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With the Voice of the Archangel Featured

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“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1st Thessalonians 4:16).

After having carefully looked at the first event, “the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven,” and high lighting eight points confirming that the Lord Himself must come, we now turn our attention to the words “with a shout, with the voice of the archangel.”
 
Whether the “shout” belongs to the Lord Himself or to the archangel is not clear in this verse. Luther translates the phrase as “with a field command.”  Other translations confirm this although the word “shout” is somewhat underemphasized in the King James translation. In any event, the source of the “shout” is not the issue. In this study, we want to reveal the deeper meaning of the “voice of the archangel.”  The next five points will clarify its identity, purpose, and result.

    • Who is the Archangel?
    • Israel’s Relation to the Church
    • The Difference Between Michael and Gabriel
    • The Great Opposer: Satan and His Angels
    • The Voice Signifies Beginning and End

1) Who Is Michael The Archangel?

In the King James translation, Michael is the only being who carries the title “archangel.”  In the German language, Biblisches Namen Lexikon, Dr. Abraham Meister also identifies Gabriel as an archangel based on his office and function. (Dr. Meister, who went home to be with the Lord many years ago, was a great Greek and Hebrew scholar who carefully researched over 3,500 Bible names and their meanings.)

So who is Michael? His name means “Who is as God?” In the book of Daniel, he is called “Michael, one of the chief princes.”  Incidentally, this indicates that he is not the only one but obviously one of others (Daniel 10:13). In Daniel 10:21, he is identified as “Michael your prince” which is proven in Daniel 12:1, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people….”  These verses make it unquestionably clear that Michael the archangel, the great prince, can be considered the guardian of God’s earthly people: Israel.

The Archangel And Moses

Only one time throughout the Bible do we find a name attached to the title of archangel. In Jude 9 we read, “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”  This verse is concerned with the body of Moses, considered the greatest Israeli figure in the Old Testament. Apparently the body is very important. In this case, the devil was confronted with a great problem. He could rightfully claim the body of Moses, because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, yet he was opposed by Michael the archangel.

To understand this, we must first realize that something special occurred here. Moses did not die as a result of sin, which, of course, is natural. All of us have an appointment with death unless the Lord comes first. Rather, Moses’ death was by a special decree from God Himself. The Bible reports, “And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deuteronomy 34:7). Quite obviously he could have lived many more years, he was still strong and well. For this reason Michael the archangel interfered, telling the devil in effect, “This is a special case; you can’t have the body of Moses.”  

It is noteworthy to realize that Michael disputed the devil over Moses’ body but he did not condemn the devil in his own power or right. He said, “…the Lord rebuked thee.”  In light of this, we need to be cautious with the practice quite popular in these last days to “rebuke the devil.”  Never forget, the devil has a legitimate right to our bodies because we are sinners, despite the fact that we are saved. Unimaginable damage has been inflicted on many precious souls who have taken it upon themselves to “fight the devil,”  and “cast out demons.”  Michael, the mighty archangel does not dare a direct confrontation with the devil; he leaves it up to the eternal God who judges righteously. I sense that it is necessary to revaluate our position as believers. We have not been called to attack the devil, thinking that we have the power within ourselves to destroy the wicked one, but rather we must realize what James 4:7 says, “…Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  Note also Paul’s strategy for opposing the devil (Ephesians 5). The word “stand” is used four times in verses 11,13,and 14. We “stand” on the already accomplished victory of Calvary, and when we “stand” in that territory, the enemy comes, but finds nothing.

Moses’ body was protected for a special purpose. Later he would appear on the Mount of Transfiguration, accompanied by Elijah, to talk with Jesus about His death, “And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:30-31).
    
2) Israel’s Relationship To The Church

Sometimes we tend to oversimplify the Bible by saying the Old Testament is for the Jews and the New Testament is for Christians. It is true that the Jews still do not consider the New Testament as part of their Scripture. At the most, they refer to it as the “Christian” Bible.

