I’ve been meditating this evening about what just took place here in Ohio. I would like to write a brief summary highlighting specific things that God spoke to our hearts at the convocation . All were blessed and encouraged by the unfolding of the revelation on Friday evening concerning the victory and “power” [Rev. 11:3] that will be received by the two witnesses [as well as the saints] when Satan is evicted [removing hindrances that we now struggle with] from heaven by Michael at the beginning of the 3 ½ years. I was wondering what you have already written in detail on this? If not, can you “record the vision and inscribe it on tablets” so that we can put it in the record as one of the highlights of the convocation?
So grateful for you, Phil. We saw a servant of servants among us. If ever I can serve or be a help in anything to you personally, you have only to ask.
Thank you so much for your prayers. I feel something deep is starting to break in the Spirit for these that have fallen in the battle. To those that sit in the shadow, a great light of hope and renewed invitation is about to be extended in the Spirit, as a new time and season in God for the wounded and failed. Hallelujah to Jesus forever!
So far as means and ability provide, I hope to never miss any opportunity or occasion with such a select and precious body of brothers and sisters. What a spirit of fellowship and unity of love! It was something to behold.
Please extend my special appreciation to Phil H. for his helpful insight concerning Satan’s focused effort to “hold back” the end time message of Daniel from the church. His remarks further confirmed my own strong conviction that Satan is particularly threatened by the church’s knowledge of Daniel’s vision, because its fulfillment will play a great part in moving the church into its place, to fulfill its part in the great transition that takes place in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week.
When we begin to see what God has invested in the prophecy of Daniel in relation to the final downfall of Satan, it is not far to see why Daniel met such extreme hindrance from the demon Prince of Persia, requiring the special help of Michael (Dan 10:13). This helps to explain why no other book of the Bible has been so viciously attacked by unbelieving critical scholarship. [The history of this war against the book of Daniel is documented in Sir Robert Anderson’s, “Daniel in the Critics Den.” More recently, the contemporary, Josh McDowell, has taken the same title for his update of Anderson’s earlier work.]
As I have had time to reflect further on Phil’s remarks about Satan’s focused resolve to “restrain”, (withhold, hinder, resist) the end time message of Daniel in particular, I was reminded of those precious and instructive words in Dan 10:12. “From the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard …”
It is important to see what was at stake in Daniel’s burden. An awesome divine sovereignty was at work in a revelation that would establish the framework of all the future of redemptive history, comprehending the mystery of Christ’s twofold coming to Israel, and reaching at length to Michael’s final eviction of Satan (Dan 12:1 with 2Thes 2:7; Rev 12:7, 10). This great transition reveals the mystery of iniquity in the final man of sin and finishes the mystery of God (2Thes 2:3, 7-8; Rev 10:7). That’s how pivotal Daniel’s revelation is in the larger scheme of things. Therefore, if something of such scale and importance did not come to Daniel without a fight, the church should expect that its fulfillment will not be without a similar earnestness.
Though “heard from the first”, the answer to Daniel’s prayer ‘could not’ reach him apart from an angelic war that required the deepest engagement of spirit on Daniel’s part. It shall be so again, as the godly remnant (the ‘maskilim’; Dan 11:33; 12:3, 10), in absolute certainty of the time, are brought to a Daniel-like urgency of intercessory travail. It is important to recognize that the travail of the heavenly woman depicted in Rev 12, does not end with the
birth and ascension of the Messiah. On the contrary, ‘Zion’s travail’ is not complete short of the full reach of the covenant promise in the post-tribulational salvation of ‘all Israel’ (Isa 13:8-9; 26:16-18; 66:8; Jer 30:6-7; Dan 12:1; Mic 5:3).
At first sight, it would appear that the great transition that starts the last 3 1/2 years begins with Michael’s victory in heaven, and in one sense that’s true. However, Michael’s eviction of Satan will have been prepared by the events of the first half of Daniel’s 70th week that lead up to it (Dan 9:27; 11:23-30). In other words, this event in heaven doesn’t take place independently of other related ‘timed’ events that will clearly signal its approach.
The believing remnant will know the certainty of the time based on the “league” (alliance) that Israel has entered with the Antichrist (Isa 28:15, 18; Dan 8:25; 9:27; 11: 23). This establishes the deceptive and disarming peace that permits Israel to relax their guard as preliminary to the sudden destruction that comes with the unexpected invasion of the Antichrist (Ezek 38:8, 11, 14; Dan 11:24; 1Thes 5:3).
