December 31, 2005 ©Homer Kizer

 

Commentary — From the Margins

The Last Shall Be First

 

The Left Behind book and now film series presents the dogma of Protestant Dispensation’s portrayal of the antiChrist as a charismatic human being possessed by Satan. As with all of Dispensation’s understanding of Scripture, there is an element of truth within the lie believed by the last Eve, but there isn’t enough truth to prevent the rebellion of Christians when the lawless one is revealed (2 Thess 2:3). This lawless one, or man of perdition who will be revealed, comes by the workings of Satan (v.  9). He will declare himself God (v. 4), but will be slain by the breath [pneuma] of Christ Jesus (v. 8) when He fights on a day of battle (Zech 14:3). And the understanding that Dispensation scholars lack is that the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ (Rev 11:15 & Dan 7:9-14) halfway through the seven endtime years of tribulation, not at the conclusion of this seven years period. Satan and his angels, cast from heaven (Rev 12:9-10) when the split Mount of Olives (Zech 14:4) swallows the flood sent after fleeing saints (Rev 12:16), still have forty-two months [1260 days, or a time, times, and half a time] to wreak havoc. When cast from heaven, when cast into time, Satan will know that his days are numbered. He will devour as many saints as he can before the battle of Armageddon sends him into the bottomless pit for a thousand years.

The destruction of the man of perdition and of the armies surrounding Jerusalem occurs in the middle of the seven endtime years, occurs when dominion is taken from the four beasts of Daniel chapter seven (v. 12). The court of the Ancient of Days extends the life of the first three beasts for a season and a time, but the fourth beast is dealt a mortal wound by the Spirit of Christ Jesus through the public resurrection of the two witnesses (Rev 11:7-13). Death, the fourth horseman (Rev 6:8) and the beast dealt a mortal wound (Dan 7:7, 11), is also the spiritual king of the North, one of four horns that sprout around the stump of the broken great horn.

When the prophet Daniel received knowledge of a great conflict (Dan 10:1) that would, in the latter days (v. 14), affect Daniel’s people, the natural nation of Israel, the sar [prince or king] of Persia withstood the angel coming to Daniel for twenty-one days. Only when the archangel Michael intervened on behalf of the messenger could this angel get away from the kings (v. 13) of Persia—and when this messenger returned from visiting Daniel, he would have to fight with the king of Persia. It should be noted: the angel bringing the prophet Daniel knowledge of what is written in the book of truth isn’t fighting against human kings of Persia, or a human king of Greece. Daniel’s reaction to seeing this angel would be typical of any other human being’s response. No earthly king would have any strength to oppose this angel. So rebelling angelic beings are identified by the angel bringing Daniel knowledge of what is written in the book of truth as kings or princes of Persia, and the singular king or prince [sar] of Greece. And the great conflict that will affect the nation of Israel in the latter days involves these rebelling angels; for in the latter days, Israel will be a spiritual nation to whom life in the heavenly realm has been given by birth from above through receipt of the Holy Spirit.

In all things, the natural precedes the spiritual (1 Cor 15:46), and the visible reveals the invisible (Rom 1:20). Thus, as there was/is a visibly circumcised natural or physical nation of Israel, holy to YHWH, its Elohim (Exod 20:2), there is now a spiritual nation of Israel, a chosen race, holy (1 Pet 2:9) to the Father [Theon from John 1:1] and the Son, the Father’s Christ. This spiritual nation is invisibly circumcised through writing the laws of God on hearts and minds (Heb 8:10 & Jer 31:33). This latter nation of Israel consists of spiritual sons of God presently housed in tents of flesh while the nation individually and collectively matures. And as human children sometimes roughly use and abuse the house in which they mature, sons of God roughly use and abuse the fleshly tents in which they mature.

