Monday, June 9, 2014

‘The Saints of the End Times’

‘The Saints of the End Times’

     Understanding the language structure of the book of Daniel provides key insights into just who is being spoken of in the Scripture text. Chapters 1:1-2:4, the introduction of the book, are written in Hebrew. Chapter 2:4 through 7:28, including 2:4-6:28 the historic section and Daniel’s first prophetic vision 7:1-28, are written in Aramaic/Chaldee and focus upon Gentile/world history with chapter 8-12, the Hebrew/Jewish section, emphasizing the Jews, Jerusalem and the nation of Israel.

      “The saints” who are mentioned in the Chaldee/Gentile section, which includes Daniel’s vision of chapter seven, indicates the worldwide end time Church of Jesus Christ, made up mainly of Gentiles, but also containing Jews as has been the case throughout the Church’s existence.

    While the Aramaic/Chaldee language of chapter seven is an indicator of the continuing Gentile global application, the text itself also provides the key to this important fact as the word “saints” appears six times:
“But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever. (Daniel 7:18)
I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them (Daniel 7:21)
Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most high (Daniel 7:22)
And the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom (Daniel 7:22)

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High
(Daniel 7:25)
And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom  under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High” (Daniel 7:27)

    In these six occurrences three important facts concerning all end times saints are recorded which are repeated in the Revelation:
1.  The “little horn” [Antichrist] leads a global war with the saints
     (Revelation 13:7)
2.  The “little horn” [Antichrist] prevails against the saints worldwide
     (Revelation 13:7)
3.  The saints are given judgment, dominion, and the kingdom which
     they possess eternally (Revelation 20:4, 22:5)

    In the book of the Revelation the word saints is found (13) times referring once again to faithful Jews and Gentiles with a direct parallel to Daniel 7:21 found in Revelation 13:7:
“And it was given to him [The beast/Antichrist] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues and nations.”

    The global scope of the Antichrist’s actions during the end times against the saints, both Jew and Gentile, is seen in both of these references. The six occurrences of the word saints in Daniel chapter seven do not differentiate between Jew or Gentile saints.

    These saints, both in Daniel chapter seven and Revelation chapter thirteen, comprise the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ and not just specifically Jews, for the kingdom will eventually belong to all children of God, Jews and Gentiles alike.

    So, the saints mentioned in Daniel chapter seven and Revelation chapter thirteen make up the end times Church, which is the source for the majority of the other believers who are called:
The People of the Apocalypse”.

    The Church will be the source group from which Elijah (Malachi 4:5, 6; Matthew 17:11), The Woman (Revelation 12), The Remnant [rest] of Her [The Woman] Seed (Revelation 12:17), and Those that understand and have insight who instruct many in the land of Israel (Daniel 11:32, 35, 12:3, 10), The Martyrs (Revelation 6:11ff), and the 144 Thousand (Revelation 7:3-8) will all come forth.

      These saints will experience Satan’s “great wrath” (Revelation 12:12) which is the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:14) when the Antichrist makes war with them and overcomes them during the most intensive time of persecution ever inflicted upon the people of God.

     Those that endure and remain will be rescued (Matthew 24:14) when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to rapture the saints as He shortens the great tribulation in order to preserve His elect (Matthew 24:21, 22;
Revelation 7:9-17).

    These are those saints who will experience first hand the Lord’s merging of economies, the Old and the New, the Church and the Jew, as His earthly people first of all, return to the Promised Land, become a nation, and occupy their beloved Jerusalem. In the process the Jews will fulfill the necessary 70th Week Bible prophecy with each progressive step (Daniel 9:24).

    These saints are that privileged generation who will be:
“Looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great God and Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:13, 14)

“That He might present it to Himself a glorious church not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:26)

     “The prayers of the saints” are mentioned three times in the Revelation:
(1)   “And when He [the Lamb] had taken the book, the four beasts
and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints.”  (Revelation 5:8)

     This event occurs just prior to the beginning of the 70th Week of Daniel before the Lord Jesus opens the first seal beginning the 70th Week of Daniel. The first four seals reveal the four horsemen who symbolically record the Antichrist’s action upon earth.

(2 & 3) “And when He had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which come with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” (Revelation 8:1-4)

    The prayers of the saints are mentioned before (Revelation 5:8) and after (Revelation 8:1-4) the rapture of the saints (Revelation 7:9-17) indicating that prayer to God will continue to be offered when the saints of the ages are in heaven.

    There will also be a continuing presence of saints upon earth after the rapture, as these three categories of saints will be on earth for the entire 70th Week of Daniel:
1.  The 144 Thousand (Revelation 7:3, 4, 9:4, 14:1, 17:14)
2.  The Woman/Faithful Israel (Revelation 12:1-17)
3.  The Two Witnesses (Revelation 11:3-14)

(4) “And the nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou should give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:18)

    The saints of the ages are included here, as it is the time God gives eternal rewards to His own at the bema seat of Christ. Notice, from the prophets, His servants who are mentioned first, to the saints, all are given rewards regardless of calling. This event occurs at the end of the 70th Week of Daniel after the sounding of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 11:15).

