christ doing the leading.
Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look on thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? as it were the company of two armies. (Song of Solomon 6:13)
Whenever Joshua brings the army of judges to the walls of Jericho, to the entrance to resurrection ground, the captain of the Lord’s host appears with the sword of execution in his hand. The army of saints and the army of angels work together under the direction of Joshua (as he obeys the Lord), under the guidance and power of the anointing of the Spirit of God. It is the dance of Mahanaim.
The place of Satan and his rebellious angels was not found "any more in heaven." It is an eternal judgment. By forming Christ in the saints, the Lord God has guaranteed that never again will anyone but God attempt to exercise dominion throughout His realms, whether the spirit realm or the material realm.
The wretchedness, the abomination that causes desolation, of someone other than God making himself God and seeking worship, never again will destroy the creation, bringing everyone and everything into confusion, uproar, madness, pain, suffering, frenzy, restlessness, fear, dread, bondage, corruption, death. The nightmare is over forever. Satan and his angels have been driven from the spiritual thrones that dominate the creation.
And the great [huge] dragon was cast out [thrown down], that old [ancient] serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out [forced out and thrown down] into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)
This is not a gentle action. The precious blood of the Lamb was given in full payment for the redemption of the creation. But the old landlord will not let go of his slaves. Therefore he shall be driven from the heaven by superior spiritual power.
The source of all sin and rebellion shall be driven from the spirit realm and hurled down into the earth, stripped of all ability to control the physical realm of people and nature.
The wrestling match has come to an end. God in Christ in the saints has conquered the adversary.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places [in the heavenlies]. (Ephesians 6:12)
The wrestling match is in the area of obedience to God’s Truth, on the part of the saints. They are God’s judges and must be holy and obedient in His Presence. The actual power of conquest is issued to the elect angels as they are empowered by the Spirit of God to overcome all the power of the enemy.
Our ability to bring righteous behavior into view depends on our choosing to obey God’s Word. If we choose to obey the Lord, God furnishes the power in the spirit realm so a way is made for us to practice righteousness. The power of the Spirit of God breaks the yoke of wickedness. This is how the Truth of Christ sets us free from the bondages of iniquity.
The forcing of Satan and his angels out of the spirit realm is so staggering a blessing to every righteous spirit it scarcely can be grasped. To think that the power, the authority, the actions, the motives, the words, the imaginations, the memories of rebellion and sin, will soon be destroyed completely out of the creation of God!
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)
The above passage, speaking of the demon-worshiping tribes that inhabited the land of Canaan, typifies the total destruction of the kingdom of Satan that will be accomplished by Almighty God in Christ in the saints.
It is complete, total, absolute conquest—the destruction of all rebellion and sin from the creation of God.
Note that the huge dragon deceives the whole world. Sometimes we are led to believe the wrestling match is one of power. But basically the issue is one of truth and deception.
All power belongs to God, and God has given His authority and power to Christ. The devil works with the authority and power Christ has apportioned to him so the will of God may be brought to pass.
The reason we saints cannot seem to exercise the degree of righteousness in the world around us that we would, and sometimes not even in our own immediate environment and our own flesh, is that we are warring against wicked spirits who impose their will on us.
How are we to overcome these spirits?
God has given us His Divine Truth in the Scriptures. When the Holy Spirit opens a passage of Scripture to our understanding, and then we mix faith with the Word that has been given to us, the power of God through Christ enables us to begin to live by that Word.
Our task is to come to know the truth and to choose to obey that truth. God’s task is to open truth to us as we press forward in faith, and then to send us power from Heaven so we are enabled to obey the truth of God. In this manner we come to know Divine truth and the Divine truth sets us free from the bondages of sin.
But we must keep on choosing to obey the truth. We Christians are to keep on asking the Lord to lead us into all truth by His Holy Spirit who dwells in us. There is much deception in the world around us. This deception is proceeding from wicked spirits and we are not able to overcome the deception by means of our own wisdom and strength. Only Christ is able to overcome the deception that comes from the enemy of our souls.
Satan is not permitted to exercise authority or power over a person who is walking in the light of God’s will. In order to harm us, Satan must persuade us to believe a lie. If Satan can deceive us into straying from the path of truth in some way, then we begin to lose the power of the Holy Spirit who is helping us. In this manner Satan lures us out from under the protection of the blood of Christ, away from the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God.
If Satan can deceive us into turning aside from the pathway of Divine truth he can bring us into bondage so we will worship him and perform his will in the earth.
The Philistines could not harm Samson until Delilah was able to deceive him into allowing her to cut his hair. The moment Samson’s Nazarite vow was broken his strength left him.
Balaam was unable to curse Israel. Therefore he sought to seduce the Israelite warriors to commit fornication. Balaam understood that God’s protection would be removed from Israel if the soldiers of the army could be led into sin.
Satan’s legal hold on earth’s peoples was removed on the cross of Calvary. In order to maintain his hold on people, Satan must keep them blind to God’s Word and will. He accomplishes such blindness by deceiving them, by putting lies into their minds. Satan is a master deceiver and is able to keep multitudes of Christian people in bondage, weakness, and confusion by means of his artfully designed snares.
Whenever any individual is able to understand God’s will and perform it, the power of the Lord Jesus Christ releases him or her from the chains of sin and rebellion against the Lord God of Heaven.
Satan is the deceiver of the whole world. The entire earth is one great area of satanic delusion. The peoples of the earth are laboring in the sins and rebellions that gratify demons and fallen angels.
The wicked spirits receive release and satisfaction through the sinful and rebellious acts of human beings. But the human beings are required to pay for their demon-inspired lawlessness and lust with broken bodies, betrayed families, tormented, anguished minds, shattered hopes, broken covenants, premature physical death, and possible eternal separation from their Creator in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.
Lust and lawlessness bring misery in this world and eternal torment in the next life.
Eternal life through Christ is the gift of God. But sin and rebellion against God’s will cost the individual everything of value.
God’s answer to the lack of righteousness, holiness, and obedience in His creation, and the resulting chaos and human agony, is the construction of the Body of Christ.
As soon as the Lord has brought the members of the Body of Christ to maturity in the Head, then the Head, Christ, will descend from Heaven. After that, the whole Christ—Head and body—will perform the work of the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah, Chapter 42). Part of the ministry of the Servant of the Lord is the bringing of justice to the Gentile nations (Isaiah 42:1).
The Lord Jesus will not return to bring justice to the Gentile nations until He brings His Body, the Body of Christ, to the Divine standard of unity and maturity.
When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:16)
As Christ is born through the travail of the Church the accusations of Satan are overcome. Some of the saints will be totally obedient to the Father. Their Christ-empowered obedience will conquer Satan. Then Satan and his wicked angels will be forced from their thrones in the spirit realm and hurled into the earth at the hand of Michael and the elect angels.
At that time there will be people on the earth. The Laodicean churches will be full of deceived Christians who have been persuaded that believers should be living prosperously in this world, enjoying the friendship of the worldly people who are lovers of the present age. Such believers have little or no understanding of what it means to be a pilgrim and stranger in the world.
During the reign of Antichrist the true elect of God, the faithful remnant, those who bore the end-time latter-rain Divine testimony, will be hidden away in the remote wilderness areas (Revelation 12:14).
It is not unusual for God’s elect to be driven from the centers of civilization.