By every evidence, it is this false peace that provides incentive (or perhaps right of access) for the re-institution of the temple service (Dan 12:11; Mt 24:15). Notably, the scripture indicates that at this time, the holy places have only recently been recovered to Jewish possession (Isa 63:18; 64:11). Furthermore, our view that Antiochus Epiphanes was not the complete fulfillment, but only a type of the still coming ‘little horn’ (Antichrist), leads us to expect a literal and detailed fulfillment of the events of Dan 11:23-30, as leading up to the abomination of desolation in Dan 11:31. This would mean that Dan 11:23-30 constitute the first half of Daniel’s 70th week, and thus occupy the first 3 1/2 years that begin with the deadly “league” of Dan 11:23. This is how the believing remnant will see it coming.
From the heavenly perspective, it is clear that the tribulation starts with Michael’s eviction of Satan. This begins Satan’s “short time” (Rev 12:12), which is clearly concurrent with the 3 1/2 years of the woman’s flight into the wilderness (Rev 12:6, 14), also the last 42 months of the treading down of Jerusalem and the beast’s persecution of the saints (Rev 11:2; 13:5). However, the tribulation does not start in earnest until the earthly event that Jesus gives as the sign to flee Judea (Mt 24:15-16).
This is the event that, according to Daniel, starts the last 3 1/2 years (compare Dan 12:11 with Dan 12:1; Mt 24:21). This is explained by understanding that when Satan is cast out of heaven, he takes up a full and unlimited residence in the man of sin, which fulfills the ‘mystery of iniquity’ that holds back the day of the Lord (2Thes 2:3, 7-8).
A careful comparison of all the scriptures reveals a mystery of a composite beast (Rev 13:2) that comprehends in one all the fullness of all the former beast kingdoms of Daniel and Revelation (“he is of the seven”; Rev 17:11). This is the beast that causes the whole world to wonder, when he miraculously revives from the deadly wound (Rev 13:3, 12, 14; 17:8).
The eighth beast that “was and is not and yet is” (Rev 17:8, 11) is none other than the resurrected seventh, who now embodies in one all the fullness of the former seven (“of the seven”; Rev 17:11). As the resurrected seventh, the eighth beast is a composite of all that went before (Rev 13:2), incorporating in himself all the fullness of what the former beasts were in limited measure. As such, he is the little horn (Dan 7:8; 8:9), the self magnifying prince (Dan 8:11), the ‘prince that shall come’ (Dan 9:26), the ‘king of fierce countenance’ (Dan 8:23), the ‘vile person’ (Dan 11:21), and the self exalting willful king’ (Dan 11:36-37) of Daniel’s prophecy.
As the composite beast, this ‘man of sin’ exceeds all the former beasts, as the one “whose coming is according to the working of Satan with ALL power and signs and lying wonders” (2Thes 2:8-9). From the time that Michael removes Satan from heaven, the mystery of iniquity is revealed in the full incarnation of the serpent’s seed.
While there will be two beasts on the earth during the tribulation, it is the one distinguished as “the first beast” (Rev 13:12, 14) who fulfills the mystery of iniquity. He is the one whom Paul calls, ‘the man of sin’. He is the one who had the mortal wound that was healed (Rev 13:3, 12, 14). He is the one who ascends out of the abyss (Rev 11:7; 13:14; 17:8, 11). It is his resurrection that causes the “whole world to ‘wonder'” (Rev 13:3; 17:8). The “short space” that he is permitted to continue (Rev 17:10) is surely equal to Satan’s ‘short time’ (Rev 12:12), which is the last 3 1/3 years of the unequaled tribulation.
Part of the mystery is that this trans-historical, multi-headed, multi-horned beast culminates in an incarnation. The composite beast (Rev 13:2; 17:11) is a man (Dan 7:8; Rev 13:18). That is to say, the mystery of iniquity that has spanned all of history concentrates itself at last in the self exalting “man of sin” (Dan 11:36-37; 2Thes 2:3-4) who takes away the daily sacrifice (Dan 8:11; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11).
The final Antichrist will be the full and unhindered fullness of what all former antichrists (plural) were in part. The mystery that is already working, will continue to work till the one that is hindering is taken out of the way (see 2Thes 2:7 with Rev 12:10). [According to Rev 12:10, it is the removal of Satan that permits the kingdom to come.] “Then shall that Wicked (Ungodly One; the Septuagint translation of Isa 11:4, as cited by Paul) be revealed, whom the Lord shall destroy with the Spirit of His mouth and the brightness of His coming” (2Thes 2:8).
