W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for this Volume What is New
Shafts of Light and Perils in This Present Age
City, The Witnesses,
The Rapture and the Resurrection
Kingdom Transformation and the Rewards of Faith
The Destiny of Desire
and Reflections on the World's Visible Woes
and the Lord's Irrepressible Weal
See also on this Chapter of Revelation:
Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ Ch.
(esp. on the two witnesses)
and Desserts ... Ch. 8,
Sparkling Life ... Ch. 10,
Regal Rays of Revelation esp. Ch. 8
The Mouth of God
It is not of course an oral cavity. That is a physical entity in a broader entity of which the speaking-eating-spitting-salivating, kissing part is but one aspect. When the Maker of Matter speaks, it is to MAKE MATTER, or to MAKE LIFE and MAKE the spirits of men (Genesis 1, Colossians 1, Isaiah 44-46), to make the universe, and to MAKE history where He wishes to use it to demonstrate His power and wrath or mercy (Romans 9), depending on what faith seeks and lust desires, to express His will, His appeals to man (Romans 9:15-18), or His sovereign determinations (Ezekiel 14:14, 14:20) or His love and truth and peace (Romans 9:22), or whatsoever thing seems good to His good pleasure and is in His heart of holiness.
His word ? It embraces power and contains capacity, so that as with any person who has imagination and dynamic in part or measure, the thing desired is done (all things permitting in the merely human case), but much more when it is God in action; for what He says is done with or without the permission of anything.
Such it is to be God, and no man even slightly approaches such magnificence.
How man loves to think of the evils of this world, which misused will has brought in in one of five or more ways, to this woefully abused world, in which the worst woe is the divorce of man's spirit from the resource of his Source, from the Spirit of God, from His plan and His salvation.
The Will and Woe of Man
How then has man willed himself into such a corner as now caresses his complacency with violence ?
Firstly, he has lost the sense of meaning, secondly of security, thirdly of mission, fourthly of commission, fifthly of repose, sixthly of delight in what embraces his whole being, without merely pandering to a part ... it goes on almost ad infinitum. That is the first loss, and it follows from the isolation from his base, on whom he should rest, but from whom he has moved with increasing resolve.
Secondly, man has in rebellion against his Maker, Redeemer, lost his way back, except for those who being exceptions, use the way back and travelling on it, find in Christ Jesus the Lord, the foundation stone for life once more, and the heart of God (Isaiah 28:16, John 14:1-4).
Thirdly, man is muddled in his way on, as delusively worldly, and either inventing new gods, new arrivals (just as they did in the day of Moses - as in Deuteronomy 32:15ff.), or seeking to dispense with any but himself, and finding nothing to rest on or in which to find truth (II Corinthians 10:12), he becomes desperate, falsely charming, vicious or virulent in vocality, like clanging symbols, as Paul put it in I Corinthians 13, where the love of God being absent, what is present is something less, infinitely less.
Fourthly, by moving out from his Divine Parent, in this spiritual divorce, abusing His revelation, ignoring His redemption, or distorting it like the face of Christ by the soldiers in His trial night, man is moving into the way of the unknown. Precisely like a child crossing the road without the hand of the waiting parent, suddenly wresting it from the hand ready to lead, running in through the traffic without prudence or understanding, man thus inherits dooms unspeakable, worse and worse as millions aggravate the fault, in various originalities of unwisdom.
To be sure, it is as in Psalm 1, when what is absent from God is not absent from the forces of this world, itself already cursed because of separation and rebellion against God (Romans 8:18ff., 5:1-11). Then the unwieldly and the inappropriate come as if a pageant of diseases, and diseases come like a flock of pigeons, finding place to roost. Man is then, says that Psalm, like the chaff which the wind blows. It is no use blaming the wind or the Maker of meteorology if you are so fascinating with being chaff, not wheat, that you are susceptible to that type of dynamic.
Nor is this all. In addition, as noted in the midst of the fourth point, there is a wresting from the hand of God. This brings parental results, and since man is not immature, merely post-mature because of his delay to find God, it appears in judgments on this earth, which make his voluntary disablement the more atrocious, and remind him of mercy, which ignoring again, while spitting betimes in its face, brings not relief but more rebellion. This is a fifth dimension of the illegal, unregal, disorienting, defiling, or judgmental results.
