Here in Part 4 we will continue to discuss the things that will take place when the Lord Jesus returns to restore all things, as pictured in Acts 3:21, in the study titled, "Some Comments on 'Prophetic Scriptures Yet To Be Fulfilled' by Bill Hamon and Acts 3:19-21 with Mal. 4:5, 6; Matt. 17:11; Rev. 10:7; and 11:15."
This judging that will take place AFTER the Lord Jesus returns very much includes God's judging of Satan and his hosts: Satan (and the evil angels with him) will be cast down to the earth from the privileged place he inhabits now in heavenly places, even having access now to accuse the saints before God (Rev. 12:10), right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week, at the time the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place (Rev. 12:4, 7-12; Matt. 24:29-31). Satan's angels are called "stars" in Rev. 12:4; the "stars" in Matt. 24:29 (cf. Rev. 6:13) refer first and foremost to Satan's angels, and "the powers of the heavens being shaken" in Matt. 24:29 refers to the great shaking of Satan's kingdom that will take place at the time he and his angels are cast down to the earth. (See my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," on these verses from Revelation chapter 12; Matthew chapter 24 is discussed verse-by-verse in a paper on my internet site; these verses are all discussed in my paper, "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture"; that paper serves as a good introduction for my book. As I mentioned, all my articles and papers that I refer to are available on my internet site: Google to Karl Kemp Teaching.)
Satan (and undoubtedly his evil angels and demons) will be restrained in the abyss throughout the millennial kingdom (Isa. 24:21, 22; Rev. 20:1-3, 7-10). He will be released from the abyss at the end of the millennial kingdom to instigate the Gog and Magog rebellion (Rev. 20:2, 3, 7-9). It is amazing that so many people living on the earth at that time, people who have been ruled over by the Lord Jesus in the millennial kingdom, will be ready to follow the devil and rebel against God. The sin problem runs very deep, but it is clear that people who are willing to rebel against God and follow the devil are not people who could have a place in God's eternal kingdom. For one thing, they wouldn't want to be there on God's terms, not that they will want the alternative.
God will quickly put an end to the Gog and Magog rebellion with fire from heaven (Rev. 20:9), and the devil (and his hosts) will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Rev. 20:10; cf. Rev. 19:20; 20:14, 15; Matt. 25:41, 46).
God will greatly restore the earth for the millennial kingdom and then, after the millennial kingdom, He will create a new heaven and new earth for the eternal state. The Old Testament prophets did not typically distinguish between what we call the millennial kingdom (based on Revelation chapter 20) and the eternal state. For the millennial kingdom, see, for example, Isa. 11:6-9; 65:17-25 ((although Isaiah mentions "new heavens and new earth" in 65:17, it is clear that this is before the eternal state of Revelation chapters 21, 22, in that sin and death have not been totally overthrown [Isaiah chapter 11 is discussed in my paper on Isaiah; Isa. 65:17-25 is discussed in that paper under Isaiah chapter 25])); Isa. 24:21, 22 (these verses make it clear that God hasn't finished His work of judging yet [Isaiah chapter 24 is discussed in my paper on Isaiah]); Dan. 7:12 (this verse shows that the end-time remnant of the nations is given an "extension of life" "for an appointed period of time," which undoubtedly refers to the period we call the millennial kingdom [Daniel chapter 7 is discussed in my book]); and Zech. 14:9-11, 16-21 (these verses fit the millennial kingdom [Zechariah chapters 12-14 are discussed in my book]). See Rom. 8:18-25. (These verses are discussed in a paper on my internet site.) The apostle Paul wasn't necessarily thinking of a temporary state here. He could have been thinking of the eternal state. For one important thing, the apostle Paul died some thirty years before the all-important book of Revelation was given.