As Christ filled up the perfection of the Spirit without limit or measure (Jn 3:34 KJV; Col 2:9; 1Tim 3:16), even so, must the man of sin fill up the fullness of the serpent’s seed (the spirit of Satan), without limit or measure in a final humanity. Then, and only then, can the age end (compare 2Thes 2:3, 7-8; Rev 12:10).
When the pieces are assembled in their indicated order, it appears that at the same time that Satan is cast down, he takes up a full and unhindered residence in the beast, whose mortal wound is miraculously healed. The mystery of iniquity is fulfilled in, what will appear to the world, as a miraculous resurrection, “when they behold the beast that was and is not and yet is” (Rev 17:8).
But God’s elect will not be surprised. They will know, that this ungodly ascent out of the abyss (Rev 11:7; 13:3, 14; 17:8) is “according to the working of Satan.” Contrary to popular belief, this is not something that Satan wants. He resists it with greatest dread and loathing, because he knows that it will mean that he has only a “short time” (Rev 12:12). The saints will rejoice with greatest jubilation, because for them, it will mean that what was in the way of the coming of the kingdom in power (i.e., the day of the Lord; 2Thes 2:3; Rev 10:7; 11:15) has been finally “taken out of the way” (2Thes 2:7 with Rev 12:10).
As Christ bypassed any taint of the fallen nature, by means of the miracle of virgin birth, this final incarnation of Satan in the flesh, accomplishes the opposite kind of fullness by means of death and resurrection. In this way, the last residue of the image of God is removed from this ‘vile person’ (Dan 11:21), which is apparently necessary in order for Satan’s full possession of this man to be made possible. It is at that time, that he goes to stop the sacrifice that begins the end (Dan 12:11). [Note: He is the vile person, from the start of his reign, and will be known as such by his activities in Dan 11:23-30. But he does not become the “‘man of sin” until the point where the fullness of Satan is revealed in him through a demonic resurrection. This is the revelation of the mystery of iniquity that starts the tribulation with the nearly simultaneous events of Michael’s eviction of Satan (Dan 12:1; Rev 12:7-14) and the stopping of the sacrifice in the middle of the week (Dan 9:27; 12:11).]
The manifest correlation of simultaneous events, shows that Michael’s eviction of Satan has its immediate result, in the resurrection of the Antichrist. This is implied by the figure of the healing of the wounded beast’s demonic ascent from the abyss (Rev 11:7; 13:3, 12, 14; 17:8). No interpretation can be acceptable that minimizes the impact this will have on the unbelieving world. It will defy natural explanation. It makes the whole world to “wonder” (compare Rev 13:3; 17:8). It will be a delusion so great, as to deceive all on the earth, “whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” (compare Mt 24:24; 2Thes 2:9-11; Rev 17:8).
Michael’s eviction of Satan is manifestly synchronous with the deadly wound and its subsequent healing, which permits the eighth beast to ascend out of the abyss as the resurrected seventh (Rev 11:7; 13:14; 17:8, 11). I am persuaded that this divinely ordained convergence of time and events forces the resurrection that reveals the mystery of iniquity in the final ‘man of sin’. As shown earlier, this spells the end of Satan’s dominion, which is why he must be forcibly removed by Michael.
The death of the Antichrist is necessary, to accomplish the complete removal of “the remnant of the image of God,” humanity, conscience, or common grace. Apparently, this complete evacuation of the soul through death permits or forces Satan’s full and unhindered indwelling of this man. This is what I believe fulfills the mystery of iniquity, that holds back the day of Christ’s return. It exposes what fallen man is in himself, behind the veil of human morality, divested of the last vestige of natural human conscience. This beast will be as free from righteousness, as the virgin born savior was free from any taint of the fallen nature that comes through Adam. The one is the perfection of faithful dependency on the Father; the other is the perfection of pride and self dependence, even a presumed divine invincibility through his misunderstood resurrection (Isa 10:7; Dan 11:39; Hab 1:11; 2:5).
While the world marvels at this open demonic miracle, the revealed man of sin will head straight for the temple in Jerusalem (Dan 11:31; Mt 24:16; 2Thes 2:4) to stop the sacrifice and place the abomination that begins the unequaled tribulation (Dan 12:11 with Mt 24:15 and Dan 12:1 with Mt 24:21). This is the earthly result of the events in heaven, which significantly follow upon the events foretold in Dan 11:23-30. The heavenly transition has been prepared by what has been taking place in the first half of the week, which will be greatly used of God for the preparation of the church and its role as priestly intercessor in travail for the coming of the kingdom. The church that has come of age will know the cost by which the kingdom comes through the necessary removal of the one who hinders (2Thes 2:7), i.e., Satan (Dan 12:1 with Rev 12:7, 10) and the tribulation that must follow (Rev 12:12-14).
