Who in the World Are the Saints?
...with a brief look at DANIEL 7
LATELY, ATTACKS AGAINST BELIEVERS have been more fierce than usual. While some have enjoyed an exuberance and release that seems almost unreal, many have had to face the grim reality of discouragement and fear. Many who have found highs in the spirit have already begun plunging to depths of despair and disappointment. We've found people, open to all the Lord has to offer, still fighting with thoughts of depression and suicide. Others are tempted to separate themselves--with bitterness--from everyone and everything spiritual.
Forces, often undetected, have worked at dividing the Body of Christ into camps fiercely opposing one another. In line with what Jesus said in Matthew 24:12, the love of many has gone out like a flickering flame hit by a strong wind. Confusion as to who and what they are in the world has caused many, once militant for God's Kingdom, to become lukewarm.
Because we've found this to be widespread, we're drawn once again to the truth of Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. Here, in a wonderful release of truth for the church, the understanding is laid out that can lift us and bring us through the darkest hour with the greatest display of might and triumph the world has ever known.
We have already published much material laying out Ephesians Truth. Recently, while editing some documents relating to Ephesians 4, I realized thousands on our mailing list have not gone through the first part of Ephesians with us. The first chapters make clear our connection with Christ in the heavens. We can stand only if our joining with Him is certain. This is what we call the Ephesians connection.
Without apology, we make this presentation. Much in it is new. We present it as the Lord is laying it on us for this hour.
I BEGAN CONSIDERING EPHESIANS forty-eight years ago. It contains six chapters, marvelously put together by the Holy Spirit, with insights and revelations that could only have come from the heart of God.
After years of soaking my soul in the Book, and wearing out several Bibles in the process, I still stand in amazement at it. Like a fountain with waters coming from so deep a source they never cease, it flows with newness and life. To me, this is a proof of Divine Origin.
Ephesians, like all the rest of the New Testament, found its way into the hands of men in an ancient language called koiné Greek. Koiné (pronounced KOY nay) means "shared by all, common to everyone.
Koiné Greek was the language of every day life all over the Roman Empire in the first century. In it were written business contracts, bills, deeds, marriage contracts, wills, decrees, love letters, business correspondence, etc.
What a marvelous choice to place all of the New Testament, the greatest Document ever written, in such a language! This bears testimony that it was written to be read and understood and that it relates to all of life. In order for most of us to understand it today, however, it must be translated into our own language with words and phrases common to us as we live today.
There is one point we must make clear. While it is important to find the exact word in another language to express the idea of each Greek word, it is far more important that the Word be translated into flesh. That is to say: the New Testament is to undergo one more translation, from the Word, written and seen, into the flesh and affairs of us who see and hold it dear. This requires that we handle the Word, study it, spend time with it while allowing the Holy Spirit to release it into our lives.
PAUL'S EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS is especially important for the church of the last days, as is also the Book of Daniel. There is close connection between Daniel and Ephesians. To be without Ephesians Truth could lead to failure and overthrow in the time of which Daniel told. In Daniel 12:1 he said there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation. Jesus spoke of this same time in Matthew 24:21. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Paul called this same time the evil day in Ephesians 6:13.
Many are being lured away from preparation for this time by the teaching that the church will be raptured before it arrives. Scripture says this only if we read the idea into it. This is a most dangerous doctrine and will leave many unable to stand in the time of the end.
BEFORE WE BEGIN OUR LOOK into the details of Ephesians, we will survey the whole Book. The first section, Ephesians 1:1 through 3:21, lays out truth regarding our position in Christ. It tells what happens to us, and where we are placed, when we become followers of the Lord Jesus. The core truth of these three Chapters is called positional truth.
When we have been saved by God's grace, through Christ, we are brought--positionally--into the heavenlies to be seated with Him. He is at the right hand of the Majesty on high, enthroned as King, holding a position far above all principality, power, might, dominion, and every name that is named (Eph 1:20,21).
Isn't His position too high for us to share?
Not if we accept what the Scripture says.