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (Hebrews 11:37,38)
At that time (when Satan and his angels are cast into the earth) the world will be enjoying "peace and safety." Antichrist will have been able to deceive the Christian people into believing the government is their friend and is ready to assist them with various programs designed for the "betterment" of people.
Today Antichrist has overcome the testimony of many Christians by giving them an abundance of peace and prosperity. Satan has rocked these "believers" to sleep in the lap of Delilah.
Satan will not bother these "saints" while they are singing "Onward Christian Soldiers" as long as they keep on serving him with their love of money, their lust, and their lawlessness.
It appears Satan’s strategy for the end time is to overcome the Christian testimony by making friends with the Christians. (Contrast this with the arenas of Rome.) He has tried the prosperity strategy already and it has proven to be a successful technique.
In some instances Satan has convinced the Lord’s anointed they are not to suffer in this world, and that the Lord Jesus desires above all else that they prosper in every material way. In such cases the Lord is viewed as the servant of the believer, anxious to supply every whim and desire the Christian may have.
What a distorted understanding of the relationship of the Christian disciple to the Lord Jesus Christ!
The Christian people have received this lie because they have been taught they are saved "by faith" apart from repenting and turning away from this world. They can gossip, slander, commit fornication, engage in adultery, lie, steal, and practice every other unclean, ungodly, devilish behavior but they still will enter into the Kingdom of God because "God is love."
This doctrine is from Hell, and the churches have received it because they covet the praise of men more than the praise of God. The Lord Jesus today is in the process of separating His elect from this cesspool of lust and lawlessness.
The Spirit of Christ warned us clearly many hundreds of years ago:
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 [prosperity, material security, worldly ease and pleasure] shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:25)
One of Satan’s supreme strategies of the last days is to destroy the Church of Christ by "loving" it and putting it to sleep with material prosperity.
At that time Antichrist will be active on the earth. The False Prophet will be spreading religious delusions and working miracles. An enraged Satan accompanied by a multitude of wicked angels will be thrown down into the earth.
No longer will Satan and his angels be permitted to rule from the spiritual thrones. They must be content to work alongside Antichrist and the False Prophet, being bound to the planet as any other person.
What about the Laodicean believers? They will be "serving God," so they think, in this filth and perversion—just as is happening today. But shortly they will suffer the full weight of God’s judgment.
What about the remnant, the seed of the woman? The saints of the remnant have followed the Holy Spirit to places of safety and provision; for they will remain alive on the earth until the Lord Jesus returns to earth in the Glory of the Father with the saints and holy angels.
Can you imagine an earth inhabited not only by wicked men and women of the type that is beginning to be prominent but also by wicked, rebellious angels who are filled with rage because they have been cast down from their thrones of power in the heavenlies?
Indeed, it will be a time of woe for those who are living on the earth, except for the saints who are protected by the promises of the Ninety-first Psalm.
In that hour the believers will be destroyed quickly unless they are being protected by the blood of the Lamb of God and are filled with the Holy Spirit of God. This terrific spiritual pressure will separate the members of the Body of Christ from the Christian "believers" who are lukewarm in their love for Christ.
And I heard a loud voice saying in 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 before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:10)
A "loud voice." The events of the Day of Christ are not secret occurrences known and experienced only by a spiritual elite. They are an open demonstration to all people of the Person and will of God. The Day of the Lord is one of strength, victory, the open revelation of the spiritual forces that for so many thousands of years (and perhaps for much longer than that) have been in opposition to each other.
If we would make a success of the Christian discipleship and be a part of the Lord’s true remnant we must learn to avoid the "Lo, here! Lo, there!" little groups of mystics. Christianity possesses mystical aspects but its outworking in the universe is on a grand scale. The world of molecules shakes when God speaks. We, His people, are not to be peeping and muttering in a corner. We are the kings and judges of the world to come.
"Now is come salvation." Salvation, in the Scriptural sense of the term, has to do with the Day of Judgment. Salvation is the preservation of the believer in the hour when the wrath of God is poured out on the world. The outpouring of Divine wrath is vengeance on the sin and rebellion that erupted in Heaven and then was carried into the earth by the serpent—the same ancient fiery-red dragon that now is being forced from his throne and thrown down to the earth.
Salvation is the forcing of Satan from his seat of power down to a place of weakness, and the rescuing from bondage and death of those whom Satan has deceived and has slandered before God’s throne.
"Now is come . . . strength [power]." The power of the Kingdom of God tears down every stronghold that defies the unhindered rule of Christ the Lord. The Kingdom of God is not in word but in power—the power to destroy wickedness and exalt righteousness.
"Now is come . . . the kingdom of our God. " The Kingdom of God is the casting out of evil spirits so the will of God can be performed in the earth as it is in Heaven.
But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. (Luke 11:20)
"Now is come . . . the power [authority] of his Christ. "
Michael and his angels have not been able to depose Satan and his angels before this time because the authority has not been issued from the Father. Christ has been sitting patiently at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, waiting for the hour in which His enemies would be made His footstool.
The time of authority has come now because the brothers of Christ have been created in the image of Christ. Christ has been formed in them. This is the eternal purpose and plan of the Almighty God.
God has withheld the authority to release the angelic host into combat until the wicked spirits have had every opportunity to test and tempt the sons of God. In spite of their persistent efforts to accomplish the opposite, the wicked are bringing about the perfecting of the sons of God in the image of, and in union with, Christ.
But now, as the seventh angel swore, there will be delay no longer (Revelation 10:6). The time has come for the Kingdom of God to be established on the earth. Therefore the almighty Father issues the authority to Christ that enables Christ to empower Michael and his angels to remove for eternity Satan and his angels from their places of rulership over the world system.
Can you see how necessary it is for each one of us to die to self-will, and self-seeking, and for the Lord Jesus Christ to sit on the throne of the heart of each member of His elect? Christ knows how to wait for the timing, the decisions of the Father. Galaxy-shaking power is being unleashed here. Cosmic forces are being directed to perform God’s will. This is no place for the self-seeking and ignorance of human beings who are "playing church."
Sometimes we Christians pray for the power of God. We do not receive it because we have not as yet died to our self-centeredness, and God does not intend to destroy us by answering our prayer.
For the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:10)
Satan continually, day and night, is bringing charges against each one of the elect, the brothers of Christ. Apparently Satan has access to the throne of God because he is bringing these charges "before our God."
With what is he charging us? With any and every bit of sin in our thinking, our words, and our deeds.
Evil spirits are perverse beyond redemption.
For example, Satan is persuading the church people today, contrary to all Scripture, that no matter what they do, how they behave, God is viewing them with good will because of "grace." He is informing the believers that Christ’s will for them is that they prosper in this world and receive every material comfort and advantage. He is "revealing" to them that they must not fear any inconvenience because God will lift them out of the world lest they should suffer any pain.
He is portraying the Lord God of Heaven as a loving Father who is not willing to act in wrath and judgment.
But Satan is not bringing these assurances and revelations before the throne of God. Rather, he is complaining bitterly and maliciously that the Christians are despising God’s grace in Christ by living unrighteously. He is charging the saints before God with loving this world and not being willing to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ.
Satan is reminding God that the Scripture states that loving this world makes one the enemy of God (James 4:4). Then he throws in God’s face that people no longer fear God and are willing to rebel against Him, as Satan did.