Because I believe the church will be a conscious and active participant in this great transition in the middle of the week, it is important that we see that as long as Satan retains his place in heaven, the day of the Lord cannot come. Yet, through the constraints of the fulfillment of prophecy, God knows how to see that His elect will be in their place, at their posts, and on their watch at the set time.
This is why Paul says, there is one who now hinders the revelation of this mystery. This is why Satan must be forcibly removed from heaven by Michael. This is the great transition that must take place in heaven before the tribulation can begin, with the revelation of the mystery of iniquity and the removal of the sacrifice in Jerusalem (Dan 12:11).
We may expect, that the absolute certainty concerning the time of this event of the time will accomplish I am nothing less than certain that with the arrival of the 70th week of years, the true body of Christ will be brought into a corporate travail and earnestness, who will receive the same divine help that came in response to Daniel’s self-humbling and prayer. By the finger of God, the church will be brought to the place of deepest intercession (Isa 59:16; 63:5). When the church will ‘travail’, Michael will ‘prevail’.
If we note that the tribulation starts immediately after the woman’s travail (Rev 12:6-14 with Dan 12:1), it appears that what has been, will be again. The imagery in John’s vision in Rev 12 defies putting its complete fulfillment in the first century with Christ’s birth and ascension. Just as the figure of the woman is much more comprehensive than Mary, so also does the figure of the man child point beyond its primary fulfillment in Jesus.
Just as Mary represents the godly remnant, that gives birth to the male seed of the woman in fulfillment of Gen 3:15, the ascension of the man child signifies the place that His seed have in Him beyond Satan’s reach, “far above all principality and power” (Eph 1:21; 4:10). However, the redemption fully accomplished in Christ as head of the church is only the first-fruits of the eschatological salvation.
The ascent of the man child, represents the secure first fruits of the covenant promise, which has set into irreversible motion the coming salvation of ‘all Israel’, the final goal of the covenant. In this view, Jesus is the head of the corporate ‘seed of the woman’, so that His birth and ascent can be seen as the primary fulfillment of a larger pattern. This pattern is repeated by a future travail of the woman that more immediately precedes the great tribulation of the last 3 1/2 years.
The birth and ascent of the man child looks beyond the primary fulfillment in Christ, to a future fullness that will be the fruit of the more immediate pre-tribulational travail of the woman. This interpretation respects the fuller corporate reach of the promise of Gen 3:15. As much as there is only one Son that receives the Spirit “without the measure” (Jn 3:34 KJV), in whom alone is “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9; 1Tim 3:16). It is also true that the mystery of incarnation (treasure in jars of clay) extends to all who are “in Him” through the mystery of regeneration (Jn 3:8; 1Tim 3:16). Otherwise, we could not speak of “this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col 1:27).
The clearly future travail of the woman, in connection with Michael’s pre-tribulational (mid-week) eviction of Satan, leads us to consider that the imagery of the birth and ascent of the man child, also extends to the consummation. In this view, the travail of the church accomplishes a spiritual break-through, in the tribulation remnant, that will be in analogy to the catching up of Christ. Not that the saints of that time have left the earth (as some have assumed), but rather, the saints that have been brought to this place of transition, have apprehended and appropriated all the fullness of the gospel. They will know themselves to be the sealed remnant of faith, that through grace alone, have come to the full apprehension of their eternal position in Christ, at God’s right hand. Though living on the earth, they know themselves beyond Satan’s reach. Though beleaguered and killed, they are secure in their ascended head, just as Jesus could claim to be presently “in heaven” at the same time He was speaking to Nicodemus on earth (Jn 3:13).
Many have overlooked the fact that since Michael’s eviction of Satan starts the last 3 1/2 years, the heavenly victory depicted here has a clearly future fulfillment that is something more than the general tribulations of this age. Paul, writing the Thessalonians in 53 A.D., said this time would be marked by the revelation of the mystery of iniquity in the man of sin. So all must admit that, at least from this point in the first century, the manifestation of the man of sin was understood by Paul to be yet future, and sufficiently recognizable to be distinguished from the present afflictions.
