Daniel 059 – Weakening the Strong

Daniel 059 – Weakening the Strong
Daniel 12:5-7 • Dr. Andy Woods • April 15, 2018 • Daniel


Andy Woods

Weakening the Strong and Strengthening the Weak

4-15-18                   Daniel 12:5-7               Lesson 59

Let’s take our Bibles if we could and open them to the Book of Daniel, Daniel chapter 12 and verse 5, taking a look this morning, God willing, at verses 5-7.  The title of our message this morning is Weakening the Strong and Strengthening the Weak.  In fact, if you’re sensitive to that issue that really is God’s plan and program for all of our lives.  1 Peter 5:5 says, “God is opposed to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.”  God is in the business of bringing the strong down and promoting the weak.  And we certainly see that as we’re looking at Daniel 12:5-7 this morning which reveals God’s future program for the nation of Israel.  Of course this is all part of one unit, chapters 10-12, the final vision which Daniel received back in the sixth century B.C.

There was tremendous warfare involved in how that vision finally arrived to Daniel but finally at the end of chapter 10 he receives it and the vision itself is recorded in chapters 11 and 12.  Daniel has really been given quite a panorama here of world history.  Most of these things that Daniel has seen are historical from our perspective until you get, really to verse 36, then he leaps into the future and begins to describe the tribulation period and the millennial kingdom which follows.  He’s given information about the future antichrist, future tribulation, future millennial kingdom.

And we’ve found ourselves for the last couple of Sundays in chapter 12 where Daniel has been given, first of all a description of the end times.  We have seen the suffering of the nation of Israel that is yet future for them; the separation, the two great resurrections at the end of the age, the shining, the reward that some resurrected people will receive.  And then finally last week we looked at the ceiling, how this information is designed by God to become progressively more understand­able the closer humanity drifts to the allotted time frame, or prophesied time frame.

And now we move into verses 5-13 which is no longer a description of the end times as much as it is information about the duration of the end times.  And the reason I call it that is because the questions that come, and there’s two question and answer sessions here.  Session one is in verses 5-7 (which we’re going to look at today).  Session two is in verses 8-13 but the questions and answers all seem to revolve around the length or duration or how many days, how many years, how many months will it take for these things to be so.

Notice, if you will, round one, verses 5-7, as the first question is asked there in verses 5-6.  Let’s start, if we could, with verse 5.  “Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river.”  Now you’ll notice something that escapes people’s notice, something very simple  yet it’s very important; it says there in verse 5, “Then I, Daniel.”  Why is that a big deal?  Because when you watch A&E, the history channel, Mysteries of the Bible, as I’ve mentioned many times they’ll try to convince you that Daniel didn’t really write this.  I mean, how could Daniel have known history in advance the way he did. So they take the  Book of Daniel from the sixth century B. C. and transport it into the second century B.C. and they think they’ve solved the problem.  They make Daniel a history lesson rather than a prophecy.

The problem is an ordinary reading of the passage won’t allow you to do that.  It says, “I Daniel,” Daniel saw all of these things back in the sixth century, even the things that can’t be explained, such as the things that we’ve studied in the intertestamental period, Daniel saw those things four hundred years in advance.  There is no reason to play games with the Book of Daniel if you believe in the reality of predictive prophecy.  Of course, Jesus Christ Himself quotes Daniel 9:27 and says what?   “Spoken through the prophet Daniel.”  I mean, isn’t Jesus a pretty good guy to agree with at the end of the day?

Jesus Himself believed Daniel is the author of the entire Book of Daniel in the sixth century. [Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”    Matthew 24:15, “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),]

Now you’ll notice what it says there in verse 5, “Then I, Daniel, looked and” notice what it says, “behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river.”  Now who are these two others?  I believe that these two others represent angelic beings.  You might recall when we started this study… maybe some of you don’t recall, but when we started this study I said if  you hang with me through this study you’re going to learn a variety of topics.  I think we’ve made good on our promises…amen!  It’s all there in the sermon archives if you’re interested.

But one of the things I said at the very beginning is one of the things you’re going to learn in the Book of Daniel is something called angelology which is the doctrine of angels.  I mean, what does the Bible say about angels?  In fact, it’s shocking to discover how much the Bible reveals about this subject of angels.  I recommend Billy Graham’s book, Angels: God’s Secret Agents.  It’s an interesting book and as you go through it you’re startled at how much of the Bible is spoken of concerning angels.  And certainly Daniel has a lot to say about it. They’re called watchers, Daniel 4.

[Daniel 4:13. I was looking in the visions in my mind as I lay on my bed, and behold, an angelic watcher, a holy one, descended from heaven.”]  We’ve run into Gabriel, Daniel 8.  We’ve run into Michael, Daniel 10.

And we’ve even run into something called spiritual warfare.  Doesn’t our Bible teach that “we wrestle not against” what? “flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world….”  [Ephesians 6:12]  You get a tremendous description of the spiritual warfare raging, I would say right now as we speak, in the heavenly places, in Daniel chapter 10.  I mean, where would we be in our understanding of angels were it not for the Book of Daniel.

