§I – ICHABOD THROUGH THE AGES
Then the glory of the Lord went out from the threshold of the house, and stood over the cherubim.
Ezekiel 10:18 (ESV)
And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain that is on the east side of the city. [The Mount Of Olives]
Ezekiel 11:23 (ESV)
This took place before the destruction of the first temple in Ezekiel’s day.
And Jesus, who is Himself the Glory of the Lord, signifies again Jerusalem’s doom by following this exact path before the Day of the Lord came upon the second temple. I wonder how much the disciples realized how relevant this was to the question they asked Him next:
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when His disciples came to point out to Him the buildings of the temple. But He answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
As He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
He then proceeded to describe what would accompany the end of that age, (ostensibly the Jewish era in their mind), all of which things literally fell in a very real sense upon that literal generation, in 70AD. Not one stone of the temple was left upon another. Jesus indeed visited Jerusalem again in judgement; even according to the colorful apocalyptic language which God typically uses when speaking of the overthrow of nations in the old testament (coming on the clouds, sun darkened, moon turned to blood, stars falling from heaven, etc.) His warning about this very doom to the Christians, who would be living in that city some 35 years later, is also recorded by Luke:
But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near.
Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill ALL that is written.
Luke 21:20-22 (ESV)
Josephus later recorded an incredible event in mid-65AD, right before the seige of Jerusalem properly began, which again mirrors the pattern of the Glory of the Lord departing:
Moreover at the feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests went by night into the inner court of the temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations; they said that in the first place they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that the heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence.”
But, what is still more terrible; there was one Jesus [a common 1st century name], 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!”
(Josephus, The Wars Of The Jews 6:5:3)
This occured in the year before Jerusalem’s seige began. Many things recorded by the historians of that time sound much like an earthly observer’s account of John’s apocalyptic book unfolding upon the land. All the tribes [Gk. φυλή] of the land [Gk. γῆ] indeed mourned because of He whom they had pierced (Rev 1:7). And those in Jerusalem from all about the land did so mourn, by the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, before the later judgement of the unbelievers, just as Zechariah prophesied:
And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on Me, on Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over Him, as one weeps over a firstborn.
Zechariah 12:10 (ESV)
And afterwards, when the faithful evenually fled that city as Jesus had warned, there was no sacrifice for sins left in it; but only a fearful expectation of judgement, which consumed those particular adversaries of Christ, so that they also wailed on account of Him.
For example, some of the language in Josephus’ account as quoted above, secifically “a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides,” reminds us of the overthrow of that great city called by John “Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified”:
Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,
“So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more; and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more,
and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.
And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth.”
Revelation 18:21-24 (ESV)
“…For it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.”
§II – MULTI-LEVEL FULFILLMENTS
These few years were full of great woe. All the plagues and woes fell upon that city as is written in the book of Christ’s unveiling [Gk. apokalupsis – unveiling, or revelation].
And as the earthly temple fell, and its practitioners were judged by the two witnesses of the Law and the Prophets, which they had proven to vehemently despise, the new temple was seen in heaven, heralded by seven trumpet blasts and many woes upon the disobedient; for then Christ had begun to reign (Rev 11:17).
I am becoming convinced that the great bulk of the book of Revelation, as well as Matthew 24:1-34, was in a very real sense fulfilled as of 70AD. In other words, Jesus meant exactly what He said when He spoke the words, “there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” For He indeed came back to that city in judgement, since they rebelled against His newly inaugurated reign, having declared, “We have no king but Caesar!” In His judgement of them, Christ proved Himself to be the King of kings, the Prophet of a better covnant, and the Priest of a new temple made without hands.