Pretty ? No, but then no disease is pretty, and when you examine the departure from sublime order into horrid distempers PHYSICALLY, it gives a picture, a depiction of what the case becomes SPIRITUALLY. The fact that these things are so analysable and have results, without being visible in themselves (like temper and pride and love and truth), in no way lessens their reality, but in fact it is this area which is the control panel, as far as man has it, for the physical. Thus a loss of temper is not visible in itself, but this merely makes its intemperate results the more dangerous, for they can come like a bolt from the blue, a sizzling lightning from the distant cloud, a stab from the hand of a friend. The motivation is invisible, the consequence is stark (cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 9).
The Word of Revelation 11
Now we turn to one part of this word of God, in fact to Revelation 11, as one part of what the mouth of God has to say to such a race as this. Remember the love which is still there, the judgment which is still there, the offers of mercy which are still there, the Christ whose Gospel is still there and increasingly distorted by those who are disturbed in heart and rancorous in spirit, and that the end of a matter tends to reveal what was in it, in the first place ... That tends to be the way with systems, for while their advent is invention, their results are as they are, not magical but contiguous with the power involved, or its misuse and whatever superintendence is imposed.
In this Chapter of Revelation we are at once made aware of numbers, of time, of chronological exactitude. Symbols appear in places as symbols may be crafted by a writer, but there is no less emphasis on precision, where this is in view.
Certain things go on for a specified time. Let us investigate this phenomenon.
We find information on that Holy City of Jerusalem, toward which millions of lustful eyes, it seems are directed as something which, ignoring the promises of the God of the Bible, they must have: removing it in part or whole from Israel.
The promises of God to that land have been various, but in the main, have meant that it has been given a covenant, a task, a mission, a place, in order to bring the book of the Lord to man, and the exemplification of His power in history to man's attention; moreover these promises have brought also the Saviour, God incarnate to mankind, and the Gospel with Him. Hence it is an important city, with promises both of blessing and judgment to Israel, according as it waits on God, or like most of the Gentiles, in lordly fashion dismisses Him.
It is one thing to be given a mission, another not to fulfil it.
You see an account of this in Ezekiel 20, where there is a description of a prolonged process of rebellion and mercy, leading in the end to Ezekiel 21, where many past mercies yield to final results. The case becomes one of a military invasion, one divinely permitted with results most dire in their day. Why did this come upon Israel ?
That nation, as foretold in Deuteronomy 32 would turn from God and have new arrival gods, humanly developed follies, vanities as God calls them, things of nothing made by the mind and spirit of man, with dubious assistance from devilish depths. To these it would turn, like an adulterous wife, moving from the Lord.
It would lose His imposing power, and so become a subject nation, so that just as they treated God like a discarded husband, so He would allow other nations, foolish nations, to rule over them, rejected on earth as they rejected Him in heaven. With truth, there is no twisting: you are what you are and are not what you are not, and the case proceeds accordingly. Deceit does not disturb reality. HE knows!
Thus Israel was to be removed from its land as shown in stages of divine displeasure, while it continued stages of human rebellion remorselessly. That was predicted by Moses and fulfilled by the nation in detail as foretold in Leviticus 26.
This however was not to be the end, not by any means, and the entire book of Hosea has the them that though they who were His people, became through rebellion NOT His people, yet in the end there would be repentance and revival, and there would be a people who once more ARE His people, who once had so wandered from their divine call, as to have become as aliens to Him. The matter is focussed in strength in Ezekiel 36-39, and Romans 11 (cf. The Biblical Workman 3).
Accordingly, Israel was at length to be restored, long after it would murder the Messiah as in Isaiah 49:7 and 52-53, rebelling in the most physical fashion in the midst of a rebellious world as in Psalm 2. But God resurrecting the Redeemer, as He foretold in Psalm 2, 16, would "laugh" in scorn at the murderous rebelliousness, as He has done, at their inane folly and feckless faithlessness, not only at those who are Jewish, but those who are Gentilic as well. Christ would be raised, and when the time would come and the Gospel would have done its task (as in Isaiah 49:6 and 42:6 cf. SMR Ch. 9), He would act in devastating judgment (as in the flood - Genesis 6, Matthew 24, to which Christ compares the setting of the judgment coming).