And notice what it says [Daniel 12] verse 5, “Then I, Daniel, looked and behold two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river.”  Now which river is it talking about here?  Is this the Mississippi River?  What is he talking about exactly?  Well, remember chapters 10-12 is all one unit, it’s all information that Daniel received at a particular date. Chapters 10-12 need to be understood that way; the chapter divisions in the Bible confuse us because we bifurcate things based on these chapter divisions, but I can assure you that the Holy Spirit did not put those chapter divisions there.  They are a manmade invention; I’m not necessarily against them, I think generally the people that put those chapter divisions there did a decent job.  But the problem with chapter divisions is we separate one unit from the other and God wants this whole unit of material to be understood as one block of information.  And so to discover what river he’s talking about all we have to do is go back to Daniel 10:4 when the vision started.   It’s interesting to me how the Bible is its best interpreter.  It says at the beginning of this vision, Daniel 10:4, “On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris,” not the Mississippi but the Tigris.

Daniel received this information and this is where the entire Book of Daniel unfolds in an area called Mesopotamia which literally means between the rivers.  Which rivers?  The river Euphrates and the river Tigris; that was where Babylon, Babylonia once was.  Today we would call it modern day Iraq.  So the Tigris River is the river just a tad east of the Euphrates.

Daniel, as we know, is one of our exilic prophets.  What does that mean?  He had these prophecies in exile.  That’s what makes the Book of Daniel so significant, it’s how to live for God in a pagan world, how to stand for God in a pagan world.   And no doubt some of you are facing that, on the job, in your family, at the work place, how do you live for God amongst people who don’t agree with your basic assumptions?  The Book of Daniel is designed for such a person.

The other exilic prophet would be Ezekiel.  Ezekiel and Daniel were contemporaries; now I don’t know if they knew each other or not but in the Book of Ezekiel, chapter 14 and I believe chapter 28 also, you’ll see Ezekiel making reference to Daniel.  Ezekiel knew Daniel at least by reputation.  And so it’s interesting to me that God can use us when we are in a place of displace­ment or dislocation, ripped out of our comfort zone in some job and  you don’t really know why you’re there, amongst people that really don’t  understand where you’re coming from.  We say where is God in this situation, I want to be back in my comfort zone.  But you see, that’s when God is getting ready to use you.  That’s how God used Ezekiel and Daniel so strategically.

And I love bringing up these points of geography because the Bible wants us to know that this is  not mythical, this is snot Jack and the Beanstalk stuff.  These are actual geophysical, geopolitical places on planet earth where these events actually transpired.  It’s amazing how much geography you can learn simply by studying the Bible.  In fact, the whole subject of geography was somewhat boring to me when I was unsaved, but you get saved and you start looking at the Bible and suddenly these places get very, very interesting.  And it’s not just the Book of Daniel, it’s the Book of Acts and many other books are filled with geographical geopolitical information.  I would encourage you to take note of those things because the culture wants to convince us that the Bible is just a myth, it’s just fabrication, it’s just fairy tales.  NO, not at all!  It’s real life people in real life circumstances.

But you’ll notice that what happens in this question and answer session, beginning in verse 6, it says, [Daniel 12:6] “And one” that’s one of the two angels standing on either side of the banks of the Tigris, “one said to the man dressed in linen who was above the waters, how long will it be until the end of these wonders.”   So now what we’re introduced to is a third man.  You’ve got two angels standing on either bank of the Tigris and now we have a third individual; this individual is described a particular way.  Verse 7, he is dressed in linen, so who is this third individual.

Now again the Bible is its best interpreter.  When you go back to the beginning of this vision in Daniel 10:5-6 you see who this third man is.  Daniel 10:5-6 says, “I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen,” and it goes on and it describes there, verse 5 and verse 6 of the exact sort of garments that he was in.   And whoever that man was or is, is the same man or third man that’s mentioned in Daniel 10:6.  [“I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. [6] His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.’]

And there are a great many Bible teachers, whom I respect a great deal, that say this third man is Jesus Christ.  How do they get that?  They get that because of the colors and clothing that this third man is wearing is exactly the way Jesus is described in Revelation 1:13-15.  [Revelation 1:13-15, “and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. [14] His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. [15] His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.”]  In fact, when you read Revelation 1:13-15 the description there of the glorified Christ that appeared to John on the Island of Patmos, you’ll see the clothing described; it’s exactly like the clothing that we read about with this third man in Daniel 10.

And as much as I respect people that hold to that interpretation I’ve always had some difficulties with it.  My primary problem with it is this angel had to fight 21 days over a fallen angel to get to a place where he could deliver Daniel the prophecy.  Since Jesus is all powerful I don’t think He has to fight anybody.  And beyond that Jesus is omnipresent as fully God everywhere at once; why would Jesus even have to travel.

I think that it’s better said that this third man is probably Gabriel, not our youth pastor Gabriel, [laughter] but a revelatory angel, he shows up in Daniel 8:16 to deliver the prophecy of the ram and the goal; he shows up in Daniel 9:21 to deliver the prophecy of the seventy weeks.  [Daniel 8:16, “And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, ‘Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision.”  Daniel 9:21, “while I was still speaking in prayer, then the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision previously, came to me in my extreme weariness about the time of the evening offering.”]

Gabriel, as  you know from early Luke is very active revealing information about John the Baptist and Jesus Christ while they were still in their mother’s wombs.  Luke 1:19, Luke 1:26.  [Luke 1:19, “The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.”  Luke 1:26, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth.”]

