Author Archive

Note: I am posting chapters 12 thru 18 of my book (The Eighth Beast” in succession for ease of reading. The book deals with America in Prophecy, and these chapters address certain modern conceptions of eschatology that are in fact fairly contemporary.

Many believers nowadays are ignorant that most of the end-time theology which is being taught and widely accepted by both non-Catholics and Catholics alike concerning the antichrist, the rebuilding the temple, and his becoming a world leader, was originally taught by a French monk known as Adso of Montier-en-Der who died in 992 A.D. Though he was a prolific writer of poems, hymns, and biographies of the lives of saints, Adso’s most famous work was his “Letter to Queen Gerberga on the Place and Time of Antichrist,” which became known as the “Little Book on the Antichrist.”

However, this theology which presented as a rebuttal to the Protestants was so articulated over a thousand years ago by was Catholic monk, was vehemently rejected by essentially every protestant commentator who sought to defend the truth of the Gospel with their pen. For the earlier commentators both agreed and therefore acknowledged Paul’s speaking in II Thessalonians 2:3 of “a falling away first” as the rise of Roman Catholicism, and “that man of sin… the son of perdition” as being the succession of popes. In the second century, Polycarp, deemed to be an apostolic father, in his Letter to the Philippians, paragraph 7, warned the Philippians that everyone who preached false doctrine was an antichrist. Polycarp’s use of the term “antichrist” agrees with the Apostle John who does not reference a single antichrist, but rather a class of people functioning under a spirit of antichrist. It is also interesting that the Apostle John, who coined the phrases “antichrist” and “many antichrists” DID NOT used those phrases in his writing of the Book of Revelation.

Nevertheless, the historical understanding of the Protestant churches concerning “a spirit of antichrist” that works to advance false prophets and teachers has for the most part been completely abandoned by non-Catholics today; most probably because most believers nowadays are ignorant of both scripture and history. Which means it would be prudent for the earnest seeker of the truth to ask what scriptural and historical justification the Protestant commentators have for interpreting it the way they used to, and why they have now embrace a theology birthed in Catholicism. That and more is what is addressed in The Eighth Beast as I examine America in prophecy.

Sadly, most people’s understanding of end-time theology is similar to their hiking an old familiar trail where the slopes and turns have become so instinctive to them it requires very little focus (or faith) to navigate it. However, every so often along the way there is a hint of a old path that forks off the main trail where only the inquisitive will turn aside to see where it leads. Many never aware of the fact that beaten they always take is actually a newer path someone once took looking for an easier way and everyone else just followed, while the old path slowly becomes forgotten and less traveled. If someone wants to be sure they’re on the right path for where they’re wanting to go, they must be willing to leave the trail and take on the difficulties of climbing up to reach a vantage point that is open and clear enough to verify the path they’re on is correct for safely reaching their desired destination. As it says in Jeremiah 6:16 – Thus saith the LORD, “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” But they said, “We will not walk therein.”

I share all this because in my book “The Eighth Beast” I re-introduce an old, yet to many, a whole new perspective that is going to require a willingness to endure the difficulties of setting their current theology on the altar of God and take that climb to where the perspective becomes clear if they are going to understand why America is headed for perdition; and why God has warned us to, “Come out of her, My people, that you partake not of her sins and receive not of her plagues…”

 

Chapter 12

Before the Conclusion of the Seventy Weeks

It is asserted by those who embrace the doctrine of a seven year tribulation period that its primary scriptural foundation comes from Daniel chapter 9. In this chapter the angel Gabriel tells Daniel that “At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.” Gabriel then continues by telling Daniel that “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city.”

We must remember that Gabriel was sent forth at the beginning of Daniel’s supplications when he was confessing his own sins and the sins of Israel. Therefore the “matter . . . and the vision” which Gabriel was sent to help Daniel understand was connected to his prayer for Israel in captivity. In all, there were seven specific things Gabriel prefaces to the “understanding” of the vision with –

  1. It was a period of time(a) regarding Daniel’s people and the holy city(b)
    1. Seventy weeks
    2. Jerusalem
  2. It was to “finish the transgression”
  3. It was to “make an end of sins”
  4. It was to “make reconciliation for iniquity”
  5. It was to “bring in everlasting righteousness”
  6. It was to “seal up the vision and the prophesy”
  7. It was to “to anoint the most Holy”

The Angel Gabriel continues explaining to Daniel that the seventy weeks are going to be divided into three specific time periods, whereby each will serve specific prophetic purposes with outlining events and definite conclusions –

  1. Seven weeks                    7
  2. Plus sixty two weeks           7 + 62 = 69 weeks total
  3. Plus the last week              1 + 69 = 70 weeks total

Let’s quickly review these verses to give us a fresh recall of them before we continue-

Daniel 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

It is that last week in verse 27, commonly referred to as Daniel’s seventieth week that has become accepted and known as the Seven Year Tribulation and linked to this verse in Daniel. Originally I had intended starting this post by listing the particulars of this seventy weeks revelation from the angel.

At this time I must entreat your patience, as I originally had intended starting this post with addressing the particulars of this vision from the angel. However, before tackling the seventieth week, there are some noteworthy observations regarding the method of Daniel’s writing this prophetic book that should be addressed first.  Additionally, there are various key players in Daniel’s book, including the angel Gabriel, which it would be prudent to briefly investigate since there are several visions seen by various individuals; some of which are associated to Gabriel’s presence and interpretations while others are not. Some visions address events immediately on the horizon for the Kingdom of Babylon and Daniel, while others have events are far off and the understanding of them were sealed until the end.

Daniel 12:8 And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?
9 And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

Sadly, I know this will require more effort and energy to properly consider than even most Christians are willing to invest, but considering the gravity of this vision and the times in which we are living, it would stand as an indictment of lukewarmness and carelessness if I did not invest time to present to others this perspective of the final seventieth week of Daniel.

The first observation that is important to take note of is that the book of Daniel was not entirely written in Daniels own language of Hebrew, a fact that must be recognized as significant if we are to “rightly divide the word of truth” in trying to define the key players in Daniel; especially those involved with these seventy weeks. Daniel begins writing in Hebrew, but in chapter 2:4 he switches to the language of his conquerors. From that point all the way to the end of chapter 7 Daniel wrote in Chaldee. The explanation given by Commentator Adam Clark is as follows, “As the Chaldeans had a particular interest both in the history and prophecies from Daniel 2:4 to the end of Daniel 7:28, the whole is written in Chaldee.” Concerning chapter 8 to the end of the book, Adam Clarke continues explaining that Daniel wrote in Hebrew “as the prophecies which remain concern times posterior to the Chaldean monarchy, and principally relate to the Church and people of God generally, they are [therefore] written in the Hebrew language, this being the tongue in which God chose to reveal all his counsels given under the Old Testament relative to the New.”

Adam Clarke’s profound statement is worthy of prayerful consideration, that the prophecies in Daniel after chapter seven are “posterior to the Chaldean monarchy” or post Babylon. I think this detail gives good foundation for believing that many living today upon earth will witness the destruction of Mystery Babylon before the final “sealing up of the vision and prophecy… upon thy people and upon thy holy city.” Meaning, it is feasible that The Eighth Beast goes into perdition (destruction) before the conclusion of the seventieth week. To simplify that even further, America, being The Eighth Beast will be completely destroyed before the final prophecies of the vision regarding Israel are fulfilled prior to the Lord’s return.

My next observations and thoughts would be directed temporarily to the angel Gabriel. In the Bible we only have four passages that mention him. The first we will but briefly address is where Gabriel is commissioned to explain to Daniel his vision of the ram and the he-goat, and to give the prediction of the 70 weeks.

Daniel 8:15 And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. 16 And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. 17 So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.

Now I want to remind the reader that this vision is separate from the seventy weeks vision. Daniel was given this vision while Babylon was still an intact sovereign empire.

Daniel 8:1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.

Now even though Babylon was still intact, all the prophecies about it were already given and were about to be fulfilled. Here in chapter eight Daniel returns to writing in Hebrew because from now on the vision and prophecies are dealing with Israel post Babylon.  However, this vision in chapter eight is somewhat a continuance of one Daniel had earlier under  the rule of Belshazzar, King of Babylon.

Daniel 7:1  In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. 2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

These “four great beasts came up from the sea” represent four great monarchies. For the sake of clarity and presentation,we must set our discussing Gabriel aside temporarily and address these four beasts who are actually four of five key players in chapter seven.

Daniel 7:4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.

This first beast “like a lion” with eagle’s wings represents Babylon which invaded Israel quickly. Appropriately, in scriptures we find Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, being depicted as a lion and his conquests as swift as an eagle.

Jeremiah 4:7 The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.

Jeremiah 48:40 For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.

Isaiah 5:29 Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it.

Ezekiel 17:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar.

Nebuchadnezzar’s army conquered Israel and destroyed Jerusalem. The walls of the city were pulled down, the gates burned, the temple robbed of all its treasures and destroyed. In the process, a considerable percentage of the Israelites were killed, while the choicest of the young men were carried away captive, leaving only the poorest behind as miserable farmers.

Daniel 7:5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

This second beast, represented by a bear, was the Medo-Persian Empire. It’s been noted by some commentators how the bear, being the largest species of these four beasts, were found in the colder mountainous regions of Mede/Media (modern Iran). The Medo-Persian Empire is compared to a bear on account of their aggressiveness and thirst for blood.

However, with the Jews in captivity, we see how the sovereignty of God moved the Medo-Persian Empire leaders to allow a return of the Jews back to rebuild Jerusalem. It is under this empire that we have both the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

Daniel 7:6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

The third beast, a four headed leopard with four wings of a fowl, is the Macedonian, or Greek Empire which rose to power under Alexander the Great. The swiftness with which Alexander accomplished his conquests is appropriately represented by “a leopard… with four wings of a fowl.” For though the Babylonian Empire was embodied in a lion with two wings to witness the speed of Nebuchadnezzar’s conquests, Alexander’s empire has four wings; since up till that time in history no other empire was its equal. The four heads of the leopard prophetically foretells the dividing of the Macedonian Empire upon Alexander’s death between his four generals.

It is important to note in verse 6 that “dominion was given to it,” meaning the triumphs of the Greek Empire were not due to of Alexander’s own the skill or even the courage of his troops, rather the nations were given to him. Bishop Newton stated that, “had he not been assisted by the mighty power of God, how could he [Alexander the Great], with only thirty thousand men, have overcome Darius with six hundred thousand; and in so short a time have brought the countries from Greece as far as India into subjection?” It was God who gave Alexander his dominion, for we must remember the vision and prophecy are specifically concerning “thy people and upon thy holy city.”

 Daniel 7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

Note that this fourth beast is not identified with a known species as it “was diverse from all the beasts that were before it.” It is the Roman Empire, dreadful, terrible, and exceeding strong and it devoured, and breaks in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet. This not only witnesses to its absolute triumph over all the other nations, bringing them to naught, but more significantly points to how Rome destroyed Israel in 70 A.D. scattering the remnant thereof throughout the nations of the world.

Before I continue, I need to make a short run down a rabbit trail… God created man to be responsive to Him and to live under the discipline of His holy precepts, delighting in His laws and meditating therein night and day. When a man is responsive to God, he is being responsible and therefore permitted to freely enjoy the benefits of God’s creation and Kingdom. Humanity has no rights or privileges apart from their responsibilities to the Kingdom of God. This is important to acknowledge if we are going to be found  fit for the kingdom of God.

Luke 9:62 Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Hence the angel stated that Rome “was diverse from all the beasts that were before it,” for history reveals it was a republican form of government in contrast to the preceding monarchal empires. Perhaps this fact serves as the foundation as to why it was not identified with a known species. Though God created man to have dominion, He never intended for men to govern their own selves. Such a government therefore is unnatural, being a creation of man and not of God. The only form of government God can truly approve is a monarchal kingdom, which alone under His guidance can be fashioned and ruled so as to prophetically represent His own, where He is honored as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Nevertheless, when men reign over other men, they will eventually reject God’s word and His Kingdom. Then it is no longer man that reigns, but sin. Such lesson can be verified not only in the history of each of these empires, but in Israel’s history as well. For when sin reigns, it will always be found to be dreadful, terrible, and exceeding strong for it devours and breaks in pieces, and stamps the residue with its feet as it will seek every opportunity to trodden underfoot the Son of God, and count the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and despites the Spirit of grace.

Back on point, the “ten horns” on the beast were prophetic of the fall of Rome and how later it would be divided into ten smaller kingdoms which to the best of my knowledge forsook the republic governing structure of Rome and returned to monarchies and  have been surmised to be the following –

1. The Roman senate

2. The Greeks

3. The Lombards

4. The Huns

5. The Alemans

6. The Franks

7. The Burgundians

8. The Saracens in Africa and a part of Spain

9. The Goths

10. And the Saxons

The Little Horn

 Daniel 7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

This little horn is almost too quietly mentioned when contrasted against the weighed of “the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea” and “the four great beasts came up from the sea.” However, there are a few points worthy of prayerful consideration I would like to make, hoping those reading will have read my previous post and have already placed all their current persuasions on the altar of God so as to be open to examine these things afresh.

First, this little horn’s origin comes from “among them,” this to me speaks of a nation or empire that will rise up, not only out of the “ten horns,” but in all probability predominantly from one in particular. This is why it is prudent to compare each of these four beasts with the diverse attributes assigned to the Eighth Beast that rises up out of the sea.

Revelation 13:1  And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

Second observation, notice the “little horn” has “eyes like the eyes of man.” These “eyes of a man” speaks primarily to the lust of the eyes of men, signifying the little horn is never going to be satisfied till all it sees comes under its control and influence. Therefore he will be cunning, flattering and given to endless lies to achieve its conquests. The ‘little horn” also has “a mouth speaking great things,” which also can be associated with the Eighth Beast–

Revelation 13:5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.  6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

God has been long-suffering and forbearing with the folly of humanity from the beginning, permitting many seemingly great things to occur that many people perceive to have been accomplished through the wisdom and might of men. Yet all this ultimately is permitted only to prove to the whole world there is in fact a God and Creator before whom all the nations are reckoned but dust in the scales, for all the souls of such powerful men will still stand before Him to give an accounting, acknowledging that His alone is the Kingdom, the power, and glory forever and ever.

Isaiah 40:15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, He taketh up the isles as a very little thing.

AGAIN, please also recall how the three other horns were “plucked up by the roots” by the little horn. Consider again the verse –

Daniel 7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

It is simple history that originally the colonization of America was attempted by three of those ten horns; England, Spain and France. However, all three of these have been “plucked up by the roots” so to say and lost all sovereign claims to American soil.

It is evident that it was because of “the great words which the horn spoke . . . the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” Again, this too can be seen attributed to the Eighth Beast who is destined to be destroyed by the ten horns–

Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

Revelation 18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

Daniel saw both the rise and fall of this “little horn” which was confirmed to be under the sovereign watch of the “Ancient of days.” No kingdom, even though they may appear to be running rampant in defiance to His great authority, has ever gone beyond the tolerance of the Lord’s great power and restraint.

Daniel 7:9  I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.  10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. 12 As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

At this point, I would like to stress the importance of noting that the destruction of this “little horn,” which became a great beast and was destroyed by fire, that its judgment does not bring the same timely end to the other horns or “beasts.” It is clear that they lose some of their power, but they are permitted to continue on “for a season and time.” I hope to address this more thoroughly later in a post on the Seven Year Tribulation.

Lastly, I wish to return our focus to Gabriel where he appears to Daniel in chapter eight. Again, this is where Daniel returns to writing in Hebrew after the prophecies concerning Babylon which were written in Aramaic. This is only a couple of years after Daniel was given the vision of all the beasts above; now he was given another vision in the “third year of the reign of King Belshazzar.”

In this vision Daniel foresees the coming of the Mede/Persia Empire (2nd beast) represented here as a ram with two horns, one higher than the other. As he was pondering the ram and its horns, a great he-goat appears with a single great horn between its eyes. This horn in chapter 8 is Alexander the Great, previously the third beast in chapter 7 (the leopard) to which “dominion was given.” As stated earlier, this dominion was not just over the other nations, but is specifically given to him over “thy people and the holy city.” Here Alexander the Great/Greece as the “he goat” moves so quickly it is said to not to even touch the ground –

Daniel 8:5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes.

In the vision the he-goat smites the ram, breaks his two horns; taking away its power to stand and casts the ram down to the ground. After which the he-goat/Greece becomes a greater empire until the notable horn/Alexander the Great is broken and he dies. This leaves his empire to be divided among his four generals.

Daniel 8:8 Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. 9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land.

There is not much said about the four note able ones that came up, for the emphasis of the verse straight way goes to another “little horn” that came forth from one of them. Now many people and commentators believe that this little horn is the same as the little horn in 7:8, but I disagree. The 7:8 horn comes from the remnants of the fourth beast’s ten horns, where this little horn comes from one of the four horns of the third beast. Also, this later second little horn is place in a time frame of “the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full,” which simply means the measure of Gods patience with the sins of the transgressors has come to an end; judgment is now eminent.

To put it simply here, I am strongly incline to believe this little horn was Antiochus Epiphanes who polluted the temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar of God, blaspheming His name and was later defeated by the Maccabees. Antiochus died suddenly of worms and ulcers supposedly in 164 BC, in harmony with Daniel 8:25 which says “but he shall be broken without hand.”

I truly regret the length of this post, as I know many will not give themselves to read through all this. I would much rather be discussing Jesus Christ and His promises to us, but I felt some of these points needed be established for a foundation before entering the subject of the seventy weeks in chapter nine. However, for those that have read through thus far I would like to make one last point that concerns a clue given to us through an angel speaking to another asked concerning the duration of this vision–

Daniel 8:13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

If the prophetic day here is to be understood the same as it is in chapter nine, then we can conclude the duration will be 2300 years that “the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot.” It has always been my strong inclination that the retaking of the Temple Mount in 1967 was a significant event, one which would not have happen unless God had foretold it by His prophets.

Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets.

If we subtract 1967 years from the 2300 we end up with 333 years from year 1 D.C. to 1 A.D. there is only 1 year to be counted since there is no O (zero) year to be counted in the timeline. Though we do not know the months or exact time of year, this is the very close if not exactly to the time of Alexander the Great entrance into the Persian-ruled Asia Minor in 334 B.C. 

Josephus in “The Antiquities of the Jews” Book XI, chapter VIII, paragraph 5, tells this story of Alexander the Great arriving in Jerusalem:

“And when he (the High Priest) understood that he (Alexander the Great) was not far from the city (Jerusalem), he (the High Priest) went out in procession with the priests and the multitude of citizens. The procession was venerable, and the manner of it different from that of other nations … and when the Phoenicians and the Chaldeans that followed him (Alexander the Great), thought that they should have liberty to plunder the city, and torment the high priest to death, which the king’s displeasure fairly promised them, the very reverse of it happened; for Alexander, when he (Alexander the Great) saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed in fine linen, and the high priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his miter on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he (Alexander the Great) approached by himself, and adored that name (the name of God), and first saluted the high priest. The Jews also did altogether, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about; where upon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind (They thought Alexander was crazy for bowing before the High Priest). However, Parmenio alone went up to him (Alexander the Great) and asked him how it came to pass that, when all others adored him, he should adore the high priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, “I did not adore him, but that G-d who hath honored him with his high-priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit (high priestly garment), when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself, how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he (God) would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians; whence it is, that having seen no other in that habit (high priestly garment), and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius, and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind.”

When the high priest went outside Jerusalem to meet Alexander the Great, he took the book of Daniel to show Alexander the prophecies concerning him. To which Alexander was so moved that he went to the temple to offer a sacrifice and worshipped God.

Summary

1. I strongly believe there is profound prophetic significance in that Daniel 2:4 thru 7:28 was written in Aramaic dealing with Babylon and its fall. This signifying to me that after the Eighth Beast and Mystery Babylon the Great falls, there will still be a brief period for other prophecies to come to past in the last days. That further indicates a necessity to prayerfully consider a literal interpretation of Revelation 18:4, to “”Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.

2. Before we see the conclusion of the seventieth week of Daniel, we will have witness the fall of Babylon the Great, i.e. America, The Eighth Beast being completely destroyed before the final prophecies of Daniel’s visions regarding Israel are fulfilled just prior to the Lord’s return.

3. The “little horn” that plucks up three other horns by their roots agrees with America having fought and gained her independence from England, Spain and France.

4. That Gabriel comes after Babylon and declares the ends and beginnings of other events on God’s predetermined timeline. Commissioned to explain to Daniel the vision of the ram and the he-goat and gives the prediction of the seventy weeks (Da 8:16; 9:21) in the Old Testament. Later in the New Testament he appears to Zacharias proclaiming the birth of John the Baptist, and then later to Mary, announcing the birth of Jesus (Lu 1:19, 26). Thus, again, I feel the conclusion of the seventieth week of Daniel will be preceded by the fall of Babylon the Great.

5. All this is crucial to understanding the seventy weeks as a prophetic period of time pertaining to Daniels people and the holy city.

(Continued below)

(Note: This is Chapter 13 of 21 from my book “The Eighth Beast” about America in Prophecy)

Daniel 9:27 – And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This is the only “seven year” scriptural reference I know of that is foundationally used for the complete duration of the seven years tribulation with the perceived division being “in the midst of the week” when, according  to popular understanding of the doctrine, the antichrist does away with the animal sacrifices that were reinstated in a rebuilt temple.  There are however, many scriptural references to “seven years”  –

  1. There were the both the seven years which Jacob labored for Rachael and was given Leah instead, then the next seven years for which he indeed received  Rachael.
  2. The seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine with Joseph in Egypt.
  3. The seven years of famine under David and Samuel
  4. The seven years of famine with Elisha
  5. The seven years of burning weapons after the war with Gog and Magog  (which if there is a seven-year tribulation immediately before the return of Christ this war must needs be before it then)

There are also several three and half year periods in scriptures referred to as “time, times, and half of time” or 1260 days even 1290 days even 1335 days. It is astounding the extreme that men have labored to know and define these times for years when scripture clearly states in regards to some of them that these things are sealed until the end. I am personally persuaded that for anyone to assume that each of these times mentioned are referencing to the same time period would be as imprudent as to believe all the previously mentioned seven-year periods were the same, which a simple reading of them all would easily bring a ready dismissal of such nonsense.  Therefore one must take caution when asserting things from scriptures because they can quickly earn the title of “false” teacher or prophet.

Nonetheless, in regards to Daniels seventieth week, one can certainly prayerfully consider the text in search of understanding by the Holy Spirit’s illumination. Perhaps reaping the greatest reward of avoiding being carried away by the flood of false doctrines brought forth by both demons and ignorant men thinking themselves to be something they are not.

True understanding is given by commandment of God. It is never the product of clever men being able to calculate their way through hidden codes in scripture; Harold Camping’s date setting errors should be a sufficient warning to any aspiring date setter. But that doesn’t mean we cannot know the times in which we are living. For I am persuaded that Peter understood full well the duration of time left for fulfillment before the Lord’s return

Jesus affirmed that for those true disciples who would keep His words that to them it would be given to know the truth, and the truth would set them free. Those true disciples who are truly seeking to know Him and not just gain knowledge, that to them it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven.

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed;  32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Mt 11:25 At that time, Jesus answered, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the wise and understanding, and revealed them to infants.

Mt 13:11 He answered them, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.  12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has.

Mt 16:17 Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

1Co 2:10 But to us, God revealed them through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  11 For who among men knows the things of a man, except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God, except God’s Spirit.  12 But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might know the things that were freely given to us by God.  13 Which things also we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual things.  14 Now the natural man doesn’t receive the things of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can’t know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Heb 11:6 Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

I must re-emphasize that it was a consequence of Daniel’s supplications that the angel Gabriel was sent forth at the beginning of when confessing his sins and the sins of Israel. This fact establishes an unbreakable connection between the “matter . . . and the vision” Gabriel was sent to help Daniel understand and his prayer for his people in captivity.

To help keep this seventieth week in proper context, let’s look again from the beginning of the chapter –

Dan 9:1 In the first year of Darius . . . of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans 2 . . . I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
3 And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.

This is by far one of my favorite passages, for the reason that Daniel clearly states he “understood” that the duration of the Jewish Babylonian captivity was coming to an end “by the books” of Jeremiah the prophet. Some things are not hidden, and therefore they can both bless and establish accountability on all who read or hear it.

Jer 25:11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.  12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.

 Jer 29:10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform My good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.

Knowing the 70 years was about to conclude, Daniel therefore “set” his “face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” God’s grace and mercy for the sins of Israel that they may find His favor to be restored. Oh, if only every believer in America so sought God’s face like Daniel did using every means of petitioning God’s mercies through “prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.” Have we truly forgotten Jesus’ words concerning “Blessed are they that mourn?”

But nowadays too many churches have taken the shame out of sin by presenting the amazing grace of God as something so cheap and conveniently affordable like a common commodity on the shelf of a nearby convenient store, leaving professors of Christ’s name to carelessly commit sin the way the government spends never worrying about the consequences because they have “grace.” What else can this be but the “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ?”