During the 80’s we offered several “Glory” books, including Glory of Jerusalem and Glory of the Holy Land. In 1990, two more books followed: The Glory of the Old Testament and The Glory of the New Testament. While in Israel I visited Shlomo Gaffni, the publisher of these books. I asked him why the two books, The Glory of the Old Testament and The Glory of the New Testament were not for sale in Jewish bookstores in Jerusalem. He explained that these books gave equal footing to the Old and New Testaments. Many Orthodox Jewish groups were offended and boycotted the sale of the books.

The First Church Was Jewish

Jerusalem-Streets-TS-120022599-300x225The Church of Jesus Christ was founded in Jerusalem by Jews, for Jews, and consisted exclusively of Jews. The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, is a Jewish book written by Jews for Jews. Yet Scripture clearly tells us that during the time of the Gentiles, the Jew, in particular, would be blind to the reality of the Savior, the Messiah of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is substantiated in Romans 11:28, “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sake.”   

As far as the Jews in general are concerned, it is important to understand that they see no differences between “churchianity” and Christianity, or between those who by tradition and birth belong to a Christian religion, and those who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ through regeneration.

Throughout the centuries, the Jews have painfully experienced severe persecution under the auspices of “churchianity.”  They were killed by the Romans and suffered through the Spanish Inquisition. There is not one country on the face of the earth in which they have not experienced opposition, persecution and even death. The most horrendous genocide of all time took place in Germany under the reign  of Adolf Hitler, a professing Catholic who frequently quoted Scripture and spiced his speeches with Bible-based slogans. From the Jewish perspective, even Adolf Hitler was a “Christian.”

Christians Recognize Jews

From a historical perspective, the Jews have always diametrically opposed anything that is Christian. There seems to be an unbridgeable gap between the two. On the other end of the spectrum, the relationship to Israel and the Jews is different in Bible-believing Christianity.

In Romans 11, the apostle Paul reminds the Gentile church of her roots. In verse 13 Paul identifies the group that he is addressing, “I speak to you Gentiles.”  He reveals that Israel still exists, and he compares Israel to an olive tree, “…if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee” (Romans 11:17-21). Paul clearly explains in verse 24 that Israel will be resurrected, “For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?”  The Church has often overlooked God’s unconditional guarantee of Israel’s perpetual existence. At that time the Church as a whole was making the same mistake that the world makes today: “I only believe what I see.”  

Israel’s Future

From God’s point of view, there is no question about Israel’s existence–despite the fact that they were not a nation for 2,000 years.

Listen to the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name. If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever” (Jeremiah 31:35-36). One cannot simply do away with Israel. It is God’s creation and what God creates is eternal! Therefore, let us not repeat the mistake of assuming that Israel has lost her position as God’s elect. She was not replaced by the Church; this type of “replacement theology” has been the mother of many heresies.

Of course, it is true that Israel rejected the Messiah, but God never rejected Israel. Instead, He temporarily put Israel aside in His plan of salvation which He ordained before the foundation of the world.

Time Limit Of The Church

Returning to our text in Romans 11, we find a time limit, or dispensation for the Church, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Romans 11:25). The apostle Paul points out that this is a mystery of which we should not be ignorant, otherwise, we would deceive ourselves. The blindness is for the sake of the Gentiles “Until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

Gospel To The Gentiles

For this reason, we continuously support the urgency of preaching the Gospel to all people everywhere so that the fullness of the Gentiles may come in soon. The Church is an intermission in God’s eternal plan of salvation with His people Israel. This was hidden from the beginning. The apostles didn’t even fully understand this great mystery. Ephesians 5:32 states, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”  The early Church did not fully comprehend that God would first take out a people from among the Gentiles for His name.

cross-of-christ-0101Even after Jesus defeated the powers of darkness on Calvary’s cross, crying out “It is finished;”  was buried; arose the third day; and walked among His disciples, they still didn’t understand: “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). The disciples had one-track minds; they wanted Israel to be an independent kingdom with all of its former glories. They knew Scripture, and hoped for the immediate resurrection of the kingdom of Israel. The only thing they could understand were the “good ole’ days.”  God, however, doesn’t look back to old glories, but tells us that He will make “all things new.”  