That said, similar cycles do continue to repeat themselves upon the church whenever God’s people reject His Lordship; and just as there were many false Christs of the Synagogue of Satan in that day, so it remains even to our own. But again, it can be instructional to us to see that much of the book of Revelation appears to have been written to initially tell of the great tribulation of those days, which was “shortly coming to pass;” a day of peril at the end of one age to commence another age, the beginning of the time of which Christ said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been geven to Me. Go therefore…” And this He said as He went to the Father on the clouds of heaven. Daniel also tells us of His ascension in this way:
I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
Here His coming on the clouds is directed not to earth, but to the Father; having bound the Devil and won that which the Father then presents to Him. Therefore the Lord is always slowly building up His kingdom in the midst of the earth just as He promised – perhaps appearing in our impatient eyes to be taking one step back then two steps forward; and He is always cancelling the Devil’s apocalypse, because the true apocalypse belongs to Christ, who is truly the One revealing Himself in the earth.
If our understanding of the nearness of the Day of the Lord is expanded beyond the last 100 years of one particular continent, and if we turn from the voices of proven liars and worldly apocalypse merchants, then I believe that this will slowly become apparent. It is just as wicked to give up, hoping to magically escape in the times of darkness, as it is wicked to pretend that there are no such times in this age. For the Day of the Lord appears first in the hearts of men; and winnows its threshing floor there before anywhere else. Therefore Christ will have for Himself a great multitude from every tribe, tongue, and nation; and He will find servants willing to gather them, even if it takes centuries more.
The Stone grows into a Mountain,
The Leaven permeates the whole lump,
The Son sits at the right hand of the Father,
Until all enemies are made a footstool for His feet.
§III – THE AGE OF RESURRECTION
“Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool.”
Or as the apostle Paul stated it for this age,
For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:25-26
And later in the same discussion, Paul goes on to say:
I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
1 Corinthians 15:50-52
Now if this trumpet is in one sense the seventh trumpet of Revelation 11:15, then it is that which inaugurates the same reign of Christ of which we have already spoken:
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever.”
They also say thereafter, “for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.”
We these things in mind, we can begin to understand that the seals, trumpets, and bowls of Christ’s unveiling are not particular to any one period in history, past or present; but they are ever being opened, blasted, and poured out at all times in every generation and in various ways. They even were fulfilled in one sense long before John’s time, when the Lord overthrew Jericho by the hand of Joshua. For since the book of Revelation concerns the unveiling of Christ, all things in it therefore have a fulfillment in what was, what is, and what is to come.
In John’s day, the fall of earthly Jerusalem, as initially announced by the trumpets he describes, marked for them the beginning of a new iteration of God’s kingdom through the church; which before had subsisted on earth in the earthly temple, but now would spread across the earth from a Cornerstone into a very great mountain, from a Seed into a very great tree: a greater temple made of living stones; a better covanent enacted on better promises. For as long as the earthly temple still stood, its age was not yet ended (Heb 9:8-9). But now He has begun to reign; and of the increase of His government and of peace there will be no end, though Satan is again fully loosed for but a very little season at the end of this age (Rev 20).
And concerning this present age, the apostle Paul continues:
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:53-57
The victory in this present age is “through our Lord Jesus Christ;” and it is also called by the book of Revelation “the first resurrection” (Rev 20:5). The second death (the lake of fire) has no authority over the ones who partake in this resurrection life by the Spirit of Christ. The first generation of this new Israel overcame the persecution which accompanied the fall of the old order of things (42 months under Nero Caesar), and we still continue to find Christ’s same victory over the first death by that first resurrection, in all the trials that have followed on earth under His current reign.
But note especially the remark about the perishable putting on imperishability, and the mortal putting on immortality. This describes our translation to meet with the Imperishable One who put on what was perishable, the Immortal One who put on mortality; yet who also rendered both imperishable and immortal once again: so that, as the apostle said before, once all enemies are put under His feet in this age, He at last will fully defeat that death in us, even as He did so in Himself. Therefore we work in the hope of the second resurrection triumphing over the second death, as judgement is passed over the children of His covanent, who sing the song of Moses.
It is with this perspective, I believe, that great meaning is retained in Paul’s closing remark on the matter:
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58
§IV – THE WARNING
Now, if the church inherits all the blessings of Israel, then it also inherits all the same temptations, all the same risks of idolatry, and all the same curses for disobedience. Whoever steps outside of Christ’s rule steps outside of where all the promises of God are “yes” and “amen.”