What is amazing is Daniel’s faith and how it is evident in his prayer to God . . .

Dan 9:10 Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. 11 Yea, all Israel have transgressed Thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey Thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against Him. 12 And He hath confirmed His words, which He spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. 13 As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand Thy truth. 

There are two parts in Daniel’s prayer for God’s people to embrace. First, how he believed God proved the certainty of His words by judging Israel according to His law as written by Moses. Second, having witnessed the certainty of God’s word . . . Daniel turns to prayer to remind God of the purpose of His judgments,” that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand Thy truth.”

Dan 9:18 O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousness, but for thy great mercies. 19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

Daniel’s was a faith pleasing unto God and because it was true faith which came by means of a heart open to hearing the word of the Lord as he read Jeremiah’s writings. Humbled by God’s righteous judgments, Daniel sought further understanding of the future events concerning his people and their fate. Therefore God sent Gabriel to reveal unto Daniel the future events which would unfold . . .

Dan 9:20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.

It is evident that the angel was there to give Daniel a clear understanding of this vision. Yes, there are other visions which were given to Daniel which when he sought understanding and was told, “Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” But that is not the case here. This time the angel is there to explain these specific things to Daniel, things specifically concerning the Jewish nation, Jerusalem, the temple and the Messiah. In verse 24, the angel clarifies what Daniel’s vision is all about . . . and the duration of time to be given to it.

Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Again for convenience, here are the seven specific things the angel Gabriel is there to give Daniel “understanding” of the vision regarding –

  1. It was a period of time1 regarding his people and the holy city2
    1. Seventy weeks
    2. Jerusalem
  2. It was to “finish the transgression”
  3. It was to “make an end of sins”
  4. It was to “make reconciliation for iniquity”
  5. It was to “bring in everlasting righteousness”
  6. It was to “seal up the vision and the prophesy”
  7. It was to “to anoint the most Holy”

The first thing is the time element; “Seventy weeks are determined . . .” These “seventy weeks” represent a total duration of 490 years. The most difficult part of this vision deals with determining the exact time from which the time frame starts . . . and there are multiple views upon that point. I will submit my perspective a little later to you.

Daniel was praying in regards to when the 70 years of Babylonian captivity was to be finished when the angel comes to tell him about when another captivity will be over as well, the captivity of sin. Gabriel shows him “seventy weeks determined” relative to this captivity of sin, its solution and Redeemer, Messiah the Prince. These 70 weeks, representing a total of 490 years is said to begin with the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Apart from the fact that Daniel’s weeks represent a seven-year period is recognized by most commentators, biblical confirmation can be supported by God’s commandment to give the land a Sabbath every seventh year.

Lev 25:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a Sabbath unto the LORD. 3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 4 But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest unto the land, a Sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 8 And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.

The 490 years appears to be divided into three segments of time, two of which are mention there in verse 25. The first is a 7 week period representing a period of 49 years. During these 49 years “the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times” in Jerusalem. The second is a 62 week period representing a period of 454 years which concludes with the coming of “Messiah the Prince.” The total time here is 483 years.

Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

While it may be difficult for men to agree on when the commencement of these periods begin, “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem,” the angel Gabriel tells specifically what event concludes at their end, “unto the Messiah the Prince.” This clearly means that the coming of the Messiah would be 483 years after the commandment was issued. Jesus gives us the best indication of the time’s conclusion –

Mark 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

If the time fulfilled wasn’t the time mentioned by Gabriel to Daniel, then students of the word are obligated to affix another prophetic time to Jesus words, of which no other do I know of. Consider also these other verses by the Apostle Paul –

Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.

There were students of God’s word at the time of Christ who, like Daniel, knew the meaning and purpose of these verses and were therefore in anticipation of their fulfillment during the days of Jesus birth.

Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, 31 Which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people . . . 36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; 37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Certainly the scriptural justification for these people to be looking for the redemption of Israel in their days was because they, just like Daniel who “understood by the books,” also understood the time in which they were privileged to live because of the book of Daniel and his vision concerning the 70 weeks. They knew the 484 years till the coming of Messiah was not far off and were eagerly looking for Him.

However, perhaps the greatest proof of Jesus’ ministry being the fulfillment of Daniel’s 69 weeks comes from His admonition of the people of Israel.

Lu 19:41 When he drew near, he saw the city and wept over it,  42 saying, “If you, even you, had known today the things which belong to your peace! But now, they are hidden from your eyes.  43 For the days will come on you, when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, surround you, hem you in on every side,  44 and will dash you and your children within you to the ground. They will not leave in you one stone on another, because you didn’t know the time of your visitation.

Now, in Daniel 9:24 there are six specific events mentioned which would be the consequences of the incarnation of our Lord –

  1. To finish (bring restraint to) the transgression. This was placed in effect by the preaching of the Gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, and pouring out of the Holy Ghost among men.
  2. To make an end of sins <chatta’ah>. This does not mean an end to sin itself, rather “to make an end of sin-offerings” This Jesus our Lord did when He offered his spotless soul and body on the cross once for all. The lawful offering of sacrifices unto God ended with the self-sacrifice of Jesus.

<chatta’ah>– an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender:–punishment (of sin), purifying (-fication for sin), sin(-ner, offering).

A few examples of where the same Hebrew word in 9:24 translated “sin” was translated “sin offering” (Translated such 199 times in O.T.) –

Ex 29:14 But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it [is] a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Ex 29:36 And thou shalt offer every day a bullock [for] a sin offering <chatta’ah> for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.

Ex 30:10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering<chatta’ah> of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it [is] most holy unto the LORD.

Le 4:3 If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Le 4:8 And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for the sin offering <chatta’ah>; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that [is] upon the inwards,

Le 4:20 And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 21 And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it [is] a sin offering<chatta’ah> for the congregation. 24 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it [is] a sin offering <chatta’ah>25 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering <chatta’ah> with his finger, and put [it] upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering.29 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, and slay the sin offering <chatta’ah> in the place of the burnt offering. 32 And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, he shall bring it a female without blemish.

3. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did by the once offering up of Himself upon the cross. Therefore the sacrifices, or sin offerings <chatta’ah> had become totally unnecessary, and to offer them would be to “sacrifice Christ afresh.”

4. To bring in everlasting righteousness, that is, “the righteousness, or righteous ONE, of ages.” That person who had been the object of the faith of mankind, and the subject of the predictions of the prophets through all the ages of the world, beginning with the promise God made to Eve that she ultimately would bring forth “seed” that would avenge her and bruise the head of the serpent.

5. To seal up, or “finish or complete” the vision and prophecy. That is, to put an end to the necessity of any farther revelations, by completing the canon of Scriptures then given by Jesus fulfilling the prophecies which related to His person, sacrifice, and the glory that should follow.

6. And to anoint the Most Holy, which signifies the consecration or appointment of our blessed Lord, the Holy One of Israel, to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of mankind.

Again, Daniel’s seventy weeks, or 490 years, are divided into three distinct periods, to each of which particular events are assigned.

Seven weeks, that is, 49 years.
Sixty-two weeks, that is, 434 years
One week, that is, 7 years

The first seven weeks period was for the restoration and repairing of the wall and streets of Jerusalem, where we see Ezra and Nehemiah also employed in restoring both the sacred constitutions and civil establishments of the Jews. This work lasted forty-nine years after the commission was given by Artaxerxes.  Including the second period of 62 weeks brings us to 434 years, at the end of which the prophecy says “Messiah the Prince” would come. This conclusion of both these periods must take in the ministry of John the Baptist for Jesus our Lord says, “The law was until John.”

Mt 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Many feel this means “the prophets and the law” were only up until John, but not including John. However, the Greek word <heos> is the same word used in the genealogies of Mt 1:1,7 “So all the generations from Abraham to <heos> David are fourteen generations; and from David until <heos> the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto <heos> Christ are fourteen generations.” It is evident that the first period “from Abraham to <heos> David” is defined by the inclusion of David. Therefore it is not appropriate to exclude John the Baptist from “all the prophets and the law” which were to “prophesied until” <heos> the coming of our Lord . . . which begins the third period, or the seventieth week of Daniel. It is during this time that someone would “confirm the covenant with many for one week.”

It is this seventieth week of Daniel which has become known as “the great tribulation” or simply “The Tribulation.” Yet nowhere has the angel Gabriel mentioned any such thing taking place. However, Gabriel does mention an “overspreading of abomination” and the destruction of the temple.

Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

This is where “7 year tribulation” theology takes off with the antichrist interpretation, seeing the “prince” as the antichrist which “shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” They say that he, the antichrist, will make a treaty with the Jews resulting in a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis. Sometime during or before all this the Temple is expected to be rebuilt, which then depending on who you may asked, either the Jews or the antichrist then re-institutes animal sacrifices in the temple. (To address all that now would be too much of a side track.)

But, then according to come seven-year tribulation theology the antichrist will “in the midst of the week,” or after 3 ½ years, break his covenant with the Jews and “cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” thus issuing in the later 3 ½ years and worst part of “The Seven Year Tribulation.”

However, as it should be clear to all reading, I am not fully persuaded that this interpretation is the truth. The “vision” of Daniel is about the Jewish people, Israel, Jerusalem and their Messiah, Jesus Christ; God manifested in the flesh.

My conviction is that this last seven-year period, or the “seventieth week of Daniel,” that this is the period of time in which God tabernacles with man as Jesus Christ “confirm[s] the covenant with many.” However, I do believe this seventieth week is divided by a specific event –

“. . . and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease . . .”

What divides the 70th week is “the sacrifice and the oblation” are caused to cease. But how? By the antichrist breaking an alleged covenant with the Jews? Or by Jesus fulfilling God’s covenant to them?

Remember what was stated above? What the angel said would be accomplished within the 70 weeks? Six distinct things would be accomplished. Listed again below are numbers 2 and 3 previously mentioned above.

2. To make an end of sins. This does not mean an end to sin itself, rather “to make an end of sin-offerings” This Jesus our Lord did when He offered his spotless soul and body on the cross once for all. Therefore the lawful offering of sacrifices unto God ended with the self-sacrifice of Jesus.

3. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did by the once offering up of Himself upon the cross. Therefore sacrifices were totally unnecessary, and to offer one would be to “sacrifice Christ afresh.”

Therefore for the Jews to reject the true Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, and continue to offer animal sacrifices instead would be an abomination in the eyes of God. For them to continue to offer animal sacrifices would truly be an “overspreading of abominations.” Yet that is exactly what happened. They rejected Jesus Christ and continued in their now dead and empty rituals “crucifying Christ afresh.”

Heb 9:13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify to the cleanness of the flesh:  14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Heb 10:4 For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.  5 Therefore when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You didn’t desire, but You prepared a body for Me; 6 You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin.  7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God.'”  8 Previously saying, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You didn’t desire, neither had pleasure in them” (those which are offered according to the law), 9 then He has said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first, that Ye may establish the second, 10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, (see all Hebrews 9 & 10).

That which was once commanded by God to be done as holy prophetic action to proclaim that which was planned from the foundation of the world, the death and passion of our blessed Lord and Savior would then become a continual testimony of the Jews’ rejection of God’s provision for their reconciliation and these very sacrifices would then become an “overspreading of abominations” for which “He,” that is God, “shall make it [the Temple] desolate, even until the consummation [the end], and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

What does all that mean? Remember the words of Jesus?

Matt 23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 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! 38 Behold, your house [temple] is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

(For saving of time and space and avoid being “prohibitively long” here I would refer you to my “Matthew 24” post for the possible fulfillment of these words.)

However, if these things are possibly true, then there is more to Daniel 9:27 which is profitable to reason and address. Such as (1) what is the covenant Jesus was confirming? And (2) how did He confirm it? And if the seventieth week is for the “confirming the covenant” for the duration of 7 years was divided by His death, causing the ceasing of the sacrifices and oblations to be accepted by God, (3) then what about the remaining 3 ½ years?

Let me submit some possible answers to these questions for further prayerful consideration of you, the readers.

First, what is the covenant He/Jesus was confirming? What is the covenant that Jesus confirms to Israel and to the entire world? It is the promise of certainty to which righteous Job wrote the following –

Job 19:25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

The covenant is the promise of the resurrection. Not just Jesus’ resurrection, but ours as well. Jesus confirmed the truth of the resurrection to His disciples –

Matt 5: 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

John 5:24 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. 25 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. 26 For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; 27 And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11: 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

John 14: 19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.

Here are also some Old Testament verses which proclaimed the covenant / promise from which Jesus would have preached and confirmed by His resurrection

Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Isaiah 26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Eze 37:12 Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

Hosea 13: 14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from Mine eyes. 

Job 14:12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 13 O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.

Psm 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 
10 For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psm 17: 15 As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.

In light of all these scriptures from which Paul would have preached it is easy to see  is why he would have continued with the confirmation of the covenant while declaring the certainty of the Gospel.

Rom 6: 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

 I Cor 6: 14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power.

I Cor 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

I Cor 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.

II Cor 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

II Cor 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. 

Phil 3:10 That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

The Apostle John was not silent, for he too confirmed the certainty of God’s covenant –

I John 2: Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.

Now, exactly how did Jesus confirm the covenant/promise of a resurrection? He confirmed the covenant with His own bodily resurrection. He proved He had the power to not only raise Himself from the dead, but others as well . . .

Matt 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

John 20: 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God.

Roman 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

Now if Jesus confirmed the covenant with the Jews, both by His preaching and ultimately His bodily resurrection, just where are the remaining 3 ½ years of the 70th week???

I have come to believe that the final 3 ½ years will be fulfilled by the ministry of the two witness in Jerusalem ministering to the Jewish people the last days mentioned in Revelation chapter 11. These two witnesses will be again confirming the covenant of God to the descendants of Abraham testifying that Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah the Prince. “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,” meaning that as the devil as stirred up wicked men throughout the history of humanity to murder the righteous, these two will killed and left unburied in an attempt to discredit the “myth” of Christianity.

Rev 11:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 7 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. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

These two witnesses will know exactly who they are, and like Jesus they too will testify in their last days that they also will be martyred . . . but they too, like Jesus was, will be raised from the dead. This testimony will infuriate the Jewish people, but a remnant will listen and watch, for they will be pierced in their hearts and convicted by the Sword of Truth. These are the ones who will give glory unto God after the resurrection of the two witnesses.

Rev 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The only way any man can give glory unto God is to honor the Son as the Father . . .

John 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them [the covenant]; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will. 22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son 23 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.

This remnant giving glory unto the Son as their Redeemer will be the in-grafting back in of the Jews resulting in the fulfillment of the Vision of Daniel ushering the resurrection of the dead.

Ro 11:15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Lu 13:35 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Lastly, one more reason why I believe that Daniel 9:27 “in the midst of the week” is referring to Jesus causing “the sacrifice and oblations to cease” is because Jesus also died in the midst/middle of the week, on a Wednesday. For clarification of that please see my Trip to the Tomb thread.

(excerpt from post)

. . . in Mark’s account we see that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where and how the body of Jesus was buried (Mark 5:47). Then, “when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome” purchased sweet spices that when they came to the tomb they might anoint the body of Jesus for a proper burial because His body was prepared and buried in haste “before” sunset prior to a High Sabbath. This is a point that most fail to discern, that the week of Jesus’ crucifixion there were actually two Sabbaths. This “Sabbath” mentioned by Mark is not the seventh day weekly Sabbath, or Saturday, mention earlier in Matthew’s account. This “Sabbath” was day one of seven consecutive days of observance of the Feast of the Unleaven Bread, a “high holy day” and was therefore observed as a Sabbath since no servile work was to be done, see John 19:31.

. . . that Passover was on a Wednesday, which would have (regardless of our assumption) been the fourteenth day of the first month, (Lev 23:2). Then the Fifteenth day would have been Thursday, day one the Feast of the Unleaven Bread, declared by God to be a holy convocation and a High Sabbath. Therefore after the fifteenth day “was past” Friday came, they went out and “bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him” (Mark 16:1) and then, “prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the [fourth] commandment,” (Luke 23:56).

Summary

If these things have plausible credibility, then the whole seven-year tribulation message that has been taught and widely promoted by such fables as the “Left Behind” series, then we as believers have need to been diligent in our seeking to rightly discern the times and the seasons in which we are living and to pray that we may be found worthy to escape the wrath to come have posted before all the New Testament verses on tribulation in my post But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you . . .

Therefore we should give earnest heed to the words of our Savior and His apostle –

Lu 21:34 “So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly. 35 For it will come like a snare on all those who dwell on the surface of all the earth. 36 Therefore be watchful all the time, praying that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

2Th 1:5 This is an obvious sign of the righteous judgment of God, to the end that you may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.  6 Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay affliction to those who afflict you,  7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted ~!-++giving vengeance to those who don’t know God, and to those who don’t obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus,  9 who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might,  10 when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed (because our testimony to you was believed) in that day.  11 To this end we also pray always for you, that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire of goodness and work of faith, with power; 12 that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Continued below)

The Sum of the Prophecy

Posted: June 28, 2019 in Shared Thoughts

(Note: This is Chapter 14 of my book “The Eighth Beast” dealing with America in prophecy)

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, 1to finish the transgression, and 2to make an end of sins, and 3to make reconciliation for iniquity, and 4to bring in everlasting righteousness, and 5to seal up the vision and prophecy, and 6to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)

In Daniel’s vision it is revealed in verse 9:24 that six specific things would transpire after “God was manifested in the flesh” by way of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus.

  1. To finish the transgression. “Finish” signifying bringing in an effective restraint against the power of sin, that it need not have dominion over the people of God anymore. This was brought into effect by the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross for the remission of sins and is made available unto all men through the preaching of the power of God unto salvation, i.e. the Gospel. Whereupon believing and repenting by acknowledging Jesus Christ as their Lord, believers are sanctified by the Spirit and forgiven through the blood that they might be empower through the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost upon them to walk in newness of life.

Romans 6:1 – What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

  1. To make an end of sins <Hebrew word, chatta’ah>. This does not mean an end to “sin” itself. For if that were the case, it would have been accomplished with the first, “finish the transgression.” For all sin is the transgression of God’s law.

I John 3:4 – Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Rather this “end of sins” means an end of the sin-offerings. This our Lord Jesus did when He offered His spotless soul and body on the cross, once and for all, as a sin-offering sacrificed unto God upon behalf of all mankind. Thereby, Jesus caused the authority and mandate requiring the animal “sacrifice and oblation to cease” with His own self-sacrifice upon the cross.

<chatta’ah> – an offence (sometimes habitual sinfulness), and its penalty, occasion, sacrifice, or expiation; also (concretely) an offender:–punishment (of sin), purifying(-fication for sin), sin(-ner, offering).

A few examples of where the same Hebrew word in Daniel 9:24 translated “sin” was translated “sin offering.” (Translated such 199 times in O.T.) –

Exodus 29:14 – But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Exodus 29:36 – And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering <chatta’ah> for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.

Exodus 30:10 – And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.

Leviticus 4:3 – If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering <chatta’ah>.

Leviticus 4:8 – And he shall lift up from it all the fat of the young bull for the sin offering <chatta’ah>; the fat that covers the inward parts, and all the fat on the inward parts

Leviticus 4:20 – And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 21 And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering <chatta’ah>, for the congregation… 24 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering <chatta’ah>.  25 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering… 29 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, and slay the sin offering <chatta’ah>, in the place of the burnt offering. 30 And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. 31 And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. 32 And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering <chatta’ah>, he shall bring it a female without blemish.

  1. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did once and for all, by offering up Himself upon the cross and shedding His blood. As a result, the sacrifices, or the sin offerings <chatta’ah>, had become wholly unnecessary. Subsequently, to continue offering them would cause one to prophetically “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and to put Him to an open shame,” (Hebrews 6:6).

It is very important to understand that Gabriel was speaking here of that event, the work of the cross, which would bring to an end the necessity of the ceremonial sin-offerings as defined under the law and not an end to the commission of sin itself by humanity. For some having misunderstood and failing to make this distinction have made two grave errors thereby. One, some say this prophecy cannot be fulfilled until men no longer sin, and two, they completely misinterpret the Apostle Paul’s words below which were written to the believers in Corinth.

II Corinthians 5:21 – For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

I know some will draw back at this statement, but the Lord Jesus Christ never became sin; rather He became a sin-offering “for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Consider Young’s Translation of Isaiah below –

Isaiah 53:4 – Surely our sicknesses He hath borne, And our pains–He hath carried them, And we–we have esteemed Him plagued, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 And He is pierced for our transgressions, Bruised for our iniquities, The chastisement of our peace is on Him, And by His bruise there is healing to us. 6 All of us like sheep have wandered, Each to his own way we have turned, And Jehovah hath caused to meet on Him, The punishment of us all.

Dear reader, Jesus never became sin. He was never anything but holy, “a lamb without spot or blemish.” For even under the Ceremonial Law we see that the sins were imparted to the scapegoat and not to the sacrificial lamb.

Leviticus 16:8 – And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9 And Aaron shall bring the [first] goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10 But the [second] goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness… 15 Then shall he kill the [first] goat of the sin offering <chatta’ah>, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: 16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. 18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the [first] goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. 19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. 20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the [second] live goat:  21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the [second] live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the [second] goat, and shall send him [the second goat] away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22 And the [second] goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the [second] goat in the wilderness.

  1. To bring in everlasting righteousness, or as Commentator Adam Clarke would say, “the righteousness, or righteous ONE, of ages.” As a reference to that person who had been the expectation of faith and the subject of the prophets’ predictions throughout all the ages of the world; beginning with the promise God made to Eve, that she ultimately would bring forth “seed,” and that He would avenge her and with “His” heel would bruise the head of the serpent.

Genesis 3:15 – And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.

  1. To seal up the vision and prophecy. Meaning to “close up” or “complete” the vision and prophecy, to put “an end” to the necessity of any further revelations apart from those given to us by the prophets and apostles, completing the canon of Scriptures. For the same Hebrew word which was translated “end,” as in “make an end of sins,” is the same word which was translated “to seal up.” This too points to Jesus who fulfilled all the prophecies which related to His coming, person, sacrifice, and the glory that should follow.

Ephesians 2:18 – For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Hebrews 1:1 – God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

II Peter 1:21 – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

I Peter 1:10 – Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

The “prophets” through which “God… spake,” (Hebrews 1:1, 2), spoke as they “were moved by the Holy Ghost,” (II Peter 1:21). These “prophets… who prophesied” did so by “the Spirit of Christ which was in them.” Peter says this good news continues “by them [the apostles] that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.”

  1. And to anoint the Most Holy, signifies the consecration or appointment of our blessed Lord Jesus, the Holy One of Israel, to be the Prophet, Priest, and King of all mankind.

Hebrews 7:18 – For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. 19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God. 20 And inasmuch as not without an oath He was made priest: 21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by Him that said unto Him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

Hence we see by the scriptures that “there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God.” These are the six things which the 490 years of Daniel’s seventy weeks point to as going to be fulfilled. However, remember these 490 years were divided into three distinct periods, of which to each particular events were assigned.

  • Seven weeks, or 49 years
  • Sixty-two weeks, or 434 years
  • One week, or 7 years

The first seven weeks’ period spoke to the restoration and repairing of the wall and streets of Jerusalem, where we see Ezra and Nehemiah employed in restoring both the sacred constitutions and civil establishments of Israel. This work lasted forty-nine years after the commission was given by Artaxerxes king of Persia.

Ezra 7:21 – And I, even I Artaxerxes the king, do make a decree to all the treasurers which are beyond the river, that whatsoever Ezra the priest, the scribe of the law of the God of heaven, shall require of you, it be done speedily, 22 Unto an hundred talents of silver, and to an hundred measures of wheat, and to an hundred baths of wine, and to an hundred baths of oil, and salt without prescribing how much. 23 Whatsoever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it be diligently done for the house of the God of heaven: for why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons? 24 Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them. 25 And thou, Ezra, after the wisdom of thy God, that is in thine hand, set magistrates and judges, which may judge all the people that are beyond the river, all such as know the laws of thy God; and teach ye them that know them not. 26 And whosoever will not do the law of thy God, and the law of the king, let judgment be executed speedily upon him, whether it be unto death, or to banishment, or to confiscation of goods, or to imprisonment.

By including the second time period of 62 weeks it brings the total to 483 years, at which end thereof the prophecy states “Messiah the Prince” would come. Howbeit, it should be understood that the conclusion of both these periods must take in the ministry of John the Baptist, for Jesus our Lord stated, “The law was until John.”

Matthew 11:13 – For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.

Many believe “the prophets and the law” were only up until John, but did not include John. However, the Greek word <heos> translated “until” is the same word used in the genealogies of Matthew 1:17, “So all the generations from Abraham to <heos> David are fourteen generations; and from David until <heos> the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto <heos> Christ are fourteen generations.”