It is imperative that the church come to see what God has invested in the great transition that comes in the middle of Daniel’s final week. It touches both mysteries, not only the mystery of iniquity, but also the further mystery of the woman’s seed in the saints of the tribulation (“the remnant of her seed which have the testimony of Jesus”; Rev 12:17). Before Israel comes in, a fullness is destined for the church, as the corporate seed of the woman (Dan 8:24; 11:32-33; Jn 14:12; Ro 11:25; Eph 4:13; Rev 11:3; 12:10-11).
We suggested that this fullness comes to the church at the same time that Michael casts down Satan for the final tribulation, but we noted that the tribulation does not come in a vacuum. It begins with the abomination of desolation that is preceded and signaled by a larger 3 1/2 period that begins with a “league” or alliance (Dan 11:23) with the man that will later be manifest as Satan in the flesh, which fulfills the pre-advent “mystery of iniquity” (2Thes 2:7).
We pointed out, that in the same way that the opposing ‘Prince of Persia’ was dislodged by Michael before Daniel could receive the greatly desired revelation, just so, Michael will ‘stand’ to expel Satan from his position in heaven. This begins Satan’s “short time”, which is certainly the 3 1/2 years. We saw that Satan’s expulsion by Michael accomplishes the full and unlimited incarnation of Satan, which reveals the mystery of iniquity in the final man of sin (2Thes 2:3, 7-8), which brings the tribulation (Rev 12:6, 12, 14), which finishes the mystery of God (Rev 10:7), which ends in Christ’s return (Mt 24:29-31; Rev 11:15).
Not only does Michael’s pre-tribulational (mid-week) removal of Satan from heaven permit the revelation of the mystery of iniquity and the tribulation that must be fulfilled before Christ can return (Dan 12:1 with 2Thes 2:3, 7-8; Rev 12:10), it also accomplishes a clear and open heaven. This is not bad news, but glory unspeakable for the saints of the great transition!
From the point when the Accuser is cast down, there is some sense that Satan’s former access to the conscience of even a true believer (“Accuser of the brethren”) is cut off forever (Rev 12:10. In some remarkable sense, Satan’s place in heaven, implied some measure of access to the believer’s conscience (1Jn 3:20). Whatever form this has taken, it is clear that from the middle of the week forward, it will be no more.
Judging from the scriptures that speak of the great power that comes upon the church at this time (Dan 11:32-33; Rev 11:3; 12:10-11), i.e., the time of the abomination (middle of the week; Dan 12:11), we may infer a great break-through and release, not only in heaven, but
for the saints on earth facing the last trial. For the ‘earth dwellers’, it is the time of unparalleled woe; it is Satan’s “short time” (Rev 12:12), but for the saints, it is the removal of what (or rather whom) was in the way of the glorious and triumphant breaking forth of “salvation, strength, the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ” (Rev 12:10). A key word in that text is “now”. When is “now”? It is when the Accuser has been cast down. That’s when the kingdom comes with power. Not only at the end of the tribulation when Satan is bound, but “NOW”, in the middle of the week. “Now is come ….”
[Note: Remember, Satan is not cast down until Michael stands up at the beginning of the tribulation (compare Dan 12:1; Rev 12:7, 12, 14). Any interpretation that doesn’t take this as its starting point, with the specified results that follow cannot be correct. It should also be said, that our interpretation does not stand or fall on whether or not we are correct in our inference, that a future fullness of the church is prefigured in the pre-tribulational birth and ascent of the man child.]
The implication is, that before the point of his expulsion by Michael, Satan had been able to retain a measure of access to the believer’s conscience. It is something to be taken up in future discussions, but manifestly, from this point forward, the conscience will be as far beyond Satan’s access to accuse (i.e., in the believer’s actual experience), as presently true of the believer’s heavenly position, where he or she is seated now in heavenly places ‘far beyond all principality and power’. Therefore, we say that this is NOT about something that is entirely new; it is about a deeper and “unhindered” apprehension of the gospel. It will be a powerful “enforcement” in heaven of all that has been once and for all accomplished in Christ’s victory over Satan. It is that tension that we see now between Christ’s once and for all victory and the further destruction of the Devil’s works (1Jn 3:8) that awaits the end (Heb 2:8).
In the context of the mystery of the gospel, as it spans both comings of Christ, the end time revelation of Daniel is dreaded by Satan, because it sets the definite limits of his time. I believe that God will use the set times revealed in Daniel’s prophecy to straighten the church corporately, to a place of deepest apprehension of the gospel, not because it is learning new things, but that the truth of divine revelation, under the quickening power of the Spirit, is shutting the church up to something ultimate.