Satan is urging God to send tribulation on the saints, as he urged God to send tribulation on Job, in order to demonstrate that the saints will howl and complain and lose all faith in God.
Do you understand that Hell desires your company for eternity in the lake burning with fire and sulfur? Satan sees no reason why you should spend eternity in glory while he is tormented.
Do you understand clearly that the honeyed assurances and pleasantries being whispered to you are coming from a huge, fiery-red dragon who right this moment is calling out your name before God Almighty and charging you with unbelief, with unrighteous conduct, with rebellion, with sexual misbehavior, with lack of love for God, with lack of fear of God, and with every other wickedness by means of which he can slander your character—especially if there is any possible basis of truth for the charge?
Do you truly believe Satan’s world loves Christ who is being formed in you? What innocent babies we Christians are! Will we ever awake from our deception before we are confronted with the awful realization we are being made manifest before the Judgment Seat of Christ and are giving an account of every thought we have ever had, every word we have ever spoken, every deed we have ever performed?
Will we come to realize before it is too late that Divine grace is not an overlooking of our sins but is God’s forgiveness and Nature that have come to us through Christ so we may be able to repent of our sins and serve God acceptably?
It appears that Satan never wearies of presenting our individual case cunningly and viciously before God day and night in the hopes that God will destroy us. Satan will not be saved through our destruction, but he will receive the satisfaction that one more hated child of God will share his eternal torment.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)
The brothers of Christ, through the grace of God in Christ, will conquer the accuser—the fiery-red, huge, ancient dragon and his angels.
How can we overcome this dreadful wickedness that is accusing us before our Father day and night?
First, by means of the holy blood of the Lamb. When we place our faith in the blood of the Lamb, abiding under the blood at all times, the legal aspect of our guilt is resolved. The guilt of our sins is forgiven by the Judge of the bench of Heaven because of the justifying authority of the blood.
Apart from the legal authority of the blood of Christ to forgive our guilt in the eyes of Divine Law, we do not have any ability whatever to overcome the accuser and his charges.
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth [declares to be righteous—free from condemnation]. (Romans 8:33)
God has forgiven the trespasses of His sons on the basis of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God Himself in Christ bore away the guilt of our sins. The legal authority of this transaction is supremely, totally conclusive.
No matter what charge the accuser may bring against us, if we have kept ourselves in the love of God, confessing and repenting of our sins as the Holy Spirit has directed us, walking in the light of God’s Presence and will, then the blood of Christ continually has been keeping us free from condemnation in the sight of God (I John 1:7-9). The guilt in our record has been expunged, making it as though we never had sinned.
The atoning authority of the blood of Christ forgives our sins in the Presence of God. The covering power of the blood protects us when the Lord is executing judgment against the gods of this world. The life in the blood becomes eternal life in us as we learn to draw our strength from the Lord Jesus.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
First, we overcome the accuser, the ancient dragon, by the blood of the Lamb.
Second, we overcome the accuser by the word of our testimony.
God has glorified His name in time past, as described in the Scriptures. God will glorify His name again in the end-time, latter-rain, Divine Testimony. The two witnesses, the Head and Body of Christ, under a double anointing of the Holy Spirit, will proclaim the Person, Word, will, and eternal purpose of the Father. The testimony of God is the truth of God. No matter what appears to be true in our life or in our environment, we must hold to the truth of God as it is presented in His holy Word.
It is the Holy Spirit who creates the word of our testimony. As we walk in the Holy Spirit, He perfects the testimony of Christ in us. The testimony of Christ is the Spirit of prophecy, pointing toward the coming of the Day of the Lord (Revelation 19:10).
We receive power after the Holy Spirit comes upon us: power to testify of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ; power to testify of the need of people everywhere to receive Christ, to repent of all sin and wickedness because of the soon coming to the earth of the righteous Kingdom of God.
The Divine testimony to the earth consists of righteousness and also of works of supernatural power and wisdom. All righteousness, both imputed (ascribed) and practiced, comes from the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. All holy supernatural power comes from the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
The Lampstand is of solid, refined gold. The Divine testimony comes from the Holy Spirit. No part of the testimony comes from the wisdom and strength of human beings.
There is a point at which we humans tell about the Testimony. John spoke of the Divine Testimony, Christ, who was from the beginning, whom John had seen and heard. But even John’s testimony concerning the Testimony, given in John’s Gospel, in his three letters and in the Book of Revelation, had to be guided by the Holy Spirit Himself. The eternal Testimony of Christ always comes from the Spirit of God.
The witnessing Church is clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Christ gives us His righteousness. We preach, as the Holy Spirit enables, to all persons everywhere that if they will receive Christ, repent of their sins, and be baptized in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, they too will be covered with the righteousness of Christ.
Those who believe in Christ and are baptized in water will be saved from destruction in the day the Kingdom of God enters the earth, as Rahab and her family were saved from destruction by the covenant of the scarlet cord in the day Israel entered Jericho.
The witnessing Church of the end-time outpouring of the Spirit of God will be a righteous, holy, and obedient Church. It will be "clothed in sackcloth" (Revelation 11:3). This means it will be a Church that itself is always humble and repentant before God and preaches the message of repentance.
The message of repentance is as follows: turn away from the spirit of the world; turn away from unrighteousness; turn away from uncleanness; turn away from disobedience to God. Entrance into the Kingdom of God requires that we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, and that in His name and through His grace we live uprightly, truthfully, sincerely, faithfully, patiently, humbly, in holiness and in obedience to God’s written Word and also to His will for our individual life.
Any person in the days to come who does not turn away from dishonest conduct, unclean practices, and disobedience to God, will perish whether or not he or she names the name of Christ.
Salvation in the Kingdom of God requires repentance.
The testimony that overcomes the accuser is the testimony of repentance through the name and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)
A church that does not practice continual repentance and does not preach repentance is not part of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Divine Testimony to the earth consists of works of supernatural power and also of the call to repentance. The life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ and of His Apostles was distinguished by the message of repentance from sins and also by works of supernatural power.
It is evident from the eleventh chapter of Revelation that the testimony of the end-time Church will include works of tremendous power. Nature will cooperate with the saints as the Divinely ordained miracles suspend natural law. The elements will bow in obedience before the Word of almighty God in the members of the Body of Christ.
God’s purpose in such a demonstration of Divine power is to command the attention of every person on the earth. God desires that each human see the majesty of God and hear the word of righteousness, the word of holiness, the word of repentance.
God has prepared a covering for each individual. It is the blood of His Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. Each human being is to repent of all unrighteous behavior and to put on the garment of righteousness the Lord God of Heaven has prepared for him or her.
Woe to the person who will not repent of unrighteousness, uncleanness, and disobedience to God! Woe to the individual who rejects the Lord Jesus Christ or who gives only a token allegiance to Christ but does not repent of unrighteousness! He or she will reap corruption when the Kingdom of God enters the earth in the near future.
All the lies of those who have taught us that God is so loving He will not perform His Word of Judgment will be swept away in the torrent of fire in that Day.
The righteousness and the power of the word of the testimony of the saints will overcome the accuser in the hour that even now is upon us. It is not just the works, the symptoms, the fruit of the accuser that will be injured. It is the accuser himself who will be torn down from his place of influence in the spirit realm. The devil and all his works have come to their termination. Woe to any human being who attempts to carry on the works of Satan!