Our heavenly Father sees us in Christ. We are made righteous in Him, made whole in Him, brought to completion in Him. We reign with Him. If He views us this way, we can do no less.
Many believers remain ignorant of this--and struggle on.
Three verses out of chapter 2 summarize the truth of our position in Christ.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins,
• hath made us alive together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)
• hath raised us up together,
• made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
See the words--mercy, love, and grace. They tell what caused God to choose us and save us. Then see the three statements telling what His mercy, love, and grace caused Him to do for us. The first and second statements tell what happens when He saves us. The third statement, in verse 6, tells where we are in Christ. This is a statement of positional truth. From this point--of being seated with Christ in the heavenlies--we must not move, but rather build upon it. Then, all of life can relate to our being seated with Christ in heavenly places. From there, we can "look down" upon every situation we face, troublesome and otherwise.
THE SECOND SECTION OF Ephesians, 4:1 through 6:9, presents some practical requirements we are able to keep--after we realize what has happened to us in Christ, and after we know where we are in Him.
If we don't know our position in Christ, these requirements become little more than unrealistic ideals. When we do know what has happened to us and where we are in Him, the same requirements become possibilities--attainable and real.
Without a firmly established position in Christ--in heavenly places--we become failures in our daily walk, and we are powerless to withstand Satan. What the Holy Spirit led Paul to lay out in this entire section becomes possible for us after we know who we are and where we are in Christ.
Paul frequently used the word walk in this section. With it we can outline what he said.
In 4:1-16, he speaks of our walk in unity. This walk is carried on among ourselves, as believers. Key verses are 4:1 and 3 where he says,. . . walk worthy of the calling wherewith ye are called... endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit.
In 4:17-32, he speaks of our walk as a new man. This walk is maintained primarily as we have relationship with the people of the world. A key verse is 4:17--... walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind.
In 5:1,2, he speaks of a walk in love. As in (1) above, this walk is maintained primarily among ourselves as believers. A key verse is 5:2 where he says, . . walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us...
In 5:3-14, he speaks of a walk in light. Like (2) above, this speaks of a walk maintained primarily in relation to the people of the w6rld. A key verse is 5:8 where he says, walk as children of light.
5:15-6:9 directs us to a circumspect walk, to be maintained both among other believers as well as in the world. Most important, it is a walk to be maintained in family relationships and at work. A key verse is 5:15-- See then that you walk circumspectly (carefully) not as fools, but as wise.
Attempts to carry out the walk, without knowing who and where we are in Christ, will lead to frustration and disappointment. Striving to arrive at a position of reigning with Christ, by maintaining the walk, will lead to failure.
We cannot be seated with Christ in heavenly places by our own accomplishments. Neither can we be successful in the walk unless we are seated there in Him.
We must follow God's order.
First, we know our position in Christ, then we can walk in a manner pleasing to Him.
THE THIRD SECTION of Ephesians 6:10-24, takes us before the enemy, equipped to withstand him and overcome him. It begins with, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. What power! Oh, what power is released to us for this stand!
A brief review of the whole Epistle will help us keep a right perspective with regard to this:
• ONE--Eph 1:1-3:21 clearly tells us the connection we have in Christ is by grace... through faith. (See 2:8,9.)
• TWO--Eph 4:1-6:9 lays out the walk the connection demands--and grace makes possible.
• THREE--After the first two are settled, Eph 6:10-24 lays out our strategy for warfare with Satan. We enter this on the basis of the foregoing truth and experience. The order is divine and cannot be altered through carnal or religious attempts to achieve a standing with the Lord.
• First, we learn who we are and where we are, 1:1-3:21.
• Second, we align our walk to our position, 4:1-6:9.
• Third, we effectively withstand the evil one, 6:10-24.
If we remain unaware of our relationship and standing with Christ, then Satan can attack us because of our ignorance and lack of discernment. If our walk becomes inconsistent with our position, he can attack us because of our weakened faith and because we are too closely connected to the world with which he is so friendly.