The truth in those days will not work as a heady “inside track” of secret knowledge (the danger of biblical Gnosticism). The truth that quickens will also further empty the believer, by cutting off the strength of the flesh by increasing degrees. “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3:30). Before Jacob is brought to the end of his power through the attrition of the great tribulation (Deut 32:36; Dan 12:7), the church will be brought to a similar end of self dependency through the powerful constraints of the first 3 1/2 years in clear view of what it is facing and the grace that will be required to stand in the evil day. This is why the gospel will be so much more deeply apprehended and appropriated at this time. It is because the church will be brought to the place of perfected love and dependency on the Word and the Spirit.
This is the sense that I see a yet future travail of the woman. It is a repeat of a faithful pattern, in an ultimate intensity, and the finality of divine purpose for the church, bringing forth the full manifestation of the life of Christ, the ‘man child’, in the corporate seed of the woman. In our view, this will be a demonstration before men and angels of the glory of God in the church (Eph 3:21), which fullness we see as necessary in the church before the Deliverer comes out of Zion to “turn away of ungodliness from Jacob”, thus accomplishing the covenanted salvation of “all Israel” (Ro 11:26-27).
A comparison of Rev 12:2 with Isa 66:8, suggests a mysterious twofold travail of the covenant woman. In Isa 66:8, the tribulation and subsequent birth of the nation comes AFTER the birth of the man child. In contrast to what we will find in Rev 12:2, 5, a man child is born BEFORE the pain of travail. “BEFORE she travailed, she brought forth; BEFORE her pain came, she was delivered of a man child” (Isa 66:7), whereas, in Rev 12:2, 5, the birth of the man child comes AFTER the pain of travail.
This is curious, but the paradox resolves itself by distinguishing between the post-tribulational birth of the nation, and the pre-tribulation birth of the man child. The former speaks of the future ‘time of Jacob’s trouble’ (Jer 30:7), or “Zion’s travail” (compare Isa 13:7-9; 26:17; 66:8; Jer 30:6-7; Mic 5:3), which is the great tribulation that ends in Israel’s deliverance (Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Mt 24:21), whereas, the latter speaks of the pre-tribulational travail of the church, in the first instance Mary, as representative of the godly remnant, but ultimately “the remnant of her seed” that will be on earth at the point of transition when Michael will prevail in heaven to cast out Satan. [Note: I believe it is Satan who holds back or restrains the mystery of iniquity, which must be revealed in the man of sin in order for Christ return (2Thes 2:3, 7-8; with Rev 12:10).]
In this view, the woman is at once the godly remnant within the nation (the church), but also the covenant nation of predestined salvation (prodigal Israel). The woman is not only Mary, but like the man child, she is a corporate figure, as signified by “the Jerusalem which is above, which is the mother of us all” (Gal 4:26). Like the multi-headed, multi-horned dragon of Rev 12:3, her existence is trans-historical. She is at once the heavenly Zion, and the church, “the believing remnant of her seed”, but no less the covenant nation that is predestined for salvation at the end of the tribulation. This implies two things:
1) The messianic redemption comes before the day of the Lord. That Christ accomplishes atonement and ascends to heaven to await the end of the tribulation was a “big” issue in Christian Jewish polemics in the first century, and should be still. It shows how the inward salvation of Israel must precede the outer, so that the kingdom will indeed be ruled by those who have been made priestly, not through works, but through the sufferings of faith.
2) A further travail of the woman is implied, that is more immediately connected to the start of the last 3 1/2 years. A close reading of the text will yield the impression that Michael’s eviction of Satan is connected to the birth and ascent of the man child at the end of the woman’s travail. Rev 12:5-6 implies that the woman flees immediately upon the catching up of the man child at the completion of her travail. We believe this is a pattern and figure of things to come, such that cannot be restricted to its first and highest fulfillment in Christ in the first century. The pattern completes itself in the tribulation church, the believing “remnant of her seed” (Rev 12:17; 14:12).
Certainly, Rev 12 is occupied with a far greater sweep than the last 3 1/2 years. Its imagery is trans-historical. Not only is it comprehensive of the entire inter-advent period. It reaches back to the beginnings of the mystery of iniquity as represented by the multi-headed, multi-horned beast. Still, we must not permit the expansiveness of the vision to divert our attention to its focus on the great transition in heaven that brings to pass the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. The point is that all of this comes to a final head at the beginning of the last 3 1/2 years, which significantly agrees with Paul’s insight, that the day of the Lord cannot come until he who holds back the revelation of the mystery of iniquity has been “taken out of the way” (2Thes 2:7). In other words, the tribulation waits for Satan to be cast down.
