Many in fundamental Christianity set themselves apart because in their minds eye, they believe they are more holy by doing so in the eyes of God. Many of them think they are more holy in the eyes of God, because they have achieved that set-apartness, and you other suckers out there, it is too bad that you are not on their level, because they are using their own measuring stick to see how holy you are. People setting themselves apart, is called self-sanctification!
God is the Sanctifier, NOT the person. The flesh is never capable of performance to the standard of the perfection belonging to God himself, no matter how set apart we try to become. Sanctification is an already accomplished fact for each and every believer of Paul’s good news. God sets every believer apart, not some more so than others, but everyone who has believed what his son accomplished is set apart, it is a judicial transaction that takes place in God’s mind the moment we believe.
Not being conformed to this world has to do with both believers and non-believers deciding to set themselves apart and setting the parameters for doing so. People can set themselves apart to live any kind of lifestyle they so choose as long as they choose to do it. Those who refuse to believe in the accomplishments of Christ are fully capable of setting themselves apart when it comes to the lifestyle they desire for themselves. The flesh is capable of behavioral change. Paul does indeed exhort those who believe his good news not to be conformed to this world, but that is not the type of sanctification in any degree or any manner that Paul has in mind, our righteous standing before God has already been accomplished through our being set-apart.
There are two Greek words that are rendered “end” in the New Testament, but the use of these two words must be carefully distinguished. The Greek word “sunteleia” denotes a finishing or ending together, or in conjunction with other things; it implies that several things meet together, and reach their end during the same period, whereas the Greek word “telos” is the point of time at the end of that period. The sign of the telos is the setting up of “the abomination of desolation” spoken of by Daniel the prophet.
What ought we to look for as the first thing which has the end of the “many days” and “the time of the end”? The price has been paid in the shedding of the precious blood of the promised Deliverer; and now, the necessary power is to be exercised so as to secure all its results, in wresting the inheritance from the hand of the enemy by ejecting the present usurper, and forcibly taking possession. We see this power put forth in the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls, which fill up the active judgments of Yahweh in accomplishing this, and which end with the coming of the promised Deliverer himself.
As the 7-Sealed Book begins to be opened, six seals are separated off from the seventh; as though to point out to us that the seventh is not immediately consecutive on the sixth, as the other seals are consecutive one on the other, the sixth seal evidently carries us forward to the time of the end. The Day of Yahweh will be a prolonged period; it must not be confined to “seven years”, as is so often done. These events may occur a period of thirty-three years; and if to these we add the seven years of the last week of Daniel, we have a period of forty years.
Matt. Chapter 24, “What shall be the sign of your coming, and of the sunteleia of the age?” Jesus describes four of those seals, and adds, “All these are a beginning of sorrows.” This fixes these first four seals as the “beginning” of the sunteleia of the Day of Yahweh. This “beginning” may be spread over some years before the Great Tribulation, proper, comes on. Not one of these seals has yet been opened, nor can any period of history be pointed out in which these first four seals have been in operation simultaneously.
If this 7-Sealed Book has to do with the whole subject of prophecy, with its causes, and not merely with its consequences and its end, then it may well take us back to the beginning when man was driven out from Paradise, when Adam forfeited his inheritance; and the promise of a coming Deliverer and Redeemer was given. Who has the right to redeem the forfeited inheritance, the lost Paradise? Satan is in possession of this world now, and as such, Satan was able in a peculiar way to tempt him who had come to redeem it, in the only lawful way in which it could be redeemed.
We take it therefore that the opening of the seals of this 7-Sealed Book is the enlargement and development of the Book of Daniel, describing, from Yahweh’s side, the judgments necessary to secure the fulfillment of all that he has foretold. However, there is something more in the 7-Sealed Book then the mere continuation of Daniel’s prophecies, but there must be that which calls for all these judgments and requires the putting forth of all this power. Who is worthy, who will act the Goel’s (or Redeemer’s) part for man and for Israel, and recover his lost estate. This 7-Sealed Book was given to the one worthy to open the seals, in connection with such a transaction for a much weightier Redemption of Creation, both by unanswerable right and unequalled might. For the Goel was an avenger as well as a redeemer.
The themes which form the whole Books subject: The removal of the curse from creation, the redemption of the purchased inheritance, the ejection of the great usurper; and all accomplished through the payment of the redemptions’s price by the merits of the promised coming Deliverer, and the putting forth of redemption power. But the payment of the price is only one part of the work of redemption. If the price be paid and there be no power to take possession and eject the holder, the payment is in vain. And if power be put forth and exercised in casting out the usurper, without the previous payment of the redemption price, it would not be a righteous action. So that for the redemption of the forfeited inheritance, two things are absolutely necessary, price and power.