So is this third man Jesus?  Is this third man Gabriel?  My leaning is it’s Gabriel but if you want to believe it’s Jesus then feel free to do that, we can still be friends at the end of the day.  Amen.  Whoever it is, either one, this third man is standing, not standing but existing above the waters.  He is portrayed in a place of supremacy.  And that’s why the question that one of the other angels along the Tigris has is aimed at this third individual.  This third individual seems to have insight that the others don’t have.   In fact, he is described, this third man, as being above the waters, not only in verse 6 but also again in verse 7.  [Daniel 12:6, “And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long will it be until the end of these wonders?”  Verse 7, “I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.”]

It’s interesting to me that the angel along the Tigris has to ask this third entity, whoever he is, Gabriel or Jesus, a question.  The angel recognizes that something very serious is being communi­cated and he wants to know the specifics of it; he wants to know about the duration of it.  He wants to know about the time of it.  And this also, I believe, contributes to our doctrine of angels.  In order for an angel to ask a question, an angel, even Satan himself as originally a high ranking angel, is a created being and therefore is not omniscient.  He doesn’t know everything.   The devil doesn’t know everything; angels good or fallen don’t know everything.

In fact, we’re told in Matthew 24:36 that the angels don’t even know when Jesus is coming back. [Matthew 24:36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”]  Now Harold Camping claimed he knew but the angels didn’t know.

1 Peter 1:12 tells us this: “which angels long to look into.  [1 Peter 1:12, “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven– things into which angels long to look.”]  Did you know that?  That angels are students?  They stoop down and observe with great care what is happening in the church age.

Why are they watching so closely?  Because they’re seeing in the church a work of grace they’ve never seen before.  The angels understand God’s creative power; they were there apparently when God brought the heavens and earth into existence.  Job 38:4-7.  [Job 38:4-7, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell Me, if you have understanding,  [5]  Who set its measure­ments? Since you know.  Or who stretched the line on it?  [6] On what were its bases sunk?   Or who laid its cornerstone,  [7] When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”]

The angels understand the holiness of God because what do the seraphim say twenty-four seven?  “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God Almighty!”  My father-in-law is a retired dentist and that’s his favorite worship song.  But you’ll see that in Isaiah 6, that’s what the Seraphim, the angels are saying.  [Isaiah 6:2-3, “Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. [3] And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory.”]  And the angels also understand the judgment of God, how they watched Lucifer rebel and lose his position in heaven.  They understand all of these things.  What they don’t fully understand is the grace of God.  This is why they are portrayed in the tabernacle as being over the mercy seat, cherubim observing.  And it is interesting that our lives are open books as far as heaven is concerned.  Think about this: every private sin is a public scandal in heaven because the angels are always watching because they just really can’t get enough of this idea that God would pour grace in a lavished form on undeserving people and as this present work of grace is continuing God is using that to fill out knowledge in the minds of the angels who are not omniscient.

So one angel asks another angel a question; angels themselves don’t know everything, which to   me is very interesting because many people in our culture feel that the height of spirituality is some sort of contact with an angel.  They’re, according to a book written by my systematic theology professor, Robert Lightner, he describes this as angel mania; America is into angel mania.  I mean, we even had a television show not too long ago that I can remember called Touched by an Angel.  Everybody wants to contact an angel, everyone wants to touch an angel, everyone wants some kind of visitation from an angel.  And yet why would you want that?  Why not go directly to God Himself who, unlike angels that have limited knowledge God knows everything.  Why settle for second best?

In fact, the Book of Colossians, chapter 2, condemns angel worship.  It says, “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.”  [Colossians 2:18]  We ought not to be angel focused; we acknowledge that they are there in the outworking of God’s purposes but ultimately the focus is who?  Jesus Christ.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end; He is the point of history.  Why would I waste my time through some    inter­mediary when I can go directly to the Creator and the Redeemer who is omnipotent and omnipresent.  So the fact that the angel asks a question shows their lack of omniscience.

But what is the question?  Verse 6, “And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, ‘How long will it be until the end of these wonders?”’  What wonders?  The tribulation period, the conversion of the nation of Israel.  How long is that going to take exactly?  And you start to get an answer to this question in verse 7 and verse 7 is just loaded with information as this third being, whether it’s Jesus or Gabriel gives an answer.  Verse 7, “I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.”

It’s sort of interesting to me that this being, whether it’s Gabriel or Jesus Christ, when he answers this question about how long has his right hand and his left raised towards heaven.  That is a sign of a solemn oath.  And before I describe that solemn oath let me remind you of something; we ought to believe it anyway, whether we have a solemn oath or not because it’s in the Bible.  God reveals things in the Bible that makes them true but sometimes God goes the extra step and He adds additional verification just so people will heed and acknowledge and embrace what He is revealing.  It’s sort of like what Jesus says in John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”  Why do I believe that’s true?  Because it’s in the Bible.

But Jesus says just in case  you’re a doubter let me add an introductory phrase, “truly, truly,” truly is a translation from the Greek word “amen,” amen, amen; amen, amen, it is certain, it is certain, that’s what we do and what we mean when we say “amen.”  It’s certain, Jesus says it is certain once; He says it is certain twice, and then He reveals a tremendous truth about how lost people can be saved.  Why does Jesus do that?  Why doesn’t He just make the statement?  Isn’t that enough?  Because God wants His Word acknowledged that He gives many times additional verification.  And in biblical times when you took an oath you raised your right hand, kind of like how we take oaths today.  Deuteronomy 32:40 says, “’Indeed, I lift up My hand” singular, “to heaven….”  Revelation 10:5 says, “Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand” singular “to heaven.”