As a friend of mine put it, following Jesus becomes a call to "impossible living"--humanly speaking. Only He, from His triumphant position in the heavens, can supply us with what we need to live that life.
When we embrace the truth laid out for us in Ephesians, we grow to understand we are there in Christ--in the heavens, before the Throne, triumphant overcomers--and He is here in us--The Triumphant Overcomer for Us All. He lives in us while we are in the midst of life's trials.
SOMEONE GAVE us a cup with this imprint on it--"Lord help me to know there is nothing I have to face today that You and I can't face together.' That's a good prayer.
NOW WE WILL BEGIN OUR LOOK at Ephesians--point by point--starting at the beginning. Before we get very far, however, we will step aside to view something from Daniel as it relates to Ephesians Truth.
Some ancient copies of Ephesians, all done by hand, left out the name of the town Ephesus. It was probably an open letter to a number of churches. The content was general and meant for persons everywhere.
However two qualities are placed upon those who receive it, They are the saints, and the faithful in Christ Jesus.
Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
• to the saints which are at (Ephesus), and
• to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
• Grace be to you, and
• peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ,
The terms saints and faithful describe qualities in those who share with the Lord Jesus in His Kingdom on earth. How powerful each of these terms is!
Paul also named two qualifies resident in God--grace and peace. It is necessary that we, as saints, receive these from Him. When we open our hearts to receive both of them, possibility opens to us--the possibility of overcoming evil and arriving in the final day, faithful and triumphant.
Saints are persons alive and well in the Kingdom of Christ now. They are not, as some suppose, people who have died and then been declared saints. Saints in this Ephesians passage is from the Greek hágios. It means that which is "separate from common condition and use." It is that which is holy unto the Lord, set apart for His use. It means that which is free from the downward rule of the earth.
In the New Testament hágios sometimes has reference to the Holy Spirit, sometimes to a holy people, sometimes to the holy place. When speaking of the holy place, hágios means sanctuary. When speaking of the holy people, it is often translated saints.
Hágios occurs fifteen times in the Book of Ephesians--two times with reference to the Holy Spirit, twelve times with reference to holy people, one time with reference to holy Apostles. What a testimony this is for the saints! The Book is for them, about them, to them.
Significantly, there are twelve references to the holy people in Ephesians. Twelve is the number in Jewish symbolism having to do with government. Through the saints, God's Government is to find its expression in the earth.
NOW, WE WILL LOOK at the passages in Ephesians that mention saints. As we look at the twelve points, we will find four--perhaps five--that express bonds the saints share with one another. While the enemy has sought to divide, the eternal counsel of God will prevail--in the time of the end--by bringing all saints together. This is part of the present work of the Holy Spirit. Counter-operations waged by seducing spirits to undo these bonds are raging at the same time.
Ephesians was written to the saints.
Eph 1:1--Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the SAINTS which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.
Note it well. The Epistle is addressed to the saints--"the persons who are set apart unto the Lord." While others may find selected favorite verses in it, only those committed spirit and soul to the purposes of God will feel its full impact. This means the saints will see how Ephesians Truth reaches into every aspect of life there is, and how it will bring us through every trial to stand complete in the final day.
If you don't consider yourself yet in that place of total surrender (or if you fear coming to that place), do not turn aside. Let the energy of the Ephesians Word work in you what it will. As you spend time with it, its energy will come over on you--whether you are a saint or not.
From the beginning, God has ordained that He should have a holy people (saints) in communion with Him.
Eph 1:4-According as he hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy ("that we should be SAINTS") and without blame before him in love.
This verse is so full and introduces so much to us that we must take it up in a future MASCHIL Special Edition. By drawing help from the original Greek, we will see Five Principles by which God has done His choosing. He chose us for Himself. He chose us in Christ. He chose us before the foundation of the world. He chose us that we should be holy. His choosing of us is over and done with. There is no hope, ever, of entering the company of His chosen ones except through the one way He has provided in His only begotten Son. We have no hope of election or Kingdom privilege outside of Him.