The house in which a child matures isn’t the child. Likewise, the fleshly tent in which a son of God matures isn’t the son. Whether the house in which a human child dwells has indoor or outdoor plumbing doesn’t define the child. Whether the house is painted white or brown or red or yellow doesn’t effect who the child will become. Whether the house is purchased or rented or handed down through generations doesn’t change the potential of the child. Likewise, sons of God are neither male nor female, Jew or Greek, free or bond (Gal 3:28); they are not the tents in which they dwell. Thus, the juxtaposition of natural Israel living in fabric or animal skin tents with spiritual Israel living in fleshly tents holds. A physically circumcised Israelite, a Levite to be specific, serving in the fabric tabernacle—this tent housing the wood ark of the covenant, inside of which were two stone tablets (on which the visible finger of God wrote His commandments), the earthly jar of manna and Aaron’s budded staff, and alongside of which was the book of Deuteronomy as the witness against Israel (Deu 31:26 & John 5:45-46)—forms the lively shadow of a spiritual Israelite, a member of the royal priesthood called out of darkness and into the marvelous light of Christ Jesus (1 Pet 2:9-10). The first shall be last, for the natural nation did not pursue righteousness by faith “but as if it were based upon works” (Rom 9:32)…when moving from physical to spiritual, works becomes faith. Enemies are not defeated with slings and swords, but through enduring in faith, which comes from the inside of the Israelite. And when the inside of the cup is clean, the entire vessel will be clean. The “works” of the disciple will now satisfy the law whereas the petty legalism of the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day were as used sanitary napkins to God.

Endtime Israel does not, today, encompass the natural nation of Israel, or the nation that presently occupies Judah. Endtime Israel will, however, encompass those natural Israelites during the first half of the seven endtime years of tribulation. Those observant natural Israelites who continue to keep the Commandments, especially the Sabbath commandment, while accepting Christ Jesus as their Savior, will receive circumcised hearts and minds, a euphemistic expression for receiving the Holy Spirit. But it will do a natural Israelite no good to accept “the Lord,” then rebel against Him by attempting to enter His rest on the following day, the eighth day. Such a person will take upon him- or herself the spiritual mark of death, while the natural Israelite who continues to keep the Sabbath might die as righteousness Abel died, but he (or she) will lose only physical life. The Israelite’s fleshly tent might be destroyed, but by faith (which will now enter into keeping the Commandments) the natural Israelite will have saved his or her spiritual life. Thus, after the spiritual firstborn son of God is empowered by the Holy Spirit and hence liberated from the law of sin and death that presently dwells in every disciple’s fleshly members (Rom 7:25), and after the majority of this spiritual nation rebels against God by trying to enter His rest on the following day, the observant members of the natural nation of Israel will receive their chance for salvation though the terms of the second covenant, initially mediated by Moses (Deu chaps 29-31).

When the lawless one comes by the workings of Satan as the little horn of the fourth beast (Dan 7:8, 20), this man of perdition will make war against the saints and will attempt to change times and the law (vv. 21, 25). The saints will be given into his hand for three and a half years; they will be sacrificed as the firstfruits of the Father, with the first of the firstfruits being Jesus of Nazareth. Saints will not be bodily raptured to heaven, nor will they go to a physical place of safety. Rather, because sin will no longer be in their fleshly members, they will be the acceptable sacrifice that Christ Jesus has been since Calvary. And Jesus said, ‘“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master’” (Matt 10:24-25). Thus, when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26-30), the Head of whom is Christ Jesus and the body being the Church, faithful disciples will be like their teacher, and will die, being maligned as legalists and Judaizers, teaching doctrines of the devil (again, Matt 10:25).