The disciples were commanded to wait until the Holy Spirit came, “…I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high “ (Luke 24:49). Then they were to be “witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). This is a very clear instruction; the beginning is Jerusalem and the end is the outermost parts of the world. The Gospel has literally gone from Jerusalem to the very ends of the earth. For that reason I believe that the Church has little success when it tries to follow this command in the opposite direction, that is preaching the Gospel to Israel and expecting a mass conversion of Jews.

The Gentile Conflict In The Church

In the beginning, there was a controversy about the Gentiles belonging to the Church. In Acts 15, we read that “…Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them…” (verse 2). Why? Because these Jews did not fully grasp the Gospel of grace but tried to convert the Gentiles to Judaism first. They taught, “…Except ye (Gentiles) be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved” (verse 1).

To settle this conflict, an apostolic counsel was held in Jerusalem. “And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” (Acts 15:7-11).

It is significant that the apostle Peter spoke these words because he was the first to recognize that Jesus was the Son of God. Based on Peter’s confession, Jesus said, “…I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). We emphasize that the statement of our Lord has absolutely no relation to the man-made establishment of the Roman papal system, or to any national or international church entity.

Salvation always was and always will be “of the Jew,”  as the Lord Jesus Himself stated. Nowhere in the Bible do we read of the Lord giving preference to a certain city or country outside of Israel.

Therefore, any group who claims to be the exclusive and privileged successors of the apostle Peter, or who asserts that they are the exclusive dispensers of salvation, can rightfully be labeled as an anti-Christian cult.

After Peter had spoken, “…all the multitudes kept silence.”  Barnabas and Paul then gave affirmation regarding the Gentiles.

Prophecy Settles Conflict

James confirmed this testimony when he declared, “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up” (Acts 15:14-16). Here we see the authority of the apostle Peter, for he was the first to preach the Gospel to the Jews, to the half-Jew Samaritans, and to the Gentiles. He was also the first one through whom the Lord performed miracles–including raising the dead to life–to demonstrate the fulfillment of prophecy. James now endorses that which Simon (Peter) had stated is based on the prophetic Word.

According to my understanding, the raising up of the fallen tabernacle of David is Israel’s national identity. This has no relation to the tent-like tabernacle that David built to house the Ark of the Covenant. To establish this point, we turn to Psalm 78:67-68, “Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim: But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.”  In other words, the national identity [tabernacle] will not be found in Joseph or Ephraim, but in Judah. As a result, Israelis are Jews and only Jews can instantly and automatically become Israelis the moment they return to the Promised Land.

Turning in our Bibles to the Old Testament book of Amos, the prophet writes, “That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this” (Amos 9:12). This verse prophetically refers to the inclusion of the Gentiles, “which are called by my name.”

Mystery Of The Church

God’s plan for both His people and the Gentiles was a mystery unknown to Israel, the apostles and the prophets; even the angels did not know. The testimony of Peter says the following, “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1st Peter 1:10-13).

Gentile’s Hopelessness

I am fully convinced that most of us who are saved by grace from among the Gentiles don’t fully comprehend the hopelessness of our situation before we became Christians. The apostle Paul explains to the Ephesians, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:11-12). Think of it: “no hope” and “without God.”  Could anything possibly be worse than that? Thank God that is not how it ends. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Indeed, “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32).

Gentile’s Hope

At this point, we must stress that the Gentiles, born again of the Spirit of God, are the ones who are addressed by the apostle Paul, for he says, “I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles” (Ephesians 3:1). He also reveals some wonderful news in verse 6, “That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.”  To the Romans, this same apostle confirms the fulfillment of Bible prophecy for the Gentiles, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust” (Romans 15:8-12). Therefore, the Gentiles have a duty toward Israel, “It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things” (Romans 15:27). These few verses should validate the fact that although Israel and the Church remain two distinct entities, they are organically united because they both partake of the olive tree.