That is the end. On the way there, there are times.
Daniel in his 9th Chapter was used by God to quantify time in some of these areas, including the most crucial, the death of the Messiah as atoning sacrifice.
It would be a set number of years before the Messiah would die, said Daniel, and he specified when this would be entirely correctly, so that this happened on time, centuries later. In Revelation 11, our current interest, we see an interesting application of this prophecy to the some of the final events of the Age.
There is depicted in Daniel 9, 70 sevens*1 of time which would be used in finishing off the Age. After 69 of these, would be the Messiah, and He would be cut off, in the midst of that last seven, so that the sacrifices of animals no more pertinent, and in that sense, would cease (9:27). From the divine viewpoint, then, they ceased. They became impertinent, impenitent substitutes for what He had surpassed by dying in Person for sinners. To revert is to come close to the most supreme lèse-majesté even conceivable.
Thus Christ's ministry was some three and one half years, and then HIS sacrifice (as in Isaiah 53 and 66:4) made continuing animal sacrifice a grave, post-mature error. That was done when He died, once and for all. In this way, 69 of the sevens brings you to Him, half of the last brings you to His death, and the final, the ultimate half only, this remains of the initial 70.
What have we then found ? It is this: 69 and one half sevens were spent. That left one half seven or in normal terms, that number of years, some 42 months or 1260 days. The details of these areas of revelation are discussed at length in SMR pp. 886ff., and 959ff., as well as in 943ff..
Thus in Revelation 11, we are seeing an historical portrait, if you will, of Jerusalem for the entire Age from the time of writing, near to the end of the first century AD.
It will be trodden down by the Gentile nations UNTIL their time, after Israel killed the Christ, is up (as shown in Revelation 11 and as foretold in Luke 21:24).
However in Revelation 11, there appear in this period of the city's subjection, the TWO WITNESSES (two being the number required to attest something in the Law). These have great power and are contrary to the secularisation and devastation of the Gentiles who tread down Jerusalem, and subject it to their own power, as if to divorce God from man.
These witnesses continue for the entire period, the Age itself (Revelation 12:4,17-18), that of the Gentile possession of Jerusalem (1260 days, the same as the 42 months of Revelation 12:3), and in what do they continue ? It is as they are commissioned by God: they continue to testify to the truth, at whatever cost with whatever power is needed. Thus this 1260 day period has been made now symbolic, since Christ has by this time come and died. It is the residue of the 70 sevens, and that last seven of His ministry on this earth and then through the Holy Spirit and His word (cf. Acts 1:1), has become the Messianic Seven, to be kept alive till HE chooses to end it with His own return. That is the beauty of the original selection of seventy SEVENS, as the term of reference!
In this way, Revelation 11 makes this period of 42 months an AGE, while Revelation 13:5 uses the same figure for the duration of a select crisis near the end of this same Age (as seen most clearly in Daniel 7:20ff., dealing with the final powers in action for the Age, as does Revelation 13). Hence, the term has become symbolic since its definitive work on the crucifixion prediction for Christ. Now, as in Acts 1, it has been turned into His own domain, to finish when the work of application of the Gospel is finished.
Let it be stressed: In the beginning the term for time was, as Professor E. J. Young points out, NOT a 'week' but a seven. It can become possessed of whatever unit the speaker assigns to that seven. When the purpose was to disclose the death date of the Messiah, it meant years; but when Christ refused to tell the date of His return, for strategic reasons, then the sevens become symbols, no longer purposed for historical time, but for intimation. Of what ? It is of the hand of God in just as precise control of History as the prediction of the date of Christ's death showed, but without publication of what are exact times any longer. Man having killed the Lord's Christ, thus having once engaged at least as to form, in deicide, God is not going to reveal the dates of discipline and judgment. It is a trial, and will end as He resolves.
Meanwhile, the Lord exposes the world to the dual forces of the Gospel imprint and impact, and its own ways, under divine constraint and control, but not to annul the evil, merely put it on leash.
