This phrase, “wearing out the saints,” came up in conversation one day, and based upon that conversation, it is clear to me that it begs an explanation and answers.
Depending on what version of the bible you are using, to wear out is also translated as:
Exhaust, crush, hurt, and consume.
It is the Chaldean word belâ, meaning:
To afflict, and it is only used once in the bible.
The terms wear out and to afflict mean two entirely different things to me.
To wear out makes me think of the damage I used to do to my jeans during the summers as a child, as we climbed and slid across every rock we could find. Mental pressure could certainly do that to you.
Afflict, however, has a sizable range of violence attached to it. I remember the knuckle to the head in grade school, but it can also mean beheadings.
The phrase “wearing out the saints“ needs some clarity, doesn’t it?
I was asked,
When does this take place?
Is it possible that we are in it now?
Does it imply a continuous action, or could it be for a specific time?
Is it indicating typical life issues or a constant threat of death?
Note: What I see here in America as typical is nothing compared to life in Africa or the current conditions in Ukraine.
Let’s attack this one point at a time.
When does this “wearing out of the saints” take place?
While we understand that Satan is the perpetual enemy of the believer, scripture tells us that there is a specific time range for this to occur. Unfortunately, this wearing out of the saints falls during an extended, nondescript period called the time of the fourth beast.
The specific reference is found in Daniel’s book of prophecies.
“Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.”
Daniel 7:23-26 KJV
As you can see, the problem with determining a time frame has much to do with this fourth beast.
In the book of Revelation, the beast(s) are associated with the multi-headed dragon (See Revelation 13).
Have you seen many of those multi-headed dragons lately?
Neither have I, so the association that the astute picks up on is that these heads are kingdoms.
As we see in Daniel, there are three identified and distinct kingdoms. (Therefore, I felt safe calling the time of the fourth beast vast and nondescript because we have well-defined clarity on the identity of the first three kingdoms and not the fourth.)
The last of the three, the Grecian Empire, started with Alexander and continued through the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Empires. As far as most are concerned, the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires were still Grecian.
If what I am saying matches the dream statue of Nebuchadnezzar, then you really have to ask yourself – what about those feet?
We emphatically speculate that the fourth empire is the Roman Empire; speculation is all these “teachers” are doing when they assign the Roman empire to this fourth empire. They need to pay more attention to the fact that the fourth empire is not detailed as the others were.
The typical approach used in this skewed assignment of this empire, and therefore where the Antichrist comes from, is derived from Daniel 9:26.
“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”
Daniel 9:26 KJV
The mediocre teachers assert that since the Roman troops, supposedly under orders from Titus, destroyed the temple, the Roman Empire will be revived, and that is where the Antichrist will come from.
Do your research, and you will find evidence that leans toward a Middle Eastern people group known as the Assyrians, not Romans/Italians.
Here are some excerpts from the historian Josephus:
The Wars of the Jews – Book 5, chapter 13
“… “Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now, first of all, begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?”
In The Wars of the Jews book 6, chapter 4, Josephus states that:
“… So he (Titus) commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire.“
“…the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread … snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, …”
Notice the reaction of Titus and ask yourself, does Titus’ actions give you the impression of someone bent on the complete destruction of the temple?
“And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire; … Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire. …. But as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasions nor any threatening could restrain their violence, but each one’s own passion was his commander at this time;.”
These Assyrian and Arabian troops were out of control.
This statement is the most telling of them all, and it was said by Titus.
“Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now first of all begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?”
Even Titus feared that the barbarity of these men would be ascribed to the Romans, and that is precisely what we do when we declare the fourth empire to be a revived Roman empire.
Can you not see that ascribing Rome to the fourth empire also takes our eyes off what could be the true evil of the last days, Islam?
While I cover the vagueness of the time frame for “When does this take place?” Let’s find some decisive factors that can help us determine when this will occur.
“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed, and the visions of my mind were alarming me. (16) I approached one of those standing nearby and asked him about the meaning of all this. So he spoke with me and revealed to me the interpretation of the vision: (17) ‘These large beasts, which are four in number, represent four kings who will arise from the earth.”
Daniel 7:15-17 NET.
Almost as if it is a side note, Daniel is told something that I never understood until this moment.
