Jesus Christ and the Last Days

by Bert Hartmann and Lambert Dolphin

Sanctified Imagination Required

Surely the Lord God does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
A lion has roared!
Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken!
Who can but prophesy? (Amos 3:7-8)


Psalm 45

The Glories of the Messiah and His Bride
To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.” A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love.

My heart is overflowing with a good theme;
I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Mighty One,
With Your glory and Your majesty.

And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness;
And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things.

Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies;
The peoples fall under You.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.

You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

All Your garments are scented with myrrh and aloes and cassia,
Out of the ivory palaces, by which they have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your honorable women;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.

Listen, O daughter,
Consider and incline your ear;
Forget your own people also, and your father’s house;
So the King will greatly desire your beauty;
Because He is your Lord, worship Him.

And the daughter of Tyre will come with a gift;
The rich among the people will seek your favor.
The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace;
Her clothing is woven with gold.
She shall be brought to the King in robes of many colors;
The virgins, her companions who follow her, shall be brought to You.

With gladness and rejoicing they shall be brought;
They shall enter the King’s palace.

Instead of Your fathers shall be Your sons,
Whom You shall make princes in all the earth.
I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations;
Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.


The Returning of Jesus in the Last Days

“We will be watching from the Mezzanine,” (Chuck Missler)

The return of Jesus Christ to planet Earth is mentioned numerous times in the New Testament. Who takes this seriously? Psalm 45 is a “teaching Psalm or “maskil from the “sons of Korah.” Many fine commentaries exist but a few study notes are linked below for your convenience.

The setting of Psalm 45 is yet future that is, in linear, historical time. It will come to pass (we believe) during the seven-year time period between the departure (parousia) of the church at the Rapture (harpazo) and the Second Advent (of the Lord and His Church (epiphaneia). There are two aspects to the return of Jesus, first, for His church and second, with His church. Psalm 45 is considered Messianic by devout Jews and related to the Return of Jeus in the Christian commentaries.

Consider history from God’s point of view. God created the universe in the beginning. He brought our first parents onto the scene and placed them in a garden paradise. God created a vast spiritual realm, (perhaps 20 dimensions in extent) a space more solid and more permanent than the four-dimensional realm we occupy now. The Fall of man and provisions for man’s full restoration are chronicled in the Bible. The central event in all of history was the arrival of the God the Son in human form. The man Jesus lived out before our eyes what God is like and how man was intended to live. His main purpose in sojourning among men was to be a sacrifice for the sins oif all mankind. Then after His resurretion, Jesus departed and returned to the invisible, but very real, “heavenly places.” There Jesus (in a new body) took up the government of the entire universe “at the right hand of the majesty on high.”

In thinking about these matters is is importanr not to constrain one’s thinking to a linear-time frame only. Hence the admonion at the top to exercise "sanctified imagination." We are presently trapped in time. God is not! We believe the dwelling place for all of the people whom God has redemmed thus far is the heavenly city, New Jerusalem. This orbiting city is not synonymous with all of "heaven" it is a small district in the heavenlies, created to be a comfortable habitat for the Lord's people.

The martyrs of the Tribulation, many millions most likely, who come to know Jeuss after the Rapture, will probably have a different home.

For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would fail before Me,
And the souls which I have made.
For the iniquity of his covetousness
I was angry and struck him;
I hid and was angry,
And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.
I have seen his ways, and will heal him;
I will also lead him,
And restore comforts to him
And to his mourners.
“I create the fruit of the lips:
Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,”
Says the Lord,
“And I will heal him.”
But the wicked are like the troubled sea,
When it cannot rest,
Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
“There is no peace,”
Says my God, “for the wicked.”
(Isaiah 57:15-21)

God’s Final Word from Outside of Tine and space is Jesus

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” (Hebrews 1:1-4)

Jesus in His Present Office

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:12-14)

The Family of God in New Jerusalem

Consider life in heaven (New Jerusalem) after the Rapture. Anticipate this coming event (the Rapture) as if it had already happened. God sees us followers of Jesus as now dwelling in heaven even though we are still wearing our old bodies.

