Saturday, February 10, 2007
THE GREAT PRINCE
We have here in Revelation 12:7-12 a continuation of the first 6 verses in this chapter. What I mean to say is that we should see the sentences in Revelation 12 in a chronological sequence. This war in heaven follows the event of Ascension Day, in verse 5, when Christ was caught up unto God and unto His throne. Christ is on His throne, all the saints in heaven have had their sins put away on the cross by the Lord Jesus Christ and that is why Satan was cast out of heaven.
Michael and the Dragon (Revelation 12:7-12, Revelation 20:1-3)
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 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.
When we read this, about war in heaven, we must remember that this is a spiritual war. These were battles of spirits in heaven. We cannot see spirits, and so it is very difficult for us to comprehend such spiritual battles in heaven. But God revealed it to us here in Revelation 12, and thus we must believe it. And since this battle follows after Revelation 12:5, we therefore know that this battle was fought in AD 33, after the Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, 40 days after He rose from the grave.
God does not need a long period of time to win this battle, and thus this battle was over and done by the 50th day, the day of Pentecost. Satan’s power was severely reduced. Not only was Satan cast out of heaven, but as we read in Revelation 20:3 he was cast into the Bottomless Pit, which is this earth, and he was also bound with spiritual chains, as we read in Revelation 20:2. And the person who bound him has the key of the Bottomless Pit and is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, as we read in Revelation 20:1. And we can actually see the effect of this event described in Revelation 12:7-12, because on Pentecost Peter preached one sermon and about 3000 people became saved. So effective was the binding of Satan that he was not able to stop or to slow down the conversion of souls who came under the hearing of the Gospel preached by Peter on that Pentecost Sunday. It was as if Satan was struck with stupidity, for in the following 300 years the Devil tried to stamp out the church through persecution, but the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church; it always has and it always will have this result. This is not the way to stamp out the church. But since Revelation 20:1-3 is a parallel description of the same event we read about here in Revelation 12:7-12, the logical conclusion is that Michael is not the archangel we have been made to believe in previous churches that we came from.
Michael is Christ!
Is this possible?
Have so many churches been wrong on this matter for so long a time?
Let us find out if this is indeed so.
In Daniel chapter 12 we read about Michael who is:
The Great Prince on the Last Day (Daniel 11:45-12:4, Matthew 24:21)
And since He is not only the Great Prince on the Last Day, but He is the Great Prince throughout all eternity. Of course we must understand what is meant by the title “Prince” in the Bible. A prince is a leader, an exalted person clothed with authority.
For example Christ is called “Messiah the Prince” in Daniel 9:25.
Christ is called “The Prince of Peace” in Isaiah 9:6. Christ is called “The Prince of Life” in Acts 3:15.
Christ is called “The Prince of the kings of the earth” in Revelation 1:5.
In the Bible a prince is synonymous with a king. Here in Daniel 12 Michael is called the Great Prince.
But who is Michael?
We have here a passage which is clearly a description of the Last Day, the end of time. The context is found in the last verse of the previous chapter, verse 45.
And he (referring to Antichrist) shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.
Speaking of Antichrist, God says “He shall make his palace in the glorious holy mountain”, referring to “Antichrist who shall exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; taking his seat in the temple of God, the church, and showing himself that he is God, or that he is as authoritative as God”. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)
And when Satan has reached the summit of his blasphemous ambition, which is when the people of God shall be at their most besieged condition, then shall the Lord interfere on their behalf and “He (Antichrist) shall come to his end, and none shall help him”, which refers to the Last Day when the Beast and the False Prophet shall be taken and cast into the Lake of Fire.
Now let us look at Daniel chapter 12:
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.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Who are meant by “Thy people” in verse 1?
Are all the Jews “Thy people”?
Does Judas Iscariot, or Annas and Caiaphas, belong to “Thy people”?
Do the Sadducees and Pharisees who died in their sins belong to the group that is called “Thy people”?