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
That book is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. To add to Him or to take away from Him, is to reject Him. From such He will “remove hence.” There must be a remnant out of every generation, and in every age, who overcomes the dreadful condemnation of Christ, “Behold, your house is left to you desolate.”
Just as those who did not obey Christ in the last age were not able to proceed into the greater glory of His kingdom in this age; so also will those who disobey Him in this age not proceed into its greater glory in the next.
When the church of the previous age (Israel) fully rejected what was given to them, it was succeeded in the present age by a remnant, but with a better promise to bless all nations IN CHRIST. Therefore, when the present remnant of Israel (the church) fully obeys what has been given to it – and God will indeed see it done – it will be translated into a more blessed age.
And though it is now the age of the first resurrection, it was the second resurrection (translation) for which Paul longed even in this life when he said:
…to know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, having been conformed to His death, if somehow I may attain to a resurrection out of the dead.
And Enoch walketh habitually with God, and he is not, for God hath taken him.
Genesis 5:24 (YLT)
“Now the day of the Lord comes not where the carnal mind might imagine, nor when man wills; neither according to the carnal desire of the carnal heart; neither according to the evil eye that looks out, can it be seen.
And as the day of the Lord is a mystery, the Spirit of the Lord is the only discoverer of it; for none can know the things of God, but by the Spirit of God. The day of the Lord; even his bright shining forth in the heart of man, is one of the glorious things of God, which only the Spirit of God gives the knowledge of to man, and in man.
The further men draw from the Light, the darker their hearts become; and their understandings being closed up, they cannot behold the Lord, neither his glory, which is revealed only by God’s Holy Spirit; which Spirit is near man, though he sees it not.”
– Francis Howgill
The following is a lengthy selection of excerpts taken from the famous sermon first preached by Jonathan Edwards to his congregation in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Their foot shall slide in due time.
In this verse is threatened the vengeance of God on the wicked unbelieving Israelites, who were God’s visible people, and who lived under the means of grace; but who, notwithstanding all God’s wonderful works towards them, remained (as per verse 28.) void of counsel, having no understanding in them. Under all the cultivations of heaven, they brought forth bitter and poisonous fruit; as in the two verses next preceding the text.
The expression I have chosen for my text, “their foot shall slide in due time,” seems to imply the following things, relating to the punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were exposed.
1. That they were always exposed to destruction; as one that stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall. This is implied in the manner of their destruction coming upon them, being represented by their foot sliding. The same is expressed in Psalm 73:18: “Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places; Thou castedst them down into destruction.”
2. It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in Psalm 73:18-19: “Surely Thou didst set them in slippery places; Thou castedst them down into destruction: How are they brought into desolation as in a moment!”
3. Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down.
4. That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God’s appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, “their foot shall slide.” Then they shall be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.
…There are in the souls of wicked men those hellish principles reigning, that would presently kindle and flame out into hell fire, if it were not for God’s restraints. There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a foundation for the torments of Hell. There are those corrupt principles, in reigning power in them, and in full possession of them, that are seeds of hell fire. These principles are active and powerful, exceeding violent in their nature, and if it were not for the restraining hand of God upon them, they would soon break out, they would flame out after the same manner as the same corruptions, the same enmity does in the hearts of damned souls, and would beget the same torments as they do in them.
The souls of the wicked are in scripture compared to the troubled sea (Isa. 57:20). For the present, God restrains their wickedness by his mighty power, as he does the raging waves of the troubled sea, saying, “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further;” but if God should withdraw that restraining power, it would soon carry all before it. Sin is the ruin and misery of the soul; it is destructive in its nature; and if God should leave it without restraint, there would need nothing else to make the soul perfectly miserable. The corruption of the heart of man is immoderate and boundless in its fury; and while wicked men live here, it is like fire pent up by God’s restraints, whereas if it were let loose, it would set on fire the course of nature; and as the heart is now a sink of sin, so if sin was not restrained, it would immediately turn the soul into a fiery oven, or a furnace of fire and brimstone.