And what you see happening here is this, whether it’s Jesus or Gabriel, they’ve got both hands up; the right hand it up and the left hand is up, meaning that the oath is bigtime!  I mean, you should believe it because God says it’s so; you should believe it because there’s an oath.  You should believe it because the right hand is up.  And you should really, really, really, really, really believe it because the left hand is up too.  Interesting!

And if that weren’t enough this being, this entity with his hands (plural) raised, as he raised his right hand and his left towards heaven he does something else—he swore (that’s an oath) by Him who lives forever.  It’s coming out of God’s Word, there’s not just a right hand up, there’s a left and a right hand up and then there’s a swearing of this and can you swear by someone greater than God?  You can’t!  It mentions God’s character here, His attribute of eternality.  The angel or perhaps it’s Christ, is swearing by the eternality of God.  Did you know God is forever?  God has always been and will always be; He is the uncaused cause.

Psalm 90:2 says, “Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting” the Hebrew word olam, “to everlasting, You are God.”  In other words what is being spoken of here is such a big deal that it’s not just sworn by, it’s not just one hand lifted up, it’s both hands.  It’s not just in God’s inerrant Word, but there’s an actual swearing by the eternality and oath according to the eternality of God Himself.  Therefore the information that follows must be pretty important.  Amen!

Why does God do this?  Why does He build these additional truths into His Word like this?  Because there’s a problem that we, as sinners, have.  We just have a problem believing God.  I mean, if we’re really honest with ourselves at the end of the day our biggest struggle is simply just taking what God says at face value and not rewriting it according to our own puny minds but simply believing it.  And you see, that is, I think, what makes Abraham in the Old Testament such a role model.  I mean, think about the promise that he was given in his old age, along with his wife, that there’s coming from your own lineage a group of people that will be so numerous, they will be as numerous as the stars of heaven.  I mean think of how ridiculous the whole thing probably seemed from the human point of view.  And God took him outside and showed him the stars and made him this promise: your descendants are going to be just like this.

You know, Sarah had a difficult time with it, she laughed at these promises.  I mean, they seemed so farfetched.  But isn’t it interesting that the person that simply believes God is always vindicated at the end of the day.  And Abraham, he didn’t understand it all, he didn’t understand how it was all going to come to pass; it seemed probably somewhat absurd from the humanistic point of view but he just believed God.  That’s all he did!  And your Bible says, Genesis 15:6, that God counted it to him or “reckoned it to him as righteousness.” [Genesis 15:6, “Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”]

I don’t think God is asking for a lot in us, simply to trust what He says.  And we read the promise, haven’t we, John 5:24, if you believe in the One whom He has sent you have eternal life and you’ve crossed from death unto life.  [John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”]  Don’t sit there and go into the paralysis of analysis, what does that really mean and you start second guessing and playing war games.   Just believe it!  And God credits it unto us as righteousness just as Abraham did when he believed.  The tendency to doubt God, God understands this tendency in fallen human beings and so He build into His Word certain additional verification, sort of like the ones that we are reading about here.

And what this third entity wants to communicate in verse 7 are two basic truths.  Number 1, the duration of the time period and number 2, the conversion of Israel, the end to the obstinacy of the Jewish people.  Notice the duration of this time period.  Daniel 12:7, “I heard the man dressed in linen who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time;” well what does that mean?  A “time” is one Jewish year, “times” plural, is two Jewish years and a half a time is half a Jewish year; one plus two plus a half is how much?  Three and a half  years.  You say a time, times and half a time, I’ve heard about this somewhere before, where have I heard about this?  Aha, it was back in Daniel 7:25 describing the antichrist’s diabolical reign in the second half of the tribulation period.  [Daniel  7:25, “’He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.”]

You’ll find the expression “a time, times and half a time” describing the exact same time period from a different angle in Revelation 12:14.  [Revelation 12:14, “But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.”]

Now the Bible  uses prophetic synonyms; sometimes it’ll be called forty-two months, Revelation 11:2, Revelation 13:5.  [Revelation 11:2, “Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.”  Revelation 13:5, “There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.”]  Sometimes it’ll do it in terms of days which would be one thousand two hundred and sixty days, Revelation 11:3, Revelation 12:6.  [Revelation 11:3, “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”  Revelation 12:6, “Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.”]

All of these synonyms, different word, same meaning, are all talking about the same general period of time because in our study of the seventy weeks prophecy we learn that there’s a seven year period yet future, Daniel 9:27, divided into two halves.  [Daniel 9:27, “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”]   First half, second half, each half constituting a three and a half year time period, or forty-two months, or one thousand two hundred sixty days, or a time, times and a half a time.   And what divides that seven year period is the desecration of the temple by the future antichrist.

And what is being revealed here is the second half of the tribulation period, where it’s going to become very difficult for the Jewish people, very difficult for the nation of Israel.  You might want to jot down Matthew 24:15-22 where Jesus tells the Jews living in Jerusalem at the midpoint, when they see the temple desecrated, to flee into the mountains.  He talks about a time of unparalleled distress that’s never occurred before in history and never to be repeated again.

[Matthew 24:15-22, “Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), [16] then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. [17] Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. [18] Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. [19] But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! [20] But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. [21] For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. [22] Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. [23] Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. [24] For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”]

You might want to jot down Revelation 12:6-17 which is a record of what is happening in the spiritual world, the angelic world as the second half of the tribulation period unfolds.