Regarding the eternal state, the Old Testament prophets spoke of the time when the last enemy, death, will have been destroyed (cf. Isa. 25:6-8; 26:15-21 [these verses are discussed in my paper on Isaiah]; Dan. 12:2 [this verse is discussed under Daniel chapter 12 in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture"]). We clearly see the eternal state in Revelation chapters 21, 22. The eternal state of Revelation chapters 21, 22 is a state very far above the state that existed in the Garden of Eden. That garden was glorious indeed because of God's presence there and before Adam and Eve sinned, but it was a physical garden, made of the physical elements that God created, as were Adam and Eve's bodies. The elements of the new heaven and new earth and of our glorified bodies will be glorified elements suited for the eternal state that is totally filled with God's glory. Compare 1 Cor. 15:42-50; Rev. 20:11; 21:1, 18, 21 (the "gold" of new Jerusalem is quite different than our physical gold, being "like transparent glass"; we could say that it is glorified, heavenly gold). God has ways to make good things better, much better, and we are speaking of our eternal destiny (and our eternal home), through salvation in Christ Jesus, the unique Son of God, the Lamb of God.
This concludes the discussion of what Peter (God through Peter) meant in Acts 3:21 about the "restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times" and it is clear, I believe, that these things will all take place AFTER the Lord Jesus returns, not BEFORE.
What Jesus meant when He said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things" in Matt. 17:11 and Mark 9:12 (This directly involves Mal. 4:5, 6, where Elijah and a restoration are mentioned):
As I mentioned, Bill Hamon and E. H. Plumptre (the commentator Hamon quoted with high approval on Acts 3:21, who is quoted and discussed above) believe these verses cover the restoration of all things of Acts 3:21. (For more details see my paper that includes a verse-by-verse discussion of Mal. 2:17-4:6.) See Matt. 17:9-13; 11:7-14; Mark 9:9-13; Luke 1:76-79; 7:24-27; John 1:19-23; and Mal. 3:1-6; 4:1-6. Matt. 17:9-13 (with Matt. 11:7-14; Mark 9:9-13; also see Mal. 3:1-6 with Mal. 4:1-6) show that John the Baptist fulfilled (fulfilled in part) the prophecy of God's sending "Elijah the prophet" of Mal. 4:5. It is quite possible that Jesus was also including the ministry of Elijah who is yet to come at the end of this age in Matt. 17:11.
Verses like Matt. 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 1:76; 7:27; and Mal. 3:1-6 with Mal. 4:1-6 show that John the Baptist fulfilled (fulfilled in part) the prophecy regarding God's sending His "messenger" to prepare the way for His coming of Mal. 3:1, and there is widespread agreement that "My messenger" of Mal. 3:1 equals "Elijah the prophet" of Mal. 4:5. (Matthew 3:3 shows that John the Baptist fulfilled [fulfilled in part] the prophecy of Isa. 40:3-5.) John the Baptist helped prepare the way for the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ by calling Israel to repent and pointing them to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
Malachi 4:5 (with all of Malachi chapter 4) shows that the primary fulfillment of Malachi 4:5, 6 will take place at the end of this age to prepare the way for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has always seemed clear to me that the spectacular ministry of one, or both, of the two prophets/witnesses of Rev. 11:3-12 will fulfill the prophecy of Elijah the prophet of Mal. 4:5, 6. (As I mentioned, John the Baptist fulfilled that prophecy in part.)
Hamon and Plumptre believe Matt. 17:11 and Mal. 4:5, 6 support their interpretation of Acts 3:21. To me it seems clear that Matt. 17:11 and Mal. 4:5, 6 prophesy of things that take place BEFORE the Lord Jesus returns, but that Acts 3:21 speaks of things that will take place AFTER the Lord Jesus returns. The last sentence that Hamon quoted from Plumptre (which is quoted above in this paper) is, "Elijah truly shall come first and restore all things." Hamon put this sentence in italics for emphasis and put the word "restore" in bold print for extra emphasis. Plumptre went on to show that his quotation came from Matt. 17:11 and telling his readers to see his Note on Matt. 17:11 in that same commentary. (I'll quote part of what he said under Matt. 17:11, 12 as we continue.)