……Every one lays out matters in his own mind how he shall avoid damnation, and flatters himself that he contrives well for himself, and that his schemes will not fail. They hear indeed that there are but few saved, and that the greater part of men that have died heretofore are gone to hell; but each one imagines that he lays out matters better for his own escape than others have done. He does not intend to come to that place of torment; he says within himself, that he intends to take effectual care, and to order matters so for himself as not to fail.
But the foolish children of men miserably delude themselves in their own schemes, and in confidence in their own strength and wisdom; they trust to nothing but a shadow. The greater part of those who heretofore have lived under the same means of grace, and are now dead, are undoubtedly in Hell; and it was not because they were not as wise as those who are now alive; it was not because they did not lay out matters as well for themselves to secure their own escape. If we could speak with them, and inquire of them, one by one, whether they expected, when alive and when they used to hear about Hell, ever to be the subjects of that misery, we doubtless, should hear one and another reply, “No, I never intended to come here: I had laid out matters otherwise in my mind; I thought I should contrive well for myself: I thought my scheme good. I intended to take effectual care; but it came upon me unexpected: I did not look for it at that time, and in that manner; it came as a thief: Death outwitted me: God’s wrath was too quick for me. O my cursed foolishness! I was flattering myself, and pleasing myself with vain dreams of what I would do hearafter; and when I was saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ then sudden destruction came upon me.”
…God has laid Himself under no obligation, by any promise, to keep any natural man out of Hell one moment. God certainly has made no promises either of eternal life, or of any deliverance or preservation from eternal death, but what are contained in the covenant of grace, the promises that are given in Christ, in whom all the promises are yea and amen. But surely they have no interest in the promises of grace who are not the children of the covenant, who do not believe in any of the promises, and have no interest in the Mediator of the covenant.
So that, whatever some have imagined and pretended about promises made to natural men’s earnest seeking and knocking, it is plain and manifest, that whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes, till He believes in Christ, God is under no manner of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction.
So that thus it is that natural men are held in the hand of God over the pit of Hell; they have deserved the firey pit, and are already sentenced to it; and God is dreadfully provoked, His anger is as great towrds them as to those that are actually suffering the executions of the fierceness of His wrath in Hell; and they have done nothing in the least to appease or abate that anger, neither is God in the least bound by any promise to hold them up one moment: the devil is waiting for them, Hell is gaping for them, the flames gather and flash about them, and would fain lay hold on them, and swallow them up; the fire pent up in their own hearts is struggling to break out; and they have no interest in any Mediator, there are no means within reach that can be any security to them. In short, they have no refuge, nothing to take hold of; all that preserves them every moment is the mere arbitrary will, and uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance, of an incensed God.
…Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards Hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf; and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of Hell, than a spider’s web would have to stop a falling rock.
Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment; for you are a burden to it: the creation groans with you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not willingly; the sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts; nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon; the air does not willingly serve you for breath to maintain the flame of life in your vitals, while you spend your life in service to God’s enemies. God’s creatures are good, and were made for men to serve God with, and do not willingly subserve to any other purpose; and groan when they are abused to purposes so directly contrary to their nature and end. And the world would spew you out, were it not for the sovereign hand of Him who hath subjected it in hope.
…The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced, light and life, are in the hands of an angry God.
However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but His mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction. However unconvinced you may now be of the truth of what you hear, by and by you will be convinced of it. Those that are gone from being in the like circumstances with you, see that it was so with them; for destruction came suddenly upon most of them; when they expected nothing of it, and while they were saying, “Peace and safety:” now they see, that those things on which they depended for peace and safety, were nothing but thin air and empty shadows.
The God that holds you over the pit of Hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: His wrath towards you burns like fire; He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in His sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in His sight than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended Him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet, it is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to Hell the last night; that you were suffered to wake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep. And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into Hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up.