[Revelation12:6-17, “Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.  [7] And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, [8] and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. [10] Then 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, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.  [11] And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.     [12] For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time.”  [13] And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. [14] But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. [15] And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. [16] But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. [17] So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”]

It’s an incredible time period.  It’s a time period when Satan loses access to heaven permanently.  You say wait a minute, I thought that already happened.  It did, but he can go back into heaven, not to worship and serve as he once did as a high ranking angel, but he can go into heaven to communicate and to accuse.  Read the early chapters of the Book of Job and you’ll see that.

Revelation 12, I think around verse 10 says he accuses the brethren “day and night,” wow, in the presence of God.  I’m sure glad I have a good defense attorney, Jesus Christ.  In fact, you might recall that one day Peter and Jesus were having a conversation and Jesus made a statement to Peter that no doubt sent chills down his spine.  He said, “Simon, Simon, Satan has requested permission to sift you like wheat,” I believe that’s in Luke 22.  [Luke 22:31, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;”]

Think about that, as I talk today there are conversations about you in heaven. Wow!  But you see, halfway through the tribulation period that privilege Satan has is gone.  And this is where Revelation 12, beginning at verse 6 is so helpful because he plummets to the earth knowing he has but a short time.  What’s a short time?  Three and a half years.  He’s only got forty-two months left, or a time, times and half a time left to do what?  To stop the coming of the kingdom.  He knows that once the kingdom comes he’s going to be dethroned and put into the abusso or the abyss and then at the end of the thousand years he’ll be thrown into the lake of fire forever and ever, Revelation 20:10.  [Revelation 20:10, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”]

And what better way in his mind to stop that from happening than to destroy the instrument through which the kingdom will come.  What instrument is that?  The covenanted people, the nation of Israel.  And when you begin to understand these things from a spiritual perspective suddenly all of the irrational hatred against the Jews and the Jewish people starts to make sense.  It doesn’t make any sense from a humanistic point of view but if you analyze it through the realm of the angelic point of view you begin to understand why Satan hates the Jews and why there’s so much irrational hatred for the Jews, even going back to the time of Esther and Haman who tried to blot out the Jewish people, right up to Adolf Hitler who proposed the final solution, right up to the BDS movement on college campuses today.  BDS, what does that stand for?  Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.  Who are they divesting?  They’re divesting themselves and boycotting the nation of Israel.

Isn’t it interesting the nation of Israel is always the bad guy.  You might be familiar with the book, The Elders of the Protocol of Zion which an irrational rant against the Jewish people that is a best seller in Islamic countries today, saying that the Jews are behind all of these conspiracies and the Jews control the banks and this and that, and these wild accusations are made.  And  you say why do people believe this?  It’s right here in Revelation 12; it’s right here in Daniel 12 and this is what is happening in the second half of the tribulation period.  And I believe this, that once Satan loses his position in heaven he will go into, in terms of a possession, the beast or the antichrist.

Revelation 13:2 say, “And the dragon” that’s the devil, “gave him his power and his throne and great authority.”  Verse 4, Revelation 13 says, “they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast;” [ Revelation 13:2, “And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.” Revelation 13:4, “they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?’”]

There’s no doubt that the beast in the second half of the tribulation period is going to be satanically energized.  How satanically energized will this man be?  The devil is inside of him.  You say well how do you know that for sure?  I don’t know it for sure, I don’t know if I’d start a new church over this, we are the beast possessed by the devil church or denomination.  But I think it’s a reasonable inference from the Bible because the antichrist is called “the son of perdition.”  2 Thessalonians 2:3.  [2 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;”]

That title is used of only one other person in the whole Bible.  Who would I be thinking of?   Judas, John 17:12.  [John 17:12, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”]  And when the time came for Judas to do the deed, in terms of the betrayal of Christ, John 13:27 records, to my mind some of the scariest words in the whole Bible.  It says, “Satan then entered into him.”  [John 13:27, “After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’”]  Why wouldn’t the same thing with that same title be of this future antichrist?  Satan uses people just like God does.  And this is why it’s going to become difficult for the Jewish people in this second half of the tribulation period.

Daniel 7:25, as we’ve already studied it, says “He” the antichrist, “will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.”  Same period of time that we’re reading about here.  I guess in a certain sense this information might be refreshing to the Jewish people, knowing that their worst time in history has limits on it.  It’s not going to last forever, it’s for an allotted or a specific period of time.  And it goes beyond that, the second basic truth that we learn from verse 7 it the conversion of Israel.  We know the Scripture, don’t we, “All things work together for good to those that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  I want you to listen very carefully.  The Bible never says all things are good.  It never says that.  When someone is going through a tragedy don’t misquote the Bible to them and say God causes all things to be good.  That is NOT what your Bible says.  It says He uses all things for good.

God is going to use this time period to convert the nation of Israel.  And notice the way it’s described there in verse 7, after it talks about “a time, times and half a time,” notice what it says, “as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people….” [Daniel 12:7] I, to be honest with you, have misread this verse for years and just as early as last night as I was looking at this one more time the Holy Spirit took a 2 x 4 and slapped me over the head with it, which He does quite frequently I might add, and it never says the holy people are shattered.  I always thought that’s what it meant.  Look at it very carefully; the “shattering the power of the holy people.”  God is not shattering the holy people; God is shattering “the power of the holy people.”