Matthew 1:2-6 – 1Abraham begat 2Isaac; and Isaac begat 3Jacob; and Jacob begat 4Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat 5Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat 6Esrom; and Esrom begat 7Aram; And Aram begat 8Aminadab; and Aminadab begat 9Naasson; and Naasson begat 10Salmon; And Salmon begat 11Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat 12Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat 13Jesse; And Jesse begat 14David…

It is evident that the first period “from Abraham to <heos> David” is defined by the inclusion of David. Therefore, it is inappropriate to exclude John the Baptist from “all the prophets and the law” which “prophesied until <heos>” the coming of our Lord which marks the beginning of the third period, or the seventieth week of Daniel. It is during this time, that last week or seven year period, that someone would “confirm the covenant with many for one week.”

However, it is this very last seventieth week which has become known as “the Seven Year Tribulation,” or “the Great Tribulation,” or simply “The Tribulation.” Yet nowhere in regards to this vision does the Angel Gabriel mentioned anything that remotely resembles what has become widely accepted as a world-wide event taking place for a seven year period or even a three and a half year period, such as the theme is in the popular “Left Behind” series. However, Gabriel does mention an “overspreading of abomination” and the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Daniel 9:25 – Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And He shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations He shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Verses 26 and 27 are where the popular “Seven Year Tribulation” theology takes off by the insertion of an antichrist world leader. This is done by interpreting the “prince” which “shall come [and] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” as the antichrist. By doing so it has become widely accepted that the antichrist is the same “he” in verse 27 who “shall confirm the covenant.” However, those holding to this interpretation are obligated to contort the phrase “confirming the covenant” into “making a peace treaty” with Israel.

This “peace treaty” will supposedly introduce a temporary solution which brings an end to Israel’s Middle East crisis. There are two problems with this interpretation. First, “make a treaty” and “confirm the covenant” do not mean the same thing. For to “make a treaty” means one is being introduced; while “confirming the covenant” implies reinforcing what has already been established. Second, there are many more Arabs killing Arabs than there are Arabs and Jews killing each other. Grant it, Israel without a doubt is in the heart of the Middle East Crisis, but Israel’s existence is not the sole cause of the instability in the Middle East; sin is.

However, sometime before all this can happen, according to this popular theology it is asserted that a third Jewish temple MUST be rebuilt, and depending on whom you asked, either the Jews or the antichrist will then reinstitute animal sacrifices in it. Then, continuing with this theology, “in the midst of the week,” or after three and a half years into “The Seven Year Tribulation,” the antichrist breaks this theoretical treaty with the Israel and will then “cause the [reinstated] sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” This supposedly marks the beginning of the last three and a half years which will then usher in the worst part of “The Seven Year Tribulation.”

However, let it be clear to all reading that I do not embrace this interpretation as the truth, for Gabriel clearly states the “vision” is about the Jewish people, Israel, Jerusalem and their Messiah Jesus Christ; God manifested in the flesh. I do however recognize that “the prince that shall come [and] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” after Messiah the Prince has been “cut off” will be an altogether different prince than Messiah. For historically it cannot be denied that the Roman General Titus, son of the newly appointed Caesar Vespasian and thus truly a prince, came with his army and did exactly as the Angel Gabriel said. Why then Titus is so widely disregarded in the present day interpretation of these verses completely eludes me.

(Continued below)

(Note: This is  Chapter 15 of 21 from my book The Eighth Beast)

As was stated in Chapter 7, “after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Romans under Titus, both Israel as a nation and their religion of Judaism as defined and practiced under the stringent guidelines of the Levitical Law “was not.” From that time forward it was impossible for the Jews to lawfully offer sacrifices, for the priests were killed or dispersed and the priesthood record of genealogy forever lost, and the sanctuary, the altar and the Holy of holies with all its furniture were lost or destroyed.” I believe all this was the mercy of God in His judgment towards the Jews; destroying a dead system which sole purpose was to point them to Jesus Christ, but could by no means save them. Thus the destruction of the Temple, along with all that was mandatory under the Levitical Law pertaining to the performance of its prescribed sin-offerings, sacrifices and oblations, has left the Jews obligated to look elsewhere for their salvation to be wrought by God.

Because of these things I am persuaded the words “He shall make it desolate” refers to what Jesus’ prophesied regarding the destruction of the Temple. However, this destruction of the Temple was said to be “even until the consummation,” which is a most interesting word for the translators to have elected to use. For “consummation” can literally mean two different things, as its definition can imply either the act of completing, as in fulfilling something, or the bringing it to conclusion to be no more, which are polar opposites. This is why this Hebrew word that was so translated “consummation,” has been translated in other parts of scripture to signify “a full end.”

Jeremiah 46:28 – Fear thou not, O Jacob my servant, saith the LORD: for I am with thee; for I will make a full end of all the nations whither I have driven thee: but I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.

Ezekiel 11:13 – And it came to pass, when I prophesied, that Pelatiah the son of Benaiah died. Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord GOD! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?

Clearly we can see that this word can be used to imply “to utterly destroy so as never to arise again.” This is verified by Nahum’s use of the word below where it was translated “an utter end.”

Nahum 1:2 – God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies. 3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. 4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5 The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him. 7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him. 8 But with an overrunning flood He will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue His enemies. 9 What do ye imagine against the LORD? He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.

Since the Hebrew word in Daniel’s vision which was translated “consummation” has elsewhere been translated a “full end” and “an utter end” to imply never to rise again, then what are we to believe regarding the destruction of the Temple which was obviously brought to “a full” and “utter end?” Ignoring all the religious chatter of religious zealots out there, the question of whether the temple will or will not be rebuilt can only be truly answered by the scriptures and not popular opinion or the goal of men.

There are two main reasons why many people believe a third temple will be built again. One reason would be because of Ezekiel’s Temple which many believers holding to the popular theology insist must be a “Third Temple.” Many of these believers confidently state that there has been no temple ever built with its descriptive size. However, Adam Clarke writes, “This is the measurement of the sanctuary, or holy of holies. This also was the exact measurement of Solomon’s Temple, see I Kings 6:20. This, and the other resemblances here, sufficiently prove that Ezekiel’s temple and that of Solomon were on the same plan; and that the latter temple was intended to be an exact resemblance of the former.”

Likewise, the commentary of Jamieson – Fausset – Brown and that of Patrick – Lowth – Whitby – Lowman, both acknowledge the dimensions of Ezekiel’s temple comparable with those of Solomon’s Temple which was destroyed fourteen years prior to Ezekiel’s vision. Regarding this issue of the temple’s size I cannot speak authoritatively. Nevertheless, there is much discord among believers who clearly have given exhaustive time endeavoring to substantiate their positions on whether Ezekiel’s temple was intended to be literally rebuilt or if it was intended to spiritually represent the Body of Christ of which the believers are said to be its “lively stones.”

Ephesians 2:21 – In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

I Peter 2:5 – Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 3:6 – But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house [temple] are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.

Since Ezekiel speaks of animal sacrifices occurring in this temple, I fail to see how that could be acceptable to God in the present Christian Age, for scripture clearly reveals to us such sacrifices were but prophetic types and shadows of Christ’s sacrificial death pointing to that which was “to come.”

Colossians 2:17 – Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Hebrew 10:1 – For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure.

Plus, in light of 1st Peter 2:5 mention earlier, it is evident that the believers are now that “holy priesthood… [who] offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Which would seem to be in disparity with Ezekiel’s reference to “the keepers of the charge of the altar: these are the sons of Zadok among the sons of Levi, which come near to the LORD to minister unto Him.”

Thus when considering whether God would once again permit animal sacrifices to be reinstated and routinely offered as holy offerings unto Him, the concept to many believers seems to be a radical change of direction; a going backwards towards death and not forward towards life. Such a change would appear presently to only detract from the present glory that has been wonderfully revealed in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 9:28 – So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

Hebrews 10:10 – By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Christ was offered to bear the sins of many, once, and for all; that is for all sin, for all mankind, for all eternity. Providing atonement and redemption for all that would confess all their sins and repent by turning from all their wicked ways and calling upon the Lord in broken surrender and humility. But for those who refuse, the Lord is coming “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him,” (Jude 1:15). This is the sure promise and judgment of the New Covenant; for scripture clearly states regarding the Old Covenant which was adjoined to the last temple with all its sacrifices, oblations and priests of men, “In that He saith, A new covenant He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” Yet there are still those who adamantly insist a third temple must be constructed, even if it is later in the millennium; though that too disagrees with scripture.

Revelation 21:22 – And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

Regretfully concerning Ezekiel’s Temple, I cannot speak with any more certainty or conviction about it except to say I do not believe it will ever literally be built as the anticipated “third temple” for the reasons mentioned and others to be addressed shortly. However, when examining the amount disagreement that exists regarding the subject, I get the sense it is a winding mystery which the Lord has not called me to solve or untangle. It is best to wait on the Lord till He sheds the light necessary to make apparent the things He has concealed.

The other main reason why people believe the Temple must be built again is because of the temple reference regarding “the man of sin… the son of perdition,” which we discussed in Chapter 2.

II Thessalonians 2:3 – Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

As was noted in Chapter 2, this temple Paul speaks of appears to be a reference to God’s people and not a structural building, as shown in an opinion which also was succinctly stated by Commentator Adam Clarke below.

“After the death of Christ the temple of Jerusalem is never called by the apostles the temple of God; and if at any time they make mention of the house or temple of God, they mean the Church in general, or every particular believer. Whoever will consult 1Co 3:16, 17; 2Co 6:16; 1Ti 3:15; Re 3:12; will want no examples to prove that, under the Gospel dispensation, the temple of God is the Church of Christ; and the man of sin sitting implies this ruling and presiding there; and sitting there as God implies his claiming Divine authority in things spiritual as well as temporal; and showing himself that he is God, implies his doing it with ostentation.”

Although there is much discussion and planning in the works about rebuilding a third temple, I remain persuaded it will never be allowed by God. For the force of scripture and history both testifies to God’s making a full and utter end of the Temple made with hands, and therefore it is my strong belief that together they serve as credible witnesses that He will never again allow it to be rebuilt. In fact, I have become strongly persuaded that this very belief now held by so many, that a third temple must be built, is actually being used by the adversary to cause many Christians to stumble by its serving as a false milestone or erroneous eschatological marker of the end times. Because of these theologies, I believe there are way too many procrastinating Christians nowadays who are looking for the fulfillment of such “prophetic signs” as indicators for when they are going to have to really “get serious with God.” The fact that there is indeed so much planning and preparations occurring these last days to rebuild a temple, only speaks to me of the shortness of time till the Lord returns to smite the nations and rule them with a rod of iron and tread them as in the winepress with the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. For surely if the adversary of God is promoting erroneous doctrines in these last days to which “believers” are looking and believe, he will surely endeavor to confirm them with rumors and the plans of fallen men as well as lying signs and wonders. But does that mean they are going to come to pass?

I Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Ephesians 5:30 – For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Doubtless, marriage is a covenant. As a matter of fact, it is the greatest of all forms of covenants that exist among humanity. For by marriage a husband and wife are to literally adorn the Doctrine of God our Savior. This we see in Titus chapter two where Paul speaks of the many roles in life where this doctrine can be adorn, husbands and wives, masters and servants, the young with their elders. We can especially see the adorning of this doctrine in the Fifth Commandment where we are all exhorted to honor our parents with the attached promise being given us of a long life; thus we as God’s children, if we honor Him through our faithfulness have the surety of His promise of eternal life.

Titus 2:4 – That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands… 10 …that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.

In marriage we witness the adorning of the doctrine of God our savior in that it was the male who was first created in the image of God in a position of dominion on earth similar to God’s own in heaven. When in a right relationship with God, a godly man will faithfully exemplify God in all his ways, whether in his own household or with his neighbors.

Since true love and commitment must be given of one’s free will, God designed His covenant so that all who have ears to hear will have the ability to choose whether to continue in their fallen shame or be reborn and restored as a light of His glory on earth. Thus when a man (male) humbles himself and by God’s grace yields himself to the holy precepts of God, he truly becomes the glory of God in the earth; his life is made new and increasingly begins affirming and reflecting both the righteous judgments and holy attributes of his God.

Similarly, the scriptures reveal that the substance for the woman was taken from man and perfectly made into a woman for the man; teaching us that by God’s royal design the woman should be to the man from which she was created, that which man was intended to be to God, His glory.

I Corinthians 11:7 – For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

(See article on above verse here “Because of the angels” )

Since woman was created for the man, when she chooses to align her life with those principles God established to guide her role as a wife, she becomes the glory of her husband. On the other hand, if she rejects God’s word and defies her husband’s authority as established by God, she will become a shame and hindrance unto him.

Proverbs 12:4 – A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.

Thus through prophetic action, when a woman is resolved in her heart to serve God by faithfully honoring her husband, she represents that part of humanity (the true church) which has settled it in their hearts and are resolved to fear God and keep His commandments. Through her godly relationship with her husband the righteous woman will literally reveal through her actions that personal relationship God desires each and every one of us to have with Him; for her life will literally preach the Gospel of God’s love. For the proof of our love is witnessed by our trust and submission. The result of such love will be true and total intimacy.

Concerning the man, although he was created in the image of God, even in the midst of a creation full of other living creatures, it was still acknowledged by God that man was “alone.” For this reason, the substance for the woman’s creation was taken from man’s own flesh and made into a living soul-mate for him. Thus through the covenant of marriage, man’s role is intended to imitate that of God’s, while the woman’s role imitates that of the church, the Bride of Christ.

It is evident that God could have created man and woman at the same time, for surely God foresaw all Adam’s needs. Rather in His infinite wisdom God intentionally created the man first, placing him in a position parallel to His own; with authority over his, (that is man’s) kingdom, yet alone with no suitable mate. God wanted Adam to be able to fully identify with Him, both positionally and emotionally; for even amongst all the angelic beings, God’s desire was for something even grandeur with which He would share both His image and glory. Thus, it was only after naming all those animals when Adam fully realized just how alone he was that God created Eve for Adam from that which was close to his heart. For it was man’s heart and not his strength that was incomplete.

Through this we can see that the creation of humanity was the result of a yearning of God’s heart for what we in our frailty might best understand as a bride, a suitable helper magnificently designed so as to share His glory with Him for all eternity. This is why the greatest commandment God has ever given is to love Him with all our heart, soul, strength, and the entire essence of our being. “Therefore” as both Adam prophesied and Paul wrote, “for this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (See post “Why God created us male and female“)

This becoming “one flesh” reflects the merging of two hearts and minds in an endeavor to live as one through the covenant of marriage. This covenant is consummated, sealed and confirmed by the intimate joining of a man and woman together through sexual intimacy. By Royal design the male and female bodies fit together as one, with the male (representing God) entering into the female (who represents humanity), face to face and heart to heart, as the man then imparts his seed into the woman and life springs forth. And so it is that God causes us to be “born again, not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”

And so it is more than thought-provoking, that in this vision the Angel Gabriel reveals to Daniel one who comes confirming a covenant and was then cut off. These points, each in their own measure, lend foundation to my conviction that this last “seventieth week of Daniel,” begins the period of time in which God tabernacled with men via the man Jesus Christ to “confirm the covenant with many.”

Summary

Two undisputable events transpire during this seventieth week according to the vision: first, is the beginning Messiah Jesus Christ comes and He is then “cut off, but not for Himself.”

John 12:27 – Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

John 18:37 – …To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

Ephesians 5:25 – …Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; 26 That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

The second event, and most likely a consequence of the first, is that the seventieth week is divided in half by a specific event that demands clarification, which we will look into in the next chapter, for “…in the midst of the week He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease…”

The events which transpire within the Seventieth Week led to the destruction of the Temple, bringing it to a full and utter end. However, that is not how the Holy Spirit led the translators to write it; rather they wrote “even until the consummation.” And so, wondrously, this phrase in the prophecy can actually have two layers of meanings that point to undeniable truths:

First, the last temporal prophetic temple that was made with men’s hands, was decaying, waxing old, and through its destruction vanished away. Just as the sacrifices and oblations, the Temple too, having fulfilled their purpose was brought to a full and utter end.

Hebrews 8:13 – In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

Second, when at the glorious consummation of the marriage of the Lamb, “then face to face” the Bride of Christ will intimately know her lover even as she is known.

I Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Hebrews 9:5 – And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament [or covenant], that by means of death [being cut off], for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise, [and the confirmation] of eternal inheritance.

(Continued below)

 

(Note: this is Chapter 16 of 21 from my book “The Eighth Beast” about America in Prophecy.)

What divides the 70th week is an event that causes the Temple sacrifice and oblation to cease. But how does this division happen? The popular theology teaches it occurs when the antichrist breaks the alleged treaty he supposedly will make with the Jews; he then forces them to cease their reinstated practice of animal sacrifices.

So once again I am asking you to please place all your theological persuasions safely upon the altar of God that you might be able to examine these things afresh. For what if all this is actually referencing to Jesus being “cut off,” pointing to His death and resurrection as something designed before the foundation of the world to be a confirmation of the surety and power of God’s covenant to His people?

Remember the angel stated six distinct things would be accomplished within the 70 weeks, listed again below for a quick review are numbers 2 and 3.

  1. To make an end of sins <Hebrew word, chatta’ah>. This does not mean an end to “sin” itself. For if that were the case, it would have been accomplished with the first, “finish the transgression.” For all sin is the transgression of God.

 I John 3:4 – Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

Rather this “end of sins” means an end of the sin-offerings. This our Lord Jesus did when He offered His spotless soul and body on the cross, once and for all, as a sin-offering sacrificed unto God upon behalf of all mankind. Thereby, Jesus caused the authority and mandate requiring the animal “sacrifice and oblation to cease” with His own self-sacrifice upon the cross.

  1. To make reconciliation, or “to make atonement” for iniquity; which Jesus did once and for all, by offering up Himself upon the cross and shedding His blood. As a result, the sacrifices, or the sin offerings <chatta’ah>, had become totally unnecessary. Subsequently, to continue offering them would cause one to prophetically “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and to put Him to an open shame,” (Hebrews 6:6).

By rejecting the atoning work of the true Lamb of God sacrifice and clinging to mere animal sacrifices, the Jews were now committing a grievous sin in the eyes of God. Though before Christ’s death these animal sacrifices were indeed lawful mandates, afterwards they became dead works by having already fulfilled their prophetic purpose. Therefore, by these sacrifices continuing to be offered, they literally became an “overspreading of abominations” which now served only to testify against the Jews for their rejection of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, as stated above, by defiantly offering these sacrifices the Jews were now guilty of prophetically “crucifying the Son of God afresh” and with each animal sacrifice they put “Him to an open shame.”

Hebrews 9:13 – For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Hebrews 10:4 – For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5 Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin Thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, (see all of Hebrews chapters 9 & 10).

Those sin-offerings commanded by God were holy prophetic actions, magnificently designed so as to proclaim that “mystery” which was planned from the foundation of the world, even the sacrificial death and resurrection of our blessed Lord and Savior.

Romans 16:25 – Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.

Galatians 3:23 – But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Colossians 1:26 – Even the mystery which hath been Hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.

However, those sin-offerings could only proclaim the “mystery” while the Ceremonial Law was alive, but once it died, these sin-offerings became a witness of their condemnation by proving the Jews’ complete rejection of God’s only provision for their reconciliation.

Romans 7:1 – Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?  2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.  5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Hebrews 6:1 – Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this will we do, if God permit.

So the witness of scripture confirms that because Jesus Christ died and had risen again, He had “caused the sacrifice and oblations to cease,” as they were no longer required.  Yet by the Jews continuing to offer these “dead works,” these sacrifices became an “overspreading of abominations” for which “He,” that is God, “shall make it [the Temple] desolate, even until the consummation [the end] and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”

Desolations are Determined

Matthew 23:36 – Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 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! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. 39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Matthew 24:2 – And Jesus said to them, Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone on another that shall not be thrown down.

Clearly it was the Lord’s earnest desire to gather His people unto Himself, but they “would not.” Therefore, it was inevitable that His judgment would fall upon them. Below are other accounts in the Gospels pertaining to the fate of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Matthew 24:15 – When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

Mark 13:14 – But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

Luke 21:20 – And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

It is common knowledge that Rome did indeed destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple, as well as eradicated the whole geographical and sovereign nation of Israel with its physical boundaries. However, most Christians nowadays have no comprehensive historical knowledge of those events which occurred within Jerusalem and the Temple just prior this desolation. The fact that God was the author of this destruction can be witnessed to in that the author of Hebrews warned the Jewish believers before Jerusalem and the Temple was laid waste and burned that it was in fact getting “ready to vanish away.” Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul also warned that the Jews would enjoy a deceptive time of “peace and safety” just prior to this destruction.

Hebrews 8:13 – In that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. 9:1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

I Thessalonians 3 – For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

In confirmation to the surety of Paul’s prophetic words, the Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus recorded that it was a time of “peace and prosperity” in Jerusalem just “four years” prior to it being encompassed by the Roman army. Mind you that the Jews would often count part of a day, month or year as a numerical whole in their reckoning and thus it may have actually been around three and a half years “before the war began.”  Furthermore, there was a man, a prophet of sorts who also was named Jesus that entered Jerusalem in those days and began to wail and cry out persistently of its imminent destruction.

Josephus WARS Book 6 – Chap 5 – para 3

Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our custom for everyone to make tabernacles to God in the temple, began on a sudden to cry aloud, “A voice from the east, a voice from the west, A VOICE FROM THE FOUR WINDS, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against this whole people!” This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city.

 However, certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did not he either say any thing for himself, or any thing peculiar to those that chastised him, but still went on with the same words which he cried before. Hereupon our rulers, supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man, brought him to the Roman procurator, where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare; yet he did not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears, but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was, “Woe, woe to Jerusalem!”

And when Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him, Who he was? and whence he came? and why he uttered such words? he made no manner of reply to what he said, but still did not leave off his melancholy ditty, till Albinus took him to be a madman, and dismissed him. Now, during all the time that passed before the war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens, nor was seen by them while he said so; but he every day uttered these lamentable words, as if it were his premeditated vow, “Woe, woe to Jerusalem!” Nor did he give ill words to any of those that beat him every day, nor good words to those that gave him food; but this was his reply to all men, and indeed no other than a melancholy presage of what was to come. This cry of his was the loudest at the festivals; and he continued this ditty for seven years and five months, without growing hoarse, or being tired therewith, until the very time that he saw his presage in earnest fulfilled in our siege, when it ceased; for as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, “Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!” And just as he added at the last, “Woe, woe to myself also!” there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages he gave up the ghost.

Jerusalem, having been encompassed by the Romans, fell into the greatest turmoil within her walls. For the Jews were divided as to what should be done to remedy their desperate condition being under Roman siege. For though they had rejected the Lord Jesus as the Christ, they knew it was a truth when He stated that should a house be divided against itself, it would not stand. Yet within Jerusalem’s walls three factions were warring viciously against each other, killing far more of each other than did the Romans.

Josephus – Wars Book 5 – Chap.1 – para. 1

THE SEDITIONS AT JERUSALEM AND WHAT TERRIBLE MISERIES AFFLICTED THE CITY BY THEIR MEANS;

    1. WHEN therefore Titus had marched over that desert which lies between Egypt and Syria, in the manner forementioned, he came to Cesarea, having resolved to set his forces in order at that place, before he began the war. Nay, indeed, while he was assisting his father at Alexandria, in settling that government which had been newly conferred upon them by God, it so happened that the sedition at Jerusalem was revived, and parted into three factions, and that one faction fought against the other; which partition in such evil cases may be said to be a good thing, and the effect of Divine justice. Now as to the attack the zealots made upon the people, and which I esteem the beginning of the city’s destruction, it hath been already explained after an accurate manner; as also whence it arose, and to how great a mischief it was increased. But for the present sedition, one should not mistake if he called it a sedition begotten by another sedition, and to be like a wild beast grown mad, which, for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.
    2. For Eleazar, the son of Simon [leader of one fraction], who made the first separation of the zealots from the people, and made them retire into the temple, appeared very angry at John’s insolent attempts, which he made everyday upon the people; for this man [John, a leader of another fraction, son of a certain man whose name was Levi, that drew them into this rebellion, and encouraged them in it] never left off murdering; but the truth was, that he could not bear to submit to a tyrant who set up after him. So he being desirous of gaining the entire power and dominion to himself, revolted from John, and took to his assistance Judas the son of Chelcias, and Simon the son of Ezron [a leader of the remaining fraction], who were among the men of greatest power. There was also with him Hezekiah, the son of Chobar, a person of eminence. Each of these were followed by a great many of the zealots; these seized upon the inner court of the temple and laid their arms upon the holy gates, and over the holy fronts of that court. And because they had plenty of provisions, they were of good courage, for there was a great abundance of what was consecrated to sacred uses, and they scrupled not the making use of them; yet were they afraid, on account of their small number; and when they had laid up their arms there, they did not stir from the place they were in. Now as to John, what advantage he had above Eleazar in the multitude of his followers, the like disadvantage he had in the situation he was in, since he had his enemies over his head; and as he could not make any assault upon them without some terror, so was his anger too great to let them be at rest; nay, although he suffered more mischief from Eleazar and his party than he could inflict upon them, yet would he not leave off assaulting them, insomuch that there were continual sallies made one against another, as well as darts thrown at one another, and the temple was defiled everywhere with murders.