Once empowered by the Holy Spirit, sin, and especially, death will no longer be within each born-from-above disciple, but must come to saints from the hands of others (Matt 10:20-21 & 24:9-13). Note: Jesus’ sending of the Twelve foreshadows Him sending forth disciples at the end of the age. Jesus’ sends the Twelve not to the Gentiles or to the Samaritans, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. At the end of the age, Jesus will likewise send forth disciples to the lost sheep of the natural nation of Israel, who will receive or not receive these disciples. The natural Israelite ‘“who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward’” (Matt 10:41)—not one of Jesus’ disciples went forth as a prophet: Jesus was the prophet. The natural Israelite who, during the first half of the seven endtime years, receives Jesus will receive a prophet’s reward. And during this first half, when observant members of the natural nation receive circumcised hearts and minds [naphesh], they will be born empowered of Spirit and will, as such, be spiritual virgins, having committed no previous sin [for they had no life] in the heavenly realm. During the last 1260 days of the endtime years, one hundred forty-four thousand of them will follow the Lamb wherever He goes (Rev 14:4). They will truly have received a prophet’s reward.

Therefore, with the first being last, and the physical preceding the spiritual, the great conflict between the first sars of Persia and of Greece occurs after the conflict between visible, physical kings that saw Alexander the Great fly out of the west to defeat Persia in a ten-year campaign…the words of the book of truth that the prophet Daniel received about what would happen to his people in the latter days were sealed and kept secret until the time of the end (Dan 12:4, 9). They were sealed and kept secret by their shadow.

Caused by the blocking of direct light, shadows are lifeless representations of things or entities; shadows are always in one less dimension than that which they represent. The shadow of a physically circumcised Israelite is a dark, lifeless, two-dimensional copy of the Israelite that is distorted by the angle which light strikes the breathing person. Likewise, the shadow of a spiritually circumcised (born of Spirit) disciple is a physically circumcised Israelite, who has no life but that which comes from his breath. Thus, the shadow of the spiritual king of Babylon who blocks the light of God and who will be bound in the bottomless pit for a thousand years (Isa 14:4-21) was king Nebuchadnezzar, who was cast from his throne and spent seven years with the mind of a beast as Satan will be cast from his (Rev 12:9-10). The shadow of the sar of Persia who resisted the angel bringing Daniel knowledge of what was written in the book of truth and who also blocks the light of God was the spiritually lifeless king of Persia who pushed against the Greeks. Likewise, the shadow of the first horn on the head of the king of Greek is the equally spiritually lifeless Alexander the Great, while the shadows of the four horns or kings that arose after the great horn was broken were the four generals that received Alexander’s kingdom. And in every case, the shadow of the spirit being, each part of the spiritual king of Babylon’s hierarchy, has been a human king that was not born of Spirit, and as such, had no life in the heavenly realm.

Countless enthusiastic pastors and preachers have taught that the historical accuracy of Daniel’s visions is the definitive proof of God, but almost as many biblical scholars scorn Daniel because of that historical accuracy. These scholars contend that the book of Daniel had to be written during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes IV, but before the Maccabees drove the Greeks out of Jerusalem (Daniel doesn’t, scholars claim, have the right story ending). But neither prophecy pundits nor scholars understand the visions that were sealed and kept secret for two and a half millennia: the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision is only now happening in the heavenly realm.

Historical fact has the Medes, then Persians, collectively overturning Nebuchadnezzar’s empire; they form the two horns of the ram, with the longer horn being the Persians that rose after the Medes. Then Alexander defeated the Persians; the he-goat that flies out from the west tramples the ram. Alexander dies suddenly in a drunken debauch, and his empire is divided between four generals; the first or great horn of the he-goat is suddenly broken, and four horns spring up from its stump. The four divisions of Alexander’s empire quickly become two, with the northern division (the Seleucid Empire) absorbing the eastern and western divisions and eventually pushing the southern division (the Ptolemaic Empire) out of Judea. The details of the Seleucids’ fight against the Ptolemies closely matches the king of the North’s fight against the king of the South for eventual control of Judea. Thus, historic events match what Daniel received in his second vision [8th chapter] and of the angel [11th chapter] with the uncanny accuracy that the many faithless scholars have noted. And the accuracy with which historic events satisfy Daniel’s prophecies sealed these visions and has kept secret the knowledge of what will happen to Israel in the latter days. No other fulfillment of these prophecies was sought, nor expected.

