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In my study of Daniel 6, I wrote about the first and second work of Christ and how the first was a “death” work, while the second is a “living” work.
The time in which we live is no guarantee (in itself) that a person will live through the coming “lions’ den” experience. There may be some who are called to experience the martyrdom of the first work of Christ, while others will be impossible to kill.
In the book of Acts we see both patterns within the context of the first work of Christ, and these occur side by side. Recall from my audio teachings on the book of Acts that there are a number of these patterns in the first half of Acts.
First, in Acts 3 we see the pattern of Peter and John who went to the temple at the ninth hour of the day, which is the time of the evening sacrifice. The morning and evening sacrifices depict the two works of Christ in this particular view, so the story in Acts 3 is a prophetic picture of the second work of Christ.
At the gate of the temple, Peter raised the lame man in Acts 3:6-8, and then he used that as an illustration of the resurrection of the dead at the end of the age (Acts 4:1, 2). The temple guards came and arrested them, but in the end, they were released (Acts 4:23), even as the second dove was to be released in Leviticus 14:7. Later that evening the Holy Spirit was poured out the second time (Acts 4:31), which was the prophetic pattern of what we shall soon experience as well.
The apostles were again arrested, flogged, and released in Acts 5:40, 41. In this case, as they walked away, they looked like the second dove after it had been dipped in the blood of the first dove (Leviticus 14:6). As types of the second work of Christ, they would not be killed, but they were flogged. In other words, being identified with the second work of Christ does not mean one will necessarily escape persecution. It only means that a person will not suffer death from that persecution.
Then in Acts 6 and 7, we see the story of Stephen, known as “the first martyr.” He was killed for his witness, because he was identified with Jesus in His death work. Stephen is then juxtaposed with Philip in Acts 8, who was caught away (harpazo) by the Spirit (Acts 8:39, 40). Not only was it his calling to present a picture of the second work of Christ, but he experienced the catching away, which is the event prophesied to occur on the 8th day of Tabernacles. Stephen and Philip depicted the two doves.
Then in Acts 12 we read of James and Peter, who also depict the two works of Christ. James was killed (Acts 12:2), but Peter was released from prison by the angel of God (Acts 12:7). Those who do not understand the revelation of the two works of Christ are often perplexed as to why God did not save the life of James as He did with Peter. Some have found fault with James, but there is no biblical justification for such a view. It was necessary to have both men walk out the revelation of the two works of Christ in order to help us to understand the revelation of the two doves.
The point that I want to make is that if we see the apostles themselves depicting the two works of Christ at the start of the Pentecostal Age, then there is no reason to think that both patterns could not be manifested in us as well at the start of the Tabernacles Age. The main difference, I believe, is that the second work ought to be the dominant pattern for us today, since we do live in the time of the second work of Christ. In fact, those who are actually called to fulfill this second work—which is to preach the word under the anointing of the second outpouring of the Spirit—might expect to be impossible to kill during that time, on account of their divine protection.
Yet in the midst of this, since most Christians still have no revelation about the two different works of Christ, I would expect God to continue revealing this in the same manner that He did in the early chapters of the book of Acts. I would expect to see at least a few people linked together in pairs for the purpose of revelation.
Either way, people are identified with Christ and will be rewarded accordingly. We are all in this together, and the law of unity means that we partake of the reward of those who do different functions from sowing, watering, and reaping in God’s harvest.
The only thing that will not have to be repeated will be Christ’s death on the cross.
So regardless of our particular function in the divine plan, we are entering the time of preaching the word that will build the Kingdom for the Age to come. This was seen in the story of Jonah, whose second calling was fulfilled by his preaching the word to Nineveh. This was seen in the book of Acts, where the disciples were released in order to preach the word, first in Acts 4:18-20, 31, then in Acts 5:42, then in Acts 8:40, and finally in Acts 12:24.
This second work of Christ is what we call the Open Door Ministry, for this is the biblical pattern of Jonah and again with the apostles. It is based also on the angel opening the prison door for Peter to be released to preach the word. In that he then fled to Caesarea and then continued on to Antioch and finally to Rome, shows that the word must be preached even to the capital city of the beast-nation that then existed.
This revelation of the second dove in the book of Acts shows also how the apostles themselves had to change their cultural mindset in order to fulfill the calling of the second dove. Up to that time their cultural background had caused them to focus upon “the God of Israel” or “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” which tended to limit the promises of God to a certain genealogy.
But the book of Acts shows how the revelation of God broadened their thinking. It caused Philip to preach the word in Samaria (Acts 8:5). It later caused Peter to preach the word at the house of Cornelius, the Roman centurion (Acts 10:24). Peter learned “that God is not one to show partiality” (Acts 10:34).
Later Peter fled to Antioch, and Paul was commissioned to preach the word to the nations, all based on the law of impartiality (Leviticus 19:34, 35, 36).
There are two levels of fulfillment that we must consider in order to understand this revelation fully. The first is the personal, or individual experience; the second is the historical time in which one lives. Take, for example, the fact that Peter was released from prison in order to portray the picture of the second dove in his personal experience. We know that Peter later died as a martyr, because he could not escape the historical time in which he lived—which was the time of the first dove. Historically, he was required to walk out the pattern of Christ’s own martyrdom on the cross.
The first dove was the dominant pattern of the Church during the Age of Pentecost, and so they all died, most of them as martyrs. But we are now coming into a new day, where we shall see the resurrection of the dead and come into immortality. Those who attain that resurrection will not die at all, and so they will represent the second dove in the ultimate sense.
Yet even those believers who do not receive immortality at this time may live out the patterns of the second dove in their individual experiences. In other words, they may escape death in certain incidents of their lives, while still remaining mortal or even dying as martyrs at a later time. This is what happened with Philip and Peter.
I believe that the pattern of Daniel’s personal deliverance from the lions’ den will be seen more often in the days ahead than in the book of Acts. It will become the dominant pattern of events at the time of Babylon’s fall, and Daniel was delivered from the lions in order to give us this understanding and expectation.
Yet after the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6), some will be identified fully with the second dove—Christ in His second manifestation. These cannot be killed by their enemies on the personal level, nor can they die on the historical level.