I wondered, "How do I get in Him?"
Then, He showed me John 3:16.
Take note of the words in Him. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
In this verse, in is not from the Greek word en, which means simply "in." It is from the Greek eis which means "into." Eis is a word used to describe motion toward, or into, something. There is some motion that brings us into Him. What is it?
It is the simple motion of believing.
We get into Him by believing. Then the possibility of becoming a saint becomes ours.
Oh, what hope!
Faith and love become the FIRST of the four bonds that bring saints together.
Eph 1:15--Wherefore also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the SAINTS...
Faith and love go together. They operate jointly as they co exist in the lives of saints. Both are qualities that Originate in God, then find release in the lives of those who come to Him in Christ.
Faith reaches into the heavens to the Lord Jesus and draws from the bond we have there with Him. Love reaches unto all the saints to form the bond we have With one another. These two are basic to our living and surviving.
In the bond of love, Paul used that strange and unusual word, agápe. It was little used outside the New Testament. It names a quality the Lord Jesus brought into the world, hardly known before He came. It expresses the kind of love in which one lays down his life for another, whether there be any return or not.
The saints' love one for another becomes the most notable point of their character that the world can observe. The Lord Jesus pointed to this. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another--John 13:35.
The saints are exceedingly valuable to the Lord.
Eph 1:18--The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the SAINTS...
This is a prayer that we might know how valuable we are to the Lord as saints. The glory of His inheritance is in us. He has an amazing wealth in us through which He intends to accomplish His purposes in the earth. This is beyond our understanding. Therefore, we learn to pray that the eyes of our understanding might be enlightened so we can know what is this wealth of His.
It is His inheritance. How amazing! The Holy Spirit will cause us to know that God has committed unto us the expectation that His Kingdom will come in the earth.
This connects us back to what Daniel said: .. the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom--Daniel 7:22. When the Lord appears again in the earth, the saints will break the forces of evil and release the power and authority of His Kingdom. This will not be by our natural strengths or talents. Our usefulness in His Kingdom will come through what He has deposited in us. This is His inheritance in us.
The SECOND of four bonds in which the saints share is that they are citizens together in the Kingdom of God. Eph 2:19--Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the SAINTS, and of the household of God...
This amazing word is to Gentile believers, brought into the household of God, no more strangers and foreigners. Those once shut out for natural reasons are brought in by the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit and made heirs in the family. Those who were once not a people become instruments of the Lord for the extension of His Govern ment in every nation. What grace! Take note of the word fellowcitizens, from the Greek sumpolítes. This is definitely a word of "government." Years ago, the first thing the Holy Spirit impressed upon me about saints is that they are God's governmental people in the earth. I was influenced by Ps 149:5-9. And then by I Cor 6:2--Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And also Jude 14,15--... Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, To execute judgment upon all... Then, of course, there are the passages in Daniel 7 at which we shall look in this article.
Sumpolítes is one of those powerful words Paul was fond of using with the prefix sun (or sum-, or sul-). This little word means "together with another in the same place."
Polítes means "a citizen" within a city, or a country, or a state. It means more than a mere resident. It means one who has all the active and passive privileges pertaining to citizens, even the privilege of administering government. In their bonding together, saints have this privilege in the Government of God.
Even now, before His Kingdom's great manifestation in the earth, believers committed to God's governmental purpose have Kingdom authority in the Name of the Lord Jesus. The greater the bonding among saints, the greater the release of Kingdom power.
The THIRD of the four bonds in which saints share is that, together, they compose the Temple. This is the Dwelling Place of God in the earth.
Eph 2:21-... In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an HOLY temple in the Lord...
Here is our word hágios ("holy," or "saint") used with reference to a holy place. But, this holy place is people. It is a building made of living "stones" fitly framed together so as to form a holy temple in the Lord.
This verse with its context is exceedingly full. It tells of yet another bond among the saints. This is not an automatic bond: it comes about as the building is brought up in Christ. This building of the Lord derides denominationalism and every movement that separates the Body of Christ into irreconcilable units, some of which will not even recognize others.
