OVERCOMING THE SAINTS
Copyright © 1990 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
It requires both joy and suffering to make a Christian disciple in God’s image and perfectly obedient to Him. The fiery trials that come upon the saints result in their perfection as the firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb.
The Scriptures teach that many of God’s people will be overcome in the last days. They will fall by deception—the result of maintaining their sin and self-will.
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)
It is the writer’s point of view that there is coming a Divine intervention in the affairs of men and that this intervention will take place before the return of the Lord in the clouds of glory.
The period of which we speak is Daniel’s seventieth week.
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times.
“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate [desolator].” (Daniel 9:24-27)
Seventy “weeks” are required in order to make an end of sins and to bring in “everlasting righteousness,” to bring to the earth the Kingdom of God.
Notice in the passage above that there are seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and then a seventieth week. A “week” represents seven years, although a week, particularly the seventieth week, may not refer to a literal seven-year period.
It is the opinion of some Bible scholars that the sixty-nine weeks (seven weeks plus sixty-two weeks) brought us to the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus. Then, it is felt, the Kingdom clock stopped ticking while God created the Church. The seventieth week will take place in the last days—the clock will start ticking again.
From the above passage we see that the seventieth week will be divided into two parts: the first part will be a confirming of the covenant; during the second part the sacrifice and offering will cease and there will be abominations.
We think the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation describes Daniel’s seventieth week. During the first half of the week there will take place the latter-rain revival, symbolized by the two witnesses. During the second half of the week, the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom will be driven from the cities of the earth. The Christian witness will be overcome.
From our point of view, the following sequence of events will take place:
- Presently, we are being prepared for the most powerful of all revivals—the promised latter rain.
- The latter rain of the Holy Spirit will fall on the whole world during the first half of the “week.”
- In the middle of the week, after the witness has been borne, God will withdraw the Divine authority, thus permitting the witness to be overcome. This will enable Antichrist to attain rulership over the nations. There will be a time of temptation and of great tribulation during the second half of the week.
- After the great tribulation, there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. The heavens will be shaken. There will be distress of nations, the sea and the waves roaring. This is the budding of “the fig tree, and all the trees” (Luke 21:29,30).
- Finally, the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shout, the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God. He will gather His saints to Himself from one end of the heavens to the other.
The preparation for the revival is beginning today. We have much to learn. We are being brought through the Divine fire. All worldliness, all sin, and all self-will are being burned out of us.
It is a period of the most strenuous testing. A Gideon’s army is being formed that is sternly obedient to the Lord. God will not allow the glory of the latter-rain outpouring to be dissipated by self-seeking believers who do not know the Lord.
The latter-rain revival itself, described in the eleventh chapter of Revelation as the testimony borne by the two witnesses, will be worldwide. It will be so powerful that current economic and political forces will be brought to a standstill.
The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to every nation for a witness and each nation will be compelled to listen. The authority given to the end-time witness will be a foretaste of the thousand-year Kingdom Age in which the nations of the saved will be forced, by the rod of iron of the Holy Spirit, to obey the laws coming from Zion.
The saints of the Lord will bring plagues on the whole earth. They will direct every nation to be baptized and to obey the Lord’s commandments, in obedience to the Great Commission of the last chapter of the Book of Matthew.
We think the majority of people on the earth will become Christians, even if only nominally.
Then, in the middle of the “week,” God will withdraw the authority of the last revival. The saints will be overcome by Antichrist. There will be sin on the earth until the love of most of the believers grows cold. The Jews and the true saints will suffer persecution. It will be the time of Jacob’s trouble.
After the great tribulation has created a remnant without spot or wrinkle (a firstfruits of the whole Church), the end of the age will be here. The Divine signs will be seen in the heavens. The generation living at that time will not pass away until all events have been concluded. The saints then are to look up for their redemption draws near. The Kingdom of God will be at hand.