However, Jesus, when answering His disciples’ question about what would be the sign of His coming and the close of the age (Matt 24:3), said, ‘“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains’” (vv. 15-16). Thus, the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel—in chapter 11, verse 31—comes at the close of the age and only shortly precedes Jesus’ Second Coming. The statute of Zeus that Antiochus Epiphanes IV ordered placed in the Jerusalem temple’s Holy of holies is not the prophesied abomination of desolation. Rather, making a logical leap, the lawless one who comes by the workings of Satan and who declares himself God is the prophesied abomination. And according to the angel that told Daniel to go his way, from ‘“the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days”’ (Dan 12:11). The angel added, ‘“Blessed is he who waits and arrives at the 1,335 days”’ (v. 12).

The visions of Daniel pertain to the first half of the seven endtime years of tribulation. They do not pertain to the second half, when the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ, and the third part of humanity is gathered to God and harvested. Daniel’s visions do not pertain to when Satan and his angels are cast into time; for the split Mount of Olives is the stone cut without hands that crushes the feet and toes of the humanoid image of spiritual Babylon that King Nebuchadnezzar saw (Dan 2:34-35, 44-45). The prince whose end comes with a flood (Dan 9:26) is the lawless one who has come by the workings of Satan. The split Mount of Olives swallows the flood (Rev 12:16 & Exod 15:12) as the Sea of Reeds swallowed the armies of Pharaoh. Satan, when cast from heaven, sends the flood—and there still remains the emergence of the three kings of the sar of Greece, along with the head of the fourth beast that was dealt a mortal wound. The composite first beast of Revelation chapter 13 is the sar of Greece, who has had dominion taken from it and must receive authority from the dragon (Rev 13:2). But the authority it receives is the purloined authority of the Son of Man, with the dragon usurping the authority of Christ Jesus by claiming to be the returned messiah. Therefore, lead by the remnant that keep the commandments of God, the empowered third part of humanity, born from above as a spiritual Seth, makes mental war against the dragon by enduring without buying and selling, but by trusting in God. For forty-two months, this third part lives by faith.

So the 1,335 days end with the conclusion of the second woe (Rev 11:14), end when the split Mount of Olives swallows the armies that had been surrounding Jerusalem, end when dominion is taken from the lion, bear, leopard, and cross. The third woe occurs in the last forty-two months. And indeed, the one who arrives at the 1,335 days will be blessed, for the Holy Spirit will be poured out upon all flesh (Joel 2:28), and all who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13).

Whereas the visions of Daniel have been used for the past two-plus millennia to support a cosmic struggle between good and evil that has sons of light wrestling with agents of darkness and fantastical beasts, no such cosmic struggle has been occurring. Spiritual Babylon (its king, Satan the devil) has been allowed to reign over humanity during the first six spiritual days of a seven-day week. But its time is short: the ruler of this world has been defeated. At sunset of the sixth day, spiritual Babylon will be crushed by a stone cut without hands, and the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ (Rev 11:15). The kingdom of the world will be given to the Son of Man, the Head being Christ Jesus and the body the Church as evidenced by what happens when the court of the Ancient of Days sits in judgment. However, the day of the Lord, or Lord’s day begins with its dark or night portion, and this dark portion will be the last 1260 days or 42 months of the seven endtime years of tribulation. The light of God—Jesus is the light (John 12:46)—will have received the kingdom of the world, but will not have come as the all-powerful Messiah. Rather, during this night portion of the Lord’s day, the glorified Jesus will be with the 144,000 spiritual virgins. So the dawning of day or light portion of the Lord’s day begins with Armageddon and the slaughter of those who have taken the mark of death (i.e., the tattoo of the cross) upon themselves. The birds will feast, and the blood will run deep; for many will have accepted Satan, when he is cast from heaven, as the returned Christ. Many will love tradition more than they love the truth.