You have to understand something; the nation of Israel is the only nation we’re ever told about in the Bible where God promises a top to bottom national revival.  God doesn’t promise that to the United States, He doesn’t promise it to any other nation, only to Israel is it promised that when all is said and done every single person in that nation will be a believer.  You say well, does the Bible say that?  You bet your bottom dollar it says that.  Romans 11:26, “and so all Israel will be” what? “saved.”  [Romans 11:26, “and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, ‘THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.”’]

How about Zechariah 12:10, where Zechariah, God through Zechariah says “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they” that’s the whole nation alive at that time, “will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.”

Think about that!  Top to bottom, man, woman, child, grandparents, everyone that’s alive that’s Jewish on planet earth is saved.  If you want to see the history of the nation of Israel just read three chapters in your Bible: Romans 9, Romans 10, Romans 11.  It spells the whole thing out, summary form, “Reader’s Digest.”  Israel in the past elected, Romans 9; Israel in the present, rejected, Romans 10; Israel in the future, accepted, Romans 11.  Why are they rejected in chapter 10, (although some Jews do come to know Christ personally, it’s just not the majority,  it’s just not nationally the way its described) because of unbelief.  Unbelief in who?  Unbelief in their own Messiah.

Well, how do they move from being a Romans 10 nation to being a Romans 11 nation?  They trust in their Messiah.  So here becomes the great question.  How does God transition this nation from being a Romans 10 nation to being a Romans 11 nation?  How is that going to happen?  And I would say this: God has to overcome two obstacles in the Jewish people.  They are, number 1, spiritual blindness, and number 2, self-sufficiency.  What do I mean by “spiritual blindness”?   Your Bible says that when the nation of Israel rejected Christ at His first coming God gave them over to a judicial blindness.  That’s why a salvation of a Jewish person today is a virtual miracle.  I mean, it’s just not the norm.

You say well where does the Bible say that?  Here we go:  Matthew 13:14-15, write that down and look that up this afternoon.  Acts 28:25-28, look that one up also.  [Matthew 13:14-15, “In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;    [15] FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.’”]

Acts 28:25-28, look that one up also. [“And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “’he Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, [26] saying, ‘GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, ‘YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE;  [27] FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES;  OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.;’  [28] Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”]

2 Corinthians 3:14-16, I’ll read these.  “But their minds” that’s the Jews, were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. [15] But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; [16] but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”  You’re not going to be able to argue these people in.  I’ve tried.  You give them a verse, they go to the Rabbi and they come up with a totally different interpretation and you say where did that interpretation come from?  It’s a veil over their eyes, they can’t see.  That’s part of the plan of God, a judicial blinding.  Actions have consequences.

Romans 11:7-10 says, “What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened;  [8] just as it is written, ‘GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR,  EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.’  [9] And David says, ‘LET THEIR TABLE BECOME A SNARE AND A TRAP, AND A STUMBLING BLOCK AND A RETRIBUTION TO THEM.  [10] LET THEIR EYES BE DARKENED TO SEE NOT, AND BEND THEIR BACKS FOREVER.”’

I’m not denying that Jewish people get saved, certainly Paul was such a man, as was the original apostles, but you just watch this through the Book of Acts; once  you get to Acts 13 and Paul goes out of the borders of Israel and he begins to share the gospel you see the same pattern over and over again.  He goes to a synagogue, he’s kicked out of the synagogue, he goes to the Gentiles and he gains a great harvest amongst the Gentiles.  In fact I tell my students in Acts/Paul class if I ask you a question about what did Paul do in missionary journey  X and X in city X and X just say he went to the synagogue, he got kicked out, he went to the Gentiles and gained a great harvest amongst the Gentiles because that happens all the time. So you’ve probably got about a 90% chance of getting the question right if you answer it that way.  God has to overcome this.

The second problem that the Jewish people today have as a nation is their power.  God has to shatter the power of the holy people.  What power are we talking about?  They’re living according to Ezekiel 38:8 and verse 11 in security when the antichrist comes to power.   They’re living securely, Ezekiel 38:8.  They’re living, in verse 11, in unwalled villages, at rest, living securely as a people living without walls, no bars or not gates.   [Ezekiel 38:8, “After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.”  Ezekiel 38:11, “and you will say, ‘I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls and having no bars or gates,”]

Look at how successful Israel has been in warding off attackers.  1948, who would have bet on the Jews and they won.  1967, who would have bet on the Jews, but they won.  1973, who would have bet on the Jews but they won.  Don’t you think a people like that would start to develop a sense of self-sufficiency?  You talk to… you listen on the news, you ask what are they attributing their success to?  It’s the Mossad or it’s the IDF or it’s this weapon or that weapon or it’s our intelligence and  you see, that is an attitude of self-sufficiency that the nation of Israel has and it gets worse.  They’re rich!

Ezekiel 38:12 describes the wealth coming into Israel in the last days which motivates the Gog Magog invasion, “to capture spoil and to seize plunder” of a people “who have acquired cattle and goods, and who live at the center of the world.”  And let me tell you something, that is exactly what’s happening right now.  [Ezekiel 38:12, “‘to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.’”]

Mark Twain, of course, visited the nation of Israel in 1847 I believe it was, wrote about it two years later and he says there’s nothing over here but dust and sand.  And isn’t it interesting how when the Jews return to their land exactly like Ezekiel says, they now have a domestic product which out strips that of her neighbors.