The Lord Jesus will descend from Heaven and the light of God will shine from the saints as the lightning that comes out of the east and shines to the west.
The first half of the week will be a period of unprecedented revival—the latter rain spoken of by Joel, Hosea, Zechariah, and James.
The second half of the week will be the time of Antichrist, of the hour of temptation, and of the great tribulation. The Lord will return after the great tribulation.
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
“Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29,30)
Now we come to the subject of this article—the overcoming of the saints.
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. (Revelation 13:7)
It is difficult for us to grasp how the saints can be overcome when the Lord Jesus has all power, or why God would permit the Antichrist to overcome the saints.
As we study this topic we will notice that God redeems His people by blessing and also by much tribulation.
God marches by day. During the day we follow the cloud of blessing. “Day to day utters speech.” We hear and speak many words during the “day” of blessing.
God also marches by night. During the night we follow the pillar of fire. We trust in the judgments written in the Scriptures when we cannot see the Lord or understand what God is doing. “Night to night shows knowledge.” We gain the knowledge of the Lord during our nighttime experiences.
Both the march by day and the march by night bring us closer to the land of promise, which is the rest of God. The rest of God is a position we attain after much labor and struggle. It is the position in which all worldliness, lust, and self-will have been driven from us and we are abiding in untroubled rest in the very center of God’s Presence and will.
Because we will be given so much power during the latter-rain revival it will be difficult for us, during the second half of the week, to accept the fact that God has withdrawn the power and we no longer are walking in victorious faith. Rather, we are being forced to flee for our lives.
The reader may have had just such an experience. He or she has been wonderfully used by the Lord and now has seemingly been set aside. God doesn’t seem to hear anymore. There is much affliction at the hands of the enemy.
Perhaps our booklet will bring an explanation so that hope and trust in God may be restored.
It requires both blessing and suffering to make us in God’s image, and perfectly obedient to Him. A field of wheat must receive the latter (harvest) rain, and then the burning sun of tribulation, if a good harvest is to be reaped.
God will give Antichrist authority and power to overcome the saints who have borne the Kingdom testimony of the last days.
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. (Revelation 13:7)
Let us turn now to the Book of Daniel.
“I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them,
“until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. (Daniel 7:21,22)
The issue is one of judgment. Because we saints often do the works of Satan, because we are lawless and love the world, sin, and our own will, God is not free to judge Satan. The saints must be chastised severely until the sin and rebellion have been driven from them. Only then will God be justified in casting down Satan from the heavens. The saints must overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, by the testimony prepared in them by the Spirit, and by their obedience to the point of death.
and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (II Corinthians 10:6)
In the last days a remnant, a Gideon’s army, will be drawn from the churches. These will obey God to the point of death. Through them Satan will be thrown down, and the remainder of God’s Israel (all the elect of God) will be enabled to join in the defeat and spoiling of the enemy.
The following passage reveals that the Antichrist’s master plan for the end-time is to destroy the saints by making them feel secure. The Christian witness already, in our day, has been ruined in the wealthy democracies because the saints are involved in the materialistic culture and the world seems to be their friend.
His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power [Satan’s]; he shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive [following his own wishes]; he shall destroy [corrupt] the mighty, and also the holy people [the saints].
“Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity [ease]. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes [Christ, at His coming]; but he shall be broken without human means. (Daniel 8:24,25)
Bible scholars have not always recognized that the “holy people” being addressed in Daniel are God’s elect, whether Jewish or Gentile by natural birth.
At one time the Jewish people, or a remnant of them, were the only members of the holy olive tree. Since the resurrection of the Lord some Gentiles have been added to the olive tree. In the last days a multitude of Jews will be grafted on their own olive tree.
Paul consistently addressed the believers as saints—holy ones.