The beasts of Daniel’s first vision [chapter seven] are the four horns or kings that arise when the first king of the spiritual king of Greece is suddenly broken (because he is “first”). This great horn is broken when firstborns not covered by the sacrificed paschal Lamb of God are slain on the second Passover liberation of Israel. And this liberation occurs near the beginning of the 1,335 days, with the forty-plus year story of physically circumcised Israel’s liberation from bondage to Pharaoh and journey to God’s rest forming the shadow of Israel during these days. Again, a distinction will be established between the spiritually circumcised nation and those who have not yet been born of Spirit, but are of the nations. Israel will, then, be liberated from sin and death through empowerment by the Holy Spirit, and with liberation, the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16-17) that is the revealed body of the Son of Man will be “measured” (Rev 11:1-2). Empowered disciples will no longer be clothed by the robe of Christ’s righteousness, nor will they need the garment of Grace. Who or whatever they are inside will be revealed through their actions following liberation. The disciple who has cleaned the inside of his or her cup will be clean throughout. But the disciple who has harbored filth or envy or any other uncleanness will be known by the outward manifestation of that inner sin. No sacrifice remains for the filthy disciple, who by his or her filth will have committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the taking away of the “daily,” the regular burnt offering, occurs in the first half of the seven endtime years, occurs when the Son of Man is revealed.

The crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth at Calvary, in addition to being the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb of God, was also the sacrificial reality of the daily. Thus, the day-by-day putting on of Christ’s righteousness as a garment spiritually equates to the regular burnt offering made by physically circumcised Israelites. As such, the taking away of the daily will have disciples not putting on this garment of Grace; for the empowerment of disciples by the Holy Spirit liberates them from the law of sin and death that has been dwelling in their fleshly members. They will, figuratively, be unrobed and their nakedness revealed; they will be as the first and the last Adam were (and the last Adam is first). So when the Son of Man is revealed, disciples’ only covering for sin will be their obedience to the laws of God. Therefore, from the time when God sets His hand to begin to recover Israel, in a manner analogous to how YHWH intervened with Pharaoh through Moses, there shall be 1,335 days until the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Most High and of His Christ. (Again note: this is not when Jesus returns as the all-powerful Messiah. Another 1260 days will pass before He returns. A major error scholars who employ historical exegesis have made is teaching as dogma that the Second Coming occurs immediately after or even before the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of the Father and the Son.) And within these 1,335 days, the daily sacrifice is taken away, and 1,290 days after that the man of perdition will declare himself god. Thus, the second Passover liberation of Israel and the revealing of the lawless one occur early in these 1,335 days, and the lawless one declaring himself god occurs near the conclusion of these days. The temple of God (disciples form the temple) is measured at the beginning of the 1,335 days, and after the temple is measured, the 1260 day ministry of the two witnesses begins. Their ministry concludes with the end of the 1,335 days. So apparently the measuring of the temple takes 75 days.

The lot of circumcised Israelites under Pharaoh became worse before the nation was liberated with the tenth plague. Likewise, the lot of spiritually circumcised Israelites will worsen in the days immediately preceding the second Passover liberation of God’s holy nation. The measuring of the temple of God will be a testing of disciples, a proving of the firstborn son of the last Eve. And again, disciples are not bodily raptured to heaven because of their righteousness, nor will disciples go to a place of physical safety because God protects them from additional trials. Rather, they and their love of “truth” are measured—and what will be found is that most disciples do not love the truth and will not hear the voice of Jesus or believe the One who sent Him (John 5:24). They will not take the Passover sacraments as Jesus established the example. Rather, they offer to God bread [even leavened white bread] and wine or grape juice or water as the fruit of the ground. Bread and wine are only the body and blood of Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God, one night of the year, the night He was betrayed. On every other night, they are what Cain offered to God. And Cain would have been accepted if he had done well. Instead, the sin that lurked at his door overcame him, and he slew his righteous brother. Likewise, the firstborn son of God who today takes the sacraments of bread and wine whenever he wants (daily, weekly, quarterly, or on a Thursday evening once a year) consumes bread and wine, not the body and blood of the Lamb. Yet this firstborn son would be accepted by God if he did well. However, sin lurks at his door, and he will kill his righteous brother, believing that he does God a favor when he does so. He will be marked for death. And the irony is, he will voluntarily take upon himself that mark, believing that taking the tattoo of the cross demonstrates that he is the true follower of Christ Jesus. He will be, he is today deceived.