The purpose of the gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ is to build the Body itself, the Lampstand—the Divine Testimony of the Lord God of Heaven.
First, the gifts and ministries will build Christ in the character of the saint. Then the double portion of the Holy Spirit will come upon the saint, and through the wisdom and power of the Spirit he or she will bear witness of Christ to the whole earth.
When the wisdom, power, and prophetic utterance of the Spirit of God flow in power and glory through the saint, all the works of Satan will be shaken and dissolved. Satan himself will be bound and cast down from his position of rulership over the earth. The material creation will be released from the chains of darkness and corruption. In Christ the Divine curse will be lifted from the creation of God.
All Divine Testimony is of the Holy Spirit of God. Both the righteousness and the power of the Kingdom of God, and the resulting peace, are all of the one Holy Spirit.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only true Witness of God. In Christ we behold the righteous Character and deeds of God Almighty. From Christ we hear the Divine call to repentance. We learn of the love and forgiveness of God through Christ, and of the coming fierce wrath of God.
In Christ we behold the works of Divine power and glory. In Christ we behold eternal wisdom and knowledge. From Christ we hear the Word of eternal Life, the Word of the Spirit of God. In Christ we observe the fullness of the Glory of the seven Spirits of God who abide eternally before the throne of the Lord God of Heaven. This is the true testimony of God.
We overcome the accuser of the brothers by the blood of the Lamb, by the perfect Divine righteousness that covers every true child of God. We overcome also by the word of our testimony—the living Word that shows forth the salvation of God, the righteousness of God, the will of God, to the heavens and to the earth.
The end result of the demonstration by the Holy Spirit of the salvation, the righteousness, the power, the will of God to the heavens and the earth, is the forcing of Satan down from his spiritual rulership and the casting of him into the earth.
Satan cannot be conquered when the Church is unrighteous, unholy, or disobedient to God. Satan cannot be conquered when the Church is performing works of human talent, human wisdom, and human strength.
Satan cannot be conquered when the Church is speaking from human intelligence and education—even education in the Scriptures. Satan cannot be conquered other than through the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit.
Satan cannot be conquered other than by the Divine prophetic testimony of Christ coming forth through the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God through the remnant of the woman’s Seed "which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17). Only Divine truth can conquer the lie that Satan is.
In order to force the accuser from his position of rulership over the world and to hurl him into the earth we must overcome him by the blood of the Lamb. We must overcome him by the word of our Spirit-empowered-and-guided testimony.
Also, we must overcome him by loving not our lives to the death.
The death signified here is the removing of King Self from the throne of our personality and the placing of King Jesus on that throne.
The means God has provided so we may die the death to self is the cross of Christ. Our self-will must be crucified with Christ. We must be sharers in, partakers of, His sufferings. We must be conformed to His death on the cross.
If we are not willing to die in this sense, Christ cannot live in us. If Christ does not live in us, the accuser cannot be wrenched from his place of dominion over the world and thrown into the earth by Michael and his angels.
By no means whatever can the people of the churches of Christ overcome the ancient dragon. Only the Lion of the Tribe of Judah can overcome the huge, fiery-red dragon.
When the ministries of the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, begin to travail, Christ is formed in the Church. As Christ is brought forth in the personalities of the saints He is caught up to the throne of God in preparation for that Day when He will be revealed with and in His saints.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3,4)
Christ is our life. Our life in the present hour is in Christ at the right hand of God.
As soon as Christ has been formed in the members of His Body and then caught up to God, the authoritative Word of Divine judgment can be pronounced against Satan. The direct result is that to Michael and his angels will be issued the power of God to force Satan and his angels from the thrones of spiritual dominion over the earth.
When the Church of Christ attempts to destroy the works of Satan in its own wisdom and strength, nothing is accomplished in the heavens. Until the strong man is bound it is impossible to invade his home.
The Christian Church possesses neither the wisdom nor the power to bind the strong man, Satan, the accuser of the brothers of Christ. Therefore the Church must enter deep travail, as a human mother enters the valley of the shadow of death in order to bring forth a child. The Church must enter the travail of death to self-will and self-seeking.
When the Church is "living," little of eternal value is accomplished in the spirit realm; and it is the spirit realm that controls the world, the material creation. When the Church enters travail in the Spirit of God, dying to its own life in order that Christ may be formed, the Divinely authorized Word of judgment issues from the throne of God in Heaven.
It is the immutable decree of God that His beloved Son, Christ, shall inherit the heavens and the earth. None other can inherit the works of God. All the promises of God are directed toward the Lord Jesus Christ. The fullness of the inheritance is His. Therefore a "living" church, a church that has its own life, cannot enter the Kingdom of God. It is dead to the purposes of God.
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (Revelation 3:1)
The church in Sardis was alive in the flesh and soul but dead as far as Christ was concerned.
It is only as we die that Christ can live and come into the fullness of His inheritance. His inheritance is in the saints. It is only as Christ lives that the accuser can be wrested from his throne and forced into the earth by the elect angels.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Before the accuser can be cast out of the heavenlies (which is the goal of the wrestling of the Church of Christ—Ephesians 6:12), the blood of the Lamb must proceed at the head of the army of God; the Holy Spirit must utter the Divine Testimony; and the saints must die the death of absolute obedience to the Father so Christ, and not the self-will and self-seeking of human beings, is established firmly and eternally on the throne of the personality of each member of the Lord’s army.
The blood is of the Lamb of God, Christ.
The testimony is of the Holy Spirit of God.
The death of the saint is the death of obedience to the will of the Father.
The Son, the Spirit, and the Father are all directly involved in overcoming the accuser.
Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. (Revelation 12:12)
How the anthems of worship, praise, and rejoicing will roll from one end of the heavens to the other! The holy angels finally have been authorized and empowered to drive Satan out and down. It requires the Divine Godhead working through the members of the Body of Christ to remove Satan from his place of dominion in the spirit realm and to force him down into the earth.
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! (Isaiah 14:12)
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast on the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes on the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (Ezekiel 28:14-19)
Satan and his angels will be "cast out into the earth. He will be brought to ashes on the earth in the sight of those who behold him. His followers will be appalled at the spectacle of Satan turned to ashes on the earth and he himself will be terrified.
Here is the conclusion of the wrestling match. Here is the patience and faith of the saints. Here is total victory.
Those who are alive on the earth and on the waters of the earth will be confronted with the horror of sharing the planet with a furious Satan and his followers—the rebellious angels. Woe to the peoples of the earth when this company of spirits is exiled to the earth! These devils desire to rule the earth from the spirit realm, not to be forced to live on it and to suffer the consequences of their behavior.
The elect, the remnant, the saints, will be hidden away and protected by the hand of God Almighty. They will sing and dance on the heights of Zion while the world is in flames. They will be safe, dwelling in the Eighteenth, the Thirty-fourth, the Thirty-seventh, and the Ninety-first Psalms, and in all the other promises—the high towers and fortresses—of the Lord.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. (Proverbs 18:10)
No spirit, no human, no power whatever of any kind can break past the Word of the Lord or the angel of the Lord and harm one of God’s elect. Our God is our majestic Fortress. We are perfectly safe and secure when we are abiding under His wings no matter what comes to pass on the earth or in the heavenlies.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:35-37)
Antichrist has but one-half of a period of time in which to work, symbolized by the three and one-half years. He has a brief space in which to exalt himself—just long enough for the Father to demonstrate clearly and conclusively to the heavens and the earth the end result of sin and rebellion against the most high God.