To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)
The nation of Israel as such is not holy today. Only those who are part of Christ are holy to the Lord, are saints.
even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (Romans 9:24)
When Daniel speaks of “the holy people” he is referring to the olive tree, to God’s elect, to those who are of Christ; not to the physical nation of Israel.
for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— (Galatians 4:25)
The saints (holy ones) of the last days, the days of Antichrist, are those who are in Christ whether they are physical Jews or Gentiles. Redemption is by promise, not by natural birth.
That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. (Romans 9:8)
We Gentile believers are an integral part of true, elect Israel. We need to learn how the Lord God will deal with those who belong to Him whether they are Jewish or Gentile by physical birth.
We have mentioned that the issue is one of judgment. God’s saints must be obedient to Him until He is satisfied they no longer will be condemned along with Satan.
But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:32)
We have said also that Antichrist’s strategy for the last days is to cause the saints to feel so secure they do not seek the Lord as they should. One tactic that is part of his strategy is the doctrine of the pre-tribulation “rapture” of the saints.
The pre-tribulation-rapture error has spread amazingly, given its lack of scriptural foundation, and has succeeded in persuading the Christians in the wealthy nations they will not suffer—this in spite of the record of suffering of the Christian Era and the vicious persecution of the saints that continues to the present hour in some countries of the world.
Let us proceed to examine some further comments by Daniel concerning the second half of the seventieth week. The latter part of the seventieth week is, as we have stated, the time of the great tribulation, the hour of temptation, and the overcoming of the saints.
“Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (Daniel 11:32)
Antichrist will deceive people by flattery. This work of deception is taking place today as pastors and teachers are flattering and coddling the believers. Any individual who speaks of the role of suffering in the Christian redemption is not received by many Christian churches.
Here and there one may find strong saints who are warning the Christians that much suffering is ahead—suffering that will purify the Bride of the Lamb and separate her from the babylonish (man-made, man-centered, man-directed) confusion of the ecclesiastical organizations. But the majority of believers are flocking to hear smooth words, positive statements concerning how much God loves them and will never allow them to suffer. The current “positive” thinking and preaching is of Antichrist and the False Prophet.
The true Christian Gospel contains much that is positive and much that is negative. The teacher who presents only what is positive is seeking his own glory. The teacher who presents only what is negative is emotionally ill.
The believers are being corrupted by the flattery of preachers who are seeking their own profit. However, in the time of darkness those who truly know the Lord will increase in strength and perform works of faith.
“And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.
“Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue.
“And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (Daniel 11:33-35)
We are not accustomed to hearing of saints falling, of being overcome. Yet, such falling is necessary if God is to have the kind of witnesses and sons He desires.
We are speaking now of “those who understand,” not of weak believers who are easily moved from their faith.
The true saints will teach numerous people throughout Daniel’s seventieth week. However, many of the saints will fall by deception, by war, by various assaults and pressures, by imprisonment, and by the confiscation of their property.
Now, what do we mean by “fall”?
The overcoming of the testimony of the saints will occur because of the love of the world, the lusts of the flesh, and self-will. In some instances the saints will be drawn away by temptation and cease walking in the Spirit of God. In other instances the saints will be imprisoned or killed by wicked people. In yet other situations the believers will become discouraged, bowed down, not understanding what God is doing, no longer living in triumphant faith and giving a testimony of joy and confidence throughout their many testings. In every case, whether the pressure is coming from the sin within the saint or the sin in the people around him, it will be the love of the world, the lusts of the flesh, and the self-will of man that will overcome the Christian witness.
If we are to stand in the days that even now are upon us we must understand two facts: first, God will exalt Antichrist, giving him authority and power over the whole earth and permission to torment the saints; second, the overcoming of the saints will result in a Church that is purified from sin, separate from the man-centeredness of popular religion, and wholly dependent on the Lord Jesus for every breath.
To observe the extent of the power that God will give Antichrist, let us turn to the eighth chapter of the Book of Daniel.
And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.
He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down [profaned]. (Daniel 8:10,11)
Antichrist will be given such spiritual strength he will be able to reach up to the heavenly host, casting down to the ground some of the “stars” of the heavens. He will consider himself equal to the Lord Jesus, taking away the daily sacrifice and throwing down Christ’s sanctuary.