Our point here is this, that Jerusalem is to occupy the whole of the time till the Age draws to its conclusion, as under the Gentile rule. This is apparent from the nature of the consummation, of the contents coming to this end, making it virtually impossible for people to live and worship Christ as in Revelation 13, 17. How much does this world want to divorce Jerusalem from this index notation for the end of the Age, just as it so strongly desired, through Israel and Rome alike, to divorce Christ from this world. It has left itself more than vulnerable, and as in other cancer, the mounting results, continually aggravated by non-repentance of the cause, become most conspicuous!
Let us summarise to the present configuration then.
I) THE SIGNIFICANT CITY - 11:1-2
The 42 months, a prophetic equivalent to the 1260 days, and the final half seven of the seventy, marks a period left in terms of Daniel 9’s great prediction that included the date for the death of the Messiah, around AD 30, from hundreds of years beforehand. He indicated that just as it had been 70 years in which their predicted exile would occur (Jeremiah 25), before restoration, so it would be 70 times 7 before the completion of prophecy and the arrival of everlasting righteousness.
Of these, 69 times 7 would be the time required to go from the command to rebuild a destroyed Jerusalem, to that Messianic date (Daniel 9:24-25). Adding those 483 years to that 5th century BC date leads us to the area of the AD 26 start of Jesus’ Messianic ministry, which going on for some 3 and one half years, gives the death date around AD 30. Daniel 9:27 specifies the midst of the seven as the time of ending the old sacrificial system to institute the new, that of the Messiah's death for sin once for all as in Isaiah 53.
The first half of the 70th seven, then, is this actual Messianic ministry of Jesus Christ, so that after that to the end of the Age was the second half of the last of the seventy sevens. That is 3 and one half times whatever is in mind for that seven. However Christ told the disciples as in Acts 1 that it was not for them to know the times the Father had set in His own hand, and that His kingdom would come in power at the time He chose. In other words, the Messiah having been crucified, the last part of the time left would be as long as it would take for His Gospel to soak into the soil of this world and His plan to be fulfilled through it.
This last 7 in the 70, it was HIS period, and what remains of it, the second half, thus comes to symbolise the extent of this present Age until He comes, the numbers used in Revelation (42 months, 1260 days cf. Revelation 11:2-3,17) simply forcing you to see the scope of Daniel’s prophecy, and to realise that the present is the Messiah’s last part, HIS seven times (the 70th) being completed for the other half, not used for His Ministry on earth. For what then is it used ? for His ministry from heaven. What are its units ? those at His pleasure for the completion of the prophecies and bringing in everlasting righteousness. Thus the millenium follows the Lord’s return to fulfil the prophecies, as in Revelation 19-20, Isaiah 59, Joel 3, Habakkuk 3, Psalm 2, 72, 110 and then before the world is removed, there is judgment.
These things being so, it is of great interest that Jerusalem would be given to the other nations, the Gentiles till the Age was complete. In particular note that the Court of the Temple was to be given to the Gentiles, not least because when Christ died, the need for the Temple, oriented to animal sacrifice, finished. It may offend unbelievers in Israel that the Moslem Mosque sits on the crown of Mt Zion, but it is perfectly sound, that what is no longer applicable, now that animal sacrifices are gone for ever (Hebrews 8), should be tossed about by those who do not know God, receive His Gospel or honour the deity and redemption of Jesus Christ.
Two wrongs do not in this case make a right, but they DO make an especially base association. It is on Israel’s return to the Lord, that the power that accompanies truth will fall like lightning (cf. II Thess. 1). Meanwhile, they have the Mosque, a silent reminder of their own straying, that God lets enemies utilise the Temple site!
Now that Jerusalem is back in the hands of Israel, we are aware that the end of this Age is at hand (Luke 21:24 predicting this for its restoration). Naturally, hell’s limited but incendiary power is lusting for Jerusalem to remove it from Israel, so that God might seem contradicted and His work and witness through Israel, removed. Even though it is not a Christian nation, this is precisely what was predicted for it in Ezekiel 36-37, that their return would be as unbelieving, and so it has been.