The Organic Unity Of Jews And Christians

Another verse is often misused and needs to be clarified: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). The Church consists of both Jews and Gentiles; the two have become one. On a spiritual level there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile.

However, this does not abolish the physical identity of a Jew being a Jew and a Greek being a Greek, which is evident from the statement, “there is neither male nor female.”  Every one of us can attest that the moment we were born again of the Spirit of God, we continued to be what we were: male or female. This further proves that spiritual unity in Christ Jesus is what is meant here and in no way does it indicate that a Jew is no longer a Jew.

3) The Difference Between Michael And Gabriel

We have already determined that Michael is identified with the title “archangel.”  Whether Gabriel is an archangel is not clear. Some scholars claim that God has three archangels: Michael, Gabriel, and Lucifer, each responsible for one-third of the heavenly power structure. This interpretation was developed on the basis of Revelation 12:4, “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth….”  Therefore, it is assumed that Lucifer, in his fallen state, had the power to draw one-third of Heaven’s angels to earth. If that is the case, then Lucifer must have been one of the greatest, presumably an archangel. Although this theory sounds fascinating, I cannot find sufficient scriptural evidence to support it. Since Scripture clearly identifies Michael as an archangel, we will not concern ourselves with speculation.

The book of Daniel presents the contrasts between Michael and Gabriel, “And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision” (Daniel 8:15-16). Daniel had just seen a vision concerning the endtimes. The entire future of the Gentile power structure had been shown to him. He then sought the interpretation eager to understand what he had just seen. We then read, “there stood before me as the appearance of a man.”  No further information is given about this “man” other than what we read in the next verse. A commandment instructed, “Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision.”  Gabriel, identified simply as an angel in the New Testament, explained to Daniel what he had just seen. The interpretation is primarily concerned with the Gentile power structure from beginning to end. It will climax with the power of the Antichrist, who “shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he (Antichrist) shall be broken without hand” (Daniel 8:25).

Gabriel’s task is to convey to Daniel, who was a Jew, what will happen to the Gentile world.

We must emphasize here that general terms are given to differentiate between the various power structures of the Gentile world. According to Daniel 7:1, at the time of the vision Daniel was serving, “Belshazzar king of Babylon.”  Daniel 8:20 identifies the ram with the two horns as the next Gentile world empire, “…the kings of Media and Persia.”  Continuing in verse 21, “the rough goat”  is identified as “the king of Grecia.”  A detailed description of the final Gentile ruler follows.

The Antichrist

In Daniel 8:23, Daniel receives a deeper insight into the last kingdom which will produce the “king of fierce countenance,”  the Antichrist. Amazingly, although this person has a “fierce countenance,” he’s apparently very clever because he holds the power of “understanding dark sentences.”  Following in verses 24 and 25 we read, “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”  These verses undoubtedly speak of the Antichrist because his power is not his own. In addition, these verses precisely correspond to the description of the Antichrist in Revelation 13, where we read that he receives power from the dragon. Thus, we recognize that he is not a power in his own right, but his success is attributed to the power of Satan himself.

Notice that as a result of his success, “He shall destroy wonderfully.”  His victory will overwhelm even God’s people, Israel, for “he shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.”  It seems that nothing will stand in his way; he will be a winner, “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand….”  His victory will come not by an act of war, but “by peace.”  This could never happen unless a people-powered democracy ruled.

We must not forget that the Lord Jesus was not crucified through the means of a dictatorship but through the workings of a democracy. The religious authority–along with the people–demanded Jesus’ crucifixion; He was executed by the hands of the lawful government of Rome.

In the Gospel of Mark we see democracy in action, “…Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified” (Mark 15:15). Jesus was killed without opposition!

Jesus did not have to fight against the wicked one nor will He need to fight against him in the end. “But he (Antichrist) shall be broken without hand.”  We clearly see the work of the dark force will imitate Jesus to the end.

I find it amazing that the powers of the Gentiles culminating in the Antichrist will not need to be destroyed by war. Jesus, the Prince of Light, will not need to fight in order to win the war; He accomplished that when He cried out on Calvary’s cross, “It is finished.”  “The Lord shall consume (the Antichrist) with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (2nd Thessalonians 2:8).