We are not certain of the meaning of these statements but we know by experience some of the implications. Antichrist will be given enough spiritual power to interfere with our prayers and prophecies, deceiving us in a manner not possible in time past.
We always have been able to trust the spirits that confessed that Jesus is Lord and that Christ has come in the flesh. This no longer is possible. Antichrist will speak to us, appearing to claim that Jesus is Lord and that Christ has come in the flesh.
How, then, can we be sure we are hearing from the Lord? Only by continual alertness, returning again and again to the Lord—many times each day. We must keep asking for truth in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then we must watch carefully that the fruit of our behavior is in line with the Scriptures.
Numerous saints will be deceived because they will not take the steps required to ensure they are hearing from the Lord. Such delusion already is taking place.
Many of the true saints may suffer deception because of the increased power given to Antichrist to interfere with their prayers. The Spirit of God will work with them (if they keep their hearts right) until they come out of the deception.
Those who have major problems in their personality, such as a desire for preeminence and power, a lust for money, or a strong romantic spirit, may stumble to the point of losing their crown if they do not repent.
God is in the process of bringing forth “a great people and a strong” (Joel 2:2). They will be the first reaping of the earth—a firstfruits who follow the Lord wherever He goes.
Many Christians who have made progress in the realm of spiritual activity will not be in the final remnant because deep-seated iniquity in their personality will deceive them. If the reader feels himself to be one of these, let us urge you to purge yourself of sin and become a vessel of honor. You can do this through the Virtue and power of Christ if you become desperate enough! Determine to fight your way into God’s Presence and the Holy Spirit will bring you to total victory and rest.
As we move past the Pentecostal experience, as typified by the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, we come to the Altar of Incense. The Altar of Incense is the place of the cup. Twice each twenty-four hour period the holy incense was poured from a cup upon the coals of the Altar of Incense.
The cup represents the death of the soul. Jesus’ soul was sorrowful to the point of death. He prayed He would not be required to drink the cup of the sins of the world.
Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:38,39)
When we come to the Altar of Incense we must bow in worship and subjection before the Father, crying “Not my will but Yours be done.”
As soon as we do this we are ready to pass through the veil to the Ark of the Covenant.
The Ark of the Covenant, being the sixth of the seven furnishings of the Tabernacle, represents man. Man was created on the sixth day.
Inside the Ark were the memorial jar of manna, the tables of stone on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments, and Aaron’s rod that budded. Each of the three items in the Ark represents part of the character of the person who is in the image of God. Each of the three speaks of one of the three temptations of Christ.
The memorial jar of manna indicates that man must always lean on the Lord, depending on Him for every aspect of personality and behavior. The Lord Jesus was tested to see if He would use the power of God to provide bread. It is the temptation of bodily survival, of material security.
The tables of stone reveal that man must be holy as the Lord God is holy. Holiness has to do with worship, with desire, with relationships. The Ten Commandments are laws concerning our relationship to God and to people. The Lord Jesus was tested to determine whether He desired the pleasures of the world enough to cause Him to worship Satan.
Aaron’s rod that budded shows us that man is not to choose his own place and role in the Kingdom but is to be content wherever God places him. The Lord Jesus was tested to see if He would display and exploit His power by jumping from the roof of the Temple.
Leaping from the Temple, apart from being directed to do so by the Father, would have been a foolish, reckless thing to do. But if Jesus could have done this and lived He would have gained great fame. He no longer would have been the lowly carpenter from Nazareth.
What stunt would He have attempted next?
So it is today as Christians challenge each other to “do great things for God”; to spend large amounts of money and then “trust God” to pay the bills; to act as though they have been healed when they still are sick. None of this is of the Lord but is presumption—a striving for preeminence in the Kingdom of God.
Man must lean on the Lord. Man must be married to the Lord. Man must abide in Christ.