I'll quote from Hamon (page 146), "... Not only was the fivefold office of prophet restored [through the prophetic-apostolic movement of our day], but a whole company of prophets were brought forth to corporately fulfill the prophecies concerning the Elijah to come, which was to 'prepare the way and make ready a people' for the coming of the Lord. This company of prophets and apostles with that 'Elijah' anointing [based on Mal. 4:5, 6] would fulfill those Scriptures of Christ's second coming as John the Baptist fulfilled them for Christ's first coming. He has an endnote referring to MALACHI 4:5; Matt. 11:9-14; Isa. 40:3-5; Luke 1:16-17; MATTHEW 17:11; ACTS 3:21 [my emphasis]. Although Hamon mentions that he believes in a literal fulfillment of the two prophets of Rev. 11:3-12 (page 226; also see page 252), he also says, "The two companies of prophets and apostles symbolized by the two witnesses will demonstrate the power and judgments of God like Apostle Moses and Prophet Elijah did" (page 271). Also see his pages 166, 184, 185 (on pages 184, 185 Hamon speaks of the revelation he received concerning the company of prophets), 210.
Under Matt. 17:11 (in the commentary edited by Ellicott, Vol. 1, pages 105, 106, under the heading "And restore all things"), Plumptre says (in part), "That work of 'turning the hearts of the children to the fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children' [of Mal. 4:6], was but part of a wider restoration of things and persons. ... Men, as a race, were to be brought into their right relation to their God and Father. The words seem...to point forward to a 'restitution of all things' [Acts 3:21], the bringing in of order where now there is disorder and confusion, which shall embrace not Israel only, or even mankind, but the whole universe of God, visible and invisible."
Under Matt. 17:12 (page 106) he says, "So far as the prophecy of Malachi required the coming of Elijah, that prophecy has been fulfilled in the Baptist.... ... The Elijah ministry, the work of the preacher of repentance, is not a transient phenomenon belonging to one stage only of the Church's history, but was to be, throughout the ages, on to the end of all things, the indispensable preparation for the coming of the Lord. Only through it could all things be restored, and the path made ready for the heralds of forgiveness and of peace."
((All the verses that are mentioned in the following paragraphs are discussed in my writings, most of them in detail. See my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," especially the chapters on Daniel chapters 9, 11, and 12; Revelation chapters 11-13, Zechariah chapters 12-14; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; my paper, "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture" (the verses/passages discussed in that paper are listed at the front of the paper); my paper on Matthew chapter 24; and the verse-by-verse studies of all the book of Revelation, except Rev. 11:1-14:5, which are discussed in detail in my book.))
The New Testament demonstrates that, as significant as John the Baptist's ministry was, all that was accomplished through his ministry was the repentance of many of the people of Israel and his pointing them to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, who was the only One who could save them. (That was a lot to accomplish, but it certainly didn't restore all things, or even cause most of the people of Israel of his generation to repent.) Those who submitted to the Lord Jesus were saved with new-covenant salvation, which wasn't fully available until after His resurrection, ascension, and His pouring forth the promised Spirit, starting on the Day of Pentecost.
How much will the end-time ministry of the two prophets of Rev. 11:3-13 accomplish? (And I don't believe there is any basis to believe that any number of apostles and prophets that God raises up in these last days will be able to accomplish more than what those two very special prophets/witnesses will accomplish. And their three and one-half year ministry will end just BEFORE the Lord Jesus returns, right in the middle of Daniel's 70th week.) The book of Revelation shows that they will get the attention of the whole world, with a special emphasis on the people of Israel [[I had a footnote: Malachi chapters 3 and 4 show that Elijah is sent to minister to the people of Israel, and Rev. 11:8 shows that the dead bodies of the two prophets/witnesses (they will be dead for three and one-half days [Rev. 11:9]) will lie in the street of Jerusalem, where apparently they will be killed. Revelation chapter 11 shows that the ministry of the two prophets will have a worldwide scope.]], with spectacular anointing and power with many signs and wonders, calling people worldwide to repent and get ready for the super-imminent return of the Lord Jesus to rapture out those who are prepared for His coming and to judge the world, etc.