“For our citizenship is (now) in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:20-21)

The Rapture: (Meta Tauta, "after these things")

The church is not mentioned in the last book of the Bible between Revelation 4:1 until Chapter 17, where the judgment of the false church is brought into view. Then the true church emerges as the Bride of Christ (Chapter 19). But the last book of the Bible was written by a mortal witnes, John, who was constrained in time. He glimpsed timeless realities sequentially, one at a time because his body was not yet redeemed.

In order to draw people out of their indifference towards God, He must at times let us experience the consequences of our bad choices and make uncomfortable in the status quo of our place in history. Each one of is unique. God does not squeezed us into the same mold.

“I beg you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

A common myth is that Jesus came to save us good people out of an evil world and then He will destroy all the bad people. But there are no good people and the love Jesus has for everyone knows no bounds. God does not desire that any perish and His rescue program of love is multifaceted and relentless! The fact that the responders apparently add up to a few percent of the total percentage of the population does not indicate that God has failed. It is evidence instead of the depths of our lostness.

“The heart is deceitful above all things,
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)

The “Tribulation Saints”

After the departure of the church from the earth, life down on the planet will change drastically. But the increased pressures of life and the loss of many creature comforts will cause many to reconsider their lifelong indifference to God. The removal of the true church removes "salt" and "light" from the world, and both retard the spread of evil and lawlessness.

Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7)

Jesus and His Church in New Jerusalem

Suppose you and I were actually in New Jerusalem now with our resurrection bodies. We will not be lone. the populaion of the City oulkd well be billions of people. What wiil we do with our time? Let's focus on what our King (Jesus) will be doing, Obviously He will be enjoying His Bride and famiy, namely us. But He has ongoing work to down "below" during the seven years of earth time running its course "below." Circmstances below will be miuch worse and rapidly deterioratng. A great fake church will dominate the culture and the poltical powers of earth will be led by The Man of Sin. Hostility towards the one ttue God and Jesus His Messiah will be so great anyone who comes to know Jesus will be tracked down and killed!

At this point in history an amazing band of specially trained evangelists (144,000 in numbrr) will resume procamatiomn of the gospel in the First Century which Jesus and His disciples initiated during His life time. They will cover the planet rather thoroughly in the allotted time with the result that probably many millions will come into a personal relation with Jesus Christ. (Please read the linked articles if this is unfamilar territory for you. We aren't making this up).

The role Jesus now assumes on earth will likely be that of Commander and Chief of the Armies of the Lord, the same military commander Joshua encountered at the seige of Jericho, Joshua 5:13-15. Will He train the 144,000 and protect them in thir mssion? Will any of us be invited to get involved? Probably...\\The seven year tribulation period (divided into two halves).The first half usually is geenerally called" the tribultion, and the second half, "the great tribulation" because of escalation of events at the midpoint.

Commander of the Armies of Heaven

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”

And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:11-21)

Jesus, The True Church and the 144,000

“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Revelation 14:1-5)

The Coming Of the King to Earth

According to the promise of Jesus given to the seven churches in the opening chapters of this book, he told them in several places that he would take the church (i.e., the true believers of this present age), to be with him before this last seven-year period would begin upon the earth. This was accomplished, as Paul describes it in First Thessalonians 4, in what is called the "rapture" (or departure) of the church to be with Christ. The last word of that Thessalonians passage is, "so shall we ever be with the Lord," (1 Thessalonians 4:17b KJV).

The problem that people get into at that point is they think that being "with the Lord" in heaven means to be taken far off into space somewhere. We all have difficulty thinking of heaven as being right here on earth as well as off in space. In other words, heaven is another dimension of existence just beyond our present senses. You can be in heaven and still be on earth at the same time. As I read these prophetic passages I am more and more convinced that this will be the case -- the church is with the Lord, but the Lord is on earth during the whole last seven years.