…Consider this, you that are present, that yet remain in an unregenerate state. That God will execute the fierceness of His anger, implies, that He will inflict wrath without any pity. When God beholds the ineffable extremity of your case, and sees your torment to be so vastly disproportioned to your strength, and sees how your poor soul is crushed, and sinks down, as it were, into an infinite gloom; He will have no compassion upon you, He will not forbear the executions of His wrath, or in the least lighten His hand; there shall be no moderation, no mercy, nor will God then at all stay His rough wind; He will have no regard for your welfare, nor at all be careful lest you should suffer too much in any other sense, then only that you shall not suffer beyond what strict justice requires. Nothing shall be witheld, because it is so hard for you to bear. “Therefore will I also deal in fury; Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity; and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet I will not hear them.” (Ezek. 8:18)
Now God stands ready to pity you,; this is a day of mercy; you may cry now with some encouragement of obtaining mercy. But when once the day of mercy is past, your most lamentable and dolorous cries and shrieks will be in vain; you will be wholly lost and thrown away of God, as to any regard to your welfare. God will have no other use to put you to, but to suffer misery; you shall be continued in being to no other end; for you will be a vessel of wrath fitted to destruction; and there will be no other use of this vessel, but to be filled full of wrath. God will be so far from pitying you when you cry out to Him, that it is said He will only “laugh and mock.” (Prov. 1:25-26) How awful are these words, which are the words of the Great God, “I will tread them in Mine anger, and will trample them in My fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments, and I will stain all My raiment.” (Isa. 63:3)
…“What if God, willing to show His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels fitted to destruction?” (Rom 9:22) And seeing this is His design, and what He has determined, even to show how terrible the unrestrained wrath, the fury and fierceness, of Jehovah is, He will do it to effect. There will be something accomplished and brought to pass that will be dreadful with a witness. When the great and angry God hath risen up and executed His awful vengeance on the poor sinner, and the wretch is actually suffering the infinite weight and power of His indignation, then will God call upon the whole universe to behold that awful majesty and mighty power that is to be seen in it. “And the people shall be as burnings of lime, as thorns cut up shall they be burnt in the fire. Hear, ye that are afar off, what I have done; and ye that are near, acknowledge My might. The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites.” (Isa. 33:12-14)
Thus it will be with you that are in an unconverted state, if you continue in it; the infinite might, and majesty, and terribleness of the omnipotent God shall be magnified upon you, in the ineffable strength of your torments. You shall be tormented in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb; and when you shall be in this state of suffering, the glorious inhabitants of heaven shall go forth and look on the awful spectacle, that they may see what the wrath and fierceness of the Almighty is; and when they have seen it, they will fall down and adore that great power and majesty. “And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before Me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men that have transgressed against Me; for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh.” (Isa. 66:23-24)
It is an everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long forever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite.
…There is reason to think, that there are many in this congregation now hearing this discourse, that will actually be the subjects of this very misery to all eternity. We know not who they are, or in what seats they sit, or what thoughts they now have. It may be they are now at ease, and hear all these things without much disturbance, and are now flattering themselves that they are not the persons, promising themselves that they shall escape. If we knew that there was one person, and but one, in the whole congregation, that was to be the subject of this misery, what an awful thing it would be to think of! If we knew who it was, what an awful sight it would be to see such a person! How might all the rest of the congregation lift up a lamentable and bitter cry over him!
…And let every one that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the pit of Hell, whether they be old men and women, or middle aged, or young people, or little children, now hearken to the loud calls of God’s word and providence. This acceptable year of the Lord, a day of such great favour to some, will doubtless be a day of as remarkable vengeance to others. Men’s hearts harden, and their guilt increases apace, at such a day as this, if they neglect their souls; and never was there so great a danger of such persons being given up to hardness of heart and blindness of mind.
…Now undoubtedly it is, as it was in the days of John the Baptist, that the axe is in an extraordinary manner laid to the root of the trees, that every tree which brings not forth good fruit, may be hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ, now awake and fly from the wrath to come. The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation. Let every one fly out of Sodom: “Haste and escape for your lives, look not behind you, escape to the mountain, lest you be consumed.”