The spectacular ministry of the two prophets of Rev. 11:3-12 is limited to calling people to repent and submit to God and His Son in light of the fact that the coming of the Lord Jesus and the day of judgment is super-imminent. Their ministry is limited to things that will take place BEFORE the Lord Jesus returns, unlike Acts 3:21, which speaks of things that will take place AFTER He returns.
The ministry of the two prophets, in combination with the other things God has planned for the first three and one half-years of the first half of Daniel's 70th week, will be effective to bring the end-time remnant of the nation Israel to a place of repentance; they, at least many of them, will be ready to submit to the Lord Jesus when He comes to them, but they will not be saved in time to be taken in the rapture. The ministry of the two prophets will also cause many of the people of the world to seriously consider the Lord Jesus Christ, which will help facilitate their repentance and salvation; some will repent before He returns (during the three and one-half year ministry of the two prophets), and some will repent after He returns. HOWEVER, AND THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF ACTS 3:21, REV. 11:7-12 SHOW THAT THE GREAT MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD WILL HATE THE TWO PROPHETS (AND THE ONE WHO SENT THEM) RATHER THAN REPENT, AND, SIGNIFICANTLY, THIS HATRED IS BEING MANIFESTED RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF DANIEL'S 70TH WEEK, AT THE VERY TIME THE LORD JESUS WILL RETURN TO JUDGE THE WORLD. MOST OF THE PEOPLE DWELLING ON THE EARTH AT THAT TIME ARE CALLED "ENEMIES" IN REV. 11:12.
All things will certainly not be restored before the Lord Jesus returns. In fact a gigantic rebellion led by Antichrist (the right hand man of the devil) will be taking place throughout the second half of Daniel's 70th week. This is all part of God's plan to judge the world at the end of this age (cf. Dan. 8:19; 11:36 [note God's "indignation" against sin]; Zech. 11:15-17; and Rev. 13:5-8 [note that the ultimate authority behind the three and one-half year super-evil reign of Antichrist comes from God; God uses Antichrist, even as he uses the four evil angels of Rev. 9:14, 15, for example; the devil, evil angels, Antichrist, etc. are responsible for their evil, but our sovereign God directs their evil and uses it in His end-time judgment of the world]. (Daniel chapter 8; Dan. 11:36-45; Zechariah chapter 11; and Revelation chapter 13 are discussed as chapters of my book. Revelation chapter 9 is discussed in my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10.) Passages like Matt. 24:10-14, 42-51; Matt. 25:1-30; Luke 18:1-8; and 2 Tim. 3:1-9; 4:1-5 do not fit the idea that all the Christians (the Christian church) will be sanctified and ready for the return of the Lord Jesus.
I'll briefly discuss the other things that God will do during the three and one-half year ministry (Rev. 11:3) of the two prophets that will suffice to bring about the repentance of the end-time remnant of Israel. Revelation 11:1-3 show that their ministry will take place throughout the three and one-half years of the first half of Daniel's 70th week. Many of the people of Israel will be worshipping in the (rebuilt) temple in Jerusalem at that time (the first half of the seven-year period), including sacrificial offerings (Rev. 11:1; note the "altar" in 11:1), before Antichrist stops the sacrifices and wants to be worshipped at the time of the abomination of desolation, which will be initiated in the (approximate) middle of the seven-year period (cf., e.g., Dan. 9:27; 12:11; Matt. 24:15; and 2 Thess. 2:3, 4). (As I discuss in some detail in my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," and other writings, I believe Dan. 12:11 enables us to see that the abomination of desolation will be initiated about a month before the Lord Jesus returns; He will return right in the middle of the seven-year period.)
The first six trumpets of the book of Revelation will all undoubtedly sound during the ministry of the two prophets; the two prophets will probably announce each of those trumpets before they sound, even as Moses announced the ten plagues in Egypt before they came to pass, which will make those prophesied events all the more effective at getting the attention of the people living on the earth (very much including the people of Israel), when they come to pass in sequence, in accordance with God's written Word. The two prophets may announce the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet before it sounds too. The seven trumpets announce the return of the Lord Jesus to judge the world, and the time for the glorification and rapture of the saints.