“the holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will take possession of the kingdom forever and ever.” Daniel 7:18 NET.
The “holy ones” is representative of the church. So the fact that this is inserted here is not only a part of our answer as to when this will take place, but it is another of those validations that the church will NOT be a part of the horrendous violence that is going to happen during the time of wrath.
If I tried to make an assertion as to when this wearing out of the saints will occur, then I could say, based upon Daniel 7:18, that it primarily takes place after the catching away of the church.
Daniel, too, wanted to know the specifics of a beast he would never experience.
“Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others. It was very dreadful, with two rows of iron teeth and bronze claws, and it devoured, crushed, and trampled anything that was left with its feet.”
Daniel 7:19 NET.
Pay attention to several critical words in verse 19, bronze and iron.
These are not just random descriptions; the Holy Spirit is trying to point out something.
Bronze represented the Grecian empire under the leadership of Alexander, but in time, he died, and eventually, two out of four generals retained leadership over a divided Grecian empire.
The second term verse 19 gives us is iron teeth. There is no difference between the effects of these two materials; therefore, it forces the discerning to ask how and why the legs change from bronze to iron.
Because there is an assimilation, not described in Daniel 7:19, into the remaining two ruling aspects of the Grecian empire that cause dramatic changes.
These dramatic changes are integral to why this beast differs from all the others.
All this occurs after the Grecian empire’s demise and before the Roman empire, which Josephus elaborates on. The Grecian empire extended South into Egypt and Northern Africa through Ptolemy and North under the leadership of Seleucid. Both the Grecian and the Roman empires assimilated conscript troops from conquered countries, and the primary parties involved were Assyrians.
Take note also of the feet. We have to jump back to Daniel 2 for the following explanation.
“In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. (42) “As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong, and part of it will be brittle. (43) “And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.”
Daniel 2:41-43 NASB
Almost immediately, we see that this fourth kingdom is NOT a unified kingdom as the Grecian or Roman empire was.
To understand this, ask, how many sects of Islam are there?
The answer is many. We commonly hear of Shi’i, Sunni, and Wahhabi. The first two are constantly at war against each other, and the third, which interacts occasionally, is primarily in the region of the Saudis.
When you look up the simplistic word mixed, you find the word ‛ărab; this word means mixed or co-mingled.
So what does Daniel 2:43 say?
“ they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.”
Scripture helps to define their hostility toward each other when it talks about Ishmael.
“The angel of the LORD said to her further, “Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son, And you shall call his name Ishmael Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction. (12) “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”
Genesis 16:11-12 NASB
In short, a generalization that applies today is that Muslims still do not adhere to each other.
If you are a student of the Bible, then you understand that the destruction of the temple has two fulfillments. One came under the rule of the Roman general Titus in 70 AD. However, there is another fulfillment coming in these last days.
“And he shall enter into a strong and firm covenant with the many for one week [seven years]. And in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and offering to cease [for the remaining three and one-half years]; and upon the wing or pinnacle of abominations [shall come] one who makes desolate, until the full determined end is poured out on the desolator.”
Daniel 9:27 AMP
In recent years, I held the position that “the saints” were only those martyred during the seven-year period of God’s wrath, which we so foolishly call the tribulation. I did the very thing I despise, spewing out concepts as fact without checking my Bible adequately. Paul used the term saints throughout his writings, and that tends to dispel the idea that the saints are exclusive to the years of wrath. Several examples are Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Ephesians 6:8, and numerous others.
The terminology saint immediately takes me to Revelation, where we see things like
the woman, drunken with the blood of the saints (Revelation 17:6).
It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out
the most significant implication here is the martyred saints.
However, there is something notable about John’s writings. He never used the term saints in reference to the church outside of Revelation; most of the time, he calls them little children and brethren. The feeling is one of association and an understanding of the heart and character of God. Considering John’s beginnings compared to the end, it only makes sense that he would have God’s heart as he unfolds the Revelation, a time of nightmarish destruction and judgment. This time is not directed at “my little children.”
I realize that I initiated this conversation with a portion of Daniel, not John, yet they talk about the same thing. This demonstrates the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit. We cannot discount that John’s recollection of Daniel’s prophecies may have played a role in John’s terminology.