THE WORK OF THE WITNESSES 11:3-6
The identity of the witnesses appears to be this: They stand for the religious and the godly power of testimony concerning Christ, just as in Zechariah 4 shows. It is there in that prophet that the concept of the OLIVE TREES is given, with the oil being supplied by them for religious purposes; and it is there that these are clearly seen as symbols of the two powers, the governmental and the religious, present in Israel, and brought into strong focus in what precedes in this prophecy.
These, then, in Zechariah 4:11 are identified as two olive trees, which indicate the priestly and princely power of the nation in the rule of God, the ‘two anointed ones’, that is the Governor and the High Priest focussed in Zechariah 3 AND 4. The Church, a kingdom of priests and those to be made as kings in the power of God (Revelation 22:4), with its elders and preachers is thus the body which exhibits the role of the two witnesses.
It is the Church which uses this power amidst its enormous suffering, throughout history, never extinguished, though often subjected to massive murders as in the Inquisition*2, and always flaming anew. It is the Church which for the entire period in which Jerusalem is under Gentile dominion CONTINUES the testimony once centred in Israel. Thus the period for Jerusalem's subjection is the SAME as that for the witnesses, as seen in the successive verses, Revelation 11:3-4. This brings us to the point of the end of the Age as occasions the song of the elders in Revelation 11:17-18, who delight that He has taken His great power and reigned, so that the time of the resurrection is at hand.
The power that God has used in His Church may seem to some to be overshadowed by the false churches which have attacked the servants and services and word of God, but it is not so. The evil follies come and go, but the gates of hell do not prevail against the continuing Church of God (cf. Matthew 16), as Christ promised. WHO has been acknowledged by so many for so long as Jesus Christ, and in whose name has so much been accomplished in so many ways in this world for millennia, as in His!
III) THEIR APPARENT DEATH AND THE GLOATING OF
REJOICING AT THEIR APPARENT END 11:7-11
When the ‘witnesses’ are killed, this means that the situation shown in Revelation 13 and 17*3 is in place. The beast is seeking to make it impossible to have so much as a financial transaction without permission, and for permission, as for a financial passport, there is the requirement that one take the mark of the beast, of submission to this devilish authority. That of course could only be done by denying Christ (cf. Luke 9:26 provides the significance of this).
This then is the prelude, the preliminary, the foothill, to the coming of the Mountain of Christ, of His return as foretold in Acts 1:7ff.! It means that the Church of Christ, as in China already, and in USSR for scores of years, is subjected to such persecution now world-wide, that its visible body seems all but gone; but it is still there, and rising in power from its deadly wounds, it is called to heaven as in Revelation 11:12.
It is Jerusalem that this is most apparent, where Christ was killed, a fitting parallel, and
“those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry,
and send gifts to one another,
because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.”
IV) RAPTURE AND THE RESURRECTION 11:12-13
Though the enemies of Israel are to be destroyed, yet the antichrist will use his power, as the people of God are removed in this way, whether from Israel in its new-born faith or from the Gentiles, leaving Jerusalem and its Temple a beautiful site for the Man of Sin to skite, showing himself that he is God (II Thessalonians 2:4ff.).
But HOW are the people of God to be removed ? It is quite simple. It is as if an Army truck were sent to an enemy prison camp, and simply trained its guns on the control centre, and came and evacuated the prisoners.
Just as in the creation, God spoke and it was done, so that the mere thought and executive command MEANT that the thing was done, since He had the power, like a President of a Country – His is the kingdom of heaven – so here. Thus God is shown to CALL to the witnesses, COME UP HERE! Hence it is done, and they GO, as at the creation the first man CAME.
But where to they go ? They go where the first man came from, to God. Where else! COME UP HERE signifies the requirement to come to heaven where God is, and this is the Rapture as in Matthew 24:36ff., I Thessalonians 4. So Revelation does not omit it at all!
What a delight to have Deity call, what a deliverance, as from a concentration camp, in that day when all hell is then seeking the destruction of the Christians (cf. Revelation 12), to have God simply intervene. HOW OFTEN He does this, even before that time, this Pastor for one can attest, in miracles of healing, of leading and as important, of being given patience, with which we must possess our souls till He DOES come! (cf. Luke 21:19).