Israel will be reduced to the elect repentant end-time remnant, for the most part at least, during the great shaking of the short great tribulation that will take place during the one-month period that will start about the time of the abomination of desolation and will be over before the Lord Jesus returns right in the middle of the seven-year period. For one thing, the warfare of the short great tribulation of Dan. 12:1 and Matt. 24:21, 22 (cf. Joel 2:30-32; the warfare of the short great tribulation is pictured in Joel 2:30, 31) will be centered in that part of the world that includes Israel ((cf. Dan. 11:36-45, especially verse 41, which prophesies, I believe, of many of the people of Israel falling; verse 41 speaks of Antichrist, the "king of the North" of verse 40, coming to Israel at that time; the abomination of desolation will apparently take place at that time; and apparently Dan. 11:44 speaks of at least a key part of the intense warfare of the short great tribulation; Dan. 11:36-45 are discussed in chapter 9 of my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture")).
I believe the super-intense warfare of the short great tribulation is pictured in Rev. 9:13-21, which is the most important reference to understand the warfare of the short great tribulation. Those verses prophesy of the events of the sixth trumpet, which will sound about the time of the abomination of desolation, about a month before the Lord Jesus returns at the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet. Zechariah 13:8 prophesies of two-thirds of the people of Israel being cut off in the last days. As I mentioned, I believe that most of that cutting off will take place during the days of the short great tribulation. The end-time remnant of Israel is pictured in Zech. 14:2. The mid-week coming of the Lord Jesus to the Mount of Olives, and the just-raptured saints with Him, is pictured in Zech. 14:3-5. At that time the end-time remnant of Israel will submit to the Lord Jesus (see Zech. 12:10-13:1), but as I mentioned, not in time to be taken in the rapture.
Matthew 24:29 shows that that tribulation (the tribulation of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24: 21, 22) will be over when the Lord Jesus returns and the rapture takes place, as pictured in Matt. 24:30, 31. The smoke and dust generated during the warfare of the short great tribulation will darken the sun and moon, as they are pictured darkened in Matt. 24:29. (On this same darkening of the sun and moon, see Joel 2:30, 31; Rev. 6:12; and note the "smoke" [that will darken the sun and moon] in Joel 2:30; Rev. 9:17, 18. See my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture," my paper, "Twenty-Four Articles on the Mid-Week Rapture," my paper on Mathew 24 and my papers on the book of Revelation; and there are quite a few other papers that deal with the end times.)
The bottom line of all of this is that John the Baptist, the two end-time prophets of Rev. 11:3-12, or any other apostles or prophets that God will raise up before the Lord Jesus returns (in the middle of Daniel's 70th week) will not begin to fulfill the apostle Peter's prophetic words of Acts 3:21 that deal with the "restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient times." The end-time remnant of Israel will not even be saved until AFTER the Lord Jesus returns. In a section above, I described the things that will be included in the restoration of all things that will come to pass AFTER the Lord Jesus returns, which includes the things that will take place at the time He returns.
Does the New Testament Teach that All Christians Can, and Should, Prophesy?
This discussion will be based almost entirely on what the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14. These chapters are discussed verse-by-verse in a paper on my internet site. For the most part I will direct the reader to the discussions in that paper rather than repeating what I said there, and there I was able to discuss each verse in its context.
By prophesying I am speaking of Christians giving a message they have received from God, by the Holy Spirit, whether the message is received directly from Him before the message is given, or at the time the message is given, or whether seeing a vision, or hearing an audible (or what seems to be an audible) voice, or hearing an inner voice, no matter how brief and simple the message is, or how lengthy and complex. For the record, I have never received a vision, or heard the audible voice of God or a definite and clear inner voice of God, and I don't believe I have prophesied. I do believe, however, that God has been directly involved in my studies and teaching for almost as long as I have been a Christian and that He guides me and enables me in my daily life. For one thing the Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit.