“Thy people” refers to the group of people that like Daniel are on the way to heaven. “Thy people” refers to the people of God, the elect of God, those whose sins were paid for at the cross. What we have here is a passage that summarizes the Final Tribulation Period and the 2nd coming of Christ on the Last Day.
Clearly the words “there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time” refer to the Final Tribulation Period, of which the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 24:21, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
And when the people of God shall be in their most precarious state, then they shall be delivered by the 2nd coming of Christ, who is coming as the judge of all the world. “Every one that shall be found written in the book of life” shall be delivered. And thus verses 2 and 3 speak of the resurrection on the Last Day and the Rapture.
Who Is Coming on the Clouds of Heaven? (1Thessalonians 4:13-18, Malachi 3:1, Luke 9:26)
Who is coming for His people on the clouds of heaven on the Last Day?
Is it Christ or is it the archangel Michael?
Should we glorify Christ, or should we glorify an angel?
Of course we should glorify Christ at every opportunity. Moreover, it is very clear that this passage is parallel to the description of the Rapture. Look at this glorious passage in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18,
1 Thessalonians 4:13
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1 Thessalonians 4:14
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
1 Thessalonians 4:15
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
1 Thessalonians 4:16
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:
1 Thessalonians 4:17
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 4:18
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Whose voice is “the voice of the archangel” in verse 16?
It is the voice of Christ who shall shout the shout of triumph with a very loud shout. Christ is not an angel. The title “archangel” is a mistranslation of the translators. It should have been translated “Chief Messenger”.
Christ is that “Messenger”, for He is the “Messenger of the Covenant”, according to Malachi 3:1.
Those that “sleep in Jesus” are those who have died and their soul has gone immediately into the presence of the Lord in heaven. When Christ comes again He will bring those souls with Him, for in the Rapture that follows they shall receive their glorified resurrected bodies simultaneously with the saints who are still alive on this earth. It shall come to pass at the Last Trump, the trump of God, which is when the 7th trumpet blows.
We must use the New Testament to shed light on the Old Testament. Or to put it in different words, “The New is in the Old concealed, and the Old is in the New revealed”.
And thus, comparing 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 with Daniel 12:1-3 it is very clear that Michael is the same person as Christ.
When Christ appears He will recompense tribulation to those that have troubled His people. And thus what we also see in Daniel 12:2 is that there is a general resurrection of all people, both the just and the unjust, all at the same time. There is no literal 1000 year period of time between those two; all are resurrected at the same time. But it shall be a distinguishing resurrection. Those who have been saved shall receive a resurrected body unto everlasting life, and those who have not been saved shall receive a resurrected body unto shame and everlasting contempt, which means it will be a body that will be able to endure the torments of Hell forever.
And then we read in verse 3, “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever”.
Who are they that be wise?
Well, the same verse explains: Those that be wise are they that have instructed many in the ways of righteousness. In the face of persecution they remained faithful and have witnessed to many of the righteousness that comes by grace through faith in Christ and in His atoning work on the cross. They remained faithful because they have the hope of a resurrection from the dead. If there were not a life after this, they would be of all men most miserable. This verse does not mean that there will be special rewards for those who have worked hard for Christ and for His Kingdom, for everyone who becomes saved will be a witness for Christ. The Lord Jesus said in Luke chapter 9:
For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
In other words, everyone who becomes saved will be a witness for Christ. Do not pass off this responsibility to Pastors and teachers, for that will prove that you are ashamed of the words of Christ. And so, they that be wise are they who have become wise in the matter of salvation. But now, when we turn to verse 4, we see a few things that look strange and scary. We read in verse 4 about:
Many Shall Run To and Fro (Daniel 12:4, Amos 8:11-13, Proverbs 28:9)
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
What does it mean, “many shall run to and fro”?