The power of God is ever present to those who walk with Him (I Peter 1:5), and while it is no substitute for suffering, it is relief to the impossible situations and deliverance from the deadly onslaughts (cf. II Timothy 3:5), where the power of God will not be fashionable as our Age advances towards its last part – which is now, as in Answers to Questions Ch. 5.
(V) TRANSFORMATION OF THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD 11:14-17
We recall that great cry (Revelation 11:12), COME UP HERE! Now this great deliverance of the assorted people of God - a sort of spiritual Dunkirk at which those surrounding by advancing armies and hemmed in, as you see so clearly in the persecutions shown for this time, in Revelation 13 - thus brings the end of the Church testimony on earth, till Christ comes back with His saints (as in I Thessalonians 3:13). In Revelation, you have various shafts which move from certain episodes, suddenly to view the end, as if one lifted one’s eyes from some point in a battle, to see – if space were as time – the end of the matter. You see this very clearly in Revelation 6. Ch. 11:16ff. looks there too, to the onrush of the kingdom and the 24 elders glory in it.
It is later in Revelation 19, that we see the ‘wedding’ of the ‘bride of Christ’ (as in Ephesians 5, the Church in a figure). They have 'come up' and it is now in heaven, before they with Him, sally forth in spiritual judgment. These, His people are led in the command of the Word of God, One with a sword – that very word – proceeding from His mouth (Hebrews 4:12). The frauds and false shepherds and prophets, rulers and persecutors (Jeremiah 23, Ezekiel 34, II Peter 2), all are judged and the millenium of peace, in which the power of God and His righteousness rule, is made manifest, and proceeds in power (Revelation 20:3-6, as in Psalm 72, Isaiah 11). In this setting of numerical symbol, as in Revelation so freely, the exact length of this period of vindication and exhibition of the righteousness of God, when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11, Habakkuk 2:14) is not known (II Peter 3:8). It will be long enough for the point in view to be … made.
With all this in place and about to happen, starting as in the CALL of Revelation 11:11-12, we have the glorious exuberance expressed in Revelation 11:17-18. They give thanks since God has taken His great power and acted, ruling, overruling and bringing in the finale at last!
“The kingdoms of
this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ,
and He shall reign forever and ever!”
Now, it is cried, is the time of the judgment of the dead, as of other matters (Revelation 11:18).
ONCE the resurrection of the people of the Lord has occurred, the devious disciples of that devilish dynamic, the Satan, are gathered to make war on the Lord and He proceeds as in Revelation 19:19, to meet them. His light devastates their darkness, as judgment comes like a cloud to invest their darkness, fiery and brilliantly bright alike, exposing it for its shame and contemptibility (as in Daniel 12:1-2).
(VI) THE REWARD OF CHRIST’S SERVANTS 11:18
and DELIVERANCE FROM DISCARD BY NOT DISCARDING ... CHRIST
Indeed in Revelation 11:18 we see also that it is the time of the reward of “your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear your name, small and great”. In fact. looming before the unfolding history, is the day when He, to apply the wording, will “destroy the earth" rather than merely "destroy those who destroy the earth” for indeed (11:9,11,18, 19:9ff.), with the resurrection accomplished and the millenium past (20:1-5), time was brooding when the Judge coming, a new vacancy would appear.
That as John sees it done ?
"The earth and the heaven fled away" (20:11).
Thus destroyed, destroyer and site alike, they go.
The reason for the clearance of this world, what sin obscured, itself is clear in II Peter: for this site will go, both heaven and earth. The ground, then, for the removal of this stricken ground ? "There was no place found for them." (cf. 21:1). Basic reason for that appears in II Peter 3:10-11: "both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up." The site is insalubrious, its morals as Sodom increasingly, the scars in its tissues are stricken deep, its follies parade.
What then ? The sores and sorrows past, the unlovely moral, spiritual and aggressive litter of lovelessness past, the evil thumped, then the very ground is dumped. This world goes.
That will be a sad loss and a great gain simultaneously, since its pollutions and inequities are a cry to heaven, its inhumanity, its pathological barbarity, its heedless cruelties and vast pretences and pretensions (II Peter 3).