All of this points to a future participation of the church, in the great transition, that comes at the middle of Daniel’s last week. As stated before, none of this is entirely new; it is the church’s fuller and deeper apprehension of the gospel, precisely because the certainty of the time has worked to remove the last remnant of self dependency that has hindered the fuller manifestation of Christ in the believer.
It will be the convergence of something old (i.e., the gospel) with something new (i.e., the certainty of the time). Triumph over Satan, whether it be his eviction at the beginning, or his binding at the end of the tribulation, is always related to the issue of revelation, just as the issue of the veil is always related to confidence in the flesh. The preliminary events that lead up to the tribulation, will empty the church in more ways than we can presently conceive. It will be the fullest corporate expression of that martyr obedience that was exemplified in Stephen, and many since.
The church is brought to this transitional crisis of travail through the fuller understanding of Daniel’s vision, in combination with its manifest fulfillment in the first half of the week. This is a primary means, by which the church will be emptied of all the residue of self-reliance, which supports unbelief and permits Satan his occasional access to accuse the believer’s conscience. [This is, of course, the issue of the blood, but the power of the blood is never fully appropriated while there is a divided confidence between Spirit and flesh, grace and works.]
Knowing God’s intended use of the observable signal events leading up to the tribulation, we are much the more guarded concerning interpretations that that deny their future fulfillment. This is to rob the church of vital preparation. The first half of Daniel’s week, so much the object of dispute and denial, is strategically set of God to work as a kind of birthing canal, by which the church will be brought to a fullness of faith and power for the time of the great transition. Therefore, it is NOT a matter of comparative indifference, if the events of the first half of the week are lost to the church’s expectation through unsound interpretations.
Certainly, the wonderfully recurrent theme of the serpent’s efforts to devour the woman’s seed is a pattern repeated many times throughout the history of redemption, but the last 3 1/2 years, is its final and ultimate expression. That is why I especially appreciated your emphasis on the personal life of Daniel, as the divinely intended proto-type of the godly remnant facing the last trial. The pattern so suitable for the church’s instruction, for all times, becomes ultimate at the time of the end.
Not only has Satan’s prolonged residence in heaven ‘held back’ the revelation of the mystery of iniquity, it has also perpetuated an access that the Accuser has to the believer’s conscience. However this is regarded or understood, one thing is clear: It ends at the beginning of the tribulation with Michael’s eviction of Satan. From that time, Satan will no longer be able to “accuse our brethren”. Something will have prevailed in the Spirit that will fully and finally cut off this aspect of Satan’s oppression of the saints. From that time, his rage will be restricted to their bodies only. Whatever access he may have had to their conscience is no more. Even while they are being outwardly worn out and overcome, inwardly they go from strength to strength in Zion (Ps 84:7). The people appointed to flame and sword will also be a people “kept in perfect peace” (Isa 26:3), because just as Michael has cast out Satan, so love has cast out fear.
There is an instructive pattern here that we should note, not only for the end time, but for all time. While I believe Michael’s eviction of Satan comes at a specific and actual point of chronological time, I also believe that this climactic point of transition answers to a pattern that is ongoing for all saints of all time. It has all to do with the veil over the heart that hinders the full light of the gospel, even from a beleaguered saint that may not always fully enjoy what the writer of Hebrews calls, “the full assurance of faith” (Heb 10:22; 1Jn 3:19-21). It is the veil that is over the Jewish heart to this day (2Cor 3:15-16), which Satan exploits to hide the gospel from those that are perishing (1Cor 1:18; 2Cor 4:4). It is the veil that is currently spread over all nations (Isa 25:7), which is destroyed at the day of the Lord, when the mystery of God is finished, and Satan (“the anointed cherub that covers”; Ezek 28:14) is bound.
I do not believe that Jacob was born again when he became Israel. He was, however, powerfully transformed when he was touched in the thigh of his strength. From that time, he would have a new name, Israel, meaning “a prince having power with God”. I believe the church must fulfill this pattern in itself before it can complete its witness to Jacob in the day of his international calamity and flight. This will be accomplished when Michael prevails to evict Satan. The removal of the accuser will mean great victory for the church facing the final test. One travail completes itself in the birthing of the man child, which appears to be coincidental with the removal of the accuser. Then begins the final travail of Jacob’s trouble, which ends in the birth of the nation in one day (Isa 66:8).