Gabriel had to convey this message to Daniel so that he could write it down and we would have record of it until this day.

Medo-Persian Empire

medo-persian-empire-map“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans” (Daniel 9:1).  

After receiving such a wonderful revelation, Daniel was still not satisfied. Something was missing. He understood the sequence of the Gentile world empires, culminating with the rulership of the Antichrist, but he failed to see anything concerning his own people, the Jews, particularly regarding Jerusalem. In verse 2 we read, “In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.”  More than anything else on Daniel’s mind was his beloved homeland, Israel, and the glorious city of Jerusalem.

Sin Confession

Daniel did the right thing; he began to fast and pray. In addition, he confessed the sins of his people, Israel, and his own. It’s rather striking that Daniel did not complain about the situation in which he had found himself. After all, it wasn’t his fault. He was just a youth when Jerusalem was destroyed and he was led into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar. Surely he could have prayed, “Our fathers have sinned and they have done wrong; they committed so much evil.”  This would have been quite normal, but we read just the opposite; Daniel identified himself with the sins of his people by saying, “We have sinned;” “We have rebelled against him;” “Neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God;” and “We have sinned against him.”  

He concluded his prayer by confessing his own sins, “And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision” (Daniel 9:20-23). Notice that Gabriel is not called an angel or archangel in this verse but “the man Gabriel.”

The Coming Messiah

Daniel received an additional vision explaining the future of Jerusalem, the coming of the Messiah, the death of the Messiah, the establishment of a false covenant and the breaking of the covenant, which would result in “the overspreading of abominations” (verse 27). When reading these few chapters, particularly chapters 8-11, we sense that although Daniel’s heart was with his people, country and city, the visions he received were primarily concerning the Gentile nations.

Gentile World Empire

“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia” (Daniel 10:1), Daniel explained that he “was mourning three full weeks” (verse 2). Daniel’s dedication to his God is unquestionable. He didn’t just routinely pray, say “Amen” and get on with his business; he desired to know God’s ways. Hadn’t what he already experienced been enough? After all, he was the only one in the great Babylonian kingdom who could interpret Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. He had been exalted to the chief governor of the entire province of Babylon.

Daniel had also interpreted the handwriting on the wall for Belshazzar–and his interpretation came to pass.

Darius, the next king, had promoted him as one of the three presidents over his entire world empire.

He was thrown into the lion’s den because of his faith and was shown the entire history of the Gentile world empires by God.

Still not satisfied, Daniel wanted more: He was concerned about Jerusalem, the land of Israel and his people. Nevertheless, God gave him only a limited view of the restoration of the people of Israel.

We may wonder why Daniel asked for more. I believe that  Daniel wanted to know more about the coming Messiah. Instead, he received additional detailed revelation about the final Gentile empire and the Antichrist.

In answer to his extended prayer, we read, “Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude” (Daniel 10:5-6). When we compare this description with Revelation 2, where the Lord Jesus revealed Himself to John, we notice that this is the appearance of the “Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.”  “His eyes as lamps of fire and his arms and feet like polished brass and the voice of his words like a voice of a multitude.”  Revelation 1:17 described John’s reaction,  “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.”  Daniel’s reaction to his vision is similar to John’s: when he “saw this great vision…there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength…then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground…And, behold an hand touched me…and he said…Fear not, Daniel” (Daniel 10:8-12).

Invisible Conflict

The invisible conflict between the powers of darkness and the powers of light were revealed to Daniel, “And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia” (Daniel 10:11-13). Who is the “prince of the kingdom of Persia?”  From the text, it was obviously not a man of flesh and blood, but part of the power structure of darkness.

We must always keep in mind that our planet is ruled by the god of this world, the prince of darkness. He has claim to every human soul on this earth: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  The prince of darkness could rightly withstand the messenger of God who brought the message to Daniel concerning the end of the Gentile world empires.