Yet how sad that so much beauty and wonder of creative magnificence should go … and yet, it has been cursed and this aspect is now coming to the fore (Romans 8:18ff.). After all, if you own a beautiful picture of some magnificent artist, and he has plenty more to provide, do you weep too much when one is lost, when many more are to come ? Thus there is to be a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 20-21). But in the meantime, we live on this one, and so let us be worthy of our Christian calling to be saints (cf. Romans 1:1ff., I Cor. 1:1ff., II Cor. 1:1ff., Eph. 1), and act like it.
Does this mean perfection : far from it (as in Philippians 3), but IT DOES MEAN the uttermost surrender to the word and will of God, as our rule and guide; and since Christ is resurrected, it means KNOWING GOD, as one knows a friend. After all, THIS IS eternal life, that you should know God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (John 17:1-3). As to the rewards of His servants, the chief of these is precisely that accorded, in principle to Abraham of whom it was said by the Lord Himself: “I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward” …
“Whom have I in heaven but You,” asked the Psalmist, declaring this: “and there is none on earth whom I desire on earth beside You!” It is only then, when the heart is so placed, that more may be found added from His people. It is when such is the solitary place of majesty given to the Lord in one’s heart (as in the testing of Abraham - Genesis 22), that this can be.
It is He, God who so loved that He sent from eternity His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for sin and the paragon of life; it is God who so came that He might redeem, as that very Son; and it is the Spirit of God who inhabits the hearts of His people, and brings the power and peace of God to their hearts. Sender, Sent and Spirit, He is one God, magnificent in majesty. As in Isaiah 48:16, He is all three, ONE in being, THREE in persons who displays His grand splendour in this effulgence.
Thus has the Lord foretold the former things to Christ and His suffering in mind-numbing splendour and precision, and while withholding now the time when the last seven finishes, and making this clear both directly as in Acts 1 and symbolically, as shown in the different uses of the 42 months in Revelation, He is bringing to pass all that was to be, including the loss and regaining of Jerusalem as the Age comes near to its finale (as shown in SMR Ch. 8 and Answers to Questions Ch. 5), He brings us to a pass. It is one thing or the other, God or man, delusion or revelation, Redeemer or distortion, spiritual squalor or the indwelling Christ, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27), the way to death or to life.
See for detail SMR pp. ..886ff., and Highway of Holiness Ch. 4.
The significance of the 70 sevens should be noted. Thus Jeremiah had predicted after a long series of exhortations and appeals which fell on deafened national ears in Israel, that there would be a military defeat followed by 70 years in exile. Isaiah foretold the name of the king (Cyrus) who would return them, as happened.
In Daniel, these 70 years being over, there is a seeking for the return to Jerusalem, which occurred as foretold, and seen in Ezra and Nehemiah. God tells the waiting prophet a survey of history to come. Not 70 years but 70 sevens of years would come. This magnified instrument for historical survey meant, as in the text above, that Christ would die around AD 30, and that there would be half a seven left for the completion of the divinely described and dynamised program to the fulfilment of prophecy and the bringing in of everlasting righteousness.
This happened in outline in the death of Christ, who covered the sins and brought the kingdom of heaven to those who believed in Him, but there was much more left for Israel and the world in the prophecy, and for this the residual half was left. Since the world did not want Christ, He fulfilled His own program of salvation, having wrought the work to set up the predicted Gospel (cf. SMR Ch. 9),in His own time. The last seven becomes one in which He hides the time of His return, which as He made clear in Matthew 24, is to be a surprise, taking many in their evil tracks when He comes as in Malachi 4, in judgment.
See on this topic, Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Ch. 14.
As to this period listed in Revelation 13 and 17, as foretold in Daniel 7 with his 'little horn', that specious, spectacular, crafty head of the insidously unspiritual but very religious State which is to rule the world at that time as the end approaches, it must be realised that there is good reason for the elders of Revelation 11:17-18 to give praise to God that the unholy horrors of that evil rule are about to end.