The church is with him, but invisible to the rest of the world, and ministering to this select group of 144,000 Jews as Jesus appears to them from time to time. If this is true, Jesus will be in exactly the same condition with them as he was with the eleven disciples after his resurrection, when for a period of 40 days he appeared from time to time to them. At different times and in different places he was with them, and yet he would not be with them; he would step back into the realm of invisibility after appearing in their midst. This seems to be the situation here. These are not only 12 disciples -- they are 12 times 12 times 1,000 -- all men of Israel chosen for a special work on earth during these last days. If you can put that scene into your imagination you will get a much clearer picture of what is going on in these scenes. Now let us look at the characteristics of these 144,000. We are told five things about them:

First, they learn a new song which they hear from heaven. Remember, heaven is not way off somewhere, it is just beyond the realm of visibility. They hear a great group singing the song of the redeemed. We are not told precisely who it is that sings, but you will notice they are identified with a pronoun. Verse 3 says, "And theysang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders." Who are "they"? It is apparently a huge group. They make a sound like the "roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder." But it was a sweet sound -- "like that of harpists playing their harps." Surely, what the 144,000 hear is the church as it is "with the Lord," singing his praises and singing the song of the redeemed! These 144,000 are living men, still on earth, not yet glorified or transfigured, but following the Lord as he appears to them from time to time as we see him here now on Mount Zion. In other words, they are men who march to a different drum beat. It was Henry David Thoreau who said, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer." Here is a group of committed men who listen to different drum beat; they follow the music of heaven! They can learn the song of the redeemed because they know themselves what redemption means. They, too, have been redeemed.

Second, we are told they kept themselves for the Lord only. They were separated unto him. The phrase is, "they did not defile themselves with women." Now don't get upset, ladies. These are not chauvinists; they are celibates. This is not a put-down of marriage, or of sex. It is a reference to what these 144,000 would do. For them to be married would be defiling because it is outside the will of God for them. That is all this means. They are separated unto the Lord to be his, just as the Apostle Paul was. Paul tells us in several places that he was committed to celibacy. He was single, and he devoted his life to the Lord as an unmarried man. He knew it was not the will of God for him to be married. So these men follow Christ completely. They are free to do so without any ties with anyone else because they were called to a dangerous and demanding work and needed to be unencumbered in following the Lamb wherever he went.

That is the third thing said of them. They followed the Lamb throughout the earth. I believe that these 144,000 are the brethren whom our Lord refers to in Matthew 25, when he tells us that where he tells us that when he comes again as the Son of Man he will sit on his throne and will judge the nations on the basis of how they treated the "least of these my brethren" -- "Inasmuch as you have done it [or did not do it] unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it [or not done it] unto me," (Matthew 25:40 KJV). The world's treatment of these Jewish Christians will reveal where each individual's heart loyalty is truly found, during these terrible days of worldwide judgment. The fourth thing said is they are the "firstfruits" of the harvest during the tribulation period. We already have seen part of this in Chapter 7 -- the great multitude which no man can number that come from every "tribe and nation and people and language" (Revelation 7:9 NIV) in response to the preaching of these 144,000. We will see another aspect of that when we come to Verses 14-16 of this chapter.

The fifth thing that is said about these is they are transformed men. They are clearly born again. "No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless," i.e., without blemish. They have been cleansed and changed by grace -- just as we also have been, if we know the Lord. Jude tells us that true believers now will be presented before God's presence "without fault and with great joy," (Jude 1:24). So it is also with these redeemed Jews who recognize their once-crucified Messiah and follow him faithfully wherever he goes.”

The Lord in Judgment and Salvation

Who is this who comes from Edom,
With dyed garments from Bozrah,
This One who is glorious in His apparel,
Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—
“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?
“I have trodden the winepress alone,
And from the peoples no one was with Me.
For I have trodden them in My anger,
And trampled them in My fury;
Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,
And I have stained all My robes.
For the day of vengeance is in My heart,
And the year of My redeemed has come.
I looked, but there was no one to help,
And I wondered
That there was no one to uphold;
Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me;
And My own fury, it sustained Me.
I have trodden down the peoples in My anger,
Made them drunk in My fury,
And brought down their strength to the earth.”
(Isaiah 63:1-6)


For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For I will not contend forever,
Nor will I always be angry;
For the spirit would fail before Me,
And the souls which I have made.
For the iniquity of his covetousness
I was angry and struck him;
I hid and was angry,
And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.
I have seen his ways, and will heal him;
I will also lead him,
And restore comforts to him
And to his mourners.
“I create the fruit of the lips:
Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,”
Says the Lord,
“And I will heal him.”
But the wicked are like the troubled sea,
When it cannot rest,
Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
“There is no peace,”
Says my God, “for the wicked.”
(Isaiah 57:15-21)

The “Tribulation Saints”

After the departure of the church from the earth, life down on the planet will change drastically. But the increased pressures of life and the loss of many creature comforts will cause many to reconsider their lifelong indifference to God.