With these three fractions fighting against each other, and Eleazar and his party using the Temple as a strategic base of operations, these events caused many of the pious citizens and strangers who were still desirous to make sacrifices and offerings unto God to fall victims to Jerusalem’s internal strife. Therefore, when one carefully examines these horrors which occurred during the siege of Jerusalem, the following words of Jesus begin to ring piercingly loud with prophetic clarity.

Luke 13:1 – There were present at that season some that told Him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Josephus’ record of the fall of Israel with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple is worthy of a thorough read by all professing believers. For in it they might learn to truly fear God and fervently pray His grace be not frustrated in their lives lest He remove His protective presence and forbearing mercies. For these rebellious murderers who were now polluting His house were the very people to whom He had committed His oracles, that they might be faithful stewards and lights unto a world that knew not God. A people He had called by His name to be shining witnesses that their God was the true and Living One, “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.”

However, to present the whole of Josephus’ record of these things is not practical. Therefore, I will share only a few more brief parts to convey the severity of men’s plight when God abandons them for their persistent rebellion against Him. For God had forewarned them that if they forsook Him and continued rejecting His pleas that He would turn against them and drive them out of His land.

Deuteronomy 28:63 – And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Matthew 21:42 – Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Josephus – Wars Book 5 – Chap.1 – para. 3

  1. But now the tyrant Simon, the son of Gioras, whom the people had invited in, out of the hopes they had of his assistance in the great distresses they were in, having in his power the upper city, and a great part of the lower, did now make more vehement assaults upon John and his party, because they were fought against from above also; yet was he beneath their situation when he attacked them, as they were beneath the attacks of the others above them. Whereby it came to pass that John did both receive and inflict great damage, and that easily, as he was fought against on both sides; and the same advantage that Eleazar and his party had over him, since he was beneath them, the same advantage had he, by his higher situation, over Simon. On which account he easily repelled the attacks that were made from beneath, by the weapons thrown from their hands only; but was obliged to repel those that threw their darts from the temple above him, by his engines of war; for he had such engines as threw darts, and javelins, and stones, and that in no small number, by which he did not only defend himself from such as fought against him, slew moreover many of the priests, as they were about their sacred ministrations. For notwithstanding these men were mad with all sorts of impiety, yet did they still admit those that desired to offer their sacrifices, although they took care to search the people of their own country beforehand, and both suspected and watched them; while they were not so much afraid of strangers, who, although they had gotten leave of them, how cruel soever they were, to come into that court, were yet often destroyed by this sedition; for those darts that were thrown by the engines came with that force, that they went over all the buildings, and reached as far as the altar, and the temple itself, and fell upon the priests, and those that were about the sacred offices; insomuch that many persons who came thither with great zeal from the ends of the earth, to offer sacrifices at this celebrated place, which was esteemed holy by all mankind, fell down before their own sacrifices themselves, and sprinkled that altar which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and Barbarians, with their own blood; till the dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of their own country, and those of profane persons with those of the priests, and the blood of all sorts of dead carcasses stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves. And now, “O must wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy intestine hatred! ‘For thou couldst be no longer a place fit for God, nor couldst thou long continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulcher for the bodies of thy own people, and hadst made the holy house itself a burying-place in this civil war of thine. Yet mayst thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction.

Josephus – Wars Book 5 – Chap.1 – para. 5

  1. They agreed in nothing but this, to kill those that were innocent. The noise also of those that were fighting was incessant, both by day and by night; but the lamentations of those that mourned exceeded the other; nor was there ever any occasion for them to leave off their lamentations, because their calamities came perpetually one upon another, although the deep consternation they were in prevented their outward wailing; but being constrained by their fear to conceal their inward passions, they were inwardly tormented, without daring to open their lips in groans. Nor was any regard paid to those that were still alive, by their relations; nor was there any care taken of burial for those that were dead; the occasion of both which was this, that every one despaired of himself; for those that were not among the seditious had no great desires of any thing, as expecting for certain that they should very soon be destroyed; but for the seditious themselves, they fought against each other, while they trod upon the dead bodies as they lay heaped one upon another, and taking up a mad rage from those dead bodies that were under their feet, became the fiercer thereupon. They, moreover, were still inventing somewhat or other that was pernicious against themselves; and when they had resolved upon any thing, they executed it without mercy, and omitted no method of torment or of barbarity.

It is hard to believe those who God had called by His name had fallen into such horrid conditions and madness; engaging in constant fighting, but not against the Romans, but against their own countrymen. All this while a flood of abominations was being committed within the polluted Temple; this is the historic setting against which all Christians in America should prayerfully consider Josephus’ following words as he desperately pleads with his countrymen.

Josephus – Wars Book 6 – Chap.2 – para. 1

HOW TITUS PERSUADED JOSEPHUS TO EXHORT THE JEWS AGAIN [TO A SURRENDER]

“…I dare venture to promise that the Romans shall still forgive thee. And take notice that I, who make this exhortation to thee, am one of thine own nation; I, who am a Jew, do make this promise to thee. And it will become thee to consider who I am that give thee this counsel, and whence I am derived; for while I am alive I shall never be in such slavery, as to forego my own kindred, or forget the laws of our forefathers. Thou hast indignation at me again, and makest a clamor at me, and reproachest me; indeed I cannot deny but I am worthy of worse treatment than all this amounts to, because, in opposition to fate, I make this kind invitation to thee, and endeavor to force deliverance upon those whom God hath condemned. And who is there that does not know what the writings of the ancient prophets contain in them, – and particularly that oracle which is just now going to be fulfilled upon this miserable city? For they foretold that this city should be then taken when somebody shall begin the slaughter of his own countrymen. And are not both the city and the entire temple now full of the dead bodies of your countrymen? It is God, therefore, it is God himself who is bringing on this fire, to purge that city and temple by means of the Romans, and is going to pluck up this city, which is full of your pollutions.

Here we see the depths of sin into which a nation can fall when its people persistently frustrate God’s grace. Once noble men now reduced to brute beasts, behaving like savages towards their own countrymen. And yet, all that actually pales away in comparison to what else Josephus recorded. But first, be reminded of what Jesus said to these rebellious and stiff-necked Jews.

Matthew 24:19 – And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

Josephus – Wars Book 6 – Chap.3 – para. 3 & 4

ANOTHER DESCRIPTION OF THE

TERRIBLE FAMINE THAT WAS IN THE CITY

    1. Now of those that perished by famine in the city, the number was prodigious, and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable; for if so much as the shadow of any kind of food did any where appear, a war was commenced presently, and the dearest friends fell a fighting one with another about it, snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. Nor would men believe that those who were dying had no food, but the robbers would search them when they were expiring, lest any one should have concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeited dying; nay, these robbers gaped for want, and ran about stumbling and staggering along like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of the houses like drunken men; they would also, in the great distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or three times in one and the same day. Moreover, their hunger was so intolerable, that it obliged them to chew every thing, while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not touch, and endured to eat them; nor did they at length abstain from girdles and shoes; and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed: the very wisps of old hay became food to some; and some gathered up fibres, and sold a very small weight of them for four Attic [drachmae]. But why do I describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men in their eating inanimate things, while I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates, either among the Greeks or Barbarians . . .
    2. There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezob, which signifies the house of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon, such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. This put the poor woman into a very great passion, and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she east at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her; but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow, when also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself; nor did she consult with anything but with her passion and the necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing; and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, “O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.” As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and eat the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them, and withal uncovered what was left of her son. Hereupon they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight, when she said to them, “This is mine own son, and what hath been done was mine own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself! Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also.” After which those men went out trembling, being never so much aftrighted at any thing as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die, and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries.

Even before the Jews entered the Promise Land, God had warned them of these horrors into which sin would take them, but they would not listen.

Deuteronomy 28:53 – And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee: 54 So that the man that is tender among you, and very delicate, his eye shall be evil toward his brother, and toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the remnant of his children which he shall leave: 55 So that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat: because he hath nothing left him in the siege, and in the straitness, wherewith thine enemies shall distress thee in all thy gates. 56 The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, 57 And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly in the siege and straitness, wherewith thine enemy shall distress thee in thy gates.

All this happened because they refused to listen to God whose only desire was to do wondrous things for His people. Instead, history records how these abominations worked to bring the Temple to its full and utter end. These things were foretold by the Angel Gabriel and bear witness to the sure word of prophecy. Let’s end this chapter with another strong admonition delivered against the Jews of those very days, written in the New Testament before these things came to past.

Hebrews 2:1 – Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. 2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.

(Continued below)

Many people interpret the above as referring to a coming world leader many modern eschatology teachers are calling the Antichrist. To be straight forward and upfront in this post I want to let everyone know that I do not subscribe to that interpretation. After years of examining and re-examining these texts I have come to the persuasion that the adversary has attempted to high-jacked these verse to his own glory when they are in truth a testimony to the Lamb of God who alone worthy to receive glory and honor and power.

Revelation 4:11 – Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Revelation 5:12 – Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

If this “He” above in Daniel 9:27 is indeed referencing Jesus Christ, then this part of the verse is certainly the most advantageous to understand. Therefore, I will begin with the following three questions.

  1. What “covenant” was the Lord Jesus confirming?
  2. How did He confirm it; by word, deed, or both?
  3. If this seventieth week designated for “confirming the covenant” was divided by Jesus’ death which caused the previously Mosaic obligation of sacrifices and oblations to cease, then what about the remaining three and a half years? For from His baptism to His death, Jesus’ earthly ministry lasted only three and a half years?

Even if it is only a possibility that Jesus is this “He” in Daniel 9:27, then these are legitimate questions that need to be asked if we are honest in our search of the Truth. Plus, if Jesus is indeed this “He” then there will be biblical answers to all these questions that would require your prayerful consideration.

So let’s look at first question again, what is the “covenant” that Jesus was confirming? Answer, it is that promise of certainty of which righteous Job wrote the following.

Job 19:25 – For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: 26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: 27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

The covenant to which Job clings is the promise of a bodily resurrection; and not just Jesus’ resurrection, but all who love Him as well. Consequently, Jesus was constantly confirming this truth to His disciples.

Matthew 5:8 – Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

John 5:24 – 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… 26 For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; 27 And hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

John 6:39 – And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11:23 – Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?

John 14:19 – Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you.

This very covenant was revealed through the prophets of old and written in the scriptures; the very scriptures from which Jesus and the Apostles authoritatively preached the gospel.

Isaiah 25:8 – He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. 9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.

Isaiah 26:19 – Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

Ezekiel 37:12 – Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

Job 14:12 – So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. 13 O that Thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that Thou wouldest keep me secret, until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. 15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer Thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands.

Psalm 16:9 – Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in Thy presence is fulness of joy; at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Psalm 17:15 – As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness.

Hosea 13:14 – I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from Mine eyes.

These are the scriptures from which Paul was trained as a Pharisee. Therefore after his conversion, Paul would have continued with great authority confirming this covenant, boldly preaching the certainty of it through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Being the apostle to the Gentiles, we can see in Paul’s epistles how he was constantly confirming to all men that this covenant was not only to Jews, but to all who loved the Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:5 – For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.

I Corinthians 6:14 – And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by His own power.

I Corinthians 13:12 – For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

I Corinthians 15:12 – Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.

II Corinthians 4:13 – We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; 14 Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.

II Corinthians 5:1 – For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.

Philippians 3:10 – That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Likewise, the Apostle John also faithfully confirms the certainty of God’s covenant of a resurrection of the saints in his open thesis on the deity of Jesus as the Christ.

1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.

Now the second question put forth at the beginning of this post was how did Jesus confirm the covenant of a literal resurrection? By word, deed, or both? Not only did He confirm the covenant in word, but with His own bodily resurrection as well. For by His resurrection Jesus Christ proved that not only did He have the power to raise Himself from the dead, but others too.

Matthew 27:52 – And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

John 20:25 – The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God!

Romans 1:4 – And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

The Spirit of Christ Which Was In Them

Daniel 9:24 – Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

Now if Jesus “confirmed the covenant” in the Holy City to the Jews, both by His preaching and His bodily resurrection, then the last question that needs to be answered is where are the remaining three and a half years of the seventieth week whereby the week shall be completed with His confirming the covenant with many? Since the “seventy weeks” of the prophecy “are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy,” I believe the final three and a half years will be fulfilled through the ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation 11 ministering to the Jewish people in Jerusalem.

Just like the prophets of old, Jesus and the apostles, so will these two witnesses continue to confirm the covenant of God to the descendants of Abraham in the last days by testifying that Jesus was indeed their promised Messiah the Prince. “And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them.” Showing us that just as the devil has stirred up wicked men all throughout history to murder the righteous, so too will these two witnesses eventually be killed. Then in a vain attempt to finally discredit the declared “myth” of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, their bodies are left unburied in the open streets for three and a half days.

Revelation 11:3 – And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth… 7 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. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

Surely by now some are hard pressed to ask how these two witnesses could be the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27. After all, “He,” meaning Jesus, is the one who confirms the covenant. So wouldn’t Jesus need to be the one preaching if He is the one confirming? The answer would be an absolute yes. But for clarity I must first direct you once more to a few verses I hope you are getting very familiar with.

Hebrew 1:1 – God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds.

Note the words in bold type, “God, spoke, by the prophets, by His Son.” Let’s continue.

II Peter 1:21 – For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Again we see it was “God” who “spoke, by the prophets” in Hebrews 1:1-2, and is again speaking by “holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Same God, same prophets and the same Spirit.  Again, let’s continue;

I Peter 1:10 – Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

The “prophets” through which “God spoke” as they “were moved by the Holy Ghost,” were only speaking what “the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.”

Such is why Paul made his statement to the Galatians, that as a minister of the Gospel he was crucified with Christ and thus Christ lives in and through him. But Paul doesn’t stop with applying this principle only to himself, for later he stresses how this principle applies to all who are Christ’s. For if we are truly “in Christ Jesus,” it is only because His Spirit lives in us; and if we are ever to truly be ministering life through the Gospel, it is because Christ is ministering it through us.

Galatians 2:20 – I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 5:24 – And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

For this reason, Paul testified to both the Thessalonians and the Corinthians that what he preached unto them was not merely the word of a man, but rather the word of God. For what Paul had spoken was through the leading of the Spirit of Christ within him.

I Thessalonians 2:13 – For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

II Corinthians 13:3 – Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. 4 For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Below is another passage further establishes this truth that it was Jesus Christ, who by His Spirit was ministering through the prophets of old. Unfortunately, it is also a passage that has been greatly misunderstood by many throughout the centuries. Sadly, this confusion has given way for many erroneous teachings to creep into the church about Jesus, His death, and the completeness of the work of the cross.

I Peter 3:18 – For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

The “popular” understanding of this verse is that after He died, Jesus went to hell and preached to the souls there; and all those that believed were therefore set free. Added to this are other false assertions such as Jesus had to die spiritually, taste hell itself, and be born again in order to defeat the devil on his ground so that He could take back the keys of death and hell. All of which are false.

Many believers raised in traditional churches assume these beliefs to be credible because they lack an understanding of the scriptures and the Nicene or Apostles’ Creed they may have been compelled to memorize. For when it states that Jesus was “crucified, buried, descended into hell and rose again the third day,” they assume it means Jesus literally went to hell, the place prepared for the angels that had sinned. However, this reference to the death, burial, and resurrection which is a true tenet of the Christian faith actually refers to Jesus’ body being crucified, prepared for burial, and placed in the grave for three days after which He resurrected.

Psalms 16:10 – For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

This psalm is speaking about the body of Jesus not being left in the grave to decay, or “see corruption.” It is not speaking about Jesus going into hell which was prepared for the devil and his angels. The word translated “hell” in English is the Hebrew word “sheol” which was used sixty-five times in the Old Testament; thirty-three times implying the “grave” and thus translated.

Oddly, many people falsely believe that Hell is the headquarters of Lucifer, when actually it is a prison made for the fallen angels and those who imitate their lawlessness. For when Jesus cast out demons out of the possessed Gadarenes man, they were terrified of hell and fearfully inquired if He had come to torment them before their time by sending them there.

Matthew 8:29 – And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with Thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art Thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Except for those fallen angels which were long ago cast down for their particular sins and are already bound in chains of darkness in Tartarus, the remaining principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world are still loose and share the sentiments of demons having a fear for the torment of hell, for they know this prison was created for them.

II Peter 2:4 – …God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.

(Sadly, many are completely ignorant of the extent of the various rebellions and sins of these fallen angels, a subject far too vast to cover here. I would simply recommend two books on the subject which are available online in PDF format for those interested. The first would be “The Fallen Angels and the Heroes of Mythology” by Rev. John Fleming, A.B., published in 1879. The second would be “Earth’s Earliest Ages” by G.H. Pember, published 1889.)

Since Jesus created all things it would be foolish to assume He needed to go to hell in order to get the keys of death and hell, for He has always possessed them.

Psalms 68:20 – He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.

Revelation 1:18 – I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

One only needs to listen carefully to what Jesus is saying to correctly discern what He is not saying. For many have become so affixed by popular theology that they can only read the Holy Scriptures in the light of the theology they were taught: rather than proving their theology by the light of the scriptures.  For in Revelation 1:18, Jesus clearly says “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” That is because once again to “confirm the covenant” He tells us that it is He who has “the keys of hell [meaning the grave] and death.”  After His death, Jesus ripped the veil of the Temple in two and “the graves were opened.” However, it was not until after His resurrection that “many bodies of the saints… came out of the graves… and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

Matthew 27:50 – Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Ezekiel 37:12 – Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O My people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put My spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

While there are conflicting opinions on just who those saints were that “came out of the graves… and went into the holy city and appeared unto many,” I do not believe they were the old patriarchal saints. The scripture plainly states that “many bodies of the saints which slept arose,” making it evident that not all of “the saints which slept arose.” Thus, I am persuaded these were probably saints who had recently died; for the patriarchal saints would not have been known by their appearance as there were no photos of them whereby the townspeople would have readily recognized them. Rather these were saints who like Lazarus were brought back to life in their mortal bodies. Incontestably, Jesus was the “firstfruits from the dead,” which means that all those who have died in faith are still awaiting the fulfillment of the covenant to be resurrected with their own glorified, immortal bodies at His return.

Hebrews 11:39 – And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

So let’s look afresh once more at that greatly misunderstood passage in I Peter and see if we cannot properly discern the apostle’s meaning.

I Peter 3:18 – For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

First it is clear how Jesus suffered and “was put to death in the flesh,” but was then “quicken by the Spirit.” That phrase means His body was not resurrected by the power of that earthen vessel of humanity, rather by the Spirit of Christ that dwelt within. Paul had stated virtually the same thing in his Epistle to the Romans, which again can also be viewed as “confirming the covenant.”

Romans 8:11 – But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Next, notice how in I Peter 3:18 Peter stated “by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison.”  What Peter is saying is that it was by the Spirit that Jesus once went and preached to the spirits in prison and not in His bodily form. This reveals that it was not Jesus the “Son of man” which went somewhere and preached, but rather the Spirit of Christ.”

Also, unless we pay careful attention to just whose “spirits” these are that are “in prison,” then like so many others have we too will run the risk of jumping to all sorts of erroneous conclusions; which is completely unnecessary since Peter clearly states who they are. These are the spirits of those “which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

Therefore, these spirits are not all the lost souls of humanity which died from the time of Adam to Christ; rather these are only the spirits of those who were alive during those the days “while the ark was a preparing.” This is an excellent example of how we must be careful not to apply content beyond what is written to the scriptures. So why then does it say it was Christ who preached to those souls which were alive in those last days of Noah while the ark was being built? Perhaps it will help to review what Peter said earlier in the context of this very epistle.

I Peter 1:10 – Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

Not only was Noah a preacher of righteousness, he doubtlessly was one of these prophets Peter was referring to who preached by “the Spirit of Christ which was in” him. Thus it was Noah who preached unto them “which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah,” but the people rejected what the Spirit of Christ had preached to them through the Prophet Noah and therefore they perished; their bodies decayed and returned into the earth but their “spirits” are now “in prison.”

No, Peter wasn’t saying after Jesus died that He went to hell to preach, for anyone entering into hell and offering any hope to those spirits would immediately find everyone grasping at any possibility of escape. Rather, Peter was affirming the omnipotence of Christ, that though He was a man who suffered and died in the flesh, He was much more, He was a quickening Spirit in Noah through which He warned the world that then was to flee the wrath to come, of which only the few righteous were spared while the disobedient perished.

Thus we have a sound scriptural account of Jesus preaching before Israel was a nation or there was a Holy City of Jerusalem and Temple, even before the time of His own incarnation. Why then would we fail to believe that the Spirit of Christ will again be there in like power and authority via the Two Witnesses at the next coming end of the world which is now cresting our own horizon?

II Peter 3:5 – For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

These Two Witnesses will know exactly who they are; and by “the Spirit of Christ which is in them” they will testify in the last days how they are going be martyred and just like Jesus they too will be raised from the dead. Though their testimony will absolutely infuriate the world and most of the Jewish people, a remnant of the Jews will nonetheless believe and be watching, having been pierced in their hearts and convicted by the Sword of Truth. This remnant are those who will give glory unto God after the resurrection of these two witnesses once again confirms the covenant of God, perhaps for the very last time before the whole world.

Revelation 11:7 – 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. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. 11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The only way these Jews can give glory unto God is to honor the Son even as they honor the Father. Thus this remnant gives glory unto the Son as their Redeemer, Christ the Lord. This will be the in-grafting of the Jews back into the vine, resulting in the completion of the Angel Gabriel’s prophecy to Daniel by ushering in the fulfillment of the covenant, the resurrection of the dead.

Romans 11:15 – For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

Luke 13:35 – Behold, your house is left to you desolate. And truly I say to you, You will not see Me until it come when you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

In The Midst Of The Week

Lastly, one more reason why I believe that Daniel’s 9:27 reference to “in the midst of the week” refers to Jesus causing “the sacrifice and oblations to cease,” is because staying true to this verse, Jesus was crucified in the midst, or middle of the week, i.e. a millennial week.

Peter stated that when considering the coming of the Lord to be mindful of this one thing, that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years is as a day. This concept is not new, for many Jews believed that it would be six thousand years before Messiah would come and reign in the seventh millennial day, making as it were a millennial week. However, it was in the fourth and middle millennial day that Christ came and died and caused “the sacrifice and oblations to cease.”

II Peter 3:1 – This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: 2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. 5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Notice in addressing the subject of the promise of His coming Peter says he is writing to “stir up” their minds by way of remembrance, “that they may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets.” It must be recognized that it is in this context, focusing on the Lord’s return that Peter references that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” This phrase gives us the perfect key to properly understand what one of the prophets had written concerning both comings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hosea 5:9 – Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be. 10 The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out My wrath upon them like water. 11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment. 12 Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness. 13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound. 14 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. 15 I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me early.

In the above passage we see the obstinacy of the Jews towards the Lord at His first coming. The Holy Spirit testifying through Hosea that “The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound,” making reference those who move boundary stones seeking to lay claim to that which isn’t theirs. The fact that the Jews were trying to do this very thing to Jesus is witnessed in His parable against them concerning the keepers of the vineyard, where the wicked servant sought to kill the son of the landowner that they might steal his inheritance for their own.

Matthew 21:33 – Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: 34 And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. 35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. 36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37 But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. 38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. 39 And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. 40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto Him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard His parables, they perceived that He spake of them.

Therefore, just as Hosea had prophesied, Jesus became “as a lion and as a young lion to the house of Judah” and tore away the kingdom from them, bringing such desolation upon them that “none shall rescue him.” Hosea continued the prophecy saying “I will go and return to My place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek My face: in their affliction they will seek Me early.” Having gone through their affliction, and now like Daniel remembering that God’s judgments are foretold out of His earnest desire to show mercy, Hosea now gives prophetic voice to this remnant of Jews in the last days.

Hosea 6:1 – Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. 2 After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. 3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: His going forth is prepared as the morning; and He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

Thus by allowing Peter to stir up our minds “by way of remembrance, we too are made “mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets” and see how his reference to “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” provides the perfect key to what Hosea had written concerning both comings of the Lord. Therefore, we can see that the crucifixion when “Messiah the Prince… was cut off” and the “sacrifices and oblations ceased” all transpired on the fourth millennial day, which is “in the midst of the [millennial] week.”

However, this millennial week isn’t the only week where we find “Messiah the Prince… cut off” and the “sacrifices and oblations [having] ceased… in the midst of the week.” However, for centuries there has been much confusion among God’s people concerning the timeframe of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Certainly the different accounts of Jesus’ resurrection recorded in the Gospels don’t appear to offer help to the casual reader of God’s word, as each Gospel has its own list of various events which occurred around that glorious event.