Each of the three areas is a potential in every person, a capacity for good or for evil. Satan is self-centered, therefore lawless. Satan’s lawlessness is in every human being. As a result, each of the three areas in the personality of people, the striving for security, pleasure, and achievement, is warped and inflamed.
Man chooses not to find security in God but seeks to be independent. He amasses money in the hope of gaining security. He does not seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness but material security. He is self-centered, therefore lawless.
Man chooses to “marry,” to be in union with, people, things, and circumstances that are not found in the Father. Only what is in the Father is holy. Man burns with desire toward unclean relationships because he is self-centered, therefore lawless.
Man chooses and seek his own place and role in the Kingdom. He is envious of anyone who has been given a place or role that he desires. He is ambitious because he is self-centered, and therefore lawless.
God has made abundant preparation for our need for security, pleasure, and achievement, the three areas of man we are discussing.
- For security, God has promised that if we will overcome He will make us a pillar in His Temple and we shall go no more out (Revelation 3:12).
- For pleasure, God has promised that we are to become one in Christ in God, and one with those of the same calling (John 17:21-23). At God’s right hand there are pleasures for eternity.
- For achievement, God has promised that if we overcome our lawlessness, we will sit with Christ in His throne just as Christ has overcome and is seated with the Father in His throne (Revelation 3:21).
God is not determined to take things away from us. He is bringing us to a “good land,” to the fulfillment of every worthy desire. But because the three areas of man have been perverted and inflamed, God gives authority to the forces of darkness to kill the three dimensions. God then can raise them to eternal joy and glory.
We must “die” to each of these: to our tendency to seek security apart from God; to the desires we have that are not found in God (which are idolatry); to our ambition and pride that strive for preeminence.
God will give Antichrist authority to ruin impoverish many saints. Then they will learn to depend on the Lord for material needs, for safety, for health, and for all else necessary for survival in the body. The jar of manna, the readiness to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, must be created in us.
How many Christians must have “nice things”? They find their comfort, their security, in the things of this world. When God calls them to minister somewhere they think first of how this will affect their income. how they will survive financially.
In some instances those whom God has called have continued to work with the idea that when they retire they will have enough money to minister without having to depend on God to supply their material needs. Unless God has led them to make this kind of plan, it will not work. Either they will die or become sick or weakly or lose the anointing for ministry.
We cannot put our material needs first and the Kingdom second. If we do we will lose both our material security and the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
People amass money so they do not have to depend on God.
God will give Antichrist authority to tempt us rigorously and viciously in the realm of our desires. Antichrist will inflame and pervert our desires and then ensure we cannot have what we so fervently desire without breaking God’s laws. If we endure to the end, God will give us the desires of our heart.
If we yield to the desire and take the forbidden fruit, Divine judgment will come upon us. Unless we repent speedily, making full restitution as we are able, we certainly will lose our place in God’s army. We have not been found faithful and true.
Holiness is a question of marriage and divorce. We must marry only what is found in God. We must divorce all desires not found in God. All that is in God is holy, it is clean. All that is not found in God is unholy, it is unclean. The holy individual is the one who looks to God constantly so no desire is obeyed that is not of the Lord.
The Ten Commandments deal with relationships. It is in the area of relationships that man experiences his greatest joy and his greatest anguish.
Man is unique among God’s creatures in that he is made for relationships. The greatest joy anyone can experience is to be in Christ in the Father, and then to have the love of the Father flow through Christ through him toward someone whom the Father is drawing to Himself.
God is love, and the person who dwells in love dwells in God. Man is made for relationships, and the only kind of relationship accepted of God is love. Man can find fulfillment only in love. Love is the end of every aspect of redemption. Love is never a means to an end, it is the end. Of all the elements of God’s universe, love is the greatest.