When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.” (Revelation 6:9-11)

The 144,000 Evangelists

After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed:

of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
Amen.”

Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”

And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”

So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7)

Jesus and His Church in New Jerusalem

Commander of the Armies of Heaven

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:

KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.

Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.”

And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:11-21)

Jesus, The True Church and the 144,000

“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.” (Revelation 14:1-5)

The Invasive Coming Of the King

According to the promise of Jesus given to the seven churches in the opening chapters of this book, he told them in several places that he would take the church (i.e., the true believers of this present age), to be with him before this last seven-year period would begin upon the earth. This was accomplished, as Paul describes it in First Thessalonians 4, in what is called the "rapture" (or departure) of the church to be with Christ. The last word of that Thessalonians passage is, "so shall we ever be with the Lord," (1 Thessalonians 4:17b KJV).

The problem that people get into at that point is they think that being "with the Lord" in heaven means to be taken far off into space somewhere. We all have difficulty thinking of heaven as being right here on earth as well as off in space. In other words, heaven is another dimension of existence just beyond our present senses. You can be in heaven and still be on earth at the same time. As I read these prophetic passages I am more and more convinced that this will be the case -- the church is with the Lord, but the Lord is on earth during the whole last seven years.

The church is with him, but invisible to the rest of the world, and ministering to this select group of 144,000 Jews as Jesus appears to them from time to time. If this is true, Jesus will be in exactly the same condition with them as he was with the eleven disciples after his resurrection, when for a period of 40 days he appeared from time to time to them. At different times and in different places he was with them, and yet he would not be with them; he would step back into the realm of invisibility after appearing in their midst. This seems to be the situation here. These are not only 12 disciples -- they are 12 times 12 times 1,000 -- all men of Israel chosen for a special work on earth during these last days. If you can put that scene into your imagination you will get a much clearer picture of what is going on in these scenes. Now let us look at the characteristics of these 144,000. We are told five things about them:

First, they learn a new song which they hear from heaven. Remember, heaven is not way off somewhere, it is just beyond the realm of visibility. They hear a great group singing the song of the redeemed. We are not told precisely who it is that sings, but you will notice they are identified with a pronoun. Verse 3 says, "And theysang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders." Who are "they"? It is apparently a huge group. They make a sound like the "roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder." But it was a sweet sound -- "like that of harpists playing their harps." Surely, what the 144,000 hear is the church as it is "with the Lord," singing his praises and singing the song of the redeemed! These 144,000 are living men, still on earth, not yet glorified or transfigured, but following the Lord as he appears to them from time to time as we see him here now on Mount Zion. In other words, they are men who march to a different drum beat. It was Henry David Thoreau who said, "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer." Here is a group of committed men who listen to different drum beat; they follow the music of heaven! They can learn the song of the redeemed because they know themselves what redemption means. They, too, have been redeemed.

Second, we are told they kept themselves for the Lord only. They were separated unto him. The phrase is, "they did not defile themselves with women." Now don't get upset, ladies. These are not chauvinists; they are celibates. This is not a put-down of marriage, or of sex. It is a reference to what these 144,000 would do. For them to be married would be defiling because it is outside the will of God for them. That is all this means. They are separated unto the Lord to be his, just as the Apostle Paul was. Paul tells us in several places that he was committed to celibacy. He was single, and he devoted his life to the Lord as an unmarried man. He knew it was not the will of God for him to be married. So these men follow Christ completely. They are free to do so without any ties with anyone else because they were called to a dangerous and demanding work and needed to be unencumbered in following the Lamb wherever he went.