In chapter 10 Gabriel is not identified as the messenger, but we assume he is because chapters 8 and 9 indicate that Gabriel actually spoke the message to Daniel in Daniel 10:11, “…O Daniel, a man greatly beloved” and verse 19, “…O man greatly beloved.”  In any event, we do know that Gabriel explained the vision to Daniel regarding the Gentiles. On the other hand, Michael undoubtedly is an archangel who stands for the children of Israel. The angel says, “But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince” (Daniel 10:21).
    
Gentile Opposition

Clearly, the Gentiles, ruled by the powers of darkness oppose the revelation of the prophetic Word. This mighty heavenly messenger who was sent to Daniel after he had prayed for three weeks was hindered in delivering the message by the prince of the kingdom of Persia. That, however, was not the end, because the messenger also revealed the immediate future, “…when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come” (Daniel 10:20).

We should now better understand why the Lord Himself will come with the voice of the archangel. The moment that the Church is taken out of the way, utter darkness will cover the earth, and Israel, in its unconverted condition will stand helpless, and in great danger. Therefore, Michael will have to intervene on behalf of the children of Israel, “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).

4) The Great Opposer; Satan And His Angels

As children of God, we do well to confirm that we no longer belong to the kingdom of darkness. Paul wrote, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1st Thessalonians 5:5).
  
This brings us to a very important point: our earthly association with our nation. During my many years of ministry, I have often met sincere Christians who have been fanatical nationalists. Unfortunately, they are found all over the globe. Somehow these dear Christians are desperately trying to be identified nationally, and they ignore the fact that no matter which nation they belong to, all are under the jurisdiction of Satan, the prince of the power of the air, the god of this world.

The Bible does not distinguish between capitalist or communist, nationalist or Nazi, socialist or dictatorship. From a biblical perspective, they are all Gentiles; therefore they are all the same. Only one kingdom was established and ordained by God: Israel, through which He has brought forth the Church of Jesus Christ. All other nations, no matter how good or evil, fall in the other category: the Gentile world. We must learn to understand that our battle is not against flesh and blood, nationalities, political systems, or moral laws, we are at war against the invisible world.

Our Real Battle

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he wrote, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Luther translated the last sentence as, “With the evil spirits under the heaven.”  Yes, we are at war, but praise God, the victory is already ours.

In actuality, we no longer have to fight against Satan to gain victory. If that were the case, we would lose the war. Our Lord Jesus Christ already achieved victory. Dr. Wim Malgo once said, “Our greatest fight in life is not to fight.”  What then must we do? Note very carefully that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul repeatedly used the word “stand.”  For example, “that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (verse 11). “…that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (verse 13). “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness” (verse 14).

When the devil comes and accuses you of being a miserable creature, a habitual sinner and a failure, don’t disagree or defend yourself. Just stand. When your co-workers mock you, don’t try to get even. Just stand. When you are falsely accused, don’t defend yourself. Just stand. Remember, the battle is over, the war is won; Jesus paid it all, all to Him we owe!
    
Michael Against The Dragon

Revelation 12 presents the history of the past, present and future of Israel in a nutshell. “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” (verses 1-4). The “woman” mentioned in this verse is Israel. Salvation is of the Jews. The twelve stars on her crown are the twelve tribes of the children of Israel and the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The dragon, the old serpent called the devil and Satan, had all intentions to “devour her child as soon as it was born.”  

While the children of Israel were still in Egypt, the dragon incited Pharaoh to “devour” the children of Israel as soon as they were born. When Jesus was born, King Herod wanted to rid himself of the newborn King so he sent his henchmen to Bethlehem to kill all male children under the age of two. For thousands of years, many nations, kingdoms, and powers have attempted to destroy the Jews; however, all have failed and will continue to fail.

Petra: The Hiding Place?

Petra-Church-Petra-Jordan-1This “man-child” will ultimately rule all nations with a rod of iron. Where is this “man-child” now? “…Her child was caught unto God and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5). Since that time, Israel was dispersed into the “wilderness” of the nations of the world. Continuing in verse 6, we read, “…the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.”  Here we are given a precise number of days, “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (verse 6). Notice that is just 17 days short of 3 1/2 years.