*

As an aside, when I was initially drafted to reread prophecy on Thursday of the second full week in January 2002, a claim I make with as much boldness as Paul does for having received his gospel “though a revelation of Christ Jesus” (Gal 1:12), my understanding of biblical prophecy was very much that taught within the slivered Sabbath-keeping Churches of God. I wasn’t particularly interested in prophecy, and certainly wasn’t interested in writing about prophecy. I had, within the previous year, published several books, and my intention was to market those works of fiction and nonfiction. But that wasn’t to be. Rather, I began writing what I then thought I knew—and immediately, I found that Scripture didn’t say what I had been taught. Rome, the Roman Empire, and the Roman Church are nowhere mentioned in any prophecy whereas Babylon, Persia, and Greece are. I realized that the visions of Daniel were sealed by their shadow, and the mistranslation of chi xi stigma was apparent. But when I sent a first book about prophecy to press two months after being drafted (and a second book a month later), I didn’t understand the timeline given to the prophet Daniel, and I certainly didn’t know that I was practicing typological exegesis.

Now, within two weeks of being four years later, by revelation of the Holy Spirit—which hasn’t come all at once, but little by little—I better understand the dates given. And as Paul, throughout his ministry, had to contend with the circumcision faction, I and those who practice and will practice typological exegesis will have to contend with a myriad of false prophecy pundits who, like little puppets manipulated by long dead puppeteers, echo traditional understandings about the then sealed and secret visions of Daniel. These puppets will have the larger followings and the better-funded ministries, and they will have all that they will ever receive. The sad part is that they will convince many disciples to believe an escapist lie…during the 1,335 days [actual days] that conclude with the court of the Ancient of Days sitting in judgment of the four beasts or kings, the first two spiritual sons of the last Adam and the last Eve will die, or will be marked for death when Christ returns. Except for the 144,000 virgins from that natural nation of Israel and for the remnant that keep the commandments and have the spirit of prophecy, all of Christianity will be either spiritually or physically dead. And this is not a message designed, packaged, and marketed to attract tithes and offerings. Rather, this is the harsh reality of what rereading prophecy reveals.

The first spiritual son of the last Adam and last Eve has relaxed one of the least of the commandments (i.e., the Sabbath commandment) and has taught others to do so, and the first spiritual son will be called least in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:19). He will be last.

The second spiritual son of the last Adam and the last Eve, the Church, left spiritual Babylon, and with a commission to rebuild the spiritual house of God, has journeyed toward God’s rest for nearly five millennia. It will be from this second son that Christ Jesus sends His disciples to the lost sheep of the natural nation of Israel. And some of the natural nation will receive these disciples; some will keep the Passover as Jesus established the example, and will eat of the paschal Lamb of God. They will be, or become righteous Abel, giving their physical lives as the ultimate of faith in God. The 1,335 days will be an extremely difficult time for those individuals who keep the Commandments of God, especially the weekly Sabbath. But by losing physical breath [psuche], these individuals will receive and save their spiritual breath [pneuma]. They will be part of the first resurrection and will stand up with Daniel and David when the firstfruits are called forth upon Christ Jesus’ return.

* * * * *

"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."

 

Archived Commentaries ][ Current Commentary ][ Home ]