That is the third thing said of them. They followed the Lamb throughout the earth. I believe that these 144,000 are the brethren whom our Lord refers to in Matthew 25, when he tells us that where he tells us that when he comes again as the Son of Man he will sit on his throne and will judge the nations on the basis of how they treated the "least of these my brethren" -- "Inasmuch as you have done it [or did not do it] unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it [or not done it] unto me," (Matthew 25:40 KJV). The world's treatment of these Jewish Christians will reveal where each individual's heart loyalty is truly found, during these terrible days of worldwide judgment. The fourth thing said is they are the "firstfruits" of the harvest during the tribulation period. We already have seen part of this in Chapter 7 -- the great multitude which no man can number that come from every "tribe and nation and people and language" (Revelation 7:9 NIV) in response to the preaching of these 144,000. We will see another aspect of that when we come to Verses 14-16 of this chapter.

The fifth thing that is said about these is they are transformed men. They are clearly born again. "No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless," i.e., without blemish. They have been cleansed and changed by grace -- just as we also have been, if we know the Lord. Jude tells us that true believers now will be presented before God's presence "without fault and with great joy," (Jude 1:24). So it is also with these redeemed Jews who recognize their once-crucified Messiah and follow him faithfully wherever he goes.”

The Lord in Judgment and Salvation to Israel

Isaiah foresaw Messiah returning to Israel with garments spattered in blood, returning to Israel in triumph. The blood is not His blood: it is the blood of His enemies. The full history leading up to coming of Jesus to Jerusalem as King of Kings deserves a bit of background reading on Edom. "Edom" is not only an ancient anagonist of Jacob, Edom is a symbol in the Bible for the flesh, and third, the descendents of Edom will play a prominent role when Jesus returns to rule the nations from Jerusalem. Jesus returns first of all to Edom where He begins a final entry into the Promised Land. It is tempting to suppose He will pict up Moses on the way. Jeus will purge Israel of all who do not know Him!

Who is this who comes from Edom,
With dyed garments from Bozrah,
This One who is glorious in His apparel,
Traveling in the greatness of His strength?—
“I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”
Why is Your apparel red,
And Your garments like one who treads in the winepress?
“I have trodden the winepress alone,
And from the peoples no one was with Me.
For I have trodden them in My anger,
And trampled them in My fury;
Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments,
And I have stained all My robes.
For the day of vengeance is in My heart,
And the year of My redeemed has come.
I looked, but there was no one to help,
And I wondered
That there was no one to uphold;
Therefore My own arm brought salvation for Me;
And My own fury, it sustained Me.
I have trodden down the peoples in My anger,
Made them drunk in My fury,
And brought down their strength to the earth.”
(Isaiah 63:1-6)

The Coming End Time Deliverance of Judah


The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. In that day,” says the Lord, “I will strike every horse with confusion, and its rider with madness; I will open My eyes on the house of Judah, and will strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are my strength in the Lord of hosts, their God.’ In that day I will make the governors of Judah like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left, but Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place—Jerusalem.


“The Lord will save the tents of Judah first, so that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall not become greater than that of Judah. In that day the Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the Lord before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves...

Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
Against the Man who is My Companion,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd,
And the sheep will be scattered;
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
And it shall come to pass in all the land,”
Says the Lord,
“That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die,
But one-third shall be left in it:
I will bring the one-third through the fire,
Will refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them.
I will say, ‘This is My people’;
And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”

Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
And your spoil will be divided in your midst.
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
Then the Lord will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.
Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,
For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.
Yes, you shall flee
As you fled from the earthquake
In the days of Uzziah king of Judah.


Thus the Lord my God will come,
And all the saints with You.
It shall come to pass in that day
That there will be no light;
The lights will diminish.
It shall be one day
Which is known to the Lord—
Neither day nor night.
But at evening time it shall happen
That it will be light.
And in that day it shall be
That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem,
Half of them toward the eastern sea
And half of them toward the western sea;
In both summer and winter it shall occur.
And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be—
“The Lord is one,”
And His name one.


All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin’s Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.
The people shall dwell in it;
And no longer shall there be utter destruction,
But Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem:
Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet,
Their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets,
And their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths."