    The saints are also mentioned during the Great Tribulation, the time dominated by the Antichrist:
(5 & 6) “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues and nations…He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he that kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.”
 (Revelation 13:7, 10)

     Although many of God’s people will go into captivity or be killed during the time the Antichrist dominates the world, the saints must exercise great patience “For in your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19) which patience has its source in overcoming faith:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation works patience, And patience, experience; and experience hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5:1-5)

     The “patience of the saints is also focused upon in the next passage:
(7) “And the smoke of their torment ascends up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 14:11, 12)

    The patience of the saints is once again linked to their faith, “The just shall [always] live by faith”. But, here during the end times when persecution is at its maximum level and martyrdom is the rule not the exception, patient endurance that can only be exercised by faith is the most necessary ingredient for the over-comer.

    Faith stands before the beheading sword and the crackling flame of the stake with strong confidence that the Lord Himself has gone before and has allowed the consequences being faced as He supplies the grace in abundance which produces love for Him, which energizes faith (Galatians 5:6). This is the source of overcoming patience.

(8) “And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up [finished] the wrath of God. And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, Andover the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, GREAT AND MARVELOUS ARE THY WORKS, LORD GOD ALMIGHTY; JUST AND TRUE ARE THY WAYS, THOU KING OF SAINTS. WHO SHALL NOT FEAR THEE, O LORD, AND GLORIFY THY NAME? FOR THOU ONLY ART HOLY: FOR ALL NATIONS SHALL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE THEE; for Thy judgments are made manifest.” (Revelation 15:1-4)

    The Lord is here called “KING OF SAINTSduring this “Song of the Lamb” which underscores exactly who His subjects will be during the Millennium when “ALL NATIONS SHALL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE THEE”. Although He will “Rule with a rod of iron” (Revelation 19:15), only the saints will rightly submit and become His loyal subjects during that time.

(9) “And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which are, and was, and shall be, because Thou has judged thus. For they [the men which had the mark of the beast] have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou has given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.” (Revelation 16:6)

    The angel, after pouring out his vial upon the fresh waters of earth, affirms that the Lord is right for having judged the followers of the beast because they are the ones responsible for putting to death those innocent saints and prophets of God.

(10&11) “And I saw the woman [Mystery Babylon the Great] drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration…And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” (Revelation 17:6, 18:24)

     While those who take the mark of the beast are responsible for the martyrdom of God’s people, the false religious system of Romanism is the great whore who through the centuries of the Church age has been the major source of martyrdom upon God’s people.

(12) “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:7-9)

    This passage gives all of God’s saints the blessed promise of attending this great celebration in heaven. The wedding garment is described as “Fine linen clean and white…the righteousness of the saints”. This garment is given to every saint when they are justified by faith, thereby receiving the “robe of [imputed] righteousness [of Christ]” as described by Isaiah:
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)

    The Great Tribulation martyrs also are given these same white robes of righteousness:
“And white robes were given unto every one of them [martyrs]; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:11)

    The raptured saints of the Great Tribulation and the resurrected saints of the ages will also be clothed with these same “garments of salvation…robes of righteousness”:
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9)

    The last mention of the word saints in the Scripture occurs at the end of the Millennium:
(13) “And they [Satan, Gog, Magog and the nations] went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” (Revelation 20:9)

    Satan is loosed at the end of the 1,000-year reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though conditions will be ideal upon earth, with sin and wickedness suppressed, many will not receive the Lord Jesus by grace through faith but instead will openly rebel against God.

    This rebellion will come to its peak when the Lord allows Satan to be loosed for a season in order for him to gather the last rebels under the leadership of Gog and Magog. This final attempt to overthrow the Lord’s kingdom on earth, as they surround “The camp of the saints and gather to attack Jerusalem, will be in vain as the God of heaven brings Satan’s plan to its well deserved end.

    Although theories abound concerning the removal of all saints from the earth at different points during the end times, the Scripture records throughout its prophecies the continuing presence of the saints, the people of God, upon earth as this brief study indicates.

    The Lord has never, nor will He ever, leave the earth void of His human witnesses…as the saints are the only ones who have this “treasure in earthen vessels” (II Corinthians 4:7) carrying within them the grand and glorious redemption message of the Gospel of the grace of God through the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross of Calvary!

     Therefore, as the Lord Jesus gave us His compelling command in all five of His great commissions (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:46-48; John 15:16; Acts 1:8), we must be His witnesses to those who are lost all around us as we go out into “the highways and hedges and compel them to come in.”(Luke 14:23) especially as we see the day approaching when He surely will come again as He promised!

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