We experience agony as God removes from us the deepest desires of our soul. God does so because He knows our desires in their present inflamed, perverted state can never bring us pure love, pure joy, pure peace. Because God is leading us to a wonderful state of joy and glory He is altering our relationships so they may be restored to us in unblemished, eternal perfection.
God is good, and we must trust in God’s goodness if we are to be able to stand during His dealings in the realm of holiness, of desires, of pleasure. The second area of man, the area of the desire of his soul to worship, to experience pleasure, was tested in the Lord Jesus. He responded, “You shall worship the Lord Your God. You shall serve Him only.”
One of the most treacherous of the problems (although not the only major problem) of the Christian personality is that of self-seeking, envy, and presumption. It was this spirit that moved Korah (Numbers 16:3) to rebellion against Moses and Aaron. It was envy that drove the high priests and elders of Israel to murder the Lord Jesus.
Some Christians believers who have progressed past Pentecost and approached the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles will finally be deceived because they have been unwilling to accept the crucifixion of their will. They have sought to be like God and to have the power of God, but their inner personality has not been brought low in humility before Jesus.
They will persevere in their personal religious ambitions, being envious of the true saints, until the spirit of Antichrist is revealed in them. They can return to the favor of God but only by bowing themselves in humility before the Lord Jesus.
Of all possible sins, religious pride and envy are among the most deadly. The true saint will permit the Lord to bring him down to nothing and to keep him in weakness and helplessness until the Lord alone is exalted. He must be as dead as Aaron’s rod before the true blossoms, buds, and fruit are brought forth.
“Throw yourself down from the roof of the Temple,” the power of darkness tempted the Lord.
What was being sifted in Jesus’ nature? The pride of life. The desire to be an exalted one. The ambition to do great things, to attain preeminence.
Each of the sons of God is brought to “Jerusalem” to be tempted in the area of self-exaltation.
Of all the deadly elements of man’s personality, the worst may be the ambition to attain status. One look at the world today reveals that the self-driven individual, the person walking in pride, leaves a trail of destruction wherever he or she goes.
It was not the amassing of money that moved men to murder the Lord; it was not their immorality; it was envy. The priests and elders were afraid their status would be adversely affected because of the Lord’s power.
For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. (Matthew 27:18)
Pilate murdered the innocent Man because he too, as well as the chief priests and elders, was afraid of losing his position.
The Christian ministry of today is built around outstanding ministries—people who are “head and shoulders” above the remainder of the Lord’s flock. Pride, arrogance, haughtiness, self-importance, cruelty attend these self-seeking leaders.
The ecclesiastical leaders of today may not recognize it but many of them are craving worship. Satan is filled with lust, murder, and lying. He also craves worship. Many people of today, having in them the spirit of Satan, desire to be worshiped by other people. In addition, numerous believers are ready to worship their visible leader in place of the invisible Christ. All of this is idolatry and belongs only in the Lake of Fire.
The latter-rain revival will see the lowliest of the Lord’s flock performing unprecedented miracles while they are clothed in the sackcloth of humility.
“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days [3½ years], clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:3)
Loss of recognition and status may prove to be a stumblingblock to many religious leaders. God will pass by the organizational structures and use whomever He will. The pastor or leader who rejoices as he sees God using saints of no reputation will flourish in the Presence of the Lord.
The pastor or leader who seeks in his envy to crush the work of the Lord in other people will not prosper. He is making himself or herself the enemy of Christ.
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and on another occasion Aaron and Miriam, made the observation that Moses was no better than they. They were correct in their judgment. But God had chosen Moses, so the three rebels were slain; and Miriam became leprous.
Aaron’s rod that budded symbolizes the calling of God. God will choose whom He will. Satan has destroyed himself because of his envy, his self-will, in the area of inheritance and status, Christ received all and Satan cannot accept this. Therefore his proper home is the Lake of Fire.
All religious leaders who cannot accept the Lord’s decision in the area of role and status, but who react in envy, seeking to crush those who are being placed above them, will have the same destiny as Satan unless they repent.