The fact that these accounts each illustrate a different perspective of the resurrection story leaves many confused and thinking they are seeing contradictions in scripture. However, because all these different events are chronicled in God’s word assures us they all must be true. Perhaps, a good way to consider their seemingly different reports is to view them like transparent overlays, similar to the one’s used in medical books showing the skeleton, then the nerves and blood vessels, organs, muscular and finally the skin and hair. When this is done we discover the answer to the confusion is that there had to be multiple trips made to the tomb being recorded.

One of the important things to remember is that Jesus did not say He would be in the tomb for “three days,” He said it would be “three days and three nights.” Matthew clearly states the first trip was in the “end of the Sabbath as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week,” which is dusk, not sunrise. Dawn here means the actual beginning of the first day of the week, sunset and not sunrise, which would actually have been the middle of the biblical day. This dawn being like the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, of which there was no sunrise ushering in the Age of Aquarius.

Furthermore, the scriptures tell us it was after the Sabbath that the women purchase the spices, which John 19:31 reveals was actually a “high day.” What that means is that particular Sabbath was the first day of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread that began on the fifteenth day of the first month right after Passover; a work day and the fourteenth day of the month. During the Feast of Unleavened Bread both the first and seventh days are high Sabbath days, which would mean a weekly Sabbath would naturally always fall in between those two high-days. Thus scriptures accurately states that after the “high-day” Sabbath which followed Passover that the women went and bought the spices and spent the remainder of the day preparing them. Afterwards they then “rested according to the [Fourth] Commandment” which would be the following the weekly Sabbath which began at sunset.

According to Matthew it was “in the end” of this weekly Sabbath, as the sunset was ushering in the first day of the week, that the women went to “visit the tomb,” without any mention being made of their taking the spices since night was falling. That is when the angel of the Lord descended like lightning and the stone was rolled away and the angelic proclamation made “He has risen.”

Again, Jesus, having been crucified in the latter half of Passover, the 14th day, was placed into the tomb just before sunset as it “dawn toward” that “high day” Sabbath of the 15th. Remember, according to biblical accounting the beginning of every day is at the setting of the sun.

It was then after the 15th which was a high-day Sabbath that the women on the 16th day went and purchased the spices and prepared them. They then rested the 17th day which was the weekly Sabbath. It was here, “in the end” of the latter half of the 17th day, as the setting sun was getting ready to usher in the 18th day yet still prior to the arrival of the 1st day of the week, that the resurrection of Jesus scripturally occurred; just before the Sabbath sunset, and not Sunday’s sunrise. For after Jesus’ resurrection, the priests and guards franticly met throughout the night to forge the lie that the disciples came during the night and had stolen Jesus’ body… for come sunrise everyone in Jerusalem was going to hear that the body of Jesus was missing.

Thus Jesus was three full nights and three full days in the tomb just like He said He would be. Night and day of the 15th day of the month, night and day of the 16th day of the month, and night and day of the 17th day of the month; making it in the end of the weekly Sabbath when He rose just before sunset. Which means Jesus was crucified “in the midst of the week,” on a Wednesday and not on Friday according to the Catholic invention of Good Friday. All this is cover in more detail an older post titled “Trips to the Tomb.”

Summary

If these things have plausible credibility, then the whole seven-year tribulation message that has been taught and widely promoted by such fables as the “Left Behind” series needs to be reexamined to determine on what foundation of scripture does it stand or fall. Regardless, we as believers must be diligent to rightly discern the times and the seasons in which we are living and pray always that we may be found worthy to escape the wrath to come. Let us therefore give earnest heed to the words of our Savior and His apostle.

Luke 21:34 – And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.

II Thessalonians 1:5 – Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: 6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. 11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Continued below)

(Note: This is Chapter 18 of 21 of my book “The Eighth Beast” about America in Prophecy)

Is America missing in Prophecy?

This chapter was actually written many years ago as a stand-alone article. However, in light of all we have reviewed thus far, it is being included here in hopes it will now serve as a lasso to help pull together much of what we’ve covered to provide a solid answer to the question above and the one below.

We hear it all the time, “Isn’t it amazing that the scriptures are silent about America?” I once thought the same thing myself, but after prayerful re-examination of the history of America and scripture, I don’t believe that is true anymore. Therefore I submit the following for those open enough to examine for themselves whether or not America is mentioned in scripture. Though, I admit nowadays with the rising flood of endtime theologies, it is getting harder to convince most people that it is. As Mark Twain once said, “It is easier to fool someone than it is to convince them they have been fooled.” Likewise, it has been proven over and over again, that the greatest hindrance to people accepting the truth is a prejudice or presupposition to it before they fully hear a matter.

He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and a shame to him.” (Proverbs 18:13)

Please do not hastily jump to the wrong conclusion that I am anti-America. I simply believe that a holy and righteous God must deal with the sins of America the same way He would with any nation. The supporting information provided in this article is only a fraction of the information available and even this tends to be overwhelming for most people when first considering this concept.

Revelation 17:9 – And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Revelation chapters 13-19:4 speak of an end-time’s judgment of the LAST in a succession of empires. Though the chapter begins concentrating on a seven-headed beast, the primary focus is that last empire which the angel referred to as “The Eighth.”  In order to gain understanding of whom or what the eighth spiritual Babylon is, one must give heed to the clues given to John by the angel in chapter 17.

A critical clue concerning this succession of empires was given to John when he was told by the angel “the beast that was, and is not, yet is.” This clue reveals there would be an interruption in a succession of what could be called “spiritual Babylons” being represented by this seven headed beast; a time when this beast “was not” going to be represented in history by a literal country. However after an unstated duration of time, the beast would again briefly exist as the seventh head, (or seventh empire). Lastly, it would “rise up out of the sea” as that final and last beast (or empire) which would fulfill all these prophecies. Thus the whole imagery of a “seven headed beast” is designed specifically to expose that last, eighth, and final empire that “goeth into perdition,” or complete annihilation. (more…)

I am pleased to be able to share the following testimony from a follower and friend. For all who will humbly embrace God’s truths therein, it has the promise to be a life-changing blessing. To God be all the glory!

 A Testimony

I was thinking this morning about what it means to be who I am in Christ Jesus; and it occurred to me that first and foremost I am a woman. I cannot get around this very first point, that I am a woman which must mean it was His plan for me to be a woman… and so, now what?

Clearly, we are born into a sinful world, and by the time one begins to evaluate who they are, it becomes apparent to most that they are a lost soul. So naturally, our concept of ourselves is skewed and all haywire; we are a mess and have no “right” direction or plan for our lives. I know mine didn’t and that was painfully obvious. My life was a total mess, because I was both living it and viewing life itself through worldly eyes.  My life as a woman, was just not working according to my “own plan.” In fact, at best it was total chaos and comparable to a headache which nothing ever seemed to offer hope it ever getting better.

But once the Lord Jesus Christ got a hold on me, He began correcting my misconception of who I was, and He began by fashioning me into a godly wife. It was a true blessing that both my husband and I began seeking the Lord and following His Words of Life at the same time, and miraculously everything began to change in our lives; especially the relationship we were sharing in our marriage and the plans we had for our future.  The result was that I was no longer a trapped woman being controlled by worldly notions about how I should live and think. Rather, my eyes were now opened and I began seeing the glorious truth about who I was, and what I was supposed to be, in God’s eyes. Finally, I was recognizing God’s plan for us all through the light of His Word.

The first lesson I was struck by with that of my being a woman was the kind of wife I needed to be in regards to my relationship to my husband:

Ephesians 5:33 – Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

That verse became a new layer of foundation for our marriage, and it changed EVERYTHING in both of us. He truly “loves” me, and I always now endeavor to love him with the “respect” God’s word says a wife needs to both have and show.  We have been married now for 33 years, and I can say with all assurance that my husband, my marriage, and my home, together have all become a sanctuary.   Because of Jesus Christ, and the wisdom of His principles for a godly marriage, our relationship and home have been transformed into the only place in this world where I consistently find safety, comfort, love, trust, truth, and a holy satisfaction; because it is a place in which the Spirit of the Lord always resides.

My testimony is simple, for it is that my husband and I have both been transformed and are now growing together by acknowledging holy principles that began with the Lord’s desire and love for His Church; for the very concept of marriage was HIS creation. Therefore, if women would simply return to those foundational truths that work to change them into godly women and wives, and would faithfully submit to those godly principles, then their lives would have less stress and their marriages would make more sense than those relationships and marriages out in the world. I say this because God has truly honored our faithfulness so that the idea of me having to work outside the home has changed, instead God has allowed me to truly focus on raising my children, loving husband, and making this house a true home for our family.

Titus 2:3 – The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 – That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

By trusting the Lord and obeying His instruction, my husband and  I have truly become content. We now have something that would be hard to fully explain; as our home, marriage, and family have now become something truly sacred.  For me, to be a mom who is able to care for my own children means I don’t have to let the world have them now. Because I want the Lord to have them, and for them to trust, know, love, and serve the Lord, I rejoice that we were able to train them up in the ways of the Lord. What a blessing we did not accept the world’s lies and devil’s trap and leave our children exposed and subject to the deceptive ways of the world.

When we decided I would be a stay-at-home mom, our income went down to only my husband’s normally unpredictable self-employed income; which seemed a risk in itself. But God blessed us beyond measure, and that because together we made this choice in faith. Faith is the only way to come to God and to please Him, and because we exercised our faith, He has blessed us greatly.

In the beginning my husband was persuaded that we needed to have our marriage structured according to God’s word, and now he too feels great about everything God has done. His life has been changed and by God’s Spirit and grace he is becoming the man he is supposed to be in the Lord. For now, by exercising His faith in God’s word, he is now leading and providing for his family in the ways of God; and that now gives him the integrity and self-respect that is necessary for him as a man of God.  He truly loves me now and cares for me in a godly way, and I in return so love him.

With our children gone and married themselves, it is just my husband and I now; and so, we embark on a new phase of our lives together with the Lord. However, we both experientially know that faith works; for it is an amazing gift and godly concept that God has given us!  It made both of us complete in our marriage, as God so intended.  God knew the design would work for us, because it is the same design He made for His Church and Himself.

It often seems I don’t have adequate words to fully express how I feel today after walking this way, following those godly concepts for so many years in our marriage: it is as the Bible says, it is truly a mystery which is so deep that it is nearly incomprehensible.  God’s marriage plan, and the instructions for being a godly woman and wife is truly the only way to for a woman to be perfecting holiness… if only they will believe it and live it.

2 Ephesians 5:28 – So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

 

Hey Christian, how is it you do not know that forgiveness is not enough?

I know that people will be reacting to that statement; but if you are one of them, then perhaps you’ve never truly thought appropriately about it. Or perhaps you simply never bothered to ask God why, that is, for what purpose and end did He forgive you in the first place?

The answers that people will come up with are probably limitless, but just because you might come up with one doesn’t mean it’s correct. Especially in a time where most believers are living their lives by trying to be good people and doing what is right in their own eyes. However, that alone becomes an indictment against many of them, for we are clearly admonished in God’s word not to lean to our own understanding.

In truth, our lives as Christians are be governed by God’s word and Spirit. That’s because God’s Kingdom is actually a real government that has a King; and as King He instructed His followers to pray for His kingdom to come and His will to be done; here on earth just as it is done in heaven. But, just how is God’s will done in heaven, for honestly, don’t you think that is worth considering if you wish to understand how it is to be done here on earth? Haven’t you too noticed that the things people give no thought to are not exercised in their lives.

Now, I haven’t left the thought of forgiveness, I am just trying to first lay a little ground work to help clarify what is the purpose of forgiveness. What most don’t seem to appreciate is that the fundamental purpose of forgiveness is to get you immediate access into the government, or kingdom of God. By the way, as far as to how God’s will is done in heaven, it is without hesitation, reservation, and is exactly done as expressed with no adding or diminishing.

Deuteronomy 12:32 – What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

Proverbs 30:5 – Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. 6 Add not unto His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar.

Luke 4:4 – …It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”

Nonetheless, if you are indeed in a predicament like that of the thief on the cross next to Jesus, and you are able to discern that Jesus is truly Lord of heaven and earth, and you ask Him with one of your final weakening breaths that are becoming more difficult with each one, let alone the difficulty of pleading prayerfully with Jesus to please remember you as He takes His place in His Kingdom; then yes, His forgiveness to you at that point would surely be enough.

However, I don’t know, nor have I met, any professing Christians in that position. Rather, most Christians I encounter seem to be more like the man who for thirty eight years had an ailment whereby he was unable to walk and thus laid by the Pool of Bethesda hoping to get into the water when it was stirred by an angel to be healed, or perhaps like the woman taken in the act of adultery and brought by her accusers before Jesus to have her fate determined: “Do we stone her?”

Now, some of you might be thinking that neither of those people sound like you. If so, then your problem may be bigger than you believe. Many Christians don’t think they were really all that bad; but all sin is incapacitating because it results in the severing of one’s righteous relationship with God. Now before you go off with me with “Grace, grace, grace,” let me put your rebuttal on hold with a passage from Galatians, and as you consider it remember that Galatians is a book where grace is presented in its proper strength and purpose which is to save men from their sins.

Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Now as you consider that passage about God not being mocked, think about what Jesus said to the lame man and the woman caught in adultery; both of who found themselves truly at the mercy of others and in need of grace. Now, I want you to also recognize that it was the Savior of the World who was there, the very grace and power of God whereby all mankind might be healed, spared wrath, set free, and granted citizenship in His everlasting kingdom, and that they did indeed receive grace and strength in their time of need.

But what did Jesus say to them? Well, to the lame man Jesus is recorded as saying, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” And to the woman taken in the act of adultery, after her accusers were put to shame because they too were sinners, Jesus asked of her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, Lord.” To which then Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

Now, I hope that no one reading this far along would be so foolish as to think these words only apply to these people. Or that the admonition to the lame man, “lest a worse thing come upon you” would not apply also to the woman given the exhortation to “sin no more,” or that you would foolishly fail to take the exhortation yourself. For clearly, having both been healed and/or forgiven, they were given a new lease on life and a fresh opportunity to “go and sin no more.” And is that not also your profession as a Christian, that Jesus Christ has given to you a new lease on life, a fresh opportunity?

Nevertheless, I can still sense the protest rising up and the urge to state “But, all sin, and nobody is perfect.” So, what does one do with Jesus’ words to that man and woman? Or what does one do with the biblical commandment to “Be you perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect?” Or why was the Apostle John under the unction of the Holy Spirit recording for our admonition, “My little children, I write these things to you so that you do not sin?”

Now I do acknowledge that John did immediately continue with “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” But please note, that by writing “And if anyone sins…” that the apostle is not showing an expectancy that they are going to sin, otherwise he wouldn’t have used the “if” word; and such is why some translations chose the word “but” instead of “and,” i.e., “But if you sin…” In fact, John is writing for the expressed and clear purpose he states, that his readers would “not sin;” just as Jesus had said to these two people.

However, back to the original point, that forgiveness is not enough, unless of course your about to die on your cross next to the Savior. Rather there is a purpose for forgiveness, and as I stated above that it is “to get you immediate access into the government, or kingdom of God.” So, if you have been forgiven and, as you ought to have done, also surrendered to the King of kings and Lord of lords, then what are you supposed to be doing?

Well, the list can be well defining; such as working out one’s salvation, perfecting holiness with fear and trembling, making your calling an election sure, going into all the world proclaiming the Gospel, and “diligently” adding to your faith the seven attributes of Christ; which are virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.

Do you not know the warning given by the Apostle Peter, that if we are indeed lacking these attributes, it is simply because we are willfully near-sightedly blind and do not look afar off into eternity? Furthermore, he attests that those who are actively doing these things, and in whom these attributes are being established, that they are not failing to be “barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ;” and it is such that possess the promise that they need never stumble or fall, and “so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

But who can do all those things? Not I. But then again, even Jesus stated that “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself but what He sees the Father do. For whatever things He does, these also the Son does likewise.” Likewise, Jesus told us as well that “Without Me you can do nothing.” Therefore, as a Christian, one must “abide” in Him as He is the vine and you are but a branch, entirely dependent upon Him for your life and fruitfulness. One more thing, never forget that a true Christian’s profession is supposed to be “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Now, clearly, we cannot be fruitful Christians without Christ and His spirit dwelling in us. However, in the passage below there are three aspects in it that should help you understand my train of thought. First, we see our duty to God and, secondly, the only means whereby we can fulfill it, and thirdly, the end to which God is to be glorified in us.

1 Peter 1:22 – Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

We have the duty as citizens of God’s kingdom to be purifying our souls by obeying His truth. However, this is a work no one can do unless they have been forgiven and are working out their salvation by co-laboring with the Spirit of God in them, which was point two. Lastly, if we have fervent love one for another, having allowed His spirit to help us discern and obey the truth, then we can truly achieve a unity of faith, love and spirit. Is this not what Jesus prayed for?

John 17:19 – “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

Fortunately for us, we can read where Jesus reasoned with His disciples, saying that if our earthly fathers know how to give to their children the things they need when they ask for them, then “how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him? But you need to know that God’s spirit will not come into an unclean vessel, thus one must first be forgiven. Because forgiveness is the starting point with God; a point that required His giving us His “only begotten Son” that we might be adopted into His family and kingdom.

But, like I said in the beginning, forgiveness is not enough. Perhaps, the best scriptural evidences can be found in Matthew 12 and Luke 11; the latter being where Jesus assures His disciples that their “heavenly Father gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.” For there, Luke then shares how Jesus cast a demon out of an individual and gave everyone there a warning, as we see below.

Luke 11:13 – “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” 14 And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled… [Jesus said to the people] 24 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 “And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 “Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”

Now, there is a lot in this passage, as I jumped from verse 14 to 24. But clearly, when someone has a demon cast out of them, then the legal grounds for the demon being there has to be terminated. The only way for that to happen would be the same way the lame man was healed and the woman caught in adultery had her life spared; they had their sins forgiven. Both were told to go and sin no more, the man with the admonition “Lest a worse thing come upon you.” That means they were being required to now walk as faithful citizens of the Kingdom of God which would require their “obeying the truth through the Spirit.”

Please do not fail to understand what Jesus revealed to us in Matthew 12 and Luke 11. For Jesus shows how a demon, which had its lawful access to possession of a person in which they were abiding revoked (because they were forgiven), that when the demon returns to check (and they always do), that should they find the individual “empty, swept, and garnished,” then the same demon knows the person has fallen in sin by not keeping the truth; by not seeking the indwelling of God’s Spirit within. Thus, the demon goes and gets seven worse and they all return to take up a legal occupation once again. The latter end and fate of the person is worse than the beginning. Professing Christians need to give heed to the Apostle Peter –

2nd Peter 2:20 – For if, after they have clean escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

But who did Jesus say would have the greater damnation; was it the thieves, drunkards, fornicators, and murders? No, it was the religious hypocrites given to their spiritual pride, people who had false confidence in who they were because of their strong delusion; a judgment which God Himself said He would send to those who refuse to receive a love for the truth that they might truly be saved.

Don’t you think that both the lame man and the woman who was caught in adultery would have gladly received such grace from Jesus; the love or ability to commit their lives to Him as The Truth? Yet, many religious people will claim no accountability or responsibility for their salvation, rather boastfully assert that they are simply “saved by grace” and were forgiven for their sins. Such have no clue what grace truly is.

However, they are not heeding all the other commandments which Jesus and His apostles gave to the church; such as working out one’s salvation, perfecting holiness with fear and trembling, making your calling an election sure, going into all the world proclaiming the Gospel, adding to your faith the seven attributes of Christ.” In short, or perhaps, falling short, they are simply not obeying the Gospel.

Hebrews 4:1 –  Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith [or obedience] in them that heard it.

All would do well to take heed here, for in both Matthew 12 and Luke 11, Jesus is seen stating to everyone, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit.” That is something we are told to “make” or do. Because, as Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” And “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters,” for “blessed are those who hear the word of God and keeps it!”

Saving faith works by love and gratitude. Such faith works to please God because it compels one to come to God; whereby, He can then “save” the sinner from their sins, or sin nature. This God begins to do through the initial workings of His grace; by forgiving the sinner of their sins in order that He might then indwell them via His spirit to empower them to become partakers of His divine nature. This He can do, and will do, when one actively pursues those attributes of Christ and the fruits of the Spirit so they can be fully developed in them. For you must understand that when Jesus Christ comes, He is coming for a wife that has purposefully “made herself ready,” which Christians can do because He gave Himself for our sins that He might forgive us, fill us, and so empower us. All this that “He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Faith works by love, just as our faithful Savior out of love for the Father and us gave His life a ransom so He could forgive us, indwell us, and wholly sanctify us by the truth; spirit, soul, mind, and body.

My friends, I was halted from going to bed and obediently stayed; for I too have written this post for the same reason the Apostle John wrote his first Epistles,  to encourage you “that you sin not.” For forgiveness is not enough; you must go on to love and live for the King.

Note: This post is actually a response to a Brother who asked me to consider a perspective he was reasoning about 1st John 5:8 below. The following is my reply.

For there are three who bear witness, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and the three agree in one. (ASV)

I must say, I’m not sure you could have picked a more widely interpreted verse to endeavor to expound upon. To borrow a somewhat-paraphrase comment which is often used by commentator Adam Clarke, who regularly shares freely the views of other scholars along with his own, that I too am obliged to acknowledge that “When such learned men are not in agreement, who can boldly attest to their own being correct?” However, I will present my personal convictions, as well as how I personally share and reason these verses in 1st John with others.

First, I must present my perspective on John’s first epistle; in that it seems obvious that it isn’t a letter like his 2nd and 3rd epistles written to specific people. Rather, 1st John appears to written as a thesis presenting “The Doctrine of Christ” to the Church in general, as it such is referred to in Hebrews 6:1, as well as the righteous obligation of all in response to the foundation of their salvation in that God gave His only begotten Son for the atonement of their sins.

Hebrews 6:1 – Therefore, leaving the principles of the Doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.

This “Doctrine of Christ” isn’t a reference to the things which Jesus Christ Himself taught, as that would be in plural, i.e., doctrines/teachings. This reference being made by the Apostle Paul is clearly to a single “doctrine,” and that being the doctrine/teaching about Christ Jesus Himself, specifically defining both who and what He was .

The answer is He was the only begotten Son of God, who was 100% man and also 100% God, an earthen vessel of humanity that had the Spirit without measure, for in Him dwelt the fullness of divinity.

The reason Apostle John wrote this thesis was to warn the Church that even in his day there were “many false prophets [teachers which] are gone out into the world” that had “went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us. But they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

The apostle warns us that these false teachers are “antichrists,” because they were teaching what the Apostle Paul clearly said was “another Jesus, whom we have not preached,” and it was of “another spirit;” which in the context of Paul’s warning may have been in reference to an angel some may refer to as being sent to Christians to gain healing or power. This has been done by many throughout history, and we have the more recent false prophets such as Joseph Smith who founded Mormonism, and Todd Bentley with his angel “Emma.” Such nonsense is assuredly what the Apostle stated was “another gospel” that is false and therefore powerless to save men from their sins.

2nd Corinthians 11:4 – For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him.

The latter part of that verse is understood differently by some, as if Paul was berating the Corinthians (who he indeed acknowledge as being carnal believers) in that they would tolerate such false teachers, but I believe what he was asserting is that they would do well to continue with him, meaning Paul himself, who had laid the foundation by teaching them the Doctrine of Christ, for he immediately follow with asserting “For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.”

1st Corinthians 3:11 – For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Those false teachers in the apostles’ days were teaching all sorts of various heresies, such as, Jesus was not truly born, rather His birth was merely an illusion of sorts. Or, that He was just a regular man who at the time of His baptism had the Spirit of God come on Him and at that point He became the Christ, but not the God-man. There are volumes of heresies concerning Jesus Christ, such as the Jehovah Witnesses asserting that Jesus was the Archangel Michael who came into the world, a “mighty god,” but not the Almighty Jehovah; or even like New Agers who insist Jesus was but just one of many “ascended masters.”

However, the Apostle John is very clear that “Hereby know you the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof you have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” It is a very critical part of the Doctrine of Christ, that Jesus Christ was “born of a virgin” and had truly come in the flesh, as you referenced with Hebrews 2:14-17 below –

Hebrews 2:14 – Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

This is also why 1st John starts with “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life, (For the life was manifested [in the flesh], and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

It is noteworthy how both the Gospel of John and this epistle both start with the assertion of truth that Jesus Christ was from ‘the beginning” and was both “light” and “life” which became “flesh” and was “seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, …the Word of life.”

Concerning the “water and blood,” I personally believe they are simply referencing to His humanity in regards to both His birth and death. For the Apostle in his gospel quotes Jesus speaking to Nicodemus as saying, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” To which Nicodemus responds, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” (I know you know these verses, but for the sake of clarity I feel I should go through them.) For then Jesus responds with “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

However, I would also at this point like to make the assertion of scripture clear here that the being “born again,” while clearly being referencing to the spirit and not the flesh, that it is not insinuating that men are first born only in the flesh, and need a second birth of the spirit. No, but rather that all men when born, are indeed born both of flesh and spirit. However, at that age when they willfully and knowingly sin, and purposefully do that which they in truth know is not right for whatever self-serving reason, that at that point the Spirit of God departs from their spirit and they die spiritually, just as did Adam. At that point, they must be of the spirit “born AGAIN.”