“Despite a population of only slightly more than 7 million people…Israel is now home to more than 7,200 millionaires…”  [Of the 500 wealthiest people in the world, six are now Israeli, and all told, Israel’s rich had assets in 2007 of more than $35 billion dollars… Israel’s GDP is almost double that of any other Middle Eastern country.”  Matthew Kreiger, Jerusalem Post, cited in David Jeremiah, What in the World Is Going On? 10 Prophetic Clues You Cannot Afford to Ignore (Nashville: Nelson, 2008), 175.]

“The value of the minerals of the Dead Sea is estimated at five trillion dollars. [This estimate appears to be optimistic but it is supported in part by the report of the Crown Agents of the British Colonies entitled ‘Production of Minerals From the Waters of the Dead Sea’…. This official report estimates the minerals, except oil, in 1925 as follows: Magnesium Chloride, 22,000 tons, value 600 billion dollars; Potassium Chloride, 20,000 tons, value 75 billion dollars; other minerals valued at 1,200 billion dollars; or a total of about three trillion dollars, exclusive of oil.”   [http://www.matterofprinciple.net/ 011/11/rothschilds-palestine.html (accessed December 15, 2011). Although there is a wide variation of estimates, many different sources estimate the mineral wealth of the Dead Sea in the trillions of dollars.]

“In the summer of 2010, ‘huge deposits of natural gas were found along Israel’s northern coastline… [Israel is actually sitting on top of a vast amount of oil. According to Harold Vinegar, the former chief scientist of Royal Dutch Shell, the Shefla Basin holds the world’s second-largest shale deposits outside the United States, from which around 250 billion barrels of oil–about the same as Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves…Estimates of global deposits range from 2.8 trillion to 3.3 trillion barrels of recoverable oil…The technology curb has now reached the point where shale is becoming an exploitable resource…the Shefla shale is in a hospitable location. It also contains oil of the light, sweet variety that is easy to refine into gasoline or other common end products. Most of all, the Jews have proven themselves to be very talented at exploiting resources. If they can’t make shale oil work, I doubt any nation can.”  Todd Strindberg, Could Israel Become a Major Oil Exporter,” online: www.bibleprophecy.com, accessed 26 May 2015.]

I’m just reading briefly these headlines.  “After more than a year of round-the-clock drilling, large amounts of oil have been found on the Golan Heights.” The article goes on and describes that.  [Estimates are that the amount of oil discovered will make Israel self-sufficient for very many years to come. Afek Oil and Gas chief geologist Dr. Yuval Bartov told Channel 2 News, “We are talking about a strata which is 350 meters thick and what is important is the thickness and the porosity. On average in the world strata are 20-30 meters thick, so this is ten times as large as that, so we are talking about significant quantities. The important thing is to know the oil is in the rock and that’s what we now know.” Three drillings have so far taken place in the southern Golan Heights which have found large reserves of oil. Potential production is dramatic – billions of barrels, which will easily provide all Israel’s oil needs…”  Oil Discovery in Israel? Globes Correspondent, “Huge Oil Discovery on Golan Heights,” online: http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-huge-oil-discovery-on-golan-heights-1001071698, accessed 09 October 2015.]

And people say well, Andy, you don’t really believe we’re living in the last days, do you?  You know, the frustration of my life has been as these things are happening the church of Jesus Christ could care less.  If the people that taught me and mentored me were alive and could see what is happening right now they would be screaming at the top of their lungs.  And yet how many sermons do you think this morning, in evangelical America will even broach this subject?  Wealth coming to Israel in the last days!  We have blindness and we have wealth.  That’s a problem.

Psalm 20:7 says, “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.”  The problem is Israel is not there yet; they’re still wrapped up in the horses and chariots having not turned to Yeshua or Jesus Christ yet.  And so once you see this you begin to understand what the angel, or Jesus, is revealing here when it says the program of God in that three and a half years is not to shatter the people but to shatter their power.  That’s what God is doing.

And let me tell  you, it gets a little severe, because if I’m understanding my Bible right this is going to involve the elimination, the death of two-thirds of the Jewish nation.  Hitler killed a third, you’ve got two-thirds that will die in the second half of the tribulation yet future, and yet that third, the only living Jews remaining, will all be converts.  And Matthew 23:39, Jesus says of Israel, “‘For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until” I love “until’s” in the Bible, “until you” who’s the “you”? Israel, “say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’”  Which is a Messianic Psalm and Jesus is saying I’m not coming back for this nationally acknowledge Me as the Messiah.  Now once you do that in faith, now we’re in business.  But how do you get a people that are blind and self-sufficient to understand that?  The answer is you’ve got to put them through a time of unparalleled distress where their power is shattered.  And isn’t it an amazing thing that God is going to use the second half of the Tribulation period to tear off the blinders, to create a humble and contrite nation that will acknowledge their need and their dependency for Jesus Christ.

God weakens the strong and strengthens the weak.  At the time of their greatest need as they’re about ready to be eradicated as they are in faith, Jesus shows up and rescues them.  And you say well, this is all interesting, end times prophecy stuff.  Pastor, can  you give me something that relates to my life?  Well, beloved, you’re not going to be in this time period but I’ll tell you this much.  This pattern is the same one in your life… it’s the exact same one!  The problem with us is we’re blind and we don’t even know we’re blind and beyond that we live in America, and we all know God is an American, right?  And we’re the richest country on the face of the earth and the average person just doesn’t see their need for Christ.