Some people think it means that people run to and fro to search out the Bible, to dig into it, to open the hidden treasures therein, to make copies of it, to read it over and over, to meditate on it, and run it over in their minds, to talk about it with others and compare notes, and thus knowledge shall be increased. But this is not how we should interpret the Bible. We should ask God, and He will guide us to compare Scripture with Scripture. And so, when we ask God, He answers us in the Scriptures, and leads us to another verse that contains these words, “many shall run to and fro”.
Here in Amos 8:11-13 God says:
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.
Almost the entire prophecy of Amos, from chapter 3 through chapter 9, is written concerning end time events, specifically concerning the Final Tribulation Period and the Last Day, the Day of the Lord. This prophecy of Amos is not popular these days, for people’s ears are primarily tuned to hearing smooth things. People do not like to hear the warnings which the Lord so lovingly has placed in the Bible, to warn us for the apostasy in the last days. They do not see the love of God in those predictions of people not willing to hear the Word of the Lord.
What does God say in Amos 8:11?
God will send a famine in the land, but it shall be a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Spiritually every famine in the Bible is a type or a figure of this famine of hearing the Word of the Lord, but here in Amos 8 God says it explicitly.
Please note: This verse does not say that there will be a shortage of Bibles, and this verse does not say that there will be a shortage of good sermons on the Internet, and this verse does not say that people will not be able to afford their own Bible, or that there will be a persecution of those who have Bibles in their house.
Plainly we read that this verse says: Most people are not willing to HEAR the Word of God. Now that is a very serious matter. God says in Proverbs 28:9, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination”.
The Law is not only the 10 Commandments; the Law is the whole Bible. God spoke the words of the Bible, the whole Bible, and those words were written by holy men of old for our learning, in order “that we may do all the words of this law”. But if we turn away our ears from hearing what God has said, we fall under this curse that even our best works, like prayer, shall be abomination in God’s sight.
Why Are people not willing to hear? (Isaiah 30:8-11)
WHY are people not willing to HEAR the Word of God?
Let me suggest some of the possibilities.
1) Some carry with them a lot of baggage from previous teachers and they are not willing to test the conclusions those other teachers came to with the Word of God. This feels like the embarrassment of “losing face”. Their pride is at stake.
2) Some have fixed in their minds the doctrines they have been taught from their youth, and they are not willing to modify those doctrines because it makes them feel uncomfortable to admit that they have been wrong for 40 years.
3) Some are only willing to hear smooth things. They do not want to hear everything God has said. They plead with their Pastor to preach only about smooth things.
We will now turn our attention to Isaiah chapter 30, and the question must be asked:
Who is God speaking to in Isaiah 30?
God says in Isaiah 30:1, “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me”.
God is speaking to the prophet Isaiah, and God is speaking about the rebellious Israelites who call themselves children of God. And God says in verse 8,
Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:
That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:
Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
We read in verse 9, they are people who “will not hear the Law of the Lord”, and we now know that therefore they are under a curse, the curse of Proverbs 28:9. And God says in verse 8, “note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever”.
In other words, God says: “Write it in a book, that the generations to come may learn from it, for it will happen again, and again, and again”. These lying children do not like to hear the truth concerning them, they do not like to hear God’s warnings to examine themselves if they are on the way to Hell, but they say in verse 10 to the prophets, “speak unto us smooth things”.
In verse 11 they are saying to the prophets, “Turn aside out of the path that you always teach, for you always preach to us about Hell and damnation. Stop preaching about the God of the Bible who must avenge every sin, and preach to us about the God of love, and leave out the wrath of God”.
And is that not exactly what we hear and experience in this present time?
O, they do not use exactly these words, but they cast their vote by their attendance. Churches where the truth of man’s depravity is preached, where God’s sovereignty is preached in election and reprobation, where it is preached that Christ’s atonement was only for the elect of God, and where it is preached that God loves His elect, but He hates the non-elect, such as “Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated”, such churches are small, remain small, and are gossiped about as if they are preaching things that are not in the Bible.
They are gossiped about as if they were a cult. Visitors come one time, and when they have heard what the Bible says about things that they do not want to hear, they stay away.
