Gods promises must be fought for and possessed inch by inch. They arent handed to us on a plate. He still speaks to His people today and when He does He often states a matter as if it had already been accomplished in our lives, or if its something Hes saying He will do in the future it may sound like we have no role to play in bringing that promise to fruition. But over and over again in the Bible we see God doesnt work that way. Usually when He declares His will He means, Heres what I will empower you to accomplish as you step forward in faith. The passage we have before us in Revelation is an example of this principle at work. In it we hear God announcing that He has completely begun to reign on earth at least 3 ½ years before the antichrists government is ended and Jesus rule is setup. If we dont understand the spiritual principle at work well find His announcement confusing. How can He say the kingdom of the world has become His kingdom while the earth is still in chaos, and will remain so for years? But what we discover when we look more closely is that a powerful principle is being employed, one which God wants us to learn so we can cooperate with Him when He applies it to our own lives, not just so we can rejoice over what He will do at the end of this age.
A. The Principle Observed (Rev 11:15-19)
1) The announcement is made as if it is a realized fact
2) Where are we on Gods timetable? The final seven years; 1260 days (12:6); Time, times, and half a time (12:14); 42 months (13:5)
3) How do we know its seven years? Da 9:24-27; 70 sevens began on the first of Nisan (March 14) 445 B.C. with Artaxerxes command to rebuild Jerusalem (Ne 2:5-8) and Cyrus earlier command (538 B.C.) to rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:1-4); 7 sevens (49 years, the public square and moat were rebuilt); 62 sevens + 7 sevens (69 sevens: 476 years, biblical years, 360 days, and 1 B.C. and A.D. 1 as one year); 445 B.C. + 476 = A.D. 32 (April 6, Palm Sunday); Lk 3:1 Jesus began His public ministry in the 15th year of Tiberias Caesar who began his reign in A.D. 14, so Jesus began ministering in A.D. 29 and was crucified 3 years later; Sir Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince, 1909; 1 seven (70th seven): a seven year period of the fourth beast (Da 7:7, 23); The final seven years begins when the antichrist makes a firm covenant with the many (Da 9:27); The mid-point of the final seven years: he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering . . . perform abominations and then immediately (on the wing of . . .) desolate the people of God (Da 7:21).
4) Where are we? Rev 11:3 1260 days (first 3 ½ years); Rev 11:7 midpoint; Rev 12:6, 14 1260 days (second 3 ½ years) (Rev 12:7-12 explains why this happens); Rev 13 explains how Satan/antichrist pursues the rest of her children (12:17)
5) When does Jesus arrive and take control? Rev 19:11-16 Jesus arrives; Rev 20:1-3 Satan is bound; Rev 20:10 the destroyers are destroyed; Rev 20:11-15 the final judgment
B. The Principle Explained
Things are established in the spiritual world before they are established in the physical world; God still speaks things into existence; Ge 1 Then God said, Let there be . . .; Everything starts with God speaking; So, the announcement is made in heaven as if it is already an accomplished fact, yet the earth is about to enter the darkest hour of its history. Victory is announced while the war still rages; Abraham illustrates this; Ro 4:16-22 (literal: calling the things being not as being); Ge 15:16-21 when God gave Abrahams descendants the promised land there was still 430 years (Ex 12:40) before his children would arrive; Nu 13, 14 when the twelve tribes arrived the land was still occupied by the Canaanites who had no intention of giving up without a fight.
C. The Principle Applied
Some people believe they have no responsibility to pursue a promise except to wait for God to act. They think they can remain passive and He will simply guide circumstances until that promise is realized. Those who respond this way do not see their promises fulfilled. As time goes by they either doubt the validity of the promise, assuming it to have been a false prophecy, or they decide they misinterpreted what they heard. Some even respond by angrily accusing God of failing to perform what He promised. But what most likely happened is that they misunderstood the process of receiving spiritual promises.
1) Here are 3 truths we need to remember: when God declares His will He is telling me He is committed to assist me and what will take place if I obey; Given the nature of this fallen world, obtaining His promises always requires a battle and patience, I have to fight for the land Hes given me (ministry, healing, family health, employment . . .); As Lord of History there are certain events He will ensure take place whether we cooperate or not, this is true individually and globally, but still most promises have to be possessed by our cooperation.
2) Heres how to receive a promise: Hear God speak so I can align my efforts with His; Expect opposition: obstacles will be present that oppose my possession of the promise; Dont evaluate potential based on existing circumstances, these do not determine the likelihood of my promise being fulfilled; Ask God for the first step, after I obey that one Hell show me the next, the path leading to my promise usually isnt a straight line; Maintain a spiritual perspective on life because in this life fulfilled promises always seem incomplete, 2Co 4:18, He 11:13, 39, the ultimate fulfillment of our promises are never fully realized during this life because what our hearts long for is far greater than anything this world can offer (He 11:14-16)
1) Has God given you a promise that you would be willing to share with us? 2) What steps have you had to take to achieve fulfillment of that promise?
3) Has the promise been fulfilled or are you still waiting?