In chapter 10, we saw that Michael’s intervention was in response to Daniel’s intercessory travail for understanding, for the sake of his people, their hope and their destiny. It will be so again. Through a series of well marked and recognizable signal events, the church, or at least a remnant of the church, will be brought to a similar posture of intercessory travail before God. Through the divinely prepared constraints of the pre-tribulational events, there will be a Daniel people that have come to full term with the burden of the vision.
So it is not only a set time, it is a set people that have been prepared through the truth and its manifest fulfillment. It will be as when Jesus said to Peter: “Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish” (John 21:18). Certainly, the saints desire this place, but something will be required of the church corporately that it could never have volunteered. “The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak.” So He must take us where we could not have gone.
That is why Satan dreads the last straightening of the church. Only in full light of the larger context and counsel of scripture, of course, but it is particularly the revelation and clear fulfillment of Daniel’s end time vision that will take the church, corporately speaking, “where it would not have gone”. Daniel was powerfully affected by the clear knowledge that the 70 years of Jeremiah had come near to term (Dan 9:2). The church that knows the time will likewise be moved to the same kind of priestly travail that will receive the help of Michael and thus accomplish the great transition in heaven that permits the end to come.
Paradoxically, the church that knows the truth, will find itself praying for this heavenly event that begins the great tribulation, because it knows that apart from this, Christ cannot return (Ro 8:22-23; 2Thes 2:7-8). It is hard for some to conceive, but the bleeding of a planet under the curse will never stop until this brief time of woe and tribulation comes first. We have been slow to grasp the order that Paul explains. Before “that day” can come, the man of sin must be first revealed (2Thes 2:1-3). However, the man of sin cannot be revealed until the one who is now restraining (holding back, resisting) is “taken out of the way” (2Thes 2:7-8).
It remains for future discussion, but the mystery of iniquity is the full and unlimited revelation of Satan in the flesh, and this event waits for Michael’s eviction of Satan. Satan resists this event, because it will mean his time is short (Rev 12:12). Therefore, we believe Satan is the restrainer that must be dislodged from his place in heaven in the same way that the opposing Prince of Persia was dislodged by Michael in Dan 10:13.
The church cannot pray for the kingdom to come in full intelligence, without praying that the one that is in the way, be “taken out of the way”. Though it will mean the brief but unequaled tribulation, it will also mean that the way is now open for the kingdom to come in all of its long awaited power and glory (Rev 12:10). The restrainer of 2Thes 2:7 is most certainly Satan whom Michael must remove before the kingdom can come (Rev 12:9-112). God is waiting for the kind of prayer that has counted the cost of what it will mean for the kingdom to come on earth (Acts 14:22).
We who are entrusted to bring this book’s critical content to the attention of our generation must guard hour hearts with an especial fear and trembling, because there can be no doubt that Satan dreads what increasing clarity of Daniel’s prophecy threatens. It means his time is short, because the revelation of Daniel will bring the church to a depth of travail that will be answered in Michael’s heavenly victory at the set time.
The plainness and certainty of the long awaited fulfillment of the Daniel’s great prophecy will constitute a corporate “moving with fear” of preparation, both spiritually and practically. When these things begin to be opened up to many, both near and far, we may expect an acceleration in the fulfillment. The Lord is faithful to have His witness prepared and in position. The true church will be manifest by its response to the evidence that prophecy is being fulfilled.
As the pillar and ground of truth, the church has been entrusted with the ‘key of interpretation. “They that understand among the people” will be able to explain the meaning of these things to a perishing world (Dan 11:33). The powerful prophetic witness of ‘those days’ promises the greatest harvest of souls since the beginning of the world, “a great multitude, which on one can number” (Dan 12:3; Rev 7:9, 14). But before this, a clear and distinct word (a certain sound) must come first (Amos 3:7; Rev 10:7). That word will be formed and birthed through the crisis of travail (Jn 16:21; Gal 4:19) that will come to the church by the convergence of revealed truth, prophetic fulfillment, and an absolute certainty concerning the time. For the flesh, time is power. As the time is removed, so are the last remains of self dependency. There will be an open heaven and a clear vision for the believing people of God.
The light that grows brighter to the perfect day will be confirmed by one primary priority, the “without which not” of all spiritual progress. It is what was so wonderfully evident at the convocation, the glorious love of the brethren (Ps 133).
Yours in the Beloved, Reggie
My dear brother Reggie,
The weekend spent with you guys was glorious! I want to personally thank you and tell you how much I appreciate your coming as our guest teacher. Words cannot express my grateful heart. You are a precious brother and a highly valued servant in the Kingdom of God!
In privileged friendship,
“…and when they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.” 2 Chron. 5:13,14