Their voice is heard loud and clear by their absence. People find it too uncomfortable that the Holy One of Israel is a predestinating God who knows the end from the beginning, and who causes it all to come to pass because He decided it to be so, according to His good pleasure. And our own efforts to work our way into salvation are counted as dung, for God does not take a bribe. This is what is in the Bible, but most people have turned away their ear from hearing what the Bible says.
Is there a Famine Today? (Amos 8:11-12, Daniel 12:4, Hebrews 1:14, Jude 6)
This famine of hearing the Word of the Lord is a condition that exists today. People do not want to hear the Word of the Lord. That is why there is no revival is in sight, and that is why we can see that the 2nd coming of Christ is very near. We are in a condition closely matched by the words of Amos 8:12, “And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.”
Here we have the meaning of “they shall run to and fro”. It means they shall not find the Word of the Lord, because they have their minds closed. They shall not find the Word of the Lord because they have rejected the Word of the Lord for so many years, and now they can no longer comprehend it. They find the sermons too long, because their attention span has become the time span of a TV commercial. This is the meaning of “they shall run to and fro”. And now we have to go back and paste this conclusion into the prophecy of Daniel. And there we read:
But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
Let me paraphrase this: “Daniel, you understand this vision, since you wrote of your understanding in Daniel 10:1, but you shall not write this down as you understand this. You shall write down only these words, and thereby seal the scroll, until at the time of the end some will be able to understand it. They who have this understanding, their knowledge of the Word of God shall increase, but for others who remain ignorant, they shall run to and fro, but they shall not find the true meaning of the Word of God”.
Many shall not worship the God of the Bible. Since apostasy has been going on for too long, they do not understand how the Bible can fit in their frame of religious thinking. Many shall worship angels, not knowing that these are fallen angels, for true angels refuse to be worshipped. Many millions, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, shall imagine Christ as an angel. They have no Savior, for an angel cannot atone for their sins.
They will stand before the Judgment throne of God and will have to pay for their own sins. They cannot put the blame on their false teachers, for every man shall bear his own burden. The passage of Daniel 12:1-3 clearly shows that Michael is Christ, but Christ is not an angel; in fact Michael is not an angel.
Michael is another name for Christ, and Christ is the embodiment of God the Son, the Second Person of the Triune God. But angels are ministering spirits.
We read in Hebrews 1:14, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
This establishes the purpose of God for creating angels. This is their job description. And most likely, this was the job description that the angel Lucifer did not want, and therefore he tempted first Eve and then Adam into sin. That is why we read in Jude 6, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation (literally: left their own station), he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day”.
Again, in defense of my conclusion from Daniel 12:1-3, it must be said that an angel cannot stand as the great defender for the children of God, for in order to be a defender of sinful man that defender first has to atone for the sins of sinful man, and since the payment of these sins requires the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, it stands to reason that an angel cannot take on this role, even if he would take on a human body. In all three places in the prophecy of Daniel where Michael is named, He is called a Prince. A prince is someone who rules. Only Christ qualifies as “the Great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people” at the end of time. An angel cannot fit into this job description. Angels are not rulers in any way. Angels were created to serve the elect of God, and God planned it all this way, including the fall of Adam.
This is how Christ became:
The Great Prince of Life (Acts 3:13-15, Acts 2:27, Acts 2:31, Ephesians 2:4-6, John 5:21, John 5:25, John 14:6, John 17:2)
In Acts chapter 3 we read of a scene which is at the temple in Jerusalem. God healed a beggar who was lame from his mother’s womb, using the Apostle Peter as His instrument. And when a crowd had gathered around Peter and John and the beggar, Peter took this opportunity to preach another sermon. Let us look at three verses of Peter's sermon.
The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
Why is the Lord Jesus called the Prince of Life?