When you look at end times prophecy, there are only three people groups to consider: the Jews, the nations, and the church. While there can and will be some crossing over between the Jews and the church, as followers of Christ are considered a part of the church.
Some will say that God gave up on the Jews. I do not think so. He has engraved their names and faces in the palms of his hands. You do not give up something that precious, especially after showing that level of commitment. God plans to drive the heart of the Jew, his chosen, back to himself. Unfortunately, there is much pain and suffering involved with that journey.
In general, the Jews have rejected Jesus, the Messiah, and therefore subjected themselves to the coming wrath.
“And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou had known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knew not the time of thy visitation.”
(Luke 19:41-44 KJV)
The rejection of God by Israel is a common theme. An example of this is seen in the selection of Saul as king.
“And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”
(1 Samuel 8:7 KJV)
“The nations could also be referred to as the gentiles. Daniel referred to them as the people of the prince that shall come. Jesus, talking about the days of vengeance, said,
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”
(Luke 21:24 KJV)
The church is the entire collection of believers comprising the body of Christ.
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23 KJV)
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
(Colossians 1:15-18 KJV)
In general, the Jews have rejected Jesus, the Messiah, and therefore subjected themselves to the coming wrath.
“But God proves his love for us by this (James Moffatt), in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
(Romans 5:8-9 KJV)
“. you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and a real God and to wait for the coming of his Son from heaven — the Son whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who rescues us from the Wrath to come.”
(1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 Moffatt NT)
The church likes to hold itself in exclusivity, thinking we are protected from tribulation. Jesus guaranteed us three things:
In this world, you will have tribulation.
You will be hated by all men, for my name’s sake.
I will come again for you.
Tribulation and wrath/vengeance are two different things. Tribulation is non-stop and comes in many forms. It has nothing to do with your inability to buy a new propeller for the family ski boat. Get real; people in parts of the world with a heavy Muslim influence are killed daily.
If you lived under a constant threat of death, do you think you would feel you were being worn down?
Perhaps the Bible in Basic English translates it more appropriately. Daniel 7:25 (a) BBE
“And he will say words against the Most High, attempting to put an end to the saints of the Most High;” It is clear that the intent is to kill the saints.
“And he shall speak words against the Most High, and he shall wear out the saints of the Most High. And he intends to change times and law. And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and one half time.”
(Daniel 7:25 LITV)
Daniel 7:23 Declares what was to come, the fourth beast. If the fourth beast is Islam, then that was initiated by Muhammad over 600 years after Christ’s death.
“He gave me this explanation: ‘The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it.”
(Daniel 7:23 NIV)
What follows is several bits of historical information about the beginnings of Islam.
Born approximately in 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at an early age; he was raised under the care of his paternal uncle Abu Talib. After his childhood, Muhammad primarily worked as a merchant. Occasionally he would retreat to a cave in the mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer; later, at age 40, he reported at this spot, that he was visited by Gabriel and received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event, Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that “God is One,” that complete “surrender” (lit. islām) to Him is the only way (dīn)[n 3] acceptable to God, and that he was a prophet and messenger of God, similar to other Islamic prophets. (From Wikipedia.)
Islam has operated under various caliphates since the death of Muhammad in 632 AD (BCE). While all of them caused the Middle Eastern world grief, the largest and most powerful was the Ottoman Caliphate.
Ottoman Caliphate (1453/1517–1924)
At the end of October 1922, the Allies invited the nationalist and Ottoman governments to a conference at Lausanne, Switzerland, but Atatürk was determined that the nationalist government should be Turkey’s sole representative. In November 1922, the Grand National Assembly separated the offices of the sultan and caliph and abolished the former. The assembly further stated that the Ottoman regime had ceased to be the government of Turkey when the Allies seized the capital in 1920, in effect abolishing the Ottoman Empire. Excerpt from the Ottomans.org
Is it possible that believers have been under attack for eighteen hundred years? No doubt.
Pay attention to another aspect of Islam.