Whenever Jesus appears the organized churches seek to slay Him. They slay Him by slaying the apostles and prophets whom He sends. It has been the same from the time of Abel. The hatred of religious leaders and of the world for God’s prophets will continue until the Lord appears with His saints.
The saints who return with the Lord at His coming will have been perfected in the area of dependence on the Lord, in the area of relationships, and in the area of contentment with their assigned status in the Kingdom of God.
God will give Antichrist authority to sift each member of the Wife of the Lamb in the area of bodily survival, in the area of desire, and in the area of preeminence. To be accepted in the firstfruits of the Bride that now is being called forth we must be without spot or wrinkle in each area.
As we read these words it is of the greatest importance we make the right choice concerning each of the three. When the Lord Jesus was tested in the wilderness He was required to make the godly choice.
God is not requiring that we perform heroics in order to be changed into His image. God asks only that we make the godly decision. Then His almighty wisdom and power can bring our choice to fruition. The result is an individual in the image of God an in union with God.
How do war, various pressures and torments, imprisonment, and the confiscation of our property cause us to “fall?”
Job is an example of someone who “fell” because of pressures and torments.
God had set a hedge around Job, just as God has done around every saint.
“Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (Job 1:10)
Satan persuaded God to remove the hedge so Satan could afflict Job.
And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:12)
Job had been a victorious saint of spotless reputation.
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. (Job 1:1)
The pressure and torment caused Job to fall from his position of victory.
“Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb? (Job 3:11)
Jeremiah also began in victory.
See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down, to build and to plant.” (Jeremiah 1:10)
Later in his life, Jeremiah was brought low. His testimony was affected.
Why is my pain perpetual and my wound incurable, which refuses to be healed? Will you surely be to me like an unreliable stream, as waters that fail? (Jeremiah 15:18)
Both Job and Jeremiah were vindicated and emerged from their afflictions in victory.
Daniel goes on to say:
“And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (Daniel 11:35)
The trials of the saints will continue until the Lord’s return. The Bride of the Lamb must be purified until she is without spot or wrinkle.
The end of the Church Age will not come until the Christian testimony has been driven from the cities of the earth.
Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered [crushed], all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)
The “time, times, and half a time” represents the three and one-half years of the second half of the week. The end will come when the power of the saints has been broken.
Resurrection follows crucifixion.
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. (Revelation 11:11)
The pressures of the second half of the week will be followed by glory in the Presence of the Lord. Out of the seeming defeat of saints will arise the glorified Church, just as out of the seeming defeat of Calvary there arose the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
The way up to the throne is down the path of crucifixion.
God redeems us by blessing and glory and also by the fire of judgment.
What are some of the aspects of redemption that are created in us by various pressures and hardships?
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; (Romans 5:3)
knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:3,4)
For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. (Hebrews 12:10)
Being worthy of the Kingdom.
which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; (II Thessalonians 1:5)
though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)
“And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 8:2,3)
God brings us through the pressures and troubles of the wilderness until He has been assured we will obey Him. He humbles us. He causes us to go hungry and thirsty until we cry out in anguish. He takes away every security and hope until we learn to live by the Word coming continually from the mouth of the Lord Jesus.
God uses Satan to bring us down in weakness until we are humbly dependent on the Lord, until there is no wisdom or strength left in us. The Bride must experience the weakness and thirst of the cross.
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. (II Corinthians 12:7)
The purified remnant will come up out of the wilderness of trouble, leaning on the Lord Jesus.
Skill in war.
Now these are the nations which the LORD left, that He might test Israel by them, that is, all who had not known any of the wars in Canaan
(this was only so that the generations of the children of Israel might be taught to know war, at least those who had not formerly known it), (Judges 3:1,2)
And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14)
The purpose of war, flame, imprisonment, and the confiscation of our property is that the hidden things of our personality may be brought forth and judged. All that is in us that is not in God must be removed from us.