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by [through] the church the manifold wisdom of God, (Ephesians 3:10)
As soon as the tares have come to hideous maturity, and the eternal wisdom of God has been revealed with utmost clarity, the Lord Jesus will appear with His saints and destroy Satan and all his works out of the earth.
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his majestic angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (II Thessalonians 1:7-9)
Saints, take heart. It is but a short time. There shall be delay no longer!
And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. (Revelation 12:13)
When we state that Antichrist cannot harm one of God’s saints we do not mean a saint cannot experience tribulation, cannot be martyred. That would be unscriptural teaching and contrary to what actually has taken place throughout church history. In many instances the people of the Lord have been "accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
We Christians always are to pray for the civil authorities that we may be allowed to follow a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty (I Timothy 2:2).
Antichrist’s end-time strategy will be to increase our peace and security, in some instances, and to attempt to deceive us by flatteries—as though the world has come to love Christ or that Satan has decided to accept Christ. Let us never forget that the world will murder Christ whenever and wherever it finds Him; so will the Christian churches that love the world because the love of God is not in them.
When the world loves a church it is because Christ is not in that church.
The godly remnant have been and will continue to be martyred, persecuted, harassed in every way. But such saints are to leap for joy because they will receive the greater reward, the better resurrection, in the Day of the Lord.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:11,12)
What, then, do we mean when we state Antichrist cannot possibly harm one of God’s elect?
We mean Antichrist cannot separate him or her from the love of God in Christ.
All during the time the saints are serving God on the earth the Lord is with them continually and is comforting them, keeping them safe and supplying their every need. He is their Shepherd. If God should permit Antichrist to harm one of the disciples physically it is because the Lord is bringing that one to greater glory, authority, and power—a higher position in the Kingdom of God.
Antichrist cannot possibly harm one of God’s saints in a spiritual, lasting manner unless he can deceive the believer into following one of Satan’s lies.
God’s true saints will be persecuted bitterly throughout the three and one-half years in which Christ allows Antichrist to draw the poison in earth’s boil to a head.
And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he [Antichrist] corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (Daniel 11:32)
Some of the Lord’s greatest heroes of faith will be brought forth during the reign of Antichrist over the earth. Many who are born in the last days will be first in the Kingdom of God. Surely "the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former" (Haggai 2:9).
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)
There will be saints who will teach many people and lead them into righteousness—even during the darkest hours of the tribulation. The terrors of the last days will bring some to the Lord who otherwise would not turn to God, just as the worldwide famine brought many to Joseph for food.
In Mount Zion there will continue to be deliverance through to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven. The remnant will be serving the Lord on the earth, and upon all the glory there will be a defense so the elect cannot be harmed (Isaiah 4:5,6).
There will be persecution against the saints, and some will be killed by wicked people—increasing enormously the glory of these righteous martyrs when the Lord returns to earth.
Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. (Daniel 11:34)
During the reign of Antichrist there will be people who will mingle with the saints who are not of the elect.
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (I John 2:18,19)
And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; (II Peter 2:13)
We know from the Scripture that the wheat and the tares will grow side by side until the end of the present age (Matthew 13:30). The purpose of the return of the Lord from Heaven is to separate the righteous from the wicked.
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (Matthew 24:40,41)
Daniel 11:34 states that the elect "shall be holpen with a little help." Blessed is the individual who treats God’s elect in a kindly manner during the hour of their affliction. That person will not lose his or her reward.
Whoever gives one of God’s saints, His witnesses, a cup of water, understanding that he or she is one of Jesus’ disciples, will be rewarded richly in the Day of the Lord. Everyone who assists the saints during the reign of Antichrist will be rewarded by the King of kings, Jesus Christ.
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)
This will be a time of purifying the members of the Bride ("to make them white"). The elect who are on the earth when the Lord Jesus returns will participate in the stupendous joy of translation, of being changed from mortality into immortality at His appearing.
The Lord Jesus will receive a Bride who is without spot, or wrinkle, or blemish of any kind whatever. The atoning blood of the Lamb takes the spots out of our wedding garment. The hot iron of tribulation presses and removes the wrinkles. The sanctifying oils and perfumes will remove the blemishes.
Everything that comes upon the saint will bring him or her into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ and into union with Christ, if the disciple will maintain a steady trust in the Lord and endure patiently to the end of his suffering and testing.
Meanwhile, we should be praying that we shall be able to stand in the evil day soon to come to pass on the 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 21:36)
The several translators of the Scriptures appear to disagree somewhat on the text of Luke 21:36. Some stress the concept of our attaining worthiness to escape the spiritual danger present in the sufferings and snares of the last days, while others emphasize the idea of our gaining sufficient strength to stand and not fail Christ in that hour.
When we take into consideration all that the Scriptures teach concerning the need for prayer and diligence during our sojourn in this world, we come to the conclusion that the wise disciple never relaxes his vigilance. He watches in prayer constantly. He "laps the water, putting his hand to his mouth" (Judges 7:6). He does not allow himself to be placed in a position where he can be overcome easily by the enemy (by putting his mouth down to the water—speaking of those in the last days who rejoice in spiritual gifts but are not careful to watch for the enemy).
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)
No doubt much suffering in our life could be averted if we would remain in prayer, seeking always that we may remain in "the secret place of the most High."
Many afflictions, snares, and doubts come upon us because we are not serving God with all of our heart, all of our mind, all of our soul, and all of our strength.
The huge, fiery-red dragon, in a rage because the overcomers have prayed through to victory until he has been forced from his place of spiritual rulership over the world, will do everything in his power to persecute the Lord’s people. But the Ninety-first Psalm will hold firm and true no matter what comes to pass on the earth.
Every person who takes refuge in the Lord in the day of Antichrist will be protected by the "mighty Fortress."
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (Revelation 12:14)
The prophets teach clearly that the saints on earth during the reign of Antichrist will be persecuted. This will be true also of those who are Jewish by natural birth whether or not they are Christians, as we understand the Scriptures.
In Germany, during World War II, the Jews were persecuted viciously. Perhaps this gives us some idea of the greater trouble yet to come.
The Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to a remnant of His own people by race, the nation of Israel, during the early part of the tribulation period. This is our understanding, drawn from the example of the life and work of the patriarch, Joseph.
During the reign of Antichrist, the testimony of the saints, both Jewish and Gentile by race, will be beaten down. Christ will allow this setback of the Divine witness so the reign of Antichrist can bring forth the maturity of wickedness of the tares that Satan has planted in the earth.
That which hinders the full expression of Antichrist (II Thessalonians 2:7), which is the Holy Spirit-empowered testimony of the saints (Revelation 11:3), will be removed as an obstacle to the rise to prominence of the man of sin. The latter-rain testimony will be "killed," as symbolized by the death of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:7).
And he [Antichrist] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out [wear down] 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)
And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was on 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)
How do we who are the Lord’s saints (holy people) keep ourselves from being worn out?—from being beaten down?—from having our strength scattered, shattered, crushed?
We turn to the Lord, our Fortress. We learn to rest in Him. We pray, resting our faith in the written Word. We wait on the Lord, committing our way to Him. We stand firm in the power of the Lord’s strength in the evil day.
