“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Revelation 11 and 12

Revelation 11 describes a case history. It measures the church. God’s people have always lived under His rulership—which means accepting His governance, coming up to His expectations. “Now we know that what things soever the Law saith, it saith to them who are under the Law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” (Rom. 3:19). As chief of His tribes, He was elected first by Abraham, then by the apostles, to be the best leader, whom they could trust to do what was best for them, their tribe, their kingdom, His kingdom.

But while Israel’s God was 100% faithful to benefit the tribe or nation, the nation was not nearly so faithful to heed His rulership. Always rebelling against His will, Satan eventually filled them with an intense loathing of their Savior and merciful King. “His citizens hated Him, and sent a message after Him, saying, We will not have this Man to reign over us.” (Luk. 19:14). But, because of “a very small remnant” (Isa. 1:9) and His great mercy, their departure from the agreed-upon Leader-subject covenant did not immediately end their God’s relationship with them. So He judged them often.

“And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him.” (Isa. 30:18).

His love for them was constant, as was His fatherly measuring and discipline. “And when He was come near, He beheld the city, and wept over it.” (Luk. 19:41). “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Mat. 23:37-38).

Likewise His church, His new “peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine,” was to “be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” (Exo. 19:5,6). “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” (1Pet. 2:9-10).

The apostolic church had accepted His covenant, each to have and to hold until death do us part. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:20). But that Father-child, King-subject covenant would likewise mean His Lordship, His rulership to judge us, to measure us, to keep us on the right track and to move us back to the right track if we departed from it. But, we have been as weak-willed and disobedient as ancient Israel.

So, we have His rebukes and His promises. “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
And hast borne, and hast patience, and for My name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Rev. 2:1-7). This letter was a sample of six others to the church during its covenant period, the Christian dispensation. This dispensation is prophesied of again in the beautiful prophecy of Revelation 11.

The church is represented by two witnesses who keep up a constant warfare against the Gentile forces who desire to attack and to destroy the “the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” (Rev. 11:1). The following prophecy in Revelation 12 shows the same defense except by taking up their position in the wilderness. But this rather literal location in the Alps and islands and distant lands, apart from the populated cities of civilization, in no way weakened their war effort; but rather, it strengthened and enhanced their missionary work of spreading the gospel to the world; staying in a land of Goshen alone made it possible for them to wage a relentless war. Living among the filth and degradation of the European pagan empire would only have poisoned the surviving church and brought it to ruin.

Both Revelation chapters 11 and 12 speak of the same scenario, albeit, using two different prophecies. Both show a war for 1,260 years; but each prophecy adds some unique details to the combined story. Chapter 11 clearly pictures the winning battles of the church of God against the heathen hordes of Satan, “their enemies,” “people and kindreds and tongues and nations.” (Rev. 11:5,6,9). Chapter 12 shows a war in heaven that coincides with the war on earth during the 1,260 year period; but then Christ finally wins over the Dragon (Satan), who is cast to the earth near the end of that long period when the mighty Protestant Reformation is born.

Never to be undone, the Dragon sends a flood of persecution against the church through the Jesuits, unlike any other persecution before this time. But, through Providence the earth swallows that flood of persecution when America becomes the refuge for the Reformation. So the demonic Dragon in fury redoubles his warfare against the last and final church. “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.” (Rev. 12:17).

This is where chapter 11 picks up the storyline again. In 1849, in the 5th and 6th trumpets (Rev. 9), the Dragon is loosed from a divine prohibition on unlimited temptation. “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.” (Rev. 11:7). The Dragon and his beast power make renewed warfare against the church and it finally brings God’s people into subjection like it had never been able to do during all the church’s history since the two witnesses began their “defence of the gospel” in the apostolic church. (Phil. 1:17).

The Protestant armies finally lose and fall prey to total spiritual annihilation. They lay dead in the “the holy city,” prophetic Jerusalem. (Rev. 11:2,8). A period similar to their period of success during the 3 ½ figurative years, they lay dead and exposed to the elements; and the armies of Satan for figurative 3 ½ days, helpless objects to the Saturnalia jests and partying of the new dispensation’s Philistines. The temple is unguarded and the golden altar is taken like the confiscated ark of the covenant after the slaughter of Israel’s armies in the days of Eli. The church could cry out like the Israelites of old, “Ichabod…. The glory is departed from Israel: for the ark of God is taken.” (1Sam. 4:21).

After the Dark Ages of Satan’s magnifying himself against Christ, who is “the Prince of the host,” the devil succeeded again to take away “the daily sacrifice,” and cast down “the place of His sanctuary.” (Dan. 8:11). Once again, but now through the Protestants “an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered.” (Dan. 8:12).

And so, here we lay, dispossessed of “the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.” (Rev. 11:1). We have lost the power to protest because we have sold ourselves to the subjugators. Again, Satan and his earthly agency are waxing great, “even to the host of heaven;” and is casting down God’s people “to the ground, and stamped upon them.” (Dan. 8:10). Because of transgression, we are the new host that was given over to the Dragon “against the daily sacrifice; and it practised, and prospered.” (Dan. 8:12).

The letter to Laodicea is to us Protestants.

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Rev. 3:14-22).

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end here; the prophecy doesn’t close in such desolate circumstances. After the 3 ½ days God makes one last call and His call is heard. The people of God are resurrected.

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself;
And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.” (Jn. 5:22-27). “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.” (Jn. 5:21).

The Spirit of God enters into His people and they revive to confess their sins against Him and to do vengeance on His adversary, the devil; “and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” (Rev. 11:11). The armies of the living God receive the Latter Rain; the paganized world-wide Jerusalem falls and the remnant that come out of Babylon “fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come,” and they “worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 11:12;14:7).

The 144,000 have finally learn righteousness by faith and win over to God the “great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues.” (Rev. 7:9). And the final end can come. The world is in chaos but Christ leaves the sanctuary to save His people. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” (Rev. 11:19).


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