 

 


Ray Stedman on the Latter Days

Mr. Stedman, How do you feel about being in the Last Days?

"It is now apparent as we look back over the centuries that it has been the will of God to have each generation feel that it is living in the very last days of civilization. Each century has found the church fearing the cataclysms of its own time as the last to come. Yet, inexorably, each passing century has moved the world nearer the final end. This sense of imminence is God's device to keep believers expectant and full of hope in the midst of the world's darkness. Evil becomes more subtle in our own day, and the difference between truth and error more difficult to detect. The raucous voices of the age pour forth deceitful lies and society becomes permeated with false concepts widely viewed as truth. We too need to gather together to encourage each other [Heb 10:19-25] and renew our hope by sturdy reaffirmations of the eternal truths of God's Word.

We are a privileged people, privileged to draw near to the living God; privileged to speak out concerning our flaming hope; and privileged to stir one another up to love and good works. Carl F.H. Henry has well said, "Many Christians now live among neighbors who, swept by tides of immorality, fear herpes more than they fear Hades, and some even think God is a lofty synonym for gobbledygook" (Henry 1989; 152). Every age of Christians has had to live in such a world, and today's Christians are no exception! They must take care, therefore, that their Christian witness is real, practically expressed and based on a thorough knowledge of who they are in Christ..."

From the IVP NT Commentary Series on Hebrews by Ray C. Stedman


 


 

References

Hebrew Bible text and English translation of Psalm 45


1 לַֽמְנַצֵּ֣חַ עַל־שֽׁ֖שַֹׁנִּים לִבְנֵי־קֹ֑רַח מַ֜שְׂכִּ֗יל שִׁ֣יר יְדִידֹֽת For the conductor on shoshannim, of the sons of Korah, a maskil a song of loves.

sons of Korah, a maskil a song of loves.
2 רָ֘חַ֚שׁ לִבִּ֨י | דָּ֘בָ֚ר ט֗וֹב אֹמֵ֣ר אָ֖נִי מַֽעֲשַׂ֣י לְמֶ֑לֶךְ לְ֜שׁוֹנִ֗י עֵ֚ט | סוֹפֵ֬ר מָהִֽיר My heart is astir with a good theme; I say, "My works are for a king; my tongue is a pen of an expert scribe."


3 יָפְיָפִ֡יתָ מִבְּנֵ֣י אָדָ֗ם ה֣וּצַק חֵ֖ן בְּשִׂפְתוֹתֶ֑יךָ עַל־כֵּ֚ן בֵּֽרַכְךָ֖ אֱלֹהִ֣ים לְעוֹלָֽם You are more handsome than [other] men; charm is poured into your lips. Therefore, God blessed you forever.


4 חֲגֽוֹר־חַרְבְּךָ֣ עַל־יָרֵ֣ךְ גִּבּ֑וֹר הֽ֜וֹדְךָ֗ וַֽהֲדָרֶֽךָ Gird a sword on your thigh, O mighty one, your majesty and your glory.


5 וַֽהֲדָֽ֬רְךָ | צְלַ֬ח רְכַ֗ב עַל־דְּבַר־אֱ֖מֶת וְעַנְוָה־צֶּ֑דֶק וְתֽוֹרְךָ֖ נֽוֹרָא֣וֹת יְמִינֶֽךָ And your glory is that you will pass and ride for the sake of truth and righteous humility, and it shall instruct you so that your right hand shall perform awesome things.


6 חִצֶּ֗יךָ שְׁנ֫וּנִ֥ים עַ֖מִּים תַּחְתֶּ֣יךָ יִפְּל֑וּ בְּ֜לֵ֗ב אֽוֹיְבֵ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ Your arrows are sharpene

d, nations shall fall under you, in the heart of the king's enemies.


7 כִּסְאֲךָ֣ אֱ֖לֹהִים עוֹלָ֣ם וָעֶ֑ד שֵׁ֥בֶט מִ֜ישֹׁ֗ר שֵׁ֣בֶט מַלְכוּתֶֽךָ Your throne, O judge, [will exist] forever and ever; the scepter of equity is the scepter of your kingdom.