Our task is to wait patiently before the Lord no matter what happens to us. As the various elements in us are brought to the light, we are to hold them up to God so all that is not of God may be destroyed from our personality.
We stated before that Antichrist is being given power to interfere with our prayers. Previously it may have been sufficient to pray once or twice and then believe God has spoken to us. This amount of alertness no longer is sufficient. We must keep continually before the Lord.
Some will lose their place in God’s army because at a critical point in their life they will not keep carefully before the Lord. A certain aspect of their personality will be left unjudged. They will justify the evil in themselves. They will be deceived. They have served the Lord for many years and they trust in God; but the spiritual evil of the last days will deceive them.
The standard of prayer and holiness of time past is no longer adequate. Ours is a new day. The rewards available now are greater than ever before. The spiritual dangers also are greater than ever before.
There will take place in the near future the most powerful of all revivals. The sovereign intervention of God will prevail until the Gospel of the Kingdom has been preached to every nation as a witness of the soon coming to the earth of the rule of Christ.
During the latter-rain revival the governmental, social, and economic processes will be arrested sufficiently to allow God’s witnesses to proclaim the message from God. The latter-rain revival will take place before the Lord returns.
In the middle of the week the Lord God will withdraw the power of the witness. The earth will be filled with nominal Christians.
Now the abundance of sin, the great tribulation era, and the shallowness of many believers will combine to cause the love of the majority to grow cold.
Soon the true saints will be driven from the cities of the earth—harassed by the government and also by the leaders of organized Christianity (“Babylon the Great”).
The elect Jews are to flee from Israel as Antichrist goes into the rebuilt Temple and sits between the wings of the cherubim, declaring he is God.
We believe the elect Jews and Gentiles will meet in wilderness areas of the earth that have been designated for them (Revelation 12:14). All through the second half of the “week” the power of deliverance will reside in the remnant. God never will leave Himself without representatives in the earth.
And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion [the saints] and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:32)
God will put a protective covering over the assemblies of saints.
then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. (Isaiah 4:5)
Many true saints will be oppressed by the evil that comes upon them, not only physical dangers such as war and imprisonment but also by the worldliness, lust, and religious envy with which the world and the churches will be filled. Their “dead bodies,” the churches and schools that at one time were operated by men and women of God, will lie in the street of worldliness, lust, and religious envy. The religious institutions will be Christian in name, fundamental in doctrine, but with no trace of God’s Spirit in them.
The False Prophet and the Antichrist already are rising in the wealthy democracies. We hear the voice of the False Prophet in the Charismatic churches as the preachers speak of prosperity, faith without works, a pre-tribulation “rapture” to escape suffering, and the bringing in of the Kingdom now by militant believers so when the Lord Jesus returns the Kingdom already will have been established.
Self-driven people hope to set up the Kingdom now so there will be no need for the Lord to do anything (they believe). They could not be in greater error. Yet the prayerless, careless Charismatic churches are accepting these doctrines from the False Prophet as though they were of God.
The testimony of Christ has been destroyed in America, England, and other nations. The present apostasy is a dim forerunner, a shadow of the spiritual state that will exist after the latter-rain revival.
The adamic personality of each of us must “be overcome” until we have been brought into rest in the Father through Christ, until we truly have overcome Satan by the resurrection Life of Jesus. Many of us will live in danger of losing our crown as we grapple with the situations that are testing the essence of our personality. Some will continue to stand in victory in the Lord. Others will lose their crown because they chose to maintain their own way.
“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)
Let us keep joy before us. There is coming a resurrection in which all that has been prepared in us will be revealed. Some day the shadows will flee away. The winter will be over. The sounds of spring will be heard. We shall stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion, following Him wherever He goes.
We shall sing a new song of love and praise to the Lord Jesus.
No one can learn that song by hearing it. It must be created in us by the Lord Jesus in the midst of much tribulation.
strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
(“Overcoming the Saints”, 3997-1)