“The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Ismailia, Egypt by Hassan al-Banna in March 1928 as an Islamist religious, political, and social movement. The group spread to other Muslim countries but has its largest, or one of its largest, organizations in Egypt, where for many years it has been the largest, best-organized, and most disciplined political opposition force, despite a succession of government crackdowns in 1948, 1954, 1965 after plots, or alleged plots, of assassination and overthrow were uncovered. Following the 2011 Revolution the group was legalized, and in April 2011 it launched a civic political party called the Freedom and Justice Party (Egypt) to contest elections.” (Wikipedia)
Note that this is two years after the Caliphate was disbanded.
“Links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandate Palestine, as a wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoirs from that period, confirm. Reflecting this connection, the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler’s Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and Western societies generally.” (Wikipedia)
The point is that Islam has been a destructive thorn in the flesh of those who do not comply for over 1800 years. Have they been a global threat throughout their history? No, but it took a global response to subdue them in 1922. I think we can agree that they are global now and a more significant threat than ever before. Aside from that, their prime directive is to kill the people of the book, which would be the Jews and the Christians.
Have you noticed that they are making a serious dent in their goals?
If you have watched the news in the last couple of years, you are aware of Christians being slaughtered in the mid-East and African nations. Perhaps you have also noticed that attacks against any group outside of Islam are fair game to them. Buddhists, Catholics, you name it. They even fight each other as though there is a competition to see who can follow the Qur’an most precisely. Unfortunately, for the outsider, while the Qur’an does have passages devoted to peace, they are superseded by newer passages that demand strict and violent compliance.
It is currently November 2022 as I am writing, and things have changed drastically since I first posted this study on Wearing out the Saints in January 2015.
Many of us have a watchful eye on Bill Gates as he pushes through the goals of his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and that’s to have the whole world vaccinated. Klaus Schwab and his sidekick Professor Yuval Noah Harari, are the men currently taking the lead in this New World Order.
Currently, we have what some refer to as the deep state. You can find these people in almost every nation, calling the action plays as they crush global economies, create a reign of fear, and promote a global, universal marking system to allegedly indicate that we have been vaccinated against COVID-19 when the reality is that they are trying to tag us all with a quantum chip that is a part of this regimentation; this then would give them the ability to control if and when we can eat.
It would seem that the reality of the mark of the beast is upon us.
I do not feel that Bill Gates is the Antichrist, as I have felt for several years that this person would have to be a Muslim. But, besides all that, the Muslims have already been marking those who wish to comply with the terms of their invasion by submitting to heavy taxation and wearing a scarf as a sign of submission, somewhat comparable to what the Jews in Poland had to submit with the yellow star, during WW2.
This declaration of peace that we see the Antichrist making might be supported by Israel, but the majority of the Middle Eastern world, even at this moment, is rejecting any possibility of peace with Israel and will continue to do so if peace is represented by anyone other than a Muslim; and, if you did not notice, Israel is not mentioned as part of this peace treaty.
I think it is obvious that there is affliction directed at Christians in certain parts of the world.
Not to be left out of this violence against Christians are China and North Korea.
I suppose the question is, how long until this level of violence comes to the Americas and afflicts us as well?
Do not think that your non-belief will protect you.
In general, they feel that any American is a Christ follower and worthy of death. Scripture tells me that you may have a chance to reject God and accept Allah as your God of choice, bowing before him in worship.
Perhaps that will save your neck for the moment. I am aware that they cut a man’s head off anyway, perhaps because they felt he was a coward with no backbone. I suspect it will not be as easy as that, and they may not have the time to await your decision. Of course, giving into this cuts you off from any hope of a relationship with God. In other words, there is no turning back from this decision.
If you do not know this Jesus Christ, you can.
Ask him into your life, turn yourself over to him and accept his forgiveness. Allow him to run it. You do not have to work for your salvation, as it is free and paid for; you merely have to receive this life and salvation. You will experience a peace that you have never known before and a promise that he will come for you so that you can live with him in glory.
Daniel 7:25 “wears out the righteous ones of the Most High” contains an equivalent expression to 2 Peter 2:7 “righteous Lot, being worn out” by the sensual lawless conduct. Could it be that we, like Lot, are living among the tares, being daily distressed and worn out by their lawlessness (See Matt. 7:23)? And perhaps like Lot, God will gather his righteous ones from the four corners of the earth in the final exodus (Jer. 23:7-8)?
The saints, in this context, is the tribulation saints that get martyred. While I cannot exclude lawlessness, the direct imagery leans toward their death.
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