For a scriptural foundation for this I will first use the Apostle John’s authority and testimony as an apostle, for he clearly states that Jesus was “the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world,” and “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

What exactly does that mean? Well, the word of God is clear that “The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD,” and when God’s Spirit is within that man, the man’s spirit is lit; and God’s Spirit then works to make that person a partaker of Christ divine nature by “searching all the inward parts of the [the man’s] belly,” (Proverbs 20:27).

Such is why scripture state that “The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.” Or as Job stated, “How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft comes their destruction upon them!” and, “Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle [think flesh/body – as how Peter referenced his own knowing “that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle”] and his [the wicked’s] candle shall be put out with him.” And another verse, “For there shall be no reward to the evil man, the candle of the wicked shall be put out.”

Plus, the Apostle Paul testifies he was spiritually alive before he sin both willfully and knowingly, for he says, “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came [to my understanding and I willfully chose to sin, then] sin revived [gained power], and I died. And the commandment, [just like the one “You shall not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die] which was ordained to [preserve] life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me.”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is indeed the law. For the law, when transgressed, declares that the transgressor is no longer guiltless before God, or compatible with God: for the transgressor has made a choice that is in disagreement with God and thus God in His righteousness and holiness must depart… and so the candle [spirit of man] is put out.

Amos 3:3 – Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Thus, that individual must be re-lit by the Life/Light of God who alone has immortality. Being “born AGAIN” is simply having one’s spirit/candle re-lit by having their spirit reunited with God’s Holy Spirit.

However, before that can happen, a person must confess their sins and repent; which is coming back into agreement with God that “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting [restoring] the soul, and the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.” That all “the statutes of the LORD are right, …the commandment of the LORD is pure,” and “The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever,” and “the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.”

Accordingly, by confessing one’s sin and their repenting, it is a returning of them back into agreement with all the above; and because Jesus was a partaker of our humanity, being in truth a “flesh and blood” man, His death and blood become the satisfaction of the Law that requires “death” as a reward for sin, and His shed blood becomes a propitiation/payment-in-full where by the sinners tabernacle/body can now be re-inhabited by God’s Spirit which joins Himself to man’s spirit/the candle of the Lord.

This is why the Doctrine of Christ teaches that Jesus came into the world when He was truly born of water (birth-process) and was indeed a 100% flesh and blood man.

Isaiah 7:14 – Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

Matthew 1:23 – Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Galatians 4:4 – But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

And that “Son,” that man child prophesied by God Himself to Eve at the very first sin and spiritual deaths, was in fact “The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Those who truly serve Him with a faith that works by love are looking “for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

However, as the Apostle John stated in 1st John 5:8, “the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, these three agree in one.” And to me, this agreement is not only a testimony of His birth, but of His death as well; for some has asserted Jesus did not truly die, and therefore never really resurrected. But when “one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His [Jesus’] side, forthwith came there out blood and water,” of which some say was fluid/water that had filled His lungs. However, I believe there is room to accept as true that due to his having been dead for hours at this time, that His blood had begun to coagulate and the plasma and red blood cells had already separated significantly; and therefore this “water and blood” was sovereignly openly revealed as a witness to prophecy and scripture; that God had given His Son’s life as a ransom for humanity’s sin.

This “water and blood” that flowed from Jesus’ side, be it specifically  what the Apostle John is referencing or not, nonetheless agrees with the Spirit and scripture that “Surely He had borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” for it “pleased the LORD to bruise Him,  for He had put Him to grief… [and made] His soul an offering for sin.” For, as a man, “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,” and surely “the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed [reconciled to God].”  All this because when we willfully chose to do what we truly knew was wrong, we died spiritually and became separated for God. Thus, because we “like sheep” willfully went “astray” and “we had turned everyone to his own way, the LORD had laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Because of our sins, He as a flesh and blood man willingly “was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He is [was] brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, and yet He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment” and “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” because He willingly gave His “back to the smiters, and” and His “cheeks to them that plucked off the hair,” nor did He hide His “face from shame and spitting.”

All this He did “for the joy that was set before Him” when He “endured the cross, despising the shame” all that He might bring “many sons [and daughters] unto glory” when He as a man, “the captain of their salvation,” was “made perfect through sufferings” and made perfect atonement for us. Thus, we are asked, “and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living, and for the transgression of My people was He stricken.”

Let me say as one of the redeemed of the Lord Jesus Christ, that I will declare His generation. I will testify of Him and His indwelling Spirit and Life, for this man, the man Jesus Christ, He died for my reconciliation, and I now live with my candle re-lit simply because He rose again and now lives in Me. I agreed and confessed I was a sinner and repented, and He has covenanted with me to make me a saint.

So, brother, is the “by water” a reference to Jesus coming as a cloud, either upon Mount Sinai or upon the Tabernacle, or as water out of the Rock (of which scriptures say He was the Rock, and not the water), perhaps. But I ask you this, is all that any greater, or meatier of truth, than God being manifested in the flesh, becoming lower than the angels, and giving Himself as a Lamb for our sins?

I think not. Glory in the cross my friend. For I live to testify it is all true, that He loved me and gave Himself for me, that as a man He willingly died in order to save me from my sins. So, with that, I leave you with two last verses –

Isaiah 57:15 – For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive [relight] the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

2 Corinthians 4:6 – For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Live for the Resurrected King of Glory!!

For it will make it easier to die for Him.

 

Note: audio files intend only to assist while reading along

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The opening of Apostle John’s gospel account of Jesus’ deity is a profound verse that confronts the reader immediately with the testimony that the historical Jesus of Nazareth was there “In the beginning… with God,” and then with incredible simplicity and clarity of speech affirms His deity absolutely, proclaiming “the Word was God.”

“How?” people often ask, “Can Jesus be with God and be God?” Good question, but just because something is a mystery doesn’t negate its reality, the mystery only attests to a lack understanding. Now the Jehovah Witnesses solved this problem simply by reinterpreting the verse to agree with their own theological misunderstanding of Jesus’ true identity –

“In [the] beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”

That’s their erroneous solution, admit “the Word” was “with God” and then just state that “the Word” was just another (little “g”) god. They explain this with verse 2 being translated to say “This one was in the beginning with God.” Their answer is simply that there were two gods at the beginning, the Almighty God Jehovah and then the lesser created “mighty god” Jesus. However, if Jesus was created, then His beginning would have to be separate from “the beginning,” which doesn’t really set well with their interpretation of the following verse –

All things came into existence through him and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.”

Are there two beginnings? Would not a created lesser god with such a beginning be part of “all things” that “came into existence?”

Now, before I quickly lose some readers because they think I am writing this article about Jehovah Witnesses, I’m not. This article is about John 1:1 and how through it the Holy Spirit reveals volumes of truth about “the gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began.” Therefore I hope many of you will continue to read this in its entirety.

My mentioning the Jehovah Witnesses’ erroneous explanation is simply to reveal how far they and so many others are removed from the truth when it comes to Jesus as being not only both Lord and Christ, but very God as well. For the Apostle Luke, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, testifies in his Gospel account that Jesus is not only Christ the Lord, but is also in fullness of truth the Lord’s Christ, the only “ONE LORD, ONE GOD” of scripture as taught and repeatedly affirmed by the Apostle Paul.

Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

However, before I specifically focus on John 1:1, I’m still compelled to briefly touch on a few other verses regarding Jesus deity and so encourage your patience a bit longer. Unless we understand the error so many like the Jehovah Witnesses make, we might leave the same avenue for deception in our own reasoning.  Like so many, they assert the distinction is undeniably true concerning Jehovah as being the Almighty God and Jesus being a lesser created “mighty god” by pointing to this verse in Isaiah –

9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Because Jehovah Witnesses cannot escape the fact Isaiah refers to Jesus as “the Mighty God,” they simply choose to dismiss it, rejecting any confirmation from the verse of Jesus being 100% God, solely on the grounds that Isaiah didn’t call Him “the Almighty God.” However, below are several scriptures where Jehovah (though translated “LORD” by several translators) is clearly referred to as “the mighty God.”

Deuteronomy 7:21 You shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD your God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.

Psalm 50:1 The mighty God, even the LORD, has spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.

Psalm 132:2 How he swore unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;

Psalm 132:5 Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.

Isaiah 10:21 The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God.

Jeremiah 32:18 You show lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompenses the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is His name,

Habakkuk 1:12 Are not You from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, You have ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, You have established them for correction.

On this particular subject, these verses provide good evidence why we shouldn’t take any verses and be interpreting them privately; meaning isolated and apart from other verses. Perhaps, even more difficult for the Jehovah Witnesses regarding this subject is Zechariah’s prophecy to Israel. Let’s look as how the Holy Spirit led him in this particular passage –

12:1 “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel,” says the LORD, “Which stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.”

Clearly this is Jehovah, the LORD speaking in the first person directly to Israel. Even the Jehovah Witnesses own New World Translation confirms this as accurately in this particular verse –

12:1 “The word of Jehovah concerning Israel,” is the utterance of Jehovah, the One who is stretching out [the] heavens and laying the foundation of [the] earth and forming the spirit of man inside him. 

In continuing to read Jehovah’s “burden of the word of the LORD for Israel,” we get down to verse 10 where, still speaking in the first person, Jehovah states, “and they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced.” That means it would be perfectly appropriate to interpret this verse “and they shall look upon Jehovah, whom they have pierced.”

However, the Jehovah Witnesses once again evade the truth by again interpreting the text as “and they will certainly look to the One whom they pierced.” Please note that theirs is an interpretation and not a translation, for there is no Hebrew word there for them to translate as “one.” Their dishonesty is further exposed when we see this same passage prophetically referenced in the Gospel of John once again being misinterpreted in their “translation”–

19:37 “And again, a different scripture says: ‘They will look to the one whom they pierced.'”

Even Google non-bias basic word for word translation software interprets Zechariah 12:10 with “looked at me” instead of “look to the one.”

“…the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplication, and looked at me, that which – stabbed…”

But when we compare Zechariah and John’s verses in other translations, we readily see the corruption in the Jehovah Witnesses’ interpretation.

King James Version-

Zec 12:10 …and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced,

John 19:37 …They shall look on him whom they pierced.

New King James Version-

Zec 12:10 …then they will look on Me whom they pierced.

John 19:37 “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

Modern King James Version-

Zec 12:10 And they shall look on Me whom they have pierced.

John 19: “They shall look upon [Him] whom they pierced.”

Revised Standard Version-

Zec 12:10 … when they look on him whom they have pierced,

John 19: “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.”

American Standard Version-

Zec 12:10 …and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced;

John 19:37  They shall look on him whom they pierced.

Darby Translation-

Zec 12:10 …and they shall look on me whom they pierced,

John 19:37  They shall look on him whom they pierced.

Young’s Literal Translation-

Zec 12:10  …And they have looked unto Me whom they pierced,

John 19:37 `They shall look to him whom they did pierce.’

World English Bible-

Zec 12:10 …and they will look to me whom they have pierced;

John 19:37 “They shall look on Him whom they have pierced.”

New International Version

Zec 12:10 They will look on me, the one they have pierced, 

John 19:37 …and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.

The fact that Jehovah Witnesses choose to make Jesus into another “god” is surprising when you examine the primary passages that Jehovah Witnesses point to as the authority of their great commission to go door to door. These verses leave them absolutely no theological room for their persistent assertion that Jesus, “the Word that was with God,” was merely another “god.” Let’s look at the first of these verses in their Jehovah Witnesses New World Translation-

Isaiah 43:10 “YOU are my witnesses,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “even my servant whom I have chosen, in order that YOU may know and have faith in me, and that YOU may understand that I am the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none.”

Here it is unmistakable that Jehovah plainly declares that He is “the same One. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none.” There are not two gods, Jehovah the Almighty God and Jesus the lesser mighty god. No, the great mystery hid from the foundations of the world is how they are in reality “the same One.” This truth slipped through the New World Translation again in their interpretation of John’s Gospel –

John 8:23 So he went on to say to them: “You are from the realms below; I am from the realms above. You are from this world; I am not from this world. 24 Therefore I said to you, you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am [he], you will die in your sins.

Jesus said, “For if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins.” So I ask, “He who?” We need not guess, for Jesus plainly tells us in just a few verses further down –

John 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am He, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

Our Lord Jesus Christ told them that when they “have lifted up the Son of man, then” they who know the sure word of prophecy given by Zechariah would understand what Jesus meant when he said  “I am he.” Because His crucifixion would be the fulfillment of the very event being prophesied by Zechariah, “…they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced.”  THIS is what God spoke through Isaiah –

43:10 You are My witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He: before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no savior. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore you are My witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. 13 Yea, before the day was I am He; and there is none that can deliver out of My hand: I will work, and who shall let it? …15 I am the LORD, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.

Notice what Jehovah, the LORD God, is saying here, “Before the day was I am He.” This again stands in perfect harmony with John account of “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So what does this all mean? And what beginning is the Holy Spirit referencing here? And how is it that the Word can be both “with” God and yet be God? That, my friends, is the focus of Part 2 below.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In part 1, at the end I asked these questions, “So what does this all mean? And what “beginning” is the Holy Spirit referencing here? Plus, exactly how can the Word be both with God and yet be God? Long ago I looked at this verse and ponder these questions and more. Certainly, each written word of this verse is deliberate and true, but exactly how and why they are true was outside the grasp of my meager ability to comprehend.  Nonetheless, I accepted their immediate and obvious implications as accurate, believing them to be the words of God which still needed to be firmly embraced by faith, even if I didn’t understand them.

Today, it is with earnest appreciation that I’m persuaded His Holy Spirit has graciously allowed, as it were, the very fingertips of my understanding to ever so lightly touch the certainty of these words, permitting an ever so-slight awareness of the magnitude of their significance. Consequently, I have been persuaded these words of truth are saturated with profound implications and consequence, of which there is rich evidence to the strength of their authority everywhere,  waiting to be acknowledged by the earnest seeker of Truth.

However, before I get too far into this post, there is a distinction between knowledge and understanding which I believe would be beneficial to briefly discuss first. Certainly there are a variety of things we each may have considerable knowledge of and yet still not possess a comparable understanding about. For an example, we know a vacuum cleaner needs to be plugged in and the switch in the on position if it is going to function and get the job done; but exactly “why” is there power in the wall outlet and “how” it was generated, or “what” exactly is going on inside the vacuum cleaner are simply not necessary pieces of information required by the user in order to get the floor clean.

But yet, what an incredible difference an understanding of how and why something works makes in one’s life. It is like turning on a light in a dark and undiscovered place. Suddenly hidden things become clear and we gain the ability to see further, and even to correctly discern and anticipate possibilities when we begin to understand the concepts of “how” and “why.” (more…)

Scriptural guidelines for the proper appointment of leadership for God’s people;
and the care and reverence required of the people for their overseers.

Let me first say that I understand time is short, and that we, as “the Church,” might not have time to fully return to the old paths that are so well defined in God’s word. Nevertheless, through the light of God’s word we can find the clarity we need to see our present failures and sins, be they by omission or commission. For only through His word can we find the needed conviction, which many have conveniently avoided, and hopefully humbly come to a true godly sorrow, find repentance, and be forgiven. For we all must own our mistakes if we are to recover ourselves by God’s grace from them so as to truly serve God according to His expressed will. Personally, I think a great deal of Christians and their churches out there desperately need to do such soul searching and repenting before the Lord Jesus returns.

Jeremiah 6:16 – Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

2 Corinthians 7:9 – Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

That said, please understand that I know, I truly do, that the modern so-called “Christian” church system has been corrupted and how all true believers should “come out from among them” and separate themselves from all its dead works. I get all that and understand the frustration of many and even partially agree, but that doesn’t mean those who truly want to serve God effectually, and worship Him in spirit and truth, and effectually minister to both the needs of the church and the lost, that we should just throw out God’s word like used bath water just because some in the church are unclean.

John 17:17 – Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.

Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; 26 That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.

Hebrews 10:22 – Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

1 Peter 1:22 – Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

No, we shouldn’t throw out God’s sound doctrine, as if it were old used bath water, merely because some are still unclean for their having failed to rightly divide, or apply it. For just as we were forewarned, hypocrites have risen up within the church who misuse God’s word to justified their positions, power, and ministries, and have thereby misrepresented Jesus Christ before the world; both in their character and preaching, and in so doing have spiritually abused and misled many in the church.

No, rather we should sanctify ourselves thoroughly by our obedient washing with the water of God’s word. As true Christians seeking to please God, we must endeavor to both faithfully and properly keep those decrees which were given to the Church by the unction of the Holy Spirit. For scripture reveals how those decrees were established under the authority of the apostles and guided the leadership of elders in the care and growth of the early church.

It simply does not matter how many wannabe ministers misinterpret, or have ill or selfish motives for their willfully doing things wrong, for all the hypocrites and apostates in the world and all their wrong doing will never nullify or alter God’s eternal truths given unto us in scripture. For today, when we’re closest to the end of ages, it remains a unchangeable fact that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

(more…)

.The is a lecture by Charles Finney originally titled with the verse below.

“Can two walk together except they be agreed?”

 

In the holy Scriptures, we often find a negative thrown into the form of an interrogation. The text is an instance of this kind; so that we are to understand the prophet as affirming that two cannot walk together except they be agreed.

For two to be agreed, implies something more than to be agreed in theory, or in understanding; for we often see persons who agree in theory, but who differ vastly in feeling and practice. Their understandings may embrace the same truths, while their hearts and practice will be very differently affected by them. Saints and sinners often embrace in theory the same religious creed, while it is plain that they differ widely in feeling and practice.

We have reason to believe that holy angels and devils apprehend and embrace intellectually the same truths, and yet how very differently are they affected by them.

These different effects, produced in different minds by the same truths, are owing to the different state of the heart or affections of the different individuals. Or, in other words, the difference in the effect consists in the different manner in which the person receives these truths, or feels and acts in view of them. It is to be observed, also, that the same things and truths will affect the same mind very differently at different times. This, too, is owing to the different state of the affections at these times. Or rather, this difference consists in the different manner in which the mind acts at these times. All pleasure and pain–all happiness and misery–all sin and holiness–have their seat in, and belong to, the heart or affections. All the satisfaction or dissatisfaction, pain or pleasure, that we feel in view of any truth or thing presented to our minds, depends entirely upon the state of our affections at the time, and consists in these affections. If it fall in with, and excite, and feed pleasurable affections, we are pleased of course; for in these pleasurable affections our pleasure or happiness consists. The higher, therefore, these affections are elevated by the presentation of any thing or any truth to our minds, the greater our pleasure is. But if the thing or truth do not fall in with our affections, it cannot please us; if it be aside from our present state of feeling, and we refuse to change the course of our feelings, we shall either view it with indifference, our affections being otherwise engaged, or if it press upon us, we shall turn from and resist it. If it be not only aside from the subject that now engages our affections, but opposed to it, we shall and must (our affections remaining the same) resist and oppose it.

We not only feel uninterested or displeased and disgusted when a subject different from that which at present engages our affections is introduced, and crowded upon us, but if any thing even upon the same subject that is far above or below our tone of feeling is presented, and if our affections remain the same, and we refuse to be enlisted and brought to that point, we must feel uninterested, and perhaps grieved and offended. If the subject be exhibited in a light that is below our present tone of feeling, we cannot be interested until it come up to our feelings; and if the subject in this cooling, and to us degraded point of view, is held up before our mind, and we struggle to maintain these high affections, we feel displeased because our affections are not fed but opposed. If the subject be presented in a manner that strikes far above our tone of feeling, and our affections grovel and refuse to arise, it does not fall in with and feed our affections, therefore we cannot be interested; it is enthusiasm to us, we are displeased with the warmth in which we do not choose to participate, and the farther it is above our temperature the more we are disgusted.

These are truths to which the experience of every man will testify, as they hold good upon every subject, and under all circumstances, and are founded upon principles incorporated with the very nature of man. Present to the ardent politician his favourite subject in his favourite light, and when it has engaged his affections, touch it with the fire of eloquence, cause it to burn and blaze before his mind, and you delight him greatly. But change your style and tone–let down your fire and feeling–turn the subject over–present it in a drier light–he at once loses nearly all his interest, and becomes uneasy at the descent. Now change the subject–introduce death and solemn judgment–he is shocked and stunned; press him with them, he is disgusted and offended.

Now, this loss of interest in his favourite subject is the natural consequence of taking away from before the mind that burning view of it that poured fire through his affections; this disgust that he feels at the change of the subject, is the natural consequence of presenting something that was at the time directly opposed to the state of his feelings. Unless he chooses to turn his mind as you change the subject, he cannot but be displeased.

A refined musician is listening almost in rapture to the skilful execution of a fine piece of harmony. Throw in discords upon him; he is in pain in a moment. Increase and prolong the dissonance, and he leaves the room in disgust. You are fond of music; but you are at present melancholy–you are in great affliction–you are inclined to weep–the plaintive tones of an Æolian harp light softly upon your ear, and melt around your heart–your tears flow fast–but now the din of trumpets, drums, and cymbals, and the piercing fife in mirthful quicksteps breaks upon your ear, and drowns the soft breathings of the harp–you feel distressed–you turn away and stop your ears. The plaintive harp touched you in a tender point, it fell in with your feelings; therefore you were gratified. The martial music opposed your state of feeling; you were too melancholy to have your affections elevated and enlivened by it: it therefore necessarily distressed you.

Your heart is glowing with religious feelings–you are not only averse to the introduction of any other subject at that time, but are uninterested with any thing upon the same subject that is far below the tone of your affections. Suppose you hear a cold man preach or pray; while he remains cold, and you are warm with feeling, you are not interested, for your affections are not fed and cherished unless he comes up to your tone; if this does not happen you are distressed, and perhaps disgusted with his coldness. This is a thing of course. Suppose, like Paul, “you have great heaviness and continual sorrow in your heart” for dying sinners; that “the Spirit helpeth your infirmities, making intercessions for you, according to the will of God, with groanings that cannot be uttered:” in this state of mind, you hear a person pray who does not mention sinners–you hear a minister preach who says but little to them, and that in a heartless, unmeaning manner; you are not interested–you cannot be, feeling as you do, but you are grieved and distressed. Suppose you are lukewarm, and carnal and earthly in your affections; you hear one exhort, or pray, or preach, who is highly spiritual and fervent and affectionate; if you cling to your sins, and your affections will not rise; if, through prejudice, or pride, or the earthly and sensual state of your affections, you refuse to kindle and to grasp the subject, although you admit every word he says, yet you are not pleased. He is above your temperature; you are annoyed with the manner and fire and spirit of the man. The higher he rises, if your affections grovel, the farther apart you are, and the more you are displeased. While your heart is wrong the nearer right he is, the more he burns upon you; if your heart will not enkindle, the more you are disgusted.

Now, in both these cases, they whose affections stand at or near the same point with him who speaks or prays, will not feel disturbed, but pleased. Those that are lukewarm will listen to the dull man, and say, “‘T is pretty well.” Their pleasure will be small, because their affections are low; but, upon the whole, they are pleased. Those who have no affections at the time, will, of course, not feel at all. All who have much feeling, will listen with grief and pain. These would listen to the ardent man with great interest. Let him glow and blaze, and they are in a rapture. But the carnal and cold-hearted, while they refuse to rise, are necessarily disturbed and offended with his fire.

From these remarks we may learn,

First, why persons differing in theory upon doctrinal points in religion, and belonging to different denominations, will often, for a time, walk together in great harmony and affection. It is because they feel deeply, and feel alike. Their differences are in a great measure lost or forgotten, while they fall in with each other’s state of feeling; they will walk together while in heart they are agreed.

Again–We see why young converts love to associate with each other, and with those other older saints who have most religious feeling; these walk together because they feel alike.

Again–We see why lukewarm professors and impenitent sinners have the same difficulties with means in revivals of religion. We often hear them complain of the manner of preaching and praying. Their objections are the same, they find fault with the same things, and use the same arguments in support of their objections. The reason is, that at that time, their affections are nearly the same; it is the fire and the spirit that disturbs their frosty hearts. For the time being they walk together, for in feeling they are agreed.