Jesus instructed us carefully in Matthew 24:20 and Luke 21:36 to pray diligently in the hour of tribulation. If we will do that we will be able to escape unharmed from many of the trials and pressures of the last days.
But if we will not pray, not wait diligently before the Lord, not find our strength and wisdom in the Book of Psalms (which was written for the time of battle) and in the other Scriptures, then we will fall in the hour of testing.
What takes place when we wait on the Lord?
Listen to the promises the Lord has given to us for our help in the hour of trouble:
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)
In the coming day of trouble the elect who will turn to the Lord’s promises, committing their safety and well-being to Him, will be given the two wings of a great, giant eagle, according to the promise of Isaiah (quoted above).
Here is the abundance of Divine strength that will support each saint in that Day. During the persecution by Antichrist the Christian people who follow the Lord, trusting in His Spirit to guide them, will be brought into the prepared place of protection and nourishment.
The wings of the eagle that will bear up God’s elect in the day of Antichrist speak of the power of the Lord God Almighty.
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. (Exodus 19:4)
David desired the peaceful wings of a dove:
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. Selah. (Psalms 55:6,7)
The day of Antichrist is part of the Divine preparation for battle. Therefore, the elect will not be given the wings of a dove but the two wings of a strong eagle so they can soar far above the conflict in exultant triumph and fierce independence.
That she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (Revelation 12:14)
The Church will be forced by persecution into "her place." There is an area in the wilderness that is her place. The Lord carefully prepares in advance, sometimes thousands or more years in advance, every move He makes. God is a Planner. Nothing surprises God. He plans precisely every move He makes.
No matter what action Antichrist takes, God long in advance has prepared a place of safety and provision for each saint who refuses to serve Antichrist.
The Christians who turn to Antichrist for safety and provision will face severe consequences.
And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (Revelation 14:9,10)
This means if any person should turn away from the Lord and seek the protection offered by Antichrist, the world spirit, he or she will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur. This indeed is a terrible, fearful consequence of choosing to live in the world rather than to walk stedfastly in the Holy Spirit of God.
The individuals who turn to the Lord in the hour of tribulation will receive a glorious reward.
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. (Revelation 7:14,15)
There will be great reward for those who turn to the Lord during the tribulation period. The saints who stand before the throne of God and before the Lamb have refused to accept the protection and provisions offered to the believers and to the peoples of the earth by the man of sin.
The punishments are exceedingly severe and the rewards are exceedingly glorious, depending on whether we choose to look to the world or to Jesus during the hour of temptation that will test all those who live on the earth.
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)
The worship of the beast and his image, and the mark in the right hand or in the forehead, is speaking of the world system and its abominable ruler—Antichrist.
Today we see the universities and lower schools teaching that people should look to human wisdom and strength to solve all problems, and also that the supreme goal in life is to accumulate material wealth. These two marks of Antichrist—the mind that is independent of the Holy Spirit and the gathering of material wealth—already are infiltrating the Christian churches.
Multitudes of Christian people today are attending schools, or are sending their children to schools, where the stamp of the world spirit is being burned into their right hand (their actions) and their mind, so to speak. They learn to seek economic prosperity first, using their own intelligence and industry. God and the holy Scriptures are considered to be relatively useless when it comes to the important aspects of human life.
The believers may be waiting for some kind of monster to come up out of the sea. The fact is, Antichrist is here now. The deception is here now. We cannot see it because it fills our environment and seems natural to us. We are spiritually asleep.
God in His goodness is warning us today to remove ourselves and our children from the world system of thinking and acting. Many believers are coming out of the world system and are turning to prayer and to the Scriptures. They are assembling regularly with like-minded, fervent saints. They are building schools for their own children.
Others who also regard themselves as Christians, but who in actuality are part of the world system, are convinced that Antichrist is some type of monster, or computer, that will originate somewhere in Europe or in the Middle East. The truth is, they already are in the grip of Antichrist. They and their children already are serving the god of money, being content to live comfortably and prosperously in this world without giving serious attention to the demands of discipleship and service in the Body of Christ.
Unless they repent and turn to the Lord they will suffer the consequences described in the Book of Revelation.
He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches today.
No human being, whether it be Pharaoh, or the chief priests of Jesus’ day, or Judas Iscariot, or Pontius Pilate, has desired to be deceived. Every person trusts and hopes what he or she is doing will provide some type of pleasant—perhaps joyous—existence in the present and the future.
No person knowingly would behave in such a manner as to bring on himself or herself eternal separation from the Father in a lake of tormenting fire.
Judas Iscariot was an ordinary human being, just like you and me. But he was deceived and destroyed by the love of money, as were Ananias and Sapphira. Many of God’s people today are in deception because of the love of money.
The reader should not imagine he or she is beyond the possibility of being deceived. If we knew when we were entering deception it would not be deception. Any individual who is not carrying his or her cross and following the Lord Jesus Christ faithfully is capable of being deceived.
You and I are to flee from the spirit of money, from the deceitful riches of Antichrist that already are seducing the Christian people.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (I Timothy 6:9,10)
Antichrist is here now. His spirit is persuading the peoples of the earth, including the Christians in some instances, that men and women can solve their problems without the Lord, and that the chief purpose of life is to acquire material wealth and ease.
It remains for the Antichrist spirit to be personified in one human being. His message will be identical to what is being preached today in the upper and lower schools throughout the world.
Antichrist is here now, and many Christian people are cleaving to him because of his amazing ability to deceive and because of their own love of the world and their unwillingness to carry their cross behind the Lord Jesus.
The only insurance against deception is for the saint to turn to God, pray, and then take up his cross and follow Jesus—just as the Scripture directs. The Gospel of Christ has not changed at all. The Christian Church and the world spirit are mortal enemies.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (I John 2:15)
Do you love this present world and the things of it?
Every saint has a place of protection and provision in the Lord. That place of perfect safety in the Rock of Ages was prepared for the individual saint before the world was created. God knew in advance everything He was going to do, before He created the world.
Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if we missed the special place of protection that has our name on it, by turning away from the Lord Jesus Christ and putting our trust in the world system?
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)
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. (Isaiah 4:6)
The individual who is trapped in the world system of commerce, of material gain and comforts, of ease in this life, is unable to flee in the hour of the Lord’s judgment. He is as Lot and his family. When the Spirit of God warns him to flee he cannot tear himself away from his goods.
Lot would have been destroyed if it had not been for the prayers of Abraham.
Jesus advised us to remember Lot’s wife because we must be ready to obey the Spirit of God instantly the moment Jesus appears from Heaven.
In the days to come the Lord’s saints will be led specifically and clearly to places of safety and provision—and so throughout the tribulation period. There will be a "Goshen" for every saint and his family, a place of perfect safety and provision whether or not "Egypt" is being spared at the time.
We are speaking now of the remnant as a whole. As we have noted previously, some of the saints will be given the privilege of sealing their testimony with their blood. Martyrdom is a privilege in the sight of God and the Lamb. It places the saint in the ranks of those blessed heroes of faith who have given their lives for Christ and the Kingdom of God.
The Lord God of Heaven is bound by His written Word to provide all our needs through His riches in glory by Christ. Also, He has stated that if we will delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us the desires of our heart (Philippians 4:19; Psalms 37:4).