What beautiful and powerful words are in this verse! We are being fitly framed together to grow unto an holy temple in the Lord. This describes a process that is hotly contested by every force of evil there is. It is moving us toward an objective that has been in the heart of our Heavenly Father forever.
Fitly framed is from sunarmologouméne. (Wow! Whoever can pronounce it, let them come forth!) It is the Present Participle form of a word describing an action that goes on, and on. It is one of those "together" words that use the prefix sun. It means being put together joint by joint, with one piece fitting another till all become one whole.
What Paul is saying in verse 21 continues in 22 with . . in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. Builded together is from sunoikodoméo. (Note the prefix.) This word means to build together in company with another so that each part becomes an item in the whole structure. Saints are being structured and formed to become part of the same building that will be the habitation of God in the earth.
This building is the holy temple. At one time, if God was to be found in the earth, He dwelt in the Tabernacle of Moses. Later, it was the Temple of Solomon, and the successive Temples of Jerusalem. Still later, His holy dwelling place was in the Lord Jesus. Now, the saints are being builded together to be His dwelling place.
Paul makes reference to himself as a saint, but with the utmost humility.
Eph 3:8--Unto me, who am less than the least of all SAINTS, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
One of the marks of a saint's character is humility. This was so with Paul, as well as with the Lord Jesus who said, .. learn of me; for I am meek and lowly...-- Mt 11:29.
Here is a marvelous thing.
Those Who learn from the Lord Jesus to take the place of humility receive an abundance of grace into their lives. By this they can endure hardship and perform the will of God. This is what saints do.
All the saints together are being called upon to lay hold on the incomprehensible love of Christ.
Eph. 3:17-19--That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all SAINTS what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
This is part of that powerful system of praying some of us have been learning from Paul. It is about saints and love. We have embraced this prayer for years. We will continue doing so for it requires much more than a one-time kind of praying.
Right now, we will only look at that ye.. may be able to comprehend. That ye may be able is from the Greek exischúo. It means to have strength enough to reach beyond one's self. This is beyond the natural ability of most people. Thus, we learn to pray for this kind of strength. It comes when the roots of our lives reach into the love of God. When we allow His love to become our foundation for living, we are made strong enough to reach out of our own circle with a redeeming kind of love for others--whether we be loved in return or not.
To comprehend is from katalambáno. It means "to lay hold of; to seize; to apprehend." Thus, we are learning to pray for strength to reach outside our own circle with a heavenly quality that is ready to find its release in all the earth. We, as saints, are being made ready to demonstrate to the world what the love of God actually is.
The last of the four bonds saints will share is the knitting together of them all through the ministries the Lord Jesus has appointed.
Eph 4:11,12a--And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the SAINTS...
We have volumes to publish with regard to this. We cannot even touch upon the five ministries named here, except to note them. They are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. These are the ministry offices designated and appointed by the risen Lord Jesus. Through them, we come to our perfection as saints.
Perfecting is from the Greek katartismós, a word that describes a knitting together, a complete adjustment so that each part connects with the other to form one whole. What a word to describe the work of the five ministries appointed from heaven! Instead of separating the Body of Christ, their commission is to bring the members together in a mature bond--adjusted thoroughly, united completely--to form one Body. Only ministries appointed out of the heavens can participate in so great a movement.
Saints are called upon to live pure lives, apart from the contaminations of the world.
Eph 5:3--But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh SAINTS...
Saints are to be pure from the moral and spiritual contamination that will become widespread in the last days. Again, space prohibits our discussing the entire list Paul gives. Besides fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness, he goes on to list filthiness, foolish talking, and ribald jesting. He clearly states that every person practicing these things forfeits any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God (Verse 5).
In I Cor 6:9,10 and Gal 5:20,21 Paul enlarges upon the list of pollutions that will prevent one from inheriting the Kingdom. The powerful cleansing work of the Holy Spirit will set saints free from all of these--not only the practice of them but the inclination toward them.