Again–We see why ministers and Christians visiting revivals, often, at first, raise objections to the means used, and cavil, and sometimes takes sides with the wicked. The fact is, coming, as they often do, from regions where there are no religious revivals at the time, they frequently feel reproved and annoyed by the warmth and spirit which they witness. The praying, preaching, and conversation, are above their present temperature. Sometimes, prejudice on account of its being amongst a different denomination from them, or prejudice against the preacher or people, or perhaps pride, or envy, or worldliness, or something of the kind, chains down their affections that they do not enter into the spirit of the work. Now, while their hearts remain wrong, they will, of course, cavil; and the nearer right any thing is, the more spiritual and holy, so much the more it must displease them, while their affections grovel. *([footnote]We do not mean to justify any thing that is wrong and unscriptural in the use of means to promote revivals of religion. Nor do we pretend that every thing is right, that may, and often does give offence. We know that many things may exist, and while human nature remains as it is, will exist in revivals, that are to be lamented, and ought, as carefully as possible, to be corrected. But we do hold it as a certain truth, that while any heart is wrong, any thing that falls in with it, and pleases it, must be wrong also, as certainly as that one false weight can be balanced only by another just as false: and while a heart is in this state, the best things will be the most certain to offend. And if this heart, remaining wrong, could be brought in view of a state of things as perfect as heaven, it would blaspheme, and be filled with the torments of hell. The only remedy is to call upon him to “repent and make to him a new heart;” and when he has done this, right things will please him, and not before.)

Again–We see why ministers and private Christians differ about prudential measures. The man who sees and feels the infinitely solemn things of eternity, will necessarily judge very differently of what is prudent or imprudent, in the use of means, from one whose spiritual eye is almost closed. The man whose heart is breaking for perishing sinners, will, of course, deem it prudent, and right, and necessary, to “use great plainness of speech,” and to deal with them in a very earnest and affectionate manner. He would deem a contrary course highly imprudent and dangerous and criminal. While he who feels but little for them, and sees but little of their danger, will satisfy himself with using very different means, or using them in a very different manner, and will, of course, entertain very different notions of what is prudent. Hence we see the same person having very different notions of prudence, and consequently practising very differently, at different times. Indeed, a man’s notions of what is prudent; as to means and measures in revivals of religion, will depend, and, in a great measure, ought to depend, on the state of his own affections, and the state of feeling with which he is surrounded. For, what would be prudent under some circumstances, would be highly imprudent in others. What would be prudent in one man, might be highly imprudent in another. What would be prudent for a man in a certain state of his affections, and under certain circumstances, would be the height of imprudence, in the same person, in a different state of feeling, and under other circumstances. It is, in most cases, extremely difficult to form, and often very wrong publicly to express, an opinion condemning a measure as imprudent, (which is not condemned by the word of God,) without being in a situation to enter into the feelings and circumstances of the individual and people at the time the measure was adopted. If Christians and ministers would keep these things in mind, a great many uncharitable and censorious speeches would be avoided, and much injury to the cause of truth and righteousness would be prevented.

Again–We see why lukewarm Christians and sinners are not disturbed by dull preaching or praying. It does not take hold on their feelings at all, and therefore does not distress nor offend them. Hence we see that if, in a revival of religion, when cold and wicked hearts are disturbed with plain and pungent dealing, a dull minister is called upon, and preaches to the people, the wicked and cold-hearted will praise his preaching. This shows why, in seasons of revival, we often hear sinners and lukewarm Christians wish that their minister would preach as he used to; that he would be himself again. The reason of this is plain; he did not use to move them, but now his fire and spirit and pungency annoy them, and disturb their carnal slumbers.

Again–We may here learn how to estimate the opinions of ministers and Christians, and our own opinions, when our affections are in a bad state. How does such a man approve of what was said or done? What is his opinion as to means and measures? &c. are questions often asked, and answered, and the answer depended upon as high authority, without any regard to the state of that man’s affections at the time. Now, in most cases, we do utterly wrong to place much confidence in our own opinions, or in the opinions of others, as to prudential measures, unless we have evidence of the right state of our or their affections; for it is almost certain, that should our affections alter, we should view things in a different light, and consequently change our opinion. Christians would do well to remember and adopt the resolution of President Edwards, “that he would always act as he saw to be most proper when he had the clearest views of the things of religion.”

Again–We learn why churches are sometimes convulsed by revivals of religion. In most churches there are probably more or less hypocrites, who, when revivals are in a measure stripped of animal feeling, and become highly spiritual, are disturbed by the fire and spirit of them, and inwardly, and sometimes openly oppose them. But when a part only of the real Christians in a church awake from their slumbers and become very spiritual and heavenly, and the rest remain carnal and earthly in their affections, the church is in danger of being torn in sunder. For as those who are awake become more engaged, more spiritual and active, the others, if they will not awake, will be jealous and offended, and feeling rebuked by the engagedness of others, will cavil, and find themselves the more displeased, as those that are more spiritual rise farther above them. The nearer to a right state of feeling the engaged ones arrive, the farther apart they are; and as they ascend on the scale of holy feeling, if others will not ascend with them, the almost certain consequence will be that these will descend, until they really have no community of feeling, and can no longer walk together, because they are not agreed. This state of feeling in a church, calls for great searchings of heart in all its members, and although greatly to be dreaded and deeply to be lamented, when it exists, is easily accounted for upon these plain principles of our nature, and is what sometimes will happen, in spite of the sagacity of men or angels to prevent it.

Again–We see why ministers are sometimes unsettled by revivals. It will sometimes happen, without any imprudence on the part of the minister, that many of his church and congregation will not enter into the spirit of a revival. If his own affections get enkindled, and he feels very much for his flock and for the honour of his Master, he will most assuredly press them with truth, and annoy them by his spirit, and pungency, and fire, until he offends them. If they feel wrong, the more powerfully and irresistibly he forces truth upon them, so much the more, of course, unless their feelings alter, he will offend them, and in the end, perhaps, find it expedient to leave them. All this may happen, and be as right and necessary in a minister as it was for Paul to leave places and people, when divers were hardened, and contradicted, and blasphemed, and spoke evil of this way before the multitude.

Another case may occur, where the church and people may awake while the shepherd sleeps and will not awake. This will inevitably alienate their affections from him, and destroy their confidence in him. In either of these cases, they may find themselves unable to walk together, because they are not agreed. In the former case, let the minister obey the command of Christ, and “shake off the dust of his feet, for a testimony against them.” In the latter, let the church shake off their sleepy minister; they are better without him than with him. “Wo to the shepherds that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye feed not the flock. Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I am against the shepherds, and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock, neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.” Ezek. xxxiv. 2,3,9,10. President Edwards says–

“Though ministers preach never so good doctrine, and be never so painful and laborious in their work, yet if they show to their people that they are not well affected to this work, but are doubtful and suspicious of it, they will be very likely to do their people a great deal more hurt than good. For the very frame of such a great and extraordinary work of God, if their people were suffered to believe it to be his work, and the example of other towns, together with what preaching they might hear occasionally, would be likely to have a much greater influence upon the minds of their people to awaken and animate them in religion, than all other labours with them. Besides, their minister’s opinion will not only beget in them a suspicion of the work they hear of abroad, whereby the mighty hand of God that appears in it, loses its influence upon their minds; but it will also tend to create a suspicion of every thing of the like nature that shall appear among themselves, as being something of the same distemper that is become so epidemical in the land. And what is this, in effect, but to create a suspicion of all vital religion, and to put the people upon talking against and discouraging it, wherever it appears, and knocking it on the head as fast as it rises. We, who are ministers, by looking on this work from year to year with a displeased countenance, shall effectually keep the sheep from their pasture, instead of doing the part of the shepherds by feeding them; and our people had a great deal better be without any settled minister at all, at such a day as this.

“We who are in this sacred office had need to take heed what we do, and how we behave ourselves at this time; a less thing in a minister will hinder the work of God, than in others. If we are very silent, or say but little about the work, in our public prayers and preaching, or seem carefully to avoid speaking of it in our conversation, it will be interpreted by our people, that we who are their guides, to whom they are to have their eye for spiritual instruction, are suspicious of it; and this will tend to raise the same suspicions in them; and so the forementioned consequences will follow. And if we really hinder and stand in the way of the work of God, whose business above all others it is to promote it, how can we expect to partake of the glorious benefits of it? And, by keeping others from the benefit, we shall keep them out of heaven; therefore those awful words of Christ to the Jewish teachers, should be considered by us, Matt. xxiii.13. ‘Wo unto you, for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.’ If we keep the sheep from their pasture, how shall we answer it to the great Shepherd, who has bought the flock with his precious blood, and has committed the care of them to us? I would humbly desire of every minister that has thus long remained disaffected to this work, and has had contemptible thoughts of it, to consider whether he has not hitherto been like Michael, without any child, or at least in a great measure barren and unsuccessful in his work: I pray God it may not be a perpetual barrenness, as hers was.”

Again–We may see that carnal professors and sinners have no difficulty with animal feeling. It is not uncommon in revivals of religion to hear a great deal of opposition made to what they term animal feeling. That much of this kind of feeling is sometimes excited in revivals of religion is not denied, nor is it strange, nay, it is impossible that real religious affections should be excited to any considerable degree, without exciting the animal sympathies and sensibilities; and to wonder at this, or to object to a revival on this account, is palpably absurd. But, in most cases, it is not the animal feeling that can give offence, for so far as these feelings are concerned, there is a perfect community of feeling between saints and sinners, and carnal and spiritual Christians. Sinners have as much animal feeling as saints: cold professors have as much of the animal as warm and spiritual Christians. So far, then, as animal feeling goes, they can all sympathize, and indeed we often see that they do. Adopt a strain of exhortation or preaching that is calculated to awaken mere sympathy and animal feeling, and you will soon see that there is a perfect community of feeling among cold and warm hearted Christians and sinners; they will all weep and seem to melt, and no one will be offended, and I may add, no one will be convicted or converted. But change your style, and become more spiritual and holy in your matter, and throw yourself out in an ardent and powerful manner, in direct appeal to the conscience and the heart–their tears will soon be dried, the carnal and cold hearted will become uneasy, and soon find themselves offended. So far as animal feeling goes, they walk together, for in this they are agreed; but as soon as feeling becomes spiritual and holy, they can go together no farther; for here they are not, (and while sinners remain impenitent, and cold hearts remain cold,) they cannot be, agreed.

Again–We may see why impenitent sinners cannot like pure revivals of religion. It is because God is in them. They hate God, and this is the reason why God commands them to make to themselves a new heart. This is the reason, and the only reason, why sinners need a new heart. Now, while they are under the influence of “a carnal mind, which is enmity against God,” they do, and must, self-evidently, hate every thing like God, precisely in proportion as they see it to bear his image. Hence we see, that the more a revival is stripped of animal feeling and of every thing wrong, the more it will necessarily offend wrong hearts. The more of God, and the less of human imperfection, there is to be seen in them, the more they will and must excite the enmity of carnal hearts.

Again. We learn how to estimate apparent revivals where there is no opposition from the wicked. If persons under the dominion of a carnal mind do not oppose, it must be owing to one of three causes. 1st. Either they are so convicted that they dare not openly oppose; (and even then they are opposed in heart;) or, 2dly, there is nothing of the Holy Spirit in them; or 3dly, which often happens, from an injudicious application of means to the sympathies of the multitude, the operations of the Holy Spirit are kept out of the sinner’s view and covered up in the rubbish of animal feeling. Any thing that keeps out of the sinner’s view the work of the Holy Spirit, tends to prevent opposition. And every thing that exposes to the sinner’s view the hand of God, will certainly excite the opposition of his unregenerate heart. That excitement, therefore, which does not call out the opposition of the wicked and wrong hearted, is either not a revival of religion at all, or it is so conducted that sinners do not see the finger of God in it.

Hence we see, that the more pure and holy the means are that are used to promote a revival of religion, the more they are stripped of human infirmity and sympathy, and the more like God they are, so much the more, of necessity, will they excite the opposition of all wrong hearts. For, while a man’s heart is wrong upon any subject, it is self-evident that he cannot heartily approve of what is right upon that subject, for this would involve a contradiction. It would be the same as to say that he could feel both right and wrong upon the same subject at the same time.

Hence it appears, that other things being equal, those means, and that preaching, both as to matter and manner, which call forth most of the native enmity of the heart, and that are most directly over against wrong hearts, are nearest right. *([footnote]Let it not be thought that we advocate or recommend preaching, or using other means, with design to give offence. Nor that we suppose that the gospel cannot be preached, and that means cannot be used in a wrong spirit, and in a manner that is highly objectionable, and may justly give offence. All such things are to be condemned. But still we do insist that holy things are offensive to unholy hearts, and while hearts remain unholy, they cannot be pleased but with that which is unholy like themselves. The understanding may approve, the conscience may approve, but the heart will not, and, remaining unholy, cannot approve of that which is holy. If, therefore, a sinner who is under the dominion of a “carnal mind,” which is “enmity against God,” is pleased with preaching, it must be either because the character of God is not faithfully exhibited, or the sinner is prevented from apprehending it in its true light, by inattention, or by being so taken up with the style and manner as to overlook the offensiveness of the matter. If, therefore, the matter of preaching is right, and the sinner is pleased, there is something defective in the manner; either a want of earnestness, or holy unction, or something else, prevents the sinner from seeing, what preaching ought to show him, that he hates God and his truth).

Hence, we see the folly of those who are labouring to please persons whose affections are in a wrong state upon religious subjects. They cannot be pleased with any thing right and holy while their hearts are in this wrong state, for this we have just seen would involve a contradiction.

This shows why so much wrong feeling is often stirred up in revivals of religion.

It is the natural effect of pure revivals to stir up wrong feeling in wrong hearts. Revivals of religion on earth, stir up wrong feeling in hell; they will disturb the same spirit, and stir up the same feelings, whenever they come in contact with rebellious hearts, whether in the church or out of it. Wherever the Holy Spirit comes, or is seen to operate, the opposite spirit is disturbed of course. A great degree of right and holy feeling among saints, will naturally stir up a great degree of unholy and wicked feeling in all those hearts that are determinately wrong. The more right and holy feeling there is, the more wrong and unholy feeling there will be, of course, unless sinners and carnal professors bow and submit. They cannot walk together, because they are not agreed; and the more holy and heavenly the saints become in their affections and conduct, the farther apart they will be, until the light of eternity will set them in feeling and affections, as far asunder as heaven and hell.

This shows that the difference between heaven and hell, as it regards moral character, and happiness and misery, consists in the different state of the hearts or affections of their respective inhabitants.

This demonstrates, beyond all contradiction, that sinners cannot be saved unless they are born again. In other words, it is plainly impossible, in the nature of things, that sinners should walk and be happy with saints and holy angels, without an entire change in their affections. Sinners cannot walk with the saints here. As soon as the saints cease to walk “after the course of this world,” sinners think it strange that they run not with them to the same excess of riot, “speaking evil of them.” As soon as Christians awake and become spiritual and active, holy, and heavenly, and break off from their vain and wicked associations with the world, sinners are uniformly distressed and offended. They try to imagine that it is something wrong in the saints, and in revivals, that offends them. But the truth is, it is the little that is right in the saints, and that in which there is the most of God in revivals, that offends them most. And were the saints as holy as angels are, or as holy as they will be in heaven, sinners must of course be so much the farther from having any community of feeling with them; and as saints rise in holiness, and sinners sink in sin, they will go farther and farther apart forever and ever.

I remark, lastly, that this shows why the lives and preaching of the prophets of Christ, and his apostles, and the revivals of the early ages of the church, met with so much more violent opposition from carnal professors of religion, and from ungodly sinners, than is offered to preachers and revival in these days.

It is not to be denied, that the saints in those days “had trials of cruel mocking and scourging, yea, of bonds and imprisonment; they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (of whom the world was not worthy;) they wandered in deserts, in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

It is not and cannot be denied, that the preaching of the prophets, of Christ and his apostles, and of primitive ministers, was opposed with great bitterness by many professed saints, and by multitudes of ungodly sinners, more than that of any preacher of the present day. Nor is it to be concealed, that professors of religion were often leaders in this opposition–that they stirred up the Romans to crucify Jesus, and afterwards to persecute and destroy his saints, and crucify his apostles. That even the religious teachers, and learned doctors of the law, endeavoured to prejudice the multitude against the Saviour, and to prevent their listening to his discourses; “He hath a devil and is mad,” said they, “why hear ye him?” They led the way in opposing the apostles in the revivals in which they were engaged. We must admit, too, that those revivals made a great deal of noise in the world, insomuch, that the apostles were accused of “turning the world upside down;” and that sinners were often greatly hardened by the preaching of Christ and his apostles; “were filled with great wrath,” and opposed with such bitterness, that Christ told his apostles to “let them alone.” In some places where the apostles preached, “divers were” so “hardened,” that they “contradicted and blasphemed, and spake evil of this way,” insomuch that the apostles were forced to leave, and go to other places, and sometimes to leave under very humiliating circumstances, but just escaping with their lives. Now these are facts that we need not blush to meet, as they are easily accounted for, upon the principle contained in the text, and illustrated in this discourse. All these things afford no evidence that the prophets, and Christ and his apostles, were imprudent and unholy men; that their preaching was too overbearing and severe; or that there was something wrong in the management of revivals in those days. The fact is, that the prophets were so much more holy in their lives, and so much bolder, and more faithful in delivering their messages; that Christ was so much more searching, and plain, and pungent, and personal in his preaching, and so entirely “separate from sinners” in his life; the apostles were so pungent and plain in their dealing with sinners and professed saints, and so self-denying and holy in their lives, that carnal professors and ungodly sinners could not walk with them. The means that were then used to promote revivals were more holy and free from alloy than they now are. There was less of mere sympathy, and of that hypocritical suavity of manner, and of those embellishments of language, that are calculated and designed to court the applause of the ungodly. “Renouncing the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully,” they preached, “not with the enticing words of man’s wisdom,” but “with great plainness of speech,” so that the ungodly, in the church and out of it, were filled with wrath.

Stephen was so holy and searching in his address, that the elders of Israel “gnashed upon him with their teeth.” But this is no evidence that he was imprudent. The fact that the revivals of the present day are much more silent and gradual in their progress, than they were on the day of Pentecost, and at many other times and places, and create much less noise and opposition among cold professors and ungodly sinners, does not prove that the theory of revivals is better understood now than it was then, nor that those ministers and Christians who are engaged in these revivals are more prudent than the apostles and primitive Christians; and to suppose this, would evince great spiritual pride in us. Nor are we to say that the human heart is changed, or that the character of God is become less offensive “to the carnal mind.” No! the fact is, the prophets and Christ and his apostles and the primitive saints, were more holy, more bold and active, more plain and pungent in their preaching, less conformed to this crazy world; in one word, they were more prudent and more like heaven than we are; these are the reasons why they were more hated than we are, why their preaching and praying gave so much more offence than ours. Revivals, in their days, were more free from carnal policy, and that management that tends to keep out of the sinner’s views the naked hand of God: these are the reasons why they made so much more noise than the revivals that we witness in these days, and stirred up so much of earth and hell to oppose them, that they convulsed and turned the world upside down. It was known then, that “men could not serve God and mammon.” It was seen to be true, that “if any man will live godly in Christ Jesus, he shall suffer persecution.” It was understood then, that if “ministers pleased men, they were not the servants of Christ.” The church and world could not walk together, for then they were not agreed. Let us not be puffed up, and imagine that we are prudent and wise, and have learned how to manage carnal professors and sinners, whose “carnal mind is enmity against God,” so as not to call forth their opposition to truth and holiness, as Christ and his apostles did. But let us know that if they have less difficulty with us, and with our lives and preaching, than they had with theirs, it is because we are less holy, less heavenly, less like God than they were. If we walk with the lukewarm and ungodly, or they with us, it is because we are agreed. For two cannot walk together except they be agreed.

By the Rev. Charles G Finney – August 14, 28, 1861

 

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18)

 In speaking from these words I inquire,

  1. What is ungodliness?

The original word means, primarily, to neglect God. It is the omission of duty to God; the withholding from him of worship, love, confidence, obedience. It is the withholding from God that which is his due.

  1. What is unrighteousness in the sense here used?

The original word properly means, neglect of duty to man, as ungodliness implies neglect of duty to God.

It is an omission of duty, a withholding from man his due.

Unrighteousness, as the term is evidently here used in distinction from ungodliness, means the withholding of that equal love to man which is his due; that regard for his interest, and feelings, and character, and whatever is to him a good.

Withholding this from man is unrighteousness, as withholding it from God is ungodliness. Unrighteousness, in the broader sense, consists in withholding either from God or man, whatever is their due from us.

But as the terms ungodliness and unrighteousness are here both used, we are undoubtedly to understand unrighteousness here as having reference particularly to the omission of duty to our fellow men. Everything then, is unrighteousness, which is short of doing our whole duty to our fellow men; and everything is ungodliness which is short of doing our whole duty to God.

III. I inquire in the third place, What is it to hold the truth in unrighteousness?

  1. The word rendered hold in this case, means to restrain, to hold down, to hold back. To hold the truth in unrighteousness, is, for selfish reasons, to refuse to obey the truth.
  2. When duty is once known or seen, indifference is impossible. Truth is the natural stimulus of the mind, and especially truth that reveals moral obligation.

When moral obligation is perceived, the mind cannot remain inactive. The perception of moral obligation forces the mind into a state of activity. The freedom of the Will does not imply, that in such circumstances the mind can remain inactive altogether.

But the freedom of the Will implies, that in every case of perceived moral obligation we have power to act one way or the other, to comply or refuse compliance with moral obligation.

When, therefore, moral obligation is perceived, passivity becomes impossible. The mind must act; it must either comply with the obligation; or it must refuse.

This should always be remembered; that indifference, or a state of non-activity, becomes impossible in the presence of perceived obligation. In such circumstances truth must be embraced or rejected; obligation must be accepted or rejected; duty must be performed or neglected.

To hold the truth in unrighteousness, then, is to withhold the heart, and life from obeying it; it is to persist in neglect of duty when convinced, and when obligation is seen.

  1. To hold the truth in unrighteousness, is to refuse to perform duty when it is known. Neglect in these circumstances, is real refusal. There cannot be neglect in the sense of no action at all. The mind must act in opposition, must gird itself and refuse, in order to neglect when obligation is seen.

To hold the truth in unrighteousness, then, is precisely this: when obligation to our fellow men is perceived and admitted, to selfishly refuse to meet the obligation.

  1. To hold the truth in unrighteousness is to unjustly neglect or refuse to perform our duty to God or man. Ungodliness, or withholding from God, is injustice or unrighteousness toward God.

All, then, who neglect to perform their duty either to God or man, are guilty of holding the truth in unrighteousness in the sense of this text.

  1. What are we to understand by the wrath of God in this text?

I reply, not a selfish anger such as selfish men exercise; but a benevolent, holy indignation, such in kind as a benevolent father or ruler might exercise toward injustice, selfishness, and madness in an undutiful child or subject. The term is a strong one, and is rendered wrath, by which we mean something more than mere anger in a low degree; it implies an intense indignation.

  1. I inquire, against whom is this wrath of God revealed from heaven?

I answer,

  1. Against all persons who do not act upon, and up to their conviction in respect to their duty either to God or man. It is a very common thing to find persons admitting that such and such things they ought to do, and there they stop. They seem to make a virtue of admitting their obligation in words, while they deny it in action.

You press them with their obligation, and they will say; “O yes, I know that I ought; but what then?” There they stop and do not lift a finger to perform their duty.

Now against all such persons whether they be professors of religion or non-professors, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.

  1. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all who allow themselves in short-comings. I say allow themselves in short-coming, in respect, either to God or man. It is not an uncommon thing for persons, in looking back, to accuse themselves of short-comings, when after all they are not aware of having deliberately and knowingly, at the time, fallen short of their duty.

But observe, I say that the wrath of God is revealed against all who allow themselves in short-comings; who are aware of their duty and really indulge themselves in neglect and short-comings; as if a man owed a debt to a neighbor, and knowingly and deliberately neglected to pay him; or when an individual admits his obligation to love, to confide in, to worship and obey God, and indulges himself in disobedience, or allows himself to neglect to perform his duty to God; against all such, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.

  1. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all who stop short of living up to their privileges, as well as their duty.

It is really a man’s duty to live up to his privilege; and a man cannot allow himself to live below his privilege, without at the same time allowing himself to live below his duty. It is certainly a man’s duty to avail himself of all the means within his reach of promoting his own holiness and usefulness in the highest degree; and to stop short of this, for selfish reasons, is a great crime against God; and therefore, the wrath of God is revealed against all such as do this.

  1. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all who rest, and stop short of full sanctification, full obedience to God as they understand their duty. I say, rest short; by which I mean that they knowingly quiet themselves in this state of short-coming.

There are a great many professors of religion who seem to have very little anxiety about being entirely sanctified, and fully obeying God. If they can believe themselves safe, they seem very well satisfied; although they know they are indulging in more or less sin from day to day.

It is not with them a matter of intense struggle and effort, to render to God full obedience. It is enough for them that they think themselves justified; the question of sanctification they are very willing to postpone.

They say they do not believe in sanctification in this life. They seem to throw up the reins and live on loosely, talk about continually sinning and repenting; while it is evident enough that they do not care to render to God a full and continued obedience. They care but little for sin if they can be forgiven.