The promises of God are independent of the abundance or lack of necessities in the world about us. God’s promises depend for their fulfillment on God’s abilities and resources.
If we live as good soldiers of Christ, ready and willing to endure hardships for the Kingdom of God’s sake, the Lord will fulfill His Word toward us faithfully and consistently.
If we forfeit the Kingdom provisions by breaking our part of the agreement, trusting instead in the visible protection and provisions of the Antichrist world system, the Lord no longer is obligated to provide our needs and our desires. Rather, we will suffer frightful punishment because of our worship of the devil.
Blessed is the person who puts his or her trust in the Lord. But the individual who turns from the Lord and places his or her trust in the arm of flesh will not be blessed by the Lord. Human resources will fail the individual in the time of need.
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)
During the reign of Antichrist (it seems to have commenced already!) a flood of lawlessness and filth will gush from the mouth of the serpent, that ancient dragon. Every conceivable form of deception and persecution will be directed toward the members of the Body of Christ.
But God’s holy Word has made provision for us:
So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19)
The context of the above verse is the Day of Christ. God in His Scriptures already has provided for Satan’s last-day attack on the Church of Christ.
All we are required to do is "fear the name of the Lord" and demonstrate that fear by loving Him and serving Him. If we will do that, turning away from all transgressions and lawlessness, the Spirit of the Lord in us will resist the flood of deception and persecution surging from the mouth of the serpent.
And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. (Revelation 12:16)
We interpret the expression "the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood" to mean the nations of the earth will do what they can in an attempt to assist the saints, just as Rahab assisted the spies sent out by Joshua.
It is our opinion the "they" who "should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days" (Revelation 12:6), and those who nourish the woman (Revelation 12:14), may refer to the faithful remnant of saints, both Jewish and Gentile, who will be able to bring salvation to those who come to them during the great tribulation.
Jacob and his family fled to Egypt (symbolizing the world) during the famine. Joseph and his family fled to Egypt in order to escape from King Herod.
The victorious remnant of saints may find favor with various nations and tribes when they are forced to flee from the cities of Antichrist. If so, they then will be in a position to feed and nourish whoever calls on the name of the Lord.
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)
Throughout church history the nations and peoples of the earth either have persecuted the Lord’s elect, His witnesses, or else have sheltered them. Whenever Christ comes into view, every human being is brought to the only important decision of his or her life: what will I do with Jesus and His brothers?
It is our understanding that the nations that have received the Lord’s elect, His witnesses, will become the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The nations and peoples that have rejected the elect will be punished when the Lord Jesus comes and establishes His Kingdom on the earth.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. (Matthew 10:14,15)
Jesus’ apostles, in the setting of the above passage, were preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. They were not building churches at this time. They were going forth in advance of the Lord Jesus, preparing the towns and villages for His coming. They were Christ’s witnesses—witnesses of His soon appearing to that particular area of the land of Israel.
Each city was judged on the basis of how it received the Lord’s witnesses. The judgment may not have been exercised at that time (nearly two thousand years ago). But if not, it will be exercised when the Lord comes and establishes His Kingdom on the earth.
It appears to us that the manner in which we Christians bear witness will return to this ancient pattern just before the Lord returns. We shall go forth, accompanied by powerful signs and wonders, to every city and village on the earth. Our purpose will be to bear witness of the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to heal the sick, cast out devils, and warn people to repent and be baptized in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
If this type of witnessing is to be true of us in the near future, then the task of each church now is to build up the saints in Christ so they will be able to participate in the worldwide latter-rain witness of the Holy Spirit.
The issue that determines whether or not a nation or tribe will be saved is how that group of people treated the elect, the remnant, the brothers of Christ:
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)
In the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew the sheep are standing on the Lord’s right hand and the goats are standing on the Lord’s left hand.
Where are the elect, the Lord’s brothers to whom He refers, in this scene? The text does not state but it does mention them (see Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:11). Evidently they are standing with Him in glory as He judges the nations of the earth.
Whether the people of a nation or tribe enter the Kingdom of God or the everlasting fire depends on how those people treated the Lord Jesus as represented by His brothers—the least to the greatest.
There have been nations, villages, and peoples throughout church history that have received and treated in a kindly and respectful manner the messengers of the Lord.
Then there have been other nations and villages that have cast the brothers of Christ into prison, despising them and the Lord who sent them. The people of those nations turned a deaf ear to the Gospel, refusing and rejecting the Lord’s ambassadors.
During the Day of Christ, each person on earth, great and small, will be gathered to await the King’s decision. The persons who have received the Lord’s brothers will be given an inheritance in the everlasting Kingdom of God. The persons who have ignored or harmed the Lord’s representatives will be sent into the everlasting fires of judgment.
Woe be to anyone who hurts in any manner an individual who has become as a little child in order to enter the Kingdom of God!
Any person who gives a cup of cold water to a prophet, knowing he is a prophet, will receive a prophet’s reward. But those who harm the Lord’s witnesses, His elect, His brothers, will be judged severely.
He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. (Matthew 10:40-42)
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6)
Every incident that has arisen throughout history concerning the treatment of the disciples of Jesus will be judged at the coming of the Lord. We have the assurance that God will reward every assistance and avenge every injustice that has taken place as His elect have faithfully borne witness of the Lord to the peoples of the earth.
The record is in Heaven. It is accurate and complete. There will be no mistakes when the transcripts are read in that Day.
It is our understanding that the peoples of the earth will assist the elect during the period of time in which Antichrist attempts to destroy the true Church of Christ—she who travailed in ministry until Christ was formed in the overcomers.
We can see this pattern in the life of Elijah. Jezebel, a strong type of Antichrist, was attempting to destroy the prophets of the Lord. Obadiah, a type of those who will assist the saints during the flood of persecution proceeding from the mouth of the serpent, was a man of wealth—the overseer of King Ahab’s household.
Notice the symbolism in the following passage:
For it was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took an hundred prophets, and hid them by fifty in a cave, and fed them with bread and water.) (I Kings 18:4)
Obadiah was not one of the prophets whom Queen Jezebel was attempting to destroy with her "flood" of persecution. But Obadiah "feared the Lord greatly."
There will be people located at key points throughout the earth who are not of the end-time witness; yet, they will be among those who fear the Lord greatly.
The prophets of the Lord were hidden by fifties in a cave. They were provided with bread and water.
The cave represents the place of refuge for the Church. The bread and water are the provisions God will furnish through the God-fearing peoples of the earth in order to nourish the woman, the Church (Isaiah 33:16).
The number fifty (the term Pentecost means fifty) refers to the Spirit of God who will empower the end-time latter-rain witness and who also will raise up the standard against the flood of persecution from the enemy.
The two fifties speak of the double portion of the Holy Spirit that will be poured out by the Lord to prepare the world for His appearing. We can notice this same doubled fifty in the two sets of fifty rings linking the linen curtains and the goats’ hair curtains of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. These two sets of fifty rings were located over the Veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.
The Most Holy Place, being 1,000 cubic cubits in volume, typifies the millennial reign of Christ, the thousand-year Kingdom Age. We notice two sets of fifty rings placed at the time of passing from the Holy Place, the Church Age, into the Most Holy Place, the Kingdom Age.