The general interpretation is that Israel will escape into the wilderness of Petra in Jordan for 3 1/2 years, the second half of the seven-year tribulation.

I have seen the place some scholars believe will be the hiding place for Israel: Petra, in the land of Jordan. If that is the case, then the Jews will have to learn how to live like cave dwellers. In Petra, there is virtually no water, electricity, sewage system, housing, hospitals, police stations, airports, roads, filling stations, or other such essentials that modern man is accustomed to. In addition, Petra is an incredibly dangerous place. When man used horses, arrows and swords as their primary source of weaponry, Petra would have served as a natural defense against attack. However in our day, it’s a death trap because even with relatively simple weapons, enemies could bombard it from the outside without the people on the inside even having a chance to defend themselves.

In considering where Israel will escape to, we look to the Bible, which tells us that “she [Israel] has a place prepared of God.”  After much study on this subject, I have concluded that the “place prepared of God” is none other than the land of Israel, which was a “wilderness” for almost 2,000 years.

May I suggest that somewhere in the desert of Israel, God will miraculously establish a place of refuge for His persecuted people in such a way that we cannot describe? Remember, the Bible says that even the angels desire to look into the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. “How could that be, when Israel does not love God?” It is true that a large part of the Israeli population is godless, and the New Testament says that they are enemies for the gospel’s sake. Therefore to answer that question, ask yourself, “Did I love God before He loved me?” Of course not. Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. In other words, we were brutal, stubborn, enemies and haters of God, yet despite our condition, God loved us. Is it too much to expect that God would love His chosen people whom He calls “My first love” in the same way He loves the Gentiles?  

We know that the Lord’s physical appearance on the Mount of Olives will mark the beginning of the end of the Great Tribulation. The Bible tells us that they will see Him whom they have pierced. As previously discussed, that means that the Jews would have to be in the land of Israel, particularly Jerusalem, when Jesus returns. If they all escaped to the land of Jordan and are hiding in Petra, they obviously couldn’t be present when the Lord returned to the Mount of Olives. Therefore, I see no resolution other than the Jews  fleeing to a wilderness such as the Judean desert or the Negev, where God has miraculously prepared a place for them.

War In Heaven

In the divinely inspired book of Revelation, John writes about a great conflict, a war in heaven, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels” (Revelation 12:7). Again we see Michael in action. Why is he fighting the dragon? Because he no longer has a claim to any place in Heaven. The Bride is now raptured into Heaven.

When the Church is raptured into Heaven, Satan loses his job as the accuser of the brethren because there is no one left to accuse. There is no reason for him to accuse the world because he owns it; its occupants are the children of darkness who follow in the footsteps of the prince of this world.

It may be important to note here that “Heaven” is much more than our limited intellect can comprehend. For example, the apostle Paul testified that he was “…caught up to the third heaven” (2nd Corinthians 12:2). In this particular context, “Heaven” does not mean “in the presence of the glory of God.”  We saw in Ephesians 6:12 that the powers of darkness have their “spiritual wickedness” in high places, which Luther translates as “the evil spirit under the heaven.”  

I do believe we can say with certainty that the earth, including all who dwell upon it, is ruled by Satan. He has authority which will be broken when Jesus comes in the clouds for the Rapture of His saints. At that moment, Satan is cast out of Heaven onto the earth.

The Universal Church

It is impossible to estimate the number of people who will be raptured. For 2,000 years, the Gospel has been proclaimed in all the world and millions of people have put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and have become believers. To the church in Rome, the apostle Paul wrote, “…your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8). To the Thessalonians, he wrote, “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad…” (1st Thessalonians 1:8). Even at the beginning of the Church, faith in Jesus was spread throughout the known world.

Satan does have a claim on us prior to the Rapture because we are subject to the law of sin and death. But now, Jesus’ Church is in Heaven, where a great celebration is going on, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ…” (Revelation 12:10). We can’t even imagine the joy, the glory and the happiness that will be experienced in the heavens when Satan and his angels are cast out.