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
And what happens when moral authority is thrown out in the name of “free speech”?
You get the opposite blasphemy laws from what you once lived under.
Because you objected to the legislating of morality, saying, “the gospel is not law.”
By this, you fell for the diabolical dialectic game in assuming that the enforcers of earthly law should automatically understand the spirit of the gospel; while neglecting the Law of the Spirit of Life for yourself. You applauded the earthly rulers in their casting off of divine restraints, as you yourself became no more just than they. Therefore, instead of legislating morality, your rulers now legislate immorality; and that justified by the lawless social gospel which you have legitimized by desiring the state to do something other than punish evildoers – one of it’s few divine mandates.
You asked for it, christian.
You begged for the inversion of authority, and you are receiving it in spades.
You rendered unto Caesar that which is God’s, and unto God that which is Caesar’s.
You bought into every subtle lie of the Babylonian impulse to build an earthly temple for God, because you didn’t want to preach the gospel for yourself; and now what has been sown will be reaped.
Your children are led astray by those whom you trust, your treasury is left desolate by the greed of those from whom you borrowed, yet you think all is well; and your mind remains spellbound by the words of your chosen masters.
Do not bemoan the lawlessness in the land when you still hold to its arbitrary claims of imaginary “freedoms” and “rights” – the erroneous universalist assumptions which were seeded by your empire’s founders upon its very conception, and are finally coming to their logical end: a corrupted tree, according to its fruit. They did not count upon the unfathomable fallenness and corruptibility of men; rendering their expiriment a relatively short one in the graveyard of empires.
For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour; if it were to yield, strangers would devour it.
Justice will be served upon a cold platter, and you won’t be too proud when it comes.
The light exposing evil in the land will also provoke the Devil’s wrath.
Unless we really love the truth, to the shattering of our own trite notions of it, the road which lies ahead will become impossible to navigate. Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit and OBEDIENCE to every word of God, you will remain a spiritual slave to carnal freedom, mere collateral damage in this warfare, fighting to preserve the foundations of that which enslaves you.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
They 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. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
1 John 2:15-21
If this isn’t a sign for France, and to the world – on multiple levels – I don’t know what is.
Rome is burning.
Forshadowing of Babylon.
The tower falls every time.
History indeed repeats itself; but with every repetition, it gets louder to the hearing ear, and clearer to the seeing eye.
Every tactic which man collectively employs (and re-employs) to “save” himself eventually serves only to reveal his fallenness. We are at the verge of the ugliest part of the cycle repeating itself again; and this time, the methods of the evil rulers and purveyors of wickedness have been more perfected than ever. The final chapter of history will be the culmination of all that has been building up in the darkness for millennia.
The pursuit of ultimate wealth and power has lead the whole world into bottomless debt and utter enslavement to mammon. Enforced degeneracy is currently eating its unnumerable subjects alive by the dictates of its very nature. And in modernity, the mass ethnic-melting-pot societies, falsely imposed as the grand utopian solution to mankind’s woes, will invariably lead to mass-ethnic-cleansing, as those nations with any sense of themselves left will thereby attempt to curb the inescapable consequences of all the decadence – and this was the plan all along. The Devil weakens the nations by the subversion of true authority, but then feigns innocence upon the bloody result. For amidst the ensuing chaos, he can then define with one accusation the spirit of the age, uniting the mind of the world under a single mantra: that Christ and His true flock are to blame.
You can try to intervene by playing their “game” against them, and so be drawn in to partake in the plagues of Babylon; or you can pursue the indestructable Life which is hidden with Christ in God, and He will be enough, and His kingdom will have one more inheritor.
You can compromise and become baptized in the world’s filth, and aquire a taste for the blood of the martyrs; or you can become baptized in the Holy Spirit and drink the Water of Life, and suffer for Christ’s Name.
The Lord has given us Himself to be discovered, known, and obeyed; yet the many among us keep holding on to a wicked world that hates Christ, a world that will end in bloodshed and fire.