And thou shalt make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be one tabernacle. (Exodus 26:6)
And thou shalt make fifty taches of brass, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one. (Exodus 26:11)
Gold symbolizes Deity. Brass (bronze) symbolizes judgment. There will be a double portion of God’s Holy Spirit poured out on the earth during the days attending the return of Christ from Heaven. This outpouring will bring the judgment of God to bear on the deeds of the people of the Church and of the world. The unprecedented issuing of the Spirit in judgment will bind together the Church Age and the Kingdom Age so they will be viewed as one expression of Christ.
Christ will walk the first day and the second day and the third day He will be perfected. The Church Age and the Kingdom Age constitute one development of Christ, one establishing of Christ as the Center and Circumference of all creatures, all events, and all things of the entire creation of God.
Every individual who assists God’s elect, His prophets, His remnant, His witnesses, during the closing days of the Church Era will be rewarded by the Lord.
God will place individuals at strategic points all through the tribulation period so they will be able to protect and nourish the saints.
No doubt God will nourish some of the saints from Antichrist’s table. Obadiah was the overseer of King Ahab’s household. Observe also that the Lord Jesus was fed from the table of that Antichrist, King Herod:
And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. (Luke 8:3)
Herod’s steward’s wife nourished Jesus from her substance. It does not require much imagination to suppose some of the "substance" came from Herod’s stores.
God can and does use ravens, which by Jewish law are unclean birds, to feed His prophets:
And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. (I Kings 17:4)
Does God command ravens? Did the Lord command the uncircumcised Cyrus the Great to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem?
God always retains total control of the creatures, the events, and the things of the universe. No harm can come to anyone who is trusting the Lord. God makes all things work together for good for His elect.
The Spirit of the Lord directed Elijah to a place of nourishment, providing him with bread, meat, and water, after Elijah had prayed down a severe tribulation upon Israel (I Kings, Chapter 17).
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. (James 5:17)
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)
The dragon failed in his attempt to devour Christ as Christ was being formed in the saints through the travail of the ministries of the Church.
The "seed" of the woman refers to the Lord’s saints, His witnesses. They keep God’s commandments. This means they are living the true Christian life. The Laodicean believers do not keep God’s commandments but choose instead to "marry" the world and behave according to world opinion.
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:3,4)
The Laodicean believers of today do not keep God’s commandments, for several reasons:
They have been taught that being "saved by grace" means we do not have to live in strict righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God; that being changed into the moral image of Christ and being in union with Him are not essential to salvation.
This may be the greatest deception in all Church history. As a direct result of this teaching the Christian churches are full of sin and disobedience to God.
They are under the impression that all persons who have given mental assent to the New Testament doctrine of redemption will be caught up to Heaven in a "rapture" before they can be exposed to tribulation. The result of this doctrine is a multitude of deceived believers who in fact are worldlings—not at all of the caliber of saints ready for an Enoch-type translation.
They are not preparing themselves to stand in the evil day because they believe God will take them out of the world in the evil day (Ephesians 6:13).
They have been taught that God loves them so much they have no reason to fear the wrath of God. As a result they are lacking in wisdom. They are almost completely ignorant of God’s true Character as the Consuming Fire of Israel.
They have been taught that God’s saints are supposed to be prosperous and at home in the comforts and security of this present age, possessing every material advantage. The promises of Scripture are thought to be the route to prosperity and success in the world.
The Scriptures contain an interesting contrast to this last point. Speaking of the heroes of faith:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Hebrews 11:37)
The Laodicean believers have never repented. They have made a profession of belief concerning the Lord Jesus but they have never turned away from the world. In order to be saved, a human being must repent, receive Christ as his Lord and Savior, and be baptized in water. Water baptism is the sign of repentance, showing we have died to this world, to unrighteousness, to sin, to disobedience to God.
Can a person be saved apart from sincere, diligent, continuing repentance? Can a person be saved without receiving Christ as his or her personal Lord ?
The saints against whom Antichrist wages war are those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Christ. Antichrist does not wage war against the Laodicean believers, who are characterized by the five points listed above. He already holds them in the power of delusion. They already believe a lie.
Satan has little fear of human activities. A church can conduct many varied programs, including lectures on the Scriptures, musical productions, and charitable efforts. While these expressions of human goodness may annoy Satan they are of no source of dread to him—even though the doctrine contained therein may be faultless.
What Satan fears greatly is the Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If Satan can keep the churches on a human level, encouraging them to maintain some forms of righteousness, holiness, and recognition of the existence of God, he can afford to allow them to continue with their Sunday school programs, Bible studies, prayer meetings, and missionary enterprises.
What Satan will resist viciously will be any move to turn away from human wisdom and strength in order to seek the Presence of God. Whenever any person turns his life over to Christ and waits on Him for His wisdom and strength, Satan’s kingdom is seriously jeopardized.
Satan will endeavor to keep Christian believers active in their current beliefs and practices. He understands that his kingdom cannot be weakened appreciably except by a body of people who through Christ are living in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.
The "testimony of Jesus" is the Spirit of prophecy. When the Spirit of prophecy speaks it tells of the Person and will of Jesus Christ. The Divine testimony consists of repentance from sinful practices, of righteous and holy behavior, and also of works of supernatural understanding, power, and utterance—all pointing toward the atoning death, triumphant resurrection, and soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When a saint does not keep God’s commandments he cannot possibly present the testimony of the Kingdom of God; he cannot possibly overcome the accuser of the brothers. The Kingdom of God is first, righteousness, then peace, then joy—all in the Holy Spirit of God (Romans 14:17).
Apart from righteous behavior there is no Kingdom of God.
Because of the lack of emphasis on righteous and holy living, the Christian testimony of today is weak. There is much ministry throughout the world but the flame of the lampstand of the Divine Testimony is burning low.
In some instances the Christian ministers, as well as the believers, are practicing horrid abominations: adultery, fornication, lewdness, thievery, lying, occult practices, self-seeking, hatred, self-glorification, covetousness, deviousness, drunkenness.
And there is little repentance!
It is time now for God’s elect to drive the spear of judgment through the deeds that are destroying the testimony of the Kingdom of God.
And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. (Numbers 25:7,8)
The man was of Israel but the woman was of Midian. This "marriage," or "fornication," between Israel and Midian is symbolic of the Laodicean church. The church of Laodicea represents the uniting of the churches of Christ and the world. Laodicea was one of the seven golden lampstands (Revelation 1:12). Babylon (the Catholic Church and its Protestant daughters), never was of the Lord. It is possible that God never commanded anyone to organize a Christian denomination. But Laodicea, unlike Babylon, represents that which was of the Lord’s Spirit, of God’s Israel, but then grew prosperous in the world.
Satan will continue to make war with God’s elect, His remnant. These saints keep God’s commandments and the Spirit of prophecy is in them. The warfare will continue until the Lord returns from Heaven.
At the coming of the Lord the remnant will be transformed in body and raised to meet Christ in the air. When they return again to earth it will be on white horses, following the Commander in Chief whose robe has been dipped in blood. This invincible army will crush Antichrist in the Battle of Armageddon and the war will be over.
Let us stand fast in the Lord and in the power of His might. We shall prevail in the end. The victory shall go to Christ and to every person who is found in Him.
The time is short. The Kingdom of God is at hand. The Son is ready to take dominion over the kingdoms of the world. He shall rule through His saints with the rod of iron.
God has promised: there shall be delay no longer!