First of all, He is called the Prince of Life because God has raised Him from the dead, and hereby God demonstrated that the Lord Jesus was 100% successful in having paid for the sins of all His elect people. This was no small miracle. Even though the Lord Jesus himself had raised 3 other people from the dead, they were not in Hell when He made them alive. But when He Himself was raised from the dead it proved that the Father did not leave His soul in Hell for an unfinished satisfaction of the sins that He bore (see: Acts 2:27 and Acts 2:31).
Secondly, Christ is called the Prince of Life since He is the giver of spiritual life. Without the payment for our sins we were dead in trespasses and sins, and thus we were on a sure way to Hell. But before the foundation of the world God had mercy on us and placed us IN Christ, not physically for we had not been created yet, but spiritually we were counted as being in Christ. Just as we were placed in Adam, for Adam is our representative in the flesh, so spiritually we were placed in Christ, for Christ is our representative in the Spirit.
On the cross the Lord Jesus bore the sins of all those whom the Father has placed in Him. When Christ was crucified we were crucified with Him. When He died we died with Him. When He was buried we were buried with Him. This is what the Bible says in various places. And then we read in Ephesians 2:4-6,
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Therefore God will never send us to Hell, for we have been there already with Christ and in Christ. It also means that Christ did not bear the sins of every human being that lived on this earth, for if He did that then no one would go to Hell; but that is impossible, since the Lord Jesus stated that Hell will be heavily populated.
In John chapter 5 the Lord Jesus had healed a crippled man at the pool of Bethesda, but He had healed him on the Sabbath. Therefore the leaders of the Jews sought to kill Him. It is under these conditions that the Lord Jesus introduced the concept of “limited atonement”, or “particular atonement” which ofcourse is an efficacious atonement. He said in John 5:21, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”
Not everyone in the world will be made alive but, “Even so the Son makes alive whom He will”. He is speaking here about making spiritually alive, a concept that the Jews did not understand very well.
And what does it mean to be made spiritually alive?
It means that in our soul we are no longer dead in trespasses and sins, but that we are made alive in our soul, or another expression is, “we are made born again”.
Can we make ourselves born again?
Can we contribute to getting ourselves be born from above?
God does that 100%. And so you see that Christ, who is God, must make us alive, or else we will be condemned to Hell. Only if He has atoned for our sins will God the Holy Spirit soften our heart and make us willing to believe the Gospel. But we believe because He has made us willing in the day of His power.
God said in Psalm 110:3, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power”.
On our own we will not believe, for the Devil, the prince of the power of the air, will see to it that we are taken captive by him and act according to his will.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
Jesus said, “And now is”. Jesus did not mean to say that the rapture already took place at the time that Jesus walked on earth. Notice that the dead are mentioned but not the grave. (This is in contrast with verse 28 where the graves are mentioned but not the dead.) But in verse 25 the dead are the spiritually dead, the unsaved. Christ is the one who can make these dead hear His voice, just like He made the dead Lazarus to hear the voice of Christ.
The Lord Jesus began His farewell discourse as He spoke to the 11 disciples. And here He made a profound statement which absolutely implies a particular efficacious atonement. The Lord Jesus said in John 14:6,
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
No one can enter into heaven except through the Lord Jesus Christ. It means that millions of people who were born and died prior to the 1st coming of Christ actually lived in a Christ-less universe. The only place on earth where a few people expected the coming of Messiah was in the little country there East of the Mediterranean, but most of the world lived in a Christ-less universe. It means that none of those people can enter into heaven, because it was not God’s will to save them.
We will finish in John chapter 17. This is the Lord’s Prayer before He endured the torments in the Garden of Gethsemane. The Lord Jesus spoke to His Father these words in John 17:2,
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
“As many as Thou hast given Him” does not mean everyone in the whole world, but only “as many as Thou hast given Him”.
Christ gives life to those whom the Father has given Him, which means that He atoned for the sins of all His elect. He is the Prince of Life for all His elect. And when you discover in your life the faith to believe these statements of the Prince of Life, then rejoice that your name is written in heaven. AMEN.
By Alfred J. Chompff