Part 1 can be read HERE
VICTORY REVEALED, REBELLION RENEWED
“I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” – Lk 10:18
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The victory of Christ in His death and resurrection surely sealed the fate of sin and death, and spelled certain doom for the rule of Satan on the earth; but not yet has the full task been manifestly completed. The legal groundwork is laid; but the war is far from over. The gavel has resounded with “it is finished;” but now God builds His kingdom upon that decree in our hearts just as a man builds his house upon a foundation. The Potter has chosen His lumps of clay in Christ; but now He puts them to His wheel for the making of vessels, and tries them each by fire.
Yet for now, my focus is drawn primarily to the cosmic regime change at which the Lord hints in the phrase, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” This is in stark contrast to His earlier acknowledgement by silence that the kingdoms of the earth were rightfully under the rule of the Devil (Matt 4:8-10). But now, they are rightfully under Christ’s rule, in just as direct a sense that they were once rightfully under the Devil’s – yet here is where men of God become puffed up in their understanding. And to counter their leaven, we need look no further than His prescription for the church in light of His total authority: “MAKE DISCIPLES.”
Now one will say, “But He says, ‘of all nations’ – so surely the body of Christ is meant to eventually disciple the very kingdoms of the earth even in this age.” How such men must then interpret the kings of the earth committing fornication with the Great Prostitute, I am quite at a loss. For it would imply a total failure on the part of His church, thus reflecting a poor record upon He who said “the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” Little do they realize, however, that such a mixture of the city of God and the city of man is the very fornication there spoken of! But no, we are to make disciples from out of all nations. In Luke’s account of the same great commission, Jesus says to preach the gospel into or among the nations [“εἰς” – Str. G1519 ] – it is the personal call of the gospel’s command to repent unto the Lordship of Christ, not a commission for the broad moral or spiritual conquest of society as a whole. It is the call to suffer outside the camp which turns the world upside-down, not the call to reorder the camp. It is the countering of worldly agendas with a heavenly gospel that throws men off balance from their mesmerization with the world; it is the individual repenting of his race to the bottom of depravity which offends the flesh; it is the simple holy life lived against the stream of the spirit of the age that sheds the most light upon the Devil’s work. We ought to be so heavenly minded that the scriptures would include us in the saying, “of whom the world was not worthy” (Heb 11).
We would do well to take heed of Jesus’ words to the seventy-two; when they had experienced the power of His authority yet admired it according to the flesh, which leads to all manner of unholy mixture:
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name!” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
The Lord Jesus was not impressed by the mere excercise of His authority; He sought for His own an eternal perspective of His kingdom, a heavenly mindset in which men find no earthly good – for God Himself is the only absolute good. But in the midst of this discussion, He remarks, as if out of nowhere, upon the scene in the heavenlies that backdrops His first coming: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” And it is this very scene in time which the apostle John saw regarding the birth of that Son of Man…
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a Male Child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her Child was caught up to God and to His throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days.
This woman was the Israel of that day, from which the Christ was brought forth; and upon His coming, the Devil incurred yet another rebellion of heavenly hosts to thwart the rule of He “who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” Yet the Anointed One did NOT immediately establish this full reign upon the earth, as had been expected by the wisdom of this world; but was rather “caught up to God and to His throne” (the ascension), “and the woman fled into the wilderness…” And that woman is comprised of all those to whom He came, as unto His own, and they received Him not (Jn 1:11).
Now as we read above, it is within the context of the first coming of Christ – not the fall of Adam – that a third of the stars of heaven were “swept down” by the dragon. And these are the forces against which much of our warfare is fought today. For it says of the first incursion of the fallen sons of god (the bên ‘ĕlôhîym – read part 1) that Christ has now kept them “in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day…” (Jude 5-7)
But concerning the new rebellion, the beloved apostle writes further of what was shown to him:
Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world – he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come [Mt 28:18-20], for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
This describes the current age. Here the great commission is echoed in the saying, “the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come;” because Satan fell, as Jesus said, like lightning from heaven: “for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” He shall never again set foot in the divine council; but on earth he works to establish a kingdom of darkness, and to wear out the holy ones of God through the whoredoms of the earthly powers, upon whom he imposes his wicked influence.