The Lord Jesus gave Himself for the church that it might become the covering and training ground for saints.
Eph 5:25a, 27h--Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.. that it should be HOLY and without blemish.
The church is where the saints can find their covering and protection as the age draws on to its close. Here, under the ministries appointed from the heavens, will be safety from the hoards of seducing spirits that will work at corrupting the saints. Under proper ministry, work will go on toward sanctifying and cleansing those whom the Lord gave Himself to redeem. They become a people set apart for His purposes in the earth.
On reading this whole passage, we find there is a powerful ministry called the washing of water by the word. Thus, we find that the greatest tool the appointed ministries have for their use is the word. They are to open it, expound upon it, and release its strength into the hearers--all the while leading them to receive a love for the truth in their own individual bosoms so they can continually feed upon it.
Saints are to care enough for one another to pray for one another.
Eph 6:18--Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all SAINTS...
We could say praying for one another is a fifth bond saints share.
Praying always means never giving up praying, no matter what happens or what beckons one from it.
Perseverance means unremitting continuance in a thing. Jesus illustrated this in the story He told in Luke 11:5-8, in which a man knocks on the door of a storekeeper till he responds and supplies bread for the man's friend in need.
Supplication is from the Greek deésis, that powerful word for the kind of prayer that will not go away without an answer.
What this network of praying will accomplish has yet to be seen in its fullness. The practice of it will be one of the marks of the last days as the spirit of supplications and grace moves in upon all saints in their care one for the other while undergoing trials.
DANIEL 7 CONTAINS an amazing prophetic vision about the saints. We have looked at it for years and have written on it. Now it has more importance than ever. The time to know what it means is pressing in upon us. The passage calls for, and embraces, Ephesians Truth as Daniel tells what the saints will face and what they will do at the time of the end.
The time frame to which the prophecy of Daniel 7 points is set by a statement in verse 25-- and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. A time means "one year;" times means "two years;" the dividing of time means "one-half year." Daniel's word holds prophetic symbolism, but its interpretation becomes clearer as we compare it with other Scriptures. Dan 9:24-27--which is very prophetic language--helps us see its reference is to the final three and one-half years of the age. Dan 12:7 also helps us with this. Rev 11:2,3; Rev 12:6,14 and Rev 13:5 tell precisely that the time is forty and two months, or a thousand two hundred and threescore days. This is the exact period of anti- Christ's most severe oppression of saints. It is wise to receive what Ephesians lays out toward our preparation for this time.
Daniel 7 makes nine prophetic statements pertaining to saints. The setting of the prophecy is on the world scene, not a religious scene. It is here we begin viewing the saints. They are not cloistered behind a holy wall; they come into the front lines of the battle of the ages.
Ultimately, the authority of God's Kingdom will pass into the hands of the saints.
Daniel 7:18--But the SAINTS of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
Take note of the word possess. It is translated from chasan, a Chaldean word out of the language of ancient Babylon where the Jews were held captive in Daniel's time. Its root meaning is "to be strong, rough, and hard." Thus, it means to possess with a rough and hard hand. It reminds us of what Jesus said in Matthew 11:12 when He spoke of the violent taking the Kingdom by force.
In this Daniel verse we see the saints rising up in the strength of The Most High, dispossessing the anti-Christ and his spirits of their rule, and taking a strong and rough hold on the government that had come under their hand. From Eph 6:12 we learn this roughness and strength coming out in the saints is not against other people but against evil spirits that hold people captive. The overthrow and seizure of anti-Christ's government will be a lasting thing. Daniel said the saints' hold on the kingdom will last for ever, even for ever and ever. The repetition in this phrase signifies endlessness. Their possession will reach into eternity. This is beyond the grasp of human imagination. Whatever humiliation and deprivation the saints have endured will fade into insignificance in the light of what will take place when they possess the Kingdom.
In the closing days, the anti-Christ, represented by the little horn, will throw his main opposition toward the saints.