8 אָהַ֣בְתָּ צֶּדֶק֘ וַתִּשְׂנָא־רֶ֗שַׁע עַל־כֵּ֚ן | מְשָֽׁחֲךָ֡ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֱ֖לֹהֶיךָ שֶׁ֥מֶן שָׂשׂ֗וֹן מֵֽחֲבֵרֶֽךָ You loved righteousness and you hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, anointed you with oil of joy from among your peers.


9 מֹ֤ר וַֽאֲהָל֣וֹת קְ֖צִיעוֹת כָּל־בִּגְדֹתֶ֑יךָ מִן־הֵ֥יכְלֵי שֵׁ֜֗ן מִנִּ֥י שִׂמְּחֽוּךָ Myrrh and aloes and cassia are all your garments; more than ivory palaces, those that are Mine will cause you to rejoice.


10 בְּנ֣וֹת מְ֖לָכִים בִּיקְּרוֹתֶ֑יךָ נִצְּבָ֖ה שֵׁגָ֥ל לִ֜ימִֽינְךָ֗ בְּכֶ֣תֶם אוֹפִֽיר The daughters of kings will visit you; the queen will stand at your right [bedecked] with golden jewelry from Ophir.


11 שִׁמְעִי־בַ֣ת וּ֖רְאִי וְהַטִּ֣י אָזְנֵ֑ךְ וְשִׁכְחִ֥י עַ֜מֵּ֗ךְ וּבֵ֥ית אָבִֽיךְ Hearken, daughter, and see, and incline your ear, and forget your people and your father's house.


12 וְיִתְאָ֣ו הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ יָפְיֵ֑ךְ כִּי־ה֥וּא אֲ֜דֹנַ֗יִךְ וְהִשְׁתַּֽחֲוִי־לֽוֹ And the King shall desire your beauty, for He is your Lord, and prostrate yourself to Him.


13 וּבַת־צֹ֨ר | בְּ֖מִנְחָה פָּנַ֥יִךְ יְחַלּ֗וּ עֲשִׁ֣ירֵי עָֽם And the daughter of Tyre shall seek your presence with tribute, those who are the richest of the people.


14 כָּל־כְּבוּדָּ֣ה בַת־מֶ֣לֶךְ פְּנִ֑ימָה מִמִּשְׁבְּצ֖וֹת זָהָ֣ב לְבוּשָֽׁהּ All honor [awaits] the King's daughter who is within; her raiment is superior to settings of gold.


15 לִרְקָמוֹת֘ תּוּבַ֪ל לַ֫מֶּ֥לֶךְ בְּתוּל֣וֹת אַֽ֖חֲרֶיהָ רֵֽעוֹתֶ֑יהָ מ֖וּבָא֣וֹת לָֽךְ With embroidered garments, she will be brought to the King; and virgins in her train who are her companions will be brought to You.
16 תּ֖וּבַלְנָה בִּשְׂמָחֹ֣ת וָגִ֑יל תְּ֜בוֹאֶ֗ינָה בְּהֵ֣יכַל מֶֽלֶךְ They shall be brought with joy and exultation; they shall come forth into the King's palace.


17 תַּ֣חַת אֲ֖בֹתֶיךָ יִֽהְי֣וּ בָנֶ֑יךָ תְּשִׁיתֵ֥מוֹ לְ֜שָׂרִ֗ים בְּכָל־הָאָֽרֶץ Instead of your forefathers will be your sons; you shall appoint them as princes throughout the land.


18 אַזְכִּ֣ירָה שִׁ֖מְךָ בְּכָל־דֹּ֣ר וָדֹ֑ר עַל־כֵּ֚ן עַמִּ֥ים יְ֜הוֹד֗וּךָ לְעֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד I will mention Your name in every generation; therefore peoples shall thank You forever and ever.

Psalm 45 King James Version Edit

My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.


Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;

So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.

The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.

Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.

 


The King in His Beauty, by Ray Stedman (1969)

Wikipedia on Psalm 45

Charles Spurgeon on Psalm 45

Representative Hymn

Aspects of the Coming of Christ

The Rapture of the Chufch--Two Aspects


December 31, 2018

January 3, 2019