Refined And Purified

Monday, April 29, 2013 – The Lord Jesus woke me with the song “In Faithfulness He Leads Me” playing in my mind. Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening. I read Daniel 11-12:

Sunday, March 11, 2012, 6:06 a.m. - When I read these two chapters, the latter part of chapter 11 and the whole of chapter 12 stood out to me, in particular, because it was dealing with the subject of the antichrist and the final period of time on the earth before the return of Christ. In reading these passages of scripture I saw that there was both a description of the characteristic traits and actions of the antichrist in these final days, as well as there was a description of the saints of God, their character traits, and their actions (or actions done to them). So, I will list them both and then will discuss some (not all) of them, as God leads and directs me to do so.

The antichrist:

  • Will vent his fury against the holy covenant
  • Will show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant
  • His armed forces will desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice
  • They (the armed forces?) will set up the abomination that causes desolation
  • With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant
  • Will do as he pleases.
  • He will exalt and magnify himself above every god, and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.
  • Will be successful until the time of wrath is completed
  • Will show no regard for the gods of his fathers
  • Will honor the god of fortresses
  • Will attack the mightiest fortresses with the help of a foreign god
  • Will greatly honor those who acknowledge him – he will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price
  • Will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood & many will fall
  • He will also invade the Beautiful Land
  • Edom, Moab & the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand – looks like modern-day Jordan and Saudi Arabia
  • Will extend his power over many countries, incl. Egypt, Libya and Sudan (2011/12)
  • Will set out in great rage to destroy and annihilate many
  • Will come to his end
The saints of God:

  • The people who know their God will firmly resist the antichrist king
  • Those who are wise will instruct many
  • They will be killed by sword or fire, captured and/or plundered
  • When they fall (are persecuted), they receive a little help, but will be joined by many who are not sincere in their faith (like spies or private police, perhaps)
  • They will face this persecution so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end
  • Everyone whose name has been written in the book of life will be delivered from or through the time of great distress
  • The dead in Christ will be raised to everlasting life (the other dead to shame and everlasting contempt)
  • Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
  • Those who are wise will understand, but the wicked will not understand
Daniel 11:31-32 (NIV 1984): “His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”

“His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress...” What if his armed forces are preachers and teachers in our modern-day churches? And, they are the ones desecrating the temple fortress and are abolishing the daily sacrifice? Remember that Jesus was speaking to his disciples, and that the Bible teaches that even the elect could be deceived. Deception is not obvious. It is stealthy, and it comes at us slowly and subtly, and it is disguised as truth. That is why we need to watch, to be on our guard, and to be alert, because our enemy is a lion prowling around seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We need to be in God’s word daily!

The “holy place” used to be in a physical temple in which God’s Spirit dwelled. And, the temple of God used to be a physical building. Yet, when Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, that curtain that divided the people from direct access to God was torn in two. When Jesus ascended into heaven, he sent His Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, so that now the temple of God lives inside of those who truly put their faith and hope in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (master) of their lives. And, now the “holy place” is in our hearts. And, we, the people of God, are his temple, the body of Christ – his church.

This temple fortress would thus be the gospel of Jesus Christ and our salvation. To desecrate something means to “insult something holy; to damage something sacred, or do something that is offensive to the religious nature of something” (Encarta). So for him to desecrate the present-day temple fortress means that he will do something offensive and damaging to the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is being done today. The Bible clearly teaches throughout the New Testament that the way in which we come to know Christ is by us forsaking our lives of sin, by being transformed in heart and mind by the power of the working of the Holy Spirit within us, and by us turning to walk in faithful obedience to Jesus Christ in taking on the “new man,” and in conforming to the likeness of Christ in his purity and holiness. We cannot truly come to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior absent of repentance (turning from sin) and obedience (turning to walk in faithful obedience to Christ and to his commands). Yet, a “gospel” is being preached throughout America’s churches, which teaches that repentance and obedience to Christ are not necessary for salvation and that God is pleased with us no matter what we do. This is the desecration of the temple fortress in the last days, because it has changed God’s grace into a license for immorality.

They… (his armed forces) will abolish the daily sacrifice. This was discussed in a previous writing, “The Daily Sacrifice:” “And, how has the daily sacrifice been taken away? Well, since Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins on the cross, the daily sacrifice has been described in Romans 12:1-2 as the presentation of our bodies as “living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, which is our reasonable service of worship.” And, we are “not to be conformed to the pattern of the world,” but we are to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we can prove what the will of God is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Jesus said that if any man was to come after him that he must deny himself and take up his cross DAILY and follow HIM. This means that we must reject our old sinful lifestyles and sinful life patterns, and we must daily die to sin (repentance) and follow Jesus Christ in obedience if we are to truly be his disciples… Thus the stern-faced king removes the people’s need for this kind of daily sacrifice from the gospel of salvation, and truth is thrown to the ground, and people are given a false hope of salvation, which brings the true temple of God, his church, down low.”

Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. Abomination (definition) – “something that is immoral, disgusting, or shameful; an object of intense disapproval or dislike” (Encarta); “refers to foreign gods, their images, or related worship practices; denote improper ways of worshiping God” (Harper's Bible dictionary; 1985); “of idols and things pertaining to idolatry” (Strong’s Concordance).

So, if the “abomination that causes desolation” is standing (holding to a particular attitude, viewpoint or opinion) in the “holy place,” i.e. if it is taking a firm position in our hearts (the hearts of believers in Jesus), and “abomination” is directly related to idolatry, then this is speaking of God’s people, his church, living in idolatry against their holy God, with a refusal to repent, which is what brought destruction to God’s people all throughout Biblical history. The goal of the antichrist is to destroy the church. He will exalt himself over everything that is called God so that he sets himself up in God’s temple. So, if the temple is our hearts and collectively we are the church, then this is speaking of a person or entity of some kind that has taken a position in the church in authority over the authority of God. I can’t speak for other nations, but I do know that, in the USA, most institutional churches are under the authority of the government of the USA, and that authority supersedes God’s authority where God would tell his shepherd’s to speak on an issue that the government would forbid. So, in this sense, the US government has set itself up in the institutional church in the USA in a position of authority that is over the authority of God and is followed over God’s authority.

“With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant…” The covenant is our covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. We violate that covenant through continued, unrepentant sin, in particular the sin of spiritual adultery and idolatry (being worshipful toward other things or people over or in place of true worship of God). The government of the USA asks us for this kind of worship when they ask us to put our hands over our hearts and pledge allegiance (commitment; faithfulness; fidelity) to the government of our nation, and we do this inside the confines of the institutional church. Yet, this corruption is not confined merely to the government and to their authority, though it is highly possible that they have been behind much of the transition that has taken place within the church over the years with regard to the watering down of the gospel message and to replacing it with a social gospel that is less offensive to the listeners.

The church of the 21st Century in America has been taken over (most, if not all) by man’s philosophies, marketing schemes, programs, goals, visions, purpose statements, etc., which are mainly based off of Marketing 101 classes that we now call “church planting seminars” or “church growth seminars.” Churches are run just like businesses and they use the same techniques, to gain people, as do worldly businesses, which definitely use “flattery” to gain people’s attention and acceptance. The gospel has been watered down in many churches to where it has no resemblance at all to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. And, the word “sin” has been replaced with “I messed up,” which feels as though it has a lesser offense to it.

… but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. Don’t let him find you spiritually asleep because you have fallen into deception. Be alert! Keep watch! Be on your guard! Ask the Lord for much discernment so that you are not deceived. Allow him to bring healing to your lives and to bring you back from the dead. Repent of your sins today, and turn to walk with Jesus Christ in faith and obedience and your faith will heal you.

Daniel 11: 33-35 (NIV 1984): “Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.”

There are many viewpoints on when the saints of God will be taken to be with their Lord forever. Clearly there will be saints of God present during the time of tribulation for the beast will be given authority over them to conquer, persecute, imprison and kill them for their testimony for Jesus Christ. Some translations vary on whether the saints of God will be removed before things get really bad or whether or not they will be kept safe from God’s wrath during the time of tribulation while still facing the persecution and martyrdom brought about by the rule of the beast. This passage in Daniel clearly indicates that this final king will capture, plunder and kill God’s holy saints (true followers of Christ), and the purpose for them to go through this time of great suffering and persecution will be to refine, purify and to make spotless the Lord’s bride, his saints, for her wedding with her husband and King, Jesus Christ, when he returns. Knowing that God allows us to undergo such suffering for this reason should give us hope and encouragement during those very difficult and trying times when we face them. And, may we share in this prayer (in song) whenever we go through times of trial that test our faith, so that Christ may be seen in us.

In Faithfulness He Leads Me / An Original Work / March 20, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures
(Ps. 26:3; 86:11; 91:4-5; 111:7-8; 119:73-76;
Is. 25:1,4&9; 42:6-7; Hos. 2:16-20)

Teach me Your ways, Lord, and I’ll walk in them.
Give me a pure heart. I’ll fear Your name.
Your love is always, ever before me.
Continually I’ll walk in Your truth.
You will cover me with feathers.
Under Your wings I’ll find refuge.
My Lord’s faithfulness will be my
Comfort and my shield.
The works of His hands are faithful and just.
Trustworthy are all of His precepts.

Your hands have made me, and they have formed me.
Give understanding of Your commands.
I have put my hope, O Lord, in Your word.
Your teachings, O Lord, are righteousness.
Lord, in faithfulness You have
Afflicted me so I may learn of
Your unfailing love and comfort
And Your truthfulness.
You are my husband; You have betrothed me
In love, compassion and faithfulness.

O Lord, You are my God, I’ll exalt You.
In faithfulness You’ve done wondrous things.
You’ve been a refuge for those who’re needy;
A shelter in storms; shade from the heat.
This is the Lord, we trusted in Him,
Let us be glad and rejoice
In His salvation which He
Provided through the Lamb.
Open the blind eyes; free all the captives.
Tell them of Jesus: “Be born again!”