This evil power to come internationally, as once it did in various nations, is as absolutist as that of Hitler, as totally embracive as that of Stalin, as ludicrously man-centred as that of Mao, with that same sort of evil appeal to mystic forces which characterises the fallen Communism in its delusions (cf. SMR pp. 925ff., News 98, News 37, Highway to Hell, Aviary of Idolatry). It scurries into office and then hurries to elevate itself inanely over all, as if paranoia had taken new wings and devious authoritarianism were de rigueur. It has rigor all right as you see in these chapters of Revelation.
Comparing these with Daniel 7, II Thessalonians 2 and Daniel 11 (cf. Highway of Holiness which specialises in Daniel) we find what Assyria earlier proceeded to show in its anceint day (as in Isaiah 37ff.), that harsh, intemperate, deceptive, arrogant, strident, authoritarian, base and foolish temper that mocks at God and makes itself (with or without various sundries picked up in the godlet realm) as if God.
The nature of these things as time develops and history looks to the end of the Age as divinely appointed - now ? It comes as man seeks to find a national, an international, a universal substitute for God, in his paths. Small wonder that Christ would not pray for the world (as in John 17:9 , cf. Jesus Christ for the People, but Not for This World Ch. 5).
Pray for Auschwitz ? for sweet repose to the criminals in the Sudan, to the horrific holocausts and their junior varieties in Zimbabwe, that have been in Russia, Cambodia, in China, and in many sites continue in delusive modes, for the suppressions and extortions in many countries, as now in this system not in that, in most with hypocrisy added to exploitation, they wend their weedy ways ? If some in some of the categories of rank persecution do not agree with it, nevertheless are concern is not with what is countenanced or held, but here, with what is DONE.
As to such things, iniquity and persecution, Israel justly famous on the receiving end, over the millenia is only an example.
The Gentiles do not leave such evils only to that case, which continues in unholy harassment as millions with billions and whole lands of their own, seek to remove the last vestiges of the Palestine once promised by the League of Nations to Israel, from its pitiful residue.
The go much further than this. They practice in spirit much of this sort of thing on themselves.
Pray for the squalid remains of a mutilated and rebellious world, incapable of a voluntary unity ?
Pray therefore for a world
divorced both from their Maker and their own natures,
like those drugged,
spiritually if not bipolar,
then polar in heart very often!
Pray ? for a world to be given an enforced unity
as beautiful as a babe
shaped into a frog
by enrapturd force,
for one (as in Revelation 12-13)
whether socialist or communist or mystic pseudo-secularism
with mystic dreams
mixed with materialistic modes
in a nightmare capsule
show the fruits of the devil!
Pray for a world in continuity of evil frame from that which
at the national level,
Stalin showed to Russia
Mao to China
Mugabe to Zimbabwe
Hitler to Germany,
Babylon to its dominions,
the scimitar to its subordinates,
the Inquisition to its victims,
and Sennacherib to the world of his day,
as EXAMPLES of political paranoia
or religious misrule!
These names are but tokens of the class,
the category of aggression, suppression
and are of a type.
Whatever is said, it is on what is done that one ponders.
Pray for that ?
The collision is ultimate
with growing consequence irreparable,
the multiplication of evil stupendous,
the pit having arisen like a quasi-love
with crushing arms
but a heart motivated by hate
of what does not carry the delusion
and seek to obliterate
the God of the Bible,
Lord of Life,
Maker of History,
Christ of the Cross of Calvary.
It is rather, prayer that might well be,
for those to be won out of it,
into a restored communion with God through the Messiah
whom He sent from eternity to time,
that in good time, many show escape and with those 24 elders of Revelation 11,
delight in God and in the deliverance which He has wrought.
Christ in John 17 prays not for the world, but for those who have received
His embassage of peace and His words therefore,
and for those to be won through their testimony.
Love would have all,
Truth will not allow deception,
and the price being adequate for the WHOLE WORLD (I John 2:2)
though applied only where it is received (John 3:16-19,36):
the beauty of the divine mercy and the marvel of divine lovingkindness
is as clear as is the hearth of heaven,
clean that many might live as life must be lived,
without confusion, delusion, distortion or lust,
where hearts are pure and truth reigns,
where mercy flourishes and delight in what is good
is as sure as the aesthetic pulse of the artist
is to his work.