Isn’t it interesting how God kicks away the props from under our lives to waken us up to reality?  You want people in your work place and in your family to get to know Jesus?  Start praying Daniel 12:7 indirectly to them that their power would be shattered.  [Daniel 12:7, “I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed.”]

You start shattering people’s power, you start shattering wealth, you start shattering self-sufficiency and  you’re going to start seeing people suddenly interested in spiritual things.  That’s what’s happening to the nation of Israel.  And yet who is going to be in this time period?  It would be for a “time, times and a half a time” as soon as they finish shattering Sugar Land Bible Church… it doesn’t say that does it?  “the power of the holy people.”  This can’t be the church because the church at the time this was written was a what?  It begins with an “m,” mystery.  Ephesians 3 describes that.  [Ephesians 5:32, “This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”]   What’s a mystery?  Something never before revealed.  You don’t have the doctrine of the church even hinted at until the Gospels.  It’s not talking here about the church of Jesus Christ.

Now as  you probably know there’s always different views on the rapture.  Just to cut through all the malarkey the first one listed is the correct one in our estimation. 

  • Pre-tribulation rapture theory, [2] Mid-tribulation rapture theory  [3] Post-tribulation rapture theory [4] Pre-wrath rapture theory  [5] Partial rapture theory]

    Why is that?  And there are many, many people today, it’s astonishing to watch this, whose whole ministry is dedicated to convincing the body of Christ that they’re going to be in the tribulation period.  My answer is simply this.  Can you show me a single tribulation passage, anywhere, I don’t care where you go, that mentions the church in it?  Show me any tribulation passage which mentions the body of Christ concept.  It’s not there because the tribulation period concerns Israel.  “’Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; and it is the time of Jacob’s distress, but he will be saved from it.”  [Jeremiah 30:7]  Who’s Jacob?  Israel, it’s designed to bring them to faith alone in Christ alone, not shattering them, shattering the power.  Remember the seventy weeks prophecy?  Seventy weeks of which the tribulation period is part are for your people and your city. It’s very clear, it’s for the Jewish people and the Jewish nation.  [Daniel 9:24, “Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place.”]

    What is our future in Christ?  Is our future in Christ to be shattered by God?  Not at all!  God often­times shatters our power to bring us to Christ but what your Bible promises you, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, that you’ll be rescued from the wrath to come.  [1 Thessalonians 1:10, “and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.”]  Is anybody happy about that?  I am!  1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” not so Israel.  Israel is in such a level of blindness and self-sufficiency she is in store for a great knockdown, where not her is shattered, her power and yet not all pain is bad.  God is going to use this strategically for a national revival, top to bottom.

    Finishing out verse 7 and with this we’re finished; “all these events will be completed.”  Not might happen, not could happen, we’re not dealing with the weather report here, we’re not dealing with percentages, these things are going to happen and these things “will be completed.”  What will be completed?  The missing 70th week will be completed, which involves the establishment of God’s kingdom on the earth.  The transgression will be over for Israel.  What transgression?  Rejecting Christ.  The new covenant will be established.  She will receive atonement for her sins.  The ever­lasting kingdom of righteousness will be brought in, vision and prophecy, that’s everything God said, is going to happen, will happen, will be sealed up, and catch this, you’re even going to have a functioning millennial temple, a brick and mortar temple.  Oh my goodness, dare I even bring this up?  With animal sacrifices in it.  Where in the world are you getting that from?  Ezekiel 40-49, nine chapters spells it out as much as detail, more detailed than probably most of us would even want.

    Now you say well, how are you going to have animal sacrifices in a temple? Well, we did a Facebook live on this, Dr. McGowan and myself.  Go to the SLBC Facebook page, we explain the whole thing.  Or go to my personal You Tube channel, we explain the whole thing.  This isn’t something that’s to be hidden by the Protestant Church.  This is not a backburner issue.  And this is what pastors are doing today; they’re making all these things backburner issues. I’m not wired that way folks, I say let’s bring it out in the open.  Let’s talk about it because if we’re not going to talk about it now when are we going to talk about it.  So there’ll be a completion of God’s program.  The kingdom will be established on planet earth.  That’s the future.

    And  your future, what is that?  Your future is to be translated to heaven into the Father’s house before these things happen.  Let me just ask a very simple question; if the rapture were to happen in the next split second, before this sermon is over, some of you might even be praying for that to happen [laughter].  Would you be going?  I mean, would  you be part of the believing that’s leaving?  I think that’s a fair question to ask.  And how do you know?  You know because  you’ve trusted in what Jesus has done for us on the 2,000 years ago; He bridged the gap, He paid the price, He died on the cross, He rose from the dead.   He’s not asking a lot from us other than to trust what He’s done.  Why don’t you do that right now as I’m speaking.  You don’t have to walk an aisle to do it, join a church to do it, give money to do it, it’s a matter of privacy between  you and the Lord where the Spirit convicts you and you respond by faith to what Jesus has done.   You’re not trusting in yourself anymore.  You’re not your own savior any more; Jesus is your Savior.  And so I would encourage  you to do that as I  am talking.  If it’s something you need more explanation on I’m available after the service to talk.  Shall we pray.

    Father, we’re grateful for this question and answer session and what it reveals about Your plan and Your program.  Help us to walk these things out as we’re sensitive this week to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory.  We ask these things in Jesus name, and God’s people said… Amen!