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A Paradigm For Understanding
The Final End Times
- In Response to the Palestinian Intifada, Fall 2000 -
As world events heat up, it becomes increasingly important to gain an anchor of prophetic understanding greater than the intensity of the events surrounding us. Without such an anchor, we risk becoming swept off our feet by the events now mounting in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Virtually none of us have seen world war before or serious economic depression first hand—at least not as mature adults or even as teenagers. At the same time, we have also not defined very well our role as a distinct spiritual people in the earth. How easy then to become knocked off balance by boisterous events.
Without an anchor of understanding greater than our awareness of our times, we are prone to mistake the true significance of events, anxiously attributing importance to events that do not merit it while ignoring the vital import of events that do. Add to this the multiplicity of prophetic words, the abundance of calls to intercession (including mine), and the smattering of kingdom and end time theologies from every quarter—it makes for a confusing jumble that can shut us down just for overload.
Each of us must come to a grid of persuasion that is greater than all of this if we are to retain spiritual poise in the immediate days ahead. The purpose of this note is to pass on to you what has been given to me over time as a prophetic "paradigm" for anchoring my understanding against such a time as this. It is for the benefit of whoever can receive it and witness to it.
Because this writing falls into the category of prophetic explanations—of which there are so many and over which there is so little consensus—it will be entirely up to the Holy Spirit to persuade you of its value. I share this to in no way compete with your central worship of the Lord as your ultimate anchor—only to complement it. If this word proves distracting for you right now, please ignore it. But otherwise, be blessed in any way you can by the picture that follows:
The Great Birthing to Come: A Look At Revelation 12
I would encourage anyone seeking an anchoring paradigm of prophetic understanding to meditate on chapters 10 thru 14 of Revelation, centering on chapter 12. Here is what we must understand:
The key event toward which all of today's world events as well as all of earth history has been working since the cross is a birthing of a first generation of believers directly into a place of immortal union with Christ. It is by this birthing that heaven will definitively declare that the kingdoms of this world have at last come under actualized captivity to the Lord and His church.
Immediately note: this is not a replacement for or challenge to our looking for the Lord Himself. But it is a necessary complement and part of it. We do wait directly for the revelation of the Lord Himself physically from heaven. But in our waiting, the Lord wants to fill in our gap of understanding between where we are now and His appearing so we can be led to His appearing safely. Our understanding of this birthing in Revelation 12 helps fill that gap and will help anchor us in our expectation of Him.
Our understanding of immortal birthing is necessary because the Lord will not be revealed apart from and until its accomplishment in a first generation of saints. The Lord's coming doesn't occur in a vacuum of purpose or as an isolated decree of divine fiat. The Lord has keyed the timing of His own return to this birthing. It is for the want of this birthing that He has not returned yet, and it has been toward this birthing that all last days world history has moved in its outworking.
The significance and meaning of all other world and prophetic events revolves around this anticipated birthing.
If we study this birthing and what surrounds it in Revelation 12, we will gain vital perspective on the significance of all other things—world events, events in the church (including the place of all these calls to intercession from the Lord) and understanding of conflicting kingdom/end-time theologies. Let's look at a sampling of concepts that this chapter puts into order for us:
1) The meaning of "the kingdom"
There is great debate about the "present" versus "future" aspects of the kingdom of God. Some teach the kingdom is fully here now. We have heard increasing emphasis on the present tense reality of the kingdom over the last few decades. Others teach that the kingdom is future only, but right now, the devil rules the world system, as would seem to be plainly obvious.
The picture of the birthing manchild resolves these conflicting realities.
The late emphasis on the present tense kingdom is evidence of the stirrings of the manchild in the womb. Our generation is being made ready to be born to rule. We are that "fetal kingdom generation." A fetus is alive before it is born. So the revelation of rulership is as much a part of the "prenatal" ruling generation before it has actually been born (translated, immortalized) into actual rulership as it is after it is manifestly born. Yes then. The kingdom is fetally now. And that's why we are hearing about it more and more. The fetus is kicking!
Yet the truth remains that we have not been actually born yet nor caught up to heaven. We are still flesh and blood. And not until we are changed will we "inherit our kingdom" or will heaven make that defining declaration that now the kingdoms of this world have become captive to the Lord and to His Anointed. The kingdom is not yet incontestably manifest nor can it simply be "confessed" into so being.
2) The place of "the tribulation"
In the effort to defend the present tense reality of the kingdom, some live in a denial that there will be a future worldwide tribulation.
Others gauge all prophetic observations in terms of nothing but world events that point toward the tribulation—zeroing in on the subtle but certain evidences of growing world government, world socialism, and world religion (all under the term New World Order.) They are tribulation-centered in awareness.