In all the great panorama of earth's governments and their conflicts unfolding before Daniel, his curiosity kept turning to a certain small power called a little horn. We find first mention of him back in Daniel 7:8,9. This little horn is the anti-Christ. He will come on the world scene, insignificantly at first, but with an increasing authority that subdues the other world powers around him. Daniel took up describing him again in verse 20, noting that he had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. As Daniel kept watching, he noted in verse 21 that the same horn made war with the SAINTS, and prevailed against them.
The horn Daniel saw was sinister in his pride as he exalted himself against all other governments in the earth. The great things his mouth spoke were words of blasphemy against the Lord Jesus.
Daniel kept watching. He saw that the anti-Christ's strategy, at a certain point, would turn from devouring world governments to fight with the saints. This is because they came to present more of a threat to his plan than any other force in the world.
The horn appeared triumphant in this maneuver against the saints. What pain for them! What hopelessness if the passage ended here! But it did not! Somehow, in the mysteries of God, the forces of anti-Christ will seem to succeed--but only for a while. In the last three and one-half years of this age, all appearance of triumph on the part of the saints will vanish from the eyes of those who only see things from an earthly perspective.
This points to a time of wrath--but not the wrath of God. It will be the wrath of the anti-Christ, unleashed as never before since the beginning of the world. In this time, the saints' victory will be in heaven alone. Only from this powerful region can they overcome and know freedom, security, and peace--even while living on the earth.
This is where the insight and understanding contained in Ephesians comes in. In it, we learn we are already positionally in the heavens. As we walk this out in the day by day affairs of life, living out of the heavenlies will become our actual condition.
As saints, because we know heaven's triumph and provision, we will function out of impossibility throughout the last days of the age. We will carry on while there is no human resource from which to draw.
When the Lord Jesus returns, the administration of justice will pass over into the hands of the saints.
22a--Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the SAINTS of the most High...
There is no period back at the end of verse 21 as it tells of anti-Christ's suppression of the saints. Verse 22 begins with until, a firm indication that their suppression is but for a period--yea, a relatively short period--of time. It will last until something strange and unusual takes place. Then, the authority of the saints in the earth will take on immensely wider proportions.
The Ancient of days coming upon the scene is God arising. See the prayer of Ps 68:1. This Psalm provides one of the main texts for Ephesians and maintains a powerful connection between the Prophets and last-days truth.
In Daniel 8 through 12 we have three more prophetic visions regarding the time of the
end and anti-Christ's oppression.
At the end of each is a terse reference to a grand "Something" that stops him dead in his tracks. In each case this happens right When he is most vehement in his scheme to take supreme control of earth's government. As saints, we can take courage in knowing the following prophetic words.
• Daniel 8:25--... but he shall be broken without hand.
• Daniel 9:27b--... and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate ("the one causing the desolation").
• Daniel 11:45--... yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
Each statement describes the abrupt end brought to anti-Christ's activity. It is compelling to believe each has reference to the return of the Lord Jesus. This will signal the release of a power--like nothing ever known--into the hands of this people called the saints of the most High.
The end-time movements of the saints will be according to God's timetable.
22b--... and the time came that the SAINTS possessed the kingdom.
The government of the earth will finally come back under the dominion of God's Throne in the heavens. This full release of His Kingdom's power in the earth will come about through this people called the saints. The time for this is set by God. It is a vain supposition on the part of the anti-Christ that he can alter what God has determined. In an amazing way, as the time for the saints to possess the Kingdom approaches, the preparations of the Lord will accelerate in them. The attempts of the anti-Christ and of the forces aligned with him to prevent this powerful preparatory work shall not prevail.
IN DANIEL 7:25 are four statements as to what the saints will endure while the Anti-Christ has his way.
• And he shall speak great words against the most High,
• and shall wear out the SAINTS of the most High,
• and think to change times and laws:
• and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
End-time saints will endure the anti-Christ's ridicule of God and all that is godly.
He shall speak great words against the most High--7:25a.