They care but little about sanctification if they can ensure justification. Now it is perfectly plain that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all such persons who are living on in known and allowed short-comings in regard to sanctification; sinning and sinning and caring little about it; being anxious only to know that they are safe.

The fact is, such persons are not safe. You should understand this at once, that you are as far as possible from being safe.

You are under the wrath of God which is revealed from heaven against you. You are knowingly and carelessly withholding from God his due; you are allowing yourself in sin, caring more for your justification than for your sanctification.

What is sanctification but full obedience to God? And can you make God believe that you are a sincere Christian, while you are careless about rendering to him, in all things, a full obedience?

  1. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all whose religion is of the negative rather than of the positive kind.

The law of God is positive. It requires supreme love to God and equal love to man. It requires action toward God and man, intense action, energetic devotion to God and man. Now there are many who seem to suppose that this is the doing nothing bad, as they say.

They run hither and thither, and indulge themselves, and live in most things like the world around them. Their way of spending their time, of spending their money, of using their influence, is such that you enquire, why they do this, and why they do that. “Why!” they reply, “what harm is there in it?”

With them the question is, what harm is there in this or that course of life and not what good will this do? If they live without committing flagrant sin they think they do well. It does not seem so much as to enter into their designs to do all they can for the promotion of God’s glory, but only to avoid doing such things as will be an open disgrace to religion. Their religion is a mere negation, if it may be called religion; which, indeed it cannot properly be, for all true religion is love, confidence, worship, obedience. Let all such, then, as are satisfying themselves with this negative form of what they call religion, remember that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against them.

Indeed, there are some whose history seems to be one of omission. They are continually neglecting many forms of duty; and they know it. Perhaps some of you here are admitting from day to day that this, and that, and the other thing is your duty; and yet you never address yourselves seriously to the performance of it.

Some of you are perhaps neglecting secret prayer; are neglecting your Bible; are neglecting to pay your debts; are neglecting in the outward life a great multitude of things, but in regard to God and man, and in your inward state you cannot but know that you are really neglecting to render to God all the love and confidence that are his due, and that you are neglecting to love your neighbor as yourself. Your history is one of omission. You seem to overlook the fact, that omission is the very thing against which this text is arrayed; that this ungodliness and unrighteousness are omissions of duty to God and man.

Again, you seem also to forget that omission is a real withholding, a real refusal; that it is not a state of inaction, but of contrary action; a girding yourself to resist the claims of God and the claims of duty.

Your omission is not a mere passive state, but a state of selfish activity; the omitting to perform your duty to God and man for the sake of gratifying yourself.

Now can you not, some of you, right here, accuse yourself of living a life of omission? Is not this the history of your religion?

Are you not acknowledging from day to day in your conscience that you owe this, and that, and the other duty to God and man; while you are neglecting to perform these duties? Now remember, if this is so, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against you. If you are neglecting any heart duty, or any outward duty; and if you allow yourselves in this neglect or continue to indulge in this omission, you are as far as possible from being safe. I pray you, lay it to heart.

  1. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all sinners who neglect repentance and faith; in other words, who neglect to become Christians.

(1.) The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all sinners who neglect God, who neglect prayer, and who neglect to perform all the duties enjoined upon every son and daughter of Adam.

(2.) The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all procrastinators, whether in or out of the church. By procrastinators, I mean, those who have it in their mind at some future time to perform their duty; and who for some reason put it off for the present. This is the great sin of many persons. They know their duty; they know that now is the accepted time and now is the day of salvation; but for unrighteous reasons they continue to procrastinate, to put God off.

(3.) The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all sinners who neglect to do and be what God requires Christians to do and be. All men to whom the Gospel is preached are bound to be Christians immediately.

A great many sinners are constantly watching Christians and accusing them, but they seem not to understand that God requires of them what He requires of Christians, and that in condemning Christians they only condemn themselves; in pointing out the short-comings of Christians they only point out their own. Now sinners, what you suppose God requires of Christians, you are bound to perform yourselves. For you seem to know what the Christian’s duty is; you continue to judge the Christian, and therefore you show that you know what he ought to do and what he ought to be. But if you neglect to do and to be what you require of him, then you fall short of your known duty, and the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against you for not doing what you exact of Christians.

(4.) The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all who know better than they habitually do. Now all sinners are in this state; and this is what constitutes them sinners. They know better than they do; they know their duty but they do it not. And this is that for which the wrath of God is revealed against them.

Impenitent sinners are very apt to think of their sins only as commissions of something outbreaking in the outward life; but they seldom think much of their neglects of duty either to God or man. But it should be understood that all sin resolves itself into either neglect or refusal to render to God and man their due. Indeed, there are many, both professors and non-professors, who allow themselves to live habitually in opposition to their convictions of duty. Now let it be understood that this is the very essence of sin; and against all such persons the wrath of God is revealed from heaven.

  1. Why is the wrath of God thus revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men?
  2. Neglect of duty implies a knowledge of duty. A man cannot be said to neglect a duty of which he has no knowledge.
  3. Neglect of duty implies ability to perform it. A man cannot be truly said to neglect that which he has no power to perform.
  4. Neglect of duty, as I have already said, implies a refusal to do duty. Indeed it involves it. A state of passivity in the presence of perceived obligation being impossible, neglect of duty must involve deliberate and persistent disobedience to God.
  5. Neglect of known duty to God or man, involves a rejection of God’s authority, as not a sufficient reason for action.

It is virtually saying, “What if God does require of me such and such a thing? That is no good reason why I should do it. Who is God that I should obey Him, or what profit should I have if I should pray to Him?”

It involves a most insolent and contemptuous rejection of God’s command as being a sufficient reason for action in that direction.

  1. Holding the truth in unrighteousness involves a deliberate rejection of moral obligation as constituting an influential reason for action.

Observe, in this case the sinner knows his duty, he admits the obligation in words but rejects it in practice.

Now what is this but saying, “What do I care for moral obligation? To be sure, I admit that there is a moral obligation; but what do I care? Do you suppose I am going to be influenced by moral obligation? If you do, you do not know me. I hope you do not think that I am so weak as to yield to a mere moral obligation; to a mere command of God; to a mere sense of duty. Not I.”

  1. Holding the truth in unrighteousness involves a contempt for the idea of duty as being of no real practical account.

“Duty?” says the sinner; “do you think I care for duty? What! my duty to God, and my duty to my neighbor? Talk not to me of duty. What do I care for duty?”

This holding the truth in unrighteousness is a real contempt for duty. It is virtually saying; “You never need expect me to be influenced by that consideration. You never need to tell me of my duty, for I care not for it. I will pursue my inclination, duty in any wise to the contrary notwithstanding. Why do you come to me whining about the idea of duty, and tell me it is my duty to do thus, and thus, and thus? Away with your cant! I will have nothing to do with duty.”

  1. This holding the truth in unrighteousness, involves a real ruling down of all moral considerations. The consideration of duty to God; the consideration of God’s authority; the consideration of God’s rights, of man’s rights, and of all rights; it is just ruling them down; putting the foot upon them; trampling them under the feet; and saying; “These considerations shall never influence me!”
  2. This course of conduct in holding the truth in unrighteousness, in holding the mind back from obedience, is of course decisive of the moral attitude. It is taking a deliberate stand against God. It is taking a deliberate open stand before all his subjects, and pouring contempt upon his authority, upon his moral government, and upon all the moral considerations with which he attempts to enforce obedience. It is then taking the attitude of an open rebel, an open enemy, a persistent opponent of God.
  3. Holding the truth in unrighteousness is decisive of moral character. It is a state of total depravity, of total dishonesty in regard both to God and men. While the debt is admitted in words, and the obligation both to God and man in words is admitted, yet practically it is a denial of the obligation. The sinner virtually says; “I know I ought to obey God, but I will not. I know I ought to love my neighbor as myself, but I will not. I know I am indebted to God, but I will not pay him. I know I am indebted to man, but I care not for it; I will not pay him.”

This, then, is making an open issue with God before the entire universe. It is a deliberate, known, practical, persistent rejection of his authority. Again, it is setting the worst possible example before God’s subjects. Suppose a subject of any government to stand forth in the presence of all the subjects, and deliberately refuse to obey the laws; not merely to obey some one law, but to obey the laws in general and universally. Suppose the subject to admit the obligation, to admit the wisdom and justice, and equity, and necessity of the laws, but for unrighteous reasons to refuse to obey them; to take a course directly opposed to them; to persist in that course, and to hold fast his persistent resistance to the authority of the government; should not the wrath of the government be revealed against such a character as that?

But again;

  1. Holding the truth in unrighteousness, is the deliberate refusal to pay an acknowledged debt to God.

Suppose that some one is indebted to you. You greatly need your pay, and you go to him and demand it. He acknowledges the debt in terms, and you request him to pay it. He has the money; but he prefers to use it in some other way, to promote his own interest. You urge his obligation upon him; you tell him he ought to pay it, and he laughs you in the face, and says, “What do I care for that? Do you suppose I will be influenced by such a consideration as that? Oughtness! shall that influence me? Never!” But you remind him of the authority of God, and of his command to pay his debts. He laughs again, and says; “And who is God? And what do I care for God’s commandments? Do you suppose I am to be influenced by such a consideration as that? Never!”

Now you would feel, in such a case as this, that such a deliberate refusal, and such a contempt of obligation, was a dreadful sin against you.

But just see that negligent professor of religion, see that impenitent sinner, deliberately refusing to pay an acknowledged debt to God; virtually saying to God, “What do I care for your authority? What do I care for my obligations to thee? I will not be influenced by an obligation to pay my debts either to God or man.”

But again, suppose a child should take such a stand, and deliberately, and habitually, and universally neglect obedience, refuse, omit all obedience; what would you say of such a child? Should not the parent be angry? Should not he reveal his indignation against that child?

And what would you say of your debtor, in case he should treat you in such a way? Would you not feel yourself called upon to put him in a way to pay you, if he deliberately contemned all obligation for selfish reasons, and deliberately refused to pay an acknowledged debt?

Suppose in this case you should go and sue him, and bring him before a court, and he should say, “Why, you appear to be displeased, you appear to feel indignant that I do not pay you.” Would you not reply, ” I have reason to be indignant. You are a scoundrel; you are a dishonest man; you contemn all moral obligation, and I will see what I can do by enforcing legal obligation.”

“You treat all moral obligation with contempt; and what is left to me but to compel you to pay your debt?”

So in the case of holding the truth in unrighteousness: obligation to God is treated with contempt; God himself is treated with contempt; his authority is treated as a mere trifle; his feelings are outraged and contemned, and is it not appropriate that God should be “angry with the wicked every day,” that He should have a benevolent indignation toward those who thus contemn their obligation? And is it not appropriate in Him to express or reveal this indignation, this wrath from heaven against such conduct as this? What would you think of a human ruler, who should let such conduct pass without manifesting the least displeasure at it? Or a parent, who should let such conduct pass without manifesting any displeasure at it?

The fact is, God has infinitely good reasons for being highly displeased. His wrath must be enkindled against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.

Now what will be said of Him if He does not manifest this wrath? What will his subjects think of Him? Can they maintain their confidence in Him? Will He not forfeit their confidence? Will He not inevitably lose the confidence of all his faithful subjects, if He neglects to manifest or reveal his wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness?

REMARKS.

  1. From this standpoint we can see the awful delusion of mere moralists.

There are many men who totally neglect God, and are, therefore, in the sense of this text, emphatically ungodly. They withhold from God the love, confidence, obedience, and worship which is his due, and still imagine that they are doing nothing very wrong. You speak of their danger of being lost; they are ready to say, “Why, what have I done that is bad? Whom have I wronged?” Now the answer is plain, in the light of this text; you have wronged God out of his whole duty; you have never performed your duty to him in any sense or degree. What if you should refuse to pay your debts to men?

Suppose you were indebted to many persons, and never paid them the first cent; habitually and universally neglected to meet their just demands; and then you should set up for a moral man; should ask, “What evil have I done?”

Suppose these creditors of yours should often demand their pay, and you should as often acknowledge in words that the debts were just, and you ought to pay them, but still you should neglect and refuse to pay them, and never pay them at all; and then suppose they should complain of you, and you should say, “Why, what have I done?”; would not this be ridiculous?

But this is the manner in which you treat God; and you make little or no account of your neglect to pay what you owe to God. You would feel intensely if anybody owed you, and they should treat their obligation as you treat your obligation to God.

But just think! you are perfectly ungodly, and yet laying the flattering unction to your soul that you have done nothing very bad.

But again, you have neglected your whole duty to man as well as to God. The law of God and the law of your own conscience, requires you to love your neighbor as yourself; to regard and treat his interests as your own; to be careful of his reputation as of your own, of his feelings as of your own, of his interests as of your own. Now, have you done this? You satisfy yourself by saying you have not wronged him.

Wronged him! Have you not withheld from him that which is his due? Have you not refused to love him? refused to be interested in his welfare? Have you cared for his soul? Have you done anything to save him?

Suppose you had seen him asleep in his house, and the house on fire, and you had suffered it to burn down and consume him, and had given him no warning; and then you should say, “Wherein have I wronged him?”

The fact is, you have wronged both God and man. You have withheld from both their due, and you have no more right to claim to be a moral man than Satan has to claim to be moral. For, a mere moralist, an unconverted man, a man that neglects his duty to God and his fellow-men, as all unconverted sinners do, is void of all moral honesty; and must be, of course.

Why, how ridiculous it is for you to pretend to be morally honest, when you refuse, universally, to pay your debts. You do not hesitate to treat the claims of God, which you admit to be just, with utter contempt in your practice. You withhold from him all that is really valuable to him. For if you do not love him, if you do not regard his interests, your outward life, if it appears to be an honest and moral life, is a mere hypocrisy. Your kind treatment of your fellow men is not, and cannot be, because you love them; for if you are a mere moralist, an unconverted man, you do not love your neighbor as yourself; you must, therefore, have some other reason than love to your neighbor for treating him kindly; it must be some other reason than real honesty of heart, and uprightness before God and man, that leads you to any appearance of honesty.

But suppose some individual owed you, and was under every possible obligation to you and yet should contemn and despise the whole, and never perform his duty, or pay you a debt, or discharge any obligation, could you believe him an honest man? No, you could not believe that he had one particle of moral honesty in him.

But suppose you should see a son who treated his own parents as you treat God; would you believe that son an honest man, however much he might boast of honesty? Would you not be convinced irresistibly that any man that could treat honorable and upright parents with the contempt with which you treat God, could not be an honest man? Would you not regard him as void of all moral honesty? Would you not say irresistibly, a man that can do that can have no honesty in his soul? I beseech you to lay aside the claim of honesty and morality, and take home to yourself the charge that you are a totally dishonest and base man, one who has no real claim to be regarded as anything other than as a wicked, unprincipled, selfish being.

  1. The same must be said of many professors of religion. What an awful delusion they are under! Supposing themselves to have been converted, they live on in habitual and known transgression. Many things which they acknowledge to be their duty, they never pretend to perform.

They allow themselves all the time to live in the neglect of what everybody knows, and they themselves acknowledge to be their duty; and yet they think they are justified; think they are penitent. But what idea can they have on repentance? Is not repentance the renunciation of sin?

But what is sin but withholding from God and man their due? Here then is a professor of religion that habitually withholds from God and man their due, living on in known omissions; and confessing his omission, and will continue to confess them without end, and never address himself to the performance of these duties. Now what a delusion is this! Why, on the very face of it, it is hypocrisy and a fatal delusion.

  1. This text does not agree with the doctrine of inability, about which we hear so much.

There are many who are continually ready to acknowledge their short-comings, and acknowledge in words their crime; but they plead their inability to obey. Inability! and does this text teach or imply any such doctrine as that? Why, this text assumes the very opposite of the doctrine of inability. It takes the ground that men, so far from being unable to obey the commands of God, are positively resisting them. And this is in fact true.

I have already said that truth, and especially the truth of moral obligation, is the natural stimulus of the mind. It wakes it up, and compels it to act in one way or the other. Moral obligation will at once enlist and engage the energies of the soul; and unless they be actively and positively withheld, unless the truth is held back, restrained in unrighteousness, the mind will surely obey it. Here then, instead of being unable to obey, the individual is obliged to gird himself to resist, in order to prevent obedience. Truth is a mighty impulse to draw him into conformity with itself; but, for selfish reasons, he girds himself and holds it back, restrains it in unrighteousness.

This then, is your inability, sinner, and professor of religion.

Truth, if you did not restrain it, would at once quicken you into activity, and into obedience. But you harden your heart, and you stiffen your neck, you resist the claims of truth and of God.

This is plainly the doctrine of this text, as it is of the Bible universally when it is properly understood.

  1. Men feel that neglect is sin, when self is the object of this neglect. Parents feel that the neglect of their children is sin; husbands and wives feel that the neglect of the other party is sin; men in business feel that it is sin in their debtors to neglect to pay them, especially where this neglect is owing, not to inability, but to selfishness, or carelessness of the rights of others. Selfish men are loud in their complaints of others who neglect to pay their debts to them; but it would surely be more consistent for them to cease complaining of anybody’s neglecting them, while they are neglecting to pay their debt to God. Thou that complainest that others neglect to pay their debts to you; dost thou neglect to pay thy debts to God?
  2. How little stress is laid upon the neglect of duty as a sin. Now it should always be remembered that the law of God is positive. God is never satisfied with a man’s doing nothing; He requires him to act, and that with all his heart, and soul, and mind, and strength. And now when God is totally neglected, when men are ungodly and unrighteous, neglecting their duty both to God and man, how strange it is that this neglect should be so little regarded as a great and abominable sin against God, and as indeed the essence of all sin.
  3. Church discipline is often a great stumbling block on this account. Men are allowed to live in fellowship with the churches, and neglect their duty habitually and notoriously; men who neglect their duties to the church and their duty to God, and live cold and formal lives, and do not hesitate in words to confess it, while they do not reform.

How strange it is that persons are allowed to remain in the church as accepted members, who so neglect their duty both to God and man.

  1. Sinners are greatly misled by the church in this respect. Children in Christian families see that their parents are living in constant neglect of duty; and if they attend meetings, they hear Christians confessing that they are constantly neglecting duty, and they know very well that they expect to continue to neglect their duty. Yet very little stress is laid upon this by the church or by the ministry. Now this fatally misleads many sinners. They come to think but very little of omission of duty. The example of the church on this subject is the greatest stumbling block to them. They hear their parents say that they neglect God, and they neglect duty. Very well how little, then, do they think of neglecting their duty!

It has come to this, that the example of the Church in this respect has completely stumbled the world; so that sinners are living for scores of years in the neglect of all their duty to God, and yet do not consider themselves as very bad sinners. They say they have done nothing very bad. Now how came they to this idea? The fact is, they have learned it from the church. They have been in the habit of hearing the church members speak of the omission and neglect of duty as a thing almost of course.

  1. Orthodox neglectors of duty are the greatest sinners in the world. I have said that neglect of duty implies a knowledge of duty. Now the more orthodox in sentiment men are, and the more enlightened men are, the greater, surely, is their obligation. Those, therefore, who are truly orthodox in sentiment, but heterodox in practice, living in the neglect of their known duty, are the greatest sinners in the world.
  2. From this stand-point we can also see the actual difference between real saints and sinners.

I have just spoken of professors of religion who live in the habitual neglect of duty; and of the church, which is so largely composed of mere nominal professors, as being a stumbling block to the world. Remember, then, that I am now about to speak, not of nominal professors, of negligent souls, but of real saints and sinners. But I also wish to be understood as meaning by enemies all who live in the habitual neglect of known duty. Saints are converted persons; sinners are unconverted. Saints are penitent souls; sinners are impenitent. Saints are obedient; sinners are disobedient. Both know their duty; saints do their duty; but sinners omit theirs.

With the true saint, God’s will being known, is reason enough; he wants no further reason to influence his conduct. It is just this state of mind that constituted him a saint. He has given up his spirit of disobedience; he has ceased to hold truth in unrighteousness; he has yielded his mind to the influence of truth; God’s will has been accepted by him; he has laid aside his rebellion and become an obedient subject of Christ.

Now mark! he wants no better or higher reason for any course of conduct than to know that such is the will of Christ.

But with the sinner, the opposite is true. He knows his duty, but this is no influential reason with him at all. He has not accepted the will of God as his rule of life. He affirms it to be his duty to do so; but he does not do it. And it is this which constitutes him an impenitent sinner.

The revealed will of God is with him no sufficient reason at all to induce obedience. He knows his duty, perhaps as well as the saint does; but he does not do it. He holds the truth in unrighteousness. Again, with the true saint, the omission of any duty is a dreadful thing. What! to disobey a command of God!

To know that God requires of him a certain course of action, and for him to refuse! Why, it is a dreadful thing! a thing not to be thought of! But with the impenitent sinner, the omission of duty is a mere trifle, a thing scarcely worth considering. He goes forward omitting all his duty, and all with as little consideration, or fear, or regret, as he would have in view of any trifle that you can name.

  1. This text is more frequently suggested by facts around us than almost any other in the Bible. It is so very, very common to find persons neglecting what they know and even confess to be their duty, and it is utterly amazing when we consider that so many of these confessors are really professors. They confess themselves to be in the habitual neglect of some duties, and perhaps of many, and yet they profess to be the children of God; they profess to be converted, to be God’s saints, his holy ones. Now who can live with such surroundings without being constantly reminded of this text; “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”
  2. The announcement of this text ought to shock such persons like a thunder bolt. See these dreamers! this multitude of souls that are crying peace, peace, when there is no peace! neglecting their duty to God and to their fellow-men! Hark! hear the thunder of this text, and let your nerves tremble!
  3. Ministers have reason to tremble for their hearers. How perfectly common it is for ministers to preach and hold out the claims of God, while their people will confess that it is truth, and that so they ought to do, but do they do so? Let such a minister watch his people. He holds out to them on the Sabbath the claims of God, and they go away, perhaps eulogizing the preaching, at any rate, they confess that they have been instructed in regard to their duty; but does he find them the next day, and every subsequent day, addressing themselves to this duty? Does he expect them to do it? Does he even expect his own church to do it? I should like to ask ministers, how many members of their church they have reason to believe, from acquaintance with them, will do their duty as soon as they are instructed in regard to it.

And I should like to ask them if it is not true that in a great multitude of instances, they have no expectation at all that the members of their church will wake up and be influenced by the truth, and will do what they know to be their duty. After preaching on the Sabbath and holding out to the church the claims of God, would they not be surprised on Monday to see the church all astir, and full of energy and vigor in carrying out the instructions of the Sabbath? How common it is for ministers to hold out the claims of God, to pour the truth upon their hearers; and then to see, right before their faces, that they hold the truth in unrighteousness. They know and acknowledge their duty, but they do not do it.

  1. Let us reflect that it is the wrath of God that is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. It is the wrath of God, and therefore it cannot be resisted. It is the wrath of God, and therefore it cannot be endured. “Can thine heart endure, can thine hand be strong in the day that I shall deal with thee, saith the Lord? What then wilt thou do in the day when I shall punish thee?” Sinner and negligent professor, have you really considered what it is to have the wrath of an Omnipresent and Almighty Being revealed from heaven against you? Revealed from heaven! See, the holy mount is covered with dark clouds, the batteries are charged, the match is lighted‚ and the Almighty is there!

Are you not afraid to pursue your course of neglect of duty, holding truth in unrighteousness? In just such a time as you think not, and when you are crying peace and safety, these batteries of Omnipotence will open upon you; the discharge will wither you in a moment; and you will sink down, down, down in the blackness of darkness forever!

What then shall you do? I answer, immediately discard this spirit of delay; lay hold upon eternal life; let your heart go to Christ; no longer hold the truth in unrigheousness. Arise, and what you do, do quickly. Lay hold upon eternal life; for “now is the accepted time, now is the day of Salvation.”

 

 

 

 

There was a time when I honestly thought I was a Christian, meaning, that I was a real “follower of Christ.” But like so many others professing Christ nowadays, I was believing what so many religious teachers out there teach as the Christian’s dilemma, that we will always be stuck in doing those things we hate and many times completely unable to do those right things we want. My question was and still is, just how is that being “free indeed?”

John 8:31 – Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed ;32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? 34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. 35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. 36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Romans 7:19 – For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

So, how are we supposed to reconcile those words of the Apostle Paul with the words of Jesus? Are we “wretched men,” or are we “free indeed?” Like so many, I was taught that Bible teaches that sin “dwells in me,” and therefore, evil is always going to present with me. Thus, like Paul himself supposedly admitted, I too was always going to be sinning, and that like it or not, I am therefore incapable of ever becoming the person I pray to become in Christ. That if I want any real peace of mind and heart, I just needed to accept all that as fact and quit being so hard on myself. If I did not simply accept who I was “in Christ,” I would never have any peace.

To this day I am continuing meet believers who wholly accepted it as sound doctrinal fact and therefore teach it as so. Consequently, many of these have absolutely no real motivation to be “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” To me, that is both alarming and frightening, since without holiness no man shall see God on favorable terms.

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