Continuing in verse 10, we read, “…for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.”  Satan has lost his job! Each one of us whom he had the right to accuse has now been translated into the image of the beloved Son; our old bodies are left behind. At that time, the prophecy, “Behold, I make all things new” will become a reality.

The Bible shows a distinct difference between those in Heaven and those left behind on earth. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:12). The devil knows he only has a short time, seven years to be precise. However, the world has been preparing for him since the birth of the Church and is continuing to do so this very day!

The development of the Gentile nations, particularly since the birth of the Church, has, at times, aimed to bring about peace on earth and good will toward men through its own initiative. If we were to compare our time with that of 100, 500, 1,000, or even 2,000 years ago, we would have to confess that the conditions in which we live are better now than ever.

Antichrist Against Israel

We have just read that the one who deceives the whole world was cast down, and arrived to find everything prepared for him. There is, however, an obstacle-the Jew. Israel will be a “thorn in the flesh” of the Antichrist. Although the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation will seem to be a time of unprecedented prosperity, peace and security, the remaining 3 1/2 years will be evidence that the Jews are different. They are the only people in history who are diverse from all people on earth. Satan will try to change that. In the beginning it will seem as though he succeeds, but when all hope is lost for the Jews, Jesus will appear on the Mount of Olives.
    
5) The Voice Signifies The Beginning And End

The “voice of the archangel” will signify the end of the Church on earth. In that very moment, the Church will be taken into Heaven. The “voice of the archangel” will proclaim that the fullness of the Gentiles has come in, and that the Church age has ended.

The “voice of the archangel” also marks the beginning of Israel’s salvation. Undoubtedly, this amazing event, the coming of our Lord in the clouds of Heaven with a shout with the voice of the archangel, will be hidden from the world.

There are several theories by which the world could explain the disappearance of so many people. A number of articles, books and videos are available on the subject of the Rapture; some accounts are fascinating. However, all of our interpretation is based primarily on speculation. Because this will be a one-time historical event, it is impossible for us to imagine how those left behind will react.

My theory is that the world will be happy because the success of the global world society will have reached such a high point that the preaching of the Gospel, particularly the imminency of the Rapture, will be largely discarded as a theory applicable only to some “fanatics.”  The world will experience a new beginning that will overwhelm the spirit and soul of man to such an extent that he will gladly believe the deceptive work of the power of darkness.

God Allows The Antichrist

Second Thessalonians 2:9-10 says, “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders. And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”  We believe in either the truth or we believe in a lie. Subsequently, we are either saved or lost.

For 2,000 years, God in His mercy has withheld judgment and has allowed the message that “Jesus saves and He is coming again” to be proclaimed all over the world.  However, man has refused to believe this simple truth, and has chosen to believe in lying signs and wonders. Therefore, God confirms the work of the Antichrist, “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2nd Thessalonians 2:11).

How will those who are left behind react? First Thessalonians 5:3 reports, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”  The new global system will enjoy a success that has never been experienced. You can’t tell people that there is peace when there is none. Remember, at that time, the entire world will be united. Information regarding any area of the world is instantly accessible today. The Antichrist system will establish a tremendous society which says, “Peace and safety.”  

The great truth, however, is that there is no peace or safety outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why as believers we can comfort ourselves with the living reality that this peace and safety has already been eternally established by the Lord Jesus Christ. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1st Thessalonians 5:9). In view of this wonderful hope, we read this admonition:  “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (verse 23).

Message excerpt from the Book:

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Arno Froese

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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AFI We, as Bible-believing Christians, voice our comfort and support for Israel and Jerusalem, because of the promises God has pronounced over that city, the land of Israel and the Jewish people.That is the message we continue to proclaim to whoever has an ear to hear, and that is what we testify to Israel. The Messiah is coming; the restoration will take place because the Word of God stands forever. “Behold, your God!” is going to be fulfilled exactly and precisely.That is why we continue to comfort Israel...



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