This is blasphemy against God, the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the saints, and all that pertains to them. Take note of Rev 13:6-- And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
End-time saints will endure exhausting oppression brought on by the anti- Christ.
The little horn.. shall wear out the SAINTS of the most High--7:25b. He hopes, in their struggle to survive, they will give up their stand against him and embrace his ways. The emotional struggle, the financial, the physical, along with the spiritual struggle of the final days will become so fierce that only those who know their place in the heavens can withstand the dark forces of hell and survive. It is here the positional truth of Ephesians will come to have meaning as never before. What dismay the saints will bring to the anti-Christ as they continue with life even while every hope of survival perishes from before them! Like Israel in the wilderness, they will find no sustenance from one day to the next except in the manna the Lord provides. They will find the wonderful answer to the question of Ps 78:19, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Day after day, the testimony will arise, "Yes, He can!" One of the greatest areas of struggle the saints will have in the last days will be in their spirits. Seeking every avenue of entrance, seducing spirits will attempt to work upon the spirits of believers. The evil design will be to produce discouragement, bitterness, distress, fear, anger, and frustration.
There are some who say demonic spirits can have no access to believers. However, we find many Christians retaining spiritual uncleanness. If grounds of evil remain, then evil spirits will take their legal right to occupy these grounds. This is why the Holy Spirit is leading us to emphasize the need for deliverance, cleansing, and healing of all emotional traumas and spiritual uncleanness that give spirits access.
End-time saints will have to deal with the whims and foolish hopes of the anti- Christ.
The anti-Christ will think to change times and laws--7:25c. Hoping to ward off defeat, he will suppose he can alter the times set by God Himself for his demise. The times he will try to change are those specified through Daniel, some of which are:
…. the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom--7:22.
.... at the time appointed the end shall be--8:19.
…. yet the end shall be at the time appointed--11:27
…. at that time shall Michael stand up--12:1.
Laws in the Original of verse 25 is singular. It means "a decree." This is the "decree" set by heaven's Authority determining who shall rule in the earth. Ps 2:7, 8 states it clearly. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. In this decree, there is no place left on earth where the rule of Christ will not extend. Not one demon of anti-Christ's domain can continue ruling. Certainly he would hope to alter this decree.
What a vain hope!
End-time saints will undergo a limited time in which they seem to be defeated.
This is clear: they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time--7:25d.
As we have seen, this prophetic reference is to the last three on one-half years of this age.
It is here that many contradicting doctrines emerge. Some in the church feel uncomfortable with the idea that believers will suffer indignity at the hand of the anti-Christ--thus, the doctrine of the "pre-tribulation rapture." Fewer and fewer are subscribing to this teaching, finding it inconsistent with the Whole of Scriptural revelation.
This is simplistic, but--indeed--which is wiser? To consider that believers will not be on earth during the great tribulation and thus make no preparation? Or, to consider that we may well be here and set ourselves toward becoming prepared? There arises another question. If ye are to prepare, what should the preparations be? Shall we lay in store provisions for lean times? Shall we accumulate weapons to fight off the enemy? Shall we move to remote places so as to not be easily found? No. These are not the preparations that will equip us to stand through the evil day.
Those who will stand will be those who have found their place in the heavenlies in Christ. The greatest preparation for the time of trouble is the spiritual preparation toward which Ephesians directs us.
End-time saints will be the instruments by which anti-Christ is overthrown.
26 But the judgment shall sit, and they (the saints) shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it ("to lay it waste to the point of destruction") unto the end (when all that the prophecy foretells is completed).
27 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, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.
The powerful, powerful statement of these two verses needs to shine before our eyes. May we let its truth ring in our hearts like a bell from the Holiest Place. May it lay hold on us and go with us through any darkness--whether brought on by circumstance, people, trouble in the land, or spiritual forces arrayed against us.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand--Eph 6:13.
THEN Daniel said, Hitherto is the end of the matter--7:28a. We can add our Amen.
Read & meditate on Psalm 145:10-13. What a powerful insight this is from David!
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