I believe at least most of this work of the Spirit of God in my teaching ministry could be classified under the charismatic gift of a "word [Greek "logos"] of wisdom" (1 Cor. 12:8), along with the anointing (empowerment, enablement, etc.) of the Spirit. I have been convinced almost from the beginning of my life as a born-again Christian (I was born again early in 1964) that it is the will of God for the charismatic gifts to be manifested in our day.
I don't claim to have all the answers (and I want to be corrected anywhere that I'm wrong), and I certainly don't want to try to limit what God wants to do, but I have never been able to agree with the viewpoint that I have been hearing around many Charismatics and Pentecostals, since the 60s, when I first came in contact with them, that the New Testament teaches that all Christians can, and should, be prophesying. Bill Hamon teaches this, as I'll document as we continue. Several verses are often used to try to demonstrate that the New Testament teaches that all Christians can, and should, be prophesying, but it has always seemed clear to me that every one of those verses is being misinterpreted (we'll get into some details as we continue).
I'll quote what the apostle Paul said in 1 Cor. 12:7-12: "But to each one of us is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (8) For to one is given the word [Greek "logos"; see my paper, "Logos and Rhema: An Exaltation of Logos"] of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word ["logos"] of knowledge according to the same Spirit; (9) to another faith [a special gift of faith that will enable Christians to do things they couldn't have done otherwise; all true Christians have faith; we are saved by faith], and to another gifts of healing ["healings" in the Greek] by the one Spirit, (10) and to another the effecting of miracles, AND TO ANOTHER PROPHECY [my emphasis], and to another the distinguishing of spirits [very much including demon spirits], to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. (11) But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. [[Since "one and the same Spirit" works all these things (in accordance with the will of God the Father), all these things will work together in perfect harmony and effectiveness; that is, unless Christians fail to use these gifts as they were intended. To the extent we walk in the flesh and do not walk by the Holy Spirit, even good things like the charismatic gifts can bring disunity and, in the worst-case scenario, do more harm than good (cf. 1 Cor. 13:1-3). Christians are called, enabled, and required to walk by the Holy Spirit on a continuous basis (cf., e.g., Gal. 5:16), but it didn't always happen that way at ancient Corinth, and it doesn't always happen that way in our day.]] (12) For even as the body [the human, physical body] is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many are one body, so also is Christ [referring to the body of Christ here, the Christian church]."
By God's design, we need all the members of the human body; for one thing, they all have important functions to perform; and we really do need all the members of the body of Christ, as each one of us fulfill our assigned ministries (using the word "ministries" in a very full sense) by God's grace/gifts. We all have important functions to perform, by the plan of God. One thing that makes us different is the different charismatic gifts God gives us. The apostle mentions nine charismatic gifts here in 1 Cor. 12:7-11, but we can speak of many other manifestations of God's grace (gifts) that enable the body of Christ to function as it should.
Romans 12:1-8 is a very important cross-reference; those verses are discussed in some detail in my "A Paper on Faith." I recommend you read that verse-by-verse study of Rom. 12:1-8 now, which is on pages 72-77 of that paper, which is on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching). That discussion has some important things to say about faith, along with the gifts of the Spirit that enable each of us to fulfill our assignments in the body of Christ. In those verses the apostle Paul speaks of "gifts [Greek plural of "charisma"] that differ according to the grace [Greek "charis"; a gift of God is a manifestation of His grace] given to us." He mentions prophecy, service (or, ministering), teaching, exhorting, giving, leading, and showing mercy, and he could have listed many more things. I'll quote Eph. 4:7, "But to each one of us grace ["charis"] was given according to the measure of Christ's gift [referring to the gift(s) He has given to each one of us; here the word "gift" is the Greek "dorea, doreas," but the meaning would be the same if Paul had used "charisma."]." (Ephesians chapter 4 is discussed verse-by-verse in a paper on my internet site.)
We will continue this discussion on the gifts of the Spirit in Part 5, especially dealing with the gift of prophecy, and especially dealing with the question whether the Bible teaches that all Christians can, and should, prophesy.