Again, the birthing of the final generation to glory resolves this perceptual conflict. The solution is seen in observing the relationship of the dragon to the birthing.
The stationing of the dragon in front of the woman to eat the manchild speaks to all the hidden "stationing" going on now to create world rule under satan ahead of this birth. In the same way that "kingdom consciousness" is increasing within the manchild, "dragon consciousness" is also increasing as he is stationing himself closer and ahead of the final generation to devour it when it is born.
Thus the awareness of impending tribulation and of our present (nascent) rulership are equally valid from the Lord and not in conflict. It's a mistake to be one-sidedly aware of the dragon or manchild in their development and to use one awareness to deny the other.
Revelation 12 goes on to resolve the misunderstanding after the manchild is born. Once born, the manchild immediately enters beyond the veil. This new generation goes onto rule and actually helps in the subsequent casting down of the dragon to earth. This manchild generation is never under the dragon's dominion or influence or rage of tribulation.
Nevertheless, the tribulation is a real event, and the remainder of the seed of the woman must fight the serpent under tribulation conditions, though the woman will find protection. Moreover, the dragon will actually have power over the mortal saints.
The fact that some of the church is protected and other of the saints are overpowered is re-emphasized earlier in chapter 11 where the outer court is allowed to be trampled, but not the inner court or holy of holies. Together this presents to us an entire spectrum of experience among saints relative to a certain tribulation: some to total escape and victory, some to conflict and victory, some to conflict and defeat, and some to totally overpowered defeat!
This brings us to the ultimate irony: the very event by which heaven declares that the kingdoms of the world are now become captive to the Lord's kingdom is the same event by which is triggered the devil's overthrow to earth—producing the tribulation by which it says that the beast will overpower the saints!! (Think long and hard about that one.)
What's the lesson for us then? We must embrace this picture in its totality if we are to make sense of the conflicting inspirations and prophecies concerning victory of the church versus the trampling and suffering of the church. This picture allows us to bring great harmony to much prophetic conflict.
(Do note that this picture of birthing solves also part of the "rapture riddle"—the "what, when and who." The rapture, which is birthing to physical glory, clearly occurs at least in some partial way (as seen by the manchild) prior to the fully released time of world trouble, yet not entirely to all at that time! For the remainder, it must be after the release of the great trouble.)
3) The place of intercession.
Why intercede over these last end times?? What are we interceding for?? What are we accomplishing??
Again there is this split.
Some, recognizing the inevitability of the dragon's time of takeover, the steady increase of world socialism and/or believing naively in the inevitability of their own "membership" in the "manchild club" see no point in intercession concerning world affairs.
On the other hand, those persuaded of the present kingdom reality and burdened to intercede over world affairs either believe that intercession will avert this inevitability, or else they don't really have a clear goal for praying except to "defer" trouble and "preserve" a good life here "a little longer"— "for the posterity of our children."
Here is what we must understand about intercession in the concluding time of this age. We are in the phase of the nearing birth of an immortal generation and the stationing of the dragon in front of (ahead of) that generation to devour it (The abortion conflict bears witness to this).
In our Revelation 12 picture, the glorious woman (the church) is seen in travail leading up to the manchild's birth. Travail is a prophetic picture of intercession. It shows us there is an indispensable role for intercession that is intrinsic to the birthing of immortality and overshadowed by the awareness of the dragon at hand.
In this light, the purposes of intercession becomes obvious:
The big picture purpose of positive intercession—for the church, or Israel, or any nation, or the world at large—is ultimately to midwife the birthing of the transcendent generation from among that people ahead of the Lord's appearing.
The purpose of negative intercession—against evil things in the affairs of the world, including the Middle East, the US elections, or whatever—is to keep the dragon at bay until the transcendent generation comes forth.
It is all that simple. The implications for the present prayer movements are staggering.
Think about it.
In Wrap Up
As world events continue to heat up and your heart becomes overwhelmed with news reports—
—as you continue to be challenged to intercede for nations and situations—
—as more and more prophecies come forth over national and world affairs—
—as you wrestle with more and more conflicting theologies and end time prophetic scenarios—
I highly encourage you to become anchored over this picture of the woman, the manchild and the dragon.
Of course, you must above all anchor your heart in the worship of the Lord. This is pre-eminent!
But as you do worship, ask the Lord for your own revelation on this passage. I believe it will stabilize you with an overarching grid for understanding the transitional events at hand in heaven and earth. (You can also use it as a framework for understanding anything else you may receive from me concerning intercession over present events.)
Best regards to all who are looking for His coming.
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created June 5, 2003