“It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.” – Lk 13:33
“And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints…” – Rev 18:24
Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.
The Devil’s scheme is the seduction of all who do not obey the Spirit of Christ; and in his rage against the Son of God, he turns to persecute and stamp out the offspring which are born after His image. For notice where the woman flees to: “into the wilderness;” and there she is preserved “where she has a place prepared by God.”
But for what is she prepared? It could have been for mercy; but the story quickly changes. We see that the dragon in his wrath does not continue this pursuit of her, but turns rather to the persecution of her spiritual offspring (the church). And notice by what she is helped when the dragon sought her utter destruction: she is helped not by God, who had borne her away in mercy for a time; but she is now helped by the earth, which “opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth…”
I see in this a turning of the woman away from the purposes of God to fully embrace the methods of the rulers of the earth, which the Christ foretold to her worldly children the Jews saying, “I have come in My Father’s Name, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.” (Jn 5:43) For until this day, all who reject Christ, especially they which call themselves the Jews, have turned to the kings of the earth for help; and having thereby aquired a lust for power, have embittered the whole world against them, of whom Paul says, “who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men…” (1Thess 2:14-16) Such is the tale of all to whom He comes, yet who do not receive Him; and it remains a warning to His church. “He came unto His own; but…”
It is at this very junction that judgement begins anew at the house of God, resulting in the distinction between two women: the bride and the whore. And this is the age of judgement in which we now live; for this judgement befalls every generation in one way or another. As Christ said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see might see; and that those who see might become blind.” (Jn 9:39)
Later, the woman is found again in the wilderness and is pronounced fallen, “for she has BECOME a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.” (Rev 18:2)
This is what John saw concerning she who had become the mother of harlots:
And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly.
Now Babylon is not only the city in which “is found the blood of the prophets and saints” – a characterization which Christ Himself makes of the earthly Jerusalem (Lk 13:33) – but she is also the city in which is found the blood of “all who have been slain upon the earth” (Rev 18:24). Christ indeed seems to place the epicenter of Babylon during His earthly ministry at Jerusalem, as that is where the judgement of the gospel began; but then as the gospel spread, so also did the daughters of Babylon follow to the ends of the world. And now her cancer is found across the whole face of the earth; as she and her daughters are ever the more proficient at seducing men of God into her worldly ways. They are the false prophets which seduce the flock, they are the apostates which secretly prey upon the children of His inheritance; they are the synagogue of Satan, “who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie;” for the true Israel of God are the children of the very faith of Christ which dwelt in Abraham, but those who do not receive Him are cut off from the Vine. “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:29)
And note what characterizes the beast on which she is carried: “it had seven heads and ten horns.” This is because the mode of her operation is religious in nature, but secular in power. Yet even the secular power in the end will hate her, resenting her sway over them, and her mixture will be her downfall.
And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”
The great whore is seated in stark contrast to the true bride of Christ. For while the former sits arrayed in purple and scarlet, the latter humbly adorns herself in the white raiment bought beyond price; and unlike the former, she drinks not the blood of her enemies from a chalice of gold: but she purifies herself in the blood of her Beloved through the fellowship of His sufferings to keep her garments unstained. And the betrothed of the Lord looks not for an earthly dwelling, but for a city whose builder and maker is God. For the assertion of Babylon is, “I sit a queen, and am no widow” (Rev 18:7); but the cry of the true daughter of Zion is, “Make haste, my Beloved!” (SS 8:14)
The pursuit of the kingdom by the will of man is the road to Babylon. The mixture of the holy with the profane is the abomination which causes desolation. Those who do these things are truly the murderers of the apostles and prophets; they are the perverters of all that the Lord would work in the hearts of His people. But in the seeing of the Son and in the suffering for His Name, the holy ones are brought to kingdom-come; and the whores will be delivered into the vengeful hand of He to whom belongs all power and glory.
That Word above all earthly pow’rs,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
– Martin Luther
Part 3 can be read HERE